14 September 2020 | Pacific Northwest Cruising
It has been quite the pandemic summer cruising season which we have just completed, so we wanted to bring everyone up to speed. Here it goes:
Our original plan was for a two month cruise to Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) as part of a three boat flotilla which included our good friend, Bob Deroos of Salt Spring Island. For those of you with good memories, you will remember him from our trip to Alaska in 2015. We met him at Hidden Cove Marina at our second stop after meeting the challenge of Seymour Narrows rapids. We have kept in touch over the years, visiting him and his wife, Brenda, at their home in Ganges. The process for getting into Haida Gwaii which is a First Nations National Park is rigorous. You have to apply, designating your dates of travel, paying the fees, and then attending a visitor seminar (ours was in downtown Vancouver). One of the interesting requirements is to make sure that your vessel is rat free, which is to keep the islands free of this rodent. They provide you with rat traps and poisons which you need to maintain on your vessel before and during your visit. Everything was ready, and then the Coronavirus hit. Not only was Haida Gwaii shut down to visiting vessels, but Canada closed its borders to US vessels, so that put a huge crimp on our cruising plans for the entire season. It was time to re-evaluate which meant multiple, shorter cruises for the season. Fortunately, there are enough locations to visit locally, but extended cruising was not meant to be.
Our first cruise of the season was a return to the South Sound. Our first stop was Gig Harbor just north of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge where we ran into a fellow Outbound 46 owner who was based in a marina in that harbor. As we sat at anchor in the afternoon, we saw his vessel enter the harbor. Using the VHF radio, we spent a fair amount of time getting acquainted and exchanging information. He suggested an anchorage in the South Sound where he actually lives as a possible stop. We left the following morning to some favorable winds and managed to actually sail most of the way to our first destination, Oro Bay in the southeastern most part of the sound. We were pretty much alone at this anchorage. We went ashore and had a pleasant walk in a forested park where we were warned to be aware of Poison Oak. We were very careful and finished the walk unscathed. We then proceeded to Filucy Bay, which was a different experience. There were quite a few boats at anchor in the harbor, but we found room and spent a quiet night aboard. The following day we ventured to McMicken Island which proved to be another popular spot. The primary anchorage was crowded, but we anchored in a more remote location where we were joined by only one other boat. We launched our kayaks and went ashore for a brief, exploratory walk where we had our first experience with spouting clams. It was low tide, so where the clams, which are otherwise buried, that are normally underwater, they were shooting up streams of water the process for filtering for food) about a foot above the sand (I tried to photograph this but was unsuccessful-kind of like trying to photograph lightning bolts). After a quiet night at anchor, we were off to our final stop, the north shore of Fox Island. We found a quiet cove where we were joined by two other boats. We launched the dinghy and went for an exploratory cruise in Hale Passage. The following day was our return to Eagle Harbor and the end of this adventure.
Our next cruise was a short one to the San Juan Islands. We once again had some favorable winds, so most of our first day was under sail. We stopped at our usual anchorage in Port Townsend. We took our electric folding bikes ashore and did a bit of exploring. After a good night’s sleep, even though there was a bit of a blow, we headed across the Strait of Juan de Fuca where we once again had good sailing conditions. We were visiting our friends, Jeff and Melody, who are building a new home on Decatur Island. Jeff needed to take his power boat to Fisherman’s Cove on Lopez Island for servicing, so we arranged to head there first and pick them up to then go see their home under construction. It just so happened that they wanted to be picked up at virtually low tide, and Fisherman’s is an extremely shallow cove. The entrance is very narrow with several markers and turns, so we entered very cautiously, seeing depths on our depth sounder which showed the bottom to be only a few feet below our keel. We navigated successfully and picked them up on the dock. When leaving, the tide had gone down a little more, and, at one point, it felt like we grazed the bottom which fortunately is mud, not rocky. We continued on to Decatur where we saw the status of construction. We returned to Lion’s Paw and found an anchorage on the north part of Decatur for the night. The next day, we returned to one of our favorite spots in the San Juans-James Island. The last time that we had visited, there was a small dock where we could barely get in, it was so shallow. They have since extended and expanded the dock, and we were able to tie up with three other boats (They had just that day re-opened the dock which had been closed due to Coronavirus restrictions). It was a good thing, because for that night and the following day, it blew quite hard, so it was good to be tied up at a dock and not at anchor. We did go ashore and walked the trail on this small island. After spending 2 nights on the dock, we headed to a night at Watmaugh Bay at the north entrance to the Strait. The following morning, we headed home and again had the right winds to sail across the Juan de Fuca (This was so unusual for so many days of wind for sailing during the PNW summers).
