The Voyage of S/V Estelle

Cruising the British Columbia Coast

09 July 2018 | Vancouver Rowing Club
04 June 2018 | Whistler BC
08 February 2018 | Whistler, BC
19 November 2017 | Vancouver, BC
04 August 2017 | Van Isle Marina
25 July 2017 | San Juan Islands, Wa USA
22 July 2017 | BC Gulf Islands
21 July 2017 | BC Gulf Islands
28 April 2017 | Steveston, BC
14 February 2017 | Whistler, BC
13 November 2016 | Pender Harbour
31 October 2016 | Vancouver Rowing Club
10 October 2016
17 August 2016 | John Williams Boatyard, Hall Quarry, Mt Desert Is.
11 August 2016 | Wooden Boat School anchorage, Eggemoggin Reach
09 August 2016 | McGlatherties Island
08 August 2016 | Castine, Maine
07 August 2016 | Bucks Harbor
06 August 2016 | Castine, Me
05 August 2016 | Cradle Cove

Spring Cruising the Gulf Islands

09 July 2018 | Vancouver Rowing Club
Sunny, warm, light winds
A beautiful sail across the Strait of Georgia

I have managed to skip writing about our spring cruising, so will briefly summarize our two cruises. Both cruises were to the Gulf Islands.
On April 17th, we left our berth at the Vancouver Rowing Club and enjoyed a beautiful sail across the Strait of Georgia, entering Porlier Pass with the last of the ebbing current sweeping us into the sheltered waters of the Trincomali Channel. As the waves of the strait fell away, so did the wind, leaving us motoring to nearby Montague Harbour for the night. Here we picked up a mooring in the provincial park using my new handy-dandy mooring hook for the first time... an excellent addition to the equipment inventory. All provincial moorings have a ring to which you have to attach your own pennant. Without the hook, it can be a tough job in anything but flat calm. Last fall I watched a boat use a hook, new to me, and got the information on it. Now no problem!!
In the morning, as I turned on the Espar to warm the cabin, I noticed that its noise level had increased considerably... not a good sign! It was obvious that we had a problem, so I added it to the list for our appointment at Philbrooks Boatyard in Sidney. The main objective of the trip was an appointment to have our genset repaired. It wasn't pumping water, and I just didn't have the necessary enthusiasm to curl myself into a ball in the confines of the cockpit locker to troubleshoot the problem which was most certainly the impeller..
Two days later, Chris, the technician we have used before, had replaced the impeller in the genset and fished out all the broken bits from the old one that had escaped into the hoses. And he also diagnosed a worn-out bearing in the Espar, requiring removal and ordering a new part. So we left with a repaired genset and no heater.
From Sidney we took a short trip to Ganges where we tied up at the VRC dock and plugged in to allow us to run our electric heater. Days are warm in the sunshine and in our new enclosure, but nights cool off and mornings are a chilly affair. Next day, back to VRC, our shakedown cruise over.
After a trip to PEI to set up summer arrangements for the house, we were back in BC and off on another trip to the Gulf Islands to retrieve our heater. Another beautiful sail across and into the Gulf Islands. Back at the VRC dock in Ganges we again used our electric heater to take the morning chill off. Then another visit to Sidney and Chris had our Espar back in and working better than in years. It is 14 years old and this is the first problem we have had with it, so we can't complain. Heading back to Vancouver, we tried a new anchorage in Wallace Island, another provincial park. We anchored in tiny Princess Cove, sharing the anchorage with five other boats. Our cruising guide says it can hold as many as 50 boats on a busy summer weekend, a very crowded spot under those conditions. But we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon and night. Ashore we hiked the trails working our way down past tiny Conover Cove, too small for us, to the southern tip, Panther Point.
Sunset in Princess Cove

Back at the anchorage we met Riyad Abu-Laben and Carol Shaben. We enjoyed a glass of wine watching the sunset and learning about their experiences circumnavigating Vancouver Island, a challenging cruise we are looking forward to perhaps next year. Next morning was an early (for us) 8:00 am departure to catch slack in Porlier Pass, a beautiful sail back across the Strait of Georgia to our berth at VRC. Next destination, Desolation Sound in July.

Test one

04 June 2018 | Whistler BC
Sunny,cool 13C
This a test remote post via Sailmail.

Fall Cruising Part 2

08 February 2018 | Whistler, BC
Sunny, +4C
Snug Harbour, Bowen Island

Skiing in Whistler has gone off with a winter thaw, giving me time to complete the blog of last fall's adventures. I have also updated the photo gallery with pictures from the fall.

12 October, 2017 Pirates Cove
Pulling out of our berth at the Vancouver Rowing Club in Stanley Park, we motored out into the busy Vancouver harbour and out past the Lion's Gate Bridge, where we rounded up and hoisted our sails to begin a late summer cruise.
Weaving between the anchord ships waiting for a berth in Canada's busiest harbour, we bore off passing Point Grey and heading across the Strait of Georgia, an 18 nm run to Gabriola Passage and into the protected waters of the Gulf Islands. Again, we just headed for Pirates Cove where we anchored for the night with just one other boat to keep us company. After a hike around the provincial park ashore, we were back aboard for a quiet night at anchor.

