Barkley Sound British Columbia

Barkley Sound: The Best of the West

Tuesday, September 03, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA

Our final day in Ucluelet was a busy one.  After walking Sally, David and I went into shore – me to take some pictures of the town and him to visit the chandlery for a new battery.  He found one (and only one) but they weren’t able to tell him how many amp hours it had.  An online search of the model number came up empty as well so we decided not to buy it and, to reduce our energy consumption even more, start turning the frig off at night.  Hopefully that will enable us to make it through to the end of the season. 

Next up was the internet cafĂ© to download a complete weather picture for the next week and check our options for winter moorage.  Yesterday we received word from a friend that Poulsbo wouldn’t be accepting livaboards this year, so David sent off an email to re-confirm our reservation and to let them know that we’d be coming in a month early due to our battery situation.  They responded quickly but added that the port hasn’t been able to negotiate a new contract with the city to expand their liveaboard status, so they’re not accepting them for the 2013/2014 winter moorage season.  We can still berth there but wouldn’t be allowed to stay overnight for more than 12 days out of 30.  Obviously that won’twork for us and we’re a little put out that we had to do the leg work in order to learn about this.  Had we shown up next month and not had the berth we were promised under the conditions we were promised it, we would have been pretty upset.  As it is, we’re only a little disappointed.  Every winter we say that it’ll be our last in Poulsbo, but we keep coming back because of the community and convenience.  After five years, that’s finally going to change and we're looking forward it.

Probably the most photographed building in Ucluelet, the wreckage lies on the main drag.

Boat Basin, the main marina in Ucluelet.

With our the last of our onshore duties completed, we returned to the boat and upped anchor, stopping by the fuel dock to top up the water tanks and fill the jerry cans with petrol before motoring 14 nautical miles to Effingham Bay in Barkley Sound.  Part of the Broken Group, Effingham Bay is one of the most popular anchorages within the Pacific Rim National Park, and for good reason:  It’s large with ample swing room for more than a dozen boats, has dramatic sunset views, and offers some of the best protection within Barkley Sound.  Not only does it attract conventional boaters and sports fishermen, but kayakers come from all over the world to explore the surrounding waters. 

We found a spot next to Sarita, who was onshore when we arrived, and started to work on plans for dinner when Richard stopped by with a brilliant idea – an anchorage-wide beach fire.  Coming down the coast, they shared several anchorages with a boat named Linger Longer, who is also with us at anchor.  Kirk and Kris recently sold up and moved aboard with plans to cruise down to Mexico next year.  One of their favourite pastimes is sitting by an open fire, a passion they carried over to their cruising life and ignited (yes, pun intended) Sarita.  Never ones to miss a good fire (or a good time), we were quick to join in.  When all was said and done, the crews from seven out of the eight here showed up – fourteen people in total from all walks of life, including a young couple from the Seattle area on their honeymoon. 

It was a brilliant evening all-around.  The conversation and the drinks flowed late into the night and we were the last ones standing along with Kirk and Kris.  It was one of those rare nights along the coast – the sky was clear and the stars shone from horizon to horizon.  There wasn’t a breath of wind and their brilliance was reflected back in the still water.  It was sometime after midnight when we made our way back to the anchorage, and that’s when the real light show began. The water surrounding Effingham Island is plankton-rich, and the slightest disturbance results in an explosion of bioluminescence.  As we made our way home, the dinghy cut through the water leaving an incredible trail of green light in its wake.  People all over the world pay good money for similar experiences, and here we have it at our doorstep . . . life is good!

Richard and Katya setting off a Chinese Lantern while having a beach fire.

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  1. Hello David & Stephanie!! How wonderful to find you! I tracked you down via Blog Nation and am so happy that I did! Neil and I (the Seattle honeymooners from this bonfire night) had a wonderful time meeting you. We started a little blog a couple of months ago and are on the countdown to head south this fall - We wish you well and hope to see you again. Please let us know if you might be in the neighborhood. By the way, your new blog looks great :) Looking forward to following along! ~Jessie, s/v The Red Thread, Seattle WA

    1. Hi Jessie and Neil! What a great night that was! David and have been wondering how you guys are doing! And now we can follow along. Brilliant!