Turn Around Time
16 August 2018
Sullivan Bay "Floating Village"
We woke to another morning of light fog that quickly burned off leaving another cloudless day. After breakfast, we took the dinghy ashore for a short but steep a 3/4 mile hike up to Huaskin Lake. BC Forestry has built a large raft that you walk out to on a ramp. Jeannie swam in the (to her) warm water, but it was just below my threshold, so I just watched. Back at the boat we prepared to get underway, and watched in astonishment as boat after boat streamed into the cove. By the time we left the numbers had swelled to ten. Time to seek out even more remote anchorages!
So we set off for Drury Inlet. I thought I had timed our travel to arrive at Stuart Narrows at slack (our last set of rapids), but our speed wasn't what I planned. But we chugged on. According to the current tables, slack was at 1;55 pm. But by the time we arrived at 2:30, we slid through at slack!
Inside the narrows, we headed for a small anchorage, Davis Bay, just a few miles into the inlet. We have three cruising guides. One said this was the best anchorage in the inlet, another said it was a navigation horror, and open to the winds. The third didn't mention it at all. But we settled in. It is a small anchorage, so that once we were anchored, there wasn't room for any other boats. Settled in, we took our prawn trap out and set it in 120' of water. We had been assured that Davis Inlet was excellent for prawning. Then a kayak expedition to explore the area. In the evening we checked the trap... nothing. So we relocated it and left it for the night. In the evening we watched a black bear prowl the beach off our stern in search for food. He finally settled on some berries and sat on his haunches munching.
Next morning, out to the trap and... success!!! We had one red rock crab, too small, so back he went, and three tiny prawns! These we kept as we are sure we will catch more and will add them to the haul for a dinner. Then we were off to Sutherland Bay at the western end of the inlet. This is as far west as we can go in the Broughtons. We anchored and set the prawn trap, then off exploring. We have one trap, using it for either prawns or crab, depending on depth. We wanted prawns, so found the deepest spot in our area and dropped the trap. Then off on a dinghy tour.We took the dinghy into some long arms through areas too tight for big boats, the only sign of life was the logging activity.
There has been extensive logging all through the Broughtons. Areas that have been re-planted grow green and lush while recently cut areas show the scars of the slash left behind. We landed at the dock of a logging camp, empty on the weekend and hiked up the logging road to stretch our legs. Not too much of interest, but lots of “evidence” of bears, so we decided to head back to the boat. Another quiet night with three prawns for an appetizer.
We are close to Queen Charlotte Strait now, and in the month of “Fogust” mornings are now foggy. Usually it burns off before eleven. We were in no particular hurry to leave as the slack at the Stuart Narrows was not until 3:30 pm. So we waited out the fog, went for another walk and picked up our trap. No prawns, four rock crabs. Three crabs were female, so we released them. The fourth was soon dispatched on the foredeck and in the pot. We need a couple more to make crab cakes.
Around noon we got underway and slowly ran down the inlet. At the narrows, we found ourselves early, but slogged through, reduced at times to just two knots. Through, we headed for nearby Napier Bay for the night. Not an anchorage of any real significance, it was close to Queen Charlotte Strait. Plans have changed. From here we planned to head for Sointula, on Malcolm Island, just off the Vancouver Island coast. But we decided to push just one anchorage further, to Blunden Harbour, home to an abandoned native village. From there, we'll start to work our way back south. Hopefully that will bean more sailing! With the prevailing north-west summer winds, we have had a motoring trip so far, and look forward to the change.
Pierre's Echo Bay Marine Resort
16 August 2018 | Turnbull Cove, BC
Sunny and hot (still)
When we were in Port Harvey, we decided to take advantage of the internet and make a couple of reservations, one at Lagoon Cove and one at Pierre's Echo Bay Marine Resort. Pierre's is famous for its dinners. They serve prime rib on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Roasted pig on Monday and Saturday and Halibut fish and chips on Wednesday. So we booked in for Wednesday along with Paula and Mike from Verstovia who we have been travelling with on and off.
Lately we have had fog in the mornings, burning off by around 10am, and today was no exception. So we just enjoyed a leisurely morning in the cockpit, getting underway after the fog lifted. Our route was just seven miles, so we took a few scenic diversions, arriving at Pierre's in early afternoon.
