Monday, August 30, 2010

Princess Louisa Inlet 2010
1970 Albin 25

We had been planning this trip for three years and finally we took the big leap and headed North.  I think we had probably read almost everything in print about going to Princess Louis Inlet and most likely own the lion's share of books and magazine articles about doing this trip.  Our research focused on being prepared to transit Dodd Narrows, cross the Strait of Georgia, Whiskey Golf awareness, timing for Malibu Rapids and weather knowledge.  I must admit we were a little anxious and very cautious as we headed into each of these situations.  Our work paid off as each situation was approached with respect for the waters, weather and our capabilities.  Our 1970 Albin 25 was a champion.  She never gave us any indication that we were over our heads and in fact helped us build a lot of confidence and experience in cruising this portion of the Inside Passage.  Our friends in Bellingham, John  and Penny MIlczewski, were going to buddy boat with us on this trip in their 32' Bayliner, Second Wind.  They had not been out for more than 3-4 days before and were looking forward to 3 weeks away.  We planned to stay in Marinas on this trip to relieve some health concerns for both parties.  My wife Katie had open heart surgery 2 years ago and John had some health issues we factored into our trip.  Thankfully, nothing health related entered the picture.

Katie and I trailered our boat over Snoqualmie Pass from the Yakima area where we live, to Bellingham where John and Penny live and from where we would launch.

About our boat........

A cutaway view scanned from the original brochure
We are fortunate to own a "cult classic" in the boating world.  "Leighway" is a 1970 Swedish built Albin 25. Built to withstand heavy seas, 2,000 Albin 25's were built between 1968 and 1981 by Albin Marine.  We own hull #655 which is powered by a 1986 Universal Atomic 4, model 5444-44hp diesel engine. The fuel tank is 17 gallons and we burn about 3/4 gallon per hour at 7.2 knots. The draft of the vessel is 30" and she has a full protected running gear and significant keel for superior tracking capabilities.  A-25's were built in Kristinehamn, a small town on the shores of Lake Vänern in south-eastern Sweden and imported to many countries.  Ours was originally sold in Seattle and we own the original brochure, owners manual and other documentation for her.  She has an aft cabin suitable for 2 adults where you can choose to sleep athwart or extended into the cubby like space on either side.  The forward cabin area has a v-berth with room for someone over 6 feet tall, like myself, to sleep comfortably.  This forward cabin also has a separate head area where we have a porti-potti and storage area.  The galley has a foot operated fresh water pump connected to a 20 gallon water tank and a 2 burner Origo 4000 alcohol stove. We burn methyl hydrate instead of regular stove fuel to reduce the alcohol fume smell.  The salon area has a double helm seat, a Coleman icebox, seating on port and starboard and is enclosed with canvas when weather dictates.  Our instrumentation includes a vhf radio, Humminbird depth sounder, Garmin 192C chartplotter and Furuno 1715 radar.  The entire boat can be heated by the Wallas Nautic 30D forced air diesel heater located in the salon.  We carry and Engel 45 quart refrigerator/freezer on board and use it to store frozen food as well as to freeze water bottles used in the Coleman Ice box instead of having to buy ice.  It runs on 12v or 110 volt and draws minimal power from the 2 deep cycle group 27 batteries we currently use.  We have one 15w solar cell we use to trickle charge our batteries while on the hook but I would like to increase that for more charging power.  We keep her in good shape and get regular compliments about her condition.  She is easily towed by our 2001 Chevy Silverado diesel 3/4 ton pickup towing a Ez Loader dual axle trailer.
Ready to launch
So, let's get this trip underway!
 On to Sucia Island! 7-27-10

Katie ready to swim in Fossil Bay

Launching from the Squalicum Harbor boat ramp is a snap and soon after we put in the water we were on our way.  Sucia Island, here we come!

