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

Nanaimo to Comox

June 9 Comox

Nanaimo to Comox, 52.66 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 122.56 NM
Got an early start (0630) from Nanaimo. Winds were calm, but it was overcast. We planned to cross Georgia Strait to Pender Harbour. Well….
First, our engine starter just clicked at us, when it was expected to start the engine. After repeated attempts, it finally started…we have a spare starter, but wanted to get someplace (like Pender Harbour) where we had access to Internet, mechanics, place to stay awhile, etc. in order to troubleshoot the starter problem.
Then, when we started out from Departure Bay, we were motoring into 2-3 foot southeast swells. Rather uncomfortable, but we continued, thinking it would get better when we got further away from the shore. In addition, Area Whiskey Gulf was active today, including some special maneuvers of dropping flares or something like that from helicopters over Texada Island. Didn’t sound too inviting.
Once we turned toward Ballenas, it continued to be uncomfortable as we were now rolling in 2-3 foot following seas. It wasn’t very windy, just lumpy, and very gloomy overcast. By the time we reached Ballenas, our kitties were huddled up wondering what in the world was going on! Us too! When we passed Ballenas Island and turned toward Texada, the boat was rolling miserably and many things began rattling around in the cupboards. That was enough, and we turned to go with the seas, and changed our destination to Comox.
So, rather than the planned 30-mile day, we had a 50-mile day. Everyone was pretty tired by the time we got to Comox. We’re side-tied on F dock, with a bunch of fish boats. We walked around the town for a bit, and now are back at the boat where Jim can start working on the starter and we can get this update posted to our blog. We found the wi-fi access here isn’t to the computer on our boat, rather we have to take the computer to the office….or have line of sight to their antenna (we’d have to take the computer out on the dock in order to do that). At least we can get wi-fi!
Next, we are going to go looking for some good fish and chips!
A gloomy Georgia Strait – Looking back at Ballenas Island
Rosie, helping with navigation
Mickey, less than happy with the rolling
Chrome Island Lighthouse
Phoenix side-tied on F Dock at Comox

Anacortes to Nanaimo

June 6 Prevost Harbor

Anacortes to Prevost Harbor, 27.68 nautical miles

We are anchored in Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island tonight. We had a 4-1/2 hour run from Anacortes. Winds were variable 10-15, sometimes calm.  We rode the ebb tide out Guemes Channel, and made a direct trip across Rosario Strait and through the Islands to Prevost Harbor. We anchored in 25 feet at low tide. We found that the current frequently opposed the wind, resulting in the boat riding around the anchor and the chain grumbling as it got pulled along the bottom. The harbor breeze died down at sunset and it became flat calm. There are a few small boats at the park’s dock, only 2 boats tied to the park’s mooring buoys, and about a half dozen boats at anchor. Very quiet!

Rosie & Mickey slept most of the way, as they learn about boat noises and motion. Fortunately for us they both seem to handle boat travel fairly well.
Dinner tonight was barbecued Copper River salmon, barbecued corn-on-the-cob, and the rest of the Pugliese bread. The new barbecue works well, but we discovered there is a bit of a learning curve as it works slightly differently than our old one.
 Entering Thatcher Pass from Rosario Strait
Trawler transiting Pole Pass
Anchorage at Prevost Harbor
June 7 Montague Harbour
Prevost to Montague, 16.83 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 44.51 NM
We woke today to a cloudy and gloomy morning. We had a short run in the rain from Prevost to Montague. We stopped at Montague to clear Canadian Customs, thinking we’d continue on. However, the reports of strong winds at Entrance Island plus it was too late to make the afternoon Dodd Narrows slack…so, we decided to anchor and spend the night at a very quiet Montague Harbour.
Motoring into some chop this morning was a little more stressful for the kitties, so they’re glad to stop here. The rain stopped mid-afternoon, and the winds turned calm. Making it a very peaceful stop. Baked banana bread in the afternoon while Jim worked on his ham antenna. Missed seeing the bread boat!
 We encountered this container ship in Boundary Pass
when we left Prevost Harbor
In Montague, this coot took flight as we startled him.
A rather empty anchorage at Montague.
This mega yacht came in, anchored for a couple
of hours, then left.
Another wonderful sunset at Montague
June 8 Nanaimo
Montague to Nanaimo, 25.39 nautical miles
Total this trip to date: 69.9 NM
We woke early to a calm, sunny morning. Got the anchor up and were underway by 6:45 AM to catch the slack at Dodd Narrows. Very calm all the way north in Trincomali Channel, and easy trip through the narrows…not much boat traffic this early in the day and in the year.
There were hardly any boats at Port of Nanaimo, so we had no problem getting a berth for the night. Spent the afternoon shopping for beer, wine, groceries, etc. Sunny and a gentle SE breeze most of the afternoon. Considered dinner at Penny’s Palapa, but ran out of time putting things away, so that we can be prepared to leave early in the morning if the weather is good.
Looking back at a calm Trincomali Channel in the early morning
Dodd Narrows
Entering Nanaimo Harbor, we saw this oil rig
being towed by 4 tugs into the harbor…
…and this is the ship that brought the oil rig to Nanaimo.
p.s. we don’t think there’s any oil in Nanaimo…
Phoenix tied up at Port of Nanaimo
Nanaimo Harbor

In Anacortes…still

As usual, it always takes longer than we think to get the boat and us ready to leave the dock!  There are always unexpected things to take care of. So, we are still at the dock. In addition to the usual scurrying around to provision and stow things, last night our 10-year-old Dickinson barbecue bit the dust. Unfortunate timing!

This morning we went to the only likely place on a Sunday in Anacortes to look for a marine barbecue…West Marine. Thankfully, they had a good supply and we were able to find a model we like. Jim spent the morning taking off the old BBQ and installing the new Magma Newport BBQ. It’s shiny and bright and ready to use. We got the Dickinson when we outfitted our boat in 2001, and it has served us well…until now. But now that our barbecue Situation is resolved, and our projects and provisioning are done (for now), we are optimistic that we will be ready to leave in the morning…weather permitting.

10-year-old Dickinson BBQ
New Magma Newport BBQ

In Anacortes

We’re at the dock in Anacortes getting ready to head north. We plan to cruise the Inside Passage from Anacortes to the Broughton Archipelago this year, and are finishing up with provisioning and stowing. Still have a few projects to complete. Jim is in the final process of setting up his ham radio…he’s currently working on the mounting bracket. Weather has been uninspiring…cool with off-and-on showers…but not stormy.

New this year: we replaced our 10-year-old fender covers with new spiffy Polyform covers. Cool black covers that match our black mooring lines.

New black covers on our fenders look great!

New black covers on our fenders look great!