After lunch and signing in, buying a few supplies, we were off on a short hike across to Billy Proctor's. After 15 minutes on a very up-and-down trail, we came out at Billy's museum, with Billy sitting quietly on a bench out front. Billy is a widely known local character, now in his early 80's. He has spent his entire life in the Broughtons, except when away fishing. Except for one fishing trip to Alaska, he has not been outside British Columbia. He has two daughters, both with university degrees. A man of contrasts. He still holds a commercial licence and has a boat, but hasn't fished for years.
He cleaned off a space on the bench and invited me to sit down. His museum consists of things he has found on the beaches or dug up in the area. It contains, among lots of other things, old arrowheads, glass Japanese fishing floats, old bottles of all sizes, colours and shapes, an early two man chain saw, and lots more. When asked what's inside, he replied "Just some old junk." Sitting in the warm afternoon sun, we talked for over an hour on topics ranging from the area history, the current state of the fishery, politics and much more. But it was time to head back for Pierre's fish and chips. Before we left, we went into his tiny bookstore where he sells books relating to the area, including a couple he has written, one of which we bought. He rang in the sale on an enormous ancient cash register, still in perfect working order. A very enjoyable afternoon.
Back at Pierre's, we sat down with Paula and Mike and two other couples, both from Seattle. In the marina there were about 25 boats (one other sailboat), only three of which were Canadian. The rest were from the US. And that has been typical here, at least 80% of the boats from the US.
Dinner was buffet style with halibut, home cut fries and cole slaw. Dessert was key lime pie. And it lived up to its reputation! Everyone waddled away happy.
Next morning we said good by to Paula and Mike. They were starting back south to Saltspring Island where they live and we headed off north-west for more exploration. Our destination was Turnbull Cove where we could hike up to a lake for a swim. Up Sutlej Channel, we passed , Tribune Channel, Kingscomb Inlet and pulled in to Sullivan Bay Marina. We topped off our fuel (lots of motoring here) and bought more supplies, including wine and beer which had run out. Up Dunsany Passage, into Grappler Sound, through a couple of narrows with swirling currents slowing us to just two knots, and we turned into beautiful Turnbull Cove. A large anchorage, there were only four other boats, so lots of room to anchor. Another beautiful evening after another hot and sunny day. Since we began sailing in late June we have had just one day of rain. Great for cruising, but all the marinas are running out of water, and the forests are tinder dry! The forecast shows showers and cooler weather the day after tomorrow. I guess we should hope for it.
Broughtns Part 3
15 August 2018 | Pierre's Echo Bay Resort
Sunny, Hot, light winds
Kwatsi Bay Marina
In the quiet morning air of Kwatsi Bay, we waited for the fog to lift. Not a Down-easter pea soup fog, but a light cloud clinging to the water until the sun burnt it off, (an August feature here). After lots of good-bu's to Anka (Max had left for supplies in Sointulla) we were off down Tribune Strait to Siboon Sound where we tucked into beautiful MacIntosh Cove. In the entire sound, we had only three other boats. Out in the kayak to explore the area, we quietly drifted back to the boat when we spied three bears, a mother and two cubs, on the shore. In our quiet approach they did not hear us until we were quite close. But when they saw us, they just quietly ambled up into the woods and disappeared.
Emboldened by our success in Potts Lagoon, we set the crab trap, confident of a nice haul in the morning. Back aboard, we thawed another steak. We're getting a bit tired of frozen meat, but the plan is to re-stock in Pierre's Echo Bay Marina on Wednesday when we will spend a night and enjoy his famous cuisine.
In the morning we checked the trap and our haul was: one sea urchin (tiny), one rock cod (undersized) and one tiny spider crab (no meat and no season), so all were released. Then off to new destinations.
Plan A was Waddington Harbour, a small harbour about 15 miles away, through two straightforward channels into a small group of islands.
Arriving, we were a bit surprised at the crowd, making for tight quarters. We tried anchoring in one open area, but found only kelp and soupy mud. Not good for the nightly winds that blow through. We tried a couple of other spots, either too deep ( a common problem on the west coast) or too crowded.
Off to Plan B. Up Blunden Passage, past the four way intersection with Misty Passage and Old Passage, and through the very tight narrows, where we turned down int Lady Boot Cove. Its name derives from its shape, a long leg down to where there is a small branch off (the heel) and the main branch into the toe. With just two other boats there, we anchored in the toe and went ashore to stretch our legs. Lady Boot Cove is on Eden Island, part of the Broughton Islands Marine Park. But it is a wilderness park, meaning nothing has been done to create anything ashore. So we landed at a tiny beach, stumbled over a bunch of rocks for an hour or so until the tide forced us off.
