Galiander Travels - 2007

June 27 - Montague Marine Park, Galiano Island

It was a dark and stormy night... Well, actually, it was calm as a mill pond in Montague harbour. The evening silence was shattered by a pair of squabbling seals off the starboard side of the boat. The mooring buoys are about half taken - not busy at all. We left the Whaler Bay dock at 5pm with the Sun trying fitfully to penetrate a high overcast sky. The winds were light from the southeast and of no help at all for this short two hour trip. We slipped neatly through Active Pass just before it became occupied by two Spirit class vessels, a smaller Gulf Islands ferry and a commercial vessel of some nature. Eleanor heard me saying, "Let's get out of here!". After a full day of packing and house cleaning we were happy to be on our way.

June 28, Conover Cove, Wallace.

Wallace Island is very near Retreat Cove on Galiano Island so we arranged to meet our friends Bob and Liz for coffee on the way up. That worked great. Conditions remained flat calm but it is only about an hour up the Island. As well as having a nice visit we took the opportunity to unload a little excess baggage and send it back with them.

At 1pm we motored into Conover Cove. The dock was occupied but luckily one boat was leaving in 20 minutes so we hung around until they left. This is a beautiful location. We will stay several nights to hike and sketch. A short walk to Picnic Point at the south end of the Island was followed by heavy rain. Later we sat in the cockpit watching the sun go down. We are slowing down.

Sailboat hits a rockJuly 1 - A sailboat hits a rock.

Eleanor and I were sitting up at Chivers Point and the North end of Wallace Island looking across the narrow passage to the Secretary Islands. This is a rock strewn shallow passage that I would never dream of taking Galiander through in any tide. At the time we were enjoying a very low tide. A small dinghy came tearing through the passage and disappeared. "Local knowledge?", I thought to myself. Chart of rockAbout 10 minutes later he reappeared at a slower speed with a big sailboat following him. "Hmmm", I thought to myself, "This is interesting.". Just as he was exiting the passage, looking like he was in the clear clear, "CLANG!" - a sailboat can ring like a bell when it hits a rock. He came to stop and slid back. The dinghy came back for a conference. I heard the fellow at the wheel say, "I think I'll try over here." gesturing to his right. And, indeed he motored through and carried on. I laughed and commented to Eleanor, "Must be a charter boat.". We checked the chart afterwards - the
rock is charted.

This came after a very nice hike on, finally, a really reasonable day. The day before brought almost continuous rain in the afternoon and a big thunderstorm that made us glad we were tied to a dock.

There are a pair of big Osprey's here at Conover Cove. We didn't recognize them at first - a Bald Headed Eagle sized bird but quite different markings. We watched one take a crab up into a tree and devour it - well the body part anyhow. I've never seen that before - in fact wouldn't have guessed an Osprey would take a crab.

We are now sitting comfortably at the Maddison dock in Degnen Bay on Gabriola Island now - and have high speed internet and the luxury of sending a picture. Showery weather remains in the forecast. We expect to go to the Port of Naniamo next.

July 4: Jedediah Island.

The weather often guides our travel plans. Yesterday we had a pleasant trip from Degnen Bay on Gabriola Island to the Port of Naniamo. Originally we thought we would stay for two days but the weather forecast changed our mind. The low pressure systems offshore that were generating our south winds were breaking down and a high pressure ridge was building on the coast. This means warm, sunny weather but also means that the winds would shift and start coming out of the north west - right where we wantJeddediah stern to to go.

It looked like we had a one day window to make some progress North before the winds started building, so we abandoned our plans to stay a full day in Naniamo and spent a busy afternoon shopping, and doing laundry. We started at 6:30 am today but already the wind had built to 10 knots against us. However 10 knots is a nice wind to tack into (not a lot of swells) so we sailed across to the Sunshine Coast.  About three hours later the wind died and we motored another 4 hours up to Jedediah Island.

We plan to say here a few days and hope the wind shifts to the south again on Friday or Saturday. It has been beautiful and hot. We accepted an invitation from another boat to have oysters and Oyster Bay Wine in Oyster Bay, a small nook just big enough for one boat. We had our first swim around the boat (John did it three times!). Tomorrow we will go hiking on Jedediah with new friends we met in Conover Cove.

