Leg 6:  Port Hardy to Home Port - Mission









Port Hardy, Vancouver Island

Cloudy morning, sunny afternoon

Click on Pictures to Enlarge




Fishing Fleet Waiting

For the Call

In Port Hardy




When we woke up today we saw an available spot on the public dock next to the Quarterdeck Marina that we wanted to move into.  Yesterday, after we were securely tied to the dock with the herring seiners at the Packing Plant near the Esso station, we realized that there was power but not water! 


Still in my pajamas, I rousted the Captain and we cast off and headed the short distance across the water to the other dock.  No need to adjust fenders, easy swing into a spot at the end of a finger and mission accomplished.  Where is the water faucet??  Three hose lengths away as it turned out.  Oh well.  We met the fisherman beside us and his fishing partners in front of us.  They are here to fish for sockeye with their trawlers but the weather is too rough.  They had been fishing just outside Hardy Bay and were happy to be in, what for them, is much calmer water.  They are used to fishing off the west coast of Vancouver Island in swells that can be twelve feet high.


The one lady that I spoke to ahead of us used to live in Courtenay, had a high level administrative job and showed Irish Setters as a hobby.  When she turned fifty she and her partner decided to buy into a fishing enterprise and she hasn’t looked back.  She’s a fisher now! 


Not long after getting settled we were able to make out Anderson Cove on the radio.  It sounded like he and the rest of the fleet from Smith Sound were on a trek around Cape Caution this morning.  As they got closer we were able to make contact with Kimje who had spent one night with the gang in Smith on his return from Ocean Falls.  He would be coming into Port Hardy for fuel and asked us to investigate the area for the best price.  If you are buying large quantities, sometimes the fuel docks will quote you a lesser price than someone needing only a few hundred liters.  As it turned out, Kimje needed 1200 and Anderson Cove needed 1000 and Magistra needed 200 so they got a good price - $.96 including GST.


As they all made their way closer to Port Hardy we tried to make arrangements for moorage for them at the Quarterdeck Marina.  The public docks were full of fishing boats and many of those were rafted two and three deep as well.  We were lucky to grab the spot we did this morning. 


By the time they arrived we had Kimje on the Quarterdeck dock, Magistra rafted to us and Anderson Cove in a spot near the fuel dock but only after some juggling of smaller boats and a discussion with the harbour manager to ask permission to do so.  Once again, we would enjoy happy hour on the dock!  And if we were really lucky it would include Anderson Cove’s homemade smoked salmon!!


While my Captain did some boat maintenance (putting lock washers on the drive shaft flange bolts) I did the domestic part – the laundry.  I got chatting with another family doing the same.  We thought we had a horrible, terrible no good very bad day back in Takush Harbour when the compressor got it and the engine wouldn’t start!  That was nothing compared to their story.


These folks were in Port Hardy to have their boat hauled out of the water as they had to replace one of their propellers.  They hit a rock in Spider Islands when the wind blew them off course.  They also ran over a gill netter’s net and would have to pay, not only the damage to the nets, but the fisherman’s down time as well.  That might ring in a bill of about two thousand dollars. They also had their anchor foul up on an underway cable and needed to call in scuba divers to free them up and one of their dock lines got caught in their props and messed them all up again.  That was a two hundred dollar bill.  We should consider ourselves lucky we only have a compressor problem!!


By the time the laundry was done the incoming crew was ready for a trip to the grocery store.  I went along with Kay for the walk while Carol and Warren left a little later.  Rick and I had shopped yesterday and taken the shopping cart down to the docks to offload.  Today we discovered, thanks to our experienced new friends, that if you purchase over one hundred dollars from the Overwaitea at the mall, they provide your cab fare back to the docks.  Kay and I shopped around the store, while she went to the check out I ran to the nearby liquor store, or Mr. Bennett’s as my Grandfather used to call it, and restocked.  I ran back to the mall, found Kay waiting outside for me and we hopped into a cab.  By the time we returned home and put away our supplies it was time for Happy Hour aboard the Anderson Cove.  To my great delight there was a slab of smoked salmon with cream cheese and capers on the side waiting for my indulgence!!


After Happy Hour all nine of us made our way to Ivy’s Pub for dinner.  Halibut was on my mind and it was delicious.  We enjoyed the view looking out at all the fishing vessels and had another enjoyable night with the Grand Banks company.


We said our goodnights and headed off to our respective boats to retire.   











Port Hardy, Vancouver Island

Sunny and warm



Click on Pictures to Enlarge



Nature Walk Looking out to Queen Charlotte Straight From Hardy Bay



Quatse River Estuary Along Nature Trail



Quatse River Loop Trail

We woke up to a windy morning at the docks and most people were making the decision to stay in one more day, including us.  We stopped and talked on the dock with a Nordic Tug owner aboard the MV Sunday.  He was familiar with the Nordic Tugs we had seen in Spitfire Channel.  One of these boats, the Carousel, was moored in his marina as well.  He invited us aboard his vessel to show us his satellite TV receiver antennae and the quality of reception on his large flat screen TV.  He is retired and was waiting in Port Hardy for his wife to fly up to meet him for her two week holiday. 


We also had Dave, our fisherman neighbor across the finger from us, come over and ask Rick to help him with his computer.  Dave showed Rick his wireless computer receiving an internet “Fat Port Hot Spot”.  After looking at it, Rick is thinking that this is the way to go for next year.  You pay as you go, one day, or one week rather than by the month like Telus. 


We were going to go on a hike today.  The walking trail starts at the Quarterdeck Marina, through their boat yard and on down along the edge of Hardy Bay.  At the head of the bay you turn north and walk to the Quatse River estuary or you can take the Quatse River loop through the woods to the Quatse River Campgrounds and Salmon Hatchery.  It was a lovely walk and Kona needed to stretch her legs with more than a stroll around the docks getting dog biscuits from all her admirers. 


On our return, Happy Hour was aboard the Sea Foam.  We had all nine of us for lively conversation about the day and again we had supper in Babe’s Pub, down the road from the Quarterdeck.  There is fine dining on the ground level and upstairs in the pub section there are large windows that look out over the bay much like the view looking out of a large wheelhouse. It was very good and we will go back again. 





Route (Chart)


Aug. 16/06


Port Hardy, Vancouver Island to Beware Cove, Turnour Island, Broughton Archipelago

Cloudy Morning, Sunny afternoon and evening


Click on Pictures to Enlarge




Fishing Vessels Making Away

to Fishing Opening



Flat Calm Sea Heading South to Malcolm Island


Today the morning appeared less breezy and we were leaving Port Hardy.  Anderson Cove made away for Sointula before we even noticed.  Magistra untied from the raft with us and headed for the gas dock to top up fuel tanks before following Kimje and Anderson Cove to Sointula.  Magistra had hit a log on our trek out of Spider Islands to Bella Bella several weeks ago and wanted to haul out his boat to check for any surface damage.  Anderson Cove had plans to go out as well for minor repairs and bottom painting.


The trip down from Port Hardy was smooth water and very enjoyable.  The wind was on our stern and little of it at that.  Several fishing vessels were also taking advantage of the calmer seas and getting in position to fish. 


