Leg 1:  Mission Harbour to Hotham Sound




Route  (see Chart)


June 30/06


Mission Harbour to Telegraph Harbour, Thetis Island

Sunny and hot, no wind.

Click on Pictures to Enlarge



The last dock for these ferries.



Smooth cruising water in the Fraser River. 2.5 knots to help slide us to the sea.



Helicopter bringing concrete in a bucket from across the river to crew maintaining base of navigation light near Westminster Quay.



Orcas in Georgia Strait off Sand Heads



Flat calm in the Strait of Georgia.  Perfect time for my “ ’swimmin’ sons” to take a dip with 700 feet of water underneath them. 


Dave with a perfect dive off the bridge into the Strait of Georgia.


Peter surrounded by Tanya and Toni through Porlier Pass.


The “Corona Cruises” Crew

Capt. Gord, Sondra,  Jordan,  Al and Cheryl

Our Canada Day long weekend cruising companions rendezvousing in Porlier Pass.



The Head of Telegraph Harbour



Returning from Shore Duty with Kona







Departed 1230. I made our traditional phone call from my school to inform the Captain my work was finished for the year and to start the engine - I would be on board in five minutes!  This year I had to leave a voice mail and when I got to our dock, the engine was indeed running and the Captain was making last minute moves for us to pull away from home port.  We said goodbye to our friends on the dock as they helped see us out of our slip.  I always get a bang out of saying, “See ya in September!”  Anniversary Cruise III had officially begun.  (Rick and I were married June 28th, 2003 so our summer cruises are our anniversary present.)


The weather was perfect – sunny with a light breeze and not a cloud in sight .  The river is always interesting as we cruise to the sea.  Traffic is minimal until you reach the Port Mann Bridge in Port Coquitlam, just after the spot where the Pitt River meets the Fraser.  Up until that point you may see the odd tug pulling a pile of logs or a barge.  The current helped us along as we maintained an average speed of ten knots all the way down.


We pulled into Captain’s Cove Marina in Ladner to pick up passengers for the weekend.  My sons, Peter and David, and their girlfriends, Toni and Tanya, climbed onboard the Sea Foam at 1700. We had the added benefit of homemade baked goods from Tanya’s mother’s kitchen.  We had enough squares, cinnamon buns, cookies and muffins onboard to open our own bakery and in a remote anchorage we could probably fetch a tidy sum for such sumptuous sweets! 


As we approached Sand Heads and the end of the river ride the guys spotted a pod of killer whales on the other side of the jetty.  What caught Peter’s eye was their breeching and flapping their tails the way many of us have seen them behave in the Vancouver Aquarium.  These orcas were certainly enjoying themselves.  They at times appeared to be standing on their heads, waving their tails back and forth while remaining stationary.  Perhaps they were celebrating with a dance of joy because of the belly full of salmon they just ate between the mouths of the North and South arms of the Fraser River. 


They were headed in our direction as we cleared the river and moved out into the Strait. We eased out into the sea a bit further and shut the engine off.  We heard them approaching with their characteristic “blow” from their breathing hole.  They swam toward us and flanked both sides of our boat.  A large bull whale pulled up the rear and kept a close watch on his girls and their babies.  We think we saw about twenty of them pass by.  A very thrilling way to start the summer off and our passengers were very excited.   We took several pictures of them but, as always, they are tricky to catch on camera not to mention you miss the show if your eye is glued to the viewfinder. Captain Rick, the photographer, managed to retrieve one good shot.


The Strait was flat calm and we pointed our bow to Porlier Pass, between Galiano and Valdes Island.   When we were about half way across Peter declared he was going swimming.  Both my sons love the water as much as we do.  It must be in their genes.  David still had the vision of passing killer whales clearly in his mind so he was initially apprehensive.  The Captain shut down the engine once again.  It would make for good conversation to tell someone you swam in the middle of the Strait of Georgia not long after watching a pod of killer whales pass your boat.  Folks would either be very intrigued or think you were a tall tale teller.  I’m sure Peter and David will be a bit of both after this weekend trip. 


Once Peter jumped in off the swim grid David had to follow, after all, the girls were watching!  They next progressed to the bridge deck and dove off the deck boxes.  I did not approve of this maneuver, fearful that one of them might slip on the wet fiberglass surface and land on the walk-around deck below.  I was overruled by the Captain and the crew and the swan dive competition began.


After several dives and photo shoot opportunities we continued on.  We were not in any great hurry.  The weather was gorgeous and we had some time to kill before meeting up with the crew of the MV Corona departing from the Delta Marina in Richmond.  The Captain of the Corona would be entering the ocean from the North Arm of the Fraser and was behind schedule.  He had to stop off at Point Grey to check his crab traps set earlier in the day. 


We agreed to meet up at Porlier Pass and cruise into Telegraph Harbour together through the Cut.  We had a rising tide so the narrow entrance to Telegraph would be navigable with at least five feet of water under us. 


We reached Porlier Pass with only about two knots of current against us as the water flooded out into the Strait.  The MV Corona appeared on scene and the light was right to take some good pictures of her as she powered up beside us. 


