Galiander Travels - 2010

Desolation Sound and the South Gulf Islands

June 22(Tue)-27(Sun): Galiano Island to Lund
Jun 28(Mon)-29(Tue): Lund to Heriot Bay
July 7: Heading back home
July 7(Wed) - July 8(Thu): Heriot Bay to Whaler Bay
July 18-21: Wallace Island
July 25-27: Ganges and Russell Island

June 22(Tue)-27(Sun): Galiano Island to Lund

We finally departed Whaler Bay on June 22, catching the afternoon slack water in Active Pass. Our neighbour, Virginia, came down to help us throw of the lines and took this picture.

It was a lovely day and we had a nice uneventful power trip to Wallace Island where we raftd up with Leslie and Jacque on "Iris" for a couple of nights and spent a day hiking to Chivers Point at the North end of Wallace Island.
Under way to Wallace
But we were anxious to start moving North. We want to be at Quadra Island by the 30th and the winds were favourable. So Thursday, with light southerly winds, we gave ourselves lots of time and had a wonderful lazy sail to Dodd's Narrows, waited for slack and scooted through to Nanaimo where we cleaned the boat (lots of fresh water at last) and provisioned.

The weatherman was calling for Northwest winds dropping to light by noon so we set out promptly and  enjoyed a brisk beat into the wind until about half way across the Strait of Georgia; then we powered the rest of the way to Secret Cove on the Sunshine Coast. We rendezvoused with "My Girl" and enjoyed a delicious dinner together on the Upper Deck restaurant. "My Girl" also a  Catalina 34, is captained by a great musician guitar player who we enjoy jamming with.
Malaspina Strait
The following morning at 7am we went out to catch some strong South East  winds heading North. It was a fast, long, not always pleasant sail North, but we went a long way and are now happily nestled into Lund for a couple of nights. Desolation Sound is "right next door" and we are a day's travel from most of the popular playgounds.

After three moving days we were both exhausted and had a long and needed sleep last night.

We plan to move to Quadra Island over the next two days. The SE winds continue to blow so it should be a good ride.

John & Eleanor.


Jun 28(Mon)-29(Tue): Lund to Heriot Bay

John flowersIt is raining in Heriot Bay as I write this. Southerly winds continue to blow but lightly. Eleanor and I will be dining in style at the Heriot Bay Inn tonight and taking time to smell the flowers. Our laundry is done. We have some small amount of provisioning to do then we are ready to enjoy the Desolation Sound area. But where is our nice weather?

Originally the forecast for Monday was for pretty strong winds and we planned to stay in Lund another day. But the morning dawned with light winds and no strong winds in the forecast until the afternoon so off we went for the short (3 hour) run to Gorge Harbour on Cortez Island, an uneventful power sail all the way.

But soon after we got settled the wind started to build, reaching 20+ knots in the anchorage. We reset our hook in a more comfortable position and had an uneasy afternoon until the winds died. Gorge Harbour is very well protected but somehow it seems to be a bit of a wind magnet.

The run to Heriot Bay Inn this morning was easy, the winds were light but we managed to sail about half way. It is good to be here. We are winding down - the passage from Galiano to Desolation Sound was probably the fastest we have ever experienced, but it took it's toll. We are tired and looking forward to some "down time".

Tomorrow, we are looking forward  to seeing Doug and Kathy and our two little munchkins, Michaela and Maile.  We will be enjoying the July 1st celebrations at Rebecca Spit with them. Hope it doesn't rain. After that we may go across to Von Donnop Inlet on Cortez Island. We will see....

John & Eleanor.

July 7: Heading back home

We had a wonderful visit in Comox and a great family birthday party for Eleanor.

We will be back on Galiander tomorrow (Tuesday).

Arthritis, anxiety and stomach problems are taking it's toll on John.  We have decided to start heading home when we have good weather opportunities, of which we seem to have some for the next few days. We will take a break and then consider going out for shorter trips in the South Gulf Islands.

John & Eleanor

Eleanor birthday partyJuly 7(Wed) - July 8(Thu): Heriot Bay to Whaler Bay

Here is Eleanor, doing what she really likes to do on her birthday - enjoying her grandchildren.

Our plan was to go to Tribune Bay on Hornby Island on Wednesday, not half way home. Then on to Silva Bay on Gabriola on Thursday and then have a short day on Friday to get home. Things didn't quite work out that way - actually worked out a bit better. Wednesday morning at 6am we headed out from the Heriot Bay Inn docks in dead calm conditions to catch the southerly ebb tide. As predicted the North West winds were there to assist us so it was mostly a motor sailing trip, but a pleasant and easy one. We pulled into beautiful Tribune bay about 5pm.

Tribune Bay

Tribune Bay has to be one of the most beautiful anchorages on the coast. JohnIt is perfectly protected in North West winds. This picture taken to the South shows how exposed it is to southerlies. What a view! The forecast for Thursday was North West winds again building to 15-20 by late afternoon. So we left even earlier on Thursday morning, at 5:30am and got a lovely lift from the ebb tide. We powered along happily waiting expectantly for the Northwest winds to come along and assist us about the same time the flood tide started to oppose us. And the North West winds did build, but only so briefly and then instead of continuing to build as the afternoon progressed, they died. We were making such good time though, that we decided to carry on home. We approached Whaler Bay about 6:30pm in seas that were as flat and calm as those of Tribune Bay in the above image....

