Desolation Sound Sailing Trip – Log 2

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15 June 2013

floatplaneWe wake at 7:30am – and I rush around doing housekeeping, stowing everything in its place. We sit sipping our morning tea in the cockpit flooded by warm sunshine. A floatplane lands outside the breakwater and taxies into the harbour tying to the jetty and drops off some passengers. I send a few emails and attach some photos just to keep everyone abreast of our trip. Gord and his friend Rex motor in to the fuel-dock and walk over to chat. They come aboard ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ as they look approvingly at the space below deck. Then as quickly as they came, they depart, saying that they are going over the bay to Chemainus to buy supplies.

Thetis Pub & GrillThetis Island is north of Penelakut Island (which used to be known as Kuper Island) and west of the end of Galliano Island. It lies across Stuart Channel from the quaint town of Chemainus on Vancouver Island (Chemainus -also known as the town of Murals because of the paintings adorning the many walls of its buildings, each wall depicting a different aspect of this once busy logging town’s history).

A big Rendezvous of Beneteau boats is taking place at the Thetis Island Marina and Gord is providing live entertain, on the dock, for the boaters. Telegraph Harbour Marina is at the back end of Telegraph Bay – we have heard that they have great facilities which includes a convenience store, the Bistro which serves light meals, coffees and baked goodies, an old fashioned soda fountain where you can still indulge in guilt laden hard ice-cream floats, and a great picnic area with lawns for kids and adults to enjoy.

North Bay - Private Jetty10:10am – We motor away from the marina and our new found acquaintances. It is really warm and I peel off my sweater. We head towards Hudson Island and encounter a slight head wind with the current against us. This is a day for exploring the western coastline and northern tip of Thetis Island checking all possible anchorages for future trips.

11:15am – North Cove which indents the north end of Thetis Island is so pretty – This is not a good anchorage in a Northerly wind, but gives great protect from the Southerlies. A good breakwater protects a private dock and boat-house at Fraser Point which is at the entrance to North Cove. Many exposed and covered rocks dot this bay so caution must be taken when anchoring. The eastern bay extends as a narrow channel deep into the island but becomes shallow quickly and does not offer an anchorage.

12:00pm – Heading towards Tree Island so named because of the 4 trees in the center of this tiny outcrop. One house sits perched on the only hill. We pass it to port and head towards Pylades Island. The sea is like a mirror broken only by the ripples caused by seals popping up inquisitively to watch us pass.
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Tree Island, BC Southern GulfIt is a perfect summer day and we are filled with euphoria repeatedly commenting on how blessed we feel to live in this beautiful place. It is everything and more than we ever dreamed and only lacks one vital component to make it flawless – warm water! We do so love to swim, snorkel and dive!

1:00pm – I serve a plate of cut fruit – melon, bananas, pears and raspberries, to stave off the hunger pangs. We motor gracefully through Whaleboat Passage and pass quite a few boats stern-tied along the shore. It is a narrow passage about 80mt wide and could be tricky under sail if the tide and current are against you. We are heading north and had planned to find an anchorage somewhere south of Dodd narrows, but since we are going so well and enjoying ourselves immensely we change our plans and move towards the narrows.

Dodd Narrows going NorthDodd Narrows has tidal currents up to 9 knots as the water swirls and gushes through the passage, flanked by ancient sculpted rock cliffs, changing direction with each tide. It is recommended that boats transit at slack water; the hour either side of the predicted tide change. rock formations1We enter the narrows at 2:30pm (not yet slack water which is at 3:00pm). We encounter a 1.5 knot current against us as well as a strong northerly (head) wind.

A yacht has entered about 30 minutes ahead of us and we watch as he makes steady progress through the dogleg passage. That is enough motivation for my captain who keeps to the eastern edge of Dodd to pick up any counter-current that might be running through. We maintain that position until we reach the dogleg moving over into the middle of the passage to take the shortest route. A family of sun-worshippers line the cliff top at the exit point waving encouragingly as we pass.

Yacht karibu in the Nanaimo HarbourAll in all it was fairly uneventful, which I suppose is a good thing. We exit the narrows at 3:00pm and instantly spot the large city of Nanaimo to port across the bay. We watch all manner of watercraft ply the waters, container ships, ferries, hovercraft, tugs herding giant flocks of logs, fishing and pleasure boats zooting from one side of the bay to the other. Karibu joins the activity and increasingly closes the gap as the commercial wharf comes into view.

Floating restaurant in Nanaimo HarbourAt 3:45pm we are safely tied to the fuel doc where we top up and request permission to moor on the dock dedicated to transient boats. At $45 per night which includes use of hot showers, access to all the amazing waterfront shops and restaurants as well as internet and shore power we gladly tie up. A relaxing evening stroll, to Thrifty Foods to buy honey for our breakfast yoghurt, and into downtown Nanaimo then along the foreshore where we buy (not so tasty) greasy fish and chips, has us sufficiently exhausted to sleep soundly – oblivious to the noise of the city.

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