Saturday, August 31, 2013


We're home after a long, but lovely day on the water.  Trip summaries tomorrow, or maybe Monday...

Friday, August 30, 2013

Daily Log, Russell Island, Friday, August 30, 2013

Daily Log, Russell Island, Friday, August 30, 2013
Distance traveled: 20nm
Everything OK

We left Telegraph Harbor south through Stuart Channel and the Sansum Narrows.

The narrows, between Vancouver Island and Saltspring Island, is a sort of long boring trip. Nothing much to see. We were through here once in the past going to Maple Bay, and didnt think much of it then. We did have current behind us giving an extra one to two knots of speed. We passed a number of small boats on kickers or being towed in the other direction. Looks like there is a sailboat race nearby this weekend.

We dropped anchor behind Russell Island on the south side of Saltspring Island. This island is mentioned in only one of the many cruising books we have. And it is a brief mention at that. The island was homesteaded by Hawaiian / English family in the late 1800s. A house still stands on the island, now protected by the Provincial Marine Park system. A caretaker lives part time at the house giving tours. When we were there, the caretaker was also one of the original family descendants.

There is a trail that follows the shore around most of the island with some interesting rock and sand beaches for the dogs to explore.

We are within a days distance of our home port

Russell Island

We are one of 13 boats anchored north of Russell Island - just off the south side of Saltspring Island. Not quite the quiet spot espoused by the guidebooks, but not surprising given it's Friday of Labo(u)r Day. Very interesting history including Hawaiian settlers.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Daily Log, Telegraph Harbor, Thursday, August 29, 2013

Daily Log, Telegraph Harbor, Thursday, August 29, 2013
Distance traveled: 10nm
Everything OK

We departed Ladysmith Maritime Society in wind and rain.The local radio station said this rain storm was the biggest since early spring. Once we got into the channel, the wind was not too bad, but it was still fairly wet. We motored into Telegraph Harbor Marina on Thetis Island, about ten miles. We have been here once before, but at the other place 'Thetis Island Marina'.

Telegraph Harbor Marina is a nice place with showers, laundry, restaurant, wifi and places to walk the dogs. We had dinner at the restaurant and considered staying another night. Turns out they were expecting lots of boats for a rendezvous for the long canadian weekend, so we elected to push on.

Tomorrow is Russell Island.

Telegraph Harbor

On the dock at Telegraph Harbor Marina. Lots of rain last night and today, plus a forecast of strong wind tonight.  We have the diesel heater running just to help dry stuff. :-(

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Daily Log, Ladysmith Harbor, Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Daily Log, Ladysmith Harbor, Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Distance traveled: 10nm
Everything OK

This morning we left Herring Bay for Ladysmith Harbor. We had no wind and fairly flat water (a couple large powerboat wakes).

We tied up to Ladysmith Maritime Society Marina. This is a pretty cool place. It is a local maritime heritage museum, but it is also a full service marina with showers, laundry and 30 amp power. It is within a larger marina run by the city. The museum documents the local maritime workboat history (logging and mining). There are a couple restored wooden boats on display inside in-water boat houses.

This afternoon we took the dogs to nearby Transfer Bay Park, then gave them a bath when we returned as they were stinky from their adventures yesterday at Herring Bay. Leaving them on the boat, we went up into to town to check things out. Seems like the town closes by 6pm on Wednesday nights. Only  a couple restaurants and a drug store were open. We might walk up tomorrow morning as the bakery looks like a "must taste".

Tomorrow we move to Telegraph Harbor.

Learning Curve in front of Ladysmith Maritime Society 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Daily Log, Herring Bay, Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Daily Log, Herring Bay, Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Distance traveled: 10nm
Everything OK

We caught the early morning slack water at Dodd Narrows. Transiting Dodd is always a source of great anticipation and concern, due to the rapid currents, but is rarely eventful. We were noting how computers and modern navigation software make it real easy on a passage like this. With the software and their tide predictions, one just has to plot a route and let the computer calculate the correct ETAs. When underway, you monitor the ETA for a critical waypoint (like Dodd Narrows) and let the computer tell you if you need to speed up or slow down to make your arrival. Because of this handy navigation tool, transits through Dodd Narrows have rarely been eventful.

