Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Down the east side of Vancouver Island

Since we came up the mainland side of the Straight of Georgia on our way to Desolation sound, we decided to go down the Vancouver Island side. From Drew Harbour, we went to Campbell River. We had arranged to have our mail sent to the marina there, and it was supposed to be waiting for us when we arrived on Saturday. Unfortunately, it wasn't. UPS could track it as far as Richmond BC, but that was it. We had no choice but to wait until Monday and see if it would turn up. It did.

This wasn't all bad. The marina was right in front of a huge shopping center, so we were able to stock up on everything. There were no restrictions on using water, so we were able to give the boat a real bath, with soap, for the first time in over a month. There was a great farmer's market on Sunday, and we spent a fair amount of time walking around the town. Here's a shot of the fishing pier:

Fishing is one of the main attractions in Campbell River -- on the pier, they had a board with the stats of largest catch of each day posted -- some of them were huge.

From Campbell River, we went to Tribune Bay. Tribune Bay has a lovely beach, but is completely open to the southeast. When we got in, we were too beat to go over to the beach, but figured we could always go the next day. Of course, the next day, the wind was from the southeast, which caused huge rollers to come through the anchorage and break on the beach. No beach for us! We sat it out in increasingly uncomfortable conditions for most of the day, listening to the weather report, which kept assuring us that the wind was going to switch around to the northwest. Around 6:00, when it still hadn't shifted, we decided to move to Deep Harbour, a few miles away and much more protected. Here's a picture of Tribune Bay, looking toward the beach on the first night we were there

From Deep Bay, we went back to Nanaimo, one of our favorite stops on the way up. We spent a couple of nights in the marina there, went to the farmers market, took in a bit of the blues festival (it was very, very hot, and there was nowhere to sit in the shade, so although the band was good, we didn't stay very long), and found a great used book store. We also browsed through a Native art store called "Hill's", which had tons of lovely stuff, including a huge suspended carving of a heron in flight, all wildly impratical for the boat.

After we restocked in Nanaimo, we went across the channel to Newcastle Island. This was another favorite stop on the way up. We spent a couple of nights at anchor, then yesterday morning, moved over to the docks for a night. The docks have no water or electrical, but allow easy on and off to the island, and there's garbage pickup. I wandered around yesterday afternoon and took a bunch of pictures.

There was a pulp stone quarry here in the 20's. Pulp stones were used on the mills to grind wood into pulp. They cut huge cylinders out of sandstone for this. Here's what's left:

There were a couple of cats hanging around the quarry, but only one stuck around to have his picture taken.

More pulpstone:

There are also a couple of totem poles on the island:

And, of course, there are a lot of tidepools:

Several of the tidepools had literally hundreds of tiny crabs in them:

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Desolation Sound, then heading south

From Prideaux Haven, we stopped back in at Cortes Bay for a night. We saw a guy in an apparently brand new boat completely ignore the marker on the reef at the entrance and try to run between it and the shore. Not surprisingly, he ran aground, hard. We only noticed him because of the noise of his rigging slamming around from coming to such a sudden stop. Amazingly, instead of backing up and going around, he powered straight on through. He tried to tie up at one of the yacht clubs, no dice (which I thought was sort of harsh), then went to the public dock, we assume to inventory damages. When we looked for him later, he was gone, presumably to Lund, the closest place with haulout facilities. Hopefully, they were OK.

From there, we went to Grace Harbour. We were looking forward to hiking to a lake there, but unfortunately, it started to rain soon after we arrived and continued for the whole next day. I did get a couple of nice shots as we were leaving.

Grace Harbour was full of jellyfish. We actually managed to suck several up into the water intake on the genset. We cleaned it once, but it clogged again, at which point we gave up. We did a speed drill getting the anchor up when we left, because we did not want to suck one into the main engine water intake.

Grace Harbour jellyfish:

From Grace Harbour, we went to Taku Resort, which was lovely. Brand new docks, beautiful facilities, easy walk to a very well stocked store. It's one of two marinas in the area, but doesn't advertise. The other marina is much older, crowded (we found when we went over to look at it), and, most importantly, must have been having some sort of problem with their water system, as they told us we couldn't fill our tanks if we stayed there. "No boat washing" signs are pretty common up here, but not being able to fill the tanks seems a bit beyond the pale at $40/night. We walked over and had a very lovely meal at their restaurant, though.

Apparently, the resort is a "hobby" for a woman from Vancouver -- it's certainly developed beyond any rational expectation of economic return out of a short season. Lovely stop.

It was very windy when we came in, but it was early enough in the day that we had our choice of spots. Three power boats who came in late weren't so lucky, and it took help from all the people on the dock to pull them against the wind and up to the docks.

We took a bike ride to Rebecca Spit Park, and liked it so much that we decided to go all of about 500 yards the next day and anchor there.

Rebecca Spit:

One night, while we were anchored out at Rebecca Spit, this guy came drifting by on a log:

We had a beautiful sunset that night: