Around Vancouver Island 2013

Vessel Name: Reborn
Vessel Make/Model: 1952 Wood Ketch out of Orkney Islands
Hailing Port: Nanaimo, BC Canada
Crew: Moe and Laurie
About:
Moe, the Skipper, has many years of sailing experience. He owned his first sailing dinghy when he was 15 and sailed with his friends around the Sunshine Coast of BC. Later he discovered windsurfing and devoted many years to his board. [...]
Extra: Reborn is a 42' fibre glass over wood ketch built in the Orkney islands in 1952. In her life time she has been redone enough times to carry her name with pride. Reborn has served as a pilot boat, a pleasure motor craft and now as a ketch.
16 June 2013 | Nanaimo to Halfmoon Bay and home to Nanaimo
12 June 2013 | Nanaimo, BC Canada
Recent Blog Posts
21 August 2013 | Winter Cove to Nanaimo

Day 39

Day 39 – August 29, 2013 Monday

21 August 2013 | Sidney Spit to Winter Cove, Saturna Island

Day 38

Day 38 – August 11, 2013 Sunday

21 August 2013 | Victoria to Sidney Spit

Day 37

Day 37 – August 10, 2013 Saturday

21 August 2013 | Sooke to Victoria

Day 36

Day 36 – August 9, 2013 Friday

14 August 2013 | Bamfield to Sooke

Day 35

Day 35 – August 8, 2013 Thursday

13 August 2013 | Ucluelet and Ucluelet to Bamfield

Day 33 and Day 34

Day 33 and Day 34, August 6 and 7, 2013 Tuesday and Wednesday

Day 39

21 August 2013 | Winter Cove to Nanaimo
Laurie / Sunny
Day 39 – August 29, 2013 Monday

We planned an early start for the day in order to get the good current moving through Navy Channel. We noticed in our current atlas that the current in this channel never changes direction. The strength changes and the tides move up and down, but the water always flows in the same direction. We wanted a light current, please. I had also checked the ferry schedule and was pleased to see we wouldn’t have to deal with one in Navy Channel on its way out of or into Lyall Harbour on Saturna.

By 7:10 we had the anchor up and said goodbye to Winter Cove. The day was overcast and calm as we motored through the channel. We had the place to ourselves until we got to Trincomali Channel and the entrance to Active Pass. A lot of ferries transit Active Pass and as we entered Trincomali Channel we could see one approaching. We intended to hold our course, assuming that we knew where the ferry was going. As he got closer and closer and continued to head right toward us, Moe quickly did a 360 and let him pass. We had noticed a small sailboat going into Active Pass a few minutes earlier and pretty soon heard the Coastal Celebration tooting his horn at the small sailboat. I was surprised that he didn’t toot us.

Right after the ferry passed and we had good sea room we put the genoa up. It only lasted about half an hour before we had to lower it due to light wind. We didn’t give up hope for better wind and just before 11:00 we had it up again and had a very nice sail all the way to Stuart Channel. Our speed had been better than expected and we bypassed all the ports that I had suggested we could go into. In fact, we found that we would be arriving at Dodd Narrows about half an hour early. We were going home!

There was a lineup of boats at the entrance to Dodd Narrows when we got there. We had slowed down a little and decided to transit the narrows when we arrived even though we were early and going on an opposing current. We entered the narrows at 1:52 and were through at 1:57 with a flotilla of six powerboats right behind us. Of course, they all quickly passed us in Northumberland Channel. As we motored along we noticed how busy the waters around Nanaimo are. As we rounded Jack Point we saw the large Seaspan Challenger quickly gaining ground on us. We held our course until he tooted us out of his way. We slowed and let the big boy go by on our starboard side as the Canadian Navy ship ‘Caribou’ passed on our port.

Though we had been away from our home port for 39 days, once we were back in our home ground it seemed as though we had never left. By 3:20 we were tied up at our own slip. Home Sweet Home!

Day 38

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!

