2012 SUMMER CRUISE WITH  FOCUSED

GULF ISLANDS - BRITISH COLUMBIA

We had untied Helios from her slip and motored out of Breakwater about 2 in the afternoon on Friday. Joe and Cheryl Guizzetti on Focused were motoring from Thea Foss to meet us. Since we had somewhat of a timeline there was no sailing in the light air, as we motored up Colvos Passage to Eagle Harbor. It was  a help for Saturday's long day of travel to be able to complete 20 on Friday afternoon. We arrived at the outstation and 3 TYC members were there already, and they helped tie up Helios and Focused. The next day we had planned on traveling to the new outstation at Coronet Bay next to Deception Pass, which was 55 miles away. The Hendersons and Flatens were headed directly to the San Juans, while Roger & Sue Williams were also going to the Deception Pass outstation. We were out and on our way at 7:30. We had the ebb helping us as we made our way up the east side of Bainbridge Island to the top, where we crossed over and headed towards Edmonds. It was just after Edmonds that the ebb worked against us all the way to the southern entrance to the Swinomish Channel. As we approached Coronet Bay the flood current coming through Deception Pass slowed us considerably. There is a long narrow channel to follow to enter the Deception Pass Marina, where the TYC outstation is located. We decided to have Focused go first with the ability to maneuver in tight places with the bow thruster. They were able to tie up and call us to let us know that we would be across from them on an empty slip. The next day was a short day of travel with our destination being Spencer Spit off Lopez Island, 20 miles away. We had planned to leave later in the morning and use the declining ebb to help us and then the flood up Rosario Strait for assistance, but we left early when there was a question about enough water under the keels while at the outstation. It was a foggy, drizzly day as I led the way and as Helios and Focused went over to anchor on the south side of the spit, Sojourn continued on to Roche Harbor. As it turned out this was the worst weather we would have for the entire trip, and after a long dinghy ride, both couples snuggled in with the heat on for a cozy evening. The rainbow in the picture was taken after our dinghy ride.

We had a little wind from the south over the night, but we had a solid bite with the anchor and had no problems. We pushed back our departure to 9:30 and headed for Bedwell Harbour. I had called and reserved two slips for us at Poet's Cove Marina on South Pender Island, which is right next to the Custom's Dock in Bedwell Harbour. Joe and Cheryl have Nexus cards so they cleared Canadian Customs with a phone call, while Linda and I cleared in person. It was only 22 miles of travel so we had most of the afternoon to walk around the Poet's Cove Resort. We also caught up on a few clean up details, with Joe cleaning his mast climbing line, which had a little mildew. You can see from the picture that was very convenient with Helios and Focused right across the finger pier from each other.

We slept very well and were up at 7:30 for coffee. Linda read while I checked the weather and updated this blog. We decided to stay until the official departure time of noon, when we pointed the bows towards Montague Harbour about 15 miles away. It was an easy trip with the Canadian ferries providing the only excitement as we made sure we were out of their way. We arrived at Montague at 2 and set about finding the perfect anchorage for our boats. After we were anchored Linda and I put the dinghy in the water and as I held on to the toe rail and rub rail Linda washed and scrubbed the waterline. We headed over to Focused after we were done and picked up Joe and Cheryl for a trip to the store at the marina. Cheryl and I had ice cream then we all loaded back in the dinghy for a trip over to the Provincial Park, where we tied up the dinghy to the dock and walked up into the campground for a view of the anchorage. We then took the dinghy for a tour of the boats in the anchorage, before ending up back at Focused to drop off Joe and Cheryl. We headed back to get our chicken and wine for dinner and then were back at Focused where Joe grilled and we ate. We sat around after dinner and talked and watched the sunset. Linda and I were back at Helios a little before 10 and it was time for bed. We are planning on leaving around 10 tomorrow for Telegraph Harbour Marina on Thetis Island.

We were up at 6 to clear blue sky and seeing the sun hit the tree tops of the surrounding hills. I fired up the diesel heater and Helios was warm and cozy. We had coffee and discussed possible stops for our cruise to give Joe and Cheryl a flavor of various stops. We had the anchor up by 10 and were moving northward towards Telegraph Harbour. We were just off the southwest corner of Wallace Island when the Canadian Coast Guard hovercraft made and appearance. It was moving at almost 40 knots. It was tending the red marker buoy on that corner. We were tied up at Telegraph Harbour by 1 and were across the dock from each other. We were at the north end of the pier farthest out. I helped Joe mark the anchor chain for Focused with different colored rubber inserts from Imtra, and Linda and Cheryl walked over to the "Honor Store" and bought some bread. Upon their return we put the dinghy in the water and motored over to Thetis Island Marina to see what the little store had available. We then headed through the "Cut" to Clam Bay and motored around looking at the various boats at anchor. We got back, and since we had the end of the dock to ourselves, set up our chairs and Joe's portable table for dinner. We stayed outside visiting until after sunset and a few bugs started to come out to join us.

