At the end of season 2016, and as we are preparing for a new life in upstate New York, we made a difficult choice of where to store Calliste for the winter. We depart from our playwaters at Cortes Island mid Sept with storing Calliste at La Conner in mind, which of course influence our route decisions to favor the mainland coast.
Travelling separately in a car and in a boat is complicated of course, well this is how we managed.
15th Sep: Calliste depart 0500hrs to hitch a ride on the south flowing current. Doug will take her 45 miles to Madeira public marina in Pender Harbor, which at 5kns will take 9 long hours. So his ETA is 2pm…. Fordie depart on 0750hrs Cortes to Quadra to Campbell River ferry. That’s the earliest ferry, putting us in civilization 0915hrs, but that is not early enuf for the Comox to Powell River ferry. Got to the Comox terminal 1015hrs, just missed the ferry boarding by 15 mins! Drats! Had to wait till 1500hrs for the next ferry! By that time, Calliste was already anchored in Pender Harbor. Giving Doug a chance to snooze eh. Good thing I left my SG phone with Doug, so that we have at least SMS comms, so we can kinda track each others progress…. expensive it is, but very necessary.
Got to Powell River 1630hrs, then drive down the coast to Saltery Bay for the ferry to Earl’s Cove. Wish I had more time to enjoy the scenery, but nope I am busy checking the road signs and processing the info with my common sense. No Canadian GPS on board Fordie… Anyway, IMO, the Saltery Bay to Earl’s Cove ferry route is the most beautiful ride that I have been on. Sorry Doug missed this🙂 …. Finally arrived at Madeira 1900hrs, and managed to find a free parking space just outside the marina property. Its pretty dark already, but Doug managed to see me waving on the public dock and came over to pick me up. Happily we spend the night nice and warm on board.
16th Sep: Doug put me ashore 0600hrs and went on his way with the same south flowing current, bound Gibsons’ Landing. Its just 30 miles for him, and with the current, I would expect his to make it at 1200hrs… And as for me, its a easy day with no ferry rides, so my drive down is completely free for me to check out the sights.🙂 Got my leisurely Macdonalds breakfast at some halfway town, then found a rest area by the coastal drive to wait and watch Calliste go by. By my calculations, Calliste should pass about 0930hrs, but she only came by 1015hrs… a sign that currents are unpredictable around this coast.
Fordie got to Gibsons 1100hrs, easily found a free parking street just 2 mins walk from the village center. With lots of time to spare, I happily check out this quaint little village. It is very interesting indeed… with a fair bit of Asian presence… Almost did a take out, but guess I didn’t want to be disappointed with the food… knowing that I usually cook much better than most joints. So I just sat and waited at the public marina wharf, where I was told is perfectly alright for Doug to drive by and pick me up. From 1200hrs, I waited and waited and waited… until I finally spot Calliste at 1400hrs. Why so late? Sigh, strange currents. So that’s always a thing about cruising, shore party just have to wait it out.
On board and head out to anchor by Plumper Bay on Keats Island. We needed the south wind protection for the next 2 days, a system was coming thru and small craft advisory was issued. Here we rest for the night and whole of next day. Was quite pleasant really, hardly felt the system going by.
18th Sep: A calmer day to travel, before another bad system rolls thru. 0600hrs, Doug left me ashore before heading out. Its 30 miles to Point Roberts (US customs), then another 10 miles to Blaine where we meet again. I am not expecting him to arrive until 1600hrs at least. Long day for him… lots of time for me to check out Vancouver Chinatown🙂
Its another ferry ride for Fordie from Gibsons Landing to Horseshoe Bay, but this one is like a shuttle and frequency is very high. Since its early morning on Sunday, it was only half full. Got to Chinatown 1100hrs, perfect time to enjoy Chinese food in this greatest Chinatown in western Americas continent. Note to self, parking is not free even on Sunday. Paid $3 for 1.25 hrs, which is not much for parking in any large city right? I rather not get a ticket …
I am really quite impressed. Lots of Mandarin, Cantonese conversation going on around me, smells like Chinatown anywhere too… not a pleasant smell to most, but its strangely pleasant to me for now. Too much of it is revolting :p . And I hear so much about Dim Sum here in Vancouver, but its not so fun eating all that food by myself, so I contend myself with this gigantic pork bao…. was a good one, but not comparable to my usual in SG… see, disappointed already… better to see, feel and soak in the atmosphere, but not to buy, touch or taste.
