July 6—Crossing Dixon Entrance. We formed up with Mike and Lynette’s boat, Black Pearl, a 50’ Skookum, in Tongass Narrows for our 3:30 a.m. departure. An early departure gives the best opportunity for light winds during the open water crossing. The strategy paid off with a flat water crossing. In Prince Rupert we cleared Canadian Customs using the phone on the lightering dock. I topped off my fuel tanks and was glad I did. My full tanks ended up taking me to Shearwater with a lot of side excursions for Waggoner updates and new features.
Black Pearl crossing Dixon Entrance.
We wanted to push beyond Prince Rupert and ended the night with dinner in Lawson Harbour, an anchorage two hours beyond.
July 7—The morning started with banging on the cabin. We had agreed to leave at 6:00 a.m. but my alarm did not sound. Sea Raven was rafted to Black Pearl and they were not going to side tow us to the next destination. We were actually parting at this point, heading for different destinations. They would head to Ocean Falls and I was headed to several hot springs and the west side of Princess Royal Island.
In Grenville Channel, a “rock bear” turned out to be the real thing. We pulled up to the bank and watched about for about 20 minutes as the bear rummaged through the rocks right next to the water. We checked another box on Sandra’s trip wish list.
The day ended at Weewanie Hot Springs with a soak. There were no other boats in the cove. Once in the hot springs when we heard a noise and a booming voice said, “I am not a bear…”. A couple came around the corner. They had kayaked down to a nearby cove and followed a rough trail to the hot springs. That night we dined on salmon and enjoyed a beautiful view.
July 8—We left Weewanie Cove early to sample the next hot spring on Gardner Canal, Europa Hot Springs. This one tops all, with beautiful stone work under cover and a view of the cove below. Getting to Europa Hot Springs requires a long side trip, but it is a good anchorage and I could see staying for a day or two, with multiple visits to the hot springs. Unfortunately, we had many miles to go that day.
I elected to go back and top off the fuel in Hartley Bay. When we got there the fuel dock was closed (at 3:30 p.m.) for the incoming native canoe journey. I calculated our fuel and determined that we could make it to Shearwater, but exploring Laredo Inlet would have to wait.
We worked our way around Gill Island to Barnard Harbour. There used to be three fishing lodges there, but when we visited only one remained. We talked to their manager who told us they would be moving the entire 40 guest resort on two large barges the next week to St. John Harbour, further south. They did not intend to come back to Barnard Harbour due to higher costs of operation.
Barnard Harbour will not have any fishing lodges in the future. It is a beautiful anchorage.
We ended the day with a beautiful sunset and fresh crab cakes while tied to an abandoned dock in the back of the harbor near the waterfall.
July 9—An early morning departure had us out in Laredo Inlet and past the open ocean crossing below Campania Island. Surf Inlet and Evinrude Inlet beckoned, but we were short on time and fuel.
We did explore Kent Inlet. The narrows are very narrow and we approached near slack. The back cove was interesting and is a suitable anchorage, marred only by a number of diseased trees in the area. It appears there is something infecting the trees of Princess Royal Island.
We continued on and saw splashing in the distance. As we approached we found a mama humpback and her calf, apparently in training. We watched tail slapping by mom and then her calf. Then, fluke slapping and breaching by both. What a show.
We continued through Meyers Passage. We stopped to stretch our legs in the tribal village of Klemtu. The provincial dock was full and we anchored in the cove. The locals were kind enough to let us know that although we anchored in 35’, it might dry if we stayed overnight. Good to know. Our plans were to stretch our cruising day and make it to Oliver Cove Marine Park, on the north end of Reid Passage. We arrived at 9:00 p.m. after passing through Perceval Narrows with some current. Dinner was a little late that night and we enjoyed a blazing sunset.
July 10—Bound for Shearwater, today was the home stretch for Sandra. Tomorrow, she would fly out of Bella Bella. For some reason last year I went right by Discovery Cove on Troupe Passage. All of the guidebooks rave about this anchorage and I am not sure how I missed it last year.
