Posted by: Ann | October 20, 2018

Saturday, October 20th- Back to the USA

Sidney to Rosario

We were undecided whether to visit Lopez Island or Rosario on Orcas Ise.  We finally decided we aren’t equipped yet to land the dinghy somewhere like the Lopez Island Spencer Spit park, so we opted for the comfort of the Rosario Resort marina.

First we had to officially re-enter the US at Roche Harbor which turned into a hide-and-seek to find the customs dock.  I should have guessed that coming from the water, all resident dockage is on the right, and all tourist services like fuel dock, harbor master customs dock are on the left.  Jon said the customs agent maintained a stern demeanor, but he did let us stay long enough to grab some fresh donuts from the Limekiln cafe.

The wind picked up as we approached Orcas Island and Rosario.  It got rough enough that we worried the dinghy might capsize.  We also had difficulty getting close to the dock as the wind was strong enough to overpower the thrusters.  I was finally able to lassoo a cleat and pull us in, something that would be impossible with Canadian bull rails.

We had a nice lunch in the lounge – salmon burgers again- and the house ginger beer had the intriguing addition of lime, cardamom and cayenne.  Then we enjoyed the Saturday music concert which was a lovely combination of historical photographs taken by Robert Moran while a resident artist (who is also the resort general manager) played both the 1900 Steinway piano and the 1913 vintage Aeolian pipe organ with it’s nearly 2000 pipes.  

The most surprising thing happened after the show when we were all invited to view the actual organ console as it played some music automatically.  The original paper scroll control had been replaced with an old Apple PowerMac 6116, Jon had been the project manager for that model back at Apple 25 years ago! Antiques controlling antiques! What a small world.

We enjoyed the evening on Fifth Element; the wind and air temperature is quite biting now, but we’re snug in the cabin with power from the marina.

Power PC!

The visible pipes are actually a “blind” for the real pipes behind

View from the Rosario Resort museum

Posted by: Ann | October 20, 2018

Friday, October 19th- Nanaimo to Sidney


Sunrise at Nanaimo


Dodd Narrows




Zero Visibility reveals a spider web

Sun then thick fog

The slack at Dodd Narrows was around 6:30 am, but we left Nanaimo at 7:15, about 15 minutes after there was enough light to navigate.  Jon had to straighten several twists out of the anchor chain again.

Before we reached the Narrows, a 24’ Hovercraft announced transit in our direction.  That was an interesting boat to see. I was also amused by a a large group of seagulls hitching a ride on a log boom, and we enjoyed seeing several sea lions, which are less common than harbor seals we’ve seen every day.

We reached Dodd narrows at 8am which was just a little turbulent with various instruments reporting between 2.5 to 3 kts flood(adverse current).  Frankly, the wake from the motorboat that raced past from behind us was worse.  

We continued along the Stuart channel towards Sidney, but about 9:30 the fog started to thicken.  The visibility was worsened by what must have been the sun from above.  We slowed a bit in the white glare.  I was glad for Jon’s radar and AIS systems but it was still a tense hour of looking for non-transmitting and/or non radar reflecting boats before the fog started to lift.

Fortunately, it was clear enough to see as we approached Sidney and crossed the paths of many ferries and local boats.  We docked at D-31 around 1:40 pm and headed up to Starbucks and my favorite little art store, Island Blue.  

I could not believe how many people were in downtown Sidney.  The Starbucks was packed for hours and I’ve never seen so many people browsing downtown.

There were several possible reasons.  The World Rowing Coastal championships just ended Oct 14th, Pumpkin and Oktoberfest events are going on, an ArtSea Open Studios event for the coming weekend and the Antimatter Media week in Victoria is just ending.  Whatever the reason, we were also buzzed two military jets for several minutes.

We were sorry to miss our friends who live in Sidney, Chris and Dave Schroeder, so we consoled ourselves with the schnitzel and spatzli from my favorite restaurant, Bistro Suisse.  I got a good tutorial on how to properly prepare the pan for schnitzel, concluding that I don’t get my pans hot enough (which is probably why most of the breading falls off!)

Posted by: Ann | October 20, 2018

Thursday, October 18th- Pender Harbour to Nanaimo


The Dinghy Dock


Fifth Element from Dinghy Dock with Newcastle Island in background


Another beautiful day; we have been so lucky with the weather this trip!  Temperature at Sechelt was 53 deg. F at 10:45

Both of us have noticed a high pitched whine from the engine today.  Jon could not find anything amiss.

By 1:30 Vancouver Island homes, N. Nanaimo in sight.  Arrived Port of Nanaimo at 2:30 and allowed 3 free hours on G dock.  We spent the next couple of hours shopping.  