We said goodbye to our friends, Kimje, Anderson Cove, and Magistra as we passed Sointula.  Anderson Cove was already docked and out to pick huckleberries.  Kimje was on the dock ready and waiting to help Magistra tie up.


The rest of our trip past Alert Bay and Hansen Island continued to be flat calm.  We crossed over into Blackfish Sound and up into Baronet Passage.  At first we thought we would anchor in Potts Lagoon but decided to go into Beware Passage instead.  We have made our way through this rocky pass several times now and don’t feel as intimidated by it as we did the first time we went through it. 


We anchored in Beware Cove and set up a crab trap.  This is the same location where we lost a crab trap two years ago.  We dove for it three times because it was a brand new commercial stainless steel trap but we never did recover it.  We would keep a close watch on this one.


After supper Rick noticed that a boat had come into our anchorage and it was the same boat, MV Due West, which he had met in Takush Harbour when he was taking Kona to shore.  It was a boat out of Quadra Island.  They travel up to Smith Sound to fish, put their catch on ice and head on home again. 


Rick took Kona for her last shore visit of the night, returned her to the Sea Foam and went to visit Bill and Dave on the Due West.  Before too long Kona started barking and I thought it was because she heard the voices of the men talking on the stern deck.  When I went to tell her it was all okay it wasn’t the men she heard it was the threatening blue heron on the shore near us that she was warning me about.  It was a large heron and it was standing on the end of a log extending into the water.  You never know when a blue heron might attack a forty foot boat and Kona isn’t taking any chances!!  She is a good watch dog.


Rick returned to the boat soon after Kona’s outburst and we retired for the night.  A very calm evening although the holding in this anchorage wasn’t great.  We didn’t worry too much because it was very sheltered and little wind was expected over night.     




Route (Chart)




Beware Cove, Turnour Island to Port Neville

Sunny all the way

Click on Pictures to Enlarge



Two Foresters Climbing Up the Bank at Beward Cove



 Due West Picking Up Their Crab Traps

In Beware Cove


Several Boats Making  the Most of Slack Tide Through Chatham Channel Narrows



Mixing Business With Pleasure



View on Port Neville From Shore Looking  North to Head of the Bay



Public Dock at Port Neville



Fishing Vessel Heading Out Into Johnstone Straight from Port Neville




Boats at Dock At Port Neville

Nordic Tug on Left, Laurie Lea, Was Part of Takush Harbour Help

During Cummings Konk-Out.


Lorna, the Proprietor At Port Neville Museum


Artifacts From Long Ago in Museum

At Port Neville



CA Leaving Museum at Port Neville



Our  Painting of Ucluelet Lighthouse

“Amphritrite Point”



Cape Beal Coming In For the Night

Off Johnstone Straight

Into Port Neville



Kona’s Evening Walk

At Port Neville



I woke up early and started catching up on the log.  Since leaving Port Hardy I hadn’t recorded our comings and goings. I was too busy having fun.  After my first cup of coffee the boat began to rock gently and I looked out to see a small aluminum boat dropping off two people, a man and a woman, right on the steep shore adjacent to our boat.  They wore safety vests, hard hats and carried walking sticks.  They climbed out of the boat and starting climbing the steep bank.  I gathered that they worked for forestry or the company that had logged the area behind the thin stand of trees along the shore line.  They disappeared into the trees and the aluminum boat motored away.


Not long after that the Due West pulled up their anchor and their crap traps and drove close by to say farewell.  By now the Captain had been rousted from his bed by all the commotion and opened the pilot house doors to say goodbye.  The Due West reported that Johnstone Strait was flat calm.  We decided to take advantage of the good conditions and prepared to depart ourselves. 


Kona had a trip to shore, I made breakfast and Rick and Kona picked up the crab trap on their return.  There were fifteen crabs in the trap and four were kept.  The females and the smallest ones were returned to the bottom.  Salmon fish heads are definitely crabs favorite fare.  The eyes are always eaten out, too!  Yum, yum!


We started back down Beware Passage the way we had come in last night and then turned north into Clio Channel.  We approached the Blow Hole near Minstrel Island and the area of Chatham Channel.  We were lucky to have hit this narrow passage at near slack because we hadn’t really timed the trip – we just picked up and left and we were dealt a good hand.  This isn’t usually a good idea because these narrows can have currents that push or pull your boat along depending on when you transit them.  We got the best bang for our buck today and we didn’t do the planning! 


There were several boats of the same mind, making the transit during near slack tide.  We came out into Johnstone Strait and the sun was shining, the sea was flat and the scenery outstanding.  Tall mountains and sparkling seas.  The same tall mountains that are notorious for funneling winds through them at the blink of an eye and turning what might be a gorgeous cruise into a white knuckle ride until you can find an exit off and secure anchorage to hide out waiting for calmer winds.  As we motored along the tide changed and the wind and the water were going in opposite directions.  The wind wasn’t strong so it wasn’t a problem but we knew it was only a matter of time before the wind would do its usual increase in the afternoon so we decided to turn into Port Neville.  Neither of us have been in this port so the exploration began. 


We motored past the historical site of Port Neville.  The decendants of the original pioneer family are still at this site.  Lorna Hansen (Chesluk) and her daughter Erica Chesluk still live at the site today. We were told that Captain Vancouver named this spot in July, 1792.  In 1891 Hans Hansen settled there and started one of the first post offices on the coast in 1895 which is still operating.  Mail comes into Port Neville ever Wednesday. Olaf Hansen was next to run the post office and after his death in the late 1990’s his daughter, Lorna continued to run the place.  The docks are public and there is no fee charged to stay the night as they are part of Transport Canada’s jurisdiction.  


Hans Hansen built his second home in 1920 for his family and in 1924 a store was added in the front of the building which is now a museum and art gallery.  This store was in operation until 1960 and there was a gas station located there was well.  Family members have an additional home on the site where they stay when they come to visit Lorna.  Erica has just graduated and is now living and working on the mainland.  


In 2000 the building was re-roofed as it was slowly deteriorating and at risk of being lost all together.  The building has had repairs done to the floors as well and the potluck dinners and desserts are held in the large room at the back of the building overlooking the manicured lawns and fruit trees surrounding the site.


The local artist, Peggy Sowden, lives across the inlet and displays her work in the museum.  There is also a book exchange and gift souvenirs like tee shirts and water colour cards done by Peggy Sowden available to be purchased. 


If you are lucky the deer will be around and are so tame they will eat right out of your hand.  There are also bears, both black and grizzly, roaming around the place as well as cougars.  When we arrived Lorna told us there was a mother black bear and three cubs close by so keep a sharp look-out and your dogs on a leash. 


We anchored across from the public dock and took a walk with Kona along the rocky beach.  We were about to round the bend into the next bay when Rick spotted a large splotch of bear “scat”.  To me it was the size of a cow plop and about an hour old.  I was now uneasy as there are grizzlies and black bears in this area.  I walked as close to the water line as I could, not near the tree line and kept a close look out.  I was even more uncomfortable because the wind was coming at us and our scent would not be detected by a bear if they were ahead of us.  We only went a little further and turned back.  We were now down wind and that gave me some comfort.  We had been walking for an hour so we had a good bit of exercise and it was time to go explore the settlement at the dock.


