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TOPIC: Two Weeks in the Gulf Islands

Two Weeks in the Gulf Islands 10 Aug 2013 21:23 #1

  • courtjeste
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David B, his wife Sally, and Leila and I just got back from a great two week trip to the gulf islands. I'd invite his comments for the parts I forget. :D They were on their beautiful 3988 "Dakota Sky" and we were on our 4388 "Celtic Knot"

Things didn't get off to the greatest of starts. we left Tacoma two weeks ago Friday early in the a.m. Plan was to motor up to Port Townsend and either spend the night, or if we made slack tide and conditions looked good, motor over to Victoria where we had reservations in the harbor in front of the Empress Hotel.

Looked great, so we headed across the straits. Ooops. Made it about 20 miles with calm waters. Problem is that we had another 8 to go and holy buckets the world caved in on us. We just got slammed with wind waves and swell. Bow pulpits buried in the troughs and water coming up over the fly bridges. Every thing on both boats came crashing to the floor. Sally took a great photo which I hope David posts, showing everything on the floor, including the table. At one point I looked over and Leila was just in tears. Like a dope I asked "What's wrong?" I thought I was going to get smacked around for that one. I noticed later that her post in the ships log was something like "I thought we were dead...I'm flying home...sell the boat." We were all pretty happy to tie up.

From then on it was gravy. A day and a half in Victoria, a few shots of Tellamore Dew, a couple Cohibas from a really cool cigar store and we were ready.

Motored up to Sidney Spit for the night. More windy then I'd like, and a little cool, but caught lots of crab and had lots of fun.
Then on to Russell Island off the south side of Saltspring Island. Pretty nice anchorage protected from the south winds. Did a little fishing and with David's help I managed to catch a pretty nice ling cod. (Catching ANYTHING is a rare thing for me!)

The southeastern winds were more of a problem then we anticipated, so our itinerary changed. We found a great spot in Montague Harbor. We caught a bus up to the Hummingbird bar. Bus driver was a character, singing, playing music, banging on drum heads all the while.

Motored up to Ganges, where we'd have liked to stay on the hook, but again the winds made us pick up a dock space. Turns out to be a good thing as I had a small electrical problem that needed attention. Two wires behind the 110 panel arced and toasted one. Boat smelled like an electrical fire when we got back on board. Spent an extra night but its a pretty neat town to mess around in. the ladies shopped while David and I worked on the boat. (I had to go on vacation to do that????)

I wanted to head up to Poets Cove, but David picked out a great place instead. there's a tiny cove more or less in the Pender canal where we anchored and rafted together, watching boats go back and forth from Poet's Cove to Port Browning. We took the dinks over to Port Browning and caught a "ride share" up to the Saturday market, which was really neat; lots of people and local vendors. the "ride share" thing is cool. Basically, you stand by the side of the road in designated areas and if someone is in the mood, you get a ride. What a great system!!!

Ended up spending a couple days at Cabbage Island. (Tumbo Island) its essentially the point farthest Southeast in the Gulf Islands anda sits out in the straits. Weather was PERFECT

Did a night in Cowichen Bay at the Marina. Neat little town.

Then came "The Big Mistake" (TBM) We left Cowichen with the intent of motoring back to Friday Harbor for a couple days. But, decided to stop for the night and anchor in this great little cove on the north side of Stuart Island. Got up the next day and headed to Friday Harbor, where we discovered TBM. David called in to customs first and made the mistake of copping to having spent the night anchored in US waters without first checking in. So into the customs "time out" office they had to go. Unfortunately I wasn't smart enough to pick up on the mistake and made the same admission. So off to "time out" Leila and I head. By the time I walked up the dock, I was pissed. then I get into the office and the homeland security guy's name is Swindler, so I just had to laugh and tell him what a stupid rule they had and how his justification for the rule was total BS...blah blah blah. He had this dopey smirk on his face so I got even madder. Leila is slapping me around telling me to shut up and Swindler's got his finger in my face guaranteeing me I'm going to lose this argument, go to jail and have a big fine...so I kissed his ***, blamed it on David, put my tail between my legs and slunk out of the place with this fancy "official notice of infraction". So much for TBM.

