the Gulf Islands

It’s Gonna Be a Bright (Bright) Sunshiny Day

Wednesday, March 02, 2016S.V. CAMBRIA

Finally! We struck gold – golden rays of sunshine, that is. And are currently enjoying the longest bought of fine weather we’ve seen all season – 11 days in a row. It’s been bloody fantastic! And we’ve been making good use of it, doing all of the things that make cruising such an enjoyable lifestyle for us: exploring new anchorages, hiking, kayaking, watching the sun set and the moon rise.

It started last Friday. We’d been hiding out from the weather in Tucker Bay when we got our chance to move down to Nanaimo. Once we were there, the sun broke through the clouds and the wind started to blow from the north. But more importantly, the forecast was good so, after taking care of some business in the city, we made our way through Dodd Narrows and into the Gulf Islands. Our first stop: Wallace Island Marine Park – a favourite of ours.

After a few days, we were ready for a change so we moved down to a new spot: Walker’s Hook on the east coast of Salt Spring Island where we sat on the beach and watched the cows come home.

The wind was forecasted to reach 25 to 30 knots out of the northwest Friday evening, too strong for Walker’s Hook, so we moved down to the protection of Montague Habour. It was a dreary, foggy morning with visibility ranging from a half mile down to 50 metres, but it cleared by noon and we were back in business –  the sunshine business. After a couple of nights, we were on our way again in search of new horizons.

We don’t spend a lot of time in the Gulf Islands (or the San Juans, for that matter) because we prefer quieter, more remote destinations. By the time we are here, the weather restricts us to well-protected anchorages. But this season, we arrived early enough to get off the beaten path and finally visit one of the places I’ve had my eye on for years: Cabbage Island Marine Park, which lies directly off the Strait of Georgia.

Cabbage Island is small in size but big on diversity . . . and beautiful views. The western shore faces the anchorage and is lined with sandy beaches. The eastern shore is Chuckanut (a sandstone-based conglomerate that looks exactly like its name sounds) and faces the Strait of Georgia. In the middle of the island, there are marshes with groves of arbutus, Garry oak and Douglas fir, adding to the diversity.

It’s a beautiful spot, one we hope to visit again in the future, but it’s time to move on. There’s a change in the weather coming and we need an anchorage better protection, so we have to leave the fun and the sun behind while we hide out for a few days. If the forecast holds, the fine weather will be back in no time at all . . . and so will we. 

Note: This blog entry was written Tuesday, 06 October 2015.

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  1. Cabbage island is one of my very favorite places to visit. The weather has to be just right. One night we were anchored there and awoke in the middle of the night to a big fishing boat bearing down on us. They were adrift and we were in our little Cal34. The owners had chosen to spend the night on the beach, rather than their boat, something I would never even think of doing at Cabbage Island, where conditions change rapidly. Somehow Mike was able to snag the boat and tie it to us with line and fenders as other people on shore woke the sleeping owners. Our anchor held us both for the rest of the night until it could all get sorted during the daylight. Cruising. One adventure after another. Still, I love that place. Did you look at the geological features there? Fascinating. Best rocks ever.

    1. We really enjoyed our time there. The diverse geology is just one of the reasons (not only is chuckanut fun to say, it's fairly unique). But you're right. It's easy to imagine the conditions changing quickly there and I would hate to be around when that happens! The Strait of Georgia can be ugly . . . and dangerous.