21 August 2013 | Sidney Spit to Winter Cove, Saturna Island
Laurie / Sunny
Day 38 – August 11, 2013 Sunday
It was a little damp with light showers when we woke up in Sidney Spit. We hadn’t seen rain since we were at Blind Channel. Jon and Kate stopped by for coffee on their way home. Quite a few of the boats that had spent the weekend at the Spit were making their way out as well.
We anticipated some difficulty with the anchor due to the odd angle it was at the day before, but it came up without a hitch and we were on our way. As we traveled to our destination of Saturna Island we couldn’t help but notice the strong currents. At one point we were slowed down to 2.5 knots! We thought it would take forever to get there. We continued to experience strong currents until we turned around Blunden Island into Plumper Sound. Finally the current was in our favour and we found ourselves going 6.6 knots. That was better, but we did determine that our average speed for the day was 3.5 knots.
Getting into Winter Cove wasn’t as easy as it looked on the chart as there were no markers to guide us in. We had to go around a long, narrow reef in order to get into the cove and the reef wasn’t that easy to see. We did finally make it out, rounded it and headed into the cove. It was a delightful anchorage with plenty of room for us and a few more boats if any came. We found a good spot and set our anchor at 4:30.
Jon had told us that Winter Cove had a good trail that led to Boat Passage at the far end of the cove. Boat Passage is a very narrow passage that ebbs into the Strait of Georgia. There is a lot of water that goes through there with strong eddies on an ebb tide. Jon told us a story of a time he was with some friends in a small run-about. They were on the strait side of the passage and wanted to go into Winter Cove. The tide was flooding at the time and when they went through the passage they actually fell into the passage with the height difference between the strait and the cove! Looking back they saw that they had gone over a waterfall. We needed to see this passage for ourselves. Moe got James ready and we rowed over to the dock.
Boat Passage is a provincial park with picnic tables at the beginning of the well kept trail. We followed it along and within a few minutes were looking over the passage. The water was pouring into the strait from the cove with a long trail of swirling water. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to transit that! Moe walked over the rocky, not-too-steep shoreline and went right down to the water to get a closer look. I preferred to stay well away from that water and stayed at the top hoping that some evil Kracken didn’t jump out of the water and pull my dear skipper into the whirlpools never to be seen again. Another man and his two young boys also walked down for a look. Apparently not everyone has such an imagination as mine.
As I sat at the top taking pictures and videos, I turned to take a picture of the harbour we were anchored in and saw a large, flying bridge power boat heading right toward the passage. What!? Is he crazy? I immediately turned on my video to capture the carnage. The boat motored closer, picking up speed as it entered into the narrow passage. The boat was clearly being sucked right into the whirlpools. Whoosh! He was through safely and motored away. Well, that was easy. Another smaller boat followed suit with equal success. I was glad to see how easy it really was to go through there but didn’t think it would be a good idea for us to attempt it. Moe came back up and after a short conversation with another couple there we headed back to Reborn.
When we returned to Reborn it was time to make some dinner and plans for the next day. We weren’t sure if we would be able to make it all the way back home so after Moe went to bed I sat up and calculated the distance and picked some anchorages we could tuck into along the way. We needed to make Dodd Narrows at slack tide and, depending on our speed, had to have alternatives in case we were too slow. With notes made, I joined Moe for what could be our last night at anchor.
As I lay in bed pondering that thought, I felt kind of sad that our fabulous journey was coming to an end. We had accomplished a great thing in circumnavigating this grand island we call home. We learned a lot more about safe boating, chart work, planning, currents, tides, rocks, reefs, weather and our abilities. We both knew that we were better boaters for the experience. We also learned a lot more about each other and have grown much closer. We met some very good people and visited a lot of wonderful places that not very many get to see due to the difficulty in getting there. We basked in sunshine and navigated blindly through fog. At times I had cried tears of frustration and other times danced with glee. My wonderful husband practiced extreme patience with me (only one head smashing!) and always, always got us to our destinations safely. Would I do this again? Yep, I sure would!