Seafood Buffet at The Laughing Oyster
This is the final set of blog entries for our summer cruise to Desolation Sound and the Broughton Island Group.
From Okeover Inlet, we headed out Malispina Inlet, rounded Sarah Point and began the trip south. In a light NW wind, we quietly sailed down through the Copeland Islands, past Lund Savary Island, Harwood Island and Powell River, into Sturt Bay on Texeda Island, where we tied up to the very accommodating docks of the Texeda Island Yacht Club. Since our first stop here, we have not passed without visiting. Ashore, we walked the quiet streets of the village of Van Anda up to a store for some supplies, then to the village Inn for cash from the only ATM in the area. Then back to the boat.
Jeannie and chef/owner of The Laughing Oyster
The excellent Buffet
Mary Mary Cafe, Van Anda, Texeda Island
In the morning, we were in no hurry, so walked up to the Mary Mary Cafe for breakfast. Then we were off south again, still enjoying the nice NW breeze. Our destination was Jedediah Island off the southern tip of Texeda Island. But by late afternoon, with a forecast for uncertain winds, we decided to divert into the excellent shelter of Secret Cove for the night. It also gave us a chance to refill the dinghy gas tank again.
From our anchorage in Secret Cove, we set out for Jedediah Island, just 9 miles away. Jedediah Island is part of the Lasqueti Island group. Although the islands are not far from Nanaimo and Powell River, we expected it to be remote and quiet... we were wrong! Every anchorage was filled, so we found another deep (65') anchorage. It was fine for the day, but we would need to find better protection for the night.
In the dinghy we soon found a trail head. Ashore we crossed the island, passing a few abandoned buildings and kayak campsites (Jedediah Island is a provincial park). The island has a colourful and fascinating history.
Abandoned home on Jedediah Island
By late afternoon we decided that a return to Secret Cove was the best alternative, so we motored back.
And we motored slowly! The boat bottom has a healthy marine garden on it, slowing us down significantly. So much so that I called to arrange a haul-out and cleaning in Sidney.
Back in Secret Cove we settled in just as the first rain in 8 weeks started. And it was here in Secret Cove that we last had rain!
In the morning the sun had returned and we set out across the Strait of Georgia for Newcastle Island (another provincial marine park) in Nanaimo harbour.
Down through Welcome Passage and out into the Strait, we set sail, crossing area WG, the naval weapons testing area (inactive today) and enjoyed yet another beautiful sail until the winds died as we approached the harbour.
Safely anchored, we went ashore for a short walk, then over to the Dinghy Dock Pub for dinner.
Dinghy Dock Pub, Protection Island... it is actually floating.
Good news!!! The smoke is gone, blown away by the recent NW winds!
With the now clear air, we have decided to head down to Victoria for the long weekend to visit our daughter Sarah and family.
So today, the first order of business was to get through Dodd Narrows. The currents in Dodd Narrows (over 8 knots is not unusual) are not the strongest in BC, but add the heavy traffic, and it can be quite an experience. Our calculations showed us leaving the anchorage at 11 am to arrive at slack, But at 9:30, we watched other boats begin to stream out in the direction of the narrows. We checked the calculations and waited... more boats streaming out. Finally at 10:30, we could not resist the "herd mentality" any longer and got underway... arriving 1/2 hour early. But we made it through and sailed down in the quiet airs to yet another provincial marine park and Montague Harbour.
Our scheduled haulout was two days away, and just 30 miles, so we headed over to nearby Ganges Harbour. Rather than head into our yacht club outstation dock, we decided to anchor for the night. We called Mike and Paula from Verstovia, who we met in Desolation Sound and had kept in touch with. They live on Saltspring Island just a few miles from Ganges, so we met for lunch. They took us to the Saltspring Island Cheese Factory, just a few miles outside Ganges, where we had an excellent lunch, followed by a tour of the cheese-making and some purchases in their shop. Then a stop at the Ganges Farmers Market, always fun. A great afternoon!
Ganges Farmers Market
This morning, we began hoisting the anchor as usual. But as the anchor was coming over the bow roller, the chain swivel snapped, sending the anchor (a 20 kg Rocna) to the bottom!!
Jeannie hit the MOB button to get our coordinates, and we set off wondering how to retrieve it. A call to Paula and she had us in touch with a local diver. His fee was $250 if he found the anchor, $150 if he didn't. Well, I paid him $150... no anchor. We motored into fresh southerlies over to Canoe Cove Marina, where we tied up for two nights. In addition to the haul-out, I had called a marine contractor on the site to arrange to have some work done on the engine. Since it was new, 4 years ago we have had an intermittent starting problem that I finally traced to a faulty pre-heat solenoid. When we arrived at the marina I walked up to the shop (Raven Marine) and also ordered a new swivel. Since I had to have them cut off the remains of the old one, I asked them to install the new one. Nelson (my contact at Raven) asked me about how I had installed the previous one and suggested a modification to prevent a recurrence.
Haulout at Canoe Cove Marina
Next morning, the solenoid was installed, haulout, cleaning and new prop zinc installed at noon and new anchor swivel installed in the afternoon, along with our back-up anchor, a Fortress FX-37
In the evening, we met Sarah and family and went to dinner at the Stonehouse Pub, just a short walk from the boatyard.
In the morning, we cast off for the Royal Victoria Yacht Club for three nights. With our very active grand-sons, we enjoyed two days of fun, fishing, kite-flying and play.
With a boost from the current, but in flat calm ait, we motored back up the shore and back into Montague Harbour where we picked up a mooring for the last night of our cruise.
We had it on good authority that the restaurant at the marina was worth visiting, so we took the dinghy over for dinner, their last evening dinner of the summer. The Crane and Robin has a small but excellent menu, highly recommended. The fish tacos are delicious. We found a seat in the restaurant overlooking the harbour and had a great meal. After dinner, we walked back to the shore to watch the sunset, a perfect last night for our cruise.
With slack currents in the cuts not due until noon, we had a leisurely start to our last morning. Evenings are getting chilly, but with the sun on our cockpit enclosure in the mornings, we were still able to have breakfast in the warmth of the sun.
Heading out, we decided to motor north 16 miles to Gabriola Passage to give us a better sailing angle across the Strait of Georgia back to Vancouver. Slightly late for slack, we still pushed through with 2.5 knots of opposing current. Safely through, we bore off for Point Grey, 20 miles across. In another beautiful afternoon, pushed by a 15 knot NW breeze, we finished our cruise with a perfect sail. Furling the sails as we approached Lions Gate Bridge, we were back in our berth at the Vancouver Rowing Club in early evening, cruise over.