That was a long day but was I happy to be home!!!!


After a couple of weeks rest and some medical consultations we will plan on some short hops around the south Gulf Islands.

This LIttle Boat Of You And Me

July 18-21: Wallace Island

Panther Point

Wallace Island is a three hour trip from our dock in Whaler Bay. About an hour through Active Pass and then two hours North up Trincomali Channel. It is one of our favourite places to stop at during our trips North and South but rarely has been a destination in itself.   The above picture is taken from the South point of Wallace Island (called Panther Point) looking South down Trincomali Channel. On the right is Saltspring Island. On the left is Galiano Island. GalianderWay down there in the misty distance centre left sits Montague Harbour. In the middle farthest back sits the North part of Pender Island. The conditions as we came up were about the same as in this picture. We did get a bit of assist from the wind for part of the trip so it was a motor-sailing crossing. No excitement at all, which was just what we were looking for.

And we really lucked out! There was a spot on the little dock in Conover Cove just tailor made for Galiander.  There was actually a boat behind us when we pulled in so it was a bit tighter than this photo shows. We were surprised at how few people were camping but it might have been partly because of these cute little critters! Racoon

Wallace Island is currently suffering from an infestation of raccoons. They are particularly clever at prying their way into compartments on boats where food is stored or into containers that campers are using. On a boat across from us they found a small gap into the engine compartment and pried the lid off a rubbermaid container where they enjoyed a loaf of bread and a bag of potato chips. Fortunately they didn't do any damage.

We spent two nights on this idylic Island. Our friends Bruce and Marion had come over from Montague in their kayak for a few nights so we explored the trails together. John had an energetic two hour hike to the end of the island and back again. Everywhere we go it is beautiful.

Bits of history are still left including an old life boat and a truck probably used by David Conover, author of a fascinating story about Wallace island entitled "One Man's Island". You can read more about the history of Wallace Island, and view old pictures of Wallace Island at the web site for the book; "". His site has a good chart showing the location of Wallace Island.  There is also information on wikipedia  and at the Provincial Park website .

TrailGladeOld lifeboatWellHornpipe

It was nice being on the dock. There was lots of comings and going. A home made boat, an 18 foot Alaska,called "Hornpipe" stayed right behind us. It is a very small one man craft that can be sailed or rowed. Alex joined us for supper and turned out to be quite good on the harmonica so needless to say we had a pleasant musical evening.

The trip home proved as uneventful as our trip to the island, warm and pleasant.

Wallace Island

The above picture looks North with Saltspring on the left and Galiano on the right. Wallace Island is right in the middle.

This trip was a gentle way to return to cruising.

July 25-27: Ganges and Russell Island

Galiander at Ganges Public DocksWhaler Bay is located on the Strait of Georgia side of Galiano Island at the entrance to Active Pass. In order to get to most of the South Gulf Islands cruising area it is necessary to go through Active Pass. This restricts our travel to when the tide is flowing in the direction we want to go. Our exit from Whaler Bay is also complicated by the fact that it is very difficult to leave during a low tide. In addition a strong North West wind can make it very difficult to get off the dock. Our ideal time to leave was early in the morning but the North West winds had been blowing very hard in the mornings. On Saturday we cancelled our trip. But then on Sunday decided to get up really early based on advice from our wharfinger that the winds don't really get going until 7:30 in the morning. So there we were Monday morning at 6am. Eleanor gave the stern a really good push and we powered backwards away from the dock out into the clear in a modest 10 knot NW wind. We were on our way and by 9am we were occupying a truly wonderful spot on the public docks at Ganges Harbour on Saltspring.

We stayed two nights - enjoying friends and the dock scene - which change constantly.

We said fond goodbyes to Ganges fairly early on Wednesday and powered around Saltspring to Russell Island which is near Fulford Harbour. Russell Island is part of the South Gulf Islands National Park. This was our first visit to Russell Island and it is a real gem. The anchorage, which is between Russell Island and Saltspring Island, is exposed to the North West but was calm and tranquil the day we visited. That is Galiander in the middle of the picture below - the sailboat with the blue sail cover. Saltspring Island and Fulford Harbour are in the background.

Russel Isand Anchorage.

The hiking trails are marvelous and the old homestead is staffed by descendants of the original settlers who were Hawaiin inter-married with First Nations and Europeans. Path on Russell IslandParks Canada is doing a good job with this site.

Whale watching boats in Active PassAt 3pm we lifted anchor and headed out to catch the flood tide home. Our trip was capped by something we don't experience very often. As we approached Active Pass Eleanor noticed a bunch of whale watching boats and a pod of Orcas. We all entered Active Pass about the same time, carried along by a nice 4 knot current. By the time we got through  Active Pass we had shared it with with three ferries, a tug and tow, a pod of Ocras and about five whale watching boats. We arrived home feeling very pleased indeed. Active Pass

We are about to depart on a trip to pick up Eleanor's sister on the Sunshine Coast and go to the Okanagan to visit Eleanor's Dad (who is 101 and still living on his own).

 Return to the table of contents for the Galiander Journals

Return to John and Eleanor Coulthard's home page.