Allan & Linda’s Family Boat Cruise Log
aboard their 42′ Grand Banks cruiser
Along with the other articles I post, I decided this year to add a b/log of our June – August 2018 cruise around the Canadian inner coastal waters.
This year we are part of a three trawler flotilla. In boat one (left) is my husband and me aboard our 42′ family boat “Jubilant”. On boat two (middle) is tour leader, itinerary maker, main weather and chart guy Dave McConaghy, my boat life mentor wife Janet and doggie Shaka. They are in the 40′ Nordhavn, “Cowabunga.”
In boat three (above, right) is Lowell (our adventure kayaking guy) and Gina (our resident recipe queen and finder of fabulous walking sticks) Lorenz with doggie Milo. They have “toured” with Janet and Dave for two summers. They are in the CHB 34′ “Heron.”
Each stop presented its own unique experiences and memories.
The 2018 Tour
6/23 -Bedwell Harbour
From Anacortes we headed straight to the northern end of the San Juan Islands to meet up with Dave & Janet, check in at customs in Bedwell Harbour, British Columbia, then motored over to Montague Harbour to overnight on the hook.
Nanaimo is the second largest city on the island and has the second biggest harbour. We took the Dodd Narrow route to get there. This is a small, short passage that requires perfect tide timing to get through. There is often a persistent wind at the harbour, so most people tie up at the marina. Boaters love this spot for its lively town, great market and last-chance Starbucks. Many use this place as the launching point over the Strait of Georgia to their summer-long Canadian small-island cruising adventure. The Strait of Georgia can be a temperamental crossing (read=rocking and rolling= Linda is not so much in favor of doing this again) so timing is everything.
6/25-27 Pender Harbour / Garden Bay anchor
After the rollicking ride over the Strait of Georgia, we anchored in Pender Harbour. This is one of the best places to stock up on groceries before heading out to the smaller islands. The town is easily walkable and has the best burgers on wheels at Triple B’s Burgers. We took one of the dinghy’s out and about to discover the many nooks and crannies.
6/28-30 Princess Louisa Inlet
Hands down one of the most memorable and beautiful stops on any boater’s itinerary. So glad Dave included this on ours. It’s a bit of a challenge to time your entrance into the inlet as boats have to run the rapids if they miss slack tide. It spritzed and rained over our three days we docked at the no more than a dozen boats dock. Perfect for the #onehourwalk tradition, the inlet is dominated by the gigantic Chatterbox Falls. The more it rained, the more thunderous the falls became. Moss creations permeated everything.
7/1-2 Pender Harbour
Back to Pender Harbour to pick up Lowell, Gina and Milo. Oops on that. The ability to cross the Strait of Georgia from Nanaimo delayed the Lorenz’s. We decided to tie up at the dock this time. An uncooperative boater made our docking a challenge, as he refused to move his boat up a few feet to allow us more maneuverability. Without the thruster the other two members of the flotilla have, we are at a small disadvantage in tight spots. All eventually was well, but here’s hoping karma visits that uncooperative boater soon. Just sayin’. On the lighter side, we did see a delightful Royal Canadian Yacht Club dinghy flotilla glide across the bay, celebrating Canada Day.
7/3- Musket Island
Yea! Lowell, Gina & Milo arrive. We spend the day at anchor catching up. We meet the first mosquitoes of the summer here. We are woefully unprepared. Eight bites later, I am ready for some serious deet spray.
7/4- Lund Harbour
Promises of good shopping, mosquito repellent, a birthday present for me from a charming art gallery and a killer bakery meant I was up and ready when the call to dinghy to shore came. Did you know Highway 101 starts here? I had a misstep and fell down a few stairs backwards to my office. Not a pleasant memory. Whacked my head on the chair and bruised some body parts, but no permanent damage is apparent. All I remember as I was falling, was being grateful I had taken my new birthday bracelet off just moments before so it wouldn’t be damaged. Such a Diva – really.
7/5- 7/7 Melanie Cove in Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park.
Spot shrimping is the name of the game here. We learn how to set a shrimp pot and decapitate the shrimp before cleaning it for dinner. Janet and Gina make a killer Shrimp Alfredo for dinner. Dave also has us in the Dinghy to explore the marine park. We hiked a well-worn trail leading to a natural swimming place. Such fun to get out in the trees, rock and water.
