Day 13: Sailors’ Night Out

We were to be off at 9 if there was a wind, 11 if not. I guess it’s 11 … Sigh.

We practiced knots for a while and watched the dog party on the beach. It’s amazing how many people have bigger dogs (Labs and such) and how much work they are at an anchorage. Dog in dinghy, row in, walk dog, dog in dinghy, row back, dog up and on boat, wait 2 hours, repeat.

Lots of boats leaving this morning. We will up and out by 10:30. We have a reservation at Gorge Harbour but checkout time is noon so there is no point getting there early. And it’s only about 6 nm across Sutil Channel and then down through Uganda Passage so it won’t take long.

Dave lost a water bottle overboard so he dinghied out to retrieve it then popped by for a quick hello. We will take off around 10:30.

10:15 comes by and we start upping anchor. I’m out front on anchor duty so I can see what the issues are with this boat’s anchor locker. It’s slow going and R Shack Island beat us out again, but we were soon on our way.

Around the spit there was still no wind and we crossed the channel heading for the zigzag path that is Uganda Passage which goes across the end of Shark Spit. A few minutes up the channel and we turned heading toward the entrance to Gorge Harbour, which is the gorge the harbour is named for.

It is a narrow entrance with steep rock sides that opens up after a couple of hundred yards into a huge harbour.

Just before we hit the entrance Dave radioed back to say he’d stalled. This is an ongoing issue he’s been having with vacuum locks and pressure systems. We swung back to follow him in ready to grab a bow line and effect a tow if necessary. It wasn’t necessary.

Into Gorge Harbour we radioed ahead and had to do laps while several boats fueled up in front of us. But by and by we pulled up to the fuel dock and filled ‘er up. Then we cast off, switched sides and tied up in our slip.

2h16m 10.4nm

All tied up, we filled the forward water tank, which we had finally emptied, and settled in on a scorcher of an afternoon. It’s beautiful here and the marina/resort has showers, laundry, store, pool and a restaurant. Expensive, though: $1.65/foot.

Today I am wrestling with the fridge. I thought it was choking on the battery power but it seems to run continuously on shore power as well. An email to Nanaimo Yacht Charters leaves me with just running the engine. That’s sailing…

I wandered the docks for a bit and checked out the resort. A quick beer with Dave and then we booked C’s flight home. Still not sure of our agenda.

Afterwards I headed up for a shower. Clean. The problem was that my damn mosquito bites stared itching again. Back at the boat a refitted 136′, 1930s motor yacht had appeared across the finger from us. Stunning boat. Acania.

Dave has tied his boat 6 ways from Sunday and is going to run up his engine to see if he can stall it. He has a pressure gauge on his fuel line so he had me stand at the helm and run it, in gear, at 2200 rpm. Me? Nervous? Abso-f*cking-lutely. But in the end, it worked. He figured out it’s most likely the fuel filters.

C, L & I sat and had a pre-dinner beer and talked future, present and then tense. Grammar people… Huh. The conversation varied and roamed. Anyone want to win a cookie? Guess who said, “You whip it out and suck it while you’re at it.”

Dinner in the patio was delish with another stunning view and warm evening with great company. After we walked back to the boat we enjoyed a glass of red in the cockpit of Baraka Too and then said good night.




Day 12: Hot Summer Night

Blue sky.
Lapping water.
Morning at sea.

It’s going to be a hot one. Barely 8:30 and C and I have already abandoned the sun for some cool shade.

I did some laundry and putzed around. L worked on some book reviews, C worked on some knots and I fought with the outboard. After a while I thought I had it mastered but it conked out again after 10 or 15 minutes. I think I have officially given up.

Dave rowed over to say hello and we think we might spend the day on the beach, just walking and hanging.

So we floated on the water and enjoyed.

Sometime after noon Dave and Margaret rowed by and said they were headed for the beach. So I hustled and rustled the crew and we headed beachward. C and I decided to paddle. We got there. Eventually. We should so be a tv show…

Once on shore we beached the dinghy and tied it off to a big tree. We crossed over to the channel side and beachcombed for a while. I brought Leslie 4 rocks. Carmen brought 2 shells but wouldn’t share. She’s like that. I won.

A little while later Dave and Margaret joined us and we sat on logs in the shade and chatted. Soon enough though Margaret got antsy (I think she gets that from Dave) and prodded Carmen and Leslie into action, forcing Dave and I to have to choose between remaining comfortably in the shade and shooting the breeze or following along. We followed.