Today we had bright sunny skies. The anchorage is indeed special. It is on my list for a future overnight stop. We headed back to Shearwater. The evening was spent with two of the crews from our flotilla 1 telling us about their trips after the group split. They were on their way back to Anacortes.
July 11—I was able to get all my business done in Shearwater and decided to take Sandra to Bella Bella on my boat. Bella Bella works very well for crew to fly in and fly out. Pacific Coastal Airlines has service direct to Vancouver. Sandra could then connect to Portland. She went from a tribal village with a one room “terminal” at the airport to the hustle and bustle of Vancouver Airport and then Portland in a matter of hours.
I explored Bella Bella. The Waglisla store burned down last August and the new store is almost finished and will be open this fall. The temporary store in the community center is better than I expected. The people of Bella Bella are extremely friendly and were getting ready to greet between 3,000-5,000 guests for the Great Canoe Journey the next week. Paddlers from tribes from Washington and all over the Inside Passage were meeting for a large potlatch in Bella Bella.
I needed to move on and left Bella Bella as Sandra’s departing plane flew overhead right down Lama Passage.
Lizzie Cove is the new location for Pete and Rene Darwin. They moved their moorage and guest operation from Namu last fall. Pete was there to meet me when I arrived, but with sad news. The government had just visited to advise him that he must shut down his operation. The land he was on is considered Tribal Heritage Property and he could not live there or have a commercial operation. Pete has asked the Waggoner to let people know to stay tuned but they are closed for the rest of the season. He has hired a lawyer and hopes to work things out. We will provide an update in Waggoner eNews once we know more details.
Now, my decision was: which way do I go south? I had a beautiful high pressure weather system with light winds. I really wanted to challenge myself to explore new areas. This meant going west for a very scenic and recommended passage down Hunter Channel. I popped out in the open ocean with sunny skies and a 6-foot swell, but no wind waves for about 2.5 miles. Easy and worth it. The rugged beauty of this area and the Spider Islands was the payoff. My exploration of the Spider Islands was worth a few new notes for the 2015 Waggoner Guide. This is another area where I want to visit again.
I was on a mission though. I think all of us have viewed the picture on page 381 of the 2014 Waggoner Guide and said, “I want to see that beach.” It is located in the Serpent Group of islands just north of Hakai Pass. The weather was sunny and settled and I poked around the islands. I thought I saw the beach, but it did not look right. Upon leaving I looked up at a different angle and there it was. This is a place I want to spend the night in the future.
It was getting late in the day and I wanted to stop at Hakai Lodge. This is a rustic fishing resort owned by the Carlson family, who also own NW Seaplanes. Shane Carlson had advised me at the Seattle Boat Show that they were considering offering dinners to passing pleasure boats. Yes, they are offering dinner this season from July 16 through the end of August. The menu rotates between prawns or cod, turkey, prime rib and salmon. Email Clyde Carlson in advance of your arrival to assure a reservation at email@example.com.
Next stop to anchor for the night was Pruth Bay, where I met up with Mike Beemer and Lynette Brower on Black Pearl for dinner. The Hakai Beach Institute graciously provides Wi-Fi internet across the bay, perfect for downloading weather for the upcoming Cape Caution rounding.
July 12—Rounding Cape Caution – The anchor was up before 3:30a and we ghosted out of the anchorage at Pruth dodging moored boats in the darkness and fog. The full moon appeared for a few minutes as we left Kwakshua Channel and entered Fitz Hugh Sound. The whales were out for an early breakfast this morning, sounding and breaching. Both Black Pearl and Sea Raven worked our way down and crossed Cape Caution in almost flat seas and solid fog. As anticipated, we met the northbound traffic that had left Port McNeill and Port Hardy just about at Cape Caution. For a while we all watched the radar especially closely and once in a while had to deviate course to miss an oncoming boat headed north.