Cruising the Broughtons, Part 2
15 August 2018 | Kwatsi Bay Marina, The Broughtons
After a calm night, we woke in Potts Lagoon to yet another beautiful sunny morning. The weather here has been impressive! We came equipped with warm clothing, down vests, etc. But they are tucked far away. The days have been sunny and hot, cooling off in the evenings, perfect cruising weather.
Off to check the crab trap, where we found four nice male Red Rock Crab, all well over the legal minimum. By some miracle, I was able to pull them all out of the trap without getting my fingers caught in their snapping jaws. Into a bucket and off back to the boat to clean them. I had watched our neighbours at Lagoon Cove with interest and went at it with some trepidation. Red Rock crabs have a much harder shell than the Dungeness crabs that our friends had caught. But after some struggling on my part (more on the crab's part), we had them dispatched and into the pot. Next job, Jeannie's, picking the meat out. This turned out to be the worst part, given the amount of complaining I heard.
But off we went deeper into the Broughton Archipelago. We retraced our steps up Clio Channel, passing Minstrel Island and its abandoned village out into Knight Inlet, the longest inlet in BC. But we just crossed it into beautiful Tribune Channel. We wound our way up for 16 miles between the towering cliffs plunging straight down so that we motored along just a boatlength off the cliff face, still with no reading on the depth sounder.
Rounding Irvine Point, we turned into Kwatsi Bay, our destination for the night. Heading in, we called the Kwatsi Bay Marina on VHF 66A and received a warm welcome and docking instructions. Tied up, we met owners Max and Anka and were told about the (minimal) facilities and the happy hour for which they are well known. Normally we would avoid this sort of activity but the warm welcome made it impossible. Also, our friends Mike and Paula on Verstovia were there to meet us. So with the four other boats in the marina, we enjoyed a beautiful evening on the dock.
In the morning, we decided to stay another night, and hiked a short way to what would in a normal summer be a waterfall. We invited Frank and Marchien Archer, dockmates, on the hike. This year, heading for a record dry summer, the falls were just a trickle. But it was good to stretch our legs.
Back at the dinghy, we dragged it out with no damage (this time) and back to the boat for lunch. Afternoon was kayaking around the bay and just relaxing.
The evening was a pot luck on the dock, again not something we would normally look forward to, but with our friendly hosts, we prepared Chicken Pesto Penne and again enjoyed ourselves, meeting new dockmates, including one who was a musician in LA whose band hosted such sit-ins as Taj Mahal and the Rolling Stones. He was very modest but his crew had mentioned it, so we enjoyed hearing his experiences. He has since become a lawyer!! From bad to worse, I said.
Broughtons Cruising Part 1
15 August 2018 | Potts Lagoon, West Cracroft Island, BC
Happy Hour Deck, Lagoon Cove Marine Resort
Inside Havannah Channel, we watched the wind begin to rise behind us on the strait. Just inside, we headed up into Port Harvey where we tied up at the docks of the Port Harvey Marine Resort. Names can be deceptive, but we had been warned and knew what to expect... one long dock and two buildings on floats with a wobbly walkway ashore. But for $1.10/ foot, we had no complaints. Tied up, we met the owners, George and Gail Cambridge. So we booked a table for dinner and made our choices from the three offerings... pizza, beef burger or fish and chips.
Then off for a walk, after being instructed on how to avoid the grizzly bears. Well, a short walk.
Dinner was at six... BYOB. I had chosen the burger and Jeannie the fish and chips... and both were excellent! So we placed our orders for the morning... four cinnamon buns and a loaf of bread all fresh that morning.
In the morning we dawdled over french toast with bacon and coffee, then in to pick up our order from Gail. Another walk, a bit further into the woods, some chatting with dockmates as they departed and we were off.
Our destination, Lagoon Cove Marina, was as the crow flies, 2.6 nautical miles away. But our route wound down Havannah Channel, up Call Inlet, through Chatham Channel, down The Blow Hole into Lagoon Cove Marine Resort, a distance of 16 miles.
