British Columbia Cruising with a Dog

Happy Birthday to Sally: Sweet 17 and Counting

Monday, August 12, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA



Cambria at anchor in Rae Basin looking back towards Estevan Point

 With a good forecast for rounding Estevan Point, we upped anchor this morning and left Friendly Cove behind for our next destination:  Rae Basin at the head of Hesquiat Harbour.  The bay itself is shallow throughout and requires transiting a bar but, because the conditions were calm (a one to two foot swell with one to five knots of wind), entering was straight-forward.  From all accounts, it's a flat, sandy bottom, but we couldn’t really see.  Not because of fog.  But because the water suddenly turned muskeg and smelled like rotting vegetation. 

Sally's eyeing her birthday treats 

After we anchored, I got busy baking because we had some celebrating to do – it’s not everyday that your dog turns 17 (that’s 92 in people years).  Once the cupcakes were cooled and frosted, David pulled out his guitar and serenaded Sally with a rendition of  “HappyBirthday”.  She came out of her “room” to see what the commotion was about but, like most teenagers, walked away when I started to sing along (everybody’s a critic).  But we managed to torture her long enough to get a couple of pictures in return for doggy treats. 

Celebrations aside, it was time to take stock.  The main attraction in Rae Basin is Cougar Annie’s Garden, five acres of land where one of Canada’s most colourful pioneers grew exotic plants for a mail-order nursery business.  In recent years, the garden has been uncovered and brought back to life as part of a heritage site and is supposed to be quite spectacular.  The only problem is that we have no idea where to find it (we later learned it was staring us straight in the face) and neither one of us felt compelled to physically search. 

The truth is that the smelly water dampened our need to explore onshore.  Whether it’s algal bloom or runoff from the recent rains, we’re not sure.  Either way, it’s disgusting and one night here will be more than enough, even if it means missing out on one of the highlights of the West Coast. 


The muskeg waters of Rae Basin

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