13 October 2017 Winter Cove
Off early, we were met in Pylades Channel with a nice following breeze, taking us south through the islands. In the light breeze we slowly worked our way south between the islands, and by mid-afternoon were dropping the anchor in Winter Cove off Saturna Island. Again we shared another beautiful anchorage with just one other boat. Ashore at the dinghy dock, we walked through the grounds of yet another part of the Gulf Islands National Marine Park.
Boat Inlet, Saturna Island

14 October 2017 Stuart Island
Our plan for the day included only a 10 nm run, so we were in no hurry to be off. After a lazy start to the day, we headed out in mid-morning, passing Teece Point on South Pender Island, taking us out into the strong currents and busy waters of Boundary Pass. Because all marine traffic headed in to southern BC waters and Puget Sound, it is a busy stretch. So we kept a close watch of the traffic, contacting only one large incoming freighter to confirm our passing.
Safely across and in to US waters, we phoned US customs and with our pre-clearance, were allowed to carry on without landing at a customs dock. That meant we could head straight to our objective, nearby Stuart Island.
Approaching Prevost Harbor, we furled the sails and motored in. Much of Stuart Island is a state park complete with a dock that can accommodate boats up to 75'. Although there was space for us, we elected to pick up a mooring for the night. Ashore, we chatted with a 38' sailboat moored at the dock. They had just left nearby Anacortes headed for Hawaii, delivering the boat for a friend who had recently bought it. But apparently they hadn't done enough to check the systems, as they found some serious problems requiring returning to Anacortes. Problems included such essentials as the navigation system and the head... both extremely important items on a long ocean passage!
In the morning we headed ashore for a hike. Last time we were here, we wanted to hike to Turn Point, but found we had landed at the wrong dock. We enjoyed the walk, but today headed for the dock that would take us to the Turn Point, a hike of 3 km each way.
Ashore we stopped to chat with a couple working on a motorcycle. They confirmed we were today on the proper path and warned us to watch for a bow hunter who was hunting deer near the light house. So we made sure we made lots of noise!! They also told us not to miss the outhouse at Turn Point, a curious comment, we thought. About 3/4 of the way to our objective, we did meet the hunter who had packed up his gear and was heading home after an unsuccessful day.
Lightkeeper's House, Turn Point

Light Building, Turn Point

Reaching Turn Point, we wandered around the grounds of the former keeper's house and out-buildings, all still well maintained as a national historic site. And we inspected the most elegant outhouse we have ever seen!!
Turn Point Outhouse

15 October 2017 Jones Island/Blind Bay
After a quiet night, we dropped the mooring and cast off. In the light air, we motored to Jones Island, another 10 mile jaunt. Jones Island ia another state park, about 0.5 miles in diameter. The only landing is in a small cove on the north end, too deep for anchoring. So we carefully picked up a mooring very close to shore. Although the water was still deep, we were uncomfortably close to shore. In the calm morning we decided to head for shore for a walk. But wide open to the north, it was, for us, a day stop only. For a mid-October day, it was surprisingly busy with both boaters and campers, a crowded island.
Jones Island Deer

It was time to think about an anchorage for the night, and Blind Bay on nearby Shaw Island just 6 nm away won out. So after lunch, we dropped the mooring and headed down Spring Passage between Jones and Orca Island. Running in Deer Harbor we pulled into the fuel dock of the Deer Harbor Resort where we found the only marine self-serve fuel dock we have seen. Topped off, we toured the resort, bought a few supplies and were off again. Through Port Pass we motored into West Bay, finding little of interest for the cruising sailor. Back out into Harney Channel and into Blind Bay, we began to think about our options for the next few days.

October 16-18 Ganges Harbour, Saltspring Island
With a forecast for three days of heavy rain and north winds, we decided it was time to find somewhere where we would be able to entertain ourselves a shore. After discussion and mulling over the charts, we decided it was time to head back north to Ganges Harbour Marina where we had not only a free berth at the Vancouver Rowing Club dock, but also a nice town for diversion.
So we headed out and retraced our path northward back into the Gulf Islands. Across Haro Strait we phoned Canada Customs and were cleared in again with no fuss. In Ganges Harbour we tied up at the VRC dock next to only one other cruiser, also there to wait out the weather.
Jeannie's birthday dinner, Alaska King Crab & Tenderloin

Saltspring Island Farmer's Market, Ganges

October 19-20 Pirates Cove/Vancouver Rowing Club
Ganges is an attractive town, but three days is more than adequate for exploring it. We were eager to be off when the weather improved. But with a forecast for just two nice days before the next system approached, we decided to head back to Vancouver to wait it out. With the need for timing the currents in the passes, the distance from Ganges to Vancouver is just too far for one day. So we cast off our lines in Ganges and headed back with an overnight stop in Pirates Cove. Another beautiful sail across the Strait of Georgi and we were tying our lines in our VRC berth in late afternoon.

24-26 October Bowen Island
With a forecast for nice weather we decided on one last cruise before preparing Estelle for winter. From our berth at VRC to Snug Cove on Bowen Island, where VRC has another outstation, is just 12 nm. In light airs, we just motored out of Vancouver Harbour and across to Snug Cove under warm sunshine and light winds. Arriving in Snug Cove, we tied up at the VRC dock and spent two nice days enjoying the unique culture of this beautiful island.
Ferry Arrival, Bowen Island

VRC Outstation dock, Bowen Island

After two days of wandering the town and the many hiking trails it was time to cast off. Here we found ourselves struggling to get the engine to start. After much coaxing, it was finally running. Plans were for a few more days cruising, but with a questionable engine, we decided to return to VRC and sort out the problem.
Back in our berth, I quickly discovered two wires that had obviously been severly overheated. Repairing the damage, the engine started quickly. But unsure of why they had overheated, we were reluctant to head out. Tracking down the reason will have to wait.