Did a long gander down the main alley to the other end of this large Chinatown, where I found this large Asian supermarket. Check it out, a good Asian deli selection awaits me🙂 … Bought lunch for myself, frozen “little dragon buns” and frozen siewmais to share with Doug tonight.🙂 Fingers crossed that it will taste authentic.
1400hrs, very long queue at US customs, feels as bad as driving to JB. 1600hrs at Blaine Marina. Doug didn’t make it until 1800hrs. Was 1900hrs by the time we were anchored in Drayton Harbor for the night. Yes, the Dim Sum was a nice treat for both of us. Impressed.
19th Sep: We decided to send me out to get groceries and 10 Gals diesel. It is nice to have Fordie around to run these errands with, so that we didn’t have to pay high marina neighborhood prices on anything. So there are some pluses for travelling with boat and car alongside. We stayed another night in Drayton Harbor as the 2nd system pass by.
20th Sep: 1000hrs, short day for Calliste. Only 25 miles to Bellingham, so ETA is 1500hrs right? Well, we know better already.
Fordie and Lang arrive at Bellingham Marina 1100hrs. Lots of time to check out this city and very large marina with a lot going on everywhere. Dock walks, food alley walks, marine business walks… all walked out by the time Calliste come into sight. 1630hrs is time Doug pick me up from the visitor dock. 1800hrs is when we anchored out in the opposite bay for the night.
21th Sep: 0700hrs, up anchor and headed back to the marina. 0830hrs, Lang ashore, Doug and Calliste heading out. We are bound Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. Doug will have lots of current going with him on this 35 miles day. Fordie and Lang crossed the bridge over waterway leading to La Conner 1100hrs and decided to wait around for Calliste and Doug to go by. Right on time at 1205hrs is when boat party arrive🙂 Snap
1400hrs, Fordie got us to Oak Harbor. Hang out at the visitor dock until Calliste got here 1800hrs, then we headed out to anchor for the night. Its kinda shallow everywhere in the bay, not much protection from the south, but weather is not bad for tonight.
22th Sep: We decided to make the big jump in okay conditions to Port Hadlock. 50 miles and going against the flow most of the day, will make it 12hrs trip. We decided to do this trip together on Calliste, leaving Fordie in the safety of Oak Harbor marina parking lot for the night. Depart 0700hrs and hoping we be anchored by 1900hrs. Wasn’t a really beautiful trip… overcast and boring. 1630hrs, Doug made the call to take the canal short cut to Port Hadlock despite the 3kns current against us. Was a good move, cause it was a short 10 mins at 2 kns going thru, putting us at Port Hadlock anchored by 1800hrs. Yay! We are home! Made it before the really bad southerly weather hits.
23th Sep: 0800hrs, seems calm enuf to put me ashore at Port Hadlock public dock, but we were quite wrong. Was iffy just letting me off, waves slapping the dock drama… but we did surprisingly well in those conditions… old salts us eh? Doug and Calliste back to anchor, Lang head to Oak Harbor on bus – ferry – bus.
1000hrs ferry from Port Townsend, watching the really bad sea state. Heard afterwards that the next ferry was cancelled and few boats got washed ashore. Phew! I got to Oak Harbor and Calliste was safe in the Hadlock anchorage.
1 600hrs, Fordie and Lang back at cabin. Property seems ok, no fallen trees and no flooding. … no keys, Lang has to camp in Fordie tonight? Headed out to Port Hadlock with no way to call Doug on Calliste… fortunately weather calmed down a lot… hoping to find someone with dinghy to send a message… so old fashion, but it worked! Kind soul on paddleboat delivered my SOS to Doug. 1900hrs, we are anchored again…. Lang didn’t have to spend a single cold night in Fordie throughout the journey, that’s an achievement me thinks.