Along the way C spotted a big dog but thought its butt looked funny. That was apparently because it was a deer. A couple of deer in fact. She eventually figured it out, though, cleverly waiting until she was sure they were deer before pointing them out. Then not so cleverly ruining the cleverness by admitting she had originally thought them funny-butted dogs.

Tons of driftwood, shells and pretty rocks littered the beach and we eventually crossed the spit to the inside where tons of swimmers and picnickers were littering the other beach.

We snagged a picnic table in the shade and drank some water. D & M opted for healthy apples as their snack du jour; we had a bag of cheezies. Hopefully Margaret won’t think too badly of us. Afterwards we headed back along the park path up the spit towards our dinghies.

Back on board we eyed the water while R Shack’s crew went for a tour of Drew Harbour. Eventually the hot sun was too much and we (C & I) eased our way into the cold, cold water. There was some shrieking involved. What was even more interesting was the strength of the current. It was stronger than my lazy breast stroke; I had to switch to my side stroke to get back to the boat. When I let go of the bow, I would drift past the stern in 5 or 6 seconds.

Fun stuff and a great cool down. And I was smart enough to take off my underwear first this time! My swimming companion, however, was not. When we hauled ourselves out my drying time was half hers. Prior planning prevents poor performance, I always say.

Then it was beer time. We had rigged up our sheet to keep the sun out but I wanted to bake in the sun so I crawled out on the beam and baked. D & M motored by on their way back and offered the use of their dinghy.

After our beer C and I paddled over — much to Dave’s amusement — and switched boats. A long leisurely tour of the bay brought us back to the Shack and we dropped off the loaner dinghy. Along the way we saw an 80’+ sailboat called Celesteel and a couple of monster Ocean Alexanders.

Tomorrow we will take off for 10 if the wind is up and closer to 11 if it is calm again.

We said adieu to Dave and paddled back to Baraka Too. Another beer and some relaxing and C, getting restless, headed below to make dinner.

Dinner was French toast, with our imported French white pepper and a bottle of Joseph Faiveley red (Cote-D’Or). Delicious.

Mildly drunk, we hung out in the cockpit and enjoyed the cooling breeze as the sun slowly set.







Day 11: Spitting Distance

What. A. Beautiful. Morning.

Up at the crack of 7, I had a coffee and started getting antsy. “We should go. We should go. We should go.” It had a nice back beat with some synth and just a hint of steel guitar. Still, I think I was annoying Carmen.

Belle Serena headed out and I started doing what I could with still-sleepy crew and then just sat and waited. Waited. Waited.

Eventually Dave and I moved the schedule up by about an hour and we started to go. We cleared the shoal by 13 and a half feet in a falling tide so I’m happier than not we went a bit early.

No wind again so it was a calm sunny motor for a few hours out of the Sound and across the Strait towards Quadra Island.

I’ve got better cell service so I’ve gone back and added pictures and routes to the last few posts.

It was a warm, uneventful 4-ish hours and as we rounded the spit into Drew Harbour I called Ian and inquired about our outboard. He said someone would meet us at Herriot Bay Marina so we opted to go straight there while R Shack Island anchored. I called the marina but they didn’t know anything, so we motored in anyway. About 5 minutes later they called back and our motor had arrived.

We tied up on the outside and met the young lady on the dock. I walked up to get it and we wheeled it down to the boat. Unluckily for us it was low tide so getting it down the ramp and the old one up wasn’t the easiest task. But we got everything loaded up and cast off for our anchorage.

Over at Rebecca Spit we tussled with the current for a bit but got a solid anchor down and started cleaning up.

5h44m 28.6nm

I quickly motored over to R Shack to check in and stayed for a beer. We decided to head in to Herriot Bay for a few supplies so I meandered back to Baraka Too and roused the crew to action. 40 minutes later we piled in the dinghy and started off to Herriot Bay.

But the dinghy gods have been angered, and the outboard quit halfway across the bay. I tried to start it to no avail but luckily Dave circled back to offer a tow. Humiliated, I sat while he towed us in and all the other boaters pointed and laughed and laughed. Well, maybe not, but it felt like it.

We walked up to the store and grabbed some supplies and a bit more beer. Then back to the boat to pull fruitlessly in the outboard before giving up and accepting yet another tow back to the mothership. Once back I stubbornly worked on the motor and eventually got it running, but it cut out again and then would bog down on anything more than an idle.

