Port Hardy to Soiuntula

It’s been a very nice week (??has it been a week??) since we rounded Cape Scott, the northernmost point of the island. It feels like we are on our way home!… and ya know, we’re OK with that. We have thoroughly enjoyed exploring the West Coast. We did it up good! 😁

We sat in Port Hardy a couple of days, resting up, sitting out some strong winds, and just enjoying the town of Port Hardy. A friend of ours from Tacoma had driven up, and he & Jim had some great fishing! We really enjoyed having company.

And this is a reminder to anyone who might like to come up and meet us for a bit – we would love to have you aboard! Or we can meet you in a port anywhere along the east side of the island. Please just text or call & leave a message when & where you’d like to meet us. We are very flexible!

Port Hardy character:

Our neighbors in Port Hardy

We left early morning for a peaceful transit through Queen Charlotte Strait, into Broughton Strait, on our way to Sointula on Malcolm Island:

Sointula, meaning “place of harmony” was started by a group of Finns, attempting to create a society that was communal. They formed the cooperative store association in 1909, making it British Columbia’s oldest running cooperative.

Today it still feels like a utopia Community. We borrowed free bicycles to ride around the island. The local dogs and cats have the right away; if you come across one sleeping on the road, you let it sleep and go around.

We have met some wonderful locals, with whom we hope to continue a friendship.

And this wonderfully random moment, where our neighbor gave us a fresh crab, then practiced his tuba on his boat. 😊

Creative, content locals

Community garden

Hot Springs Cove

6/24/19

This is a late post because we thought we’d have Internet at Hot Springs Cove. Instead, as you know, it’s been very unreliable.

Hot Springs Cove is a very special place. The Hot Springs sit out on a dramatic, rocky point in Kyuquot Sound. There is no place to tie up or anchor a boat, so you have to go in 1 mile to the cove.

From there, a 1mi boardwalk runs through the forest. Most of the cedar planks that make up the boardwalk are carved with names and dates of people & boats that have visited the cove. Some are professionally done, some look as though they were carved spontaneously. It makes for a fun walk. The earliest date we saw was 1977, but I’m sure there are earlier planks, perhaps being worn smooth over the years.

In order to have some solitude in the springs, we woke up early and began our trek. At 7am a seaplane landed just beside our boat, and delivered a family of four. 7am!! We couldn’t believe it! So we picked up our pace and walked quickly along the trail to be first at the Hot Springs. We learned that the pools can be overrun by hundreds of tourists during the day. Can you imagine?!?! Boaters must go early morning or late at night to really enjoy some quiet soaking.

The very nice family that were flown in, showed up shortly after us. We ended up enjoying their company, and taking pictures for each other. They were from Texas (which they apologized for the stereotype of Texans) haha

It was their first time visiting BC, and what an adventure they’d had.

The pools empty out into the ocean.

And the top falls are VERY hot!

This is the exact waterfall that is advertised in brochures & online for Hot Springs Cove. Once again, almost to ourselves.

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Around the top & still having fun.

We went around Cape Scott on Tuesday, July 23. It is the last, largest barrier on the west side, so there is always anxiety and additional attention paid to weather, currents, and tides. We were fortunate, as we slipped out of Sea Otter Cove, it was a beautiful, sunny day, and the ocean was relatively smooth. Most importantly it was smooth going around the Cape, where a mile off shore can be only 30’–50′ deep, which can cause “confused seas”. That’s where I got sick last year…. it was very confused. 🤢

It was a long, 55nm (nautical miles) day, that took nine hours. A huge whale (humpback?) breeched just in front of our bow, about the same time we spotted two bears on the beach. And two others (possibly Minkes) spouted close enough for us to watch. Hundreds of eagles lined the channel, greeting us along the way. ….. they are as common as seagulls up here, but still breathtaking when you see them.

We finally got into Port Hardy, and the wind picked up, making it a challenge to dock. But I did it again!… my perfect record remains intact at about 20+ dockings! (okay, so twice I had to go around again, missing my first shot).

Our Canadian mates had planned to go on to Port McNeil. But they were a little pooped too, and came in behind us. They were very excited about their first time around the Cape, and we celebrated with a bottle of champagne and fresh sushi in the evening sun, toasting our success so far.

Yesterday we sat tight through a windy day, but it was anything but boring. We are on a public dock, where kids & adults caught salmon & flounder all around us all day! It was really fun to watch.