We slept in until 7 and had coffee and breakfast, then showers. It was time to start a new day. We decided to walk to the ferry terminal and take a ride over to Chemainus and see the wall murals on the downtown buildings. The walk gave us a little exercise as it was up and down hills for about 20 minutes. The ferry ride was about 25 minutes and dropped you off real close to the downtown area. We stopped at Barnacle Barney’s for a large lunch, so dinner would be snacks, wine and conversation. The lunch was very good. We spent about 2 hours walking around town looking at the murals and various shops and then caught the 5:00 ferry back to Thetis Island. The walk back was a little warm, but there was more downhill than uphill. We settled in and set up the chairs on the dock with the foldable table scaled down for snacks. The bugs started visiting around sunset so we moved back aboard our boats.

We decided to head to Nanaimo and called to see if reservations could be made for tonight to go with ours for tomorrow and the answer was yes. We sailed for about an hour and then it was time to motor to Dodd Narrows before the ebb was too strong against us. As we were approaching Dodd Narrows we were hailed on the VHF by Mike Hoffman on Lady Hawk, who was headed south. They had spent last night in Nanaimo. We had about 1.5-2.0 knots against us as we made our way through Dodd Narrows, but there were no problems. We came into Nanaimo and contacted Cameron Marina on VHF 67 and they were there on the docks to help tie up Helios, and then Focused. There was plenty of power and water, so Joe and Linda got the hoses out to wash the salt off the boats. After Focused and Helios got their baths, it was time for an exploratory walk around the esplanade of the waterfront and an early dinner. We went to the Bistro Pub and got a table outside on the veranda to watch the going on of the marina while having dinner. After dinner the temperature had gone down and the wind continued, so we were back to the boats and then to Helios’ enclosed cockpit for an evening get together, and after sunset we retired to Helios and Focused for a quiet evening.

                   

We were up at 6:30 for coffee and to watch the activity of the boats leaving or going to the fuel dock. We had breakfast and I jumped in the shower, and then we started a load of clothes in the washing machine. It is good to use it 3 or 4 times a year. Joe was back around 11 from a morning walk and Cheryl was done with her chores about the same time. We left the dock in groups with Joe and me heading to the marine store and Linda and Cheryl to the shops downtown, with an agreement to meet for lunch. We had lunch at Penny’s Palapala, which is on the docks and then walked over to the Thrifty Food Store and BC Liquor store to resupply the boats. Then it was time to settle down at the boats for the evening. Cheryl made up some shrimp cocktails which she brought over to Helios and we sat around in the cockpit enjoying the sun. Then they headed back to Focused to cook dinner and we cooked ours and had dinner in Focused cockpit. Then we walked the docks looking at the various boats, including the Sachas from TYC with Sound Harbor. We discussed the departure time for tomorrow and decided that the goal was to cast off lines at 6:30.

We were both off the dock and motoring out by 6:30 with Dodd Narrows 5.5 nm away. There were boats waiting to pass through Dodd Narrows southbound as we approached because a tug and log boom were just clearing in a northward direction. It was an easy motor down to the Sansum Narrows, and Linda had called ahead to reserve space at Dungeness Marina in Cowichan, but we were supposed to arrive around 1 and at our current pace we would be there before noon. We took a side tour to Maple Bay Yacht Club to look at the reciprocal dock, and then looking at Genoa Bay before going over to Dungeness Marina. We tied up on a finger pier with Focused on the opposite side. It was a little bouncy, until the 6 o’clock calm. We walked the one street looking at all the shops, gallery and the one marine store. We made reservations at the Masthead Restaurant and headed back to the boats. We dressed up a little and had a wonderful dinner on the deck overlooking the harbor. We spent the rest of the evening sitting in the cockpit and enjoying the setting sun, before heading to bed.

         

We were up at 6:30 for coffee and breakfast. Then it was time for showers and getting ready to head out to Ganges. The trip was about 3 hours and we had a difficult time getting into our slip. We had to back in against the wind and it took 3 tries before we were safely tied up, and it was time for Focused, which did a fine job backing into their slip on the opposite side of the finger pier from us. We walked to the downtown area about 10 minutes away. There were numerous shops along with a Thrifty Foods. Joe and I found some stuff to buy at Mouatts Hardware in their marine section. We walked back and the wind was still strong so we all got together in Helios’ cockpit for wine, cheese and crackers. The wind finally lightened and Joe fired up his grill to cook the steaks, and when done we ate in our cockpit, and then waited for the sun to go down and the moon to rise.

