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Laura Cove – Rocky, Scenic and Popular

Laura Cove, Like Most of the Prideaux Haven Area, is Strewn with Large Boulders and High, Rocky Tree Lined Shores. We departed Refuge Cove for a short eight-mile run up Homfray Channel to the Prideaux Haven area of Desolation Sound Marine Park. Laura Cove, next to Melanie Cove, was in our sights as our preferred anchorage. We anchored here during our trip three years ago, and it was one of our favorite spots. On our way in we cruised through the adjoining Melanie Cove to see how many boats were already anchored. We arrived a couple of days before Canada Day (July 1st) a long Holiday weekend for Canadians, hoping to get settled before the rush which never really came. For a National Holiday we didn’t feel there were many boats in Laura Cove, seven at anchor on our first night and only 13 on our last. This was good for us as we gained more personal space for a relaxing long weekend.…

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Refuge Cove – A Hub of Activity and Social Gathering Spot in Desolation Sound

Refuge Cove is Chock-Full of Character Situated on the southwest corner of West Redonda Island, Refuge Cove is centrally located in Desolation Sound. The small general store is good for minor provisions, fuel, water and propane. Besides being a unique little waterside community, it's a hub of activity and social gathering spot for the myriad of boaters spending their vacations cruising Desolation Sound. During this visit to Refuge Cove, we wanted to dock overnight to really experience life in Refuge Cove for more than the two hours we spent in 2013. We typically don’t come back into a marina for a while after we’ve just been to one. Only two days ago we were at Powell River for a two-night stay, but I forgot to pay bills. So, after we left Grace Harbour, we headed to Refuge Cove where we heard WiFi was available. During our stay, we fueled up, refilled a propane tank, paid bills, updated the blog and bought some cinnamon sticky buns all…

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Grace Harbour – First Anchorage in Desolation Sound 2016

Grace Harbour is a Good Starting Point for Our Desolation Sound Cruising Adventure! Keeping true to form, we decided to begin our Desolation Sound cruise by anchoring in Grace Harbour, just as we had done in 2013. Grace Harbour is a small anchorage and Marine Park on the mainland of British Columbia accessed by Malaspina Inlet. The anchorage is extremely well-protected from wind and waves. The harbour has a little beach with a restroom facilities and a hiking trail. A Slow Start to the Boating Season! The anchorage was not very crowded this time, a fact we would soon wonder about as we proceeded north through the Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast, Jervis Inlet and finally Desolation Sound. We were here, starting our cruise, in late July three years ago. Maybe the season is off to a slow start, because we had a hard time finding a good spot last time. Timing makes all the difference when cruising British Columbia. We started…

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Stopping at Powell River to Provision

Powell River – Great Place to Provision – After only four days spent at Chatterbox Falls, you wouldn't think we'd have to provision again so soon. Since our mode of transportation is walking from grocery stores with our shopping bags, we can only cart so much stuff back to the boat. It will be harder and more expensive to grocery shop in Desolation Sound, so we always stop at grocery stores when we can and stock up on important items such as beer and chocolate. Sometimes the grocery stores offer to drive us back to the marina, and we almost always take them up on the offer, unless we don't need much or need the exercise. We also needed to take care of some business while in Powell River. We'll be visiting a copy shop, the post office, a used book store and, of course, the grocery store. Shoe shopping is on the list, Jim is looking for new sandals, because his old ones…

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People We Met at Chatterbox Falls

Chatterbox Falls is a Great Place to Meet People! We feel one of the most important benefits of boating is all the wonderful people we get to meet. It doesn't matter where we cruise, we find other boaters to be very friendly. Our time at Chatterbox Falls was no different. We met lots of interesting people during our stay, we even ran into a couple we had met in Alabama while cruising on the River System several years ago, 2,600 miles from British Columbia. It's a small, small world.      On the first day at the falls, soon after we tied up, we took a walk to the end of the dock to take in surrounding natural beauty. We were still trying to absorb the fact we were actually at the falls again. At the end of the dock is a new float plane dock where, in the absence of planes, the views are unobstructed. Boats cannot tie up there. As we turned around to get a 360…

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World Famous Chatterbox Falls

Three Years Since We Last Visited Chatterbox Falls It could have been last week or three years ago, it doesn't seem to matter as it relates to our return to Chatterbox Falls – it felt like revisiting an old friend. Seems like we were just at the falls, but in reality it’s been a full three years since we last visited. Early on, we decided to stay for four days. During that time we met and talked with other boaters, had a bonfire in the pavililon, walked to the falls over and over again, took a short hike to a little waterfall and dinghied around the base of the falls. Basically we were just trying to absorb our surroundings. At one point, just after dinner the first night, it started to rain lightly, not unusual for the PNW, but what followed was unusual – thunder and lightning. We’re used to this in Michigan but not in the PNW and definitely not at the base of…

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Princess Louisa Inlet Took Our Breaths Away!

