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Joe Cove

Dreaming and Conspiring at Joe Cove – Eden Island, Broughton Islands, BC

Joe Cove – Located on the South Side of Eden Island – Today we moved a whopping 12 miles. It was a foggy, damp and still day, everything looked grey and green, even the water. We were determined to head back out into Queen Charlotte Straight in our quest to find those allusive whales. Again no luck on that front, but the fog made our cruise through Arrow Passage, Sunday Harbour and Misty Passage that much more remarkable, from a visual perspective. We can only imagine what it would have been like on a sunny day. We entered Joe Cove on Eden Island to find complete solitude – we were the only boat to use the cove for shelter that night. Guess now is as good a time as any to talk about how it felt to be out in the wilds of British Columbia for three weeks. We have anchored out a good deal during this trip and most anchorages have no viable walking…

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Waddington Bay

Settling Into Waddington Bay for the Night – Broughton Islands, BC Canada

Waddington Bay – Located Off Bonwick Island – After waking up to a thick fog, we departed Goat Island and cruised up Knight Inlet for seven miles in search of whales. Having no luck finding any, we retraced our path through extremely calm water, moving in and out of the dense fog to make our way to the mouth of Knight Inlet. We skirted into a channel by Midsummer Island and out into the base of Queen Charlotte Strait. Still idling through heavy fog, not seeing much past the bow of Kismet we went up Arrow Passage, still looking for whales. With none yet to be seen we moved on into Waddington Bay, off Bonwick Island where we found a wonderfully scenic and remote location to drop the hook at the end of the cove in 15-feet of water. We spent two days on the hook watching, unsuccessfully, for bears grazing on shore and dinghying around the bay chatting with boaters anchored nearby      We were the…

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Alert Bay

Alert Bay – An Aboriginal Cultural Destination – Broughton Islands, BC

Welcome to Alert Bay –  Having provisioned in Port McNeill, we were good for another two weeks while exploring the Broughton Archipelago. First stop, Alert Bay, an aboriginal cultural destination. Alert Bay is home to about 1,300 Namgis people, a First Nations band within the larger Kwakwaka'wakw nation of northern Vancouver Island. The members of the village community coexist side-by-side, in harmony with the largely non-native population that resides in the village on the south-side of Cormorant Island. We tied up at the Government Marina for a few hours. Our mission was to walk around the village, grab some lunch and visit the U’mista Cultural Centre Museum. The Centre is a First Nations Museum collection of historically significant masks, totem poles, photos and educational videos of the area and there way of life. First we walked the docks at the village marina. Lots of old fishing boats and a few unusual pleasure boats and yachts graced the harbor docks. Next, we headed up into…

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Port McNeill

Port McNeill for Provisioning – Vancouver Island, BC

Port McNeill – Back to Civilization for a Brief Moment Port McNeill, located on Vancouver Island's northeast shore on Queen Charlotte Strait, is a gateway to the remote spaces of the Broughton Archipelago. An old base camp for loggers and named after Captain William Henry McNeill (Hudson Bay Company), Port McNeill was settled back in 1936. We were in need of many things... phone service, wifi, water, groceries, post office and drug store. Before we could go back out into the wild, we needed to take care of some business. Port McNeill is a very walkable town, we found everything we needed within a short distance of the marina. We stocked up on food at the local grocery store and were surprised that even Port McNeill, on Vancouver Island, has a hard time getting supplies. Lisa had wanted to buy chicken and couldn't find any, a worker in the meat department said the chicken only came on certain days of the week,…

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Goat Island

Goat Island is in the Village Group of Islands – Broughton Islands, BC

Stopping at Goat Island on Our Way to Provision at Port McNeil – It had been 11 days since we had been to a grocery store and the boat cupboards were getting bare! We certainly had enough canned goods, so we wouldn't starve, but we craved fresh produce. Also, our fresh water tank was about empty. With that in mind we departed Sullivan Bay Marina for a scenic cruise within the Broughton Archipelago past Pierre’s Echo Bay Marina and Knight Inlet to an anchorage at Goat Island, it was a 20-mile run.   At Goat Island, we found low lying islands surrounding our anchorage. Calm with blue skies all day, but woke to a dense fog in the morning. Only one other boat anchored with us tonight. It was an interesting trawler with lots of toys on it. The next morning we woke up to heavy fog but not heavy enough to stop us from venturing out to meet slack tide at the top of Hanson…