Our next adventure was a short trip to the west side of Bainbridge Island and a transit of Port Washington Narrows and Dyes Inlet. Our destination was Silverdale where we often drive for shopping trips to Costco and Trader Joes. There is a public dock away from the commercial shopping area where we tied up for an overnight stay. We explored this portion of the old town on foot, sat in the local park overlooking the inlet for awhile, and then spent the night onboard. We left the following morning to explore the possibility of a night at Ostrich Bay but were not impressed with the scenery, so we just headed back to Bainbridge Island. We transited the west side of the island and made an overnight stay in our favorite, local anchorage-Manzanita Bay. We had to time the transit of Agate Passage at the north end of the island, another place with strong currents, and the favorable current was in the early morning. We weighed anchor the next morning and returned to Eagle Harbor to conclude this brief cruise.
We were at a loss as what next to do when we learned that Roche Harbor on San Juan Island was going to have fireworks on the 4th of July. We decided that this was a good reason to head out once again. We followed a different itinerary than our usual first stop at Port Townsend before crossing the Strait. We went to Port Hadlock around the bend from our ususal stop where we anchored and went ashore for dinner at the Ajax Café which was now serving due to the lifting of pandemic restrictions. We left the next morning to visit Mystery Bay, located in a large lagoon across the bay from Port Townsend. The entrance to the lagoon is narrow, winding and shallow with several navigation markers, which we navigated without a problem. We found a good spot to anchor just outside Mystery Bay, launched the dinghy and took the electric bikes ashore for a nice ride to Fort Flagler State Park. After spending the night aboard Lion’s Paw, we departed the lagoon and crossed the bay to our regular anchorage at Port Townsend. We launched our bikes, and took a pleasant ride to Point Wilson which is a state park at the tip of Admiralty Inlet, the access to the Juan de Fuca. With Coronavirus restrictions still in place, overnight camping was prohibited, but there were many people visiting there for the day with some pleasant but breezy weather, That night, we dined at one of our favorite restaurants, The Fountain Café. The next day, July 2nd, we crossed the Strait, managing to sail for a good portion of the crossing. We motored the last part into Roche Harbor where we joined what was at least 100 other boats at anchor, not including the full docks at the marina. The next day, we went ashore and visited the sculpture garden. After another night at anchor, we decided to take the dinghy to explore a neighboring harbor, Westcott Bay, which is about 2 miles away. It was our chance to really try out the new outboard motor which we had purchased last spring. While it has the same horsepower as our Yamaha (which had started giving us carburetor problems), this Suzuki has fuel injection and both electric start and tilt, a true luxury. We opened her up, and, after a few minutes, the engine started to bind up and smoke. The red warning light came on, and I immediately shut it down. I could not tell whether it was an oil pressure or overheating problem. Using discretion as the better part of valor, I inserted the oars and began rowing back to Lion’s Paw about a mile away. Fortunately, another dinghy was nearby and provided us with a tow back to our boat. I tried to diagnose the problem, but I could not sort it out. It ran at idle but was acting up under throttle. We enjoyed a pleasant day and early evening onboard and then watched a decent fireworks show. We left the next morning for Reid Harbor, another of our favorite spots in the San Juans. After finding a good anchorage, we did launch the dinghy, and using minimal throttle, we were able to go ashore and have a night hike around the island with a nice view of the anchorage on the opposite side of the island, Prevost Harbor. The following day, we headed home. The first part is through Haro Strait which separates the US from Canada. The wind forecast was ideal for sailing once we reached the Juan de Fuca, so we started hugging the imaginary boundary between the two countries. We were just about ready to set sail, and I was down below shutting off the watermaker. Debra was at