Sum It Up Sunday the Inside Passage

Spending Time in the Strait of Georgia

Sunday, January 11, 2015S.V. CAMBRIA

The official start of the fall storm season had arrived and it was time to move south toward more settled weather.  So, after waiting out the last of the bad conditions, both Cambria and Salubrious upped anchor and left Gorge Harbour and Cortes Island behind for the year.  To help make the process as painless as possible, we threw in a couple of new anchorages along the way: Mitlenatch and Savary Islands.

Mitlenatch is the largest seabird colony in the Strait of Georgia and home to over 10,000 birds (including the Glaucous-winged Gulls, Plagic Cormorants, Pigeon Guillemots and Black Oystercatchers).  Unfortunately, they nest in the spring so our bird-watching was limited but we did see some beautiful Harlequin ducks along with Stellar sealions and, of course, hundreds of harbour seals.   

From Mitlenatch, we moved down to Savary Island for the night.  The forecast was for the wind to go light in the evening, but it didn’t and we spent the night beam-on to the northwesterlies.   We had some protection on the south side of the island, but the swell wrapped around the corner and rocked us all night.  It’s not surprising.  Savary Island is a roadstead anchorage, after all.  But its claim to fame isn’t protection; its white sand beaches are and they’re really nice though we won’t be making a return trip in the future – once was definitely enough. 

The following morning, we parted ways with Salubrious again, but only briefly.  David and I stopped off in Westview for the afternoon to fill the water tanks, buy some provisions (chocolate) and shower.  We met up again that evening in Musket Island Marine Park where we spent a couple of nights before moving down to Pender Habour to finish off the week.

Come Monday, it was time for us to move on, leaving Salubrious behind once again.  I have a real affection for Jedediah Island in the Strait of Georgia and wanted to spend a couple of days there before we had to worry about the next round of bad weather.  Normally a popular destination, we were surprised to find ourselves alone in Deep Bay where it was lovely and quiet – the first peace we’ve had since Von Donop Inlet.  Our time was going to be short, so we made the most of it by going to shore Tuesday afternoon and walking to Home Bay and Driftwood Bay, taking the time to enjoy the brilliant sun and the last of the summer’s warmth.  With his knee still bothering him, David went back to the boat while I continued to Mount Gibraltar.  The view from the top is incredible and well-worth the time and effort it takes to reach.  But my excitement was interrupted as I made my way back to the anchorage and heard voices – we were no longer alone!  In fact, the population of Deep Bay had tripled in my absence. 

Feeling a bit crowded, we left Jedediah Island the next morning around and continued south to Nanaimo to take care of some boat business and reconnect with Salubrious . . .  briefly.  We were off in the morning, going our separate ways for the final time of the season – them to Telegraph Harbour and us to Princess Cove, another new anchorage. 

By Saturday, we found ourselves at odds with what we should do.  I was feeling ready to tie up for the season:  It had been cold and damp in the mornings (55 to 57 F degrees) and our heater wasn’t working.  David had some parts on order which had already arrived in Victoria but Lance, our heater guy, wouldn’t be available to look at our unit until Wednesday.  David normally takes care of these issues himself but hadn’t had any luck diagnosing the problem and really wanted a second pair of eyes on the situation.  The trouble was the weather.  Not only was it cold in the mornings but there is a very nasty looking system that’s moving its way down and will hit the area by the end of the next week. We could move down to the US on Sunday and into Kingston on Monday or Tuesday, but that wouldn’t resolve the issue with the heater or put us in a position to pick up the spare parts we need.  So, in the end, we decided to stick it out and move down to James Bay (Prevost Island) for the night.  From there, we’ll go to Tod Inet (a hurricane hole) to wait out the weather and meet Lance before taking the next opportunity to cross the border and make our way home for the winter.  If all goes well, we’ll be back in Kingston by the middle of the month!

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