8 February 2018
I have still not traced the engine problem out. But I have been working on it. I have bought a meter to allow me to check the current flowing in the wires (both are ground wires), been studying the wiring diagram, and discussed it with a few people. No answer yet, but I have some ideas to check when we re-commission Estelle in early March. I ran into a technicial from Philbrooks Boatyard at the Vancouver Boat Show who had done some work on our watermaker last spring. He gave me some ideas to pursue. One particularly un-helpful comment came from the Westerbeke representative. I pointed out the wires on a similar engine on display. He had no idea where the wires ran or what they were for, and just dismissed the problem as reverse polarity when the batteries were connected! He then advised me to remove all the engine wiring and trace it out... a brutal project in the confines of the engine room, probably at least a week's work. Thanks for the help.

Fall Cruising in BC Part 1

19 November 2017 | Vancouver, BC
Nice Fall weather
Ben taking us out Vancouver Harbour under the Lions Gate Bridge

Well, it's been a bit of time since I last updated the blog... since June, in fact. But we have been sailing, and I'm sitting out a snowstorm in Whistler, and Estelle is tucked in for winter at the Vancouver Rowing Club, so no time like the present!
We arrived back in BC on September 14th, planning to spend the fall cruising.

19 September
We arrived back in Victoria and checked out Estelle in the yard of Van Isle Marina where she spent the summer. All well aboard and we arranged for launching.

21 September
We arrived back at the boatyard to see Estelle crossing the street to the launch way and were back afloat and underway to our slip by noon.
Estelle being launched

A couple of nights in the marina saw us re-stocked and re-organized. The logistics of returning both the car and boat back to Vancouver took some thought, but finally sorted itself out and on September 23rd we were off.
Plans were originally to do some extended cruising, but plans don't always work out... life interferes, and plans were altered. So our first objective for the fall was to head for our new slip at the Vancouver Rowing Club.
Estelle's new home

We had been on a waiting list for the past year, and with a marina expansion, a number of vacancies occurred and we were in! So from Van Isle Marina we headed up the Gulf Islands and through Gabriola Pass to anchor in Silva Bay.
In the off season, the small anchorage was still full of boats on permanent moorings, but we found a small corner to drop our anchor and headed ashore for some exploring. It turns out there is not too much to explore ashore in Silva Bay, and in off season, the only restaurant was closed. Back aboard we were just settling in for the evening when a seaplane swooped by us, landing just off our bow. Turns out the reason the area was free of boats is that it is the seaplane landing zone. But it was sunset, so we just turned on the anchor light, assuming correctly it turns out, that the planes, don't run at night.
Next morning was a beautiful sail across the Strait of Georgia to the Lions Gate Bridge where we furled the sails (no sailing allowed in the harbour) and motored into our new slip. Next morning was our safety inspection required to keep Estelle in the marina. That completed with no issues, we headed back to Whistler where we had some commitments.

28 September
Back aboard, we left Vancouver and headed back to the Gulf Islands, and with a new crew member!!! Our ten year old Grandson Ben decided to come cruising with us. Although the weather was beautiful, the light airs meant that Ben didn't see any sailing on the crossing. To get into the Gulf Islands requires running through one of a number of passes, all requiring timing the currents. We were a bit early for slack and were swept through in a two knot current.
Through the Pass we motored down Pilades Channel to Pirates Cove, only two miles from the pass. It is a great anchorage, with excellent protection and, in the off season, uncrowded. Safely Anchored, with Ben anxious to learn how everything is done, project number one was launch the dinghy. With the outboard on, Ben was more than anxious to try it out.
After a good run in the dinghy we were hiking the paths on the island, then back aboard for dinner.

29 September
Fishing in Montague Harbour

This morning we headed out down the Trincomali Channel towards the southern part of the Gulf Islands. With a fresh wind on the nose, we hoisted our reefed main and jib for an exhilarating sail. But by mid afternoon we were drifting with the fishing line out, without success. Our destination for the night was Montague Harbour, and by mid-afternoon we were picking up a buoy at the provincial park mooring field. Ashore we found a group fishing on the dock for small baitfish, using just sticks for rods, a short piece of line and marine worms found attached to the dock as bait. Soon equipped, Ben and I soon began hauling in our share (all returned for another day's fishing). Another hike, a quick trip to the marina for ice cream (closed yesterday) with Ben at the helm of the dinghy and time for dinner!

30 September
"The Boys"

We were up early and off to nearby Ganges Harbour on Saltspring Island, where we were meeting our daughter Sarah and her two boys, Henry (3) and Johann (2) for the night aboard.
One of the great benefits of the VRC (Vancouver Rowing Club) are their "outstations". In this case it is a large section of dock space at the Ganges Marina, reserved exclusively for club members, no fees. So we tied up and prepared for the chaos to come. Sarah and the boys had taken the ferry from Vancouver Island and met us at the excellent farmers market. In the evening we ate at a local restaurant and settled in for the night in cozy quarters!!

