British Columbia Hot Springs

Hot Springs Cove: Alone at Last

Saturday, August 17, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA

The view from the hot springs

One night anchored in a place as busy as Hot Springs Cove would normally be enough . . . normally.  But I can be somewhat obsessive and was bound and determined to get my fill of hot baths without the additional company of fifty strangers.  The weather did its part to help my cause:  Day after day of approaching frontal systems, weakening lows, dissipating troughs and weakening cold fronts played havoc with the conditions.  All along the coast, gale-force southeasterlies blew, causing the sea state to rise, and rain poured down in buckets – the perfect excuse to go absolutely nowhere.  And, in all honesty, after moving every day or two, the break was welcomed.

Hot Springs Cove (also known as Refuge Cove for a good reason) offers protection from all quadrants, except the south.  The five moorings described in most cruising guides are long gone; but the holding is good in mud and, apart from sailing around a bit at anchor and the wakes from passing boats, we were comfortable as we waited for the weather to pass through.  The only challenge was getting Sally to shore.  Dogs aren’t allowed in the park so we had to go beyond the best protection from the peninsula into a slight chop and swell to get her to land. 

David making the long walk to the hot springs

But today’s a brand new day.  The wind has subsided, along with the seas.  The rain has stopped.  And the barometer’s on the rise, which could explain why David woke up with a rotten head this morning.  He doesn’t get headaches very often but, when he does, they can be debilitating.  To his credit, he got up early anyway and walked the two kilometres with me to the hot springs, which we were finally had all to ourselves. 
Enjoying the time alone at Ramsey Hot Springs

After four trips, I can say with 100% certainty that this is the only way to enjoy them – without distraction and with the one you love.  Quintessentially West Coast, the granite pools look out onto the Pacific Ocean as waves crash along the rocky shore, unfolding an impressive scene.  It truly is beautiful but tourism has made a significant and negative impact on a place that otherwise would be among our favourite hot springs (that honour goes to Bishop Bay where the water is odorless, the temperature is just right, and pools are easily accessible).  Sadly, the daily influx of tourists and the facilities built to accommodate them have sanitized this natural wonder. 

As if on cue, the first tour boat rounded the corner at 9:00 am as we gazed out to the Pacific and we knew our time was limited . . . in 30 minutes the silence would be interrupted, replaced by the chaos of excited tourists.  Even still, it was difficult to leave this place behind, in all its scenic ruggedness, so we lingered until the first sightseer appeared and it was time to move on. 

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