We were heading up Hale Passage when John and Penny contacted us saying one of their engines had lost oil pressure and they were headed back in to meet the mechanic. We continued on with mostly flat water and blue skies for our first night out. We tied up to a buoy in Fossil Bay to wait for our friends to show up.  Several Great Blue Herons were on the little island off the dock, otters were feeding in the bay, a bald eagle circled overhead and an occasional seal made an appearance. Katie had already decided the water was warm enough to jump in and swim. We called John and Penny and found out they got the repair they needed and were proceeding at trawler speed to test everything out on the way to Sucia. They arrived sometime around 5:30 and rafted up to us for the night. J & P were exhausted from moving into a new house, dealing with their engine issues and very ready for a vacation. Let the vacation begin! Dinner was Baby-back ribs and corn on the cob.  Our foot pump in the galley decided to die after 40 years of use and water was leaking into our bilge.  So, we shut the water supply off and made plans to get a replacement as soon as we could find one on our way north.

To Poet’s Cove and points North.  7-28-10

Leaving Poet's Cove

Crossing into Canada was a bit rough.  Seas were 3-4 feet and coming from almost any direction at any given time.  It made for a bumpy 2 hour crossing to Poet's Cove.  The Canadian Navy were doing some on the water activities on our way across but most of our focus was spent addressing the unpredictable wave patterns on this crossing.  Very "confused seas".

We headed north to South Pender Island and Poet’s Cove to clear Canada Customs. Customs is always an interesting event and you never know what to expect. This time we had to throw away our tomatoes. Of course, Katie was not thrilled over this news so she ate one on the way up to the disposal can and ate another before depositing the remaining 3 or 4 into the clean disposal receptacle. We were underway again in about 15 minutes. Pretty fast and painless. Canada always makes us feel welcome into the country. They apparently have a good computer system they use where they kept all our data on file from last year and entry was quick and efficient. The customs agent on the phone welcomed us back into Canada and wished us a wonderful Holiday. J & P phoned in from their boat using their Nexus card info. Next stop – Ganges Harbor.

Swans and their Cygnets in Ganges Harbor Marina

We had heard a lot about Ganges from other boaters and from reading Waggoner’s Cruising Guide. The entrance to Ganges is a long channel with lots of crab pot floats of various configurations. Float planes regularly land there and provide some entertainment as you approach the village. They have a famous Saturday Market, art galleries, shopping and lots of art influences around the community. The marina was badly in need of renovation. The docks were old, patched and in poor shape. The office manager was cranky, short tempered and rude. We decided to not go back there if we could help it.  Spent 2 days there shopping, walking, relaxing and planning the next leg of our trip.  We called around and located a replacement galley foot pump in Nanaimo at Harbour Chandlery, a store we really like to visit.  I think of this Chandlery as a Boating Candy Store.

To Thetis Island  7-30/31-10

The next leg of the journey takes us to Thetis Island Marina, a place Katie and I liked from last year’s trip to Nanaimo. We like the laid back nature of the place, the staff and the pub food they serve. We headed up Trincomali Channel through Houston Passage, cruised by Kuper Island and into Telegraph Harbor. Kuper Island is a First Nations Reserve that has a cormorant rookery on the west side of the island right before entering the harbor.

Cormorants nesting in the rocks on Kuper Island
Blue skies, calm seas and light breezes made this leg a quick and comfortable reach. We refueled there and pulled around to our slip. Soon to follow was a burger with fries and a cold Sleeman’s Honey Nut Brown beer. Time to relax for a couple of days. Katie, Penny and I hitched a boat shuttle ride from Adam at the dock over to the other marina, Telegraph Harbor Marina, which has a famous ice cream sundae bar, grassy grounds with activities for families and a nearby self-serve fresh produce, pies and frozen food store.
Penny and Katie in the little boat shuttle to Telegraph Harbor Marina.
A short walk from Telegraph Harbor Marina is one of our favorite shops, a self serve grocery store where you pay on the honor system..  They stock fresh local veggies, great homemade pies and pastries, frozen fish and meats, cheese, jams and jellies and miscellaneous items.  Your write down what you buy, total it up and leave the money in a locked box.  Gives one a little faith in people again to shop there.  We bought a pie and some veggies for the night.  Headed for an early bed time because we need to catch the slack to transit Dodd Narrows at 7:52 tomorrow. 

To Nanaimo 7-31-10

We leave Thetis Island Marina at 6:00 AM for the 1 hour 45 minute run to Dodd Narrows.  The current here can get nasty so we are only going through with the tide and close to slack.  Skies are blue and the run looks like we are crossing a big flat lake.  Early morning runs are often very quiet with lots of wildlife to see.  This morning we see Eagles, cormorants, seals and a herring ball being fed on by gulls.  Traffic through the narrows is minimal and we cruise through without the narrows pushing us around.

