Day 1:

Attached are some photos I took from today’s leg from Lopez Island to Ganges Harbor. We had a great sailing day with 15 knot winds and current in our favor. The morning clouds burned off around 9am and we had beautiful sunny weather the whole day!  -Melissa

Day 2:

We had a great day at Ganges. The day was a pick your own adventure for the most part with some of us spending the day provisioning at the grocery store, attending the farmers market, shopping in Ganges, swimming at the public pool, and riding bikes around the island. We all met up for a delicious, locally sourced dinner at Salt Spring Wild, which is a cidery. A few favorite dishes were the fried chicken and venison sausage. The cidery was about a 30 min walk each way, so we earned our meals! Tomorrow morning half of us will continue on to Newcastle Island, and others will depart on alternative routes or back to Lopez.  -Melissa

Day 3:

Today, we said our goodbyes and parted ways from Ganges. Half of us continued north from Ganges to Newcastle Island. The waters were glassy smooth with pretty much no wind. It was another beautiful day on the water. 

Most of us left around 8 am to make slack current at Dodd Narrows around 1 pm. When we arrived at Newcastle Island, there were plenty of mooring and dock spaces available. 

Newcastle Island has views of both Nanaimo city on Vancouver Island and mountain views across the Strait of Georgia on the mainland. City and train whistle sounds mingled with bald eagle cries and chatter in the moorage.  

Our group enjoyed exploring the island trails on hikes and trail runs, and cruising the calm moorage by paddle boats. In the evening, a couple folks enjoyed the sunset with a drink at the “Dinghy Pub”. Cruising life is good.

Until tomorrow! -Melissa

Day 4:

Today, we left Newcastle Island for Smugglers Cove Provincial Marine Park. Our Strait of Georgia crossing was seamless with glassy calm waters! Whiskey Gulf was luckily inactive, so the journey was direct. Phil and Bonnie who are headed up to the Broughtons saw a humpback whale and her calf off Campbell River!  I’m grateful that we are all having good luck on our cruise so far.

Smugglers Cove is a quaint anchorage that requires stern ties. After nestling ourselves in, we all explored the area to find warm swimming water, dog walking terrain, hiking, and paddle boating. A few of us also found an excellent italian restaurant in secret harbor (only 1nm away), and reported back that the food is delicious. Cheese and crackers, and conversations were shared at each other’s boat. It feels nice to be finally settling into the cruising vibe.

Tonight there is a chance to see the northern lights, so we’ll be keeping an eye out for that! -Melissa

Day 5:

Smuggler’s Cove was a lovely and peaceful anchorage. We spent a day there exploring the islands and swimming in the warm water. After all the hustle and bustle of starting the cruise, I finally felt us settling into the cruising vibe. 

Day 6:

We set off to Lund to fill up on diesel/water/groceries, drop off crew, and do laundry before we got to Desolation Sound. In retrospect, on future cruises, I think I would skip Lund and head straight to Refuge Cove which offers the same amenities, a better selection of groceries, and now also has a cute cafe.

Day 7:

We left Lund for Desolation Sound. Because there were no winds, we decided to spend the night anchoring at Teakerne Arm instead of Galley Bay. After rafting up together, we took our dinghies to shore to hike to the top of the waterfall and swim in Cassel Lake. Cassel Lake was fabulous! It’s clear, warm fresh water felt so wonderful. We all had a blast! 

Day 8:

Several of us decided to take a swim in the warm, fresh water pools under the waterfall. Oyster beds and sea stars studded the rocks in the shallow tidal waters. Water shoes are a must here! Who would think that one could find warm water swimming and waterfalls so far north?! We are so spoiled to be able to explore this beautiful coast in our backyard!

Before heading to our next anchorage in Prideaux Haven, we made a pit stop in Refuge Cove. The winds were blowing 15 knots, so the sails were raised for a downwind sail. On S/V Skye, we nearly hit a humpback whale on our starboard side bow while having lunch onboard! The whale came up for air 20 meters from our boat, and we quickly released our jib and steered downwind to avoid collision. There was a brief moment of panic onboard as we saw the whale dive under water, since we weren’t sure if it was going to go under our boat. We were relieved that we didn’t injure the whale or damage our boat. 

At Refuge Cove, we stocked our fridges with freshies and tanks with water. We wanted to be well stocked for our multi-day anchorages in Prideaux Haven and Pendrell Sound. The winds brought us to Prideaux Haven and we enjoyed the sail with our afternoon coffee and the stunning scenery. 