I had planned to go to Allison and Blunden Harbours but the fog was so thick I was not sure I would see anything. On to Port McNeill and an overnight at the Port McNeill Boat Harbour city docks. Marieke (formerly of Kwatsi Bay) was there to greet me and help with lines in the late afternoon wind. I was amazed to watch her and her crew manage a rush of boats with wind that challenged all. When people meet Marieke on the dock they are surprised by her age. But she has been assisting boats dock at Kwatsi Bay since she was six years old. Her manner is cool, calm, and way beyond her early 20s age. To my surprise, I was moored next to my friend and Pacific Nor’West Boating Editor, Duart Snow and his wife Jan on their Grand Banks woodie, Thea.
July 13—I got all my business done in Port McNeill, meeting with our dealers and advertisers. I even had a chance to drive up to Port Hardy to meet with our customers there. By 4:00 p.m., I left the dock. I crossed to the south of Malcolm Island with the intent of working my way north to Wells Passage and Drury Inlet to Jennis Bay. I went south to give me more options if the northwest wind kicked up, as it did. Sea conditions were not pleasant on the beam. I adjusted course to overnight at Booker Lagoon. Sea conditions were still not pleasant and I took it on the stern for a ride up Arrow Passage. Flexibility can make a trip much more enjoyable. I ended up anchored in Waddington Bay, which already had seven boats. That evening and the early morning in Waddington Bay gave me a good opportunity to catch up on writing for Waggoner eNews.
July 14—Mid-day arrival to see my good friends Pierre and Tove at Pierre’s Echo Bay Lodge and Marina. There were no meal events that night and the marina was refreshingly quiet. I spent the afternoon visiting Yvonne Maximchuk at her Sea Rose studio. What a talented woman. I learned from her that Billy Proctor will turn 80 this October.
July 15—Now I needed to back track for a visit to Jennis Bay. I am pleased to report that it is still the quaint relaxing place it always has been. The happy hour deck is brightly painted and Kim and Kent do a great job making everyone feel welcome.
Next, Sullivan Bay to meet with Chris and Debbie. The marina looks sharp as always. The store is well stocked for a such a remote location. While there I ran into one our correspondents and writers, Deane Hislop, and his wife Arlene. We compared notes on our respective marina visits. Deane promises he has a lot of new material for the 2015 Waggoner Guide and for our Pacific Nor’West Boating eMagazine.
A happy Golden Retriever at Sullivan Bay.
I arrived at Kwatsi Bay late for the happy hour pot luck. In the true spirit of a late arrival, I offered fresh baked brownies, still warm from Sea Raven’s oven. It is always fun to visit and catch up with Anca and Max.
July 16—It is hard to tear yourself away from Kwatsi Bay. It’s not just the hospitality and the friends on the dock, it is one of the most beautiful cruising destinations in the Broughtons.
Next on my passage south: Lagoon Cove. Tribune Channel was calm and I elected to take Sargeaunt Passage. I am checking for depth in the middle of the passage, which is less than shown on the charts. I noted 12’ at mid-tide.
From the calm of Tribune Channel, Knight Inlet was a shock. 3-5 foot, wind blown rollers right down the channel. Sargeaunt Passage put me on a quartering path but it was still wet on the forward deck and windows. Luckily I had some warning listening to two other boats on the VHF as they crossed together ahead of me. Finally a careful turn into Chatham Channel and down Hole in the Wall to Lagoon Cove. A call on the VHF and Pat’s familiar voice told me they would have room for me for the night. The wind was blowing and a few friends were standing by to help with lines, including my good friend Richard Spore. Richard was single handing his pristine Nordic Tug 32. His wife Betsy would be flying up in a week to join him. Richard is part of the Waggoner/Fine Edge crew, having been involved in many of our exploits. If you know Richard, ask him about the time I sent him to the Virgin Islands for six weeks gathering data for our “Cruising the Virgin Islands” guidebook. Richard and his wife Betsy took the trip of a lifetime several years ago, spending six years cruising from Seattle to New Zealand in their Valiant 32. Richard and Betsy wisely went to the dark side for their current cruising in the northwest. Now they are in the comfort of the pilothouse of the Nordic Tug 32 rather than huddling under the dodger on the Valiant.
