Monday, September 28, 2009

MONDAY, Sept. 28th

Hullllllllllloooooo again!

We left Ganges last week with intentions of heading to Winter Cove, and ended up instead in Montague Harbour on Galiano for one night. Not sure what 'led' us there, but we didn't even get off the boat, and left the next morning for Winter Cove, after all.

Love it in Winter Cove (Saturna Island). It's protected and calm, and yet you can see wide open Georgia Strait -- and all the way to the city of Vancouver -- through about a 50' wide opening.

Here's the same opening at sunrise...

Apparently there can be up to a 2' difference in the tides on either side of that opening... and you can kind of see it in the photos, I hope.

While we were there, we went for an inflatable ride over to Bennett Bay, and Horton Bay, on Mayne.

This is what's left of an old Japanese farm in a little cove in Horton... we dropped anchor and had our picnic lunch there. :)

I've been playing with settings on my camera more than ever, and have taken a series of 'reflections' photos...

And here's a pretty little fishboat conversion that was anchored next to us (and you can see more of the land-based park in the background):

Much knitting has taken place, of course... first of all, I finished a huge Christmas stocking of my own design which will be felted when we get home, and become a special gift for a special someone. It was a labor of love, too, because it included some intarsia, which is NOT my favorite kind of knitting...

And I've nearly finished a hoodie for Gibson ... another of my own designs, but I'm stalled at the moment because I can't figure out the neckline/shoulders -- that requires doing some math, and having to concentrate, both of which are beyond me at the moment!

We are now back in Poets Cove (who can resist one more chance in the pool and hot tub???) and generally headed south ... we'll leave tomorrow or Wednesday and probably get back to Sidney Spit, at least. Technically we are supposed to be at home on Wednesday, but the earliest we really HAVE to be home is Saturday, so depending on weather, we may dilly-dally as long as we possibly can!

I may get to update one more time before we're back in Victoria ... thanks again for all of your support -- we're enjoying the holiday, but sure wish the circumstances were different!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


We've had Mischa and the boys here on the boat with us in Ganges for two days, and I'm so glad!

We ate, we laughed, we played ... it's been perfect. (Personal aside to Hailey... I miss you, I completely associate the TreeHouse Cafe -- and Ganges -- with our times here!)

I really want to thank you all for your comments, emails and calls over the last few days -- your kind thoughts, healing energy, prayers and hugs are appreciated more than you know! We've talked to Sri every day by phone, and he's holding up as well as can be expected, as are we. At least Michael and I have each other here, and peace and beauty all around us...

I got out on the docks at daybreak yesterday to take some pictures in the morning light. I took 100+ shots, but here's just a few favorites...

We'll leave here today all stocked up again with food, water and fuel, and head over to Winter Cove on Saturna Island. It's remote, so I won't be back online again until at least the weekend -- but one of the things I enjoy about our holiday is the contrast between coming in to a port/dock/marina and anchoring out in remote bays where there's nothing but nature. The sun is supposed to shine on us for at least another 4 or 5 days, too!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Prevost Island is mostly still privately owned (and most of it is a working farm owned by the descendants of the original owners), but a few coves on the north end have been acquired by the Gulf Islands National Park Preserve. We anchored in one of them, James Bay, and dinghied over to explore the next one, called Selby Cove. The James Bay anchorage:

The view from the beach:

The abandoned orchard...

And its bounty...

Some of which came back to the boat with me... :-)

Michael went ashore a few times to knock apples down for the many deer we saw ... I took what I thought was a great picture of a buck looking up appreciatively with a lovely red apple in its mouth, but the light was lousy and it didn't turn out at all!

We took an evening inflatable ride over to Selby Cove while we were anchored there -- I think it's the first time we've ever shared a beach with cows!

The view 'out'...

And the evening light...

As you can imagine, while we were anchored there, I knit 'fast and furiously' to keep my mind occupied. It didn't work -- but in two days, I got nine hats knit for the Christmas charity drive!