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Sullivan Bay Marina

Sullivan Bay Marina, A Floating Community – Broughton Islands, BC

Sullivan Bay Marina is on the Edge of the Broughton Archipelago –  After two peaceful nights on the hook at Turnbull Cove we pulled anchor to head a short seven miles to Sullivan Bay Marina. We timed our stay at Sullivans to coincide with their prime rib dinner, a weekly, scheduled event. Sullivan Bay Marina is a remote floating island community, only accessible by boat, sea plane or helicopter. Besides dockage there are many float homes, a convenience store, fuel dock and restaurant.   Lisa taking photos while Jim drives the boat. When we arrived we stopped at the fuel dock to top our tanks. We were warmly greeted by staff and other boaters when we arrived. We checked out the nearby grocery store to see what the offering were and ordered our cinnamon rolls for the next morning. Fresh produce was what we craved, but the prices were of course quite high – understandably. Lisa immediately asked Jim for a two-night stay.     …

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Turnbull Cove

Slow Dancing Our Way Through the Broughton Islands – Turnbull Cove, B.C.

Exploring Picturesque Waterways On Our Way to Turnbull Cove – After enjoying only a one-night stay at Laura Cove, we decided to move on. Having limited time to explore the Broughtons, we need to stay on task. Our day’s charted course consisted of a cruise through Sutlej Channel past Sullivan Bay Marina. Then we cruised up picturesque Dunsany Passage and Grappler Sound into the pristine and remote Kenneth Passage.   We were rewarded with a two-bear sighting this morning in Mackenzie Sound We passed by Turnbull Cove, our days final destination, for a sightseeing cruise and black bear hunt in Mackenzie Sound followed by a cruise to Little Nimmo Bay. During our chart review with Anca, at Kwatsi Bay Marina several night before, she had told us there are often black bear at the end of Mackenzie Sound. This is where the mountain river dumps into the sound providing good feeding ground for bears. Anca also mentioned the mountain views were specatular. When we arrived at the…

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Laura Bay

Laura Bay is a Popular Anchorage in the Broughton Islands

Laura Bay, south of Penphrase Passage, is a popular anchorage with good protection behind a scenic, un-named island. The Broughton Islands are comprised of 200-plus remote islands included in the over 240,000 islands between northern mainland British Columbia and the north-end of Vancouver Island. From Anacortes Washington to the Broughtons is about 233 miles. At least a week's worth of cruising for the serious boater to get to the Broughton Islands from the US border. The number of year-round residents in the Broughtons is less than 1,000. Keeping all this in mind, we have a lot of remote wilderness to explore during our three-week adventure. The day of our departure from Kwatsi Bay, we cruised 15 miles to Laura Bay and our second anchorage in the Broughtons. Along the way we saw two eagles and many dolphins as we slowly worked our way up Tribune Channel. Being new territory for us, we took a side trip and to cruised up into Watson Bay to get up close to Lacy Falls. Not much water…

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Kwatsi Bay Marina

A Warm Welcome Awaits – Kwatsi Bay Marina – Broughton Islands, BC

Kwatsi Bay Marina is Just One of Many Floating Communities in the Broughton Archipelago! Kwatsi Bay Marina was just around the bend from our anchorage, so it was a short trip to the dock soon after breakfast. We have never thought it made sense to go into a marina at the end of the day if there is an anchorage situated nearby. Maybe it’s the Scotch in us, but why pay for a full day when you don’t have to? This family owned and operated marina has a well-known reputation for being a friendly, hospitable stop. After teaching and then managing the Scott Cove Salmon Hatchery, Kwatsi Bay Marina owners Max Knierim and Anca Fraser, along with their two children, towed their existing float-home to an empty Kwatsi Bay in 1995. This marina will be our introduction into the many floating communities in the Broughtons. Taking a page from the logging industry, very few buildings in the Broughtons are actually built on shore. Most…

