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.