Day 37

21 August 2013 | Victoria to Sidney Spit
Laurie / Sunny
Day 37 – August 10, 2013 Saturday

For some reason, I wasn’t on top of my game in the morning. My wonderful skipper was quite patient as I got myself together. Our checkout time from Victoria was 11:00 so we weren’t in a big rush. This gave me time to gather my wits and for Moe to trade experiences with the Aeolus crew. I did make an attempt to get online which turned out to be a waste of time. I would have been better off using that time to set out course for the day. We were headed to Sidney to hook up with Jon and Kate again. As it turned out, I was setting the course as we left the harbour. The Sailing Directions told me that both Trial Island and Discovery Island should be given a reasonable berth. Not so easy when there is a Traffic Separation scheme for the ‘big boys’ and we were travelling in the wrong lane!

Moe convinced me that we were doing the right thing by hugging the land and leaving the shipping lanes to the big ships and he was quite right. All the sailboats were following the same course as we were. It appeared the 11:00 was check out time for all the sailboats in Victoria Harbour as we were one in a large group of departing boats. We made our way around the eastern side of the south coast of Vancouver Island and into Haro Strait. Haro Strait was not at all harrowing! At around 2:30 we had a dolphin sighting, which proved to be the last of our sea life sighting. The rest of our trip to Sidney Spit was uneventful. The weather was good and we enjoyed a relaxing passage.

When we found ourselves between James Island and Sidney Island Moe brought out a couple of shot glasses with some rum. As we had traveled here previously, at this point, we had now, in fact, circumnavigated Vancouver Island. What a feat for us and worthy of celebration and note! We toasted our achievement with satisfaction. Yay us!

We arrived at Sidney Spit about 3:00 and found it full of other boats. What else would one expect on a beautiful Saturday? The anchorage is quite shallow so we chose to anchor further out and dropped our anchor. We thought it was a good spot but, as soon as we were hooked, the current put us on a 90 degree angle to our anchor rode. Usually the anchor rode settles right away and sits right under the bow. Not so this time. Neither one of us were thrilled with our anchor, though we knew we had a good hook, it just seemed weird that we were at such an angle with a strong current. Jon and Kate were already anchored much closer in as the draft of their boat isn’t as deep as ours. Moe and Jon talked on the phone and Moe learned they didn’t have their dinghy with them so he would go over to pick them up and bring them back to Reborn where we would have dinner together. Moe lowered James into the water and quickly went over to retrieve our guests.

Everyone returned and we combined our food to make some yummy shish ke bobs on the barbeque and corn on the cob. After dinner we all got into James and headed over to the Spit. The tide was in so there wasn’t much beach to explore, but we did our best and had a great time. As we arrived at the end of the spit the sun was beginning to set. We made our way back to James exclaiming all the way about the beautiful sky. We were to enjoy the best sunset we had during our whole trip. As we watched the sky changed many colours from blue to pink, then brilliant orange with many water colour hues in between. Gorgeous! When the sunset was almost done we got back into our dinghy and took Jon and Kate back to their boat and returned ourselves to Reborn. What a great day!

Day 36

21 August 2013 | Sooke to Victoria
Laurie / Foggy then Sun!
Day 36 – August 9, 2013 Friday

By the time I got my sleepy self out of bed everyone else was awake. We had awoken to another day of fog. Oh goody. I had actually hoped that we would have a reasonable down day and be able to do a little exploring around Whiffen Spit. My skipper had other plans. He wanted to get the heck out of Sooke and head for the sunshine in Victoria. This meant another trip through the entrance to Sooke. Well, at least it wasn’t blowing 30 knots into the harbour! Aeolus had left before us and Paxx was going to follow after.

After breakfast it was time to bring up the anchor. Moe put Ken and Rory in charge of the anchor on the foredeck while he managed the helm. I oversaw the foredeck work. They did a great job! With the anchor safely on deck, Moe made his way through the crab traps which had been skillfully placed by the fisherman the night before. With those behind us, we headed for the range markers. Again, Rory was very helpful in keeping us on the line. Thank goodness this transit was much easier than the one last night. The sea was calm and the wind was down. This is how it should be!

Just after 11:00 we made our way out to sea in the fog and into a minefield of fishermen. Our radar looked like it had green measles; there were so many small boats! I have to say, these fishermen clearly felt that the sea was theirs and made no effort to give any way to the larger sailboat bearing down on them. We weaved in and out and between the boats. One was very brazen and just drove right toward us without flinching or moving. Moe turned at the last moment in order to avoid a collision. That fisherman was not going to give an inch!