We left Kona behind at the boat. As we approached the dock we were happy to run into Bob from the Laurie Lea, the Nordic Tug that had been part of the Cummings fuel line rescue team in Takush Harbour.   MV Mistoffolees, another Grand Banks, was also traveling with the Laurie Lea.


We had a good chat with Bob about our travels to date and then continued on up to the homestead.  We met the proprietor, Lorna Hansen.  She opened the museum and art gallery for us.  We walked through with the Captain and first mate of the Sea O2 (They own a Pepsi franchise in the US).  Peggy Sowden’s paintings were lovely.  Lorna said Peggy had just returned from a show in Comox where she sold eleven of her paintings.  I particularly liked one of a lighthouse titled “Amphitrite Point” picturing the lighthouse in Ucluelet on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  The lighthouse and fog signal guide mariners off the rocks and into Ucluelet Inlet through Carolina Passage.  The rocks in the painting looked almost real, as if when you touch them you would feel the texture of the rocks under your fingers. 


When we left the building I commented to Rick what a nice painting it was and he said he liked it too and thought we should buy it and have it in the Sea Foam.  The size of the frame was perfect for a spot we wanted to put a piece of art in.  SOLD!  We went back and spoke to Lorna about it and we measured the frame to make sure the dimensions would work. 


When we got back to the boat we determined the painting would fit perfectly where we had intended.  After supper Rick and Kona went back over to the museum to bring the painting home.  On route Rick stopped in and had a visit with John and Betty Fitzpatrick from the MV Sea O2.  They keep their boat in Anacortes but live in San Francisco.  


He left their boat and proceeded up the dock to the museum to purchase our painting. He didn’t know if he should disturb Lorna or not as she was entertaining a group of folks off a Lutheran Mission Boat that had come into the dock this afternoon.  They had enjoyed a pot luck meal together and were now having a praise and worship sing-along in the museum.  Rick decided to take Kona for a last walk along the beach and then re-entered the museum hoping to get Lorna’s attention without disturbing her festivities.  He kept me informed of his progress by walkie talkie.  As I looked out over the water there were now several boats that had come into the port for the night.  Seven more boats were at anchor all around us now. 


Earlier today when we decided to anchor, there were three fishing boats anchored beside us.  While we were on our walk it was like someone blew a whistle and they all left at once.  The three that were anchored and two that were tied to the dock all made off heading north on Johnstone Strait.  When we visited the museum earlier, a packer boat came to the empty spot on the dock and told us that there was a twenty four hour opening for sockeye that started at six o’clock so that was what had made everyone pull out when they did.


Rick returned with our new work of art all wrapped up in cardboard and plastic.  Mounting would have to wait for another day.  It was light outs and an early morning to meet Johnstone Strait tomorrow.   






Route (Chart)




Port Neville to Shoal Bay, East Thurlow Island

Morning Clouds

Click on Pictures to Enlarge




This Fisherman

Had A Rough Night As Well

On the Rocks at  York Island

 In Johnstone Strait



Calm Waters in Cordero Channel



Boats Anchored off the Dock

In Shoal Bay



View From Shoal Bay Public Dock

Northeast  Towards Dent Islands



Shoal Bay Public Dock

Looking Out From Pub



Shoal Bay View Up

Philips Arm



Shoal Bay Pub



Shoal Bay Public Dock



Boaters From Portland, Oregon

Who Trailer Their Boat and

Launch in Powell River


It was a windy night and CA slept little while the Captain snored on.  To compound the problem, fishing boats kept coming into Port Neville to sleep and their engines and spot lights were a constant disturbance as they jockeyed around for a spot to anchor in.


We needed to get away early before Johnstone Strait could get rolling.  Everyone else in the port had the same idea.  By the time we woke up, all of the fishing boats were gone; there were probably twenty of them in there during the night.  Bob from the Laurie Lea was just leaving along with his friend from the Mistoffolees.  They were heading for Desolation Sound and Walsh Cove Marine Park to look at pictographs on the rocks there.  The Sea O2 was bound for Blind Channel and dinner out at the marina there. 


We decided to make our destination Shoal Bay in Cordero Channel.  We had passed by it on our way north earlier and said we would visit there on our way back. 


We moved out into Johnstone Strait and even though the flood tide and the wind were going in the same direction the water was confused and a bit lumpy, probably still calming from the night before’s gales.  We were glad we only had to travel on it for about thirty minutes before turning in to Sunderland Channel and calmer water.  As we moved along we spotted a fishing boat grounded on the rocks at York Island just off Hardwicke Island.  One could only speculate how he ended up there.


The water in Sunderland Channel was calm and the scenery beautiful.  Many other boats were making their way up this roadway to transit the series of narrows and rapids in order to get to their next destination.  We would have to go through two sets of “rapids”, Whirlpool Rapids in Wellbore Channel and Greene Point Rapids in Cordero Channel.  The water was running in our direction and we would be pushed through both areas with an increased speed of about three to four knots.  The current was just beginning to get going so our timing was right for going through these rapids.  At maximum speed the current in these areas can be six to seven knots.  These areas are not as tumultuous as the Yucultas further along.  There the whirlpools in Big Bay can be six feet across and three feet deep. Three channels of water empty into Big Bay at the same time making the water wild.  They require much closer planning to make certain to go through only at slack water or run the risk of losing control of your boat.  The problem can be further complicated by large power boats that sometimes speed through the area, thinking that the faster they get through the better for their nerves I guess, sending huge wakes out for the rest of the slower vessels to contend with.  Sailboats particularly have trouble with these areas because their keels are further down in the water making maneuverability even more of a problem for them.


We arrived at Shoal Bay only to find the Laurie Lea and Mistoffolees anchored there waiting for the next system of rapids, the Yucultas, to be just right for their transit through them.  We  spoke to them briefly on the radio as they made ready to leave and we made ready to stay.  We circled around the bay and found that it quickly shallows at the head.  We saw an open space at the dock and decided to tie up rather than anchor. 


Once we were secure we took Kona to shore and visited with people on the veranda at the pub where the owner, Mark, serves cold beer and wine.  His little establishment was very pretty and the grounds and scenery lovely to look at.  The view up the bay across to Philips Arm is gorgeous.  We were told about the hike through the trees and up the hill to where there are abandoned gold mines.  The hike is steep but well worth the climb to eight hundred feet to look out over the surrounding mountains and inlets. 


Mark MacDonald bought the place several years ago when there was a big lodge there and not long after moving in there was an electrical fire and he lost the whole building.  He has since built the pub/house and is making improvements on another large house up on the hillside.  The old abandoned grocery store from years gone by is still hanging on by a thread before it is reclaimed by the wind and weather.  Many years ago this was a thriving community.  It was the site of one of the biggest mining towns and gold was extracted from several mines in and near the bay.  Some more imaginative folks say Shoal Bay also housed a thriving Chinese brothel. 