Later on Paul and Becky Russell arrived in the Sam Devlin designed and built 37’ Ellie K. This time the famous Ellie (Paul’s daughter) was aboard “her” yacht.
I had a wonderful visit with Jean Barber. While Lagoon Cove Resort and Marina is for sale, Jean is involved and I think having a good time meeting old friends and working for the summer. No major interest has emerged to purchase Lagoon Cove yet. It is well priced and with 174 beautiful acres, four buildings, the fuel dock and moorage income. On behalf of the yachting community I hope it sells to someone who is interested in the maintaining it as the pleasant boating crossroads it is.
Part of the lure of Lagoon Cove is the late afternoon potluck in the antique toolshed. For those wondering, it still carries the charm of the pot luck’s started by Bill Barber, though his stories are missed. Fresh prawns, plucked from the water and boiled just before the event are the best. Add good conversation, new and old friends, and a frosty beverage or two and you have the makings for the Lagoon Cove experience. Unforgettable!
July 17—The Ellie K was also headed south down Johnstone Strait and we decided to leave at first light, just after 4:00 a.m. under overcast skies. The day prior was not the day to be on Johnstone Strait and everyone was waiting to hear the real conditions this day. Sea Raven was the first out in the Strait and reported calm and rippled conditions to everyone at the Lagoon Cove and Port Harvey resorts. We even tried to convince George Cambridge from Port Harvey Marina to bring fresh cinnamon buns out in his boat to us as we went by. No dice. Gail did not have them out of the oven yet. I suspect if they were ready George would have brought them out from their resort. I would have gladly paid the delivery charge.
Our trip down Johnstone Strait was uneventful; flat, then a following sea with the flood tide. It was so nice we decided to save a few miles and headed up Current Passage to Chancellor Channel. At one point Ellie K called and asked me to come along side. Paul passed over two warm chocolate chip scones just pulled from the oven by Becky. Gotta love buddy-boating with friends.
Next, Cordero Lodge. Lorrie was not there and no one was answering the radio. We elected to continue on to Shoal Bay to see Mark and Cynthia MacDonald. Mark has developed Shoal Bay into a very pleasant and relaxing experience. Cynthia has polished it into a jewel. An artist and sculptor, you can see her touches. The gardens are just right, rock sculptures abound. Visitors are welcome to pick fresh vegetables from the garden or eggs from the chicken coop (a donation is appreciated). They work hard to keep the place trimmed and mowed. The result, with the view of Philip Arm is one of the most relaxing settings you will find. Sit out on the deck and have a cold beer or Caesar from the “pub”. On a Saturday, they may have the outdoor wood fired oven going. Bring your own bread dough. This is another place I could stay for a few days.
Shoal Bay gardens.
Shoal Bay will once again be the site of their annual music festival on August 9th. This is a don’t miss event if you are in the area. Get there early. The dock will be full and rafted 2-3 deep. Last year I arrived on Friday night and the anchorage was full. I was anchored out in the 65’ plus depth range. Still worth it.
Slack at Dent was coming at 4p and I needed to stop to see Justin Farr at the Dent Island Lodge. The best way to do this was to “challenge” the rapids with an early arrival. I went through 45 minutes before slack on a nearly neap tide. There were whirlpools to steer through and the ebb slowed me to 3 knots at times, but the transit was otherwise unventful.
The Dent Island Lodge docks were pretty full and the catch board showed that guests were catching some very nice salmon. Dent Island Lodge is one of the premium resorts on the coast. Meals are first class and I think the dinner outside on the patio, above the roaring Canoe Pass, at the Rapids Outdoor Grill is a special experience. Six to eight dishes expertly prepared right in front of you. With up to 15 good, or new, friends around you, it does not get much better.