Port Hardy is a cute little town, and doing much better this year than it appeared to us last year. They have a wonderful older building that houses a café/coffee shop, an exceptional bookstore, and local artist gallery. It’s a very welcoming and relaxed place to catch up on phone calls and emails. I sat outside in the warm sun & enjoyed my alone time.

A friend of ours from Tacoma had driven up to Port Hardy to meet us, and he & Jim have been fishing together ever since. We will be having salmon & shrimp tonight. Yum!

Tomorrow, Friday, we plan to visit Sointula, on Malcolm Island. I will write more about that later.

Until then, feel free to call, text, or email me while I have good service. 😁

Here’s Cape Scott. Not as intimidating in a photo.

These totems are actually from Coal Harbour. Not much else in that village, but these are very unique:

The water…

This is not a reflection- it’s beneath the water

This was a cave, about 30’x30′, probably 30′ deep. Thats our mates in their kayaks.

Curios little seals swam close by, looking straight at us. This is looking down at one over the side of the dinghy:

Port Alice:

Pies, pooches, and pals

Did I mention the pies? Two pieces were not enough to satisfy us, so we got two pies! Apple for Brian and Sue, mixed berry for us. We had planned to split them, but they were still warm when we got them back to the boat, and all plans changed.

Later we picked so many huckleberries, we were able to make another two pies! Yeah, we really rough it on the boat, don’t we?

Just a Couple of cute sailing pups in their lifejackets, happy to meet each other on the dock

This guy could not be bothered with us, as he was concentrating so hard on the fish below.

Sue was thrilled when she did a perfect job rafting up to us, then caught her first lingcod – and it was a big one!

Fish

I got an email request for more fish pictures. Here ya go:

Our companion chef was in hog heaven!

These were from the charters in Tahsis. “It’s just starting to pick up”. 😳

These are the leftovers that they dump out at the end of the dock for the eagles. There were dozens feasting – it’s quite a show for the guests!

So much adventure, so little internet

We’ve had very little Internet service and no cell service for sometime now, so it may take a while for me to catch up. Hope you are all enjoying your summer!

Right now we are in Walters Cove, in Kyuquot Sound – one of our favorite stops from last year. Brian & Sue like it too, so we are staying an extra night.

There are no roads, no cars, and very few phones. There is a path around the cove that serves as Main Street. In front of certain homes it becomes a boardwalk. Children are running around barefoot on the docks, along the waterfront, in the water itself, jumping and squealing and perfectly comfortable in their environment…. It’s like Norman Rockwell meets Northern Exposure.

Here are a couple of shots of “Main Street”:

A long time between services

Today is 6/28, and we have service for the first time in several days. We are in Moutcha Bay, having explored the Tlupana Inlet. Heading to Tahsis on Sunday to meet our boat mates, who stayed in a quiet cove off Bligh Island while we explored. I’m going to catch up on a few highlights now, and talk about today later when we have service in Tahsis.

Our routine is pretty simple and delightful. The sun begins to rise at 4am, and we usually get up about 7:30 to have coffee on the deck. Depending on our activities of the day, usually by 7:30pm we are pooped, so we read, rest, play cards, or even just go to bed. It’s a little disorienting when i wake up at 9 or 10 and I can’t decide if it’s the next morning or if my clock stopped. It doesn’t get “black” dark until 11pm. The sun was still coming through our windows at 8pm last night, and these pictures were taken at 9pm (Sailors midnight):

We have thoroughly enjoyed Friendly Cove, in Nootka Sound. We visited last year, but didn’t go ashore.

There is evidence that proves Nootkan people had continuously inhabited the site for the last 4,300 years! History names Maquinna as the Nootkan Chief who met James Cook. There is a nominal fee to visit the island, which supports the village. We radioed ahead to ask permission to come ashore and were greeted warmly by Darrell. His family has lived here since the early 1960s. He told us about the many things to see on the island, and the opportunity to visit Master Carver Sanford Williams in his beach-side studio. Sanford’s work is very well known around BC, and we have seen it everywhere. What fortunate timing to meet him personally while he worked!

Sanford was very gracious, welcoming, and friendly. He was working on several projects, including a totem pole that he said would take him (only) about a month! He also made his own carving tools, and they were beautiful too. I would have liked to have taken more pictures, but I felt a bit intrusive.

One thing I noticed about Sanford was that he did not talk about his carvings all over the country, including the ones in Friendly Cove (all the totems that I will show you today, are his). He simply answered our questions about what was in front of him. He didn’t have much inventory, and obviously sells everything he makes. You would never know he was as well known as he is.

We all commented about how absolutely perfect the beach studio was. Wood shavings on the floor of a little shack with lots of windows and natural light, built right on the beach. In this quiet, idyllic cove, he did what he loved.