Radar image of Dodd Narrows

The approach to the narrows

 Nanaimo is only another 1 1/4 hours away.  The winds picked up a little as we approached Nanaimo and the seas got a little bumpy. Winds coming off the Strait of Georgia have quite a long fetch and can produce some rough water, but we entered the harbor before they had time to build.  We motored to the Port of Nanaimo where we had phoned in reservations.  This is where I finally get to repair the galley foot pump and shop at Harbor Chandlery.  8:45 and we are docked on the south side of J Dock. Nice to have time to shop and work.

Nanaimo Port Authority offices

Nanaimo has done a very nice job with their waterfront marina.  Very clean docks, helpful staff, great laundry and some of the nicest restrooms and showers we have found on our trips. The buildings show a modern maritime theme and the shops on the waterfront area are not too touristy.  Good gelato and ice cream available to go with the lattes.  A "quick" trip to the chandlery and I am in the middle of installing the foot pump.  It only takes 4 screw holes to complete the installation but 2 of them require hand drilling.  I mean using a vise grip on a drill; bit and HAND DRILLING the holes.  The space was too tight for the drill where I have to drill the last two holes.  I had a great thought of going to buy a small right angle battery powered drill and ended up walking around the city of Nanaimo without finding the drill I desired.  Lesson learned---just drill the stinking holes and stop wasting time looking for the easy way out.  3 hours later the pump is installed and we have water working again!  Great pump, a Wahl Gusher II, that pumps on the up and down stroke. Now we'll need to retrain ourselves to make sure we still conserve water.

We checked at the office for the weather and Whiskey Golf conditions and decided to leave the next morning.  Winds are suppose to be calm in the late morning and Whiskey Golf is inactive for the day.  We went to the grocery store nearby to get stocked up and prepare for our crossing.  For us, this is Big Water we'll be crossing.  I check all systems this evening and we are set to go.

8-1-10  Nanaimo to Pender Harbor, Madiera Marina

Leaving Nanaimo with Second Wind following us
 9:15 AM and it is time to leave Nanaimo.  Looking out from the marina we have a good view across Newcastle Island to the Straits and everything looks good.  We hear reports that the Strait can get nasty ugly with big wind waves but for now it appears that we are going to be fine.  One mile out we dodge a tug pulling a log boom and the waves reach 1-3 feet coming from the southwest.  Only a small breeze accompanies them so we feel OK taking them off the starboard bow quarter.  Occasionally we get a sneaker wave on the beam but mostly we settle in for a couple of hours of bumpy cruising.  When we reach the middle of the strait we get a good feeling for how much we are in the open and at the mercy of the weather Gods/Goddesses.  This is the biggest crossing we have done to date and feel pretty good about all of our research, timing and careful consideration of all factors. Nice to have John and Penny with us and their experience being Coast Guard Auxiliary Coxswains and trainers.

Our friends John & Penny with Second Wind
 in the middle of the Strait of Georgia
 12:15 and we are in Welcome Passage off the mainland coastline.  We are very happy to be out of the bumps and bounces.  The waves built to 3-4 feet at times and became more on the beam so this location was very welcome. Calmer water as we proceed north to Pender Harbor.  We arrive at Madiera Marina at 1:55 and are ready to relax after a 5 hour crossing.  Bought 3 Dungeness Crab from a boat at the dock and went to the local market to get fresh bread for dinner.  Our friends Joe and Molly from Roslyn, WA joined us for the trip up to Princess Louisa Inlet so we had to rearrange the boat and get the aft cabin set up for them.  We have had them on board for 3 years in a row and enjoy taking them with us as we cruise.  Dinner tonight was, toasted french bread served with freshly made bruschetta, heavy on the garlic from our garden, corn on the cob and Dungeness Crab. The wine for the night is a Longshadows 05 Feather.  Life is good.

Madeira Marina with fresh seafood on the dock.
Should we get crab, spotted prawns, salmon,
ling cod, halibut or....all of the above.
 We decide to buy a couple pounds of Spotted Prawns to take up to Princess Louisa and talked with the prawn guy about where he fishes for prawns.  He told me to bring my charts over and he'll mark where he sets traps and next year when we have prawn traps we can give it a try.  The commercial season is over and only recreational traps are allowed at this time. 