Our tentative destination is Herring Bay, which is just south of the Narrows. We passed through Dodd at 10 am, which left lots of time. The wind had picked up out of the south which allowed us to get a bit os sailing in. Nothing big. We tacked down the channel in about 10 knots of wind in the general direction of Herring Bay.

There are two entrances to Herring Bay, north and west. The guide books caution against the west entrance as there is an uncharted reef right in the middle. Best use the north entrance, keeping the marker to starboard and the sandstone "islets" to port. The bay is home to a number of small summer homes. Not McMansions, but more modest ramblers built on the hillsides and above a couple cliffs. Some houses are for sale. There were a few owners present performing maintenance and improvements. We could hear hammers, power saws and shop vacs from across the bay. We took the dogs ashore to the islets to let them run off leash. They both found something stinky to eat roll around in. I am sure they thought they were in heaven, but we had to hold our nose when we got back to the boat. I predict a bath is in their future.

Today we head further south. Perhaps Ladysmith Harbor.

Herring Bay

We are anchored at Herring Bay on the north end of Ruxton Island. Came back south through Dodd Narrows this morning and had a nice sail for a few hours before tucking in here. We explored some little islets with the dogs - yay no leash tangles! It's now raining a bit, and will be a restless night as the wind wanders; the anchorage is narrow, and we're in a shallow spot with low tide due at 5 AM.

Monday, August 26, 2013

VIDEOS: Wallace Island and Nanaimo Fuel-up/Dock-In

More playing with the new video camera. Here are two more time lapse videos:

Wallace Island weather. Taken from the shore in Princess Cove, Wallace Island. It was grey and a little damp that day.

Nanaimo fuel up and dock in. Gives you an idea of what is involved.

Daily Log, Newcastle Island, Monday, August 26, 2013

Daily Log, Newcastle Island, Monday, August 26, 2013
Distance traveled: .4nm
Everything OK

Strong SE winds have nixed our plans for going north to Jedediah and Hornby Islands. And we missed slack water to transit Dodd Narrows in the morning. So we decided to stay nearby and move from the inner harbor of Nanaimo across the channel to the moorings off of Newcastle Island.

For a long time boats had to drop anchor here, but in the last couple years, the city has placed mooring buoys and restricted anchoring in order to restore the environment on the sea bed. The buoys are not free, but there is no place ashore to register and pay your fee. Instead, a park worker comes by your boat and collects the necessary funds.

We moved to Newcastle in the morning and bummed around the rest of the afternoon. I took the dogs for a seven mile walk around the island's extensive trails. After all the times we have been here, I have never hiked the trails. The trails connect the historical landmarks of the island which include the old coal mine shafts and stone quarries. Highly recommended.

Dinner was the usual at the Dinghy Dock, which is on Protection Island and only accessible by boat. They have parking for dinghies and boats up to 40 feet. A water taxi runs a regular schedule from the downtown waterfront to the restaurant. The restaurant appears under new owners/management. They have cleaned up the interior decor and the menu.

Tomorrow we catch the early morning slack at Dodd Narrows to head south.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Daily Log, Nanaimo, Sunday, August 25, 2013

Daily Log, Nanaimo, Sunday, August 25, 2013
Distance traveled: 10nm
Everything OK

We left Pirates Cove at 6am in order to catch the 8am slack water at Dodd Narrows. Wind and weather was calm. The whole ten mile trip was pretty uneventful. We first pulled into the fuel dock to top off fuel, then into the city marina for the rest of the day and evening. All this was done by 10 am.

This is a chore day. Topping off water, cleaning the dog hair off of the decks, running to the grocery store and drug store for various things. Janet went to the local yarn store. The dogs have been relatively obedient while on the dock. Neither one has tried to jump the boat to go explore the docks, despite the occasional dog that walks by.

The weather forecast is preventing us from going further north. So Nanaimo is likely the "turn around" point for this trip. We may anchor out at Newcastle Island across the channel for one more night in Nanaimo. I may get dinner at the dinghy dock after all.