It is not busy. The Port of Naniamo had lots of  dock space available. There are only three boats here in Deep Bay at the North end of Jedediah and maybe two more anchored around the corner.

No cell coverage here but my HAM radio communications are all working fine.

July 6: Waiting for the weather, repairs

Yesterday we spend a marvelous day hiking around Jedediah Island. The old and very tame horse, "Will" has died and we visited his grave (we used to feed him apples). Feral sheep and goats continue to wander the Island and there are no deer (perhaps due to the competition for grazing food?). Magnificent.

Eleanor is spending her birthday (today!) doing watercolours in the cockpit and exploring the bay and Island north of here using the Kayak. We had a lazy morning. Eleanor got a marvelous omelette (by John) while we listened to Lynette Salton and Peter Dent, "Alive at the Whaler Bay Lodge", on the CD. Wonderful memories.

We are hoping to make move North tomorrow. It doesn't look like the North West winds are going to change but they are forecast to ease, so we are resigned to beating our way up to Desolation Sound. Our plan is to power up to the North end of Lasqueti Saturday morning and then beat across to Denman Island and anchor in Henry Bay at the North end. On Sunday, with luck, we can beat across to Lund, or if the wind really dies simply power straight for Cortez Island. We will see how it goes. Once in Desolation Sound the weather generally is not a big impediment to our movement.

In the meantime I have taken some time to tackle little repairs on the boat.  A new fire extinguisher has been installed. Yesterday the bilge pump operated (very unusual on this boat).  This triggered a hurried check of all the through hull fittings.  We discovered soapy water in the bilge. This would only come from the sink or perhaps the fridge, which we cleaned out with soapy water earlier. Well, better it comes from inside the boat than outside. I still haven't managed to track it down. I suspect the fridge as it hasn't reoccurred.

My little unit that allows me to send email has become quite persnickety about starting up. If this unit quits this form of email will not be possible and I will be reduced to using Marina email facilities - and you will hear from us much less frequently. The cellphone and regular HAM voice communications will continue to work fine - but not the email. We will see - I am hoping it may be a loose connection of some sort and I can fix it.

Deep Bay on the North end of Jedediah is an anchorage where people have to take a stern line to shore. I greatly dislike anchorages like this, especially if there is any side wind. A Beneteau 42, came in, anchored, put out a stern line and all looked well. Then he decided to reposition his hook further out. He ended up with the stern line wrapped around his prop and snugged up against the boat next to him. Fortunately this happened in calm conditions and no damage was done except to his pride. He dropped a second anchor further out with his dinghy and cranked himself away from his new companion. About an hour later I was over there in the top half of my wet suit with goggles, sawing away at the line wrapped around the prop with a bread knife. About a half hour's work with a little help from another boater and Eleanor freed the line. All is well. It sure felt good to be able to help out. I really dislike stern tying. I have seen, and experienced, too many problems. I suppose it provides entertainment as long as nobody is hurt and nothing gets damaged.

They did report their problem to the Coast Guard and to their credit a Coast Guard Auxiliary from Lasquetti dropped around just as we were finishing up freeing the line.  He thanked us for being good Samaritans and Eleanor calls me "her hero". Wow!

July 8: Squirrel Cove, Cortez Island.

The wind came up Friday night at Jedediah Island  and we had trouble getting to sleep. At midnight we heard shouting. Indigo, the boat next to us had dragged anchor. They didn't hit anything but everyone in the anchorage was up. They got re-anchored but then an hour later had to re-anchor again (they discovered a piece of caHenry Baynvas wrapped around their anchor!). We didn't get to sleep until after 2am - exhausted after the adrenalin rush wore off.

Saturday a front stalled and reversed the North West winds we were experiencing. We had a two day window to get to Desolation Sound. On Saturday we powered to Henry Bay at the North end of Denman Island (nr Comox) in mostly calm conditions.  It was a tiring day after our short sleep but Henry Bay was an idyllic anchorage, mirror calm and we slept like logs, arising at 6am Sunday for the early start for the final leg to Desolation Sound. We powered till about 11 then motor sailed and then sailed the rest of the way to Desolation sound. We are here! North west Gales are forecast for Johnstone Strait and up to NW25 in the Strait of Georgia but we don't care any more.

