We haven’t drowned or gotten lost at sea, don’t worry. Since we returned from Desolation Sound in October, we haven’t left the dock. There is no exciting or adventurous reason why we’ve been incommunicado for months. We just had no internet. Because, allegedly, procuring a cable internet connection here on the dock is asking THE IMPOSSIBLE. So we went the telephone cable route. Hey, it’s something.
Life trundles on in grey Vancouver. We’ve been lucky with only a couple token slushy snow snowfalls which dissolve by late morning. It’s only weeks now until we see the first tight buds of cherry blossoms.
I’d like to start posting regularly on here again, even if the sailing is presently at a minimum. From time to time Dave and I will mention to each other how we forget that we’re on a boat; the daily details and monthly trials just kind of slip by in a sort of stride, a rhythm of living. We forget that not everyone deals with power outages on the coldest days of the year, or water supply pipes freezing and bursting, or sleepless nights from the bashing of waves against the hull which leave you tired and crazy-eyed for work the next day. These are things that happen. They just … happen. And we don’t think anything unusual of it.
But there are stories to tell. And I’d like to share and document them here. Thanks for hanging in there with us.
Much like Roscoe Bay, Tenedos Bay was a place to relax, as well as explore.
We were the only ones here for most of the time, save for one boat that chose to anchor directly beside us for twelve hours, run their generator for approximately half that time, and blare an entire Celine Dion album. I guess you can escape the city, but sometimes it manages to find you.
The bay must be home to a family or two of seals, because we were surrounded by them, sometimes one or two, sometimes up to ten, at all times.
There’s a trail that leads to waterfalls and Unwin Lake on the mainland, so we took the kayaks over to have a look.
While there was some exploration, our stay here went mostly like this:
Since returning to the city, the second question everyone asks, after “How was your trip?” is “How did Jinx do?” To everyone who’s asked, I offer this:
After Tenedos Bay we revisited Pender Harbour for a few nights before making the last trek home. Check back for the goodbye photos, and a video!
It’s amazing how a quick change in situation can completely turn your perspective around. After four restless, unnerving, and deflating nights in Squirrel Cove, a weather window opened up the next morning and we pounced on it. It took us two hours to motor to Roscoe Bay, and we had to time it up to arrive with the flood tide, as the entrance to this enchanting little bay is a drying sandbar the rest of the time.
on the inside looking out
I was on bow lookout again, and although we had metres of extra room beneath us, it was still a bit creepy to watch the rocky ocean floor sliding by. Once we eeked through the slim entrance, the bay opened up to a peaceful and calm haven. We chose a little divet beside a waterfall to anchor. Again, not another soul in sight.
Pretty much nothing exciting happened in Roscoe Bay, which is exactly what we needed.
After some dreamy respite in Laura Cove, we headed to Refuge Cove to gather some supplies and plug in to dry the boat out again. That wasn’t to be in store, however, as Refuge Cove does not offer electricity to transients, despite what the cruising guides tell you.
There were wind warnings on the radio to come in the next day or so, so we knew we wanted to be tucked up somewhere safe to wait out the storm. We headed then to Squirrel Cove, where there is electricity but no water. Again, not according to the books. The hand pump really saved our asses this trip. Like, using the water pressure, we fill up every three days. Hand pump: ten. Ten! That’s environmental conservation right there.
We had some time to kill before the real fun began, and spent it beach combing.
I really wanted to go inside this house and take pictures, but upon closer inspection, there was a guard on duty.
There was a major highlight to the beach combing:
This thing is massive. It’s like the skeleton of a grey whale.
The winds didn’t come for two days, but once they did, hoooo boy. We were very lucky and able to slip into the best protected spot on the teeny dock, and even then, our dock lines were creaking and moaning, swaying and yanking, for the best part of forty-eight hours. At one point I heard a whack! on the deck directly above where Jinx and I were reading on the settee, and I grabbed boots and a jacket to investigate. Sure enough, one of the short ropes used to secure the bow line to the boat had snapped under the constant strain, and one end of the double-tied dock line was swinging loose and free. I called Dave and together we wrassled that dock line like it was a mechanical bull riding contest on grand prize night.
On the final day at the dock in Squirrel Cove, the power went out over all of Cortes Island. As we were walking up to the little store we asked one of the locals how long the power outages usually last around there. “Could be four hours,” he said, grinning, “could be four days.” That was good enough reason for us to flee while we had a weather window of about a day. We headed to Roscoe Bay, but not before a pitstop in Refuge Cove to fill the water tank.
I was going through the photos taken in Laura Cove for today’s update, and there are a lot. Which is part of the reason why it’s taken me a few days to post. Here are some of our favourites.
To the right is the entrance to the cove, which is laden with rocks just below the water’s surface. I stood at bow lookout, but I’ll admit it was difficult to keeps my eyes down in the water rather than ogling the surroundings. Just beyond this little outcropping of trees is Prideaux Haven proper, and Melanie Cove.