So I called Ian. Unfortunately he was a bit distracted because the car with our motor had gotten into an accident on the way back. I hate hearing things like that. As far as he knew everything was all right, but he was waiting to hear more. He suggested a quick plan of action and I let him go.

As it stands I am letting the motor settle and C is making baked pasta for dinner. We ate in the cockpit and draped a sheet from the bimini for shade. It was delicious as usual. After dinner L and I rowed ashore, took a short walk along the spit and watched the boats at anchor twist in the fading sun.

Another special day.







Day 10: Sunshine, Swimming and Solitude

A beautiful blue-skied, sunny morning filled with the soft calls of the Basking Carmen: “Wick-wick.” “Wick-wick”

Right around 8:30 powerboats started weighing anchor and by 9:30 we’d lost over half a dozen. That still leaves a dozen boats here, but it has certainly opened up the landscape and it is all that more pretty now. C and I sat in the warm morning air, I in the shade, she in the warming sun, and we watched the slow exodus.

After the coffee and wakefulness settled in, I fitted out the dinghy and rowed over to chat with Dave. The people from next boat over, the 50′ Beneteau from Nanaimo Yacht Charters called Belle Serena, were out in their dinghy trying to start their outboard with very little luck. They called over looking for a spark plug wrench so I grabbed Dave’s and rowed it over to them.

In the ensuing conversations and multi-boat mechanical advice from various neighbours, they eventually gave up and called Ian. I offered them the use of our dinghy while we were here since we could use R Shack’s. Another call to Ian yielded the suggestion we just gave them ours, which was pretty much a nonstarter for me. As it sits now I lent them our dinghy for the day with the option of them keeping it if Nanaimo Yacht charters will deliver a new motor to Rebecca Spit. We will see…

We putzed around for a bit and I decided to make some eggs for a lunch while we waited to hike up to the lake. L bowed out but C suggested mutzy eggs on toast. I pointed out the impossibility of that given the poor toaster output, lack of proper lids for the pan and overall poor cooking utensils. And much to my surprise (not) Carmen argued. After our argument (as usual) I gave in (as usual) and Carmen got her way (as usual).

And, as usual, Carmen was right. The eggs, which involved much improvisation and some black magic, were nigh on perfect. My only criticism was one of my eggs had an uneven portion of whites. Life is hard.

After lunch we sat and sunned until Dave rowed over. He and I headed out to the shoal with his lead line to take a sounding. It was about 5′ an hour before low tide. Not sure if that info will help or hinder our calculations.

After we got back we picked up Margaret and headed back to Baraka Too to tie up the loaner dinghy and get a tow to the mouth of the creek that flows down into this bay. We beached the dinghies and tied them up.

A short hike up along the creek through a shady dense forest brought us to a fresh water lake and we waded for a few minutes in the warm water. Back on the trail we climbed up and then descended down to the lake shore where a series of flat, warm rocks lined the shoreline and a crowd was already swimming and sunbathing.

We joined in by dabbling our feet and sat and enjoyed the beauty of BC. Dave and I chatted in the shade while the ‘women-folk’ sat like pretty maids on the shore. Eventually Margaret was driven from the sun and joined us in the shade and one by one the others joined us. The water was so warm and the lake so so beautiful.

Reluctantly we headed back to the dinghies, smiling and greeting all the people headed for the warm rocks. Back at the creek’s outflow I cut down to walk in the water and yet another snake leaped out to startle me. I seriously need to a send a note to someone. I have a seven-foot snake rule; how hard is that to understand? This is my 3rd snake-startle this trip. Egads!

Dave towed us back to the boat and they went off for a tour of the bay while we indulged in a beer and a sunbath. The fellow from Perigee kayaked by and started chatting to me. A gregarious fellow, he talked through Dave showing up for a beer and Carmen sighing loudly and stripped off her top and diving in. He kept talking while I madly snapped pictures but finally gave up when I started to strip.

I then joined C in the water and left D and L to amuse themselves with beer and their own fine company. After a small swim I crawled out into the warm sun and somehow, with great appeal, C enticed L to dive in and soon they were paddling and dabbling around the boat. That made me happy.

Dave and I figured out tomorrow’s departure and then he finished his beer and made to leave in the loaner dinghy so we could row or paddle around in R Shack’s tender. Instead of rowing back to his boat, Dave got boat-to-boat mermaid tow service. Lucky dude.

