Thankfully, it was cooler this morning. Which was great after it had been so hot for the past three days. The forecast was good, so we decided to continue south and stop at Montague Harbour. We wanted to try anchoring tonight to see if the batteries would hold a charge overnight.
We arrived in Nanaimo yesterday (Sunday) and are staying here today as well. We’re tied up at Port of Nanaimo, our choice of a place to tie up where Jim can do some work on our engine. We started out across Georgia Strait in the late morning yesterday, thinking we would take advantage of a brief weather window. But after a half hour or so, we noticed that our engine was running a little hot. We decided it would be better to get to a dock and check things out before we made a 15-mile crossing of a large body of water.
Once we were just outside the breakwater of Ganges Marina, we called them on VHF channel 66 to see if they had moorage available for us. They answered promptly, but put us “on hold” as there were several boats calling at the same time. Turned out that a local yacht club was having their annual get-together this weekend on the docks of Ganges Marina and many of their boats were arriving at the same time as we were. So much for the idea that the crowds “would be down.”
It was breezy in Prevost Harbor this morning, but clear and sunny. After coffee and a snack, we decided to head out of the anchorage and see if it was windy in Boundary Pass. We called Canadian Customs before we left U. S. waters to get clearance for entry at Montague, with an arrival time of 1200. With our Nexus passes, we’re able to clear Canadian Customs at Montague Harbour, Galiano Island.
Okay, okay. I’m late in finishing the posts from our cruise a couple of weeks ago. Two more posts yet to do, and I’ll do one today and will get to the last one as soon as possible. We’ve just been too busy with eye doctor appointments, spotty WiFi service, and other distractions…and I haven’t been able to get to the blog as much as I hoped.
So, back to our cruise… We left Montague on Saturday, July 7th. We planned to head to Ganges and take in the Saltspring Saturday Market (http://www.saltspringmarket.com) before returning to the States. The Saturday Market in Ganges is quite an event, and we look forward to opportunities to be in Ganges on Saturdays during the summer so we can go to the market as well as visit other favorite shopping venues in Ganges.
It was calm in the anchorage at Montague Harbour in the morning, but afternoon wind predictions encouraged us to skip the Saturday Market and head for the San Juans instead. We have to be back for Jim’s July 10th eye exam in Seattle, so didn’t want to be caught by weather and end up too far away from Anacortes. We’ll be sure to plan our cruising in September so that we’ll be able to visit the Saltspring Saturday Market!
We decided to bypass all the currents and whirlpools where Haro Strait meets Boundary Pass, so rather than returning through Swanson Channel, we headed south in Trincomali Channel to Navy Channel, then through Plumper Sound and across Boundary Pass — which is a direct route into the San Juans through Spring Passage, then Deer Harbor and Pole Pass. This route also bypasses all the whirlpools around Speiden Island.
We decided to time our passage to hit Boundary Pass at slack tide, to minimize the whirlpools and tide races. We had the current with us almost all the way, as we left Montague at 0800 to catch the 0900 slack in Boundary Pass. Everything turned to ebb (including Pole Pass), and we got a great lift from the current.
Once we got into the bay outside Deer Harbor, we were able to power down and idle to call U. S. Customs for our clearance to return to the U.S. With our Nexus passes, we were allowed to clear over the cell phone. Since it was Saturday, we encountered lots of pleasure boats in Harney Channel.
As we passed West Sound, we decided to check the Double Island anchorage in West Sound, and found only two other boats there. So, we decided to stop there for the night, rather than continuing on to Blind Bay. Another powerboat and 3 more sailboats came in later in the afternoon…more boats than we’ve ever seen in this anchorage.
It was relatively calm and sunny for the afternoon and evening. We were glad to have U.S. Internet service again so we could get caught up on bank stuff and emails. We fixed BLTs on rye bread for dinner. We don’t usually have bacon onboard, but made an exception and brought some along this time, with the intention of fixing a nice breakfast somewhere…and since we hadn’t fixed such a meal, this was a good way to use the bacon!
Since our focus on this short-distance cruise is on relaxation and enjoying some time out on the boat we decided to spend a second night at Montague. This morning was calm and sunny, and it stayed nice most of the day…except for a moderate southerly breeze that filled in during the afternoon, but laid down by nightfall.
It was a good morning to take care of some small projects on the boat. In the early afternoon, we launched the dinghy (still enjoying the ease of that operation with the new electric winch!), and motored over to the dinghy dock at Montague Harbour Provincial Park (http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/montague/). We were anchored at the south end of the anchorage, and the park with its mooring buoys is located at the north end.
We found the moorage rates were unchanged from last year, and the trail still looks good. However, after our experience with all the mud at Reid Harbor, we decided to forgo the Montague hike today, and instead walked over to the north-facing beach of the park, and walked along the beach at low tide.
Then we motored over to the Montague Harbour Marina to visit the small store. Had a very difficult time finding a dinghy dock, but finally found a dinghy dock posted for use by visitors to the store. It was along the side of the dock-side end of the ramp, on the south side.
The store and modest restaurant haven’t changed much. They offer a minimum amount of supplies, but still have a very good selection of local B.C. books. We found two Dreamspeaker guides (http://www.dreamspeakerguides.com/) to add to our collection. While we were in the Broughton Archipelago last year, we met some fellow cruisers who had the Dreamspeaker guide for the Broughtons, and it looked like a good addition to our boating library. We have since acquired more of their guides, and enjoy having the additional references along.
While we were at the store, we noticed a sign for ice cream cones…so we treated ourselves to hard ice cream in waffle cones. Very tasty!
We barbecued chicken and had chicken Caesar salads for dinner, enjoying the typical rosy sunset at Montague.