A short ways down a trail from the studio is a stunning totem pole that fell in 1919. It was beautiful with its age, ferns and plants growing out of it, and the carvings were still so intricate & interesting. Notice that even the color is still evident.

Over a small ridge from the beach is the “meadow” where summer gatherings and celebrations are held. And looking out to the open ocean, is a greeting totem. There were offerings on each hand.

There were offerings on each hand of the totem. I added mine.

There are pictures in the church of a young Sanford Williams & his parents on the day this totem was dedicated. Notice he is still wearing the necklace in both pictures. Doesn’t he look a lot like his proud Dad? 🙂

Young Sanford Williams, Master Carver

The totem looks out over a beautiful pebbly beach. We found out later that this is a whale rubbing beach, and they come right up on shore to scratch. The lighthouse keeper said a mama & baby were within 10 feet of her the other day while she watched. Unlike many hard-sand & rocky beaches, this one is very soft, and your feet sink several inches into the polished pebbles. You have probably seen the bathmats made of these stones. They’re beautiful and feel nice on your feet, but walking along an entire beach gives your legs and feet quite a workout.

Many look as polished as in a store.

Shells, abalone, urchin, see stars, oysters, mussels, and other treasures covered the beach! I could have stayed there all day. 

I did not rearrange any of these pictures. Amazing shells & color everywhere!
Look at the jewels I found!

At the end of the beach, we returned following the trail in the woods. There are five or six cabins that can be rented along the way, that are basic, clean & nice, with amazing views of the ocean and a lake on the other side.

And the entire island is sooo quiet, and along the path we found the old cemetery. I loved this old singer sewing machine as a headstone

As you enter, the big totem is for a very young girl. A picture of her pretty, smiling face was on the front.

The trail opened up again into the meadow, and on the other side we visited the church.

Inside there were extraordinary totems, I had never seen anything like this in any church.

Finally, we hiked up to the lighthouse, which provides a vital source of information for Mariners and islanders throughout the region.

To get there was quite a hike!

It seemed like they had their own tide pool. Gorgeous!

They use this tram to transport their equipment. Much easier than the trail, eh?
That’s Cariba & Beauty out in the bay. What a view!

 They had the best barbecue site I’ve ever seen!

Donna was a little doll, and showed us all around. She & Doug report their observations every three hours, dawn to dusk (as I mentioned, this time of the year, that’s 4am to 11pm!). She showed me her handwritten entries into her logbook. And the lightbulb they use for the lighthouse – The light reaches 18 miles! Can you believe it?!?

Doesn’t she look thrilled to have us visit? LOL

I think it would be fun to experience that lifestyle for a season. The winter storms are just amazing, and you can see how beautiful it is on sunny days. They are in need of temporary caretakers (2-3 weeks), so I’ll be  looking into adding that experience to our future itinerary…. 

We finished this near-perfect day with a huge slab of cod and fresh veggies on the bbq.  what a pleasant visit we’ve had. 

It seems like everything is GIANT up here. I’d say life is pretty good too…..

Fortuna Favet Fortibus!

Tofino and beyond!

June 17 – Tofino

Just one day in Tofino – we’re ready for some quiet seclusion.  ha ha. No, seriously, it’s not a metropolis by any stretch, but Tofino touts itself as a “surfer” town, and all that means. It’s youthful and trendy, very artistic & cute. It looks like an upscale SoCal beach town… but without the sunshine.  ;). We had some great sushi there last year, and bought a carving from a local native. We visited with him today and his son has joined him making traditional style rattles. They were very pretty. There is a large park in the middle of town with an incredible sculpture like nothing we’ve ever seen. I can’t seem to download pictures this morning, so that will have to wait.   

June 18 – Beyond

Pretty sure we won’t have service for awhile, so for those of you following on your map, we are going inland from Tofino up Browning Passage today into Tofino Inlet. Cariba will stay in Kennedy Cove for a couple of days (they prefer to anchor for a longer time), and we will continue exploring the Clayoquot Sound. We will be looking for Tranquil Inlet, because it sounds so… well… tranquil.  Depending on time & what we discover, we’ll either go up into Deer Bay at the very end of the inlet, or turn around & go back into Fortune Channel (that sounds good too – as our motto is “Fortuna Favet Fortibus”…. translates to “Fortune Favors the Bold”).  We will follow that around Meares Island to Bedwell Sound, and on to Clamus Passage.  That should be a very thorough exploration of the Tofino area.  I’ll check in when I can, but probably next week sometime.