1 October
Today our crew departed, leaving a very quiet boat. But before everyone departed we went touring and found the most incredible miniature train setup. Running indoors and out thorough the woods, the boys were mesmerized. And after some instruction, each one was permitted to operate the trains.
Henry at the controls

Ben at the controls

Playing Trains

Great fun, and before leaving we were allowed to feed the goats and chickens running around.
In the afternoon we said a sad goodby to Sarah and the boys, but only for a week when we would be together again for Thanksgiving in Whistler.

2 October
Casting off from the Ganges Marina, we began our trip back to Vancouver. Sailing north towards Gabriola Pass, we headed for Telegraph Cove on Thetis Island. Up Trincomali Channel, through Houston Passage rounding the southern tip of Keuper Island into Stuart Channel, we ghosted into tiny Telegraph Cove on the dying breeze. With no room to anchor, we tied up at the Telegraph Harbour Marina.
Telegraph Harbour model boat

3 October
In the morning we took another walk, looking for a vineyard that we later learned no longer existed. But we did discover a small custom coffee roasting shop where we bought some interesting, and later confirmed, excellent beans.
Back aboard, we sailed a short 10 miles to Pirates Cove where we spent the night. We seem to have been here in Pirates Cove more than any other anchorage in the Gulf Islands. And although it is a nice anchorage, the real reason is that it is so convenient for staging for passing through nearby Gabriola Passage, as we did the next morning, with another beautiful sail across the Strait of Georgia and back to our berth at the VRC.

San Juan Islands Part 2

04 August 2017 | Van Isle Marina
Sunny, warm, 16C
June 3
Fisherman's Bay, Lopez Island
Like the Gulf Islands, anchorages in the San Juan Islands are everywhere, so that sailing distances are short. Today's plan was to sail to Fisherman's Bay on nearby Lopez Island, a distance of just 6 miles. So after breakfast we took the dinghy ashore on Shaw for a walk and look around.
Blind Bay, our anchorage, is on the north side of Shaw Island. And at the bay's mouth is the ferry landing and a small marina where we tied u the dinghy for a walk ashore. Shaw Island, in the midst of the San Juan group, is the least developed. According to the girls running the vegetable stand at the landing, the winter population is about 50, and in summer swells to 200, very low by comparison to the adjacent islands. And our walk down the only road leading away from the dock confirmed the solitude.
Shaw Island highway

In a walk of about an hour, we met one truck, with a friendly wave. In fact, the two deer we met were the only signs of life past the landing.
The landing seems to be the commercial hub of Shaw Island. It contains the ferry landing, a very interesting general store, a temporary veggie stand, and very clean public washrooms. And that seems to sum up Shaw Island. Very nice for a quiet visit.
Shaw Island General Store

Back aboard, we prepared to get underway. We will return to this very special spot.
Having exhausted Shaw Island's attractions, we headed out for Fisherman's Bay on Lopez Island, just 6 miles away. We timed our departure to arrive at the entrance to Fisherman's Bay at high tide as the guide warned that the poorly marked outer channel was shallow. And it was right on both accounts... poorly marked and shallow. But we made it in where, again, we found lots of room to anchor.
Taking the dinghy ashore, we landed at one of the two marinas on shore. Ashore, we were met by a couple of local boaters. After chatting with them, one introduced himself as Mike and asked our plans. When we told him we were planning to walk into the nearby town of Lopez for some groceries, he said it was too far, and offered us his car. He told us where to find it, saying the keys were in it, and just return it in the same area when we were done. So we had a nice tour of the area and took full opportunity to replenish our supplies. The night was forecast to be windy, but in the excellent protection, we had a pleasant night.
Jim in "Mike's" car

June 4, Sucia Island
In the morning, waiting for high tide to exit, we were ashore again and rented bikes for a tour of the area. We had the morning to bike the area, finding a nice trail in a saltmarsh, and some nice quiet roads.
Saltmarsh hike

In the early afternoon, just as the tide was reaching high, we inched our way out the harbor, again with the depth sounder chirping warnings about shallow water. Outside the harbor, we hoisted sails and headed for our next destination, Sucia Island.
Heading northeast, we ran back through Upright Channel, through Obstruction Pass and out into Rosario Strait (the British proposal for the boundary). We had an excellent romp up the strait, rounding Laurence Point where the wind slowly died. Drifting into Echo Bay, we picked up a mooring just off Sucia Island. The island is a state park with a number of moorings. Again, early in the season, we had lots of choice. We just settled in for the night.
Sucia Island Anchorage

June 5
Stuart Island
In the morning, we launched the dinghy and went ashore on Sucia Island for a hike. Being a state park, the island has both camping sites and lots of trails. We found a payment box and deposited our $20 for the mooring and explored the island. The island has three main anchorages and our stumbling the trails (no maps) took us down to all of them before we found our way back to the dinghy after a 2.5 hour hike.
Fossil Bay Anchorage

Sucia Island is much more rugged that we expected, so we were glad to be back at our starting point.
Hiking on Sucia Island
In late morning, we were off. In a flat calm morning, it was an opportunity to charge the batteries. Just outside the anchorage, we were met by a US Coast Guard patrol who asked us all about our documents. But after a few minutes, we were underway again. In this area, with the border just a mile away, there are hundreds of boats drifting from the US to Canada and back. In fact, our route to Stuart Island, our destination, was 13 miles. But the closest anchorage we could have selected was just 6 miles away, on (Canadian) Saturna Island.
Chugging down Boundary Pass, we entered Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island in late afternoon. While much of Stuart is private, there is, again, a state park with moorings and a dock. So we picked up a mooring and settled in. We took a short walk ashore. Although most of the island is private, there is a public road. So we planned a hike for the morning.