At 11:40 we were hailed by Aeolus who was about 5 miles ahead of us at Beechy Head. They were still in the fog, were experiencing some eddies and were doing about 7 knots. We were glad to hear what to expect. I decided to spend my time updating my journal. As we use the computer for navigating, I was using the old fashioned method of recording – pen and paper. Head down, with log and camera at hand, I wrote as we travelled. I know it’s hard to believe, but I actually didn’t notice when we were finally out of the fog until we were very close to Race Passage! I didn’t want to miss this event as it was on my Danger list. As we approached the sky was clear and the sun was shining. I was thrilled to see the lighthouse on Race Rocks and got my camera out to make sure it was captured. Our passage at slack tide had been carefully planned by our competent skipper so we transited this potentially dangerous passage with ease. The wind came up as we turned the southernmost corner of Vancouver Island so our jib was raised.

It was very exciting to be coming into our capital city! After we had passed Race Rocks, we looked behind and saw it surrounded in the familiar fog. Very cool! We also saw the Coho coming in, the ferry that goes between Victoria and Port Angeles. Not far behind, we saw a large cruise ship coming out of the fog. As it came through the fog we could see it disturbing and pulling the fog behind it. The cruise ship traveled very quickly and we knew it would win the race into Victoria. Then, it stopped! I had noticed a small boat whisking along the water and didn’t think much of it. But when I saw it racing back toward Victoria and the cruise ship starting to move again, I said that it must have delivered the pilot to bring the cruise ship into the harbour. We watched as the cruise ship slipped into the berth. It was huge as we motored by its stern!

Moe had started the conversation with the Victoria marina on VHF trying to get us a slip. I have to give kudos to the girl who was managing the radio. The radio was very busy with people looking for moorage and she did an excellent and very professional job of getting everyone into a slip. We were assigned a slip on B dock and then, just as we were about to pull into B dock, we received a message that we were to go to D dock, so off we went. We were very pleased to see that we were opposite Aeolus!

Once we were safely tied up at the dock, right in front of the Empress Hotel in Victoria, I did a little dance of glee. What a fantastic place to be moored! I never, in my wildest sail dreams, thought that we would actually be at dock in front of the Empress Hotel! The weather was clear, sunny and warm so we all changed into our summer clothes. Gone was the dreary fog. Yay!! It was definitely time for a celebratory drink so we cracked some cold ones and settled in to enjoy the ambience of our location.

Ken and Rory needed to find their way back home, so we did our best to arrange something online. Not finding success, Ken decided to scrap new technology and walked over to the bus station to find out the schedule. He soon came back with all the information we needed. Who needs an iPhone when you have feet! I had contacted my son, Steve, and made arrangements to get together for dinner. We also met up with the crew from Aeolus and made a loose plan to get together at some point before dinner. They were off to explore the Victoria waterfront.

Ken, Rory, Moe and I made our way back up to the bus depot to purchase their tickets home. We bade goodbye to Ken at that point as he was going to visit family and Rory, Moe and I did a little shopping before returning to the boat. On our way back, we stopped to enjoy some of the live music and booths along the waterfront. It wasn’t long before it was time to bid Rory goodbye and then welcome my son, Steve, on board. We never did make a connection with the Aeolus crew that evening.

Steve took us to a very nice restaurant, The Local, where we enjoyed a delicious dinner on the patio. I convinced Steve to take me dancing but Moe, being the responsible skipper, chose not to join us and, after dinner, went back to the boat. Steve and I had a great time on the town and then he delivered me safely back to Reborn where I showered and sat out on the deck soaking in the beautiful evening before heading to bed.

Day 35

14 August 2013 | Bamfield to Sooke
Laurie / Foggy
Day 35 – August 8, 2013 Thursday

Knowing we were having an early start, Moe had set his alarm for 4:30 a.m. At minutes before 5:00, his usual waking hour, he got up on his own. Bolting out of bed, his first task was to get the engine going. There was everyone else’s alarm! We were leaving with Frances and Michel and they, clearly, were ready to go. All hands were immediately on deck and by 5:15 the anchor was on the deck, too and we were on our way! Sometimes a person just doesn’t need that leisurely morning cup of coffee.

It was still dark when we left, but at least it wasn’t foggy. Small blessings. As we turned out of Bamfield Inlet into Trevor Channel we quickly realized that was not to last. There was the fog. At least it wasn’t too thick. Yet.