the helm. I came on deck as a high speed patrol boat pulled up on our port side. It was the Royal Canadian Mounted Police! They said: “You are in Canadian waters.” I asked how far. They said: “about 100 meters (300 yards)”! They were very nice about it, and after giving them my personal information for their report, they said that we were not in any trouble. We thanked them and promptly changed course to re-enter US waters (There is actually about a 10 degree bend in the imaginary border as you get to the south end of Haro Strait. I had been hugging the border for the best sailing angle. We just had gone a little too far.). We had a great sail across the Strait. We were timing the current to re-enter Puget Sound, and, at times, we were going so fast (almost 10 knots) that we were constantly dumping wind to slow down-the current at Admiralty Inlet can be as much as 4 knots, and our boat speed is only 6 usually. We returned to our Port Townsend anchorage for the night. The next day, we took a detour to Port Orchard where we had purchased our new outboard. We docked at the marina, and I nursed the dinghy to the dealership. After lengthy discussions, we came to the conclusion that I had probably blocked the water cooling intake with a piece of kelp, and the engine had just overheated. Unbeknownst to me, there is built into the fuel injection system a safety feature that slows the engine to protect it from serious damage. I ran the engine at full speed when returning to the marina, and it worked like a charm (and has been fine ever since-false alarm!). We returned to Eagle Harbor the following day, completing this latest cruise.
Our next adventure was to Hood Canal, a 40 mile long fjord, which is entered via the Hood Canal Bridge, the longest floating bridge in the US. Our first stop was just outside the canal, Port Gamble, a lagoon which is well protected from any bad weather. Due to the height of our mast (70'), we cannot transit the fixed bridge opening at the east end of this floating bridge, so we have to call for the floating portion to open and let us enter the canal. It is not manned, so you call ahead and arrange a time for the opening. With Port Gamble 2 miles away from the bridge, we set the time for opening and weighed anchor to time our arrival. All went well. We continued on to our first stop in the canal-Qualcene in Dabob Bay. There is a tiny marina there, but we just set anchor outside the entrance, and I went ashore to check it out. Virtually everything (as little as there was) was closed, so it was back to Lion’s Paw for the remainder of our stay. We continued south and found a way to anchor in the delta just outside the Hamma Hamma River and dinghy ashore to Hama Hama Seafood Market where we enjoyed some oysters and clams at an outdoor table. We returned to Lion’s Paw and continued on to an overnight stop at Dewatto Bay. The next morning, we continued on to Alderbrook Resort near the end of the canal where we set anchor just off the marina. We took the dinghy to the dock and went into the resort where we had a delightful lunch as we sat at a picnic table overlooking the water. After lunch, we took a hike on one of the trails that are maintained by the resort before returning back to the boat for the remainder of the day. We left the next morning for our final stop in the canal-Seabeck Bay. This is a large bay that can hold many boats, but there were only 5 other boats in the anchorage. After a quiet night, we called the bridge for an opening and timed our departure accordingly. We had a smooth transit and finished our cruise back to Eagle Harbor.
Crabbing season had started, and, after recovering from our Hood Canal adventure, we decided that it was time to try our luck. Our friends, Katy, Kelly and TJ had been crabbing every year at a spot at the north end of Bainbridge Island, using kayaks to set and check their traps. Crabbing was limited to Sundays and Mondays, so we decided to join them. For 3 weekends, we took Lion’s Paw up to the spot, set our traps, set our anchor for the day, checked the traps with our dinghy, and spent the Sunday nights at Port Madison, a safe harbor nearby. The first two 2 weekends were sparse pickings (a couple on the first weekend and none on the second), but the 3rd weekend was the grand prize. On our first check, we had caught our limit (5 per day) and then some. That was enough for that trip so we returned home without an overnight stay.