After a bit I hopped back in for another swim and then we all hauled ourselves out to dry in the sun like a bunch of beached seals. Carmen open the rosé and we sipped wine and baked. After a bit I hopped in R Shack’s dinghy and rowed off to the shoal for fun. The tide was coming in so after I struggled valiantly through the narrow point I finally started the motor and putted out into the Sound for a look. Not a lick of wind anywhere.

I slowly meandered back to the Baraka Too and climbed up for a little more bake. About quarter to six we all cleaned up and got ready to row over to R Shack Island for dinner.

Dinner was slow-cooked steak with Memphis hand rub, an amazingly fresh garden salad, corn on the cob and wild rice. We had brought a Riesling/Gewurtztraminer blend, which was one to remember. After dinner we retired to the cockpit to enjoy the cooling air and finish off another bottle in one of the prettiest places I’ve been in a while.

All in all a great way to end a great day.





Day 9: Roscoe P. Coltrain

Alternative title (as supplied by Carmen): We Like It in the Stern

I awoke to a blue sky and warm sun. Coffee and writing in the cockpit until everyone else stirred and we enjoyed watching the morning unfold.

Today we are off to Roscoe Bay, which has a bar at its entrance. We need to cross it in a rising tide and our calculations say 3:30-4 this afternoon. Dave’s agree. So we will head out in search of wind and tour the Sound.

We cast off 11-ish and motored up to Isabel Bay. After 3 attempts we finally made it to this bay. This was a place that Ian from Corus had recommended. Sheltered, picturesque and quiet. I have to agree it would be worth a stop.

While we were circling the bay I noticed a large black dog trotting by the stern line of one of the boats I was admiring. Then I realized it wasn’t no dog. A smallish black bear was investigating the shore and looking wistfully at the tasty people in the boats just offshore. I radioed R Shack, but by the time they got back it had headed up hill and into the trees. They saw some nice jellyfish, though, so that’s something.

One last time we weaved up the crowded Okeover Inlet and hit Desolation Sound eager to sail. There was no wind. It was beautiful and sunny and absolutely still. A power boater’s day I guess. We set a course for Roscoe Bay and enjoyed the day on the water.

There are lots of boats in Desolation Sound. Lots and lots of boats. Lots and lots and lots of boats. I guess because the Sound is so open you see them all at once but man, there are a lot of boats. Prideaux Haven is one of the it s
pots in Desolation and it must be jam packed. Our destination of Roscoe Cove had 4 or 5 boats circling waiting for the tide to turn and you could see a dozen boats already in.

We were about an hour early so we circled on motor for a bit and, after a powerboat tried the shoal and backed out, we unfurled the genoa and sailed up and down for an hour or so. At one point we hit 2.8 knots with just the foresail so the sailing being not too shabby was the general consensus. At least I thought so.

Eventually a sailboat took the plunge over the shoal and since he made it without incident we headed in as well. R Shack took the lead and slowly moved over the shoal. Their minimum depth on the crossing was 8’9″ giving them about 2 feet more than their 6’6″ draft. Plenty of space. We followed them in safely and soon we were motoring into Roscoe Bay.

R Shack Island circled around and picked out a tree then dropped anchor for a stern tie. We grabbed the next tree down and followed suit. Once again even though all the books recommend a stern tie, most boats are monopolizing space in the center—even to the point of being rude about it.

The windlass is being cranky but we got the anchor down and Leslie and I rowed in to take a wrap around our tree. This time we are close enough to be able to loop back to the boat so leaving will be much easier. While standing on the slippery rocks the local greeter-snake slithered by at the waterline to scare the h*ll out of me. 7′ people… 7′! How hard is that to remember?

Leslie took the end back to the boat while I took up slack and then C and I pulled the rope taut. Leslie then came back to shore for me. Stern tie success. And C was right, we like it this way.

6h07m 20.7nm

A bit more tidying and it was booze time. We settled on sangria and C started in on mixin’em up. Unfortunately for the enterprise she broke the corkscrew before we got the bottle of Rioja open.


I immediately rowed over to the neighbors and borrowed a relief corkscrew and headed back before panic took over the Baraka Too. Thank god I was in time.

C finished up the drinks and we rowed them back to R Shack for an aperitif and visit. We decided it was two nights here and then 20+nm to Drew Harbour and Rebecca Spit before we were due at Gorge Harbour for dinner.