Hope you’re all enjoying your summer too!!

Fortuna Favet Fortibus

Onward to Ucluelet

June 16 – I know how lucky I am to be able to call my dad for Father’s Day. So as we got into Ucluelet this morning, I got service & called. He’s the best! and I miss him. He was happy to hear from me, of course, and always makes me laugh: “How are ya, dad?”…. “Finer than frog hair!” 🙂  Here he is, the cutie:

HAPPY FATHERS DAY to all you good dads out there!  Send your own dad some love today, wherever he may be. 

We left Joe’s Bay in the Broken Group early this morning & headed to Ucluelet.  Brian & Sue are staying an extra day –  there’s lots of beautiful water still to be explored in those islands, and they have the coolest kayaks. They even generously shared them with us yesterday, and now I want one. (pictures will come later)

We had some errands to run in Ucluelet, and laundry to do, and we love to stop there. 

Entrance into the Ucluelet marina.

Years ago we discovered Ucluelet on a motorcycle trip with our friends Rick & Lorna. We all loved it! Last year we brought Beauty back for several days, and Rick & Lorna met us here to sail the last leg to Victoria.

 Ucluelet is a quiet, artistic town, and much more low-key than it’s neighbor to the north, Tofino (not that Tofino is bustling by any means – it’s just more trendy & youthful, I’ll talk about later). You can walk & see everything in a day, but there’s really no hurry. Probably the most friendly people we’ve met. The young girl at the ice cream shop walked around the counter to personally hand me my ice cream, and sincerely said, “Enjoy!” Every place you go, it’s like that. We always meet engaging & interesting people when we are here. People take time to tell you stories, or listen to yours – they’ve lived fascinating & intrepid lives, and encourage us to do the same. You hear “Good on ya!” instead of warnings & worry. We have found some very special places by visiting with the locals. Everyone always asks where we’re from, responds by saying “Oh nice!”, and without fail, “Welcome to Canada!”

Raven Woman
Surfer Girl
Friendly local resident

Last year we enjoyed an incredible rocky shoreline nature walk. 

This year we found Sake Sushi.  They just opened 3 months ago, and we’ve got to say, as sushi snobs, these guys gave Seattle a run for their money!  The service was impeccable, the presentation was beautiful (even when we chose to sit outside on a picnic table) & the sushi was delicious. Take a look:

melt-in-your-mouth fresh & delicious
my mouth is drooling looking at these pictures

Only one day in Ucluelet, then off to the open water again to meet Brian & Sue in Tofino.

Sidebar:

Today I noticed an unexpected, oh-so-subtle, Canadian accent in my voice…. My speech was a little more sing-songey.  I comfortably used the terms “wee bit” and “lovely”.   I softened my “a”s. My “p”s were a bit crisper.  I said “pro-gress” with a long O, rather than “prah-gress”.   hmmmm…. could it be already? (I do pick up accents quickly – a week in Nashville many years ago &  I was a-drawlin’ like a local yokel)

I smile each time I hear Sue’s charming terms like “bits & bobs” and “bless her little cotton socks”.

Speaking of Sue – I forgot to mention she caught her first crab all by herself – setting the pot, pulling them up, whacking & cleaning the vicious monsters (although she wasn’t a big whacker… that’s where I came in). She was thrilled! She shared her bounty & we celebrated with fresh crab, wine, and cheese. mmmmm…. (did I mention, the men got skunked on their fishing trip?)

Crab Queen

Fortuna Favet Fortibus!

The first long haul is over

Can it possibly be June 15th already?  I’ve got so much to catch up on….

I left you on June 11 as we set out of Sidney Spit to Beecher Bay.  It was going to be a 3-day journey along the Strait of Juan de Fuca (because there are minimum places to stop & wait it out).  It turned out to be so beautiful, calm, and quiet as we left at 5am… we felt like we whispered on our way out of Sidney Spit.

We made Beecher Bay by 9:30 am!  And it seemed like a waste of a gorgeous weather window… so just about the same time we all said “How about we go for Port Renfrew?!”

We all agreed, and 72 nautical miles and 10 hours later, we completed our longest day (nautical miles) ever on Beauty.  And man, were we whooped when we got in!  Desmond (“Desi”, our canine buddy) pretty much said it all…

The next morning, another 5am departure, and there was a beautiful smell (pine/spice blend?) wafting throughout the bay. Don’t have a picture of that…. but the sunrise did not disappoint.