We have just finished our final cruise of the season. We returned to the San Juans for an extended stay. After our usual stop in our Port Townsend anchorage, we left the following morning for our crossing of the Strait. No wind this time-it was so calm that it was like being on a lake! We took one crab trap on this journey. Our first stop was American Camp, just north of the Strait. We set our trap and landed almost 10 crabs overnight. Unfortunately, they were all females (you are only allowed to keep the large males). The next day, we went for another visit on Decatur Island. The winds were blowing strongly and were so varied in the beginning that we were motor sailing, just using the headsail. At one point the gusts were so strong that we decided that was enough and continued under motor only. We made our way through Rosario Strait where we experienced strong winds and wind waves right on our nose. At times, we were getting splashes of water on our deck. We found a safe anchorage at Decatur and joined Jeff and Melody for a pleasant afternoon and dinner before returning to Lion’s Paw for the night. The winds finally calmed down, and the following morning we headed for our next stop-Olga on Orcas Island. There is a small dock there, but it was occupied, so we set anchor and dropped the crab pot nearby. We went ashore to visit an art gallery we had visited in the past, but it was closed. We returned to Lion’s Paw for the night, and I checked the crab pot in the morning. This time there were almost 20 crabs, but, once again, they were all females. This was near the end of the crabbing season, and I am not sure that there are any males left in the San Juans this season! So ended crabbing for 2020. We went ashore around noon for the reason we had come to this location-Buck Bay Shellfish Company, where you can sit at picnic tables and shuck your own oysters fresh from the bay. We feasted on a dozen as I successfully re-experienced the shucking process. It was back to Lion’s Paw, and we were off to a new anchorage-Matia Island. There is a tiny cove on the east side which is very shallow and only holds a couple of boats. Fortunately, there was only one other boat in the anchorage, so we found a spot to anchor for the night. After a quiet night, we headed for our next destination-Echo Bay on Sucia Island, only a couple of miles away. We had checked the weather, and a strong wind from the south was forecast for that night, so we picked a sheltered location in this large bay along with about 50 other boats. Sure enough, the winds came up late in the afternoon and blew through the night. We had read about the arrival of a large smoke plume from the California and Oregon fires which was blowing up from the south, and, sure enough, we woke up to a dense layer of smoke, reducing visibility to less than one mile. We decided that it was time to start heading home, as the reports were that the smoke levels were “unhealthy” to “dangerous.” We made our way to Blind Bay on Shaw Island and spent the night in a continuing cloud of smoke. We headed home the following morning where visibility was no more than 3/4 of a mile and, at times, only ½ mile. We timed it so that we would experience favorable currents for most of the trip and managed to make it all the way home, non-stop, in less than 9 hours (what usually would take 10-11 hours). We wore face masks for the entire trip, although the reports were that they serve little value as smoke particles are so small (2.5 microns). We decided that we needed to get inside as soon as we docked, so after securing the boat, we left the cleanup, etc., for another day. The smoke is forecast to last through Wednesday, so hopefully, final cleanup can be done on Thursday.
I hope that we have not bored you too much with this blog, but it is also our way of preserving a record for us to look back on our adventures for years to come. That’s all folks!
