Posted by: Ann | October 5, 2019

9-30-19, Monday- Nanaimo to Montague Harbour

via Ganges on Salt Spring Island

Sunny but chilly

The weather is holding, but rain for a solid week is supposed to start in two day.s. We were up early for an 8am sunny walk on Newcastle Island along the Shoreline trail. I love this island which feels so tranquil a stones throw from busy Nanaimo. There is a LOT of not so wild animal scat on the lawn- deer, goose, raccoon (in the middle of the dock ramp!)- so you need to keep a lookout.

The level of maintenance continues to be very good with new bull rails on the dock and manicured trails. A note to mariners is that the restroom has two showers and is heated despite the late date.

We raised anchor at 9:20 and dodged the float planes leaving Nanaimo. We were through Dodd Narrows on the ebb several hours early and saw 13 knots going through, 5.5 more than our normal speed. The eddies grabbed Fifth Element but Jon kept things under our control.

We proceeded along Stuart and then Trincomali Channels around Salt Spring Island and reached Ganges Harbour around 2:30. The Ganges harbour authority didn’t answer by radio, but we reached them by phone. You can stay on the Breakwater dock for 2 hours free, but only until 4pm, so we only got 1.5 hours.

We really didn’t need much more. We walked up to TJ Beans on the main road to collect 6 cinnamon rolls that Jon had ordered that morning. He ate one on the spot with our afternoon coffee; I tried one of the “famous” old fashioned donuts which was good, but very sugary and a little heavy.

We were on our way again by 4pm which made a boat waiting for our spot very happy. I don’t think we would be able to get close to the dock in high season. The Breakwater day space is very small, but one of the other 3 city managed docks might have room.

We’d intended to anchor in Montague Harbour, but it is so clogged with mooring balls , we took one of them instead as we arrived at 5pm.

Note to mariners: after we went up to the top of the ramp and paid, we realized we could have anchored off the beach on the north side of Gray Peninsula and Parker Island. In fact, a boat that had been on a mooring ball, picked up and moved over to that bay. The day use time limit is a a bit confusing: the mooring balls say 5pm; the dock says 6pm, but in any case, you can use the mooring ball during the day and if winds permit, anchor for the night on the other side.

I was disappointed that the Orca Networks float was not in the harbour. On our last visit, we realized at the last minute that a little float with a banner was a notice for very fast free wifi. This time, we could see both a free and pay network, but it was very unreliable and wouldn’t maintain the connection. Yet another location promising WIFI that turned out to be unusable.

South point of the Gray Peninsula

Rocky bottom must mean warm waters for swimming off the Gray Peninsula

Fifth Element on mooring ball #17 in Montague Harbour


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