Again, the name “marine resort” may suggest some luxury, but “rough” would be a more appropriate adjective. But we were met by the new owners who took our lines and welcomed us warmly, telling us about their famous happy hour. And it deserves its excellent reputation. One disappointment was the lack of a store. Our cruising guide, the latest edition dated 2015, said we would be able to buy groceries and wine at both Port Harvey and Lagoon Cove. But not so!
Because our stocking up had been done in Desolation Sound at Squirrel Cove and Refuge Cove, we were far from fully stocked for extended cruising. Now we began to worry.
But first off for a hike. The marina has cut a number of trails through the woods and we were happy of the exercise on the rigorous terrain.
Starting at five, there is a pot luck appetizers with all you can eat fresh caught prawns. It also gave us a chance to meet some of out dockmates.
But the lack of food was on our minds. Visions of having gotten all the way up here, only to have to turn around made for a worrysome time. But talking with dockmates, we were assured that we would find good shopping at Echo Bay Marina and Sullivan Bay Marina. With internet available, we checked both web sites, and the pictures look good. We immediately made a reservation for Echo Bay, 6 days ahead. Not only that, our dockmates had been fishing and didn't have enough refrigeration, so donated a whole Chinook Salmon and two sets of crab legs to us. Perhaps we won't go hungry after all!
In the morning we did another short hike then off.
One stop we wanted to make was Minstral Island, formerly the site of a bustling community with store, cannery, dance hall, school and logging camp. But it slowly died and now only a few crumbling buildings and a decrepit dock. We tied up and carefully walked up the dock chosing the strongest looking planks. At the head of the dock were two buildings, one appeared to be the former store. Both were slowly sinking down into the water. We struggled up what appeared to be a former street, now well overgrown, spied a few more ruins, then gave up. As we left, the quiet seemed to be amplified by the ruins slowly being reclaimed by nature.
Back aboard, we ran back down through the Blow Hole and down Clio Channel to Potts Lagoon for the night. As usual, the wind was westerly, on our nose, so we just motored on down the 11 miles.
Motoring down the channel, we passed huge Atlantic Salmon and Steelhead fish farms. It is a huge industry here and very controversial. We also passed a few floating summer homes, one of which was huge. Floating homes are a common site in the area. Since the water doesn't freeze, and the land is so rugged, floating summer homes, some quite substantial, are the norm. Power is solar and generator combination. Logging operations also build floating bunkhouses that they move from site to site.
Turning into Potts Lagoon, we anchored with two power boats and a number of floating homes, only two of which appeared to be maintained. After getting settled, we decided it was time to try our hand at catching crab, so off we went with our trap and a fish head from Kevin Fogolin's fishing expedition a few weeks ago. We left the trap for the night and went back to a BBQ salmon dinner accompanied by a nice cold white wine. No rationing the wine... yet!.
Travelling the Back Route
05 August 2018 | Kwatsi Bay
Sunny, 28C, Light Winds
Humpback Whale in Johnstone Strait
Getting to the Broughtons via the "back route" has two obstacles; the rapids at Stuart Island (two sets to time) plus two in Cordero Channel and the winds and currents in Johnstone Strait.
The Back Route is the most common route for slower boats like sailboats and trawlers. Higher powered boats have the option of just blasting their way up Discovery Passage into Johnstone Strait and into the Broughtons.
We chose the back route. From Desolation Sound to Johnstone Strait is a distance of 50 nautical miles. In that 50 miles you pass through the Yuculta Rapids, the Dent Rapids, The Green Point Rapids and the Whirlpool Rapids, each of which has a slack period twice per day, and all different. The challenge is to time the rapids at slack with a following current after passing through. Then once through the rapids you have to time Johnstone Strait, again with a falling tide but with light winds. Strong winds against the tide will build a vicious chop that can make for a very long and uncomfortable trip.
So I set about studying the tide and current tables watching for just the right combination of current timing and wind forecasts.
And I found a window for a start on July 30th. It had slack after ebbing at the Yucultas, about 20 miles north of our anchorage in Von Donop, at 1300 hrs. That would allow us to take the ebb current up Calm Channel into Big Bay, arriving at slack, where we would spend the night. The next morning slack after flooding was at 0700 hrs. That would allow us to get through Gillard Passage and the Dent rapids, just 2 miles from the dock at Big Bay at slack, and give us a following current to carry us north to Forward Harbour just beyond the Whirlpool Rapids, where we would spend the night before heading out Johnstone Strait. By the time we reached Greene Point Rapids, the current was forecast to be just 4 knots, manageable, and when we reached Whirlpool Rapids, it would be slack.