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Forward Harbour

Seeking Protection in Forward Harbour

We departed Shoal Bay at noon to time our transit of Greene Point, followed by Whirlpool Rapids, at or near slack tide. All went smoothly until we approached the intersection of Cordero Channel and Loughborough Inlet. It was at this point the waves started to build into wild unpredictable rollers. The swells grew larger the closer we came to the fetch of the Johnstone Strait area. We continued until we made a much welcomed turn off the strait into Wellborn Channel. Johnstone Strait, 59 nm in its entirety, is notorious for strong winds, swift currents overall uncomfortable cruising. Riding those waves was exhausting. We were more than ready to leave the chaotic water of the strait to seek the protection of Forward Harbour.       For two days and nights we had gusty, gail force winds while on the hook in the protected cove of Forward Harbour. As always, our anchor held us securely in place. Last thing we wanted…

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Broughton Islands

Pointing Kismet’s Bow North – Time to Explore the Broughton Islands and Mainland inlets

Exploring the Wilderness of the Broughton Islands! The crew of Kismet has been waiting for this day a long time. It is the day we point our bow north of Desolation Sound to reach a cruising wilderness known as the Broughton Islands. This archipelago is famously wedged against the coastal mountain range on the mainland side and Vancouver Island to the west. First we’ll cruise through the Discovery Islands, Yucalta, Gillard and Dent Rapids to our day’s destination of Shoal Bay. Our furthest reach north is located on the 50th parallel. Turnbull Cove is approximately 300 miles from Washington State’s San Juan Islands. Broughton Archipelago Park is situated at the mouth of Knight Inlet on the west side of Queen Charlotte Strait near the north end of Vancouver Island. William Robert Broughton was a British Lieutenant in the Royal Navy. He was part of the Vancouver Expedition led by Captain Vancouver, in the late 1700s. Cruising the Broughton Islands will afford us one of the most remote…

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Provisioning at Heriot Bay on Quadra Island

The Proximity of Heriot Bay to Desolation Sound, Gave Us Another Option for Provisioning The need to provision mid-way through our month-long stay required a major shopping trip. Unlike our two-week trip to Desolation Sound three years ago. Since we are consuming breakfast, lunch and dinner – all on the boat every day, we eventually ran out of the supplies that keep our bodies happily fueled. Provisioning while cruising in Desolation Sound for a longer stay is a little bit of a challenge. The options nearby are limited to Refuge Cove. Although centrally located within Desolation Sound, the products available at Refuge Cove are limited and quite expensive. It's a fun stop! If you are only staying a week or two in Desolation, you won't starve. You can catch up on most chores, use wifi, enjoy a fresh baked cinnamon roll, fuel up and restock the propane and water tanks. Just like we would at any marina. But thrifty boaters that we are, after two weeks we…

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First Time in Campbell River, BC

Campbell River is a Good Place to Provision When Cruising Desolation Sound – Today we headed to Campbell River, located on Vancouver Island. We like to balance our boating time between anchorages and marinas. We do this because we like the social aspect marinas offer with a taste of small town life and a chance to interact with local boaters. We also need to provision for the next stretch out on the water. Our routine is roughly 65% at anchor and 35% at marinas. Campbell River is one of the larger cities on Vancouver Island and within reasonable distance from Desolation Sound. If you need a lot of groceries and other necessities, it's the best place for a grocery run with a Super Store just a short walk up from the marina. When we checked in at Discovery Harbour we weren't told their showers or laundry were not working until we tied up and settled in, both of those activities played a major part in our decision to…

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Hornby Island Anchor, Tribune bay – After Dinner at The Thatch Pub

Smooth cruising to Hornby Island today – Our destination today is Hornby Island. First for dinner at The Thatch Pub, before we throw out the hook in Tribune Bay. We heard about Hornby Island from another boater, Norm, at our marina during our stay in Victoria, BC earlier this year. We were there for the month of February. When cruising an area unknown to us, I always try to ask as many locals as I can about their favorite cruising spots. Norm is in the band, Jolly Mon Band, he travels on his Grand Banks with his band to play on some of the islands during the summer. Gotta love that lifestyle, right? Norm suggested to us the large cove on Hornby Island called Tribune Bay. The bay, we learned  has a great beach to walk if one so desires. Local Knowledge is Important when Seeking Out New Spots to Explore This type of information, local knowledge, helps to whittle down potential cruising destinations in this vast PNW cruising mecca. We…

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Newcastle Island Marine Park Anchorage Across from Nanaimo, BC

