Island Hopping

Island Hopping

After a lovely stay at Russell Island, which has to be one of my favorite spots, we hauled anchor (Ralph hauls, I drive and give moral support) on Thursday, June 9 and headed to Mill Bay Marina on Vancouver Island.  We arrived in a heavy wind and sea condition for the area, but we docked ok at the marina.  We arrived a day early for the Sceptre rendezvous so we could clean up, do laundry and some shopping before everyone else arrived on Friday.  Mill Bay is a nice little town with a great shopping center nearby and we took advantage of that.

We really had a fun time with the Sceptre folks and 4 boat/owners attended for the first time, so we got to meet some great new friends.  I think the rendezvous was a success and a great time was had by all.

After the rendezvous we were invited to a fellow Sceptre owner’s home about 5 miles away along with ArielX.  We were both able to tie to a mooring in front of Ron and Leoni’s home in Brentwood Bay and we enjoyed a really great dinner of locally grown foods including lamb and beef and a fun card game afterwards.  

After a peaceful night we departed for Gowlland Tod Inlet Marine Park, only about 1.5 miles away.  This park is on the other side of Butchart Gardens near Victoria.  We had a really nice stay there – it is such a quite place.  For the most part, people don’t use their outboard motors but row instead to preserve the quite.  Near the dock are many nesting boxes for the migrating purple Martin and we enjoyed watching them swooping around.  There is always great birdwatching here. 

Again we hauled the anchor and moved on, this time to Sidney Spit Marine Park.  We have been having quite a few rainy days but enjoyed a 5 mile hike around part of the Sidney Island.  Apparently there are hundreds of deer on the small island, but we didn’t catch sight of any.  

This morning we are in port at Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington after crossing the border on Monday.  We are required to take the boat out of Canada once per year and it was probably less than a 20 mile trip here to Friday Harbor.  This is a great port and we are making the most of our shore leave.  We plan to head out of here tomorrow and visit some more of the San Juans before returning to Canada.  

Carting groceries and getting exercise

Statue honoring Popeye, Port of Friday Harbor Seal

The Port of Friday Harbor seal, Popeye

Sidney Island

Sceptres racing

Toga and crew racing in our first race!

Beach at Sidney Island

Banana slugs out in force on Sidney Island

A neighboring boat took some shots of Toga in the sunset at Sidney Spit, just before a rain storm

Eagle watching

Leftover bricks from a brick and tile plant on Sidney Island

Leftover bricks from a brick and tile plant on Sidney Island

Ralph and Charlie rowing back from shore leave at Tod Inlet

Rainy day at anchor

So many jellyfish of all sizes at Tod Inlet – I think they are fascinating

At anchor in Tod Inlet

At anchor in Tod Inlet

Nesting boxes for Purple Martins at Tod Inlet

View from Ron and Leoni’s house, Sceptres at dock and on mooring

Such large jellyfish here

Such large jellyfish here

My major award for my performance in dinghy basketball

Lovely Mount Baker

Sceptres arriving at the dock, all hands and paws helping

Sceptres arriving in the strong weather

Lovely shopping center at Mill Bay, Vancouver Island


Cruising – aka Boat Maintenance in Exotic Places

Cruising – aka Boat Maintenance in Exotic Places

We were dropped in the water on Saturday, May 28 at Shelter Island Boat Yard and Marina. We arranged with them to stay in the slip at the lift overnight so we could take care of a few things before heading down the Fraser river. We departed around noon on Sunday when the tide was slack and falling, so that we would get a boost from the current. As opposed to last year, the trip down the river was uneventful (we ran the engine a long time at the slip this time!). We did notice that the depth sounder was not working, but hoped it was due to the muddy river. 

When we reached the mouth of the river (about 13 nautical miles) and entered the Georgia Strait, the conditions turned uncomfortable. The winds had turned the day before leaving the seas confused and lumpy. Combined with motoring, these conditions create seasickness for me and Charlie looked a little green as well (still getting our sea legs for the year). Luckily the tide was with us and it is only 12 nm’s across the strait to Porlier Pass, so we managed this in about 2.5 hours. The current was still running through the pass and was with us, sweeping us through. Instantly the conditions were changed – warm breezes and smooth seas – Paradise! No luck with the depth sounder though, it looks like we are going to have to put in new instruments.   For now we have a hand held depth sounder and Henri loaned us another.  

We had arranged to meet Ariel and crew at Princess Bay on Wallace Island. This is one of Anne and Henri’s favorite places and they wanted to introduce us to it. We swung by last year but it was too crowded for us at that time. We pulled in and side tied to Ariel at around 5 pm – just in time for cocktail hour! It was very peaceful in the bay and we had a beautiful sunset. The next day we spent exploring the island – what a wonderful place! We are reading a book right now by David Conover, who along with his wife Jeanne, purchased the island in the 40’s for $20k.  

We said so long to Ariel on Tuesday morning and headed to Montague Harbour on Galiano Island where we picked up a mooring ball at the provincial park. We had lovely weather and took a long walk. We had some rain and clouds over the next few days and on Thursday we decided we would head over to Ganges on Salt Spring Island (this is a major hub here – sort of like Avalon for those of you who have been there) to stock up on groceries. We fired up the engine and noticed that we were not getting cooling water out of the exhaust. So, change of plans! We spent the rest of the day diagnosing our problem. We first ruled out failure of the water pump and then spent a couple of hours trying to unclog the raw water inlet. The bonus was we got to stay at Montague another day and we were invited over to one of our neighbor’s boats (Rikki Tiki Tavi), which is a home built catamaran. Very nice boat and excellent craftspersonship!  

Friday morning we tried again for departure and were successful. We headed to Ganges and were there in about 2 hours, anchored in the bay. We ended up staying for 2 nights because we were comfortable, and why not? We spent our time working on things aboard, stocking food and drinks and taking long walks through town.  We left Ganges on Sunday and headed over to Russell Island (another 2 hour trip), which is where we are for the time being. I know I wrote about this island last year – it is a small island park which is just lovely, nice trails for walking and beaches. We love it here.  Summer is off to a great start!

Toga splashdown

Exiting the Fraser into Georgia Strait

Motor sailing across the Strait

Heading through Porlier’s Pass

Happy to be in the gulf islands!

The welcome Eagle

Anne getting a warm greeting from Charlie

A pair of Eagles

Princess Bay

Beautiful Gulf Islands sunset


Ralph and Henri inspecting David Conover’s truck

Beautiful trails at Wallace Island

Beautiful trails at Wallace

Wallace Island yacht tribute

Anne and Henri

Someone left this hand carved gnome in the woods at Montague

Toga on mooring at Montague

Low tide at Montague

Montague Harbour beach

Ganges resident sentiment

A profound question

Artsy photo – Ganges

Pano of Russell Island

Russell Island Beach

Beach walk this morning

Lush and beautiful trails