June 6
Van Isle Marina
The last day of our cruise. But with only 8 miles to Van Isle Marina, we went ashore in the morning for a walk. Hiking the park trails to the public road, we took off exploring. Stuart Island has a very steep hill in its center, and for some perverse reason, the road heads straight up it! So after a 45 minute uphill hike, we were grateful to find not only a bench to sit down, but cold water for the taking. Run by the island community (probably less than 40), the former school has been converted into a museum, and with a few mementos on offer.
Stuart Island Museum

I was interested to find the original settlers graveyard, but after wandering around in the woods for a while, we tired of giving blood to the mosquitoes and retreated.
Back aboard, we headed off for our final destination, Van Isle Marina. And a short two hours later, I called Canpass to clear customs. With our Nexus cards, one phone call and we were cleared.
Tied up, we began the process of preparing Estelle for haulout and a 3 month hiatus on shore.
Estelle awaits haulout at Van Isle Marina

So Estelle is now in the yard at Van Isle, awaiting our return in the fall. Plans are to return in early September and cruise until the weather tells us to stop. Then head for our new berth at the Vancouver Rowing Club for the winter.

San Juan Islands 2017 Part 1

25 July 2017 | San Juan Islands, Wa USA
Beautiful spring weather

Grand Piano and Pipe Organ at Rosario Resort

May 30
Roche Harbor

Our trip today from Royal Cove to Roche Harbor on San Juan Island was just 11 nm, so we had time for a good hike ashore.
Are you sure I'll like this?

In a "soft" morning we donned wet gear and hiked the perimeter of the island down to Princess Cove and back. A good hike!
Dropping our stern line was a bit easier that rigging it, and we were off for the US! A short trip and we were tying to the US Customs dock in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. We were quickly cleared in and moved along the dock to tie up for a few hours to tour ashore.
Roche Harbor is not really a town, but a resort centered on the Hotel De Haro.


The hotel dates back to the early 20th century, and with only a few concessions to modern comfort is today as it was built. We looked through the Presidential Suite and thought it comfortable in summer, but might be a bit drafty in winter.
We found a well equipped grocery store where we replenished our supply of fresh fruit and veggies and wine. After a quick tour, we were back aboard and moved off the dock to anchor in the harbour, sharing the large anchorage with just a half dozen other boats.

May 31
Garrison Bay

In the morning we again went ashore in Roche Harbor where we found an excellent breakfast at a restaurant on the wharf. After breakfast, we took another walk, including a tour of a very curious statue garden.

Back aboard, we weighed anchor and an ran down Mosquito Pass and into Garrison Bay. Garrison Bay was home to the British Garrison during The Pig War. If you are not interested in this curious piece of history, skip down to June 1st.
The Oregon Treaty of June 15, 1846, resolved the Oregon boundary dispute by dividing the Oregon Country/Columbia District between the United States and Britain "along the forty-ninth parallel of north latitude to the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver Island, and thence southerly through the middle of the said channel, and of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, to the Pacific Ocean". However, there are actually two straits that could be called the middle of the channel: Haro Strait, along the west side of the San Juan Islands; and Rosario Strait, along the east side.
Because of this ambiguity, both the United States and Britain claimed sovereignty over the San Juan Islands.
During this period of disputed sovereignty, Britain's Hudson's Bay Company established operations on San Juan and turned the island into a sheep ranch. Meanwhile, American settlers had begun to arrive.
On June 15, 1859, exactly thirteen years after the adoption of the Oregon Treaty, the ambiguity led to direct conflict. Lyman Cutlar, an American farmer, found a large black pig rooting in his garden eating his potatoes. This was not the first occurrence. Cutlar was so upset that he took aim and shot the pig, killing it. It turned out that the pig was owned by an Irishman, Charles Griffin, who was employed by the Hudson's Bay Company to run the sheep ranch. When British authorities threatened to arrest Cutlar, American settlers called for military protection.
With that, things began to escalate. The US dispatched 66 American soldiers to San Juan Island with orders to prevent the British from landing
Meanwhile, the governor of the Colony of Vancouver Island ordered British Rear Admiral Robert L. Baynes to land marines on San Juan Island and engage the American soldiers. Baynes landed his troops, but refused to engage the Americans, deciding that "two great nations in a war over a squabble about a pig" was foolish. Local commanding officers on both sides had been given essentially the same orders: defend yourselves, but absolutely do not fire the first shot. For several days, the British and U.S. soldiers exchanged insults, each side attempting to goad the other into firing the first shot, but discipline held on both sides, and thus no shots were fired.
When news about the crisis reached Washington and London, officials from both nations were shocked and took action to calm the potentially explosive international incident.
As a result of negotiations, both sides agreed to retain joint military occupation of the island until a final settlement could be reached, reducing their presence to a token force of no more than 100 men. The "English Camp" was established on the north end of San Juan Island. The American Camp was established on the southern end of the island.
During the years of joint military occupation, the small British and American units on San Juan Island had an amicable mutual social life, visiting one another's camps to celebrate their respective national holidays and holding various athletic competitions. Park rangers told us the biggest threat to peace on the island during these years was "the large amounts of alcohol available".
In 1871, both sides agreed to resolve the San Juan dispute by international arbitration, with Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany chosen to act as arbitrator. Wilhelm referred the issue to a three-man arbitration commission which met in Geneva for nearly a year. On October 21, 1872, the commission decided in favor of the United States. The arbitrator chose the American-preferred marine boundary via Haro Strait, to the west of the islands, over the British preference for Rosario Strait which lay to their east.
On November 25, 1872, the British withdrew their Royal Marines from the British Camp. The Americans followed by July 1874. The Pig War was over after 13 years. The only casualty was the pig.
After anchoring in Garrison Bay and a quick lunch, we dinghied ashore for a fascinating afternoon touring the site. While the entire camp has not survived, there are still a number of buildings and structures standing, including a formal garden demanded by the commanding officer's wife.