7/08 Roscoe Bay
Tonight’s group dinner is a beautiful shrimp chowder prepared by Gina & Janet paired with Mt. Beautiful Sauvignon Blanc.
7/09 -10 Squirrel Cove and day trip t0 Refuge Cove
We are anchored here for two days. On one of the days the day outing is to Refuge Cove where we will find a pretty well stocked general store and, of all things, a shoe store. The shoes are all water proof and come in all shapes, sizes and colors. We also find an interesting outdoor cafe that serves hamburgers, beer, soda and lattes. Lowell and Gina try the Aussie Burger which includes pickled beets.
7/11 Gorge Harbour
We are dockside at this hybrid marina/resort. Time to, walk the grounds, try the pool, listen to evening live music and stock up at the market. I begin to see the pattern for markets on this cruise. They are very small, have limited produce, meats and dairy items. Janet coaches me to jump off my boat as soon as we dock to get up to the market to buy fresh items. She reminds me there is a potluck coming up at a future all-dock potluck. Her grand tasty dish can be found here https://natashaskitchen.com/shrimp-cakes-recipe-video I can’t find the ingredients I want to make an interesting hors d’oeuvre, so I go the easy route and buy out the cookie section. Surely people will like treats as well as a hot dish?
7/12 Bickley Bay
Our five hour cruise to Bickley Bay brings dramatic changes in landscape and navigation challenges. This will be our first time navigating area rapids. We hit the rapids pretty much at slack tide as planned, so not the fast moving swirly stuff we were expecting. Afternoon wind is also a problem. We need to find a place to moor by early afternoon. The other two boats have done this before, so their anxiety level is close to zero.
7/13 Sidney Bay
We do a side tie on to a rustic 120-foot floating pier. Many boats have arrived early to secure a spot before the afternoon winds make cruising dangerous. We all buy prawns from the port master. At $10 a pound, they are a steal of a deal. There is an impromptu happy hour / potluck on the shaky pier. Interesting to note what people brought – everything from a small bowl of nuts to gorgeous prawn fritters and cream cheese pastries. Note to self. I need a lot more party supplies and snacks.
7/14 Boughey (pronounced boogie) Bay
Lovely to have Internet on our way to this stop. More mild rapids, narrow channels and whirlpools to navigate. Tide timing is everything. We hit the problematic area just right and motor through fairly easy. We see packs of porpoises elegantly skim the tops of the water. Nature is amazing. This is a wall of dense inky green trees landscape. Logging is common here. It’s sad to see the scars on the mountains, but it looks like the government has a plan to keep the logging impact to a minimum. Still, some of those logs find their way into the navigation areas. Today seems especially bad as we duck and weave our way through the debris. Tonight’s food & wine pairing is 2016 Bellenos Cuvée Rouge with an Avocado Spot Prawns salad with spicy-sweet salsa. Triple yum. Perfect match.
7/15 Tsakomu Cove
Serene and lovely stopover. At anchor. Saw our first bear strolling the beach side for food. Put down prawn and crab traps. Had my first lesson in how to quickly prepare the fresh-from the deep- blue water crab. Interesting how much equipment, manpower and prep time it takes to go from trap prep to table. From now on, I probably won’t be so uppity about paying market and dock side prices for prepared crab – or prawns for that matter. No internet.
7/16 Lagoon Cove
We side tie up to a small dock in a small marina. Hurray, there is Internet available as part of the docking fees! I can catch up on my emails. 125 emails download when we hit the cell station. This is a very popular stop, but it can only take about 20 boats. A 2 pm check in finds a mad dash of boats of varying sizes. Somehow we are all squeezed in. A late light lunch is shrimp cocktail paired with La Crema Monterey 2017 Pinot Noir Rose. A couple of hours later all the boaters attend the marina-sponsored shrimp happy hour potluck. Afterwards we strolled the lovely gardens and rolling green areas while admiring magnificent views. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a grocery store. My fresh veggies and fruit are pretty much up. No relief in sight until the 20th.
7/17-18 Waddington Bay
The guide book calls this place, “…a good place to hide out for a few days.” It is well protected and quite beautiful. We spent the two days chasing prawns, trying to capture male crabs (no luck there) and reeling in local fish such as flounder and rockfish. We were successful on the prawn and local fish front. It is beginning to be clear that the commercial fisherman have proceeded us in the great crab race. We lost one of the prawn traps and roping this morning. It’s gone somewhere…with the tide and currents. That’s over $100 to replace. Tonight’s group dinner is fresh caught fish, coleslaw, potatoes and a choice of wines – Loosen Brothers Bellenos Rosé of Gamay Noir and an New Zealand Sav Blanc. Root Beer floats rounds out the evening.