Now for a couple of layover days.

July 12: Heriot Bay Marina, Quadra Island.

SingingWe had a relaxing two days in Squirrel Cove before mostly powering around the North end of Cortez Island and up here to Heriot Bay on Quadra Island. This is our favourite place to re-supply and do laundry. We are staying for two nights.

In Squirrel Cove we met Don who owns a Gibson Tenor guitar. This was an unusual instrument for me in that it had only four strings. It was sure beautiful though. We had a good jam session together. Here at Heriot Bay we are just ahead of another Catalina 34. Dave on Island Girl is a rather excellent guitar player and has a Yamaki aboard - a real nice guitar. We had a great sing a long and are going to have another one tonight.

Tomorrow we plan to head out again, probably to the Octopus Islands and should be back here in about a week to re-provision.

We have a wireless internet service here so I thought I would take the opportunity to attach a few pictures.

July 16: Waiatt Bay, North end Quadra Island Waiait Bay

We had a nice slow uneventful sail to Surge Narrows. Slack water wasn't until 5pm and Surge Narrows is only about 2 hours from Heriot Bay but we left at 1:30pm because we were feeling a little guilty about tying up a slip as the next shift of boats was coming in. It worked out great because the winds were light. From Surge Narrows it is only a short 1 hour power to Waiatt Bay.

John and Marlene aboard "Irandar" (stands for IRving ANdrew and DArlene) a 39 foot Monk designed wooden trawler joined us the next day and we planned to take them hiking up to Newton Lake (about an hour's hike). Lots of rain early in the morning postponed our plans.  The woods would be soaking wet and the trails muddy. Irandar couldn't stay around another Newton Lakeday and left. 

Meantime, out in the Strait of Georgia near Comox, the winds were blowing Southeast 25 with four foot swells. In here that translates to periodic gusts to about 15 knots in very flat conditions. Not a problem.

Eleanor went to a nearby beach in the kayak and noticed a mink digging for clams so she went to the same spot and got some for us. We also caught a nice Red Rock crab with leftover chicken bones and other stuff. Eleanor made a wonderful chowder with the clams.

Today we got in our hike to Newton Lake, including a side trip to gather another nice little bag of clams at low tide in Small Inlet . We hid our boots and shovel and dropped the clams over a cliff with a line. After our hike down we retrieved the bag with a long stick; they had been well rinsed by the in coming tide. Great day, mostly sunny, little wind. Newton Lake was so pretty and so refreshing. Great swimming. We think we may go back tomorrow - travelling a little lighter without clamming gear and do some sketching and more swimming.

July 20: Hunkered down at the Heriot Bay Marina. 

Both Eleanor and I woke up with sore backs on Tuesday, so we decided to not hike and just take it easy. There did not seem to be many boats around so for a change of scene we decided to move Galiander a short distance into the Octopus Islands Marine Park itself. One of the interesting things about this entire area is that boats can only enter it through one of the tidal narrows during slack water, which right now is about 1pm. So boats leave about noon and the new boats don't arrive until about 2pm. So at 1pm when we entered the Marine Park there were only three boats in the outer anchorage. An hour later there were a dozen. It feels like we are surrounded by boats. I had forgotten how closely boats can anchor together in shallow water (about 15 feet here at low tide). It is certainly a different scene, dinghies scooting about, dogs barking. We will contribute to the scene with a little guitar playing.... It has been raining on and off for most of the day.

Wednesday morning we awoke to only 4 boats in the anchorage. The rest had left for the early slack. It was a lovely morning. Eleanor went kayaking.and left a missive at the Kimball's cabin. The flag that Kathy and Doug left in 02 was in good shape. We caught the late slack at 1:43pm and powered to Von Donop Inlet on Cortez Island in light winds and light rain slowly increasing to heavy rain. What a dreary evening! It is not supposed to be like this!

Heriot Bay AheadBut Thursday made up for it with a mix of sun and cloud. A nice hiking day! We hiked across to Squirrel Cove. As men will sometimes do I stopped by the trail to relieve myself. As I was doing this I noticed an increased number of insects flying around and suddenly came to the realization that I was peeing almost directly onto a bee's nest. This resulted in a little excitement I'll tell you. I got away with only three minor stings through clothing. If Eleanor had been close enough to see it I am sure she would have laughed at the image of me hopping around.