8-2-10 Madeira Marina to Egmont - Back Eddy Marina

Loons near the marina woke us up with their calls this morning. We fixed ham and eggs, toasted English muffins, tea for Molly and espresso for Penny, Katie and Joe.  Joe and Molly brought blueberries with them so they went aboard Second Wind to make a fresh blueberry pie for tonight's dessert!  Now were are really ready to go to Egmont and Back Eddy Marina.  We leave at noon today and make it there by 3:11.  The trip begins by heading up Agamemnon Channel and turning south towards the Sechelt Inlet and Skookumchuck Rapids. Egmont is a nice quiet marina and our last chance for fuel before running up to Princess Louisa Inlet (PLI).  They have the cheapest laundry and also the fastest laundry we've run into.  Beautiful scenery begins to develop.  It is obvious that we are proceeding up a set of fjords with steep drop offs, deep water and huge glaciated mountains towering above the inlets.

Looking out from Egmont towards the Harmony Islands
and Jervis Inlet.
 Katie and Joe decided to hike out to Skookumchuck narrows to see these famous rapids.  It is a very nice 3km trail through the forest to the rapids.  Unfortunately it was slack water when they were there and the "rapids" were calm enough to swim in, according to Joe. They did discover a wonderful bakery at the start of the trail, The Green Rosette Bakery.  Cinnamon Rolls, and fresh baked bread to die for!  Tonight's dinner is Grilled Hamburgers, Bruschetta, corn on the cob and blueberry pie.  We are quickly working our way through our limited selection of Walla Walla Valley wines and tonight's selection is a Waters 07 Cab.

Back Eddy Marina @ Egmont. Notice the narrow
channel next to the light on the rock.  This is mentioned in
Waggoner's Cruising Guide.  Worth avoiding!
 Everyone is getting pretty excited to finally make it to PLI.  Tomorrow we'll get there.

8-3-10 Back Eddy Marina to Princess Louisa Inlet

We start the morning with another great breakfast of scrambled eggs with fresh corn cut off the cob and added to the eggs, bacon, toast, tea and espresso.  Showers at the marina and we are all set to go.  Joe made a "quick" run to the bakery to bring back warm cinnamon rolls for the trip and more bread. 

9:10 and we are off!  The air looks like there are forest fires somewhere in the area and a haze is developing over the mountains.  34 miles to go to PLI.  We plan to catch a flood tide to assist us as we shoot for slack water at Malibu Rapids, the entrance to Princess Louisa Inlet.  The scenery just keeps getting more and more spectacular as we head up Jervis Inlet.

Heading up Jervis Inlet
 Huge glaciated horns, u-shaped valleys, waterfalls and snow fields dominate the skyline as we cruise up Jervis Inlet.  We are trying to find one of the several sites with Pictographs that we have read about.  Across from Marlborough Heights is the site we finally locate.  There are 2 canoe outlines in red ochre but a couple of young trees are growing up and threatening to block these images.  We still celebrate when we find them.  50 feet off the rocks where they are located the water depth is 140 feet.  We crossed part of the inlet where the water depth was 2459 feet deep!  Wow, that is a deep fjord.

Canoe Pictograph to the right of the tree

Around every bend of Jervis Inlet a new stunning
mountain vista opens up
 The closer we get to Malibu the tighter the inlet becomes.  We cruise close to shore to stay out of the breezes and use the steep mountains as shelter to find the calmer water on the lee side of the inlet.  So far, nothing is very choppy, but we still cross back and forth to stay in flatter waters.  Waterfalls begin to be common sights as we head towards Malibu.

Soda Falls
 We reach Malibu a few minutes before slack and ride the end of the flood tide through the tight channel into Princess Louisa Inlet.  This inlet is very narrow and at times the mountains seem to be part of the ocean and part of the sky all in one graceful arch.  Now we know what everyone talks about.  The recommended speed is 4 knots to leave no wake and preserve this amazing piece of paradise.  This is God's Cathedral.  We have been reading out loud sections of M. Wylie Blanchett's "The Curve of Time", as we headed up Jervis Inlet and now continue reading as we approach Chatterbox Falls.  We make our best guess about which rock is Trapper's Rock and wonder if there are trails there.  Finally, 5 1/2 hours later we round the corner and Chatterbox Falls comes into view.  The water is so calm here and everything is reflected in the inlet as we approach the dock.  We slide into an open space, tie up and step onto the dock and stare.  Pictures do not do this place justice, you need to go there and stay awhile.