7/19 Alert Bay
Can’t help but think of my friend Coletta Boone who would love this place. Billed as where, “one can learn more about native culture… in less time, than anywhere on this part of the coast.” For such a tiny town, this small village is packed with things to do and places to go. Notable was seeing the “Spirit of U’Mista” in interpretive dance. The one hour show was touching, featuring the young people of the tribe. The museum is worth a visit as is the native cemetery with its beautiful totem poles and history.
7/20 – 7/21 Port McNeill
So…this is the “big banana” of boaters in the wild… shopping stop. It will be five days before we find more groceries. We do a side tie at the dock. My mentor Janet takes me for a tour of the town essentials pointing everything from the mundane (laundromat) to the sublime (a large IGA grocery store and pharmacy with gift shop). Everything is within walking distance, but I purchase so much at the grocery store, they give me a ride home in their cart-fetching van. Love the Canadian spirit of hospitality. I find some cute stuff at the gift shop and some more books to read. Without TV, I am devouring books at a rate of one every other day. We go out to dinner, which is a nice change of pace.
7/22-23 Dickson Island
Beautiful spot, but no internet. I long for my internet. Two days without it is a very loooong time. We catch some local fish and Dave takes time to take us out on a “viewing trip” on the dinghy. I love these outings – and there are always such surprises. I appreciate that when Gina watches me struggle still with balance issues (back surgery just 24 weeks ago) and takes matters in her own hands to make sure I can enjoy the rock climbing with the others. This is the second time she finds me an impromptu “walking stick.” It helps me immediately. We see tide pools, find seashell treasures and are THAT CLOSE to a whale that is playing and eating in the bay! What a day. Note to self…use this winter to regain my inner core through yoga classes.
7/24-25 Claydon Bay
Still no Internet. Just sayin. Still, the trade off is lots more successful fishing and a dinghy field trip to Overflow Basin. Dave organizes each of three boats to run over to the basin which features a tidal fall. Really breathtaking as you can see if you follow the YouTube video below. We finally find male crabs we don’t have to throw back. Not many, but it feels somewhat like success. The salmon are still eluding us (sigh).
Overflow Basin (a tidal waterfall) https://youtu.be/_pQHWCJXZzE
7/26- Sullivan Bay
Who knew there was a floating dock community in the far reaches of Canada? Population of maybe 50 during peak summer days, we see a few floating homes, Internet tent, grocery store and gas dock. Very upscale (for the outer reaches), but the promised Internet connection is weak. Lovely place to stock up on a few groceries and some FRESH cinnamon buns, apple and cherry tarts. The baked goods are coveted. Good thing I was in line with my pre-paid order in hand when the store first opened. Lots of sugar-deprived Americans in the queue behind me and not enough treats to go around.
7/27 – Sunday Harbour
A day to relax. The Heron boaters are our adventure group and have gone out to explore. Jubilant and Cowabunga are doing repairs, gobbling up the two-bars of Internet and just hanging out. A nice fresh crab salad with a Mt Beautiful Riesling is on tonight’s menu.
7/28-29 Mound Bay
Monday the 29th is our last day on the outbound flotilla trip. Monday we head back to dock our boat in Anacortes, WA. Salmon fishing, whale watching and the Chiefs Bathtub is on our mind for these last two days.
The Chiefs Bathtub is a sculpted-out depression in a rock cliff just inches above the water line. According to legend, up and coming chiefs had to sit in this bathtub four times a day for four days. The water is in the 50’s at the best, so I suppose “manning up” was the point. Just a few inches from the bathtub is what is purported to be a chief’s face painted on the sheer cliff.
This trip has been my husband Allan’s dream for a long long time. He would have liked to stay for another month, but I have commitments to honor and we have a move to make to Maricopa, AZ in the fall. He’s been asking for a 2019 calendar to plan next year’s trip. I vote for a new boat with all the great features of our current boat but with the addition of thrusters and stabilizers. I can’t believe I even know what those terms mean, but all of your boater types will understand my reasoning. So until we meet again next summer, I wish you all the trip of a lifetime. I found mine in Jordan. This is Allan’s. Time to experience yours. Just sayin’…