It's been eight months since we purchased our new trawler, and if you've read any of my earlier posts, you know that we've invested a lot of labor and expense correcting deferred maintenance and upgrading and adding new equipment. Now with all that work done, we should be "good to go"!
Our route for this 6-week trip will take us to mostly familiar destinations -- we want to use all of Kika's systems in cruising mode and hopefully not end up with too much of a "re-do" list. The route we took began with customs check-in at Bedwell Harbour, then on to Saltspring Island were we anchored in Ganges Harbour. Unfortunately, later that night we experienced high-winds requiring an anchor watch. Thankfully the ground tackle earned it's keep and held us in place. Check!
August 26 - Departing Ganges, our next stop was supposed to be the port city of Nanaimo, but we missed slack water at Dodd Narrows and so had to squeeze into Pirates Cove for the night. The next morning, with the wind still up, we went on to Nanaimo where we tied up for a few days waiting for the Straits to settle down. When the wind dropped to 15 knots, we crossed over to Egmont in Jervis Inlet; there, we rendezvoused with Michael on MV Candor, a Willard 40 like our previous trawler called Northstar. The BC fires were still burning and darkening the sky with smoke and ashes, so rather than continue on to Princess Louisa, we stayed over in Egmont and hiked the trail out to see the notorious Skookumchuck Rapids, famous for treacherous whirlpools and overfalls six-feet deep and where tidal currents can run to 13 knots!
September 4-8 | After our visit with Michael, we departed Egmont traveling in opposite directions...Michael going south to his homeport on Bainbridge Island, and us, northward to Desolation Sound. Again we ran into high winds along the Malaspina Strait and decided to duck into Powell River were we found moorage at Westview Marina. The next day we had lunch at a favorite restaurant, Costa del Sol (costadelsollatincuisine.com). With high-wind warnings still in effect along the straits, the transient docks soon filled up with cruisers coming in to wait out the weather. After three days tied to the dock, we finally departed and turned northward for Desolation Sound. Hopefully we'll find better weather and a place to anchor in the popular Prideaux Haven Marine Park.
September 8-14 | Lucky us! Upon arriving at marine park and navigating the narrow entrance into the bay we found a great spot to drop the anchor. From the pilothouse we had a picture perfect view of the coast mountain range to the east and the parade of boats arriving and departing through the bay's skinny entrance. But best of all, the weather was near perfect -- warm and sunny afternoons with a light afternoon breeze -- and dead calm overnight. We slept like angels!
Ever changing weather is a primary consideration when making decision about when and where to go next. Sure, you can choose to ignore a forecast and take your chances, but after 25 years of boating in the PNW we know our comfort zone; as a general rule, if the wind is at 15 knots or less we'll go. Wind at 15 and rising, we stay. Over the years we've owned four very different vessels; starting with a classic 1941 Monk cruiser, a diesel houseboat, a full displacement Willard trawler, and now this 66,000 lb Selene. Yet this simple rule has worked equally well when operating each of these very different vessels. In addition to the weather, boating in our region is complicated by strong currents and big tidal changes. For example, running south on the Strait of Georgia with wind and current on the stern can be a delight, even with strong wind. But that same trip, with a southerly breeze of only 10 knots blowing against a fast moving current in the opposite direction, can make for one miserable ride!
September 14-16 | Pender Harbour - is a favorite stop-over for us. Located on B.C's Sunshine Coast, the village of Pender Harbour is a popular vacation place for mainland visitors and a busy departure point for vessels crossing the Strait of Georgia. If space allows, we'll tie up on the government dock; if not, then we're happy to anchor off Maderia Park or in nearby Garden Bay. With two grocery stores, a pharmacy, liquor store, a book store, numerous cafes and restaurants in the village, Pender Harbour always makes for a delightful place to visit and stock up on groceries, booze and boat supplies.
In decades past, Pender Harbour was home to commercial fishermen who worked these waters in small trollers fishing for salmon and other local fish. This history is captured in the the book, "Fishing With John" by Edith Iglauer, who came to this remote coastal community from New York as a freelance writer. Iglauer spent more than four years on fisherman John Daly's forty-one foot troller, the FV Morekelp. In time they fell in love, married and lived in Garden Bay until John's death. In matters of love, it's said that opposites attract, but Daly was more than an unschooled fisherman, he was an impassioned fisherman who papered the walls of his wheel house with the words of poets and the great philosophers. After John's sudden death on the dance floor, Edith stayed on in Garden Bay where in 2017 she turned 100 years of age.
Part of Pender Harbour's appeal are the many bays and quiet waterway that make up this historic and picturesque community -- perfect for dinghy rides on warm summer afternoons!
September 16-18 | Ladysmith - We departed Pender Harbour on Saturday, September 16 and crossed the Strait of Georgia on calm seas. Our goal was to make slack water at Dodd Narrows by 1412 hours. This time we sailed on through, no problem. Our next stop was the attractive community of Ladysmith, just 90 minutes beyond Dodd Narrows. We spent a lazy Sunday there and departed Monday morning with a forecast of high wind (again!) for that afternoon. So we hurried on to Saltspring Island and arrived at the Kanaka docks in Ganges just as the afternoon winds picked up. This time, instead of anchoring in the busy harbour, we decided to try our luck on the government docks -- and lucky us (again) we found a primo space on the Kanaka docks, just steps from the village center.
September 18-22 | Salt Spring Island - Ganges is famous for the huge Saturday Outdoor Market where you'll find everything from craft and art works to clothes, musical instruments, tools, flowers, nuts and local entertainers. The market attracts visitors from as far away as Vancouver and Victoria, but on Thursdays, the park is taken over by local growers who bring seasonal organic produce, fruit and home baked pastries and breads. And like the big Saturday Market, this smaller event is also a great place for people watching.
September 22-24 | Roche Harbor Resort is a busy U.S. Customs check-in point for boaters returning home from Canada. Because Gwen and I have Nexus cards, we have the privilege of checking in by cell phone -- so convenient!
Roche Harbor Resort and Marina is a very special place, with it's excellent restaurants and cafes, and where helpful young staff will take your lines at arrival. The resort is home to a wonderful outdoor sculpture garden that's always a delight to walk. No other marina in the PNW can match the "yachty" vibe of RHR, which for us is reminiscent of New England seaside resorts. Each evening at sunset the serene atmosphere is punctuated by a flag ceremony when the U.S. and Canadian flags are lowered by a color guard of young staffers. After the flags are ceremonially folded and put away, a loud cannon salute signals the day's end.
September 22-24 | Rosario Resort - The distance from Roche to our marina in Anacortes is only a 3-4 hour cruise, but since we're in no hurry, we decided to visit Rosario Resort located along Eastsound on Orcas Island. So close to home yet we've never stopped here in the past, so this was our first visit to the recently renovated marina and it's historic hotel. We liked what what we saw and will return again for a "winter getaway".
September 26-October 2 | We waited for the morning fog to lift before departing Rosario for Anacortes. It was a pleasant 2 hour cruise back to our marina, where neither of us was ready to end the trip. So we enjoyed another few days onboard, just hanging out at our marina were we gave Kika a good washing and later dropped off the outboard for serving. This new motor yacht is so comfortable we could easily live on board year round :-))
We're Richard and Gwen (aka, Captain n' Cook) active boaters since moving to Seattle from Los Angeles in the early 90s. In that time we've owned several interesting vessels, but this blog will record our travels on MV Kika, a 2003 Selene 47 Ocean Trawler.