I was also watching the hourly wind reports at Fanny Island where we would be entering Johnstone Strait. The very distinct pattern was for the winds to lighten usually in the morning between 0700 and 0800 and stay light until about noon when they would build through the afternoon, reaching 25-30 knots for the night, then lighten again next morning.
And it worked! We set out on July 30th from Von Donop, arriving just before slack at the dock at Big Bay. We were about 1/2 hour early and the current swirling in the bay made for an exciting landing, but we made it in with only a bit of damage to my ego. In the store we were a bit dismayed to see the scant supplies. Although we had stocked up in Refuge Cove, it was not all we would need for an extended cruise. Our guide book talked about stores at all marinas, but this was a bit light. We grabbed what we could, wiping out their red wine inventory of four bottles.
In the late afternoon we hiked up to the aptly named Eagle Lake. Arriving at the water's edge, three eagles swept by us. We rowed out in one of the community rowboats to a raft where we counted six other eagles in the surrounding trees. The water was perfect for me... bathtub temperature!
Next morning we were off at 0700 hrs, motoring through Gillard Rapids, across and through Dent Rapids and into Cordero Channel. With the engine idling, we swept down the channel timing both Greene Rapids and Whirlpool Rapids as planned!
Motoring into Forward Harbour, we found, much to our surprise, two boats already anchored. And shortly after, a boat we recognized came in... Verstovia with Paula and Mike on board. We had met them two weeks ago at the Laughing Oyster and talked about the timing for getting to the Broughtons. We dinghied ashore for a hike across to nearby Beesborough Bay, an alternate anchorage in south-east winds. A walk on the beach then an early night. By nightfall, the anchorage had swelled to eight.
Early next morning I checked wind conditions at Fanny Island... calm at 0600 hrs so off we went, down Sunderland Channel and out into the glassy calm waters of Johnstone Strait. Five hours later we were turning into Havannah Channel and immediately into Port Harvey. Arrival in The Broughtons!!
Cruising Desolation Sound Part 2
01 August 2018 | Big Bay
From Von Donop, we headed down Sutil Channel and around the western tip of Cortes. Through the oddly named Uganda Passage and we turned into the narrow cut after which Gorge Harbour is named.
Inside we prowled the harbour for a suitable anchorage. But the shallow parts of the harbour were filled with moored boats interspersed with anchored cruisers. Finally after three failed attempts, we just moved out to the deeper water and put out all of our 200' of chain in 55' of water. In a quiet night we had no problems. Safely anchored, we took the dinghy over to Swift Current to see our good friends Howard and Lynn. And Howard very kindly cooked dinner for us. A nice treat. In the morning our first project was laundry. Ashore early at the Gorge Harbour Resort, we found the machines empty, so loaded them up with two weeks worth of clothes, then went for breakfast at the restaurant... excellent breakfast burritos. Laundry done, we began grocery shopping at the small but well supplied store. Chores done, we met up ashore and hiked through a park about 1 km away from the resort. Back to the restaurant for a late lunch and then time to move on. In the late afternoon we rounded the southern tip of Cortes and headed in to Cortes Bay, completing the circumnavigation of Cortes Island. We like Cortes Bay because it is not usually crowded and today was no exception. We anchored with only three other cruisers. On shore the RVYC and Seattle Yacht Club both have outstations. Seattle's was full, but the RVYC docks, capable of holding about 50 good size boats had only four boats on the docks. One reason why Cortes Bay doesn't attract crowds is the wind. It is known as a windy bay and the night was no exception. In the morning we called Swift Current in Gorge Harbour to ask about the wind there and they reported a quiet night. Odd, but not unusual.
After breakfast, we went ashore for a hike up Easter Bluff... about 1.5 km away from the dock. The hike is over rough terrain up to a bluff overlooking Desolation Sound, and the views are spectacular. After the rugged hike in the sweltering heat we were ready for showers.
Since our arrival here last week the heat has been impressive, 30C+ and little wind.
In the afternoon we decided to head back towards Lancelot Inlet where we had been the week before. For some reason it doesn't get nearly the traffic of other areas and we prefer the quieter anchorages.