I left in time for slack at Yuculta Rapids. Next, a long pleasant passage down Calm Channel for an 8:00 p.m. arrival in Lund. The docks were full and I found a space that would barely fit my 30’ Tolly on the outer breakwater. The dinghy was launched and within 10 minutes it was time for a cold Powell River Townsite beer at the Boardwalk Restaurant watching the sun go down over the harbor.
Sunset in Lund.
July 18—Chores in Lund. Every so often it is time for a day of chores on the boat. Fuel, new slip, extensive engine inspection, provisions, and of course email. Nancy’s Bakery became my morning office. I needed to finish up Waggoner eNews plus respond to many emails. After cooking on the boat for a week, it was time for a nice meal at the Lund Hotel Restaurant. The next week I’d be in Desolation Sound with more cooking on the boat. This is not bad on Sea Raven. The freezer still has a full stock of fresh caught king salmon, B.C. prawns and scallops. We will not go hungry.
The author’s temporary office at Nancy’s Bakery in Lund.
July 20—Tenedos, Prideaux Haven and Melanie Cove are all beautiful anchorages. The truth is, though, they are packed with boats in July and August. I had stayed in my special spot (with a stern-tie) when we came through in May with the 9 boats for the Waggoner Flotilla 1 to Alaska. We were almost the only ones in Prideaux Haven that early in the season. This day there did not seem to be room for another boat. My goal for this year’s Waggoner Cruising Guide is to show the other side of Desolation Sound, where anchorages are less crowded and the natural beauty can be better appreciated. We continued up Homfray Channel. The throngs of boats were behind and the area felt more remote. Homfray Lodge came into view some eight miles up, with its drop-dead breathtaking views. Scott Macey came out on the dock and let me know the “Inn”, or all dock space was full. We agreed to meet the next morning. I continued up the channel to a place I had never been before, Attwood Bay. The bay is deep and I did several passes with my StructureScan to look at the bottom. The choice was the south corner where the charts show a fish farm used to be, or the north corner where one 55’ boats was already anchored. The south would be in 40-60 feet probably with an upslope stern-tie. The middle of the bay was deep at about 120’. Then an old float was spotted with a Grady-White attached. It was an inactive sport fishing float with fireplace, grill and sink for cleaning the catch. It had not been used in a while. I tied up for the night. Very nice spot.
July 21—The three Macey brothers should be commended. They took a bankrupt lodge and turned it into a boating destination three years ago. Fresh potable water and hydro power come down Homfray Creek. They have made nice progress on the lodge and cottages. This is a great place if you trailer your boat up to Lund. If it is a small boat, or kayak, you can rent one of three cottages and moorage is included.
Two of the three Macey brothers.
Lots of activity at Homfray Lodge.
Next, it was time to explore Toba Inlet and the waterfalls. Toba Inlet is long with few anchorage possibilities. Brem Bay is a logging camp (seems to be inactive) with places to anchor or tie to log booms. Just a few miles beyond is one of the most impressive waterfalls on all of Toba Inlet. Worth seeing.
Waterfall in Toba Inlet.
Kyle, Andrea and their daughter Rowan have carved out a slice of paradise at Toba Wildernest Resort. Improvements have been made every year and they are ingenius in how they accomplish things. This year, Kyle proudly showed me the new bridge over the stream. It looks extra strong. It was built using the frame for a container carrier. You would not know it unless Kyle pointed it out. The shed for the hydro generator, same thing. Under the cedar shingles is a steel shipping container. Strong, but tasteful. The washrooms and showers are excellent. High quality potable water on the dock right from the stream above. The cabins look like the kind of place you could stay for a week and enjoy the views of Desolation Sound.
View from Toba Wildernest.
This is the other Desolation Sound, quiet and stunning. The marina only has room for about 10-12 boats, just right for making friends. While there are no meal services, a pot luck might spontaneously happen. Or, a campfire might start in the evening on shore. Very relaxing.