01 June 2019 | Penrose Point Marine Park
Debra and Andy
We are at our last stop before heading home tomorrow: Penrose Point Marine Park. More about this later, but we want to catch you up on yesterday's events. We left Olympia Yacht Club in the early morning hours for our short trip to Hope Island where we were able to secure one of the two mooring buoys on the southeast shore. We spent the day aboard where I managed to get in a few hours of boat work: deck waxing and stainless steel polishing. It took a long time for the sun to finally appear after another overcast morning. We did launch the dinghy, went ashore to pay the mooring fee and then circumnavigated the small island. We finished the afternoon with another round of "all fives," and I managed to get a bit of revenge from the shellacking that Debra gave me the prior day. We were in the process of preparing dinner when we observed a sailboat sail by in some brisk winds and shortly thereafter observed it apparently aground further along the shoreline of the island. We began to think that we might have to provide assistance helping them get free, but we saw a smaller powerboat begin to provide assistance. We watched while we dined in the cockpit, and they were not making progress. I studied the tide tables only to see that the tide was still going down, and it would be about 1am before the tide level would start to re-float the boat. I decided that it was time for us to provide assistance, so we launched the dinghy, and I had Debra stay onboard Lion's Paw to minimize weight in the dinghy. I knew that just pulling the boat backwards, even with its motor in reverse was not enough to free her from the shoal. I approached and immediately advised them to provide the main halyard (the line used to raise and lower the mainsail) to me so that I could tie it to the dinghy and pulled on the masthead to heel the boat while they re-tried to free the boat. Sure enough, my plan worked, and the boat was freed. After thanks from the owners of the sailboat, everyone went on their way as I returned to Lion's Paw for the evening.
Our trip from Hope Island to Penrose Park was aided by a good outflowing current as the tide was going out. We arrived at the park at dead low tide, selected a mooring ball and repeated the method that we developed: Debra was at the helm passing close enough that I was able to reach it from the stern, swim platform, place the line through the ring of the buoy, walk it to the bow, and secure it to a cleat. By securing the buoy from the transom, it avoids the difficulty of passing the line through the buoy ring from the bow, which requires the use of a boat hook. Our new method is so much easier, and we now have created the team which has perfected the system which we will continue to use in future moorings. We settled in for the day, launched the dinghy and went ashore to pay the moorage fee and go for a bit of a walk along the shoreline of the park before returning to Lion's Paw.
We spent the afternoon enjoying the beautiful weather and an amazing view of Mt. Rainier which many people do not realize presents a greater danger than Mt. St. Helens. We keep our fingers crossed that it will remain in its current state well into the future!
We closed out the day with some dominoes and cribbage before dinner. We are now settled in for the evening, looking forward to our return to Bainbridge Island tomorrow.
29 May 2019 | Olympia, Washington
Debra and Andy
After a good night's sleep, it was time to release from the mooring buoy and head to our next destination, the state capital of Washington, Olympia. It was an uneventful journey in overcast skies and minimal winds, so it was a day of motoring. Entering the port of Olympia is relatively different than most. With a very shallow shoal directly in the middle of the bay about 2 miles from the port itself, the navigational markers of red and green buoys take a large jog which then splits into two distinct harbors separated by a large dock stacked with wood logs ready for shipment to other locations, either for lumber or paper. The left harbor contains one of the nicest private marinas, and the right harbor is comprised of a public marina and the Olympia Yacht Club. We were able to use our reciprocal privileges for free moorage at the very nice, yacht club facilities.
We have taken advantage of the yacht club facilities: showers for both of us and a nice clubhouse with great wifi where I sit as I write this blog. After lunch onboard, we walked up to the state Capitol, first along Capital Lake and then several switchbacks up a hill to the buildings which are at the top. We entered the legislative building, the largest of 5 buildings in hopes of having a guided tour. We lucked out as a docent was standing just inside the doors ready to start the next tour. The building is set up much like the Capitol in DC with a dome in the middle and each house of the legislature located on either side. There are also offices for the governor, secretary of state and treasurer. At the center of the building, directly below the dome, lies the Seal of the State of Washington, which was the 42nd state to join the union.
Hanging from the center of the dome is a very large chandelier, one of all of the interior lighting fixtures designed by Tiffany.
After leaving the legislative building, we took a quick peek into the supreme court building directly adjacent to the legislative building. They had several displays showing some interesting history of the court, including a legal fight over the location of the capital where the City of Vancouver tried to have it relocated there from Olympia. Obviously, the effort failed. There was also a court case regarding the women's right to vote back in the late 1800s where the court had to void the law creating the right due to a technical error in the process, only to have been quickly corrected by the legislature.