In our call to Sri yesterday, he said that Susan's heart may be failing now, and she may not have long to live.... that would be, to me, the classic definition of 'a blessing in disguise.' I'll keep you posted...

Monday, September 21, 2009


We are back in Ganges for a few days... Mischa and the boys have come over for a visit, so we're having a family interlude here.

MUCH needed, because just before we left Ganges the other day to head over to Prevost Island, we got a dreaded call from our friend Sri about Susan. It is with heavy heart that I write this: my funny, smart and wonderful closest friend Susan has been officially declared brain dead (after 5 weeks post-brain surgery with still absolutely no positive response on her part), and she will be transferred soon to a long-term care facility in Nanaimo (nearer their Qualicum Beach home) to live out her days. Sri is crazy with grief, confusion ... and still recovering from his own prostate cancer surgery, and Michael and I are still in a state of disbelief.

So we dropped anchor in a quiet little-used cove on Prevost, and spent the last two days IN a daze ... alternatively crying, reminiscing, praying and having a lot of (apparently) false hope. It's SO hard to process this ... but I'm also glad we're on this holiday while we do that processing. We asked Sri if he wanted us to come home, but he's got other family and friends around, and of course he (and Susan!) would both want us to continue.

In my last post, I mentioned that our trip from Cabbage to Galiano was uneventful until we got to the Active Pass entrance... where we had a few anxious moments! We had to cross the pass to get into Sturdies Bay, and that entrance has a lot of currents, and traffic -- and of course, reefs and rocks off the Georgina Point lighthouse, and we still had the wind. Here's Georgina Point...

We were approaching the pass from the south-east, and there was a huge research vessel approaching from the north-east. After determining that we couldn't win that race, we held back, but knew we would have to 'cut in' behind it in order to get across the pass and steer clear of the reefs. The research boat went by and headed into the pass ...

... and, as we crossed behind it, we then saw that there was a huge yacht directly behind it and moving even faster... and then we noticed the new huge ferry coming OUT of the pass toward us at about 15 knots!

Whew... that was a little nerve-wracking, to say the least. (Those boats are much closer than they appear, but at least they were off our stern!)

Sturdies Bay is lovely, and we had a nice visit with Mike. The visitor's dock is in behind a ferry dock:

And the whole Sturdies Bay experience is like a throw-back to some other century or something... the mailman arrives by boat at 6:45 a.m., and the SCHOOL BUS arrives a bit later -- check it out!

You may not be able to see the name on the side of that boat, but it's called 'Scholarship.' How cute is that?

This was pretty cute, too -- this otter entertained us from 10' away...

Our friend Mike is the Wharfinger at Whaler Bay on Galiano, but it's easier to do the 10-minute walk there than it is to take the Wind Walker in...

Lovely surroundings for wireless access, wouldn't you say?

I finished knitting a plain pair of socks, and the baby blanket while we were there:

The baby blanket was timely, because we were able to go by inflatable into Active Pass and over to Miners Bay on Mayne Island ...

... where I presented the blanket to my friend Monica, over lunch at the historic Springwater Lodge:

Monica's daughter Amanda has a new baby boy, so Monica is a grandma for the first time!

I'll do another update before we leave Ganges with the Prevost Island pics and stories ... but today is a day for grandson therapy! :-)

Thursday, September 17, 2009


It's been awhile!

We spent our last day at Poets Cove running by inflatable through the ‘canal’ to Port Browning on North Pender, doing a little grocery shopping and then a little exploring. Here’s the bridge in the centre of the canal…

(Remember that you can click on any pic to see it bigger, and this is your warning that this update is long and picture-heavy!)


So we left Poets Cove on Friday morning to head out to Cabbage/Tumbo Island Marine Park. It was hot and sunny, and we knew we could ‘run with the tide’ for the two-hour trip … Cabbage and Tumbo are two islands that sort of wrap around each other, which creates a beautiful ‘basin’ anchorage on the inside, on the very outside edge of the Gulf Islands, off the southeast coast of Saturna Island. It’s wide open Strait of Georgia from there to the City of Vancouver on the mainland.