July 21—In addition to other amenities, Toba Wildernest has good WiFi on the dock. This makes it doubly hard to leave. Good WiFi, great views, even Kyle admitted it is hard for his guests to leave the dock. Toba Wildernest is popular in late July and August and may be full. Call on the VHF for space as soon as you are in range. Have an alternate plan in case they are full the first night.
Now I was off to the warm waters of Pendrell Sound and then to Teakerne Arm. One of the special treats in Desolation Sound is anchoring and stern-tying right in front of the waterfalls in Teakerne Arm. It is made easier by the cable and hooks set in the rock walls. Drop the anchor in about 75’ and use the stern tie to pull you back against the wall. It is deep and you can pull yourself within 20’ of the rock wall. The waterfall thundering away just a couple of hundred yards away is quite dramatic. This evening, I had the falls all to myself. Other boats were tucked into the coves to the east and near the dock and ramp to the trail to Cassel Lake. Hard to believe in late July.
Sea Raven at Teakerne Arm.
A kayaker heads towards Sea Raven in Teakerne Arm.
July 23—Writing in the morning and then a cruise to Squirrel Cove to see O’Byrne and get an update on the area. Time for some provisions, too, at the Squirrel Cove store. First, lunch at the Flying Squirrel take out. Calamari and a salad with an order of Bannock (Indian Fry Bread). Very good. Today was a misty rainy day, so I enjoyed lunch under the eaves rather than at one of the six picnic tables. O’Bryne filled me in on the season. On a later exploration of the back cove, I counted 28 boats anchored, including the magnificent 100’ plus yacht Acadia. The cove was pretty full with many boats rafted together and some running stern-ties to shore. A scan of the bottom with my StructureScan showed many logs lying like match sticks on the bottom, testimony to the cove’s past and probably waiting to snag more than a few anchors. No wonder a diver has made his business from the Squirrel Cove dock.
It was getting late and Refuge Cove would be homeport for the night. The wind was kicking up and rain was forecast. The docks at Refuge Cove were full, but a floating dock was empty, other than a sign advising that moorage on this dock would be $.70 per foot. Mooring on the dock turned out to be a good call, as the wind picked up and it poured most of the night.
July 24—Refuge Cove is a unique little community. In addition to the store, the cafe has delicious fresh baked goods and the art gallery is worth exploring. I had a chance to get to know Sandie Ross-Dixon at the gallery and talk about the art and other items in the store. The paintings and sculpture all had a story. They were presented there for a reason. Those in the know know about the unique shoes the store carries. Think Crocs but a little different.
I passed Dave’s Garbage Barge on the way out. Business must be really good. The bags are piled high and one of the barges looked like it might sink.
Cortes Bay is pretty much dedicated to the Seattle Yacht Club and Royal Vancouver Yacht Club outstations. The public dock is almost always full.
Gorge Harbour is one of the premier marina destination resorts in the Desolation Sound area. It is well managed and the facilities are perfectly landscaped. New this year, the Floathouse Restaurant has a beautiful cedar deck and bar, almost doubling the restaurant space. While somewhat weather dependent, the outside is half covered and has a beautiful view of the marina below. Dinner, as always, was excellent. Wi-Fi has been vastly improved since my visit two years ago. Resort managers Bill Dougan and Tammy Allwork continue making improvements every year with the blessing of the owners.
Floathouse Restaurant at Gorge Harbour.
July 25—I had a chance to sit down with Bill, one of the savviest marina resort managers on the coast, to review our respective notes for the summer season. Bill echoed what I have been hearing from a number of resort operators. We are starting to see more young families on the water and there seemed to be more boats traveling north. Is the improving economy now trickling down to the boating market? Lets hope so. It is very important to keep resorts like Gorge Harbour and Toba Wildernest in business. It is tough to be successful in a season that basically is 6-8 weeks long. Think about this when paying for moorage.