The weather man forecast worse. More Southeast wind and more rain through the weekend. We decided to hunker down in a more civilized setting and headed over to the Heriot Bay Marina, about two hours away. It was one of the fastest and lumpiest crossings we have ever made from Cortez to Quadra. The wind was about 22 knots from the beam with ugly unpredictable wave conditions. We were sure happy to get in but our trial was not over. We were asked to back into our spot with a cross wind to boot. I can back up fairly good in calm conditions but in a cross wind between two docks????? The first try we aborted early when I misjudged how quickly the wind would catch the bow. The second time we got in with a lot of helping hands. It was not my best maneuver but maybe about as good as one can do under the conditions. Nothing was damaged but my self esteem. The Heriot Bay Marina is completely protected from Southeast winds and the water was flat, but the wind still sneaks in over the trees at about 5 knots gusting to 10 to 15. A small swell works itself around the point. All the boats are rocking gently.

And now it is raining. These conditions are predicted to continue through Sunday so we are staying put for three nights at least. We have reservations for supper at 7. We have a wireless Internet service that sometimes works. So here are some pictures.

July 31, Gorge Harbour

Here we are swinging on the hook in Gorge Harbour on the South end of Cortez Island. We are now heading south, although not really quickly. Home beckons to both of us. Been 11 days since our last report - a lot of ground to cover but I will try to keep this short.

Von Donnop RainWe left Heriot Bay marina a week ago Monday with a forecast of Southeast winds and cloudy, showery weather and an expectation of much better. We had an almost idyllic sail from Heriot Bay to the entrance of Von Donop Inlet (also known as the Ha'thayim Marine Park). Our idyllic day was interrupted only by torrential rain just before we arrived and more torrential rain later in the evening as we drifted on the anchor in light winds.

Tuesday we awoke to fog, a soaking wet boat and a crab trap full of red rock crabs. By 9:30 we were on our way and within an hour were in sunshine. A long route up Toba Inlet via Pryce Channel, then slowly down pretty Waddington Channel saw us dropping the hook in Roscoe Bay at 3:30pm. The water temperature there was 74F. Roscoe Bay was quite a different scene. There were about 25 boats anchored or stern tied to the shore but the bay could handle twice as many. A lovely swimming lake was only a 10 minute walk away from the end of the bay. We were surrounded by luxurious yachts. Just over to one side two big power boats had a small float plane rafted up to them. Some of the "dinghy's" are quite impressive one went by with seven people and two large dogs on board.

We had a wonderful view of East Redonda Island with a snow capped peak beyond. The picturesque scene changed colours, reflections  and shadows as we swung at the hook. But all good things come to an end. Another front  approached (South East winds and more rain) and we wanted to be back in Heriot Bay so we could meet Eleanor's friend coming  up from Vancouver.  Originally we planned to be there on Friday but it turned out that dock space was extremely limited due to a private party at the Heriot Bay Inn on Saturday. However we managed to find space at the nearby Taku Marina for Thursday night only and decided to take it. Cancellations at Taku allowed us to spend the weekend there and it was a good place to sit out the blow.

Five days passed. The winds roared (not much rain). We kibitzed with people ashore, ate out, visited old friends, new friends, relatives and enjoyed a salmon BBQ . We even managed another trip to Campbell River for a wonderful visit with Poppy and Hans and Christy and a great play time with grandchildren, Tyler and Jessica.

We hope to visit with relatives boating in Desolation Sound tomorrow. Then we will do another leg south.

We probably won't be in a position to send any pictures until we get home now (in two weeks).

WestviewAug. 3: Westview Public Docks.

Today was one of those really nice sailing days. We left Mink Island at about 7:30, power sailed to the end of Malaspina Peninsula and then had a wonderful down wind sail all the way to Westview, settling in at about 1:30. The Westview Public Docks are quite a different scene. "Can you exit from the stern of the boat?" we were asked. "Go to the North end of finger 3 and back up all the way to the end, port side tie, bow out.". They really pack the boats in here!  As I write this the Queen of Burnaby pulls into the Ferry Dock only a short distance away. The Ferry Dock here provides service to Comox and also to Texada Island. The crowding and noise is partly ameliorated by the reasonable tariff at about $0.60 per foot. There are numerous quite nice looking restaurants within easy walking distance of the dock. We had an excellent Thai meal. A big shopping mall is available via a shuttle service.