We visited the fascinating Harbour Chandlery which has all kinds of boating and fishing supplies.  Jon had to exchange some LED lights that had failed and he also looked into possibilities for a stern tie reel.  

A quick stop at Starbucks took us past the homeless encampments which seems heavily supported by the Nanaimo health services department.  The debate:  does this help alleviate or aggravate the homeless issue.

Finally, we stopped by Flying Fish Kitchen supply but still could not find an acceptable coffee scoop for Jon.  We did pass a promising looking cafe- Le Cafe Francais- that I’d like to visit in the future.

A quick garbage run- free here- and then we were off to anchor off Newcastle Island.  We noticed that some lucky boat was tied up at right at the Dinghy Dock, but there wasn’t a spot for us.  

We anchored nearby and took the dinghy over.  The waitress did a double-take and said it was deja vu because she recognized us and we ordered the exact same thing- grilled wild sockeye salmon burger.  This time we also had the dessert with the suggestive name, Sex in a Dinghy. One of the regulars/owners came over to inform us that no condoms are provided since the Dinghy Dock is on Protection Island!


View out the stern of Fifth Element


The huge scale of Princess Louisa- there’s a boat going around the corner

We take bit of a risk…

We enjoyed walking around the falls again this morning, this time at low tide.  We had to leave Princess Louisa inlet fairly late due to the slack time at Malibu Rapids.  Our ETA for the Back Eddy marina was to be 6pm.

We really didn’t want to stay there again.  It had been $43 for a dock in poor condition and a closed pub; Gorge Harbor had been $34 and was in immaculate condition. 

Jon studied all the possible alternatives.  Green Bay further along in the Agamemnon channel was said to have uncharted rocks, so not wise for newbies arriving in low light.  Saltery Bay sounded promising, but it would put us back the wrong direction out the Jervis inlet, forcing us to miss the beautiful Agamemnon.  And we didn’t know what the availability at the public dock would be, with the fall-back anchorage also unfamiliar to us.

We finally decided to continue on down the Agamemnon to Pender Harbor with an ETA of 7:30 pm.  

It turned out to be a little more scary than we expected.  By the time we anchored, it was closer to 8pm and very dark.  It was difficult even with our knowledge of Garden bay and our instruments telling us we anchored almost in the exact same spot as we did previously.  The lights of homes reflecting off the water and our pilothouse windows made for very difficult visibility.  We were fortunate that it was very calm and the sunset lingered long enough to see the entrance of Pender Harbour.

Posted by: Ann | October 19, 2018

Musings on Princess Louisa


Reflections make the scene seem even more majestic


The Magic of Princess Louisa Inlet

I was trying to think of why this place is so special.  After all, why do we ogle falling water like Chatterbox Falls?  But I think it is the sum total of things that makes this inlet beloved.  

First, it takes some effort to get here. It’s only accessible by boat, and you have to cruise three long reaches of about 10 miles each to get to the entrance.  The whole way there you are surrounded by towering mountains.

Then there is the mysterious Malibu rapids entrance.  You have to time it just right to pass through safely.  You wonder who discovered this was even here. 


Wait for slack at Malibu Rapids

There’s the beautiful lodge repurposed as a youth group venue perched right on the edge of the rapids.  It’s almost as if they want a front row seat to watch for any difficulty you may encounter.

Then, finally another 6 or 7 miles in, you reach the end.  You are surrounded on all sides by steep fjord-like cliffs and the waterfall starts way above you.  All you see up close is the final cascade.  There are gulls and ducks and seals floating by.

You understand why this place was immortalized in The Curve of Time and saved for posterity by it’s caretaker, John Fitzgerald MacDonald.



Posted by: Ann | October 19, 2018

Tuesday, October 16th- Back Eddy to Princess Louisa



Chatterbox Falls


View from the Prince of Wales reach


I have to add here that the Back Eddy docks seemed in bad shape.  It’s not unusual for a marina to let the gulls take over the outer docks resulting in quite a mess for anyone who docks there, but the ramp connecting docks to office here was listing off to one side.  And worst of all, there was a horrendous banging sound as if Fifth Element was hitting the dock every time a boat passed us. I wasn’t sure if that was the case or if it was just the dock itself that was making that noise, but it wasn’t a good experience.

We left just after 9 to make the Malibu rapids at slack.  I was happy to see several surf scooters and some sea lions as we crossed over to the Prince of Wales reach.  The subsequent Princess Royal and Queens reach were both beautiful today.  