Day 9:

We woke up to find that S/V Lagertha joined us after a non-stop red-eye sail from Roche Harbor! To celebrate their Race to Desolation Sound, we cooked up a hearty brunch of scrambled eggs and bacon onboard S/V Skye. We had many laughs and sea stories to exchange! The rest of the day was spent napping, paddling, swimming, and exploring. In the evening we convened for our daily happy hour for more conversation and company. The anchorage was still and dark in the new moon.

Day 10:

We had a leisurely morning before we headed to Pendrell Sound. This was one of the highlights of last year’s cruise, so I scheduled two full days and the nights in the anchorage. This allowed us ample time to swim in the 80 deg water, explore the petroglyphs, and really relax!  Some of us foraged fresh oysters right off the rocks – so fresh and delicious!

Days 12/13:

Some of us made an extra stop at Roscoe Cove. The entrance to Roscoe Cove is very shallow and needs to be timed with the tides (just like our beloved Fisherman’s Bay!). I heard the swimming in adjacent Black Lake was lovely. Bonnie and Phil also made a surprise stop on their way back from the Broughtons!

Day 14:

We all met up again at Walsh Cove. Walsh Cove is a small anchorage tucked away on West Redonda Island. There are amazing petroglyphs of salmon jumping out of the water here. Taking this fishing tip from 7500 years ago, Brian and Joe went fishing and caught two lingcod! In fact, they literally caught it at the same time in Joe’s dinghy. To celebrate this auspicious occasion, we had a Lopez style potluck on S/V Skye. We feasted on fish tacos with homemade tortillas and slaw with avocados and wine. What a treat! 

Day 15:

We left Walsh Cove for Toba Wilderness in the morning. There was a light rain, but it wasn’t so bad because we only had an hour of motoring. The clouds hung low on the mountains but visibility was still good. The scenery looked mysterious and beautiful. When we got to Toba, we spent the day hiking on trails to a waterfall and lookout spots. The rains were on and off, so we snuggled by the open fire pits under a covered pavilion. Later we learned that a juvenile black bear would walk on the beaches and trails at Toba eating blackberries a few days after we left.

Day 16:

In the morning, we set sail for Ramsay Arm in the rain. With foul weather gear on and a mug of tea and binoculars in hand, I spotted a bald eagle flying over a humpback whale with a salmon in its talons! Doesn’t get more PNW than that. We anchored in Ramsay Arm and the rain poured! Reports said half an inch. There were some breaks, so we got to explore a river and another waterfall. But mostly, we tucked into our boats and got cozy.

Day 17:

The clouds lifted by morning and we headed to the Octopus Islands. But first we had to get through Hole-in-the-wall, which is a rapid. After making it through, our engine overheated sounding an alarm. While inconvenient, we were very grateful that this didn’t happen in the rapids or the previous rainy day. Joe and Barry came and towed us to the anchorage with Joe’s dinghy. We spent the rest of the day troubleshooting the issue and fixed the leak in the heat exchanger that was draining the coolant. Fewwf! We also were visited by the Jennings, who were there at the same anchorage!

Day 18:

We spent the day anchored in the Octopus Islands, and went exploring. There was a hike to a lake that some of us went to and swam in. Also, there was a deserted cabin where people left messages in bottles and signs with their boat names. It was very fun to look at all the creative contributions.

Day 19:

We set off midday to Heriot Bay. But first we had to pass Beasley Passage (another rapid). There were a lot of eddies, and outside slack the rapids can run 11 knots!  We had beautiful weather to Heriot Bay, but no sailing. We spent the evening at the docks and enjoyed a wonderful dinner together at the restaurant. So many laughs and good stories.

Day 20:

After stocking up on groceries, fuel and water, we set sail for Manson’s Landing. We all had a great sail the entire way. We anchored and enjoyed the groovy vibe. 

Day 21:

From our anchorage in Manson’s Landing, we walked to Hague Lake to enjoy the fresh water. The lake was warm, clear and perfect for swimming. The sand was fine and almost white. A perfect beach day spot. 

Day 22:

We woke up early to make the favorable winds and current for the long 8 hour journey to Hornby Island. There were so many humpback whales in Sutil Channel. We even saw two breach! We anchored in Tribune Bay, and went ashore to go shopping and play in the waves.

Day 23:

We woke to fresh croissants baked on SV Lagertha for the second annual sailor’s bake-off. There were some attempts to rent bikes to explore the island, but no luck. Instead, we picked blueberries

at a U-pick farm, played in the ocean and had lunch at Forage (very delicious!) The evening ended with a vibrantly painted sky and supermoon. Watching the supermoon rise was magical in the anchorage.

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