Princess Louisa Inlet Leads to Chatterbox Falls Arriving at Malibu Rapids shortly before slack, we had no trouble at all transiting the rapids to Princess Louisa Inlet. We proceeded the last four miles to the end of the fjord and the "granddaddy" of all Pacific Northwest waterfalls – Chatterbox Falls. Princess Louisa inlet is a narrower fjord than Jervis Inlet and it can have a sobering effect on a visitor once inside it’s towering walls. The mountain walls seem to envelop and suck you inside towards the apex of the falls with an uncanny stillness in the air. Unlike our last visit to the falls, which was very overcast and rather gloomy, we had a picture perfect day for our day’s cruise. Calm water and a clear skies highlighted the green, purplish snow-capped mountains hovering over us displaying their regal, majestic glory. Some of the photos were taken the day we left Princess Louisa Inlet. It wasn't raining, but clouds hung low…

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Jervis Inlet – Deepest Fjord in BC

Jervis Inlet Has a Maximum Depth of 2,402 ft – We untied our lines from our slip at Pender Harbour at 7:45 a.m. to start our 48-mile trek up Jervis Inlet fjord. Timing for this trip needs to be well-thoughtout ahead. It's important to time our arrival at Malibu Rapids, the mouth of Princess Louisa Inlet, at slack tide. The rapids are located at the eastern shoreline of Jervis Inlet. At the speed we travel, 8 miles mph, it took us 5 hours to reach the rapids, from Pender Harbour. We arrived within half-hour of dead calm. You wouldn’t want to have to wait and hover outside the rapids very long or go early and risk running the narrow dog-leg channel at full force with a 10-knot rapids. Jervis Inlet is a fjord carved out by glaciers and has three arms, or reaches – Prince of Wales Reach, Princess Royal Reach and Queen’s Reach. Princess Louisa Reach is a side inlet off…

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Pender Harbour Dock – A Maze of Islands, Coves and Bluffs

Pender Harbour Dock – Stocking Up and Staging – Before we started the long haul up Jervis Inlet to Princess Louisa Inlet and finally Chatterbox Falls, we first needed somewhere to stock up and stage ourselves – close to the entrance to Jervis Inlet. From Pender Harbour Dock, we could leave early the next morning and be cruising up Jervis Inlet in no time. Our plan was to spend at least three days at the dock at the falls, maybe four with anchoring out or catching a mooring ball the last night. We departed Lasqueti early in the morning to make the 25-mile cruise down the east side of Lasqueti Island, then over the north side of Jedediah Island, around the south end of Texada Island and finally east to Pender Harbour Dock. It was a beautiful cruise seemingly removed from civilization with natural breathtaking beauty for as far as we could see. Spending the night in Pender Harbour Dock would put us in close…

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Lasqueti Island – Life Off the Grid

Lasqueti Island – Our fascination with this island had just begun – It was just a short 12-mile hop from our anchorage in Tribune Bay on Hornby Island to False Bay, located at the north end of Lasqueti Island. The roughly 42-sq-mile island is situated less than ten miles from Vancouver Island. We really didn’t know what to expect once we got to the island, but we had a feeling that we were in for a special treat. We had heard a little about the alternative lifestyle on Lasqueti Island during our last visit to the Pacific Northwest. We were intrigued but, due to circumstances at the time, the stop was bypassed. All we had heard was this… there was an island in the middle of the Strait of Georgia that, in more recent history, a bunch of hippies had made their home, living off the grid… in more ways than one. There are two docks, one at each end of the island.…

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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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Fox Cove Anchorage – Sucia Island in the San Juan Islands

We Anchored in Fox Cove for a Peaceful Night on the Hook – Our much anticipated return to Sucia Island did not disappoint. This time we anchored in Fox Cove cove near the beach to the campground, across a small stretch of land from Fossil Bay and the boat docks. When we arrived, one lone sailboat sat anchored between the mooring balls. Another small sailboat arrived near the end of the day. We decided to spend two nights in this spot.      We found out that this woman's (photo - below) husband built this boat from scratch. We think he used plans from Devlin Designing Boat Builders. A Black Crown 30. It's a beauty!

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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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Dinner Date with Bob & Nita on Nellie Too

Bob & Nita Welcome Us to Anacortes –  One thing we love about trailering our boating all over the United States and Canada is all the great people we get to meet, people we may not otherwise have the opportunity to get to know. During our many trips to boat in the Pacific Northwest we have bumped into Ranger Tug owners, Bob & Nita, on Nellie Too, several times. The first time we met them was at the Ranger Tug Rendezvous in Bremerton. It was our first experience with the Ranger Tug community. Bob and Nita bring their commercial-size margarita blender to all the rendezvous and happily serve everyone their delicious margaritas. They made a big impression on us then and we come to love connecting with them when boating in this part of the U.S. When Bob & Nita found out we were coming to Anacortes for a week, before we departed for our month-long stay in Victoria, they tried to anticipate our…

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BUMS Did A Great Bottom Job!

BUMS Did a Professional, Efficient and Seamless Bottom Job on Kismet –  Lisa asked that I write a post about my bottom. I looked at her with amazement that she wanted me to write about such a personal thing. But here goes! It had been over three years since I prepped Kismet’s bottom and applied two coats of non-ablative bottom paint. It was starting to show. During that three-plus year period, I did touch up the water line and bow area twice when the boat was on its trailer. That area was in good shape but the hull was truly in need of a bottom paint job. My goal was to have a complete sanding of the hull and have two coats of bottom paint applied before our Pacific Northwest summer cruising season started. We left Victoria, BC the first of March for Port Townsend, Washington. We had met the owner, Joe VonVolkli, of BUMS (Bottoms Up Marine Service) at the…

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