Reluctantly leaving Dent Island Lodge at 1310 for the last time this season we transited Gillard Passage and Yuculta rapids at low slack water, heading down Calm Channel and into Lewis Channel to try our luck fishing. We had no luck and after several hours of trolling up and down Lewis Channel headed for Rebecca Spit Provincial Park, anchoring in Drew Harbor just before 1900. We finished off the last of our leftovers for dinner under sunny and warm skies as the sun finally set.
|Peaceful Rebecca Spit - Drew Harbor|
The previous evening we had been called by Barbara and Archie Matthew on “Blue Heron”, who were docked at Taku Resort and had watched us come in to anchor. We launched the tender and picked them up at Taku Resort at 0900 and headed into the Heriot Bay Inn for breakfast. The inn is rustic and the docks in poor shape, but the food was good. Returning to Taku Resort we walked up the road to a well-stocked grocery store for fresh produce and then visited Barbara and Archie for several hours before returning to Spirit. When we returned to the boat we were pleasantly surprised to find “Cosmo Place”, a 42 foot Nordic Tug we have seen in Alaska and in Anacortes, anchored close by. After visiting Jan and Jerry Woodall they joined us on Spirit for grilled burgers stuffed with Gorgonzola cheese. The weather continued to be sunny and warm, although the weather report for tomorrow is not encouraging.
|Miriam and the Matthew's at Heriot Bay Inn|
|Inside the Heriot Bay Inn|
The weather started out sunny as we pulled the anchor at 0955 and dodged the mass of floating debris choking the entrance to Drew Harbor. The promised winds became a reality as we headed up Sutil Channel to Von Donop Inlet, also a provincial park. The entrance to the two mile long inlet is easy, except for the submerged rock at the narrowest part of the inlet, which requires paying close attention to your location. There were a surprising number of boats anchored at the head of the inlet, but more continued to stream in as the winds gusted to over 24 knots. We anchored at 1155 just as several other boats left, opening up space. The bottom is good holding and although we sailed around, the relatively shallow depth (about 30 feet) meant that each boat was swinging in relatively small arcs. About 1600 the promised rain began, with the gusty winds turning the rain into horizontal sheets. The wind is expected to decrease by midnight. By 1900 there were 22 boats anchored at the head of the inlet, certainly not an isolated anchorage!
|Between Rain Showers in Von Donop Inlet|
The rain was heavy when we decided to leave, but no wind. At 0705 we pulled the anchor from the mud and headed back out of Von Donop Inlet. In addition to the 22 boats anchored at the head of the inlet there were 6 more tucked into coves further out towards the entrance to the inlet. The rain continued, sometimes heavy as we joined the parade of pleasure craft headed south. There were very few boats headed north, and we saw several groups of drenched kayakers in the Copeland Islands preparing to leave. The wind continued to build from the southeast as we passed Lund, and Malaspina Strait was solid whitecaps as we passed Grief Point.
The wind finally subsided as we passed Cape Cockburn on Nelson Island and by the time we anchored in Gerrans Bay the wind had died to only 7 knots. We anchored at 1540 and spent the afternoon watching Pender Harbor fill with boats.
The winds remained light overnight and we pulled the anchor from the sticky mud in Gerrans Bay and joined the parade of boats headed out into the Straits of Georgia. The military test range, WG, outside Nanaimo was active so we had to detour around the range on our way to Porlier Pass. The day was sunny, and our original destination of Montague Harbor was only a few miles away when we discovered that Colin and Donna McCaffrey on the Selene 55 “Serena” were headed out of Victoria to Sidney. Colin and Donna joined us with “Serena” in 2012 on our trip north to SE Alaska. A quick phone call and we diverted to Sidney where we finally docked at 1545. We all gathered for a potluck BBQ on Serena, with everyone providing their own steaks. We had to troubleshoot the Raymarine navigation system, which had failed before departure from Gerrans Bay. We operated all day on the Nobeltec System without any problems, and were glad we had a dual redundant system, including radar.
We decided to stay another day in Sidney and join Colin and Donna for dinner at a local Thai restaurant, as well as exploring the town in a series of torrential rain showers, which fortunately were warm. The Raymarine navigation electronics had failed the day before and the problem was traced to a defective network switch. We ordered a new switch for delivery when we return to Anacortes and then found a commercial switch in town which will work until we get the proper unit.
After a leisurely morning in bright sun we headed out from Sidney and intended to anchor in Bedwell Harbor. There were too many boats to suit us, so we headed around the corner into Plumper Sound and to Port Browning where we anchored in 30 feet of water. After launching the tender we explored the Pender Canal to see if we could take Spirit through. The short answer is yes, but only at mid-tide, to balance depth and bridge clearance. The weather remained warm and the winds calm.
|Bridge over Pender Canal|
Our final day on the 2013 summer cruise started at 0940 when we pulled the anchor. By 1030 we were in US waters and cleared via telephone using our NEXUS passes. By 1420 the engines were off in Anacortes Marina and we began washing the dirt and salt off Spirit.
Between July 22 and August 31 we covered 860 nautical miles, burned a little over 500 gallons of fuel and upped our four year total for Spirit to more than 15,000 nautical miles. Other than the network switch failure we had a trouble free trip, caught some salmon, crab and prawns, but halibut eluded us this year.
We also explored several new places to return to in both Desolation Sound and the Broughton Archipelago as we look forward to returning to SE Alaska in 2014.
Look for our next adventure as we prepare for Peru and the Galapagos Islands this fall (not with Spirit!).