The crew of the MV Corona looked very sharp in their new uniforms.  Captain Gordy is very proud of his new vessel, a 41 foot Sea Ray.  He is fully equipped and ready to go with his “Corona Cruises” charter business.   If you have the good fortune of being onboard his vessel you will be treated to not only fine cuisine but live, onboard musical entertainment as well.


Once through the Cut, the MV Corona tied to dock and the MV Sea Foam took a mooring buoy.  Day One of Anniversary Cruise III had surely been a good indicator of great things to come.








Route (see Chart)


July 1/06


Telegraph Harbour to Hunter’s Beach, Thetis Island

Sunny and hot, no wind.



Click on Pictures to Enlarge





Thetis Island Sail Pass Water Balloon Fight – Corona under Attack




SV Breton joining in the Celebration


Watch out for incoming attackers with stern sling-shot shooting capabilities




Gord Gunold (Keyboard Gordy) singing and playing with Johnny Hanna at the Canada Day Hunter Beach Party



Explosives Expert



Toni, Dave and Peter at the Canada Day Party on Hunter’s Beach



There was much activity on the docks at Thetis Island Marina in preparation for the Canada Day Thetis Island Yacht Club Sail Pass today.  The plan was to muster at 1330, circumnavigate Kuper and Thetis Island and anchor off Hunter’s Beach on the west side of Thetis for the annual Canada Day party and dinner.  The Hunter’s have lived on the island for a generation and offer their acreage and camping grounds for this event.  They have a working farm and provide the turkeys for the party’s dinner menu.  Live entertainment was scheduled and the Captain of the MV Corona was to perform at the event as well.  Another local, Johnny Hannah, who toured with Brian Adams during his beginning years, was also on the list of performers.  


There was a farmers’ market under the barbeque area at Thetis Island Marina in the morning and the local First Nation carvers from Kuper Island were displaying there work.  A sun mask caught my eye and the carver, Richard Charlie Jr., told me that his mother says their people worship the sun because if it doesn’t rise you have no life. The carving is made of yellow cedar with a blood red stain coating.  He told me to spread neutral shoe polish over the face of it with a soft brush, let it dry and polish with a soft cloth to add a shiny finish. 


The sail past mustered at 1330 and the crew of the Corona provided us with a pack of balloons to fill for the upcoming water balloon battle.  This is a key feature of this sail pass event.  As we came away from the harbour and prepared to circumnavigate Thetis and Kuper Island going counter clockwise, we were bombarded with water balloons from all manner of boats from the sail pass.  Small skiffs, large sailboats and various sizes of motor yachts were in on the action.  Some smaller boats didn’t carry any of their own ammunition but used minnow nets to retrieve balloons from the water tossed off other boats that didn’t make their mark.  One boat with two women on board had constructed a large slingshot to aim and shoot from the stern of their small runabout.  We found out later at the beach party that the woman shooting the slingshot had a day job as an explosives expert!   


The weather was sunny and hot and the cruise around the island to the site of the annual Canada Day party at Hunter’s beach was great!  The best sail pass I’ve ever been in!  At Hunter’s beach we anchored up in the late afternoon and proceeded to shore to check out the bandstand and help the Corona crew take Captain Gordy’s keyboard and amplifier safely to shore.  We had a nap, dinner on board, and headed to the beach when the music started.  The weather was cooperating and the boats at anchor were all resting peacefully.  Many people were enjoying the hot day and an after dinner swim around their boats. 


The party was in full swing by 2000 and after much dancing and singing the crew of the Sea Foam and the Corona called it a night at 0300.  (Maybe it would be more accurate to say “called it a morning.”)






Route (see Chart)


July 2/06


Hunter Beach to Mark Bay, Newcastle Island (Nanaimo)

Sunny and hot.


Click on Pictures to Enlarge



Dave on the bow of the Sea Foam while coming into Nanaimo Harbour





Sondra  Cleaning the Anchor of the Corona on route to NanaimoJordan her son supervising.





Cocktails Served in Mark Bay, Nanaimo

Cheryl and Carol-Ann Daquiri  Experts



Sea Foam’s Kuper Island Sun Mask

The sun has definitely given life to everyone this weekend!


We all slept late and after breakfast slowly made our way to Mark Bay on Newcastle Island across from the Nanaimo Boat Basin.  We would be close to both BC Ferry Terminals to off-load our passengers for their return trip tomorrow morning.  Our passengers would take the ferry from Duke Point to Tsawwassen terminal and the MV Corona guests would depart from Departure Bay headed for Horseshoe Bay on the north shore of Vancouver. 


We weighed anchor and headed north for Nanaimo.  We reached the De Courcy Group and proceeded through Dodd Narrows at near slack. There is always a flurry of boats passing through this narrow opening at slack tide and many of the sailing vessels are tossed about in the current and wake of passing motor vessels and pushed toward the rocks.  Many boaters are fearful of this stretch of water and forget to be considerate of other vessels in their hurry to get through to safer water.  As we approached the narrows a small “cruise ship” was coming up behind us.  As we exited on the other side this vessel passed us at a respectful speed and we noticed it was Jimmy Patterson’s old boat, the Hotei. 