Couple days in Friday harbor and motored down to Center Island where unbeknownst to us, we were law breakers again..this time for making a fire on the beach and cooking up these killer pizza's that David made up, over an open fire. Then south to Kingston where we anchored in really crappy conditions. The trip across the straits wasn't as bad as going north, but we had probably 200 yards visibility and pretty bouncy conditions, again with stuff ending up on the floors. After kingston, a quick shot home.

I've left stuff out and Maybe David will chime in. When we get all the photos organized, I'll try and post them up.

One highlight: Leila's I Phone went in the drink, so life without phones for a change was fun .
One lowlight. Sitting at breakfast on shore in Friday Harbor, looking out over the marina, including where we were anchored. Watched some guy bumping into my boat. So off I go to get into the dink to see what's going on. Some fellow in a big pilot house was pulling his anchor and somehow claims he hooked onto my anchor line, sucking the two boats together. Got it sorted out with no damage.

Mechanical damage on the trip was pretty minimal. My electrical problem, DAvid's autopilot bit the dust and my radar acted up. All pretty normal travel stuff.

Overall a great two weeks. I didn't keep track, but I think we were 5 nights or so tied up in marinas and the rest on the hook.
Best marina? Victoria hands down, although it cost something like 80/night. Best anchorage? Toss up between Cabbage Island and Montague Harbor. A couple disappointments: its a bit of a pain to find pump out stations and when you do, you pay. The guy at Cowichen wanted to charge me 30 bucks to pump my tank. Even water was tough. Friday harbor wanted to charge 5 cents a gallon. Even had a meter on the water spigot.


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Toni & Leila
Orting, Washington
1992 4388 Motoryacht
"Celtic Knot"

Two Weeks in the Gulf Islands 11 Aug 2013 05:47 #2

  • vinomaker
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What a story. Thanks for the hit by hit. We will be doing it next year.

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Jerome Robbins
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Anacortes, WA
2001 Bayliner 4788
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1994 Bayliner Ciera 2855 454 V8-7.4L
1994 Bayliner Classic 2252 V6-5.2L

Two Weeks in the Gulf Islands 11 Aug 2013 13:43 #3

  • Go Aweigh2452
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Good report Toni... Glad you made it back safe and sound... So far we have been fortunate the past three weeks up in Broughtons area, no issues with the boat...

We love Victoria as well. Great places to eat and I have to visit Capital Iron every trip... Best anchorage we found in the Gulf Islands hands down was the north end of Portland Island between the small Chad Island and the north shore of Portland. The anchorage is very protected and the trails on the island are awesome. Excellent Marine Park...

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Doug ;}
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"Go Aweigh to" Photos < click on red letters... 2001 Bayliner 2452 w/6.2 HO (paid for)


Two Weeks in the Gulf Islands 11 Aug 2013 17:49 #4

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Good stuff here guys.
The Admiral and I are going to head out of Sechelt Inlet next week and turn left - for once. We have no specific cruise plan other than we need to be at Saturna Island for August 16th and 17th. We are a little anxious, but very much looking forward to cruising into a 'big city' harbour at Victoria and plan to stay a couple of nights if we can handle all of the civilization.

If any BOC'ers have any tips and/or contact info for Victoria's inner harbour I would be most appreciative! PM me....

We will be checking out that hot tip on the anchorage at North end or Portland. We have it was circled on our chart so it is a good confidence builder to have a testimonial - we are on the right track with our pre-work and charting. We are relying a great deal on the Dreamspeaker guide and charts and look forward to the adventure, but local knowledge is definitely comforting.
It is funny - we are far more anxious heading into the Gulf Islands because of all the other boats, commercial traffic, and navigating charted waterways than we ever get when we head into our local wild areas. More worried about fouling someone else's good times or doing something 'wrong' in a marina or anchorage. We never worry about a thing when we traipse out into utter isolation (we prepare for emergencies, of course - just no stress that anything we get up to will affect anyone else).

Pic's to follow in a couple of weeks I am sure.


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Two Weeks in the Gulf Islands 12 Aug 2013 01:06 #5

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Here's all you will need plus a map on entering the harbor.....Mike

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Mike &Ulla
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