Newcastle Island Marine Park is Within Easy Access to Nanaimo, BC – Our route from Pirates Cove to Nanaimo took us through Dodd Narrows and eventually to Newcastle Island. This passage through a narrow channel needs to be well-timed to transit at slack tide. If not at slack the currents run up to 9 knots in a very turbulent swirling narrow channel between rocky cliffs. We were up at 6 a.m. to hit Dodd Narrows at the 7:03 a.m. slack. Our end destination was Newcastle Island Marine Park located across from Nanaimo BC, the second largest city on Vancouver Island. We decided to first dock at the downtown marina visitors dock (visitors are allowed a three-hour stay), in Nanaimo before we headed for anchor. It was a busy stop in that we fueled the boat, made a grocery run, paid bills and found a post office. This is where we had our first day of substantial rain and stormy weather…

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Burgee Exchange – Nanaimo Yacht Club, BC

Past Commodore Dick Craig Made the Burgee Exchange with Us – If you belong to a yacht club, you most likely know what a burgee exchange is. Most yacht clubs display burgees from other clubs in their clubhouses. The colorful burgees make a room very festive and interesting because you can’t help but wonder where some of them came from. Burgees are usually given to a club from an out of town yacht club member who are either boating or just visiting the area. In turn your own club member could visit another club in another city or state and give them a burgee and acquire one in return. This practice is called a burgee exchange. We did another burgee exchange just the other day, in Nanaimo BC, Canada. We are currently cruising British Columbia from South Pender Island to the Broughtons. The Nanaimo Yacht Club is an 86 year-old club. We made arrangements, ahead of time, for the exchange with…

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Pirates Cove, De Courcy Island – Gulf Islands

Pirates Cove on De Courcy Island – A Provincial Marine Park – We slated a two-day stay anchored in the well protected Pirates Cove. The park has two dinghy docks, one on the little peninsula and one on the far, inner side. There are many eye hooks and chains around the cove, making it easier to stern tie an anchored boat to shore. De Courcy Island is 300 acres of beautiful rocky shores, strewn with driftwood and mossy thick woods. There are about 40 private residences on the island and the owners have their own boat dock, Russell Landing, located in the cove across from the entrance. Feeling a Part of the Boating Migration North By now it really is starting to feel like we’re making progress heading north. We also feel very much a part of the seasonal migration north to destination such as Chatterbox Falls, Desolation Sound, Broughtons and beyond. We have seen eagles in every anchorage we've stayed in so far, often two at a time. On our…

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Ladysmith – Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Ladysmith – Our Next Stop While Cruising in and Out of the Gulf Islands – We pulled anchor at 7:15 a.m. and departed Princess Cove for Ladysmith. The village of Ladysmith is on Vancouver Island and has a long rich lumber history, with active mills, log booms, transport ships and tug boats. We had one of those calm early morning days where the water was glassy smooth, complimented by a mostly clear sky so we decided to take advantage of the great conditions, cruise at 6 MPH and soak in the morning….slow motion. We were delighted with the almost new docks, wash rooms, showers, laundry room and onsite cafe at Ladysmith Maritime Society Marina that we decided to stay two days. With a town to explore and eager to stretch our legs, we ventured up the hill into town to investigate. We needed to pick up some groceries and have lunch. Back at the boat the docks were filling up fast…

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Hike to Conover Cove – Wallace Island, BC

Conover Cove - The Dream of David and Jeanne Conover – The next morning we rowed to the dinghy dock located mid-point in Princess Cove. We wanted to hike the path at the perimeter of Wallace Island, which leads to Conover Cove. Once there, we stumbled upon a surprising find, the structural remains Conover Settlement. One of the buildings in particular knocked our socks off because of all the, mostly driftwood, carved, painted and decorated mementos left by boaters to mark their visit to the island over the years. It truly is a work of art in the making. Royal Cedar Cottages Were Built by the Conovers mid-nineteenth century. The island's origin was charted as Narrow Island, but named after Captain Wallace Houston, a surveyor in the 1850s. More recent history states that Wallace Island was owned by David Conover and his wife, Jeanne in 1946. Their desire was to build a resort on the island, Royal Cedar Cottages – there were once ten buildings built in the…

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Princess Cove Anchorage – Wallace Island