Upon leaving Gorge Harbour the southerly was kicking up and might continue to build a choppy sea. Rather than visiting Manson’s Landing and the Co-Op store, a change in cruise plan took me through the lee of Hernando Island and down to Savary Island. Savary is not often visited by yachts, and I suspect they want to keep it that way. You may prefer to visit Savary by water taxi from Lund. If you elect to go by boat, Anchor off the mooring field in Keefer Bay, out from the dock. There must some 75 boats on private mooring balls on this end of the island. Dinghy ashore and either pull your dinghy up on the beach or use an Anchor-Buddy system to set your dinghy off the beach for the rising or falling tide. The loading dock is for the water taxi and there is no dinghy dock space.
The sandy beach at Savary Island.
Once you walk up the beautiful and long white-sand beach, take the dirt road to the right and up a hill about .5 miles. Here you will find a bike rental operation, the General Store (with ice cream) and Riggers Cafe. Riggers has tables on the deck, in the garden out back, or if you must, inside. Sitting on the deck you get a sense of Savary life. This is where Vancouverites go to relax. Lots of kids on beach bicycles in swim suits cruising by. Summer life is clearly centered around the beach. Taxis go by —actually open trucks full of people and bins. It was a Friday and as the water taxis arrived families brought their week or more worth of supplies in blue plastic tubs, which moved from their cars in Lund, to the water taxi, and then by taxi/truck to their homes on Savary Island. Savary Island was just named one of the West’s top island destination in this month’s Sunset magazine and is also featured on the cover of Cottage Life magazine in B.C.
Riggers Cafe on Savary Island.
July 26—Time to continue south. Today was a special day in Westview-Powell River: Sea Fair. This is a weekend long festival with a parade, carnival rides, food booths, and music, all located in the Willingdon park on the north end of Westview, below the museum.
Westview has a lot of new life. The marina was recently renovated and each time I visit there seems to be a new restaurant opening up with a view from the deck. The marina expansion has filled in and finger 10 is now set for large visiting yachts with 50 amp power. For Sea Fair, the Canadian Training Vessel Wolf was open for visitors. It was interesting to see the young crew of Canadian women and men professionally going about their duties. That evening I watched one of the young female officers set the next days schedule and cruise plan with a dry-marker on a side window in the pilot house for all of the crew to see. What a brilliant idea that I may use on Sea Raven. Who needs a white board with all the window space on your boat?
Heading south, I checked out the facilities at the Beach Garden Hotel and Marina. They look great and just as reported in the Waggoner, they have an attendant at the fuel dock ready to help in July and August.
It was getting late in the day and time for a stop at the Backeddy Resort for the night. The current was roaring at the dock. A few jabs of power and I was at the dock thankful to have someone there from the resort on the dock to quickly grab my stern line before Sea Raven was swept away. He complimented my landing in a crisp Kiwi accent. I suspect any safe landing is a good landing. He must see some interesting approaches by unsuspecting skippers.
I took the short hike up the hill to the West Coast Wilderness Lodge. This is one of the best views of Sechelt Inlet. Great place for an afternoon beer, or even better yet, dinner. They also offer spa services and a list of local adventure trips for adults and kids.
They are looking to add dock space for their dinner and spa guests by next season. We will report further on this in Waggoner eNews as it develops.
July 28—My office today is the 40+ mile cruise up Prince of Wales and Princess Royal Reach to Princess Louisa Inlet. My office is where it should be, up on the flybridge, with all my tools around me. Laptop on my lap, camera at ready and too many cruising guides open to see how others describe this splendor. There is not a cloud in the sky and the vistas are breathtaking. While it is a long trip up to Princess Louisa and Chatterbox Falls, mother nature has plenty to entertain you on the way.
I was right on time for slack and I proceeded through Malibu Rapids. It is hard not to miss the activities at the Malibu Young Life Camp. The kids have it pretty good. From the rapids you have a good view of their pool, and beyond the water skiing and wake boarding.
The run up Princess Louisa is majestic, with sweeping peaks and waterfalls on either side. Even if you have been there before it takes your breath away. As you round the last corner you get a peak the start of the falls, way up high just emerging from solid granite. Then, it unfolds in front of you. Boating Heaven.