We sat in the sun on the porch and drank beer and chatted with a couple from Roseburg from the MV Popeye.  The Captain, Ron, was a retired fireman and he and his wife, Sue, trailer their small twenty four foot boat from Portland to Westview near Powell River and launch it there.  They are comfortable to travel in the inlets and sneak out into Johnstone Strait when the water is calm.  They have made seventeen trips up into Inside Passage, the last two years in their little boat and return every year to Shoal Bay.


After several cold beers on the patio, we returned to the Sea Foam for an afternoon nap.  While CA napped after her sleepless night in Port Neville, the Captain took Kona out exploring and conducted an advance search of the trail to the gold mine.  On his return we barbequed in the warm sunshine and chatted with the folks on the dock. 


Another couple and their seven year old son had arrived in their runabout.  They too were from Roseburg and trailer their boat to launch in Campbell River.  They have very small quarters and not much shelter from the rain but they love it and come every year.  They went fishing and returned with a nice salmon for their dinner. 


The dock was still lively and going strong with red wine flowing, the wind blowing, and sea stories getting more interesting, when we retired at 2200.  Tomorrow we would try fishing and hiking the gold mine trail.   




Route (Chart)




Shoal Bay to Thurston Marine Park, Sonora Island

Sunny and breezy

Click on Pictures to Enlarge



CA Picking Her Way Up  the Trail



Captain Rick on the Return Down the Trail



We Did It!



View of the Pub in Shoal Bay

From Across the Head of the Bay

At theTrail Head


View of Shoal Bay from Summit

Located Just Before the Gold Mine

At 800 Feet



We woke up to another beautiful day and after breakfast and shore duty we loaded up our fishing gear and headed for Hall Point at the northern tip of Sonora Island.  Rick had spoken to a man on the dock yesterday who said that’s where the fish were being caught.  During other years when we have passed by this spot there are always boats fishing there. 


We could see lots of fish on our finder but they were deep and not biting today – at least not for us.  We didn’t see anyone else catching anything either, so we packed it up and headed for the dock.  Our next adventure was the hike to the gold mine!


We packed up a picnic and some red wine and off we went past the pub and onto the trail.  I had heard a man say yesterday on his return from the hike that the trail was steep.  Rick assured me it was not bad at all and this fellow was elderly so for him it was a challenge.  Well, guess what, it started off just fine and got progressively steeper as we climbed.  I called for two “rest stops” to stretch my burning calves and wipe the sweat trickling down my back!  Once we got to the top it was all worth it.  The view was spectacular! 


We had passed two couples on our way up and not long after we finished our lunch they came up to the summit and admired the view along with us. We were up eight hundred feet and looking down on the bay and out to Philips Arm.  The water is so clear around this area you could see the wake of the boats passing by long after they had motored by.


Of course the climb down was much easier but you had to place your feet strategically or it was easy to slip on the loose gravel and rocks.  I hit the dirt twice but luckily landed on my ample padding.  No serious injuries.


Once back on the flats we made our way back to the Sea Foam and said our goodbyes to the folks on the dock.  We motored out of the bay and the Captain decided it was a perfect time to try an experiment.


He wanted to know if, under circumstances of difficulty, the Catch-Up could tow the Sea Foam from either side of the pilot house gates.  He rigged up the Catch-Up on the port side of the Sea Foam with a bow line and stern line attaching both boats.  He then fixed the throttle at a certain speed and the tiller held in position with rope.  He then ordered me to determine the steerage and speed of the Sea Foam while he was standing by in the Catch-Up. 


In conclusion, if the tiller is in a straight position the Sea Foam will not steer straight.  However, if the tiller is positioned full over to the stern of the Sea Foam the Sea Foam can be steered accurately from the helm.  The towing speed of four knots was reached.  Safety experiment concluded, all ropes and boats returned to their position and on we went down Cordero Channel. 


As we moved up to our cruising speed, we spied another Transpac Eagle 40 coming our way.  We had seen this boat in the distance as we passed Green Point Rapids.  It was tied to dock at Cordero Lodge.  The MV S.K.I. was from Portland, Oregon.  We went into neutral to see if he was going to come alongside but he kept on motoring by so we took a few photos and moved on down the road. 


We turned south at Nodales Channel and headed for Thurston Bay Marine Park.  We have been to this park three times in the past. We anchored the first time in Cameleon Harbour at Piddell Bay near the head and didn’t much like it there.  Next we went into Handfield Bay and it was lovely but shallow and not much room for many boats.  But our favorite spot is in the lagoon off of Thurston Bay itself.  The entrance is shallow and we only go in at high tide and even then the water is only about twelve feet deep at its shallowest.   Once inside it is a cozy place with room to swing depending on how many other boats are in there.  This is the second time we have gone in and we had a restful night.


I woke up at 0330 and the sky was full of stars and the breeze was only slight even though there were gales blowing nearby in Johnstone Strait.       




Route (Chart)




Thurston Marine Park, Sonora Island to Octopus Islands, Quadra Island


Click on Pictures to Enlarge



Commerical and Recreational Fishers

Off Howe Island Nodales Channel

On Route South to Octopus Islands


Tranquil Water of Octopus Island

Looking Out to Okisollo Pass from Octopus Islands


The Octopus Island Cabin Story



The Cabin

Where Boaters Can Leave Their Mark



Inside the Creative Work Was Impressive


Kona On the Look-out in Octopus Islands

Not long after breakfast Rick took Kona to shore and on his way back stopped and talked to some boaters nearby who were just returning from Alaska.  They said the weather was terrible there.   They determined that about eighty percent of the trip was in poor weather.  They were pleased to be back in the sunshine again. 


Not long after that we looked up to see Ron and Sue from the Popeye pulling in to the anchorage.  We went over in the Catch-Up and had a visit with them and talked about the origin of their boat and their seventeen cruises in the Inside Passage.  They were headed south also and wanted to be back home by September 1st.  They would stay a few days in Thurston and then on to Octopus and through Desolation Sound to their car and trailer waiting in Westview near Powell River.


We wanted to time our journey through Upper and Lower Rapids on route to the Octopus Islands on the east side of Quadra Island so we said our goodbyes and headed out.  The water in the narrow opening of the lagoon was high enough now for us to go through without incident and we headed down Nodales Channel, past Chatham Point and the beginning of Johnstone Strait.  Tons of fishermen and their boats were out between Harding Island and Howe Island along the cliff side.  It must be a hot spot and one to remember for next year! 


We were making good time with the current in our favor so we slowed down and meandered through Okisollo Channel at a leisurely pace to meet the rapids at near slack.  We got into the Octopus Islands and were happy to see that even though it was 1630 the anchorage was not jammed packed as it usually is and their was room for us to stern tie in the first bay to the right off the main passageway. 


Once we got anchored up we got the prawn traps out and set off for shore duty and prawn trapping.  We were on the look out for a cabin that Ron and Sue had told us about that had boaters’ names hanging from the walls and ceilings displayed in all sorts of interesting and artistic ways, much like the ones that hang in the porch at the cabin in Conover Cove, Wallace Island, in the Gulf Islands. 