We passed through Malibu rapids at 1:20 and made bets on whether we would see another boat or not at Chatterbox falls.  Upon our arrival at 2:15, we found only one other boat at the dock, a Pacific Seacraft sailboat from Vancouver named Cassiopeia.

I spent a lot of time taking in the falls which are still beautiful even with the reduced fall water flow. It was wonderfulLy quiet until a motorboat roared in with several youths making a racket on the bow. I thought we were in for an unpleasant eventing when one of them popped out and plopped a boom box down on the dock table, but fortunately they spent most of their time inland, and several left later that evening.

Posted by: yachtanomaly | October 18, 2018

Princess Louisa Inlet,

Sun, Chatterbox Falls and empty dock!

Posted by: Ann | October 16, 2018

Monday, October 15th, Lund to BackEddy Marina, Egmont


Shirt Sleeve weather


Tight Squeeze at Lund

We tried to visit the LUND recycling center but it’s closed today.  The hotel isn’t taking anymore garbage.B802516B-CAE6-4936-AFC5-CDE1010F1F9A

Jon got a cinnamon bun from Nancys but made our mochas back on Fifth Element.  The espresso at Nancy’s hasn’t been good this trip.

We departed LUND about 10am and had a gentle cruise down the mainland coastline and into the Jervis Inlet.  We arrived at the Back Eddy Marina just after 4pm

I’m disappointed the pub is closed M and T now, so we tried to find a way to see or hear the Monday Night Football, 49ers vs Green Bay Packers, but although Jon found Westwood One radio, there was too much interference to enjoy.  I was able to get the play-by-play written reports, and the 49ers did their typical lead-until-the -last series loss.

Posted by: Ann | October 16, 2018

Sunday, October 14th, Campbell River to Lund


Sunrise at Campbell River


We were up to Starbucks by 7am in order to leave by 7:30 to avoid an adverse current in Discovery Passage.  At 8;30 we saw a big tanker coming into Campbell River, seemingly escorted by 3 Humpback whales.  They came right by us as they avoided the tanker.


Humpback Whales pass us by

By 10:45 we passed by the Copeland islands where we saw a bald eagle watching over some very large pinnipeds- probably elephant seals.  Approaching Lund we were informed there was only a slot between 2 sailboats on A dock.  It looked like we could fit and Jon did an excellent job squeezing us in with only a yard to spare at bow and stern.

All settled in by 11:15, we made it in plenty of time for lunch and fresh cinnamon rolls at Nancys.  Then we used the WIFi to plan our trips home, which wasn’t easy given all the winter schedules.  Jon is going to have to take a float plane from Victoria because a three ferry schedule meant the Canadian ferries aren’t going to travel internationally exactly when he needs one.

We had a visit from two very fluffy black cats who were then chased back onto their sailboat by one of 4 dogs from another sailboat.  The dog owner said he doesn’t leave home without his “family” that also included a lovebird and a macaw.

I spent the afternoon on top of the pilothouse sketching local scenes.  It’s warm in the sun but cools off quickly in the shade.  We had dinner at the Boardwalk restaurant which is in the shade all day now, and it was chilly even in front of the gas fireplace.  The Octoberfest schnitzel was ok, but more expensive and not as tasty as Bistro Suisse in Sidney.

It was a beautiful long sunset.  We also saw this odd sea foam bubble that was trapped in a pool and circulated endlessly while building up into a large dome.


Heriot Bay Inn end tie, right next to the Ferry dock prop wash


We departed Heriot Bay around 10:45 after breakfast at Java Bay coffee shop.  Almost right away but we saw Humpback whales in the area between Heriot Bay and the BRETON ISLANDS.  First we saw a group of 3, then a group of two further out, and finally one that seemed to be playing or fighting with several sea lions.

We had a 5 kt current going into Discover Bay marina, one of 3 at Campbell River. It was a little tight getting into our assigned slip I-9 so it was nice to have front and rear thrusters;Jon hasn’t been using them in most locations.

The marina is very nice with a good laundry, and modest washrooms surprisingly free hot showers and of course the main reason for coming:  access to an outdoor shopping mall with Starbucks and all the big box stores like Canadian Tire, and several restaurants.  We had lunch at RipTide which may have too many items on the menu to be outstanding at any.  My oyster burger and Jon’s buffalo burger were just ok.

Jon found a Scotia Bank a longer walk away- no foreign transaction fee agreement with Bank of America- and even further is another Thrifty Foods where Jon stocked up on his favorite lunch meats.

We passed the White Spot restaurant on our way back to the marina.  We know nothing about it, but the parking lot is packed.  So we went back and had a delicious BBQ rib dinner.  Even the coleslaw was good.

Older Posts »