June 21 – Nanaimo to Pender Harbour

Pender Harbor Northwest

Garden Bay in Pender Harbour, mainland B. C., looking Northwest. The anchorage was very comfortable and the evening was delightful.

It was calm and overcast with a light drizzle this morning. The forecast for Georgia Strait called for light winds rising to southeast 10-15 later in the morning. We really don’t like to try to cross Georgia Strait in any kind of southeast wind. We have had consistently rough passages crossing Georgia Strait in southeast wind, especially when the wind opposes the current at any point during the crossing. However, we had been in Nanaimo LONG ENOUGH, so we decided to head out toward our Pender Harbour destination and see what the conditions were like.

Since this was our first time out after Jim’s engine work, we watched our instrument panel carefully. Hooray! The temperature gauge kept in the normal range. What a relief! However, as soon as we left Departure Bay, we encountered some fairly large swells. No wind, however, so we decided to continue on, hoping that the swells would be more comfortable when we reached deeper water.

Fortunately Area Whiskey Golf was not active today, so we had many options about our course. It began to rain as we got a little further out, but the visibility was still pretty good. Unfortunately, the swells continued and turned on our beam, so we rolled a lot, but nothing serious until we were about half way across.

Georgia Strait looking west

It was gray and the wind was calm as we made our way across Georgia Strait. This is looking west, and the seas appear calm but actually there was about a 1-2 foot swell running. The Vancouver Island coastline is on the left and Ballenas Islands are visible in the distance.

Then, the southeast wind started to fill in, and built to about 15 knots. That doesn’t sound like much wind, but it was opposing the current and the notorious “square waves” of Georgia Strait caused us to roll sharply. Georgia Strait is said to have square waves because the waves are close together and boats get tossed around more in those conditions. We turned south so that we would take the waves on our starboard bow and reduce the rolling. Now we were heading toward Welcome Pass rather than Pender Harbour, and were taking lots of water over the bow, as we crashed into some of the larger waves. We had green water all the way up to the fly bridge! Ugly!

The motion was uncomfortable, and we had to stay on that course for about an hour until we closed on the coastline. Then the conditions moderated enough so that we could turn to run with the waves, and be back on our course to Pender Harbour. We were so glad to get on a comfortable course…so were our kitties! They do really well in these difficult conditions, even though we can tell they’re not too happy about the motion. We are lucky they travel so well.

We vowed again NOT to cross Georgia Strait when southeast winds are in the forecast!

approaching Pender Harbour

As we approached Pender Harbour on mainland B.C., the sun started to peek out of the clouds and we were running in the same direction as the swells. Much better! The entrance to Pender Harbour is just behind the land on the right in this photo.

Pender Harbour was delightful. The afternoon turned sunny and warm. We found a nice place to anchor in Garden Bay. We spent over an hour washing dried salt water off our rails, cabin windows and sides…we had taken a fair amount of green water on and above the decks as we headed into those steep waves. We enjoyed some time reading and lounging on the fly bridge, and watching the marine activity in the harbor. We barbecued the sockeye salmon fillets we brought from Thrifty Foods for dinner. It was a very fine afternoon and evening…and we were so glad finally to be across Georgia Strait and on our way north.

Pender Harbour Southeast

Garden Bay in Pender Harbour looking southeast. Shortly after we arrived the skies were still rather cloudy and only a few boats were in the anchorage.

2 thoughts on “June 21 – Nanaimo to Pender Harbour

    • Hi Bonnie
      Sorry about the delays in posting. We have to wait until we have a good WiFi connection to publish the posts, and when we get a connection, to have time to actually prepare and upload the material. Connection times in remote places are slow, so everything takes longer…especially the photos. Will get more posts published when we can! The cats get by fine with the motion. They don’t like it much, but bounce back quickly as soon as we stop. Thanks for keeping up with us!

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