We returned to Lion's Paw where Debra decided to remain while I took off to explore the business area of the city around the harbors. It was unfortunately fairly depressing with many storefronts closed and what I discovered as a very large, homeless tent city, directly across the street from the main bus terminal.
If you think your city has a significant homeless problem, Olympia is not a particularly large city, and this tent city surely demonstrated a significant issue. Fortunately, it seems to have kept the situation under control, as I did not find many homeless people wandering the streets.
We are finishing our stay in Olympia with a nice dinner out. We move back into more remote settings as we head tomorrow for Hope Island, a small, uninhabited island with numerous trails to explore. We will finish this journey on Saturday when we return to Bainbridge as we continue our efforts to complete our new home.
Jarrel Cove Marine Park
28 May 2019 | Jarrell Cove Marine Park
Debra and Andy
It has been awhile since the last blog but for good reason: All of our efforts have been in helping to get our new house finished. Our latest prediction is that the house will be finished before the end of June, only 20 months since breaking ground! Even that date is not firm, but we run out of time in our current rental on June 30th, so it is either into the new house or aboard Lion’s Paw until the CO is issued by the City of Bainbridge Island. With these events on the horizon, it was time to take a short break, so we left Eagle Harbor on Lion’s Paw on Memorial Day, heading for the Sound Sound, new territory not explored yet in this region of endless anchorages. We motored south to the channel called the “Narrows” where the Narrows Bridge crosses from the Peninsula to the mainland and Tacoma. We were able to set sail to traverse the Narrows, tacking back and forth in about 10 knots of wind before we finished the journey by entering Wollochet Bay, a popular bay bordered by numerous homes, each with their own docks and many power boats. We were entertained throughout the day watching wakeboarders and families speeding along while we sat amongst them at anchor. Although the day started in overcast and cool temperatures, the sun finally broke through to blue skies and warmer temperatures which made for a very pleasant afternoon and evening in the cockpit as we resumed our season game competition where Debra managed to clean my clock at all fives dominoes.
After a pleasant night of sleep, we awoke again today to overcast skies and cool temperatures. Unfortunately, it lasted most of the day, but we had a nice day motoring to our next anchorage: Jarrell Cove Marine Park. There was a public dock, but it was occupied by several boats, so we picked one of the 14 vacant mooring balls. After a relaxing lunchtime, we launched the dinghy and went ashore for a pleasant walk through the forest and checking out the marina before returning to Lion’s Paw for another round of all fives. Once again, Debra was the victor but only after taking her to a third, tie breaker game. The sun finally showed its face late in the afternoon, so we are hoping for clearer skies tomorrow as we head for Olympia, the capital of Washington. We plan on several more days and harbors before returning to Bainbridge Island and the final push to finish our long awaited new home.
05 October 2018 | Friday Harbor
Debra and Andy
We awoke Thursday morning to clear skies and the coldest day yet-39 degrees. The skies were clear all night, so there was nothing to trap in the heat. We entered the Strait of Georgia and heard the report that Whiskey-Gulf was active. That meant that the Canadian Navy was conducting wargames in the area encompassing much of the
Strait north and east of Nanaimo. No one is allowed in the area when this is going on. Our plan called for us to head due south which just clipped the very northeast corner of the area. The winds quickly filled in from the northwest and, but for the WG activity, it would have been a great day to sail almost west back to Nanaimo and then through Dodd Narrows. We had to settle for motor sailing with the genoa giving us about an extra tenth or two knots of speed. We timed our arrival at Porlier Pass for a calm transit back into the Gulf Islands. We decided to make our next stop at Montague Harbour, a place we have visited in the past. After anchoring, we launched the dinghy and headed for the dock which services the marine park. We had a delightful walk in the forest and along the shore before returning to the dock. For some unexplained reason, I suggested that we walk to the end of the dock where there was a sailboat tied up. As we reached the cockpit, we started talking with the occupants. One of the women said: “I know you from somewhere.” After a brief thought process, we realized that these were fellow cruisers from Mexico: Anne and Dick from Full & By! They were on a friend’s boat since Full & By was still in Mexico. We were invited onboard and proceeded to catch up on what has taken place since 2011 when we first met. They were in the process of planning their participation in the 2018 Pacific Puddle Jump, so we shared some of our experiences. They plan to only go as far as French Polynesia. Also onboard was a man who has his boat at Vuda Point Marina in Fiji where we lost Murar’s Dream to a fire. He knew Peter Drysdale who administered the Murar’s Dream Fund to help underprivileged Fijians. In fact, he is about to return to Fiji shortly, and he will be seeing Peter and can share our encounter with him. We returned to Lion’s Paw for dinner and an early night’s retirement.
