Monday, September 22, 2008

GANGES and beyond

It's Monday morning, and we are on the Kanaka dock in Ganges waiting for stores to open. We need groceries, I need to get to the post office, and we need to fuel up.

Getting here from Winter Cove was a breeze the other day -- actually, other than our East Point nightmare, the water has been calm everywhere we've been.

Some of the sights en route ....

We stopped in to Port Washington on North Pender (the only port on the Penders we haven't checked out before) on the way by, but it didn't look like anything was open (the only life we saw was the seagull), so we carried on.

On the Ganges harbour approach, we saw this gorgeous old wooden sailboat...

And then Ganges, one of our favorite harbours, came in to view...

So we've visited with family (in addition to my sister Julie, daughter Hailey,niece Doneen and her guy, Curtis -- Jeff and Mischa and the boys came over from Victoria yesterday for the day, it was great!), filled up with water, paid to leave our garbage behind, and we're ready to push off again. I've cast off one more hat, and today I'm intending to work on some UFOs (I'll let you know how that goes! And for my non-knitting readers, a UFO is an 'unfinished object.')

So far we've visited North and South Pender, Cabbage and Tumbo, Mayne, Saturna and Salt Spring Islands ... we're off to Retreat Cove on Galiano today. We've been by it numerous times over the years, but never gone in. We'll spend the night there tonight, or maybe at Wallace Island. (That link will take you to a page on all about the Wallace Island history, and at the bottom, there's actually a link to an old article I wrote when I was a guest columnist for them years ago!) One thing the article doesn't mention is that David Conover was Marilyn Monroe's agent, and he bought the Island intending it as a retreat for her... sadly, she never made it there before she died.

It'll probably be several days before I access wireless again, but now we have "8 more sleeps" of holiday time left! :-)

Sunday, September 21, 2008


We left Cabbage/Tumbo with some sadness, because it's one of our favorite spots on the planet ... but it was time to move on. This is me wanting never to leave!


The worst time of our trip so far was making our way to Winter Cove -- we encountered major rip tides at the East Point Lighthouse, and it took two hours to get around into Plumper Sound. We have twin gas engines and for over an hour, they were revving at 2000 rpm's, and making about 2.5 knots per hour over the water. And at some point, this Canadian military patrol boat powered by us too close and too fast, and then we had to deal with its wake, too -- NOT FUN!!

By the time we got close to the entrance to Port Browning (on North Pender), even though there was only two more miles to Winter Cove (on Saturna), we'd had it -- a pub hamburger, a night on a dock and a hot shower sounded good!

We moved over to Winter Cove the next morning, and took a dinghy ride across a quiet little channel to Horton Bay on Mayne Island. My friend Monica lives there, and Monica also happens to host my websites. Well... when I acquired my laptop, I didn't need my flatscreen monitor anymore, and Monica asked about it -- so we delivered it, by dinghy! (And Monica and I both want you to know that this picture is NOT flattering to either of us! lol)

Winter Cove is also lovely, with a view across to the mainland, and to this old hulk that's been anchored here forever (and yes, that is a helicopter about to land, and no, I have no idea where or why)...

KNITTING has happened!

I finished the gift shawl (and I'll show you a blocked pic and tell you more once I know the recipient has received it, because I think she might read my blog), and yet another pair of socks for Gibson.

And now I've been in hat mode for 3 days ...

This one and at least 3 others have come off the needles so far.

Before we left Victoria, we made a plan to rendezvous on Salt Spring Island with our Hailey, my sister Julie and her daughter and boyfriend who are visiting from Alberta. Whenever anyone visits from Alberta, I always think of touques -- and my niece Doneen loves anything 'Auntie Em' knits, so that got me started on hats (so I could give her a choice, of course!)She chose the one Michael's modeling -- and we only had less than two hours to visit between ferries, and I never even thought of pulling out my camera... dammit.

More about our trip to Salt Spring, and time here, in my next post...


Well, we are in Ganges on Salt Spring Island until tomorrow, and I broke down and paid BroadBand Xpress $10.95 for 24 hours of internet access. It's SO nice to be sitting on my boat and not have to lug my laptop up the dock, find a shady spot, and try to type thru the glare on the screen. (I know, whine, whine, whine....)

We are still having an amazing time -- and, just so you know, I have lots of stories to tell and photos to share, but because of this spotty wireless thing, I'll save them until I get home. But here's a 'synopsis' and a few highlights, again....

Cabbage/Tumbo Island Marine Park is two tiny little islands that wrap around one another, which creates a beautiful sandy basin in the middle.They are the outermost Gulf Islands, less than two miles from the US border, and looking straight across the Strait of Georgia to Blaine, Washington and Vancouver, BC.

That's the physical description, but the EXPERIENCE is a lot harder to describe!

Cruising past the American San Juans...

And dodging freighters ...

Here we are coming up Tumbo Channel past the East Point Lighthouse (on Saturna Island) ...

And we were barely tied up to the buoy when Michael went into the water!

First to swim, and then to clean the bottom of the boat off...

(I went in, too, but not until the next day. For about 10 seconds).

Then we went exploring, and found this...

Our best guess is that it's the first cuts on an ancient First Nations totem pole that, for some reason, never got finished.