Photographs on display certainly suggest that the British troops enjoyed a very comfortable posting.
We also climbed up the hill behind the camp to the graveyard containing the graves of the four British soldiers who died during the occupation, neatly tended. All died by either accident or of natural causes.

June 1
Friday Harbor/Blind Bay

We woke after another quiet night in Garrison Bay. We are clearly ahead of the season as there were only two other cruising boats here with us. The cruising guides suggest that these anchorages become extremely crowded in the height of the cruising season. But today, finding room to anchor was not a problem.
Weighing anchor, we worked our way back into Roche Harbour then rounded the northern tip of San Juan, and down San Juan Channel to Friday Harbor, San Juan's largest community.
One nice feature that the yacht clubs in the north-west is "reciprocal privileges". It provides, among other features, complimentary dockage in a designated area. Its on a "first come, first served" basis. So we checked out the Friday Harbor Yacht Club visitor's dock, only to find it fully occupied. So we anchored in the harbor and took the dinghy ashore.

First business, lunch at a very nice cafe on the water where we watched the coming and going in the harbor. Then a nice tour around town, including a stop at the ATM for some US cash. Then, as usual, groceries, or as many as we could carry.
Although only mid-afternoon, we headed back to the boat.
Friday Harbor is deep, with no anchorage less than 60', so we had over 200' of chain out. But that was still barely adequate if any wind came up. So we decided to seek out a better anchorage for the night. We will return to Friday Harbor as our quick trip only allowed us to see a small part of it.
Leaving Friday Harbor, we crossed San Juan Channel and sailed up Upright Channel, passing one of the many ferries plying the waters of the San Juan's in the narrows. Sailing into Blind Bay on Shaw Island where we found an excellent anchorage with, again, only three other cruisers like ourselves.

June 2
East Sound/Blind Bay

Today we decided to explore East Sound on Orca Island. And with few protected anchorages, we planned it a day trip, returning to Blind Bay for the night.
Sailing up the sound in light airs, we reached the village of Eastsound just at noon... just in time for lunch! Again anchoring was not possible as it was prohibited in the only water under 100' So we picked up a vacant mooring and headed ashore. Another pretty village that, at the beginning of tourist season was quickly becoming busy. After an excellent lunch, a few more groceries, a bottle of local wine (Washington State has some great wines!), and we were off back down the Sound.
The only other anchorage on its 8 mile length was Rosario Resort and Marina.
Rosario Resort features the main "House", hotel rooms, a marina, spa and a few moorings (again, too deep to anchor).
Rosario Resort
We picked up a mooring and went ashore for a tour of this fascinating property.
The main body of the resort, complete with pipe organ, was built in 1913 by Seattle shipbuilder Robert Moran. Originally from New York City, Moran arrived on the Seattle waterfront in 1875 with a dime in his pocket. Eventually joined in Seattle by his brothers, Moran formed The Moran Bros. Company, a small family ship repair business that grew into a supplier for the Yukon Gold Rush, then a major West Coast shipyard. The Moran Bros. Company quickly became Seattle's largest employer when it won a naval contract to build the battleship U.S.S. Nebraska in 1902.
By 1904, the stress of business had taken a toll on Moran's health and he was given only a few years to live. He purchased 7,000 acres on Orcas Island. He began to build his retirement home with the same integrity as one of his ocean going vessels: massive and solid, yet elegant and gracious. Free from the pressures of his business, Moran recovered and lived until 1943!
In 1938, Moran sold Rosario to Donald Rheem for $50,000. Rheem was the founder of Rheem Manufacturing in the San Francisco Bay area, known today for their water heaters and heat pumps. Rosario was Rheem's vacation home for 20 years, but his wife Alice ended up making it her permanent residence .
Texan Ralph Curtain purchased Rosario from Rheem in 1958, but his dream of turning the estate into a resort quickly ended when his oil wells dried up. He sold Rosario in 1960 for $225,000 (half the original purchase price) to Gil Geiser of Seattle. Geiser sold a bowling alley and hardware store to open Rosario Resort on April 1, 1960.
Today, the Aeolian pipe organ (1,972 pipes), and 1900 Steinway grand piano are still used for concerts throughout the season.
In late afternoon, we dropped the mooring and motored back to Blind Bay where we re-anchored for another quiet night.