Across Desolation Sound, down Malispina Inlet, up Lancelot inlet and we found the beautiful Susan Islets anchorage empty. So we anchored back where we did with Kevin and Jared the previous week. We launched the kayak and paddled across the inlet to Wooton Bay and back, then a quiet night.
The morning started slowly with only one item on the agenda, lunch at the Laughing Oyster on Okover Inlet. So the morning passed quietly and we left just as a large motorboat came into our small anchorage anchoring so close to us that I wondered if his anchor was on top of ours. But we got away and motored down five miles to the restaurant.
The Laughing Oyster has a reputation as the best restaurant for miles around and after we finished, we knew why. We anchored just off the Okover Landing dock and walked up across the lawn. I ordered a warm seafood salad and Jeannie ordered an oyster burger. After tasting both, I can't recommend one over the other, both were unbelievably good. For dessert, I ordered a frozen lemon cake with a parfait topping, perfect for the heat. It came, of course, with two forks.
We had no destination for the night, so spent the afternoon looking at anchorages in the area, finally selecting Wooton Bay at the head of Lancelot Inlet. Again we put the kayak in the water and paddled around, landing at a small beach. Jeannie went for a swim but I just paddled in the water... too cold for me!
In the evening we chatted with a couple camping on a rocky point beside our anchorage. They are having a 55' catamaran built in France, shipped to BC to be rigged at the Granville Island Boatyard. They were very enthusiastic about it, planning their cruising of the BC coast. Later in the evening, I checked the bridge clearance fir the Burrard Street bridge for their 90' mast... 92'!
Next morning we chatted with Caroline Day who owns one of the few private propertied in the Desolatioin Sound park. When we were up in early July she kindly offered us her dock to tie up to and to allow us to use the property. Next, time to prepare for the next phase of the cruise, the Broughton Islands group. First up was fuel, next grocery supplies, so we headed for Refuge Cove. We took on 290 liters of diesel and while I was filling the tank, Jeannie ran up to the store and grabbed whatever she could find. When the cruising guides refer to grocery stores, in this area, they are far from the standard grocery store. What meat there is is frozen and "fresh" vegetables are not only severly limited in variety, but also not always as fresh as one would like. But we headed out with a full refrigerator and set off for Von Donop, our jumping off point for the trip to the Broughtons.
Desolation Sound Cruising, Part 1
01 August 2018 | Von Donop Inlet
Sunny, Hot, Light Winds
Wootton Bay Anchorage
After a night in the crowded anchorage of Squirrel Cove we decided to seek out quieter quarters, not an easy task in Desolation Sound in mid-summer.
Captain George Vancouver might have been a great explorer and accomplished navigator, but he did not have much of an eye for beauty. Either that, or he was deeply depressed when he named Desolation Sound. On June 15, 1797, he was drifting down what is now known as Lewis Channel, with no bottom in range on a rainy night and wrote: "This area afforded not a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye, the smallest recreation on shore, no animal or vegetable food." The waters were too deep for anchoring and with the steep shores, no prospect for sustaining a settlement ashore. Finally, drifting up Teakern Arm, he found an anchorage and an endless supply of fresh water ashore in the falls at its head. Here he based his surveys of what is now known as Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands.
Our plan for exploring the area was much simpler, thanks to Vancouver's work and that of the Canadian Hydrographic Service.
Waking in the warm morning in Squirrel Cove, we decided to take the dinghy over to the Squirrel Cove General Store to top up our supplies. Not a superstore, but still with a good variety of fresh and frozen produce, plus a quart of 2 cycle engine oil, we left with bulging bags.
But one night in Squirrel was enough. We decided to seek out quieter anchorages, and ventured south into Malispina Inlet (not to be confused with Malispina Channel) and up into Lancelot Inlet. Although the anchorages we passed had boats in them, we glided into the Susan Islets anchorage to find it empty. Anchoring, we called our friends Kevin and Jared Fogolin, neighbours in Whistler, to tell them where we were.
Kevin and Jared were arriving for a weekend of fishing to celebrate Jared's completion of a course in forest fire fighting. Soon we were all having dinner aboard Estelle and discussing the fishing strategy.
Estelle in Susan Islets
In the morning, Kevin and Jared were off fishing. We had a more casual start and did some exploration by dinghy through nearby Theodosia Inlet. We found another nice quiet anchorage with only one boat in it, and a logging camp base on the shore. A short walk and we were back aboard and getting underway in another hot sunny day. We agreed to meet Kevin and Jared somewhere closer to their fishing areas, so headed down Lancelot Inlet in the light airs, exploring the anchorages as we passed.