Back on Baraka I started the BBQ and C made some delicious, tasty, juicy strip loins. We ate in the cockpit enjoying the last of a warm day and soaked in the peace.

The real highlight of the evening was when I glanced up and noticed the BBQ, which had been off for an hour, was smoking. I threw open the lid and the BBQ brush, which I had thrown in there after I ‘turned it off,’ had melted completely through the grill like some sort of cheap Salvador Dali.

Carmen helped by taking pictures. Oh wait, that wasn’t helpful. Sigh. I had to restart the BBQ to warm up the plastic again so so could peel it off the grill. But I saved the bristles, so that’s something…

As the sun set we sat with candles in the cockpit and closed the day quietly.





Day 8: No Fair, Yours is Bigger

I was first up. Hot water and, since it was pretty nice, coffee in the cockpit. Today was a slower morning with lots of Harbour-watching and meandering. I headed up for a shower and started the day refreshed and clean.

We filled up the jerry can for the dinghy with gas and topped up the forward water tank. We still haven’t had to switch to the rear tank so either we’ve been conserving, this thing has monster-big tanks or both.

Soon enough everyone was ready so we fetched Dave to help cast off and smoothly slipped off the dock and motored down the finger. Well, at least that’s how it was supposed to go. In actuality, my brilliant plan of springing the bow off stalled at about 30 degrees and I hung there. Trying to go forward with the wheel turned just took me into the boat in front of us. Eventually Dave, Bob and another helpful soul grabbed the bow and we reversed it out, essentially using a 3-man spring system to muscle the stern out. Worked.

I had forgotten two things. First the wind was pushing us on the dock and the bow is a lot harder to turn into the wind than he stern. And second, if I had rigged the spring line off the bow, the natural curve of the forward part of the hull would have given me much more angle to play with. Live and learn, live and learn.

At this point I got so busy the rest of the day that I didn’t write a single other thing. So now I am sitting in the morning sun, drinking my coffee and reviewing what was a great day.

We motored out of Refuge Cove at slow speed and Carmen took the helm. After about 15 or 20 minutes R Shack Island caught up and radioed the winds were 8-10 knots. C was into it so we raised sail and headed south-ish on a close haul.

A few tacks later we attempted to go around Kinghorn Island, but the winds started to die so we gybed and started back east-ish. The winds picked up for a bit but started to die again and R Shack radioed back to see not whether it was time to drop sail. A quick vote showed our sailing spirit and we (Carmen) sailed for almost another hour in light variable winds. Great fun.

The sun was out and we were slathered with sunscreen, but there were still a few red noses at the end of the trip. And the clouds were simply beautiful: scalloped fringes arrayed on a blue, blue satin cloth.

Eventually it was time to bring in the sails and head down Okeover Inlet. I took over the helm and we motored once again through the maze of rocks, shoals and islets. Carmen spotted what we guess to be a seal wrestling with a salmon. 4 or 5 big splashes and then nothing.

We passed the entrance to Grace Harbour and were on our way to Isabel Bay for that look-see Dave had wanted. As we passed the point where Carmen had gleefully been doing doughnuts in the dinghy I threw the wheel hard over and showed her how it was done. This was the point she exclaimed “No fair! Yours is bigger.”

I think she was trying to be dirty again.

I think our antic-filled maneuvering made Dave nervous because he radioed that we should skip Isabel Bay and head straight for the government dock further down the inlet, which was our final destination.

Actually Dave gets as antsy as I do about having a firm destination and since the government docks are usually small and don’t take any kind of reservation, it just made sense not to leave it too long. Turns out though, this particular dock is huge. A long, wide L-shape that sits high in the water, it had a couple of obvious spaces on the outside and quite a few on the inside.

I brought the Baraka Too around the breakwater and smoothly to the end of the dock (I had taken the easy spot). I think I might have this boat dialed in … knock on wood.

I walked up to give R Shack a hand with her lines and soon we were all tied up and set for the night.

4h46m 16.7nm

We decided some exploring was in order so we mounted the motor in the dinghy and zoomed off with C in charge. Dave and Margaret opted for a cold beer on a hot day in the cool shade.

Across the inlet we found a rock beach and Cap’n C zoomed us ashore. We pulled the dinghy up on the rocks and tied it off as best we could to a bigger rock. Over the course of the hour or so we were there I had to head back to the boat and pull it up higher out of the rising tide several times. Tides rise fast!