Leighway at the dock in PLI
We quickly unload the kayaks and begin exploring.  Chatterbox Falls is so beautiful. The water is glacier fed and clear.  Numerous other smaller falls and streams empty in the the inlet as we explore the shoreline.  Everything we look at from our space on the dock, the kayak or hiking on a trail is soothing, peaceful and exhilarating at the same time.  The mist from the falls feels like a nice soft shower, a little chilly but not intolerable.  Every person we met on the dock was always smiling and happily relaxing in the beauty of the place.  Dinner time approached and the smells of people bbq'ing their dinners wafted through the air.  Our dinner was Spotted Prawns cooked in garlic and butter, stir fried yellow squash and fresh bruschetta.  The wine tonight was an 05 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Steep ladder like trail with tree roots as steps
The magic of this place is intensified by the heights of all the surrounding mountains that quickly descend into the inlet and create huge drop offs very close to shore.  Stern tying is a common way people anchor here and they stay pretty close to shore because the water drops down to 100 feet or more very quickly.  Anchoring directly in front of the falls is another popular spot.  Here the current keeps you facing the falls and your anchor is set in 10 to 20 feet of water.  Kayaking is a perfect way to explore the shoreline and every little nook and waterfall.  There is a trail that goes up to an old trappers cabin that we decided to try one day.  Katie and I joined Joe and started up the 2,000 vertical feet of climb.  The trail was thankfully dry but it was very steep and often we were using the roots of trees as ladder steps and handholds going up.  Katie and I ran out of water, our knees started to hurt and we ended up turning around less that 15 minutes away from the cabin.  Joe continued on and told us how close we had gotten. We had many questions on why someone had a cabin there, how they got food into the cabin and what on earth were they trapping up there anyway? 
Getting ready to load the kayaks and leave

3 days here and it is time for us to leave. We pack our kayaks and get everything ready to go and catch low slack at Malibu on our way out. Joe is checking the morning start up of the engine to make sure water is pumping out before we take off.

8-6-10 Leave PLI and head to Back Eddy

Second Wind near the rock cliff
Cruising out of Princess Louisa was kind of sad yet beautiful.  Second Wind is caught silhouetted against a huge rock wall on our way to Malibu.  Glassy water and good weather help our moods as we leave this incredible place.  Our next stop is back to Back Eddy Marina where we will hike out to Skookumchuck Rapids and watch the show.  We are approaching the new moon phase and the tide ranges are going to be very high.  The charts say the tides will go from a -12 at low water to a +12 at high water.  WOW!  This is going to set up some incredible tidal rapid displays and we hear that the kayakers are preparing for a great event. 

We catch the end of an ebbing tide and cruise right out Malibu Rapids about 20 minutes before slack.  We encounter minor currents through the narrow gap, wave to the campers at Malibu Club and cruise through at 8.6 knots.  Next time we will stop at Malibu and get the tour of the facilities.  It is a very beautiful looking lodge located right at the narrows where the rapids occur.  Must be fun to be there and witness all the boats, rapids, wildlife and activities of this Young Life retreat center.

Malibu Club at the narrows

We left PLI at 8:20 AM and cruise back to Back Eddy by 2:40.  Time for laundry, showers and dinner prep.  Tonight it's Burgers, bruschetta, steamed potatoes and a bottle of 7 Deadly Zins.