We had rough directions and on our way back from setting the prawn traps we found the spot.  We wrote in the guest book and spent time looking at all the artistic representations and mobiles hanging from the ceilings and walls. 


We returned to the Sea Foam, had a barbeque, and went back out to check on our prawns.  We got about fifty of the little darlings, some of them large but most of the medium size variety.  Back down it went for an overnight stay.  The current runs smartly past the islands so we made sure to have weight in the traps and strategically place them inside the main channel so they wouldn’t get carried away by the current during the night. 


It was almost dark by the time we got back.  It is getting darker earlier now or so it seems.  Our plans for tomorrow are to hike from Waiatt Bay head through the forest to the other side at Small Inlet.  We might try to find the trail that leads from Small Inlet to Newton Lake.  The last time we walked in through this trail we saw signs talking about the way to the lake but never ventured further. 


We retired, read, and fell fast asleep.





(Chart)    (Map of Hiking Trail)


Aug. 21/06


Octopus Islands, Quadra Island

Sunny with a cool breeze

Click on Pictures to Enlarge




View on Small Inlet from the Trail



Rick and the Bleach Bottle

Marking the Entrance to the Trail

From Small Inlet Anchorage


The Old Wooden Signage


Trail Was Well Mark and Easy to Follow



Kona on High Squirrel Alert


CA at the Overflow Slough


The Hobbit Trail



Our First Glimpse of Newton Lake


A Cool Dip With the Preferred

Picnic Spot in the Background

On the Rocks



Captain ”Buff” at Newton Lake

I woke up early today and prepared a picnic lunch for our hike to Newton Lake.  I also wanted to make a mobile to hang in the cabin we visited yesterday.  I used a piece of driftwood that had small worm holes in it to hang my fishing line from.  I printed SEA FOAM in bubble letters, our names and the date and hung glass whales from the driftwood along the fishing line.  The whales were supposed to be hooked onto wine glasses to indicate which glass was yours at a party.  Oh well, this was a much better application.


Rick took Kona to shore, pulled up our prawn trap (40 little lovelies) and delivered the mobile to the cabin and hung it up with all the others.  On his return, we loaded up the picnic lunch into our pack back and away we headed for Waiatt Bay, just around the corner from our anchorage, where the trail begins.


Waiatt Bay is very large and has a depth of about thirty feet all the way through it.  At the head of the bay it shallows to about seventeen feet and then has sandy flats to the shore.


We were at the beginning of a rising tide so we undid the anchor from the Catch-Up and stretched it all the way into shore.  We waded into the water and wound the anchor around a rock. By the time we get back this afternoon, the water will be at the highest level and the boat will be waiting for us.


We have walked along this trail about three times and it is cool and easy going through the forest.  It leads to Small Inlet on the other side where you can also anchor coming in off Discovery Passage into Kanish Bay. (See hyperlink above for map of trail)


We walked past the head of Small Inlet and found the trail well marked not only on the ground but with orange surveyor tape on the tree branches as well.  Almost impossible to get lost.  We walked along with the shore line of Small Inlet to our right and another little trail that was leading down to the water caught our attention.  We followed it down and it was the entrance to the trail if you were anchored in Small Inlet.  It had a yellow bleach bottle hanging from a tree branch to indicate where to enter onto the trail.  When you first walk back up the trail from Small Inlet it is somewhat overgrown with low lying shrubs but it only lasts a short bit and then the main trail begins.  In other words, don’t let the first twenty feet mislead you, the trail is great!


We walked along and the trail reminded us of what it might be like to walk around in the Hobbits’ forest.  Very enjoyable.  At one place, after crossing the dried up stream bed, the trail got very steep.  It lasted for about ten minutes where I felt much like a billy goat, and then it flattened out again.  We walked along and saw ahead of us water on our right.  When we could see through the trees I was so disappointed.  It was a dried up slough!!  I came all the way up that @!#$@#& trail for this!!


We kept on walking and decided that it was the overflow from the lake and because of the season and the lack of rainfall it was near empty.  We were very happy to see, after walking along a little further, a beautiful lake coming up to greet us. 


There is a large rock face that we were heading to but noticed that it was already inhabited by three young people so we tucked into a shady spot off the trail and had lunch.


After lunch we shed our clothes and went in swimming.  The temperature was just like baby bear’s porridge, not too hot and not too cold but just right.  We were very impressed with how clear the water was.  We had a delightful swim around, dressed and headed back down the trail again.


As always, going back is always easier and faster than going up.  When we got back to the Catch-Up she was waiting for us.  We climbed back in and headed out to check our prawn traps.  Found about another thirty medium to large size prawns in the traps.  We baited it and put it back down again for pick-up tomorrow morning before departure.


We returned to the Sea Foam to find her nestled snuggly in the shade with only a few beams of sunlight shining on the upper bridge.  We mixed up a jug of strawberry daiquiris and sat up top and relaxed after a great hike.




After dinner we listened to good music and retired.  Another great day on the water – fresh and salt!





Route (Chart)


Aug. 22/06


Octopus Islands to Bold Island, Quadra Island  to Gorge Harbour, Cortes Island

Sunny with afternoon clouds

Click on Pictures to Enlarge



My Clam Digging Partner

And I At Bold Island



Provisioning in Gorge Harbour



Surf Scooter in Gorge Harbour Anchorage



We got organized: all traps in, dog to shore, breakfast made and headed off to Surge Narrows for slack at 1015.  Another beautiful sunny day on the water.  As we traveled down the east side of Quadra Island we were able to get cell phone reception again so we checked out e-mail and made some phone calls to friends and family.  All was still well in the world – well our small world anyway. 


We turned in at Bold Island to a beach there that two years ago was full of manilla and little neck clams as well as oysters galore.  We anchored Sea Foam and headed to the beach.  It was low tide and perfect for collecting.  What we didn’t expect was the clams were not as plentiful as they were two years ago.  At that time it took twenty minutes to collect a bucket full.  This time it took two hours!  Oysters were still plentiful but the clams seem much less and many shells were full of sand.  Maybe we just didn’t find the sweet spot.


We got back to the boat and motored off to Gorge Harbour on Cortes Island. The tricky bit of getting through at Shark’s spit is no trickier than some of the places we negotiated around further north.  It further confirms, for me, that if you’re familiar with an area and have experienced the circumstances at low and high water, it doesn’t bother you much to transit tricky waterways, no matter where they might be!


As we entered through the “gorge” we looked up on the rocks off our port side hoping to see the pictographs that are said to be found there.  We have looked before but never been able to find them.  This time, with little effort, we spotted them for the first time and took some pictures.  


Once past the narrow entrance we decided to anchor at the west end of the bay.  In the past we have found it too crowded by the docks and always gone to the east to anchor.  There aren’t many spots at that end that have a comfortable depth.


Once we anchored we headed off in the Catch-Up to buy some fresh fruit and veggies.  The hot summer was very apparent by the color of the grass and the drooping of the low shrubs along the path to the store.


We returned to the Sea Foam and relaxed for the rest of the evening.  Tomorrow we plan to go to Manson’s Landing in the Catch-Up and spend the day on the beach at Hague Lake.   