I headed for a big log under a shady tree while the others headed up beach exploring. The granite sand comes in multiple sizes here from half-inch pebbles down to millimeter-sized grains. Mix in shell fragments and you have lovely, lovely colours and textures.

After cooling down I walked down the beach and found oyster gardens where some enterprising soul had arranged the rocks to create a protected little haven for the delicious shellfish to grow. As I turned back to find the others and show them my discovery, I discovered instead they had disappeared. I was pretty sure even they couldn’t have managed to both drown on a beach, so that left bears, cougars or psycho mountain men.

With a heavy sigh I started making my way down the cobbley beach eyeing the nooks and crannies for torn clothes or random body parts. I passed the dinghy and hauled it up again and kept going. A couple of hundred yards further down I spotted a leg dangling from a tree on the shore and swung inland. As I got closer I discover that C and L were in fact sitting on a big log between two rocks under a huge maple. They had named it May. The tree, not the log. Naming a log would be silly.

Oblivious to my distress they chatted on about rusty cables, pretty rocks and a snake. I opined that snakes were fine, but only at a 7-foot distance. After a bit of a rest we wandered back to my garden discovery and what should happen but a snake magically appeared right under my feet and slithered like a racing pro for the bigger boulders higher up the shore. I didn’t scream, but some incomprehensible noise did come from somewhere in the vicinity of my head.

Soon enough we piled back into the dinghy and I pushed us off. I had to, because Carmen already had it in reverse and was fully prepared to leave me behind. We cruised by some vertical granite cliffs and spotted what may or may not have been a petroglyph.

Somewhere around there the call of the cold beer rang out across the inlet and we steered into it and revved ‘er up. As we approached our boat, C decided to attempt the extremely difficult and dangerous maneuver of bringing the boat in beam-on to the transom. I had been practicing all week to no avail and I closed my eyes in anticipation of the train wreck about to occur. Dinghy-meister. That’s all I can say. Sigh.

We slurped down two ice cold ones and a scarfed a bag of bugles. Then it was time to clean up for our 6:30 reservation at the Laughing Oyster. Dave and Margaret beat us and wandered down to our boat. I chatted with them while we waited for the girls to ‘refresh’ themselves.

Dinner was lovely and the view spectacular, even more so as the sun began to set. We closed the place down with a couple of bottles of Riesling and some delicious deserts. It was a fine, fine evening.

Carmen and Margaret continued a prior discussion in which I learned that Margaret’s mother had been raised in Thorhild, which is where Carmen’s mother had been raised. Different generations so they might not have met but the family names should be familiar to each other. The Logie family was Margaret’s family.

At last we walked back to the boats in the last of the failing light and tucked into bed soon after.





Day 7: Seeking Refuge

Up a bit earlier to make ready and we were in the dinghy fetching the stern line by 8. Dave and Margaret’s smooth working machine had them off anchor and circling before we even got to the bow but we put our heads down and got’er done. We blame it in the anchor locker which needs a lot if tlc to work correctly.

We motored up and out of the harbour and into Okeover inlet. We wove our way around the rocks and islets and out into Desolation Dound proper. Across the Sound we went and a mere hour later we were pulling into Refuge Cove; a nice short day. . I had a shower while we crossed and cleaned up the heads and when I emerged again we were almost there.

There were three boats coming into Refuge including us. I took I ver the helm and we slept another sail boat slot between us and R Shack Island. As we slowly approaches the docks at the far end of the cove we tries to see if there were any open spots. It looked pretty full.

Dave dived into a spot that had just been vacated by a trawler while we circled and waited. Eventually Dave tied up and spied out a spot at the end of one if the fingers behind an aluminum skiff and we motored in at 90 degree angle to the dock. Just as I eased the 40′ boat into the 44′ foot space, the skiff behind pulled out. Should have been more patient. Still, I need the practice. The trawler in front of us was due to leave in an hour so we walked the boat back to where the skiff had been and left room at our bow.

We tied up and tidied up and then proceeded to watch the show. Refuge Cove offers 4 hour courtesy tie-ups. This means lots of people come in to fill their tanks, wash their clothes or have a shower–or all three–before scooting off again. So it’s a revolving door of boats coming and going.

2h02m 8.3nm

We have had three neighbours off our bow so far, although I think the latest is here to stay.

