Stretching our sails

A hideaway nook that is not a secret.

A hideaway nook that is not a secret.

We don’t have a sail plan this season… we kinda think we would go the Vancouver route, up around the Redondas before heading into Cortes Bay. Bad weather system was in the area, and we kinda make a new plan as we go along. Its so easy to do that with modern day electronic charts on our chartplotter and Navionics charts on my iP4d that comes with a super good tide program that even shows current direction with little arrows and the intensity of that flow. So long as we can read, we could not go wrong, right? We shall see about that.

7 Jun 1200hrs, Just went to town and got our new depth sounder. Parked Fordie at Haven Marina, Doug pick me up from the fuel dock. Adventure begins…. despite the bad weather reports, we decided to head out and see how bad it is.

1500hrs, its not bad at all. So calm that we went right by the infamous Smith Islands. Doug notice that the whole island is covered by marine birds, a sign that somewhere there is a system going on and birds are seeking refuge.

Doug like this one....

Doug like this one….

1800hrs, anchored at Aleck Bay. There is no other boats here. A few mansions, some kayaks on the beach and lots of driftwood. Overnight we hear the winds howling through, and was a little rolly with waves coming in from the South, but no drag.

8 Jun 0500hrs, Doug decided that he doesn’t like it at Aleck Bay. Winds are not too bad right now, Doug decided to jump over to Mackeye Harbor that is only separated from Aleck Bay by a small sandy strip, but is 3 miles by navigable waters. … And its 3 miles of chopping waters, making only 2 to 3 knots…. it took more than an hour to “jump” over. But true, it was a little better, and we didn’t feel alone 🙂 … there is a small private marina and few anchored boats. Winds were up and down throughout the day, just as forecasted.

I like this one.

I like this one.

9 Jun 0430hrs, Winds settled down overnight, now is our chance to make a run to Oak Bay Customs dock.

0830hrs, Checked into Canada! So simple. I went on a walk to town, mission is to get groceries. We bring no vegs into Canada, so all boaters who check into Canada will be looking for fresh vegs, fruits and meats! 1100hrs, made it back to the customs dock with 2 heavy bags. Was a 30 minutes walk!

1200hrs, Anchored at Cadboro Bay. Very sleepy, both of us. Happy for the calm weather for a change.

10 Jun 0500hrs, Heading out. Calm weather for the next few days. We time our leaving to get the maximum current boost… so we made it to Cowichan by 1030hrs. In time to enjoy the free tie up till 2pm at the Fisherman Association pontoon. This is a surprising little harbor, houseboat community and touristy waterfront, but not much possibility for anchoring. We had lunch (it was so-so).

Usual sight cruising in BC. Log tugs.

Usual sight cruising in BC. Log tugs.

1500hrs, Anchored in Genoa Bay. This is really calm and nice. Almost like Annette inlet. We decided to stay 2 nights… partly because wind is up again, and surely we both will enjoy more rest 🙂

12 Jun 0630hrs, Anchor was stuck drama. Luckily we were able to dislodge it by motoring to the other quadrant, and lift. Phew, no diving.

1030hrs, Brief stop at Thetis Island Marina, since we are too early for Dodd narrows. Got 3 internet vouchers for 3 devices. Its free, just have to ask. Was pretty good internet too. Decided to have lunch, it was so-so…. but C$50… big ouch for Doug…

1400hrs, We have a system of getting on and off fuel pontoons now. Doug will pull in slowly and I walk off, while he go anchor the boat. He may row in with the kayak, or not. Then he’ll drive by slowly and I walk back onboard. This gives me extra internet time 🙂 and maybe shopping time 🙂 . So anyway, we are off and headed to Dodd narrows. Made it in perfect time.

Campbell River, as seen from April Point.

Campbell River, as seen from April Point.

1830hrs, Anchored at Mark Bay Nanaimo. Usual spot. Lots of space, maybe its still early this season.

13 Jun, Finally a day to launch the dinghy, so that we can both go into town. We have only 1 kayak this time, sigh…. I need good internet for banking and Doug needs lots of nuts to last him the whole summer. Paid C$5.50 to Nanaimo port authority for parking our 7ft dinghy at half day rate. Good for 9hrs they say. Horrible internet at the marina. Found the bus to Woodgrove Save on foods. C$2.50 each, one way. So it cost us total C$10 for the day on bus, but it was well worth it. I got lots of productive things done on the free Save-on wifi and Doug got more nuts that he can eat 🙂

Anchoring hole in Blind channel. This is my next favorite spot after Annette inlet.