There was a spot on the dock for my 30’ Tolly. Longer and I would not have fit. It was hot and the cool pools below Chatterbox Falls were beckoning. I grabbed the shampoo and off we went. The hike across the rocks to the pools is vigorous. The warning sign at the falls says that 12 people have perished here. The water did not seem overly cold until I dropped my head in to rinse and felt an ice cream headache coming on.
A place like Chatterbox Falls brings out the best in people. The dock was busy with boaters making new friends. For the smaller boats, tables and chairs emerged and dinner was alfresco with the waterfalls and tall peaks as background.
July 29—It is tough to depart Princess Louisa. I recommend a stay of 2 days to have the full effect. But I needed to move on to business in Pender Harbour and slack at Malibu Rapids was forecast for 7:30 a.m. It was only appropriate to depart Princess Louisa at idle, 4.5 knots, and soak it all in as the sun emerged on the tallest peaks above.
Pender Harbour has too many good choices of marinas. Fisherman’s, Sunshine Coast (with a hot tub), Garden Bay, the Pilothouse Marina, Painted Boat and even the provincial dock in Madeira Park. Or, there is plenty of room to anchor in one of several bays. The IGA Market has everything and the Oak Tree Market for meats, a variety of smoked sausage and other specialty items. I found one of my favorite bookstores had changed names. Dale and Michael, the former owners of the Bluewater Book Store, this spring donated the store and inventory to the Ruby Lake Lagoon Society for the benefit of the Iris Griffiths Centre, known for doing many good things for the environment and the area.
One of my favorite marinas is the Sunshine Coast Resort and Marina. Owner manager Ralph Linnmann runs a tight ship and he is all over the place. He will never gain weight thanks to the up and down of about 300’ from his docks to the resort office. Ralph has a special for readers of the Waggoner Guide in August. Stay 2 nights and the third night is free. Just ask him for the Waggoner Guide special.
Dinner this evening was a special treat with publisher/editor/author extraordinaire Howard White and his wife Mary at the Painted Boat Lodge and Restaurant. Howard is my Canadian publishing partner through his company Harbour Publishing for the Dreamspeaker series of cruising guides. Harbour is one of the leading publishers in all of B.C. and through a recent acquisition, across Canada. He is also an expert on the B.C. coast. This was an enjoyable evening with the sun setting across the harbor.
July 30—A cruising guide author has to keep moving. On to the north side of Pender Harbour, we stopped in to see the Pilothouse Marina and then over to Fisherman’s Resort and Marina. David Pritchard and Jennifer Love are the owner/managers of popular Fisherman’s. David informed me that they are looking forward to retirement and have the marina for sale along with the beautiful home they built above the marina. The marina will stay open and they will continue their high standards for hospitality. They really hope new potential buyers will manage the marina in the same high style they have. We do too.
John Henry Marina Store and Fuel Dock is still the place to go for local shopping. Lucy and Wayne Archbold keep the store stocked and the fuel dock ready for visitors. Coffee in the morning is free too.
Garden Bay Hotel, Pub and Marina has new owners this year, but many of the same familiar faces are there in the restaurant. They will still be hosts for many of the music event in Pender Harbour. On August 10th, they will once again host their annual car show with some 75 classic and antique cars on exhibit from all over the area. It is quite the event.
Working our way down the coast we stopped at Secret Cove. Scott Rowland filled us in on the new renovations at the Upper Deck Restaurant. The new cedar decor makes it feel warm and cozy. The food is still great with a cook staff that has been coming back every season for the last five years.
It was getting late in the day when I poked my bow into Smuggler’s Cove. I watched a young single-hander successfully stern-tie her boat by running back and forth between the anchor and the dinghy to run the line ashore. Smuggler’s Cove is too compelling to leave. I worked my way back into the cove and found the perfect spot. Drop the anchor, run the stern line to a hook in the rocks, and you are in one of the prettiest anchorages in all of B.C., where this is being written right now. I hope I am able to tear myself away from this beautiful location tomorrow.