We wandered up to the store to settle up and I grabbed some emergency beer. We will look for groceries later. We checked out the book store and gallery then C & L headed down to bake buns for dinner.

Like I said, most of the afternoon was spent watching boats and the docking shenanigans. The Refuge Cove coop owns the docks but there is no wharfinger, so it really is catch-as-catch-can and sometimes it can be quite hilarious as boats come and go throughout the day, jockeying for position and measuring up spaces between boats.

Soon enough the Pan O’Buns was all dones and we sat in the cockpit with fresh, warm buns and butter and … Oh yeah… with… with mustard. Some of us apparently like fresh-from-the-oven buns with mustard. Yes. Mustard. No judgement. But… mustard. Still, however they were prepared, they were delicious anyway.

After buns we headed up to the cafe and had lunch. D & M were just leaving, but he bought us a loverly welcome-to-Refuge-Cove gift of fresh baked cinnamon buns. I had a burger, C went for tomato soup and L stuck with the bun. And even more boat watching ensued.

After a while Dave came back to scope out the laundry availability and we planned out the next few days. Unfortunately for him, he soon forgot the primary mission of laundry-scopage and Margaret was forced to come up and do it for herself. Men…just not reliable when there are pretty boats around…

We’ve settled on Okeover Inlet and the public dock there for our ultimate destination tomorrow. It’s a bit of backtracking, but we are hoping to do some sailing. We have reservations at the Laughing Oyster there courtesy of Dave. Dave likes things booked in advance if at all possible and I can’t say I fault him for that. Just seems sensible if’n ya ask me.

We also now have reservations for the marina at Gorge Harbour for the 31st and dinner there as well. That gives us almost a week to get there.

Afterwards some more wandering, some more visiting and then a visit to the store for some supplies. Back at Baraka Too, C went for a rest and the good Doctor and I went to R Shack for a beer/cider sociable. We< /i> had a great visit, but sadly C attracted the attention of Bob and his wife and was soon ensconced in some serious sharing time with the older couple in the neighboring boat. She did learn a lot about what was horseshit (most of what everyone else thought), and what was not (most of what Bob knew), but didn’t get much quiet time.

Around 6:30 we returned to find her burrowed below in her cabin and eager to share her newfound, non-horseshit knowledge. I guess Mr. and Mrs Bob left an impression.

So we made supper. Hot dogs on homemade buns with roulette Doritos (every 5th one was super spicy-hot–stupidest idea in the universe) and a nice merlot.

The sun has been hot most of the afternoon but it is cooling down quick as C and I sit in the cockpit and watch the sun slowly set. Eventually al joins us until the shivering becomes uncontrollable. Tomorrow is just around the corner.






Day 6: Boating in Place

I slept in! By sheer determination and force of will I didn’t emerge from my cabin until nearly 9. Some coffee, some toast and jam, and I caught up in the blog entries.

Last night was okay although the drip of condensation from the overhead hatch that hit my shoulder at random intervals was annoying. But I survived in a rough-and-ready, manly-type way. It’s just who I am.

While Dr. L(ove) was getting up and around I took C out for Dinghy 101. We practiced forwards, backwards and beaching. I give her a B- . She mostly lost marks for talking over the teacher.

After we got back we collected L and headed for the oyster beach that was currently sitting at a full low tide. For an hour or so we crawled over the rocks and splurched through the mud exploring. We saw oysters and mussels, baby clams and baby halibut, granite and more granite, and lichens and mosses. One of the lichens was pale, long and spongy, like, as Carmen wittily remarked, a Woodland Afro. Huh.

While scrambling along the barnacle encrusted granite I mentioned to Leslie how is was odd that I had worn these pants for several days on the preceding trip without noticing the Velcro enclosure on the front pocket.

After a million pictures and a ton of exploration, Dave and Margaret arrived in their dinghy and we explored some more. Coastal life really is infinitely fascinating. Dave wanted to cruise up Lancelot Inlet to find Isabel Bay and check out anchorages there, so we decided to tag along. We motored in the dinghy out of Grace Harbour, gawking at boats and oohing and awwing at the lovely homes built along the edges of the shore. There is a section or two of land here in Desolation Sound Marine Park that is still private land and the homes built here are all phenomenal.

After we had cruised the coastline at idle we decided to turn back, but before we did I let Dave know that Carmen had been good and needed to open her up. So while they trailed along behind, C wound up the 4 hp and preceded to do some doughnuts and high-speed turns. At one point more backwash was coming over the transom than I could bail, and we managed to fill the boat with enough water to wash some of the mud from our walk.