VIDEO: Ganges Harbor Dock-In

Here is a quick video made from the new GoPro camera. Just a stop motion sequence of motoring into Ganges Harbor and docking up to the public wharf.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Daily Log, Pirates Cove, Saturday, August 24, 2013

Daily Log, Pirates Cove, Saturday, August 24, 2013
Distance traveled: 10nm
Everything OK

The weather was predicted calmer for Saturday, so we moved to Pirates Cove about ten miles away. We transited the tricky Chiver's Pass from Princess Cove, Wallace Island into the main channel. Lets just say I would not try this a night.

We arrived at Pirates Cove Marine Park on DeCourcy Island which has a history of a commune led (conned) by a charismatic leader back in the early 1900s. Apparently, like many modern day communes, this one ended in bloodshed and murder. We anchored in the relatively uncrowded cove with a stern tie. Many big boats came in and anchored later.
The crew with the treasure chest.
We took the dogs on a 4 km hike around the east peninsula. We were last here about ten years ago. Then our oldest dog was just a puppy.

Tomorrow we get up early to make the morning slack water at Dodd Narrows and onto Naniamo where we have chores to do (fuel, grocery shopping and laundry).
Pirates cove anchorage.

Arrived Pirates Cove

Anchored in Pirates Cove Marine Park on De'courcy Island. Time for a long walk with the dogs - I hope the rain holds off for a bit!

Daily Log, Wallace Island, Friday, August 23, 2013

Daily Log, Wallace Island, Friday, August 23, 2013
Distance traveled: 0nm
Everything OK

The morning weather forecast called for high wind warnings for the area. So we punted the Pirates Cove idea. Concerns were not so much of wind underway, but the windy conditions when we got there and dropped anchor. Pirates Cove is a bit close quarters and lost of wind makes anchoring difficult.

So we stayed another night in Princess Cove, Wallace Island. We really did not do much but sat around, read books, took naps, and listened to the radio. I played with the new GoPro video camera. I might post some video later.

Forecast tomorrow is for calmer winds. The plan is to move to Pirates Cove tomorrow.

Anchored in Princess Cove, Wallace Island

Friday, August 23, 2013

Still at Wallace

Strong winds were forecasted so we stayed here in Princess Cove. Definitely windy here in the anchorage so it may have been challenging outside. The sunny weather has been replaced with clouds and the summer prevailing northwesterly is now a southeasterly more like winter. Bit of a bummer, that.

Daily Log, Wallace Island, Thursday, August 22, 2013

Daily Log, Wallace Island, Thursday, August 22, 2013
Distance traveled: 7nm
Everything OK

We departed Selby Cove around 9am destination Wallace Island. This as part of a larger plan to inch our way towards Nanaimo. Chatter on the radio nets indicated that the anchorages at Wallace have been pretty crowded. So our plan was to cruise by and poke ouri nose in to check for room. If there was not, we would move on to some other place. As we motored up Trincomali Channel, on the marine vhf,  I could hear other boats near us making plans for Wallace Island as well. This was seemingly turning into a race. Some boats were leaving just before we entered princess cove, so there were a few spaces free.

In Princess Cove, everyone anchors in the middle with a stern tie to the side rocky finger where there are special rings on chains embedded into the rock to accommodate the stern ties. In the end, everyone is packed in parallel like sardines in a can. Our anchoring and stern tie procedure went relatively smooth (unlike the first time we were here some years ago).

Weatherman is calling for SE winds tomorrow. We may move to Pirates Cove if weather cooperates.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

At Wallace.

Arrived Princess Cove, Wallace Island.  Crowded. Will be interesting if the weather is unruly tonight. But I say that every night,  don't I?

Daily Log, Selby Cove, 08-21-2013

Daily Log, Selby Cove, 08-21-2013
Distance Traveled: 10 miles
Everything OK

We left Montague somewhat early for Ganges to top up dinghy fuel, get a bucket, and get some things from the hardware store. Motoring into Ganges was farily uneventful, but there are lots of crab buoys on the way in. We tied up at the public dock for two hours while we took the dogs ashore and did our shopping. The fuel dock is clear on the otherside of the harbor. It is quicker to walk up into town and top up the gas can at the gas station. Thrifty foods is small, but has lots of stuff. We had lunch at T&A Burger Stand just outside gangplank for the Ganges Harbor Marina.