As was my task, I had set our track for the day on our Navigatrix, which runs on my small computer. Navigatrix gets our position from our small GPS. Just as we came out of the inlet and into the channel the GPS lost its signal! Great timing GPS, we kind of need you right now to track out inbound course through this fog! Of course, we still have our larger GPS, but we have become quite reliant on using the track from Navigatrix. As we both fiddled, Moe steered our course using the large GPS and, after unplugging and re-plugging the small one, it found its mind and was kind enough to give us a fix. Whew! As we were traveling in the fog, we were also using our radar and could see all kinds of fish boats around us, as well as Paxx ahead of us. It was very cool to see them on the radar as they approached us and then look outside to see them emerging like ghost ships in the fog.

We kept in radio contact with Paxx. As we were discussing our route and the general state of affairs, we were hailed by Aeolus! They, too, were on their way around Cape Beale. They had spent the night in another anchorage and had a head start on us. When I told Frances that everyone passes us, she scoffed, thinking that they were the slow boat. We soon proved them right and before long both Aeolus and Paxx were well ahead of us. But that’s okay, they radioed back and let us know the weather and sea conditions as they encountered them. It’s wonderful having sail buddies out there!.

On Reborn, we had agreed to take two hour watches for this day. We expected that it would take us approximately 15 hours to get from Bamfield to Sooke via Juan de Fuca Strait. Moe took the first watch from 5:00 to 7:00; I took 7:00 – 9:00; Rory got 9:00 to 11:00 and Ken did the 11:00 to 1:00 watch and so we progressed through the day. Each person on watch was responsible for keeping a sharp eye on the radar, the sea and our course on Navigatrix. Occasionally, boats would appear on our radar that required some action on the part of the crew. Sometimes we would change our course, but for the most part we kept on track.

We traveled along, hoping for wind and the fog to lift. We did get the genoa sail up and were able to sail with it for some time.. Though we could see not a trace of land to our port side, I did make a note in the log when we passed significant landmarks:

6:38 – Rounding Cape Beale
8:02 – Pachena Point
1317 – Port Renfrew (aka Port San Juan) to port, Neah Bay to stbd

Though I had anticipated our Juan de Fuca Strait transit with a little trepidation, I was disappointed not to see the shore on our port side, nor the large freighters that would be passing on our starboard side.

We did have an excellent current with us and averaged up to 7 knots. For us, that’s like breaking the sound barrier, we felt like speed demons! Going faster would definitely reduce our travel time and no one was complaining about that. At 1737 we were all elated to see the fog lifting and get our first glimpse of land since leaving in the morning. Yay for Otter Point, we can see you!! By now the wind was also picking up, but with the close proximity of the shore on one side and the shipping lane on the other side (where the big boys drive), our general lack of attention to sails and our desire to get to our destination, we didn’t put up a sail.

We arrived at Sooke much sooner than expected. The wind, as had been reported to us by Aeolus, was 30 knots west. The sea state had also picked up. We had about a 2 foot chop over the sea swell. These conditions meant that as we approached the shallow entrance to Sooke Harbour, we had a rather large following sea. We were skiiing down the water hills! Which, of course, sounds like great fun, but in reality can be a little scary.

The entrance to Sooke Harbour was never on my ‘watch out for this danger!’ radar. Pity, it should have been. Let me explain. Most of time, a mariner simply needs to keep the green port buoy to the port side and the red starboard buoy to the starboard side. It’s pretty easy. Sometimes entrances need a little more direction so the Navigational gods will occasionally add ranges. A range is a set of two separate arrows. In order to navigate a certain body of water safely, the mariner must line these two arrows up so that the top arrow, which looks kind of like a V, matches up to the bottom arrow, which looks kind of like an A. These two ranges must stay in line until it is safe to turn. In the case of Sooke Harbour, it has two ranges. You have to line up the first, transit that line, then make a turn when you see the next set of ranges, line those up until it is safe to turn. When the sea is friendly, this isn’t such a big deal. When the devil is dancing on the water, it’s like navigating over mounds of slick, slippery goo while drunk and trying to stay between the lines. Well, he was dancing when we were there! Rory was most helpful in guiding and helping keep us between the lines as Moe struggled for a good 15 minutes to keep Reborn on course. He worked very hard with full on concentration. Finally, we made it through the first range! YAY! Then a quick turn to line up the next range and the water immediately settled and we were on our way to the anchorage. Thank the Lord and pass the peas! Sooke Harbour is now on my radar.