Gulf Islands Spring Cruise Part 2

22 July 2017 | BC Gulf Islands
Warm spring weather
Montague Harbour

May 23
Ganges Harbour, Saltspring Island

In more warm sunshine and light airs, we left Victoria. With a forecast of one more nice day, followed by some gale force winds, we contemplated our options. But for today, our options were where to spend another beautiful night before the winds picked up. Working our way back up into the Gulf Islands, we contemplated our options. Passing Sidney Spit, we lost count of the boats at anchor.
The next option was Portland Island. Portland Island has two small anchorages. Both Princess Bay, on the southern tip, and Royal Cove on the north tip are small anchorages, and on Victoria Day weekend, the first "summer weekend", both were full beyond our liking in mid-afternoon. Carrying on, we settled on Ganges Harbour on Saltspring Island.
We followed Swift Current into the harbour and anchored outside the crowded anchorage. Dinghying ashore, we enjoyed a walk, did some essential grocery and wine shopping, and enjoyed a final evening with Swift Current.

May 24
Montague Harbour

The best part about Montague Harbour is its protection. With two small entrances, and surrounded by 125' cliffs, it is an excellent spot to wait out a blow. And that's what we did. And a bonus is the provincial park on its shore. With moorings at $20/ night, an excellent dock for landing and great hiking trails, a great place to waste a day. And so we did. We hiked, wandered, walked through the paths of this well-kept park. We took a short dinghy expedition to the marina where we looked through the store, bought a few groceries, and another walk. And with that, the day was over. In the evening, our Dickeson BBQ again showed its worth, grilling salmon and veggies as the winds swirled arouns us. But tucked in, and in our newly enclosed cockpit, we enjoyed the sunset.

May 25-26
Port Bedwell, South Pender Island

Port Bedwell doesn't really exist. It is a large (1.7 nm long, 0.5 nm wide) harbour with a few homes, a mooring field for Beaumont Marine Park (part of the Gulf Islands National Park), and Poet's Cove Resort and Marina. We planned to only spend one night here, but found too much to keep us busy to leave.
We left Montague Harbour in mid-morning, motoring out into Navy Channel where we raised the sails for a quiet (10-15 kts) west breeze. Down into Plumper Sound where we rounded the southern tip of South Pender Island and up into Port Bedwell.
Safely tied to a mooring ball, we dinghied ashore to the Poet's Cove Resort and Marina. This place takes itself seriously! It is a beautiful resort with all the amenities. We wandered through the grounds, finally unable to resist the charms of the bar and its outdoor patio and the warm sunshine. On our return to Estelle, we explored the landing options for hiking in the park. Signs warned us away from the remains of an ancient midden, but we finally found what looked like a good spot for the next day's hike.
Next morning we landed on the park beach and did some careful adjusting of lines to assure ourselves that the dinghy would not only be there when we returned, but also floating. The reason we were concerned is the height of the tides... 10' to 14'. We didn't want to find the dinghy floating 200m from shore, or high and dry 200m from the waters edge.
The hike, to a lookout on Mt Norman was listed as strenuous. And not well marked should have been added. But after three hours and few mis-steps, we were heading back down to find the dinghy floating perfectly... in a few feet of (cold) water.

May 27-28
Van Isle Marina

We left Port Bedwell in mid-morning, heading for Van Isle Marina in Sidney, just north of Victoria. The reason... a sleep-over with Henry and Johann!!!
Leaving Port Bedwell in a calm morning and with less than 10 nm to go, we decided to do a bit of exploring. Passing north of Moresby Island, we cautiously entered Royal Cove on the north end of Portland Island.
Portland Island has an interesting history. First Nations people utilized Portland Island going back 3,000 years as is verified from the middens that can be found on the island. Subsequently the island ended up being inhabited by Kanaka (Hawaiian) immigrants and was utilized primarily for farming purposes. An eccentric owner in the 1920's was Frank "One Arm" Sutton, a retired British army officer. Frank Sutton acquired the island with funds he had won gambling on horse races within China. The plan was to raise & train thoroughbred race horses on the island. All evidence of the old horse racing track and a golf course have now vanished.
In 1958 the island was presented as a gift from the Province of British Columbia to Princess Margaret to commemorate her visit to the province. It was apparently expected that the princess would accept the island and immediately return it but apparently she had other ideas for the next 9 years! Princess Margaret finally returned the island to the province of British Columbia in 1967 to be used as a park and it became known as Princess Margaret Marine Park. The Canadian Government bought the island from the Province of British Columbia and it became known once again as Portland Island and became a portion of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada.
But today we just stuck our noses into Royal Cove where one boat was anchored with a stern tie to shore. There was room for three or four boats at max. Circling down to the south end anchorage, Princess Cove, we just passed by as we could see it was fully occupied. Rounding the southern tip, we anchored for lunch between Hood and Breckman Island where we watched the ferries coming and going from nearby Schwartz Bay.
After lunch, we continued our wandering trip through Stranger Passage and John Passage and into Tsehum Harbour, home of Van Isle Marina. In this small harbour there are three or four other marinas and a couple of yacht clubs, making it a busy spot.
Topping up with fuel we were soon settled in our berth and making ready for our visitors.
And our visitors arrived on schedule with an impressive array of gear for one night. All settled, playing in the dinghy became the favorite passtime.
For supper, we went into nearby Sidney. Back aboard, more dinghy play until bedtime.
And surprisingly, all was quiet until 0700 hrs next morning, when dinghy play resumed.
After breakfast and more dinghy play, we were off to the nearby Buchart Gardens for an enjoyable morning.



