British Columbia Gardner Canal

Saying Goodbye

Tuesday, October 04, 2016S.V. CAMBRIA

We have an affinity for remote anchorages and are drawn by the seclusion and the need to be self-reliant that they offer. Leaving one behind can be difficult, as is the case with Chief Mathews Bay, but it's time.* It's late in the year and lingering too long would be a mistake. There's clearly been a change in the weather over the last few days and it won't be long before the first major storm of the season arrives. So, we reluctantly upped anchor Monday morning and rode the tide 30 miles back to Europa Bay.


We made the trip to Gardner Canal for one reason: To take the opportunity to try to absorb the splendor of British Columbia's most beautiful fjord one last time. I can't say that we accomplished our goal. There's simply too much to take in. But between the two of us, I'm the lucky one. I'm the one who takes the pictures and writes the blog and, because of that, the memories are more clear in my mind than they are in David's. Even still, they don't compare to the reality and I couldn't stop myself from turning back for one last look as we slowly motored away from one of the most amazing places we've ever sailed.


We got to Europa Bay late in the afternoon and it was a completely different day from the one when we first arrived last week. The clear skies and sunshine had been replaced by clouds and rain the perfect conditions for soaking in a natural hotspring. It's funny. It was only a few days ago that every hatch in the boat was open and I was wearing shorts and a tank top, but it seems like a lifetime away. Now the boat's 58°F in the morning, the portlights are dripping with condensation and the heater's turned on all day.

 

We hadn't had a VHF signal for a week and were well beyond the limits of Environment Canada's three-day forecast, so we were anxious to get outside the boundaries of Gardner Canal and left the following morning. We now know a cold front is moving through the area, along with a trough, but everything should clear out by the weekend. In the meantime, we'll be able to make our way south, one step at a time, starting with Bishop Bay . . . and more lovely hotsprings.

 

We decided to wait out the worst of the weather there, and we weren't alone. Bishop Bay continued to be busy not only with boats, but with whales. They didn't come all the way into the anchorage, stopping short in the outer bay, but we could hear and see their blows in the distance as the rain fell. This morning, with the conditions having cleared for the most part, we quietly dropped our mooring line and carried on our way, escorted by a mother and calf. And just like that, our time in British Columbia's beautiful North Coast has ended, most likely for good, a reality that weighed heavily on our minds as we slowly motored south . . . saying goodbye is never easy.


 

*From Monday, 29 August through Thursday, 01 September 2016

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8 comments

  1. I love the whale photo. Just amazing. I'm the photographer and blogger, too, and for the same reason as you.This helps me remember everything; the places we've been, the feelings, the awe, all of it. Without the photographs I would seriously forget so much. My memory has never been very good, and seriously, there are things that Mike remembers that, when he mentions them, just do not exist for me. With the photos and blog, I can always go back. So photographing is 'part of the experience' for me, rather than something that 'takes me out of the experience.'. Nice post, lovey photos as always.

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    1. Thank, Melissa. You're so right. There so much about our time on the water that left an indelible mark in my mind thanks to writing the blog -- it's truly been a gift. The Blurb books that I make add to that and also put those memories into David's hands. My only regret is that I didn't write about Sally (the dog) much. She was such a big part of our lives. We have plenty of pictures of her, but not the stories that go with them.

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  2. Simply incredible! The mother and calf escorting you....just breathtaking.

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    1. It's a long way from the boatyard, eh?

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  3. It makes me sad to read that you are saying goodbye to this wonderful area. And what a goodbye it was with that final escort and amazing photo! Bittersweet is the word. The memories will last, in your blogs, your photos and your mind. New adventures await and new priorities arise. Stay warm and enjoy your trip south!

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    1. Bittersweet is the right word. I'm excited about moving on but, at the same time, know what we'll be leaving behind.

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  4. I'm sorry we didn't get to share any of those beautiful anchorages with you.(from afar ;-0 ) I look forward to visiting them and enjoying the solitude, and breathtaking beauty. Bill does most of the technical posts, while I do the other "stuff". I like the record keeping too, either way I hope readers get something out of it.

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    1. You never know, Donna. I think selling the boat will be an 18-month long process (once we officially put her on the market). Our paths may cross even yet.

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