8-7-10  Skookumchuck Rapids

We check at the marina office for optimum rapids viewing times and begin the 3km hike through the forest to the rapids.  The trail is very well maintained, wide and comfortable.  There are a lot of people hiking to see the show.  We stop along the way to read the signs describing the First Nations views about different aspects of the forest and how they utilized the resources available.  There is a nicely kept outhouse back in by the rapids area that was happily used by the hikers.  Once we arrived it was amazing to watch these experienced kayakers drop down into the standing waves, do spin moves, sideways slides and ride these waves.  We were told the waves are a class VI rapids and people from all over the world come there to test their skills.  I don't think I want to do that, I'll stick with calmer water kayaking thank you.
The waves were from 8 to 10 feet tall in the area the kayakers were riding.  Other parts of the rapids have huge surf like waves crashing down, giant whirlpools and hundreds of feet of major class VI rapids.  Inflatable tour boats would come by with over 400 hp on their outboards and hold their boats near the kayakers to give their passengers a very close up of the power of this water.  We spent a couple of hours watching the kayakers, talking with them and feeling quite small next to this show of tidal movement.  Thank goodness we do not have to take our boat through that kind of water.  We will gladly wait for slack water at any of the tidal rapids we need to transit.  If you get up near this area, I would make plans to view this water.  Check the tide charts and look for the big tidal ranges for the month and program this into your trip as a "Must See" place.  Make a day of the hike in by carrying in fresh baked good from the Green Rosette Bakery at the start of the trail, pack a lunch and plenty of water.  You will not be disappointed.

8-8-10 Back Eddy Marina to Pender Harbor via the Harmony Islands

Sunset at Madeira Marina
We left Back Eddy at 11:10 and motored over to The Harmony Islands to check them out.  They are a small marine park about 1 1/2 hours away in our boat.  Most of the islands are private owned and the anchorage area is quite small and tight.  There are no facilities there and exploring is done by dingy or kayak.  There is a beautiful waterfall, Freil Lake Falls, that is easily accessed by dinghy.  We decided not to spend the night there so we continued on back to Madeira Marina in Pender Harbor.  We arrived there at 3:12 and went shopping for more fresh seafood.  The boat "Gladiator" was there with fresh salmon they had caught in Johnstone Strait the day before and we bought 2 pink salmon for $5.00 each.  We marinated one in Teriyaki sauce and the other we smothered in Raspberry Chipotle sauce and cooked them on the grill.  Of course this was supplemented with bruschetta, corn on the cob, saute'd zucchini and a bottle of 05 Longshadows Chester Kidder.  Evening fell and loons began their songs as we slumbered under starry skies.

The next morning we were cooking breakfast and watched two deer walk in to the harbor waters, swim a circle out about 40 feet and go back to shore where they shook off like dogs before wandering away munching on shrubs and seaweed.  As the espresso was brewing, loons called a good morning song to our group.

Today Joe and Molly baked another Blueberry pie for tonight's dinner dessert and Joe and I went fishing at the fish boats for more fresh fish.  We brought back 1-12 lb halibut, and 4-8 lb ling cod.  We filleted these on the dock and packaged them for our freezer and for Joe and Molly to take some home fresh.  Tonights dinner was chunks of halibut and ling cod dusted with seasoned flour and saute'd in olive oil with home made coleslaw, corn on the cob and out last bottle of Longshadows 05 Feather.  Of course pie was for dessert as we watched the sunset on the docks.  Tomorrow, Joe and Molly would get in their car and head home while John, Penny, Katie and I would head across the Strait of Georgia back to Nanaimo.

8-10-10  Pender Harbor to Nanaimo

8:45 AM
A quick check on the radio tells us that Whiskey Golf is inactive today and it looks as though the winds are going to cooperate as we cross the straits.  We get out into Malaspina Strait and use Texada and Lasqueti Island as wind shelter where the waves are very mild, much less bumpy than our first crossing.  Once past Lasqueti Island the wind picks up and so do the waves.  3-5 foot seas start hitting us on our starboard quarter but we are able to quarter through most of them as we work our way across the remainder of the strait towards Nanaimo.  We arrive at the north end of Newcastle Island and enter the channel into the harbor.  As we are heading to the Nanaimo Port Authority docks we notice a 27" Albin "As Time Goes By", on the end of a marina slip so we pull in a little closer to get a look.  The owner comes out and invites us aboard so we circle back around and tie up on the dock for a boat tour.  Nice to finally get a first hand look at a 27' Albin like our 25.  It was pretty amazing how much more room this boat has with only 2 more feet in length and 1 foot in beam.  We enjoy looking at other boats and keep a running list of things we like or dislike about various boats.  A few minutes later we join John and Penny at the docks.  It's 1:00 and they tell us they are taking us out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant right on the dock, "Penny's Palapa". Good food and very nice to not have to cook or do the dishes. After eating we stroll the docks to view boats and meet Jackie and Ken who are up cruising in a beautiful woden Bill Garden designed boat called Bon Accord.  Great lines to the boat and wonderful people.  We always meet the nicest people out boating and Nanaimo seems to be a very easy place to meet boaters that share a similar adventurous spirit. We are hoping to do some buddy boating with Jackie and Ken in the future as they live relatively close to us.