We arose this morning to overcast skies with rain in the forecast. It was about 50 degrees, which really shows how overcast skies can trap the earth’s heat overnight. We weighed anchor and headed for the U.S. with our first stop at Friday Harbor. The crossing was uneventful, and we successfully checked in via telephone, avoiding the need to physically visit U.S. Customs. We were spared of rain for the first half of the journey, but it has been raining ever since. We have reservations for a multi-course dinner at a local restaurant tonight, and we will then be cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca tomorrow. We had hoped for some decent wind, but it does not appear to be in the forecast for now. Two more days, and we will be home.
Sorry for the lack of pictures in this blog. We both forgot our cameras when we were doing our walk at Montague Harbour, which was quite scenic. Full & By managed to get a picture of us, but we could not reciprocate.
03 October 2018 | Priestland Cove
Debra and Andy
It has been several days since we have been able to blog due to the lack of internet access, as we have been inside the Sunshine Coast behind very large mountains and in narrow water passages. On Saturday, we left Graveyard Bay on schedule and had a pleasant motor across the Malaspina Strait with virtually no wind and flat seas. Our plan was to anchor in Green Cove on Agamemnon Channel, but the weather made us quickly reevaluate our plans. What was previously a forecast of possible rain and light winds on Sunday turned into a 100% chance of rain with strong winds out of the southeast. If this had come to pass, our trip up the Jervis Inlet to Princess Louisa would surely have meant a very wet cockpit and cold temperatures-not our preference. We checked the charts and found two possible places to dock: the Backeddy Marina and the Egmont public dock, both on the Sechelt Inlet and good options to gunkhole for an extra day. After observing both places, we chose Egmont. We realized that we were only a mile or so from Sechelt Rapids, a place that we had visited several years ago with Debra's father and his wife, Nelia. We set out and spent a good while reaching the overlook which was over two miles of trails. We did have a brief break with a few treats at the local bakery along the trail.
We unfortunately missed the peak of the rapids but did get to observe a strong current with numerous eddies on an ebb flow. Upon our return to Lion's Paw, we settled in with a nice dinner of a new recipe, marinated skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. It did not disappoint. We then settled in for an evening of watching episodes of Ozark on Netflix as there was no telephone or internet access.
We awoke on Sunday morning to rain, which immediately answered our question of whether to head for Princess Louisa that day or spend an extra day in Egmont. It also helped that weather was forecast to start improving on Wednesday, so two days at Chatterbox Falls were in order. We spent the day aboard Lion's Paw but took a morning break for a walk which took us back the bakery for more goodies. They also had internet, so it gave us a chance to check our emails (nothing important) while Debra enjoyed a bowl of their vegan coconut soup while I had seconds on their amazing cinnamon rolls which are as good as I have ever had. We struggled with a choice for dinner-cooking aboard or going to the Inlet Restaurant at the West Coast Wilderness Resort which has a fantastic view of Sechelt Inlet. Our hesitancy was the weather (It had rained off and on most of the day) and the possibility of having to walk back the half mile in the dark. Our tastebuds won, and we donned our slickers for the walk. We were spared any rain going to dinner while it rained on us on our return, but we managed to get back to the marina before dark. The restaurant has a great reputation, and we were not disappointed. After catching a few more episodes of Ozark on Netflix, we turned in for the night, and we were serenaded to the raindrops hitting the deck of Lion's Paw throughout the night.