The checkout time for the marina was 11, and we pulled out then, with Focused first and then Helios. The trip over to Horton Bay or Winter Cove is only a couple of hours, and we only had to dodge one of the large fast Canadian ferries before entering Navy Channel, which had a positive flow for us on the flooding tide. We decided to check Horton Bay out first and if we didn’t like it, then go to Winter Cove with Port Browning as a backup. Horton Bay was like falling down the rabbit hole, with a current of 3.5-4.0 knots pushing us along and never going below 1 knot in the bay. We talked it over and decided to head over to Winter Cove. We didn’t have a very good SOG with all the current against us, but it was a safe trip. Winter Cove had plenty of anchorage and we both dropped anchor in the southeast portion of the cove. We spent some time straightening and cleaning our boats and then it was time for a dinghy ride. We picked up Joe and Cheryl and crossed over the cove to look at the small boat passage. At first we just passed by the opening and rode the current, but then it seemed that there was enough water over the rocks to pass through, which we did. We headed out to the Belle Islets, which are a bird sanctuary. We saw two mature bald eagles and one that was 2 or 3 years old and had not yet gotten its white head or tail feathers. We also saw a black oystercatcher, with its bright orange legs, feet and beak, along with numerous small birds. There were a large group of seals that didn’t seem that disturbed with our presence, as we kept about 50 yards away and were motoring slowly. We crossed back over to the shoreline of Samuel Island and traveled along it until it was time to ride the current through small boat passage. We motored around the rest of the cove and saw some very shallow spots, but there was enough water that we didn’t touch. We agreed that Focused would grill the dinners, fish for them chicken for us and we would eat in Focused cockpit. Linda and I headed back to Helios to get things ready for dinner and motored back in about an hour. The dinner was great and we sat in the cockpit until the sun set around 9:30 and it was time to head back to Helios.

         

It was a beautiful morning with bright sunshine and calm water. I made a route from Winter Cove to Friday Harbor and it is 20 miles, which should take us about 3 hours, plus or minus depending upon the currents. We are planning on leaving at 10 which is about an hour before low tide, so we can see all the rocks to avoid.

The anchors were up with plenty of mud and seaweed to be washed off. We motored out into Plumper Bay and then across Boundary Passage and on to Friday Harbor. Joe and Cheryl used the NEXIS program and just called to clear Customs, but we went to the Customs Dock checked in and waited for the Customs Officer to come down and visually inspect the documents. Once she approved the documents then I completed the form to purchase my tab for the year and we were on our way to the fuel dock. We took 78 gallons at $4.03, which isn’t too bad for about 350 miles. With a full tank we tied up in front of Focused along the inside of breakwater “C”, opposite the seaplane dock. We rinsed Helios to get rid of the salt spray and then cleaned up to walk around town. It was a little late for shopping as most of the stores that Linda and Cheryl were interested in were closing, but they have all day tomorrow. Joe and I found King’s Marine, West Marine and ACE Hardware. I bought a handheld depth gauge that will primarily be used in the dinghy. We walked down to “The Place” by the ferry landing and had a wonderful dinner, and then a rather quick walk back in the cooling evening.

We were up a little before 7 for coffee and some reading. There is a light cloud cover, which should burn off as the day goes along. After breakfast the girls got ready and headed to town for a concentrated day of shopping. Joe was going in to find nuts and bolts to mount a winch handle to his mast, so I did some small projects on Helios until Joe got back. He had bought a pound of shrimp, so we split it, put a little cocktail sauce on them and had lunch. After lunch we did a couple of small projects on Focused and then moved to the cockpit for a can of pop and conversation. The girls got back around 3 with shopping bags full. We visited in the cockpit for a while and then decided to move to Helios for snacks and drinks. I put up a couple of beach towels on the starboard side to block the sun and it was very comfortable. We broke up around 6:30 and agreed to meet on Focused at 7 when Joe would have the grill hot and ready. He grilled our hamburgers and their chicken, and then we had dinner in their cockpit. Just before sunset we walked the B-C-D breakwaters looking at boats. It had cooled enough that it was time to head inside, and we said we would be up to help them off tomorrow morning on their way home.

We were up at 6 for coffee. We went out to help Joe and Cheryl and to say good bye. Focused was untied and moving out of the marina by around 7:30. They are going down through Cattle Pass and across Juan de Fuca Strait to Port Ludlow. The currents and wind should make it a quick passage.

It was a quick two weeks and we are already planning in our minds for a trip next year, and various weekends that we can get away in South Sound this summer and fall.