I already showed you the full moon, and the sunsets there were no less spectacular ...


On our second day at Cabbage/Tumbo, we dinghied over to Tumbo, which has only recently been added to the Marine Park boundaries... it was off-limits when we visited last year. The cruising guide books say the history of Tumbo includes coal mining and fox farming, of all things. It's a horse-shoe shaped island with a salt-water marsh right in the middle, and there are hiking trails everywhere. We went to see the original homestead...

Which turned out not to actually be the original homestead at all, because we found an even older wooden foundation with the remains of this stone fireplace in it... (the picture is fuzzy because I couldn't get enough light through the trees no matter where I stood). My understanding is that this is over 100 years old:

There was also an old orchard with apples, plums, pears, and ... something else.

This fruit was the color and shape of a pear, but was fuzzy like a peach -- we have no idea what it was.

I'll post again in the morning about the next leg of our journey so far!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Just a quick check-in while I have internet access (we are on the dock at the Port Browning Marina, North Pender Island, for the night) .... wow, we've been over 16 days on this holiday, and today's the first clouds we've seen. And there's only a few even now!

HIghlight of our time at Cabbage/Tumbo Island...

... watching the full 'harvest moon' come up over Tumbo -- unbelievable!

I have to go do laundry (oh, the joys of sharing a public marina washing machine!), and will try to re-connect again in an hour or so.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Well, we are STILL at Poet's Cove ... partly because the wind is still up so we don't want to cruise to Cabbage Island in it, and also because ... well,like I said before, it's a hard place to leave!

We did move on to a buoy, though, instead of being anchored, so we're in a 'new neighborhood.' And we also went on the Wind Walker equivalent of a little road trip... we dinghied from S. to N. Pender through the 'canal' (that was man-made several decades ago). Here's the new view, and a shot of us on our buoy with the resort in the background now. Oh, and we watched the fuel barge come and go the other day, too... (Remember that you can click on the images to see them bigger...)

Here's a pictorial of our road trip ...

This wireless thing is SO frustrating ... everything takes twice as long! And I can download and read my email, but can't respond to anything or send it, for some reason. And this computer won't recognize my mouse when I'm on the battery.... whine, whine, whine.

So ... yesterday we saw a tall ship out in the channel, and decided to run out in the dinghy and check it out.... turned out to be Victoria's own Pacific Grace, but we'd never been this close to it under full sail... it was lovely!

Then we took the dinghy over to check out this amazing midden, and to cool off!

Tomorrow we ARE hoping to move on to Cabbage Island, and I will be out of wireless range for several days then... I love all your comments and emails, by the way! We'll be back to civilization again no later than a week from today if I disappear for awhile... :-)

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Just in case you're reading this blog and you're jealous that we get to do this, I have to tell you that it's not ALL fun and games out here cruising the Gulf Islands. Last night -- well, more accurately, about 3 a.m. this morning -- a wind came up. Within half an hour, the entire anchorage was abuzz with activity! Everyone was out checking their anchors,shining spotlights around to check their positions ... and dragging anchor and having to move.

Our anchor held (we've learned a thing or three from past experiences, lol), but several folks had to re-anchor ... in the wind, in the dark, and 'on a wing and a prayer', more or less. There was lots of colorful language to match the sounds of anchor chains being hauled and motors starting up.

Been there, done that, other times, other anchorages, and it's not fun. Even when you re-anchor, you don't trust your anchor and you're awake until daylight anyway.

We were back snug in our beds and asleep before 4 a.m., and had a great time watching and listening to the 'circus' in the bay while everyone got re-settled. I even knit several rows on the gift shawl.

Today we are back in at the pool and hot-tub under another hot and sunny sky. Our original plan was to weigh anchor tomorrow and move on to Cabbage Island, but we've decided to stay a few more days. One of the fun things about sitting at anchor is watching the daily changing of the 'cast of characters' in the bay. Every morning between 8 and 11 a.m. the boats head off out of the bay -- and by about 1 p.m. new boats have come in and taken their place on the buoys. These folks went by us this morning...

How cute is that?
And this family was our neighbor for the past two days...

This was a Dad and his two daughters, and we imagined that maybe he was a 'weekend' dad. It was obvious that the two girls had been sailing for probably most of their life, and they were all having lots of fun. (So if you're the Mom, and you worry when your ex- takes your daughters off sailing for the weekend, you don't need to -- Dad was wonderful, and the girls were having a delightful time).

This was one of two identical boats sailing out of here this morning ... (the other one was too far away and I cculdn't get it into the same frame):

Then last night our very favorite-ever boat on this coast came in to the marina here...

She's called 'Lazee Gal' and she's out of the Vancouver Yacht Club. She's a Grenfell, maybe 1940's, and was featured on the cover of Pacific Yachting magazine several years ago during a time when I was doing a lot of writing for them. We see her somewhere every few years, and are still in awe every time -- an absolute beautiful classic boat!

So ... we're not done with Poet's Cove yet...

But there's no grocery store here, so tomorrow we'll dinghy through the canal (between South and North Pender Islands) to Port Browning, where it's about a mile walk to the shopping centre. And the path has huge blackberries the whole way to pick for our dessert!

On the needles: turned the heels on Gibson's socks, and I've done about a foot on the gift shawl. Life is good!