This was correspondence from August, 2007 that got buried. It contains some good information.
I want to sincerely thank you for your 2007 web site cruise reports. The human interest part that you add to each week’s entry makes it that much more special. I will expand my cruising horizons to visit those places.
For the last 4 years, I have towed my Camano 31 up to Bellingham from Los Angeles for a summer cruise. I have my own truck and trailer, and I always ramp launch the Camano. My 3-week cruise this last July took me from Bellingham to Princess Louisa, down the Gulf Islands to Brentwood Bay, then across to the San Juans and back to Bellingham. I want to go farther north next year. What do you think of using Pender Harbour or another B.C. harbor as a staging point? Is there a suitable ramp there? Is crossing the border towing a boat any different than sailing across? I have overwidth permits in the U.S. Is the road north to Pender Harbor suitable for an overwidth tow?
I hope these are not too many questions, but I find by doing my homework early I save a lot of grief come vacation time. And the advance planning just lengthens the enjoyment of the experience. BTW, a current issue of the Waggoner Guide has been with me on each trip. There is always something new that directly improves my trip. The Thai Sisters Restaurant in East Sound that you highlighted this year served me the best Thai meal I have ever had. Nothing has ever come close. Keep up the great work.
Good morning, Michael,
Wow, towing all the way from Los Angeles to the Northwest, just to use your boat. I’m impressed.
Thanks for your comments on the cruise reports. This was our first year with Wi-Fi on the boat, thus our first year of filing such reports. They’re a different kind of writing from the Waggoner, and I wasn’t sure what to say or how to say it. The feedback so far, however, suggests that the reports were well received. With so much happening every day, it was hard to keep the reports to a manageable length. I’d get going and the words would add up and at some point I’d have to say, whoa!
In answer to your questions:
B.C. launch sites.I think Pender Harbour would work well. The Madeira Park launch ramp is in good shape, and you could buy all your groceries and spirits in Madeira Park before setting off. Call Diana Pryde at the Harbour Authority docks to inquire about parking for the truck and trailer. They have a big lot, and there’s considerable space nearby. The number is (604)883-2234. Over on the Garden Bay side, the Garden Bay Hotel Marina (604)883-2674 has a launch ramp, as does Fisherman’s Resort and Marina (604)883-2336. You would want to check first to confirm that they could handle your boat, and use those ramps on a high tide. Especially with a larger, heavier boat such as the Camano, it would be a good idea to wait for high tide on all launch ramps.
Closer to Desolation Sound, Lund has a very good launch ramp (because of shallows off the end of the ramp, definitely at high tide), and secure storage is available for the truck and trailer. Call Dave’s Parking (604)483-3667 or Lund Auto and Outboard, (604)483-4612. Jack’s Boatyard also has a ramp and storage in Lund. Call (604)483-3566.
Crossing the border. People tow RVs and boats across all the time. Shouldn’t be a problem.
From these more northern launch points you could poke around Desolation Sound, or go up to the Broughtons on your three-week cruise. Whatever your decision, you wouldn’t go wrong.
Later . . .
I forgot to address your question about overwidth tows. The road from Gibsons, at the north edge of Howe Sound, to Pender Harbour and Lund is winding and mostly 2-lane, but as far as I know it has no restrictions. Big loads go up and back daily. I have to confess ignorance about overwidth permits, though.
The ferry from Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver) to Langdale (Gibsons) is another matter. Contact BC Ferries (www.bcferries.com) to arrange for boarding. It’s a big ship with ample room, but you’ll pay extra and be routed to a designated lane, along with the RVs, buses and 18-wheelers.
If you decide to launch at Lund, you’ll take a second ferry from Earls Cove across Jervis Inlet to Saltery Bay. That ferry is smaller, but still has plenty of room. The sailing schedules should allow you to get from Langdale to Earls Cove to make connections, although with your tow you probably wouldn’t want to stop along the way.
Thank you for your quick responses. After Labor Day, I’ll start to plan next year’s trip. Your information gives me a good starting point. BTW, feel free to use any of our correspondence on-line.