We left Ganges and crossed the channel to checkout possible evening anchorages on Prevost Island. There are three fingers south of the island: Glenthorne Passage, Annette Inlet and Selby Cove. Glenthorne was too narrow, Annette was too crowded. Selby was just right. We were one of three boats anchored for the whole dead calm evening.

Tomorrow we head a bit north towards Nanaimo.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Anchored in Selby Cove on Prevost Island. We stopped in Ganges for some provisions - a bucket, a plastic putty knife and dog poop bags along with some foodstuffs. Still great weather, but if a northwesterly builds tonight this anchorage might be dicey.  Maybe to Wallace Island tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Daily Log, Montague Harbor, 8/20/2013

Daily Log, Montague Harbor, 8/20/2013
Distance traveled: 0 nm
Status: Everything OK

Everyone slept in this morning. Weather was calm all night. By the time we had breakfast and was ready to get up and go, it was 11 am already. I guess we are now on "island time".

Having noticed we were missing a few things since we left (a bucket in particular), we took the dinghy to the small general store at Montague Harbor Marina. While Janet took the dogs for shore leave, I browsed the store for some necessities: pancake syrup and ice cream. The only buckets they had were some bright colored childrens play buckets, much too small for our needs. Janet and I swapped dog watching duties. She browsed the local books in the store and picked up a guide to local dog walking trails.

On the way back to the boat, we buzzed by Saoirse, a Westsail 32 we saw the previous weekend at the Westsail Rendezvous. We chatted with owners Don & Diane (and their dog Shelby the Sheltie) about all things boating (NW cruising, Westsails, clueless Bayliner owners). Funny how we meet many sailboaters with the same experiences and opinions as us.

Once back on the boat, we had a little snack before buzzing out with the dignhy to the marine park dock to pay for another nights moorage. We also took the dogs on a two mile walk around a peninsula in the park. The plase has lots of nice campsites and beached. Clearly a popular destination with the locals.

Tomorrow, we leave early for Ganges Harbor, seven miles away, where there is a supermarket and a hardware store (we need that bucket!) .

Still at Montague Harbor

Staying another night at Montague Harbor. We checked out the marina's store this morning and had a nice chat with the folks on W32 Saorise. Circumnavigated the park with the dogs in the afternoon and are sitting in the cockpit enjoying a warm, calm evening.  Perhaps to Ganges tomorrow morning for some provisions then "Question Mark Cove".

Monday, August 19, 2013

Daily Log, Montague Harbor, 8/19/2013

Daily Log, Montague Harbor, 8/19/2013
Distance traveled: 22nm
Status: Everything OK

We left Sucia island early (to avoid paying the ourageuos fee of course!) to head for Canada. Destination: Montague Harbor. The computer says the best departure time is 9am, given the currents (worst was at noon with 7 hour transit time). On our way out we noticed "saoirse", a Westsail 32, anchored nearby. As we passed we recognized it as one of the boats at the 2013 Westsail Rendezvous in Oak Harbor last weekend. We waved but did not have a chance to stop and chat as we were trying to catch the current.

Crossing Boundary Pass into Canada was farily uneventful. Wind was calm, a little fog, rain threatened on occasion, but by noon the sun was poking its head from the clouds. We motored up Plumper Sound, crossed paths with the big BC Ferreis at Active Pass, to the entrance of Montague Harbor. We chose Montague as it is a CANPASS/NEXUS customs checkin, where just a phone call is needed rather than meeting with a customs offical. Canadian Customs instructions is to call about 30 minutes before you make landfall. We timed it to the entrance of Montague Harbor, where Janet made the phone call. While she was on hold, the call got dropped the phone lost reception. We putted around in circles in Montague Harbor looking for more signal strength. Other boaters must have been wondering what sort of crazies we were (are?). In the end we had to go back out the entrance to find signal strength. Janet got us checked in, but it was not over yet. We were instructed to be at the fuel dock in the harbor at 4pm (in about 30 minutes). So we drifted around the fuel dock for ten minutes around 4pm. The kid at the dock was looking at us weird like "are your going to get fuel or what?" No customs official showed, so we were free to go.