Anchoring hole in Blind channel. This is my next favorite spot after Annette inlet.

14 Jun 0800hrs, Started late this morning in consideration of the currents. A full 40 mile day to Deep Bay… Yes, we lazy people consider 30 miles as a full day. It usually only takes us 6hrs to do 30 miles, since we normally time the currents so well, but not today… Arrive Deep Bay 1700hrs. That’s 9hrs! Its overtime!

15 Jun 0900hrs, Lang went ashore with trash. No charge for dumping at Deep Bay marina. No free wifi here… 1100hrs, Doug cant wait to leave this horrible anchorage. Some crazy guy is just zooming around the bay with his 200HP skiff.

1800hrs, Speeding into Campbell River at 9kns. Current around here is usually not slack, highly possibly strong, so there is no way to anchor out in the open roadstead. Upon seeing the whirlpools at both entrance at Q-cove, Doug refuses to go in there for the night. Went further north to April Point. Surprisingly it had no whirling waters and was easy to follow the red buoy. Anchor down at 9pm. That’s another day that’s too long for us.

I find it so peaceful to be tree gawking.

I find it so peaceful to be tree gawking.

2200hrs, Even till today, we were still changing our route plans. 1st we were going to circumnavigate Quadra Island…. Then we couldn’t resist not going further north and see even a little part of Johnstone strait…. but what do we do with the infamous Dent and Yaculta rapids? Could we time it to perfection? Our gadgets and my smarts has worked very well so far…

16 Jun, Motor over to Q-cove at morning slack. Was hard to find a good place to anchor, but we did anchor just 500ft north of the public dock. No we didn’t want to tie up even tho 2 hrs is free. So Doug is on anchor watch while I take the ferry over to Campbell River for groceries and internet. I managed to get back in time for the next slack tide to North flowing ebb current.

Yaculta Rapids... we have seen worse.

Yaculta Rapids… we have seen worse.

1545hrs, Depart Q-cove, bound Blind channel anchoring hole via Seymour narrows and Johnstone strait 🙂 . Made it to anchor at 9pm. Still plenty of daylight to enjoy the views. Love the long days.

17 Jun 0710hrs, Up anchor 1 hour before current change to flood. Flood current is the one that we want a ride on today, but before that we want to be at Dent rapids at slack and hopefully 1 hour later at Yaculta. Just as we planned, the infamous Dent was quiet and despite having 3.5 kns going with us at Yaculta, the whirlpools are not even comparable to Kanmon Pass in Japan’s inland sea… That was the most scary ride ever.

Well… we were prepared to stop at those little pocket coves before these rapids if the situation feels too dangerous..

1200hrs, Made it thru the east opening of Hole in the Wall. 1300hrs, Too early to try exiting the treacherous west opening, so we anchored at Florence Cove and snoozed.

1545hrs, Going thru the west opening of Hole in the Wall was another anti-climatic experience. … After reading so much about how dangerous the rapids and whirlpools are, we sort of were looking for a little glimpse, but nothing! Perhaps this is proof that I timed our cruising day to perfection? Well, not so at Surge narrows. By this time we are 1 hour late and fighting the ebb flow. It took us a long while to pick our way thru a winding passage of rock islets till Whiterock passage.

1700hrs, Made it thru the Whiterock passage. Other that the very narrow and shallow dredged waterway, it was not difficult to go thru this pass as there were no significant currents here.

2000hrs, Anchored at Coulter bay on Cortes Island. … and fouled the anchor trip line on the prop. Drats! … Doug had to dive, otherwise we couldn’t trust the anchor to set. 2200hrs, re anchored. Terribly late for us, but we were feeling pretty good about hitting all the highlights in that route that we picked, all in 1 day 🙂 What would we do without the electronics!

18 Jun, When we look out over the stern this morning, it was low tide and gulped! Calliste stern was 30ft from a rock! Doug had wanted to anchor further in and I said no to it. Lucky me, and good thing Doug listened to me this time. Got the anchor up and left.

1300hrs, Arrived D&M’s dock in Cortes Bay. Phew! That was some journey 🙂






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Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

Sailing 2013: Singapore -> Okinawa -> Kobe

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