For lunch, we headed for nearby Zanzibar Cafe where we enjoyed a great lunch. When I went up to pay the bill, the waitress said it had been paid! Apparently, a patient of Sarah's had seen her and paid it for us! Very kind!
Back at the marina, we said goodby to our guests and headed back aboard for the night.

May 29
Royal Cove

Stern Tie in Royal Cove

Plans for the balance of our cruise were the US San Juan Islands. But being the end of the Memorial Day weekend, we decided to postpone our arrival at US customs until the next day. So the plan was to return to Royal Cove on Portland Island for the night. Arriving, there was one boat already anchored, using a stern tie to shore. But with lots of room, we were soon settled, executing our first stern tie without too much confusion.
Stern ties are common in this area, and used for two reasons. First, in crowded anchorages, their use in crowded anchorages reduces swinging room. The second use is a bit unique to this area where water depths can be quite deep right up to shore. By droping the anchor on a steeply sloping bottom, the stern tie means the anchor will pull only "uphill" towards shore where it can dig in. In any offshore wind, the stern tie holds the boat where the anchor would otherwise trip in the deep water.
As part of the Gulf Islands National Park, there was a nice dinghy dock in the cove, where we tied the dinghy for a short walk on one of the trails.

Curious Racoon

A nice quiet night. Tomorrow, off to the US San Juan Islands!

Gulf Islands Spring Cruise Part 1

21 July 2017 | BC Gulf Islands
Warm spring weather
Swift Current and Estelle, Victoria Inner Harbour

May 15-17
Strait Marine, Steveston

On Monday afternoon we arrived back in Steveston at Strait Marine, where Estelle has been waiting for us. The remaining day was spent restoring order to Estelle after we had packed everything away for the installation of our new cockpit enclosure. On Tuesday, Frank Mastars came down to review the new features. An excellent job, and perfect for north-west cruising. The afternoon was spent on small maintenance jobs and preparation for a haulout next day. Wednesday we hauled out for a quick rinse of the hull, change of prop zinc and to free a frozen seacock (not a job to be done in the water). All jobs complete, we were back in the water for our final night at Strait Marine.

May 18
Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, Scott Point Outstation

We were off the Strait Marine dock by 0830 hrs. A bit early for us, but Strait Marine is a busy spot and the quicker we were out of the way the better. We also took maximum advantage of the outgoing current in the Fraser River, and were bearing off for Active Pass in no time. In the 15 knot SE breeze we enjoyed a beautiful close reach for the short 13 mile trip across the Strait of Georgia. Unlike our previous passage, we were able to time it so that we missed the ferry traffic and enjoyed a nice 4 knot boost from the current.
Through the pass, we bore off and motored up Long Harbour on Saltspring Island to the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club's very comfortable Scott Point outstation. Here we were met by Howard and Lynn Bradbrooke on Swift Current. As members, they extended a very warm welcome. Rafted up to Swift Current, we toured the very comfortable facilities and settled in for the night.

May 19
Royal Victoria Yacht Club

Next morning, after a walk around Scott Point, we cast off with Swift Current... cruise underway!! In a light wind day, we motored down through Captain Passage, Swanson Channel winding between the Gulf Islands and dodging ferries. Out into Sidney Channel we passed Sidney Island with its beautiful (and busy) Sidney Spit anchorage. Out into Haro Strait, through Baynes Channel and we were motoring into Cadboro Bay, home of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. With our membership in the Vancouver Rowing Club and Swift Current's Royal Van membership, we both enjoyed reciprocal privileges, including two free nights. That evening, we walked up the dock to welcome our two grandsons, Henry and Johann, and mother Sarah.
Henry & Johann with Mommy, Royal Vic YC

For their first visit, they just came aboard, enjoyed a snack and headed for the club playground.

May 20
Royal Victoria Yacht Club

A full day of light duties, walking, eating, enjoying warm sunshine. In the evening we welcomed Henry, Johann and Sarah to the club dining room. Another great evening. And we discussed the next day's planned excursion with the boys, a trip from Royal Vic around to Victoria's inner harbour. All set for an exciting day!

May 21-22
Victoria Inner Harbour

At 0830 hrs we met our eager crew on the dock. Settling in, we prepared to get underway. Clearly Henry had not planned on quite this much excitement, as, casting off, he burst into tears. But minutes later, with snacks coming out, all was again well. And as we rounded Shoal Point and the harbour came into view, he was quickly pointing out the landmarks of the city. Tied up at Wharf Street Marina, we set out to find a restaurant for lunch. Met by Daddy (Hagen) we settled in for lunch at Milestones Grill. Too much excitement for Johann, he put his head down on the table and slept.
In the afternoon we bid our guests good-by and wandered the waterfront. That evening was fish & chips from Victoria's famous Red Fish Blue Fish. The 1/2 hour line-up and wait were well worth it!
Next day was more touring. Even though we often visit Victoria to see Sarah and family, we somehow never find the time to just wander the downtown. So we spent an enjoyable day relaxing and playing tourist.
Vessel Name: Estelle
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol 41.1
Hailing Port: Charlottetown, PEI
Crew: Jeannie & Jim Lea
About: Flag Counter
Extra: After cruising the east coast of North America for 10 years, from Nova Scotia to Panama, it's time for a change. Estelle will be cruising the coast of British Columbia and Alaska beginning in 2017.
Estelle's Photos - Salem/Manchester
Photos 1 to 13 of 13 | The Voyage of S/V Estelle (Main)