We then motored to the north side of the harbor where the provincial marine park has LOTs of buoys at $12CDN per night. Once tied up, we checked into the BC Boaters Net on the local VHF repeater system and made plans for dinner.

I punted on fixing dinner and recommended we go to the Humming Bird Pub, which runs the "Pub Bus" between the marine park and marina to the pub. The bus and the pub are dog friendly so we took Jake a Sucia with us. The pub has free Wifi (yes!) and good fish and chips. But I suggest you order your pie FIRST as it may be gone by the time your entree is done (grrr).

Tomorrow we go ashore, check out the provincial park, the marine with the small store, and perhaps chat with "Saoirse" (the Westsail 32 we saw earlier at Sucia, who coincidentally, came in and anchored while we were dealing with the customs check in).

Rode the bus

Hummingbird Pub for dinner. We've been here before, but brought the dogs this time. It's a very 'island' kind of place. Bummer they were out of pie!


Spotty cell service at best!

Leaving Echo Bay

Arrived Echo Bay, Sucia Island around 8:45 pm last night. Leaving now for Montague Harbour on Galiano Island BC.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Daily Log, 8/19/2013, Sucia Island

Got a late start leaving home port on Sunday. Motored to Sucia Island fighting a little bit of current (note for next time: favor Barnes/Clark Island when passing Lawrence Point). Arrived just after sundown. Tired, hungry and not wanting to deal with dropping anchor, we tied up to one of those funky "linear mooring" contraptions installed by the state to discourage anchoring (that chews up the eel grass beds).

We discover the linear moorings now require a fee! They used to be free, WTF? Our tax dollars at work!

The dogs seem excited to be on the boat. We left the bucket in the dockbox back home. This will make poop deck cleaning a challenge.

We will be leaving early and wont be going ashore. This is just a stop on the way to Montague Harbor (Canada).


And we are finally away.  Close encounter with an anchored fuel barge (just to take a look) in Fidalgo Bay. Destination Sucia Island,.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Summer Vacation Is Here

Today marks the first day of summer vacation for us. That is, no reporting for work till after Labor Day.

Our plan is to spend time on the boat with the dogs. But, unlike previous trips, we have no firm destination. We entertained ideas of sailing Desolation Sound (British Columbia) again, but that can be a long slog in a small boat such as ours. Getting there (at least three long days under motor) just does not sound appealing.

Current idea is to just bum around the Canadian Gulf Islands. There are a number of places in the Gulf Islands we have not been. Perhaps hit some points north as far as Jedediah or Hornby Island (we have some favorite spots there).

The boat is pretty much ready, save for a few minor fixes and supplies. Rather than try and load up the boat on food provisions for two weeks, we might just provision for a few days, then add more "on-the-way" once in Canada. There are plenty of shore accessible grocery stores up there.

Once out there, we expect to be on the BC Boaters, and Great Northern Boaters radio nets (see the sidebar on the blog page). We will also be tracking via SPOT and APRS (also on the side bar).

Also on this trip, we will be trying out our new GoPro video camera (thanks Rich!). So look for some video posted here, if we can find the bandwidth.

One question, "Do I try fishing again?". Previous attempts been sunk costs for Canadian fishing licenses and lost gear, with just the occasional too-small-to-keep-unidentifiable fish being hooked. A local tackle store says pink Buzz-Bombs (a kind of lure) are all the rage with the fish this summer. PINK? I guess fish have no account for fashion.

For the moment, we still have some chores and projects to wrap up at home. Departure will be tomorrow afternoon at the EARLIEST. Maybe Sunday. We are in no rush.

See you on the water...

Friday, August 9, 2013

Southbound on the Swinomish channel

With a nice current pushing us along at 6.2 knots.  That's subject to change without notice along the Swinomish, we'll enjoy it while we can.

PNW Westsail Rendezvous 2103

On tap this weekend: a short trip to Oak Harbor for the PNW Westsail Rendezvous. Always inspiring to see other people's boats.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Growing Bug List

We are anchored in Fisherman's Bay, Lopez Island. The 4th of July partiers are still around blasting some music this morning from shore. some classic 60s summer of love era stuff. not bad actually.

