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.