Coming back L took over the stick and had to learn how to use an outboard all over again. Eventually she straightened herself out and we throttled up to zoom home at half speed.

Back at the boat we put away all the drying that had been festooning the boat and had a drink. Dave rowed over to join and we chatted and decided on a rough agenda for the coming days. Tomorrow is Refuge Cove for supplies and so L can call her Dad for his 70th. We’d like to hit Roscoe Cove, Gorge Harbour and Lund over the next week as well. Should all be doable.

As Dave was leaving I got up to untie his painter for him and Carmen asked out loud if my pants were on backwards. I would have thought it a highly impertinent question except it turns out they were. Seems I don’t have Velcro enclosures on my front pockets after all.

After a bit Dave rowed away and we fired up the engine for some hot water. I made pancakes while C had a shower and we sat down to enjoy a white Zin with our dinner:

Leslie: pancakes with white sugar
Bruce: pancakes with butter (lots) and blueberry syrup (lots more)
Carmen: pancakes with peanut butter and raspberry jam

Mmmmmmm, pancakes.

After dinner they washed up and I watched the glassy water and wrote for a bit. A good, good day.

A bit later I rowed/motored over to the spot where the oyster beach had been. Completely under water now. A brief tour of the harbour and we put up the motor in the stern and sat and enjoyed the cooling evening air with a drink and some candles in the cockpit.






Day 5 Part Two

The first part of the blog entry is going to post automatically tonight but there is no cell service here in Grace Harbour. That means this second part will not go up for a few days, after we leave.

Seems between the condensation and a incorrectly secured hatch we have a few wet spots here and there. I stripped our bed (where the slightly open hatch was) and hung everything as best I could to try and dry things out. Hopefully it’ll be good by bed time.

The rain increased as we rounded Malaspina Peninsula and we weaved our way through islets and islands. R Shack dropped their main and we passed them and led the way into Grace Harbour. All the books say stern tying is recommended but as we entered the harbour most boats were anchored in the middle. Rebels that we are, we decided to stick with the original plan and scoped out a likely tree.

We dropped our anchor and backed towards shore. Leslie manned the helm while Bobo the Sailing Clown and I fought over the oars and steered the dinghy crookedly towards the wrong shore. Eventually we figured it out and crawled along the rocky shore to “our” tree. A loop around the tree and we attempted to bring the stern line back to the boat.

Nope. Not long enough.

Plan B involved heading back to shore and just tying off to a tree. Eventually we got the boat tied off, while Leslie steered the stern into the tree and we pulled ourselves back to the boat along our stern line. Success.

And thankfully the rain had all but disappeared making the preceding maneuvers much, much easier. Beside us R Shack was doing the same thing thing with a little less comedy, although they had a few good ones. I especially liked the one where neither of them tied off the dinghy and it floated away.

5h09m 26.9nm

Back on board we doffed all our rain gear as the rain had stopped altogether. I was standing in the dinghy adjusting the oars when Carmen’s mental powers filled me with the urge to jump in the water. So I did. Warm for 2 feet then cold underneath. Fun though. Carmen looked on jealously but, unusually for her, couldn’t commit. After I crawled up the transom I took off my rain pants and tried to shame her into it. Eventually I succeeded and over we went. Ta-da!

After we were back aboard we semi-dripped in the cockpit and C headed below to get help with her pants. I wasn’t invited. Leslie passed up my warm fleece pants and a towel and I changed before heading down.

All dried off and changed, we met again in the cockpit over beer and cider. We called the neighbors and Dave rowed over to join us. At which point the rain started again and didn’t stop until the wee hours of the morning.

After a few beer, Dave rowed home in the rain and I sat in the salon watching Carmen make dinner. We had invited R Shack over for pork loin so it was time to get at it.

Cooking with two small burners is not the easiest thing in the world. Especially if the pan is so big you can only use one burner at a time. And there are very, very few serving bowls aboard. But in the end, flatbread with garlic and oregano, a lovely romaine salad, pasta with mushrooms and onions and tasty, juicy loin was served in several courses. Coupled with a couple bottles of wine and some very pleasant company, it was a loverly evening.

Dave and Margaret rowed back in the rain and dark and we descended to wash dishes and clean up. Then we crashed on the settees to wind down before hitting the sack.

Good day.