So this morning is when i usually dork around with the radios and computers. i recently re-organized the systems, and now is when all the "operational" bugs start to surface. Here is the list so far:

  • Engine alternator charge voltage is too much for the new computer. It shuts down when alternator goes into bulk-absorption mode (first battery charge phase). It is running on inverter backup right now. Possible fixes are: computer BIOS setting, lower the voltage on the alternator regulator, purchase/construct a device that more precisely regulates the power going into the computer.
  • HF radio will not power up. I thought I fixed this, but I guess not. The 2 meter vhf radio works, so it is not a power issue at the battery. It is somewhere close to the radio. I will heave to tear into cabinet to diagnose it. But not here at anchor.
  • Computer thinks nav instruments are a mouse. When you power up the machine, the serial port that receives all the NMEA data confuses the computer, it thinks it is a serial mouse, causing the mouse pointer to goes whacky all over the screen. I looked up instructions on the web on how to fix this, tried it, but it does not work. Hmmm.
  • Too many wires. Specifically, the serial cables serving up the navigation instruments and control of the HF radio. I need to workout a Bluetooth solution somehow.
  • The ethernet ports on the new computer do not work. Some sort of driver issue. I need these to access the masthead WIFI bridge device. We use that to pirate WIFI access when cruising, I could add alternative ports via USB, but getting these to work would be better.
All this stuff is not practical to deal with at anchor, especially when the weather is so nice. But can I address it before the next trip, without driving myself nuts?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Still home

Not leaving today after all. We have insufficient Dorzolamide-Timolol for the weekend and can't get more until tomorrow.

Dorzolamide-Timolol is part of the medication protocol for treating Jake's glaucoma. Of the four different medicated eyedrops, this is the one primarily responsible for keeping the intraocular pressure low in his remaining sighted eye. High pressure = vision loss. He's adapted well to being blind in one eye, as dogs and humans do, but total blindness is something we would prefer to avoid.

So departure is delayed until medical provisioning is complete sometime tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

4th Of July Preps

While we are often in Canada around the 4th of July, this year we will be hanging out locally. We are considering Fisherman's Bay on Lopez Island. Apparently they have their own 4th of July fireworks display, and the bay can be somewhat of a madhouse. No worries, it can be a nice place to anchor, and stuff to do ashore (their weekend farmer's market is pretty nice).

This trip does a have a few goals:

  • rebuilt boat computer- faster, smaller, more compact installation, with updated charts
  • larger deck hammock, big enough for two people (?)
  • new canvas covers for the dinghy bladders, to give more protection from the UV
  • test HF radio operations. The radio has not been used since the electronics configuration

This weekend, expect to find us on

Sunday, June 2, 2013


The weather didn't stay quite nice enough to have an easy night. Not much sleep for either of us, or the dogs.  Buoy banging against the hull leaving a mark each time - yes, I will count at some point - and gusty north wind as the currents swirled about meant LC never settled down.  I was ready to head for home around 4:15 AM but cooler heads prevailed. Not what anyone would call relaxing.

Like any first cruise of the season, several issues arose. Nothing terminal, but we may revisit head plumbing yet again. We're getting good at using Cap Sante Marina's pump out barge.

The house was 85 degrees and 25 percent humidity when we got home. Hope ServPro removes the drying equipment tomorrow so we can get repairs happening after last weekend's water heater flood. There's always something!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Pelican Beach

On a buoy at DNR Pelican Beach. New hammock testing is in progress (that's the shadow in the photo). Eagle Harbor was full. As long as the wind stays light it will be a nice spot.


Overnight to Cypress Island or thereabouts.  Half-blind dog seems to be having a grand time so far.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

No Go on Memorial Day 2013

Welcome to the new blog format and host!

After having spent the last couple weeks getting ready for our first long weekend boat trip of the year, we have had to abort plans at the last minute.

A leaky water heater in the garage has forced us to stay home to cleanup and make repairs.

Maybe July 4th weekend will be better.

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Moving the domain name registration. Blog might go dark for a bit as nameservers change.