I awoke on my 60th birthday to relatively clear skies and calm winds. Note: I said relatively. It had been another night of feeling sorry for, but appreciative of my fenders, and the decks had been rinsed of yesterday's salt spray by heavy rains in the wee hours. Still, I was optimistic and set off early, getting around Grief Point before 8 am. The wind built throughout the day, though, and Mabrouka slowed to average only a little above 3 knots into the choppy sea that was being funneled northward up Malaspina Strait. We took a little water over the bow, probably every ten waves or so sending a slosh down the deck on one side or the other to drain out through my aft deck scuppers. I didn't make the southern tip of Texada Island until after 3pm, so crossing the Straits of Georgia and making it into Nanaimo before dark was out of the question. Who knows what the waves would be like in the Straits anyway, so I began to look for a hidey-hole for the night.
Texada Island bounds Malaspina Straits on the west, slanting northwest to southeast, with Lasqueti Island acting like a tag-along little sister just west and south of her southern third. In between their southern tips is a small archipelago that includes Jedediah, Jervis, and Bull Islands, not to mention quite a few smaller islets and rocks with names like Rabbit, Paul and Boho. Among several safe havens in this group, Jedediah offered Deep Bay, a small cove sheltered in just about any wind, so I turned the corner and headed northwest around Texada's southern tip. I turned south into the short passage between Jedediah and Paul Islands, to find that a log raft took up about a third of the channel, but I edged cautiously by and turned left in to Deep Bay. It was scenic, with steep, rocky, moss-covered shores and the usual oyster-strewn mud beach at its head. As I usually do, I took a slow motor, actually a drift around the bay with a sharp eye on my depth sounder to survey anchoring possibilities. It still feels dicey to maneuver Mabrouka's fifty foot length in to poke around a cranny of rock that offers turning room only about twice that wide and four times that long where the edges are made up of hard, sharp objects and you can't even see what lies beneath. As the Dreamspeaker Guide had promised, there were quite a few iron rings set in the cliffs for stern ties, so I dropped the hook in about 40 feet of water and chose a stern tie that gave me about 30 feet under Mabrouka's keel and about 5 feet of water between her stern and the rocky wall.
Rounding Texada, I had been passed by the Un-Cruise vessel Safari Quest
, a 120 ft, blue and white adventure cruise boat that had disappeared into the mist around Jededian Island ahead of me. I'm pretty sure they'd poked their bow into Deep Bay and decided it was a bit too tight for their comfort, so they'd anchored around the corner. It wasn't long after I'd secured Mabrouka's engine that one of Safari Quest's shore craft came into the bay to check out landing opportunities for the hike they had planned for their guests the next morning. On their way out they stopped to say, "Hi!" and I met Ian, apparently an officer and passenger guide. Ian invited me to join them in the morning and offered to bring me any "luxuries" I might be missing, ...coffee or whatnot. This second offer was very king and I refrained from replying that I had plenty of luxuries aboard Mabrouka, thank you very much. Later I'd wished I had had the presence of mind to ask for hot cinnamon rolls and a latte. Oh well.