Poking Our Way Along the Gulf Islands to Princess Cove – Short cruising days are my kind of days on the water. When I planned the Gulf Island part of our summer cruising, I decided to explore mostly places we had not been to on previous trips. Most travel days now are around 20 miles long or so. Leaving Cowachin, we had only 14 miles to cruise northeast to our planned anchorage at Princess Cove on Wallace Island. Wallace Island is located in beautiful Trincomali Channel between the northern ends of Saltspring Island and Galiano Island. The island is in the southern Gulf Islands. With this type of leisurely boating schedule we can leave later in the morning, arrive at our destination and still have plenty of time to explore. There are two coves on Wallace Island Princess Cove is one of two coves, the other being Conover Cove, on Wallace Island. Both now part of Wallace Island Marine Park. The…

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Cowichan Bay – Vancouver Island, B.C.

Cowichan Bay is a Colorful Fishing Community –  While taking a day-tour in a rental car from Victoria, a few months ago, we stumbled upon the small village of Cowichan Bay. We didn’t stop but made a mental note that this would be a place we’d like to return to by boat when we returned in June. Fast forward four months and we made true on our promise. We had glassy waters and a nice clear blue sky for our 14-mile, 6.5 MPH slow motion cruise to Cowichan Bay, the start to a picture perfect day. Later we docked at Cowichan Bay Fisherman's Wharf, amongst the fishing fleet and high charactered and old boats, we felt right at home. We remembered the little town on shore from our road trip, so we were anxious to get off the boat to explore. Before we could get out of the marina though we had to climb the marina “gang plank.” At the time…

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Ganges Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

One Night in Ganges Salt Spring Island –  After we pulled up anchor in Madrona Bay, we headed the short way into Ganges Salt Spring, to stay for one night before we head over to Wallace Island to anchor in Princess Cove. We love Ganges, it's a quaint waterfront town with lots of character. The only other time we were here was during our trip to the Pacific Northwest for the Ranger Tugs Desolation Sound Cruise. The town is just big enough that everything is within walking distance of the marina and docks on the waterfront. The marina was not very busy and there were lots of available dockage. There were two other Ranger Tugs with us at the dock this night.      

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Madrona Bay Anchorage – Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

A Quiet Night on the Hook in Madrona Bay – We left Poets Cove and South Pender Island for a three-hour cruise to Madrona Bay, near Ganges on Salt Spring Island. There are two routes to get to our days destination. We could have transited Boundary Pass, a more exposed route, but we chose Pender Canal due to the high winds we had experienced the last few days. After three days of social activity at Poets Cove, we were looking forward to a night on the hook in a quiet cove. This is just what we found at Madrona Bay.      

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Poets Cove – Ranger Tugs/Cutwater Cruise

Our Trip North Started at Poets Cove on South Pender Island –  Poets Cove Resort and Marina, on South Pender Island in British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, is where we started the Canadian portion of our summer cruising season. The start of our trip north was conveniently scheduled to match up with a 60-boat Ranger Tug/Cutwater get together at Poets Cove. After a quick check-in with Canadian Customs, right next to the marina at Poets Cove, we started to feel the excitement for the start of the three-day event. One of the best things about attending a factory sponsored cruise like this, is getting to meet other Ranger Tug/Cutwater owners, making new friends and catching up with old acquaintances! Another benefit of having this year’s event at Poets Cove is that they have a heated swimming pool that overlooks the harbor, which we visited shortly after our arrival. Lisa, who loves to swim, made it a trifecta by getting up to…

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2016 Summer Cruising Season in British Columbia, Canada

Our Summer Cruising Season Will Take Us to the Broughton Islands –  Have you ever been somewhere before that you’ve loved so much you cannot wait to return? Have you ever wondered why it took you so long to discover it? In our early summer cruising adventures we never dreamed territory such as the Pacific Northwest, San Juan and Gulf Islands, Princess Louisa Inlet, Chatterbox Falls and Desolation Sound existed. We’ve returned this year to cruise some of our favorite summer cruising stops from 2013, then we’ll continue further north to explore the Broughton Islands, a territory rich wth wildlife and natural wonders. Our trip will start in Anacortes, Washington where we’ll provision and prepare for our three-month long adventure north to British Columbia. We’ll spend two weeks in Canada’s Gulf Islands exploring places we have not been to before. First stop will be Sucia Island in the San Juan Islands as we stage to cross over to Canada to Poets Cove for the Ranger Tugs/Cutwater…

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