Aug. 23/06


Gorge Harbour To Hague Lake and Back to Gorge


Click on Pictures to Enlarge




Pictographs on the North Wall

Entering the Gorge



View From Manson’s Landing Dock

South to Vancouver Island



Manson’s Landing Provincial Park Map



Trail Along Manson Lagoon to Hague Lake



Trail Leading to Hague Lake



Hague Lake



Hague Lake “Guppy”



Let Me Show You the Way



Five Nymphs with the

Boys in Black Looking On




After breakfast and a quick shore leave we prepared our picnic lunch and beach apparel for the short ride and hike to Hague Lake.  Before we left we noticed the SV “Surf Scooter” leaving the anchorage and hailed them on our radio to say a quick hello and goodbye.  We had met this cruising couple two years ago at Echo Bay and they had told us to be certain to visit Billy Proctor’s museum.  After meeting Billy Proctor that year and later experiencing an anchorage he recommended we purchased both his books and found them very useful for information about and history of the beautiful Broughton Archipelago.


As we headed out through the narrow “gorge” entrance I kept a close look-out for the pictographs that are said to be found on the steep rock face.  We had looked carefully the last time we were here but hadn’t found them.  Today was our lucky day.  We had seen several on our trip north this year so maybe now we were more familiar with what to look for.  There clearly was a head with standing up hair and a human shape painted in a red rust color in the right angle corner made by a large gray rock on the west side of the gorge just about half way into the narrowing.


We traveled one and a half nautical miles in the Catch-Up and we were at the public dock at Manson’s Landing.  The dock is always full and small craft are tied and rafted together  there.  Several boats are also at anchor in Manson Bay.  It is quite an exposed area so I would only want to be there for the day, unless I was fortunate enough to have dock space on the inside which is very unlikely for a forty foot vessel. 


Manson’s Landing is a Provincial Marine Park and easily accessible by car.  The parking lot at the top of the wharf is busy with people just wanting to picnic there or unload kayaks and have a peaceful paddle around the area, perhaps a short paddle along the western shore line of Cortes to Shark Spit for a day on the beach or several days away to camp there. 


We walked along the short trail that leads past Manson Lagoon.  We were there at low tide and the water was very low.  It makes for great beach combing and the children love to hunt for sea creatures with small nets and buckets.  The hike along the trail is easy and not very far before you cross a road and walk down a path to a beautiful white sandy beach with crystal clear blue warm water.


Right close to the path most people set up their “camp” so they don’t have to carry all their lawn chairs, kids and toys very far before relaxing and soaking up the sun.  We like to walk farther to the north where there are small nooks and crannies you can claim as your own and have relative privacy.  A few people still walk past to get to the same seclusion but not very often.  Several young people passed by and said a quick hello and inquired about Kona on their way to find a spot to throw their towels and start swimming for the rock cliffs a short distance away where they could dive from the ledges.   


As soon as we were settled we headed into the water to cool off after our short hike and as Rick was kneeling in the soft sand, taking in the surroundings he felt something nibbling at his knee!  He looked down and saw a friendly little guppy that he then gently scooped up so I could take his picture. 


Kona went swimming too after a few encouraging throws of a stick to get her used to the idea.  We had a great afternoon of sunning, sipping and surveying all the comings and goings of the other locals and tourists enjoying this “Little Tahiti” location.


During our stay five little girls walked by and after each one petted Kona they moved away and down just a little further from us.  All five of the stripped their clothes off and headed into the water bound for the rock cliffs.  We watched from our vantage point on the beach as they reached the other side and climbed out.  It was like watching five little fairy nymphs all in a line as they climbed to the lowest reaches of the cliffs to dive in. 


But, alas, from high above the “boys in black” were also watching.  We had seen earlier about five fifteen year old guys head off for the cliffs, all wearing black shorts. They had been diving in and back up on the cliffs all afternoon.  It was interesting to watch the antics once the fairy nymphs arrived on scene.  First on the agenda for the boys in black was to come down from their lofty perch and select a diving platform that was not only better for fairy viewing but also a better vantage point to be suitably observed and admired for their diving expertise.  Oh, to be young again.  Great entertainment for two older farts on the beach for the afternoon!! 


After much fun in the sun we packed up our stuff and headed for the Catch-Up waiting back at the public dock.  We had a slow putt home and enjoy a barbeque and a quiet night onboard the Sea Foam after another fun filled day on the water.










Route (Chart)




Gorge harbour to St. Vincent Bay, Jervis Inlet

Sunny and breezy

Click on Pictures to Enlarge




Peaceful Anchorage in Jervis Inlet



Seal and Pup in Jervis Inlet Anchorage



Passing Boater in Jervis Inlet





We headed out of Gorge Harbour early and had breakfast while underway.  We planned to travel to Jervis Inlet today and be in position to either meet up with friends along the Sunshine Coast.  If they were delayed in arriving we would poke around in Jervis for several days while we waited for them to make their way up from Vancouver.


The weather was perfect and the sea was calm.  It is a long stretch of water from Cortes to Texada and the piece from Texada to Jervis in Malaspina Strait can be snarly if the winds and tides want to give you a run for your money.  The water coming out of Jervis Inlet can be at cross purpose to what the strait is doing making for a lumpy ride.  We had agreed that if it got uncomfortable we would go into Powell River and tie up.  We haven’t ever gone in to this spot overnight to explore so it would be an interesting option.  We had been into Westview last year for fuel but that was just a pit stop.  I had heard rumours of fantastic baking (blackberry cinnamon buns) and ice cream are to be found along that strip of the mainland. 


We arrived at the mouth of Jervis Inlet at about 1600 and quite predictably the wind had picked up but it was on our stern.  Many seasoned sail boaters were enjoying the free ride the wind was providing for them. 


We traveled up Jervis Inlet and decided to call it a day and anchored in St. Vincent Bay just south of Hotham Sound.  The water is deep all around here but if you can find a “blue” spot on your charts there are some depths to anchor in with a shore tie.  The spot we chose was lovely and a small group of mother seals and their pups popped their heads up and snorted at us as we invaded their nursery area. 


Once we were anchored and felt adequately secured we left the boat to go out in the Catch-Up and lay a prawn trap.  The scenery in the area is gorgeous with the mountains and green trees reflected in the clear water.   We chatted with a local workman from a nearby oyster farm out in his work boat.  He gave us some pointers on where the best prawn spots might be and admired our dog and our tender.  He was a very friendly fellow and very helpful too!


We had supper, relaxed and retired early after a long day of travel. 




Route (Chart)


Aug. 25/06


Jervis Inlet, to Madeira Park, Pender Harbour to Buccaneer Bay, South Thormanby Island.

Sunny with light winds

Click on Pictures to Enlarge




Oyster Farm Operation in Jervis Inlet



Oyster Floats



Looking West Across

Malaspina Strait

To Texada Island from

Agamemnon Channel



North Thormanby Island

As We Approach Buccaneer Bay



Sheltered Anchorage

Behind Surry Islets

In Buccaneer Bay



We were in radio contact this morning with Janet and Andrew Gunson, friends from our home port in Mission.  They had managed to get out for several days, just the two of them, and were enjoying a sail up the Sunshine Coast in their 50 foot SV Maiatla.  They had plans to anchor for the night in Buccaneer Bay in Thormanby Islands and we agreed to meet with them there later today.