I’m always a little apprehensive at the start of any passage we make – after all, we’ve learned, through many adventures out here, that the sea is ‘in charge,’ not us. My fears about this passage (along Boundary Pass, basically about 3 miles from the US border) are two: major currents off East Point, and having to deal with the wakes of freighters, which are frequent.

Only one freighter went by, and it hardly left a wake…

and there were no currents to speak of this year, for some reason. It's one of the prettiest legs of our trip because you can usually see Mt. Baker in Washington, and off into the distance...

So all my worst fears were for naught. However… just after I took those pictures, off the south end of Saturna, Michael slammed the engines into neutral – two Pacific White-Sided dolphins were hurtling through the water directly toward our bow, leaping out of the water and ‘flying’ by us! By the time I recovered from the sight and grabbed my camera, they were already surfing our wake… some picture, huh?

It was amazing! We’d seen a school of these dolphins up-Island once, years ago, but at the time they were just busy feeding and hardly noticed us - they certainly never leaped out of the water. This was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences for sure! The picture may not have turned out so great, but I have forever burned in to my memory the picture of two dolphins six feet in the air twenty feet in front of our bow!

About half an hour later we were visited by a pair of harbour porpoise, with the same result – lovely to see as they broke the surface about 30’ away (but not as dramatically as the dolphins), but they disappeared again too fast to get a picture.

I did catch this, though…. a sailboat in the distant mist with Mt. Baker in the background.

We arrived at Cabbage and grabbed the second-last buoy, and Michael was in the water within minutes!

It took me until the next day to get wet, though…

Will she? ….

Or won’t she? ….

She will, and she did … for about 30 seconds, I’m guessing.

We circumnavigated Tumbo this year by inflatable … it was lovely. Check out the rock formations, with TREES growing out of them.... amazing!

Michael went for a couple of long kayak rides, we explored ashore again, and we ate fresh oysters off the rocks for a shameless number of meals.

Looking back at the Wind Walker from the oyster beds... check out the heron 'fishing'!

But speaking of herons, here's one of my favorite pictures so far this trip ... how's this for 'perspective?'

I've knit a baby blanket and two pairs of socks … I can't find my picture of the baby blanket at the moment, but I'll post it another time!

I have so many photos from Cabbage and Tumbo Islands ... it's a truly magical place (and if you want to hear me gush even more about it, look back through my blog archives to Sept of '08's holiday!) I think I'll open a Flickr account when we get home to upload all the photos ... it's so hard to choose even which ones to use here!

Anyway, on Monday morning we woke up to a predicted south-easter and decided to high-tail it out of Cabbage Island before it got any worse – according to the weather forecast, it would blow until today (Thursday) or tomorrow.

Each year I set myself a new navigational challenge, and this year’s was to get from Cabbage to Galiano on the ‘outside’ of the Islands, in the Strait. Not only is it likely to blow harder, but there’s a chain of rocks and reefs that have to be avoided for the entire passage.

I’m happy to report that I met the challenge. :-) We surfed up the outside of Saturna with a 10 kt south-easter on our tail, and it was lovely until we got just outside the entrance to Active Pass. Here's the entrance to Winter Cove, which we'll visit next week from the 'other' side:

My wireless connection is so slow, it's taken me almost two hours to upload this whole post, so I'm not going to try to add any more photos now ... I'll see if I can re-boot and do another post before I lose my connection again. Just to finish this update, though... we spent two days at Sturdies Bay on Galiano Island visiting with our old friend Mike, and we've now been in Ganges on Salt Spring Island just overnight, long enough to fill up our water tanks -- it's been such a hot, dry summer that all of the Gulf Islands have a water shortage. We'll leave here this morning and go over to James Bay on Prevost Island for a few days! I'm not sure how well you'll be able to see the details, but I've created a map of our journey so far... which, according to my GPS, has been only 62 nautical miles...