We were happy to see Paxx and Aeolus safely anchored in the windy harbour. We found a good spot and hooked our anchor into the mud. As we were anchoring there was a small boat craftily setting his crab pots all around the anchored sailboats. Hmmm, morning should be interesting.
We were all relieved that our long day was finally done and it had taken us 13 hours instead of the anticipated 15 hours. It was unfortunate that the only scenery we saw was white fog, but we’ll take what we can get and speed was a decent trade off. We had our customary celebratory drinks and then I started dinner. We ate crab that had been given to us in Ucluelet and Harry’s Curried Chicken. By the time dinner was done, so was this first mate. I told everyone that I was tired and cranky and was sending myself to my room. The galley was theirs to do as they wished.

Day 33 and Day 34

13 August 2013 | Ucluelet and Ucluelet to Bamfield
Laurie / Foggy
Day 33 and Day 34, August 6 and 7, 2013 Tuesday and Wednesday

Tuesday was a stocking up and picking up new crew day. We had heard about a bakery in town and decided that would be our first stop. We walked past the Co-op thinking that we would catch it on the way back as, we thought, the bakery was farther on. After walking for about 15 minutes we looked at the map and realized we were going the wrong way! We turned around and on the way back, we stopped at the Co-op and got what we needed. We took everything back to the boat and then I went on a bakery hunt, which I eventually found, as well as some local shops with treasures that I picked up. When I returned it was lunch time so Moe and I went up to a fish and chips stand that had been recommended to us. It was great! The recommendation was a good one.

After lunch we headed back to the boat. We had about an hour before Moe had to pick up our new crew so we took advantage and had a little cat nap. At 2:00 Moe went up to the bus and soon returned with Ken and Rory in tow. We had a couple of drinks and then cast off our lines from the dock to go anchor in the bay for the evening. When we were safely anchored I cooked some dinner for us then we spent the remainder of the evening sitting outside and watching the fog roll in. We also had a short visit from Thor on Gotha Foss who Moe used to tuna fish with. We had been watching him drifting down the bay and then motoring back up just to drift down again. He finally came over to our boat with the Gotha Foss and we had a short visit. He had been doing some work on his boat and doing it while drifting was just as effective as doing it any other way! Later, just as Moe and I were going to bed, a fellow came roaring up in his dinghy. He asked if we wanted a hot shower, he said he was a sailor too, had a house on shore, and knew what it was like on a boat. He promised he wasn’t an axe murderer! None of us were in need of a shower, so we declined and Moe and I went to bed. I did hear him come back shortly after, he didn’t stay long but he did bring us three fine crabs.

Wednesday we woke up to no world again. I don’t know how people live in this fog all the time! I got up about 7:30 and everyone else was already up, the coffee was made and the bacon was on. I finished making breakfast and by 9:00 we were on our way to the fuel dock. While making breakfast I realized that we were getting pretty low on the butane cans that we use for our cook stove and hoped to pick some up while Moe re-fueled Reborn. The manager at the fuel dock made a quick call for me and determined that it was time for me to go for a walk to the Co-op. Ucluelet is a small town so it didn’t take me too long to get up there and back. By 10:05 we had cast our final line from Ucluelet and were on our way!

As I was cleaning up the galley I was summoned to the deck to help keep an eye out as we were in deep fog. Moe had the radar set up and everyone had their eyes peeled. Moe figured that we would be out of the fog shortly after leaving Amphitrite Point but, sadly, that was not to be. Our scenery for the majority of the trip was of white fog. We were joined at one point by a pair of big sea lions that came up to check us out. We didn’t actually see much of anything until we turned up into Trevor Channel and slowly the world started to come back. By the time we were approaching Bamfield Inlet we were in full sun. Yay!! As we came into the inlet we spied Paxx and dropped our anchor nearby.

After a quick celebratory drink, Ken and Rory took James to do a little sightseeing. While they were gone Michel and Frances came up to the boat and we made some plans to go for a little hike later in the afternoon. In the meantime, it was nap time for both Moe and I. When I awoke the sun was still shining. Life is good! I went out onto the deck to enjoy the sunshine and, wouldn’t you know it, ten minutes later the fog was starting to roll back in. Arrggh!