The anchorage in Mark Bay was very crowded and the camping area on the island was clustered with dome shaped tents.  We know from experience that if we meandered into the head of the bay we would find an opening to anchor where the water is still deep enough.  It was low tide when we pulled in so we knew this would be the lowest water we could expect for the duration of our stay. 


After anchoring we all looked for shade and relaxation inside the boat; some of us older folks even nodded off for a few minutes. After our rest we headed to shore to explore the trails on Newcastle Island.  We walked in the shade through the forest and along the shoreline trail to keep cool.  Kona was in her element and happy to run around and stretch her legs for a while. She was on chipmunk patrol and managed to scare one out from the underbrush and up a tree.  


We showed our crew the two very large red ant hills that are found along the trail. We also pointed out the information boards in this park that explain the history of the island and the quarry that was once here.  The San Francisco Mint is made of rock pillars quarried from this site. 


After our walk we had supper and the Corona crew came to the Sea Foam for after dinner cocktails.  The party then returned to the Corona and another night of music and festivities began.  This Canada Day weekend is exhausting me!






July 3/06


Mark Bay, Newcastle Island to Hotham Sound, Jervis Inlet

Sunny and hot.




Mark Bay Anchorage Looking Across to Nanaimo on Departure Morning



Shucking Oyster off the Sea Foam swim grid in Hotham Sound.   Oyster shells are thrown where they came from for re-generation.



Captains’ Meeting in the Pilot House of the Sea Foam






The weekend guests on the MV Corona and the MV Sea Foam reluctantly packed up their belongings in preparation for their departure this morning.  For them the journey was over and for us it had just begun.


We moved out of Mark Bay across to the Nanaimo Harbour Basin and tied up at the dock to off-load our passengers. We had made arrangements for a taxi to pick them up at the harbour office round-about at 930 for a 1015 ferry ride from Duke Point back across the Strait.  We said our goodbyes and they all wished us a safe and adventure filled Anniversary Cruise. Captain Rick took the Corona passengers in our tender, Catch-Up, to nearby Departure Bay headed for Horseshoe Bay.


We cleaned the boat up, and while we filled our water tanks we heard a voice saying, “There’s my boat!”  We looked up to see Doug Osbourne, the original owner of the Sea Foam, standing on the dock admiring his old boat.  We met him last year at this same time and location after finding out that he lived in Nanaimo and had captained the Sea Foam for four years before selling her to Chris Thoreen from Portland, Oregon. Today he was out and about doing his usual morning walking route through the harbour.  He was pleased to see his old boat looking so well and reminded us that his last voyage aboard the Sea Foam had been a trip to Ocean Falls.


Together with the Corona we cast off and headed across the Strait of Georgia once again bound for Agamemnon Channel and Hotham Sound.  The crossing was easy; sunny and restful.


We anchored in the bay directly west of the Harmony Islands.  There is a small indent in the bay where the water shallows enough to anchor with a stern tie and enjoy the view across the Sound.  The sun was behind the mountain as we motored in and a cool evening was welcomed after another cloudless sunny day.  Across the way Harmony Island anchorage was full but we had this anchorage all to ourselves.




Route  (see Chart)


July 4/06


Hotham Sound, Jervis Inlet

Sunny and hot.




Hot Day in Hotham Sound

- Water Invites Swimmers, Man and Beast -





Sondra and Carol-Ann Discussing Literature in the Bow Library of the Sea Foam



Dinner on the Sea Foam with the Corona crew in Hotham Sound


Captain Gordy and I left our respective mates sleeping and headed for the nearby clam and oysters bed at 0700.  Ironically, this was one of the only areas open for harvesting shell fish along the whole length of the beautiful B.C. coast line.  I’m guessing that the plankton doesn’t bloom in Hotham Sound because the water is too warm! 


The low tide wasn’t very low but we managed to gather our allotment of clams and oysters.  We returned to our mother ships and showed off the proceeds of our “hunt”.  We spent the rest of the morning doing boat chores and met up with our friends from the Corona in the late afternoon for a warm and leisurely swim around the boats.  Both Captains put on snorkels and masks and inspected the bottom of their hulls while they were in the water.  Kona went swimming too to cool off but it took several tosses of her favorite stick to encourage her to take her four legs off the rocky bottom and actually dog paddle out into the water over her head. 


When we returned to the Sea Foam there was a hummingbird flying frantically about trying to find an escape route through the many windows in the pilot house.  We gently trapped it in the Captain’s Tilley hat and after a short rest the tiny bird flew off to the forest.  Sondra said that when she sat out on a log last night there were several hummingbirds buzzing around.  We have a stained glass hummingbird hanging in one of the pilot house windows and we think that may have lured the tiny creature into our boat.  


We invited Captain Gordy and first mate, Sondra, to the Sea Foam for oyster appies, happy hour and seafood lasagna dinner.  They arrived with more crab for our galley and chilled white wine to complete our dinner menu.  Tomorrow morning they would leave us and head south to Pender Harbour while we continue our trek to points north. 


We talked over the day’s events, showed them the Canada Day Weekend slide show on our LCD screen and bid them goodnight at 2400.   




Back to top