Although not our favorite anchorages, we decided that Squirrel Cove was the best anchorage to meet kevin and Jared, so we spent the morning quietly sailing back northward. Pulling in, we were pleasantly surprised to find the anchorage just about empty. With the anchor set, we went in search of a trail through the woods to nearby Von Donop Inlet. After a few false starts, we tied the dinghy to a tree and set off. After a rough 2.5 km we were looking out on another beautiful anchorage. As we stood looking at the scene, we were met by another couple who had also hiked over. In chatting, we discovered that they too owned a Bristol like ours. An older model, it still had many of the same characteristics as ours. And we soon discovered that we had cruised the same areas on the US east coast and Bahamas. After realizing that we had been chatting for 45 minutes, we contacted Kevin to tell him that we were late and would be back at the boat shortly. Kevin replied that they were still fishing, no luck so far... pasta for dinner!In the evening, Kevin and Jared launched their paddleboards and explored the anchorage and a small lagoon draining into Squirrel Cove through a tiny riffle.
Next morning we all set off fishing. Running just a few miles up Lewis Channel, we began fishing at the mouth of Teakern Arm. Kevin's boat has all the necessary equipment, downriggers, etc. Trolling up and down, we hooked a few dogfish which we released, then "the Big One" hit the lure. After Jared fought it to the boat, Kevin netted it and we had dinner. A few minutes later, we had a second, larger chinook salmon in the boat, our quota for the day.
Fish for dinner!
Back in Squirrel we had a late lunch and Kevin and Jared were off again in search of ling cod.
Jeannie decided to give Kevin's paddleboard a try. I set off in the dinghy to accompany her. Paddling on her knees, she decided that she wanted to try it standing. In the dinghy I tried to stabilize the board for her, but not to be. After a few minutes of wobbling, she decided to carry on kneeling. As we were trying to get her up, another dinghy approached asking if we needed help. We thanked him but said we were fine. He asked if we were the ones on the boat with the Charlottetown registration. When we said we were, he said his grandfather had been a doctor in Charlottetown and he spent summers there. When he said his grandfather's name was Tidmarsh, I looked at him and said "Hello Gordon, it's been a long time!" In fact more than 50 years. I had known him from sailing in Charlottetown in my teens! So Jeannie paddled off and we drifted through the anchorage talking. It can take some time to cover 50 years.
Back aboard, we had the best fish I think I have ever tasted... fresh Chinook salmon on the BBQ with Kevin's "secret" rub. An excellent day!
Next morning, Kevin and Jared were off again. We agreed to meet in Von Dono Inlet, an anchorage on the north side of Cortes Island. We had not been there except hiking over from Squirrel and looked forward to it.
Another trip to the Squirrel Cove General Store to top up our supplies and we were off... drifting north in Lewis Channel. Rounding the top of Cortes into Sutil Channel the wind died, so on came the engine. And as we headed for our anchorage we watched a pod of humpback whales cross our bow. Inside, we settled down into another beautiful anchorage. We anchored near Canti, who we met on our way north in Texeda Island.
Settled in, we launched our new inflatable kayak and toured the anchorage. I put on my bathing suit in case of some sort of "operator error", but, all was well.
After that, not satisfied that we had done oursselves enough damage, we tackled the paddleboards again.
As evening closed in, Kevin and Jared rafted up after another blank day. More pasta for dinner. We had cold salmon, again excellent, but that was the end of the fish.
In the morning, Kevin and Jared headed off for a few hours of fishing then the trip home. Reports were that they caught their limit, so they went home happy. Leaving Lund at 2 pm, they were back in Squamish at 6 pm.
We met with Paul and Kirsty from Canti and went ashore for a hike, trekking 2.5 km to the head of a small lagoon off out inlet. A short rest and we headed back. An afternoon of kayaking and swimming in the heat, and it was cocktail hour (not that anyone drinks cocktails). In the afternoon, Gord Tidmarsh and his wife Carol also came into the anchorage, so we convened a cocktail hour on Estelle with Paul, Kirsty, Gord and Carol. Great fun.
Tomorrow, off to Gorge Harbour for fuel, supplies, and to meet Howard and Lynn Bradbrooke on Swift Current.