As it was getting to be dinner time, I started my preparations when Rory and Ken arrived back with James. While I was getting dinner on, Frances and Michel returned to let us know they were on their way to the dock. We said we would be about another 15 minutes or so. Once we finished our stir fry Moe and I left Rory and Ken in charge of the galley, boarded James and rowed over to the dock. Fortunately, the fog had disappeared by this time.

Dinner took a little longer than expected so we were late meeting up with our friends and they were nowhere to be seen. The sign posts at the head of the dock directed us to Brady’s Beach one way or the Boardwalk the other way. We picked the boardwalk.

The Boardwalk at Bamfield is very well maintained and decorated. We soon came to the home of the Bamfield water taxi. On one side of the boardwalk is an old wood building with a direction post in front. It directs to places like ‘Boardwalk Bistro’, ‘Swallow Hollow’ or you could take a walk through the aptly named ‘Dogshit Alley’. We didn’t go there! On the other side of the building are a fleet of yellow kayaks painted with the black checkerboard you would see on New York taxis. Across the boardwalk from this building is the Home of the Water Taxi. It is a mobile home, also painted yellow with the black checkerboard lining the bottom section. The rest of the Boardwalk was just as quaint with flower boxes attached to the railing and decorated at the discretion of the owners. Some had happy marigolds; some had not so happy marigolds. One had a cactus garden and another a garden of beachcombed treasures.

Eventually, we ran into Michel and Frances as they were studying the signs posted on the Treehouse Toilet. We walked along together admiring this lovely community that the residents obviously care about decorating in their own Westcoast style when we arrived at the Bamfield Cat House. Someone has gone to considerable effort to create a wonderful little village for cats. All the small houses are painted and well decorated. There is even a cat lighthouse! Too bad, no one was at home when we were there. We carried on to the Bamfield General Store where I picked up some paper products and the others got some drinks. As the four of us came out of the store, back to the Boardwalk, there were a couple of people standing to one side, another couple to the other side and a woman pushing her full wheelbarrow through the crowd. I stood beside a man who was sitting down with his ice cream cone. I could tell he was a local when he said, “It never gets this busy here!”

We found a quiet place to sit down and enjoy our drinks before we followed the sign to Brady’s Beach. As we were walking down the road we heard a siren go off. We wondered if it was the tsunami warning! It soon stopped so we carried on our way down the gravel road. As we walked, and walked, it seemed that the way was quite long, longer than we expected, but we persevered. We came to some down hills where the road deteriorated abit and the rocks became looser and larger. We kept on and eventually came to “Brady’s Loo”. I wouldn’t normally comment on an outdoor toilet but this one beat many of the indoor toilets I’ve seen! To begin with, it’s a composting toilet and the actual seat is on the second floor. There is some interesting reading material, about how it works and how to use it, posted on the back of the door. You can’t miss it when you sit down. It was clean and even decorated with fresh cut flowers!

Past the loo, we followed a short path to the beach. It was beautiful! Not a huge beach, but big enough that no one there felt crowded. Someone had built a small drift wood shelter and hung up a hammock seat which Moe immediately tested. There were a few campers to our left so we walked to the right towards a large rocky pinnacle with a lone tree occupying the top. Trees love to grow on rocks and this tree had picked a dandy! As we approached we noticed that, perched about three quarters of the way up the rocks, was a bench. Weird place for a bench. Michel and Frances scaled the rocks and sat down on the bench. Moe and I followed. The bench was put there in memory of Mrs Gumby. Her Wellies, placed on a concrete slab and filled with concrete, stood beside the bench. We all enjoyed the view and the bench and then clambered down the rocks. At the bottom we discovered one very large cave and one smaller one. Neither was deep so, for me not being a caver, it was cool to walk into them. We soon left the caves, the beach and the loo behind and headed back to our boats. Thankfully the fog had not joined us on our journey!

When we returned to Reborn, Ken was already in bed. His bed is the bench in the galley that pulls out to a bed. Unfortunately, we had to disturb his slumber as I needed to make some sandwiches for the next day. We knew it was going to be a long one, beginning with a 5:00 a.m. start, and thought it would be a good idea to have something to snack on as we travelled. Sandwiches done, it was off to bed for everyone.
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