After breakfast we weighed anchor and headed east across Jervis Inlet, between the top of Nelson Island and Captain Island and south into Agamemnon Channel.


We decided to pull into Pender Harbour to get some water and some groceries.  We called ahead to Madeira Park docks and were told they had room on the dock for us at the moment but could not take reservations.  We agreed to call in again as we got closer and make sure the same conditions still held.  As we neared the marina we had to wait for a float plane and a sail boat to leave the transient dock and by the time we motored into the area they had both left and it was all clear for us to tie up.  While I went shopping at the nearby market Rick washed the boat, filled the water tanks and off loaded our garbage.  We were ready for more cruising!


We arrived at Buccaneer Bay to find the Gunson’s anchored and enjoying a relaxing day in the sun.  We put together a beach bag and together with Andrew and Janet took the Catch-Up to the north end of North Thormanby Island and enjoyed a day by the sandy cliffs watching the boats go by from the beach.  We had a whole summer to catch up on and news from our home dock to be informed of. 


When we got back to the anchorage we were pleasantly surprised to find the MV Corona was there waiting for us to escort him to a good anchor spot.  Gordie had arrived to welcome us home. 


We had a pot luck supper of steak and prawns, barbequed chicken, ceasar salad and white or red win on the Sea Foam.  After dinner we were all invited to the Corona for special coffee drinks for dessert.  The wind picked up and the boats started bopping.  I returned to the Sea Foam escorted by Andrew and the Captain came later with the Catch-Up.  We all had a great time together and it made having to come home so much nicer.




Route (Chart)




Buccaneer Bay, Thormanby Island to Secret Cove

Sunny and windy

Click on Pictures to Enlarge




North Thormanby Island Beach Day



Eroding Cliffs on West Side

Of North Thormanby Island

We slept in later than usual but our evening last night was later than we had been used to all summer.  We puttered around on the boat until early afternoon and the crew from the Maiatla and the Corona came with us in the Catch-Up for another day on the beautiful beaches here.  This time we went to the western side of North Thormanby Island to enjoy the sandy beach there.  The beach at Buccaneer gets very busy with boaters coming by water taxi from Secret Cove or their own runabouts.  Many people also have cabins on the islands so it can begin to look like a beach in Vancouver.  We always like to look for the more secluded areas and we had found just that place today.


The tide was out and would be rising all day so as the water came up the beach, so did the Catch-Up.


We all brought goodies in our picnic baskets so we spent the day nibbling on appies and treats and sipping on cool beverages.  When the tide came up to meet us we knew it was time to go back to the mother ships. 


Because last night had been quite rocky in Buccaneer Bay we all decided to move over to Secret Cove and enjoy a peaceful night with no rocking.  It took about ten minutes to cross over from Thormanby to Secret Cove.  Once we were inside the cove it was apparent that other people had the same idea.  The anchorage was quite crowded so we decided to drop anchor with a stern tie off the northwest side of the anchorage across from the store and gas dock.  Gordy did the same with the Corona and Andrew anchored on the east side of the entrance with the Maiatla because he didn’t want to bother with a stern tie. 


We were all invited onboard the Corona for supper and all we had to do was come and enjoy!  Everything was provided for us including a private concert after dessert with Gordie playing his keyboard in his saloon. 


When the boat next to us shone his spotlight into the windows at 2400, we decided it was time to shut down the party and call it another wonderful day on the water.




(Chart)  Hike at Smuggler Cove Marine Park




Secret Cove


Click on Pictures to Enlarge




Secret Cove Log Salvage Man



All Logs In Line

And Ready to Move Out

Of Secret Cove



Entrance to Smuggler Cove



Tight Areas and Rocks

A “Watch Your Chart” Area



Large Area Just Inside the Entrance

Good Depths and a Stern Tie





We were up early again today in time to see a log salvage boat and Captain collect his logs from behind us and after securing them all together very artfully collecting them and towing them out and away from Secret Cove.


Today the Maiatla and the Corona were going to depart and head to the Gulf Islands.  We were going to wait here another day for our friends to arrive in their new 42’ North Pacific Pilot House the MV XXIV VII.  Their boat had arrived in Vancouver on August 8th and after commissioning was ready for a cruise up the Sunshine coast to show off her capabilities.


While we waited we decided to take a kayak trip over to Smuggler Cove Marine Park.  I had wanted to anchor over there but Rick decided it was better to stay where we were where we had shade and a comfortable anchorage.  He recalls Smuggler being a tiny anchor with tight quarters and shallow depths.  It has been very hot the last few days and that could make sitting in the sun very draining. 


We packed up a picnic and headed over by kayak.  The weather was sunny and hot and it was nice to be so close to the water to keep cool.


We buzzed around the whole area of the anchorage to see the spots that might be on interest for us on another visit.  Several people were anchored there and by the time we left later that day the place was very crowded. 


We climbed out of our kayaks and headed off on the trail around the park.  We met some people that had also been kayaking in the area.  They had driven over in their car and after kayaking along the coast line north of Secret Cove wanted to see if landing  their kayaks from the parking lot in Smuggler’s park would be another option for the next time they came.  We walked and talked with them all around trail and we found out that the man’s mother lived in Mission and he had grown up here.  We knew some of the same people and we agreed to meet again if ever they were in Mission visiting.  The man belonged to a fishing group and told us that he recalls fishing in this area off of Bjerre Shoals half way between Pender Harbour and Secret Cove.  The fishing was good there he said and I knew where this location was because I had plotted our course right over top of it when we came from Pender to Secret Cove.  We were in really deep water and then I said to Rick, “Don’t be alarmed when we are suddenly in twenty feet of water way out here because we are going over a shoal.”  I’ll have to remember that fishing tip for next year!


We headed back to the Sea Foam in our kayaks, relaxed awhile, had dinner and retired.  Tomorrow would be a celebration day with the XXIV VII arriving on scene. 








Secret Cove


Click on Pictures to Enlarge




XXIV VII Arrives in Secret Cove



XXIV VII Taking On Fuel

Before Departing Secret Cove

Restaurant, Store,  Beer and Wine, Water

Also Available



We spent the day cleaning up the boat and making a meal for the celebration dinner for the arrival of the XXIV VII.  We were in radio contact with them as they approached Merry Island near Half Moon Bay along the Sunshine Coast.  We took the Catch-Up out into Welcome Passage when we thought they would be soon coming into view.  The water was lumpy there so we moved back into the protecting of the area around the entrance to Smuggler Cove and Secret Cove to wait for them to arrive.  We had our video camera ready to document the big event as well as our still camera.  We maintained radio contact with them from the Catch-Up’s radio and were ready to shot as they came around the corner at Grant Island.  


I drove the tender while Rick got the video coverage.  The new boat was a beauty and many heads were turning as she turned into Secret Cove to anchor.  We took lots of pictures as they organized themselves to anchor their vessel for the very first time. 