8-11-10 Nanaimo to Telegraph Harbor

Self serve grocery store in Telegraph Harbor
Leave Nanaimo at 9:24 to catch the slack at Dodd Narrows. Slack is 11:35. We arive there by 10:30 with a tide assist.  Our average speed was 7.9 knots.  Current is still running pretty good but we go through without any trouble, Leighway was pushed around some on the inside corner but nothing dangerous or scary.  There was a lot of radio traffic about boats moving through and several boats admonished some of the people transiting the narrows on boating etiquette.  Tempers and patience seemed to flare a little during these radio exchanges.  We continue on to Telegraph Harbor Marina with calm seas and blue skies.  12:25 and we are in a slip at the marina.  Now it is time for some serious ice cream consumption!  Telegraph Harbor Marina is known for good ice cream and Katie and I order a banana spilt to share.  We go outside to a picnic table under a shade tree to enjoy the treat and the view. A walk to the self serve grocery nearby tops off our visit here.

8-12-10 Telegraph Harbor Marina to Cowichan Bay

Sunset in Cowichan Bay

We leave Telegraph Harbor at 10:06 and head on towards Cowichan Bay, one of our favorite villages to explore.  It is actually HOT while we are there and the temp gets into the high 80's.  We visit the Cowichan Bay Maritime Center and enjoy all the displays as well as the library there about wooden boats and the history of the Cowichan Bay area. A nice older wooden cruiser catches our attention and we ask to go aboard her.  She is the Donna Marie and a beautiful example of cruisers from another era.  She will make a nice vintage cruiser for her next owners.  Cowichan Bay is full of interesting places, people and boats to explore.  Fresh seafood, artisan breads and cheeses along with art galleries make this a place to return to often.  At the dock we meet another couple cruising in a wooden ex-troller built by the Wahl Brothers in Prince Rupert.   Beautifully converted into a liveaboard boat with lots of room and character built into her handsome lines.  Sunset comes and we settle in with a bottle of wine and a glorious sunset.
8-14-10 Back to Bellingham

Loaded up and ready to travel
We are on the final leg of our trip and leaving the San Juans to load our boat back on the trailer is a little sad.  Can't we just head North again?  Do we really have to go back to work?   We arrive in Squalicum Harbor and the temperature is 90 degrees.  A walk through the docks there to look at more boats then it is time to start heading home.  404 miles, 20 days, 56.6 engine hours and 42 gallons of fuel.  Priceless!

Next year-----Desolation Sound.


  1. So glad you started this blog. I will have fun following along on your trips.

    My husband and I used to travel from Yakima to Widbey Island when trucking...that's a beautiful trip. Always wished we could boat in that area.

  2. This is so wonderful. Thanks for being a blogger and a cruiser.

  3. Great job. We will be following your adventures.

  4. What an incredible adventure. I followed you via Google Earth and felt like a kid discovering new worlds. Thanks for sharing your travels.

    Central Texas. Albin #1602

  5. I enjoyed the kayaking cold is the water there.

  6. That is a very nice photo "Leaving Poet's Cove"..I like the wave pattern

  7. Keith & Katie....OH WOW! ! How I miss the water and that beautiful PLI and Desolation Sound...I want to see you two in your blog next summer..can you imagine anybody living anywhere else and NOT owning a boat??

    Wonderful job! Tom Parsons

  8. Hi there! I am from Comox, B.C. and just read The Curve of Time, stumbled upon your blog, your pictures are beautiful. I am glad that you enjoy your visits into this amazing area, we are truly blessed to live in this region. Thankyou for sharing!

  9. I really enjoyed reading about your adventures to Princess Louisa inlet. What books did you read to prepare for the cruise. We are planning a trip in June.

    1. So sorry for the late reply! I hope your trip there was wonderful. So many books to read about this area, The Curve of Time is our favorite.