Comox to Dent Island

June 10 – Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island, Desolation Sound

Comox to Squirrel Cove, 34.8 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 157.36 NM
We did find some good fish and chips last night…went to the Blackfin Pub, a short walk from the marina, and enjoyed a rather nice dinner. We also bought some prawns from a local fish boat…they were asking $5 a pound, and even though we hope to get some of our own as we get further north, we couldn’t resist. They were so fresh that a few were still kicking!
We started our day at Comox by taking our laptop to the marina manager’s office when it opened at 0900. I worked on some banking business while Jim walked up to the Blue Heron Bookstore to buy Canadian Chart #3527, Baynes Sound, which provides more detail about this area, especially for crossing the bar to get back out to Georgia Strait. We have all the BC electronic charts, but always feel better to have the actual paper chart that covers where we are, and since we’ve never been in this area before, we didn’t have this detailed chart.
We left Comox at 1000 under sunny skies and a 10-15 knot NW wind. Waves were 1-2 feet, with a few breaking, as we made our way across the bar and turned toward Cortes Island in Desolation Sound. We pounded for a while, taking a bit of saltwater over the bow, but the conditions improved as we got into deeper water and it became an easy trip the rest of the way to Desolation Sound. We anchored in Squirrel Cove about 1500. As the day progressed, clouds from the west overtook the sun, and we even had some light rain around 1900. Didn’t last long, however. Nice and quiet in the anchorage…only a dozen or so boats here. A good night to watch some DVDs.
Tomorrow Jim plans to tackle replacing the engine starter, so we’ll plan to stay a second night in Squirrel Cove.
Georgia Strait – looking south, clouds coming in from the west
Following a fish boat into Desolation Sound
We passed the Squirrel Cove store on our way to the anchorage
June 11 Squirrel Cove
Layover day
We spent a second night in Squirrel Cove so that Jim would have today to replace our engine starter. The job took 3 to 4 hours, with most of the time just getting wiring and other stuff out of the way and getting the bolts out that held the old starter in place. Thankfully the replacement starter works and Jim was able to finish the work today. The old starter will come back to Anacortes with us to be refurbished and become our new spare. Our thanks to Whatcom Electric for their technical assistance on the phone.
It was sunny and a little breezy all day. All but one other boat left the anchorage, and only two more came it. Very quiet, which is nice. We saw a few eagles early this morning and a couple of loons swimming nearby, but no baby geese this time.
We plan to head further north tomorrow.
Spare engine starter in its box
In the engine room…the old starter before being replaced
Squirrel Cove anchorage
A pair of loons, swimming near our boat
June 12 – Dent Island
Squirrel Cove to Dent Island, 21.24 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 178.6 NM
We left Squirrel Cove in the sun, but it became cloudy as the day progressed. We decided to go through the slack around 1500 at the rapids, so didn’t leave Squirrel Cove until after 1100, allowing plenty of time to deal with potential unfavorable currents and so we could take our time. This trip we found the current running with us in Lewis Channel, and we were WAY early for the slack at Yuculta and Gillard. So we ended up idling and even drifting for a while…along with several other boats also waiting to transit the rapids. In previous years, we have been confused about the currents in Lewis Channel, as they always seemed to run opposite of the predictions. Based on what we observed today, it appears that the current in Lewis Channel DOES run opposite of the predicted current in the other main channels in the area.
There was only one other boat at the dock at Dent Island when we arrived, and only one other boat came in. It is early in the season and places are still relatively slow.
Dinner at the lodge was wonderful, as usual. We had our choice of several appetizers and main courses. For appetizers, Jim had seared scallops over risotto, and I had spot prawns over a mixture of wild rice and sliced apple. For dinner, Jim had the crab (a WHOLE crab) and I had salmon. Both meals were served with a selection of local vegetables. We found room for a bit of dessert…Jim had crème brulee and I had a chocolate volcano cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Certainly a meal to remember.
This is certainly not roughing it! But it is a great way to celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary. Back to cruising tomorrow.
Heading into Yuculta Rapids
Dent Island Lodge
Library at Dent Island Lodge
Phoenix and a Selene from Portland at the Dent Island docks

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