Once they were comfortable and secure we boarded the vessel and had a tour.  April had done a magnificent job of decorating the boat.  The upholstery, the rugs, and the master stateroom all matched and the boat looked elegant.


We had happy hour on the fly bridge and talked non stop about the event of the summer.


We had a celebration dinner on the XXIV IV and enjoyed good food, good company and good wine.


We planned to go again to the beautiful beaches at Thormanby Island tomorrow, weather permitting!


Another day in paradise!  




Route (Chart)




Secret Cove to Gibsons Harbour Marina


Click on Pictures to Enlarge




Mark and April  On XXIV VII

Off Our Starboard Beam

Traveling to Gibsons



We woke up to a cloudy and windy day and decided that it wasn’t going to be a good beach day.  We went to the fuel dock and put in a bit of diesel.  The prices here were high and we had a report from the Corona that the fuel at home was cheaper so we put only enough in to take any threat of running out away.


After fueling up and walking the dogs, Kona and the Yorkies from the XXIV VII, we decided to head down to Gibson’s Landing further down the coast.  It would be about a two hour cruise and we could take pictures of the XXVI VII underway as we motored along side by side. 


The trip was pleasant and the day wasn’t bad either.  Sunny with cloudy periods but still nice.  As we approached Gibsons we called in to the public dock to see if they had space for us and they were able to accommodate us.


Once we tied up we went to the front of the dock where we wanted to meet with our friend Tony, who is now operating a water taxi service and tour boat from the Gibson’s area.  His little tour boat is called the Crystal and the boat he lives on two fingers over is called Ocean’s Mine.  He used to live and work in the Richmond, B.C. area and one day decided to sell his condo, quit his job and move to Gibsons instead.  When we met up with him he looked great and was loving his new lifestyle. 


We took the dogs walking along the shoreline trail, bought a few apples and bananas near Molly’s Reach and enjoyed another delicious meal on the XXIV VII. 


Tomorrow the plan was for the XXVI VII to make away for the Gulf Islands and a North Pacific Rendezvous in Victoria in the next few days.  We were headed for the north arm of the Fraser River and the home stretch.





Route (Chart)




Gibson Harbour Marina to Delta River Inn, Fraser River

Sunny and windy

Click on Pictures to Enlarge




The Working River

Almost Home Now

We said our goodbyes after breakfast to Mark and April as they departed for Wallace Island, Gulf Islands, through Porlier Pass.  We took Kona to shore and got ready to head back out to sea.  Mark and April called by radio to say the sea was about four feet and building.  They were having several waves come over their bow and they were getting a good chance to see what their new vessel could do in rough water. 


We determined that if we left, and based on the different course we would be taking, the waves would be on our stern and we would not have too bad a ride.


We headed out and the area just outside Gibsons, Shoal Channel, between the mainland and Keats had many whitecaps.  The water is shallow there and the waves coming in were steep and right on our bow.  We had to go out into Barfleur Passage further than we wanted to before we could turn away from the waves and have them on our stern starboard quarter.  They wind was coming from the west and some of the waves were approaching six feet high.  I considered turning back but the Captain said it would only be for a short time and then we would be okay.


We were able to change course and head to the river mouth as soon as we came out past the small islands between Keats and Bowen Island.  We now had the waves behind us and it was a much more comfortable ride.  We switched on autopilot and I sat down on the pilot house bench to relax.  With autopilot on the boat steers itself and it is not nearly as stressful and tiring when you don’t have to turn and negotiate the waves yourself.  The autopilot can correct and keep course much quicker and easier than we can. 


Rick told me that when the waves on coming on your bow it is a smoother ride to slow down and not bang into them.  But, when the waves are on your stern, it is better to speed up and have better control of the boat and surf the waves along.  We were traveling comfortably at between nine and ten knots with the waves hurrying us along.


We reached the river and it is always a bitter sweet feeling coming into the river.  The ocean is being left behind for many months now and the river and its fresh water is there to receive us with calm and stress free conditions.  The tide was in our favor and we easily cruised up the river to the middle arm where we stopped to fuel up at the commercial dock under the Arthur Lang Bridge. 


It was a real shock to my senses to be again in a busy environment with cars and trucks going overhead and worse yet, huge jet planes screaming by as they were either landing or taking off from the Vancouver Airport nearby.


We finished fueling up, turned into the Middle Arm and headed for Rick’s old home grounds at Richmond Marina.  They did not have any dock space for us overnight so we anchored across from the Skyline Marina.


My son Peter and his girlfriend Tanya came to meet us.  We all had dinner at the Delta River Marina on board the Corona and again had much chatter and cheer after two months away from home.  Gordie needed to be up early for work and Peter and Tanya the same so we said our thank you’s and good nights and retired.  Tomorrow we would be heading for the Gill Netter Pub/Marina where the Pitt River meets the Fraser just up river from the Port Mann Bridge in Coquitlam.






Route (Chart)




Delta River Inn, Marina, Richmond to Home Port, Mission

Sunny and windy

Click on Pictures to Enlarge






Ship Repairs or Construction?



And the Ship Sinks Slowly in the West



Helicopter Headed

for Pitt Meadows Airfield



Ceremonial Kissing of the Dock

After Another Safe Return to Home Port

And Fabulous Anniversary Cruise #3

We got up early and wanted to wash the salt off the boat after our heavy sea adventure yesterday.  We pulled into a vacant slip at the Delta River Inn Marina and gave the boat a wash down.  We continued on our way up the river and made e-mail contact with some friends about meeting with them tomorrow for the last leg of the river ride home on the Sea Foam.


Several days ago I had queried two magazines about the possibility of covering the North Pacific Rendezvous in Victoria as a story for their magazine.  The owner of the company, Trevor Brice, started the business two years ago when he was twenty three years old and now at twenty five had new ten yachts congregating for their first annual rendezvous in Victoria.


As we traveled along both magazines had sent e-mail saying they were interested in the story and would like to run it in their magazine.  I called Trevor and told him and he offered to take us to Victoria with him in his small sea plane.  That meant a change of plans.  The day was perfect for continuing all the way up the river without stopping and the current was in our favor.  It would mean canceling our plans with friends for a river cruise tomorrow but they would understand.


We made the arrangements and called Mark and April to see if they would have us for the weekend on their boat in Victoria.  Mark said if I bought him a bottle of single malt scotch we could stay.  We were on our way to Victoria tomorrow morning!


We made arrangements for Kona to stay with my son as we traveled up the river.  He would meet us at our home dock, have dinner with us, catch up on the summer news and take Kona home with him for the night.


We packed our things as we motored up the river and by the time we arrived home we were ready to take off the next day for Victoria. 


We arrived at the Mission Railroad Bridge at 1600 and our slip was waiting for us.  We were greeted by the two new harbour masters, Bick and Dave and they helped us tie up.


Rick did his ceremonial kissing of the dock as a symbol of our thankful return, safe and sound once again, after another fabulous and unprecedented Anniversary Cruise No. 3 aboard the Sea Foam.  


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