We kayaked around the area, and witnessed a scene that’s quintessential to Desolation Sound: a family of river otters fishing and feeding the kids. We saw Dad first, crouched in a rock crevice and chowing down, rather loudly, on a fish. He had that thing gripped in his little paws, still wriggling, and he was really tearing into it. We drifted closer, and watched as he started to fish for his family, who were wading and sitting at the water’s edge up against the forest. Mama kept one eye on the kids and the other on us as we sat dead still and silent in our kayaks. After about fifteen minutes we decided to let them do their thing in peace and paddled away.
We wanted to take a hike around the area, and our handy Dreamspeaker’s Cruising Guide recommends the “unofficial, well-used trail” which links Laura Cove to Melanie Cove. For those intending to go up there, “unofficial” should read, “mountain climbing” and “well-used” would be better described as “bush-whacking with the aid of oddly placed bits of neon plastic tied to things.” It was good times, though.
Neither of us were prepared for the extent of this trail and its demands, and I only packed one bottle of Gatorade. After an hour we were rationing it out with tiny sips. I felt like that kid who eats all the raisins at once and then wanders around the forest when he should stay put in that video they make you watch in elementary school about what not to do when lost in the woods.
While we were out, someone stayed on the boat in preparation for the evening.
After four gloriously sunny and quiet days, we headed to Squirrel Cove to plug in and dry the boat out, since the propane oven we were using as a heater created a lot of condensation.
Next: Squirrel Cove, and the storm that gave me a few more grey hairs.
We are back at Pier 32 in cool, crisp Vancouver. October is truly my favourite time of year. Yesterday I said to Dave as we piled ourselves and our Kin’s loot onto the scooter, “Autumn always makes me want to go back to school.” He looked at me doubtfully and said, “Really?” Well, no, not really. It’s just that everyone’s walking briskly in their fresh new clothes and they’ve got their planners out and things are happening and the days are gliding by on rails… and it’s easy to get caught up in it.
Since getting back a couple days ago, everyone I’ve spoken to demands, Where are the updates?! Well, they’re coming. I’ve just been enjoying these last few days before I get back into the swing of city life, stretching the hours out like taffy, taking big, long sniffs at the October air and pulling recipes that I can’t wait to make. At the liquor store the girl at the counter exclaimed, “Are those leeks in your bag? They smell amaaaazing.” The only thing better than autumn and all its acoutrements, is those who love it just as much I do.
Updates are coming soon. I just have to go and make this first. Promise.
This post is a tad outdated now, but so it goes when you’re away from civilization. Here’s the catch-up:
After four nights at Garden Bay in Pender Harbour, two docked and two at anchor, we were happy with how the batteries were running and the solar panels kept them topped up. We learned how to keep electricity usage to a minimum, and fuel and water were topped up before shoving off to Sturt Bay, the last stop before Desolation Sound proper.
We got up bright and early the next morning, and had an incredibly sunny and calm passage to Desolation.
And finally, we rounded Sarah Point (noted by the white speck) to look up the corridor of Desolation. Suffice it to say, the only word either of us could utter for about then minutes was, wow.
Tomorrow: Laura Cove, our stop in Prideaux Haven!
Yesterday evening we took a row about the area.
Bypassing Gibsons and sailing straight to Lasqueti Island proved to be an excellent decision (thanks again, Simon!), as we were able to surf the tide and let the wind shoot us along. After leaving Granville Island just after 11am on Thursday, we arrived at Bull Passage at 6pm, overcome by the scent of pine trees coming off the islands in fresh waves, and were anchored by 7pm in Boho Bay. We celebrated by blasting the heat and making dinner.
The next day, the heating system crapped out. After running the engine for a few hours to charge the batteries, we noticed that they weren’t holding the charge. Huh. Dave spent Friday trouble-shooting the diesel heating system while Jinx and I laid up under heaps of blankets and hot water bottles and passed the smelling salts.
Power was seeping out by the hour, despite the fact that we were sitting in the cold and dark and running that engine for hours at a time. We knew we had to move on in order to get access to the internet and possibly a mechanic, and without the windless to pull the anchor up, it took about 45 minutes to manually work that sucker free.
misty mountains, entering Pender Harbour
We had another great cruise over to Pender Harbour, including a cameo by two Orca whales spouting happily while feeding off salmon. Dave steered and I (wo)manned the sails. By the end of this trip, I predict the two of us will resemble the Incredible Hulk. And Hulkess.
We tied up and plugged in at Garden Bay and treated ourselves to a hot dinner at the pub–french fries never tasted so good–and a movie on the laptop. Well, Dave and Jinx stayed up. I passed out around 9:30 for the best sleep I’ve had in a long time.
We’ll be staying here for a few days, until the batteries have been either repaired or replaced, and are looking for cheaper transient moorage. We’ll anchor for a night or so after that, to make sure all systems are working before continuing on.