We came from the Mink Islands where we spent two days enjoying the company of  our relatives the Maddisons and their  friends. All were tied to  the mother ship "Winsome" the lovely old sailboat formerly belonging to Uncle Ches and Aunt Win Rickard. It was a delight for Eleanor to see this wonderful world travelled boat being enjoyed by family and friends once again. The swimming was the best yet. All the gang paddled and dinghied to the near by Curmie Islands for a swim;  diving off  the rock ledges at high tide was the best yet.

Tomorrow we head for St. Vincent's Bay in Jervis Inlet where we expect to visit our Niece Courtney and her husband Greg.

Aug 7: (Tuesday) Pender Harbour

"Attention passengers on the outside deck - the ship's whistle is about to sound - H-O-O-O-O-O-O!". It is 7am Saturday morning; we are next to the Westview ferry dock. By 7:30 am we gently nudge forward out of our position deep inside the nested boats in Westview and are on our way. By the time we reached nearby Grief Point the engine was off and we were under way under full sail. We sailed down Malaspina Strait wing on wing, made a turn into Jervis Inlet to sail wing on wing finishing off with a beautiful beam run to sail right in front of Courtney and Greg's cottage. We didn't turn on the motor until we were approaching our anchorage. Our best sailing day yet!

St. Vincents BaySunday and Monday we enjoyed the beach with Court and Greg in the warm afternoon sun. It is lovely here. There are lots of wild birds and we have been told that bear can be sighted on the beach near where we are anchored. Old fruit trees and grapevines mixed with blackberries grow ashore.There are no other boats nearby, in fact the place seemed deserted. We enjoyed sharing meals with Greg and Court and getting to know their little children Madison and Barrett.

St. Vincent's bay is completely open to the South. Perhaps that is the reason it is not more popular. I suspect it is fine as long as the prevailing wind is Northwest. A little roll works in from the South but it is not bad. Sunday night  two other boats anchored just off the beach about a kilometer from here.

Today we moved to Pender Harbour. It was a mixed day that started out with an hour and a half of brisk sailing followed by several hours of powering up narrow Agamemnon Channel into a light head wind and calm seas, heavy overcast and light showers. Originally we had planned to go to Secret Cove, a further two hours of cruising but when we emerged from Agamemnon Channel into Malaspina Strait the head wind increased and an ugly chop developed. So we cut our day short and made an immediate left hand turn into Pendr Harbour and got a slip at Fisherman's Marina. Here we have laundry, groceries and a short walk to the excellent Garden Bay Pub and Restaurant. We enjoyed an excellent bouillabaisse for supper.

Wednesday we plan to go to Plumper Cove on Keats Island (between Bowen Island and Gibsons), weather permitting of course. The winds are forecast to be favourable - if they aren't we will go only as far as Secret Cove or stay put here.

Aug 10: (Friday) Home at Whaler Bay

Wednesday morning we were greeted by a major "shower" and postponed our departure from Pender Harbour until late morning. As a result we only went as far as Secret Cove, exploring Buccanner Bay on Thormandy Island along the way. We stopped early at Secret Cove Marina, a pleasant picturesque place. We enjoyed supper there in a very scenic setting and had one of the most delicious meals of the trip.

The weather has been indifferent, sun, clouds, showers and little wind. John was getting nervous about the weather patterns and both of us were looking forward to getting home. Silva Bay departureSo Thursday we powered to Silva Bay on Gabriola Island in very flat conditions. The rather tedious crossing was followed by very heavy rainfall which fortunately we experienced from inside the Silva Bay Marina Pub with relatives and enjoyed a really good visit.

Friday the weatherman forecast Northwest winds until about noon and then a switch to the South. By 7am we were on our way out of Silva Bay, snapping photos of the early morning lights, and after a straight forward motor sail were secure in our berth  at home before noon. Whaler Bay was welcoming and sunny for our exit off Galiander.

It is good to be  home - everything looks fantastic.

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