Things were looking more encouraging upon our arising on Monday morning. It was still quite overcast, but it was not raining, so we were looking forward to our trip to Princess Louisa. We timed our departure and speed to arrive at Malibu Rapids as close to slack as possible on our 6 hour transit. We experienced a variety of weather on this thirty mile journey-Wind on the nose, intermittent rain and even a bit of sunshine just before we arrived at the rapids. This included a nice rainbow.
We transited the rapids without incident, only experiencing a two knot head current and no whirlpools. Once we could see our final destination, there was only one other boat at the dock, which was not unexpected due to the weather and time of year.
As we approached the dock at Princess Louisa, it decided to rain once again, so it was a bit of a wet docking. We secured Lion's Paw and spent the afternoon with our traditional games of cribbage and dominoes. It was dinner onboard, followed by a few more episodes of Ozark. Although the forecast was for less rain, we experienced a long night of rain, some of it quite heavy at times.
We awoke on Tuesday to continued periods of rain. The one other boat at the dock decided to leave, so we became the sole cruisers at this incredible site. We were thinking that we would be cabin bound for the day until one of the small, sightseeing boats arrived with a couple of tourists. They tied up at the dock nearest the falls, and before long we heard a knock on our hull. It was the captain looking for a lighter (which of course we had). He wanted to start a fire for the tourists in the pagoda which has a
fire pit, and he invited us to join them. We put on our slickers and headed over through the mild rain.
We met the two tourist who were a couple from Vancouver and learned much from the captain who worked at the Wilderness Lodge where we dined the other night. He lived in Egmont, so he was a source of some local information which we thoroughly enjoyed. We remembered that we had some hot dogs aboard, and I had purchased some extendable, metal skewers several years ago but never had the opportunity to use them. I returned to Lion's Paw, grabbed the skewers, dogs and buns and returned to the pagoda for a weenie roast as the sightseeing boat was departing.
After lunch, we managed to trog our way through the soaked path to the waterfalls where we were able to experience the full force of the wind and mist created by the rushing water which was being fed by the continuing rain.
We returned to Lion's Paw, and before long, it began to clear. Soon it was sun and blue skies which lasted for the remainder of the day. We cooked onboard after an afternoon of table games and managed to squeak in one Netflix show-Rotten: Garlic Breath which was a documentary about the worldwide garlic industry. It was quite informative: China produces 90% of all the garlic grown worldwide. Most demand for garlic in the U.S. is peeled garlic, so the major Chinese company exporting here uses forced prison labor to peel the cloves. Some legal battles in the U.S. had transpired, and the result was that the Chinese company was allowed to continue to export free of any dumping fees. We retired for what was to be our final night at Princess Louisa.
We awoke about an hour before sunrise in order to time our transit of Malibu Rapids. It was the coldest morning yet. The temperature was 39 degrees. It was still almost pitch black when we left the dock, so we proceeded slowly until there was enough light to watch for logs in the water. By the time that we reached the rapids, there was good light, and the transit went without a hitch. As we entered Jervis Inlet,
we looked to our starboard to view the most spectacular sunrise we can recall. The sun lit up the snow dusted, rocky peaks in stark contrast to the still shaded evergreen hills below.
We continued on our journey down Jervis Inlet while still contemplating where to end this day's travel. We were able to maintain a fairly brisk pace as the seas were calm, and there was a slight tailwind. At one point, we were able to set the genoa headsail for a bit of motorsailing. Although the inlet was at flood stage (water flowing in), we found several back eddies along the shores which propelled us even faster. With several options for a stopping point, we decided to go as far as reasonable and found anchorage at Priestland Cove in Halfmoon Bay, which gives us numerous options for transiting the Strait of Georgia tomorrow. The forecast is for sunny skies and mild winds, so we are looking forward to a pleasant day as we continue south on our way back to Bainbridge Island over the next several days.