Yes, I look a bit fried after that long day before.
Hoist the main at 6am

A 5 hour motor trip around Cape Beale to Bamfield, and we quickly remembered why we love this charming place. The tourist season has not yet begun, so we had the place mostly to ourselves. The locals are always so kind & generous – not weary of US tourists yet.  We hadn’t been on the dock but a few minutes, and a local fisherman offered us a slab of fresh caught ling cod!  Oh my gosh, our favorite!  Maybe because it was the first, it was melt-in-your-mouth delicious!  

Bamfield is such a special place. I’ll just show pictures & see if you agree:

A stroll along Main Street.
Boardwalk “Main Street”
Public “Treehouse Toilets” along Main Street. Compostable toilets with wood chips to toss in. No smell, no mess!
Look at that view!
No one was at the Bamfield Post Office, but they trust you. Why not, with the Queen’s picture on the back wall?
Intersection of Burlington Ave & Regent St – yep, through the tunnel.
Off Main Street is someone’s beautiful driveway.
A nice place to watch the “traffic” go by…
This is the way to commute! Look at the color of that water….

Today we sailed out into the Broken Group of Barkely Sound.  We toured the area last year, but it’s just not possible to see everything in one trip, or even two!  So many beautiful islands & rock formations, such clear, blue water, and clean skies….  Had a great sail, and Jim got a video I’ll download when we get to Ucluelet in a day or so.

The real adventure begins…

Tomorrow, June 11, we begin the circumnavigation of Vancouver Island! For those following along on the map, we will leave Sidney Spit and head south through Haro Strait. We will enter The Strait of Juan De Fuca around Victoria, and west through Race Rocks, and into Beecher Bay (or Sooke, depending on conditions).

The next day, from Beecher Bay, we will sail to Port Renfrew. The third day we will be shooting for Bamfield – a cute village with a “Main Street” boardwalk that encircles the bay. Bamfield is at the head of Barkley Sound, and the magical Broken Islands! I’ll most certainly be posting pictures from there! And hopefully have some exciting whale pictures to share from along the way.

Most boats circumnavigate counterclockwise – up the east side of the island, and come down the west side. That is the route we took last year. There’s lots of books & stories written about that route.

In fact I’m reading a new book titled “Sea Trial”, by Brian Harvey. He has started out sounding exactly like our experience last year – we set out on the same date (July 1), took the same route & stopped at some of the same places. We shared the same apprehension, planning, the steep learning curve, the challenging tides & currents, etc.. Actually, I’m kinda glad it wasn’t out last year… a bit of ignorance was bliss in our case. But it’s interesting to read it now, because I recognize the story.

This year we are going clockwise. We are well prepared, ready, and excited! There’s still so much more to see, and places we look forward to revisiting. Last year we logged 1400 nautical miles. This year will be more.

Today we walked along the long Sidney Spit. The weather was beautiful (70’s) and the beach was quiet.
We ended our evening discussing plans, pouring over maps, and firming up details… and of course eating… again.

Would you ever guess this is the Pacific Northwest??

Farewell Sidney… I’ll see you again in September.

Aloha my friends! I’ll write again on the other side.

Sidney Spit

Our Canadian friends, Brian & Sue, joined us today at Sidney Spit.  They live aboard their boat in Vancouver, and will buddy boat with us around the island!  We are all very excited to embark upon this adventure together.  

Cariba! Cariba! Cariba!

Their boat’s name is Cariba.  I just couldn’t wait to hail them on the VHS radio!  As they came into view, I rolled my “r”s & tried not to giggle –  “Cariba! Cariba! Cariba!” (giggled anyway, and pretty much forgot to say much more than that).

With all her Canadian politeness & poise, Sue responded appropriately, and directed me to the proper channel for communication between private vessels.  She didn’t even reprimand me about being too goofy (like the Coast Guard would do if I kept it up…)

Brian & Jim were childhood friends who sailed the South Pacific with their families in the 60’s, and they met up again last year.  

Sue is a nurse practitioner, an intelligent sailor with a wealth of information, and a fantastic baker. Needless to say she is an invaluable member of this team! (Warm cinnamon rolls are vital to survival in the wilderness)

This evening we are enjoying a beautiful, calm anchorage, surrounded by views of Mt. Baker & the Olympic Mountains. 

Sunset over Sidney from Sidney Spit

And celebrating our reunion with a huge lemon meringue pie from an amazing bakery in Sidney!

Finally in Canada

Well, it took longer than I thought to get this thing started. Not because of technology, but being so tired once we get into port each evening. We are remembering now that it took a good week before we got our cruising legs last year… different than sea legs, because it’s day after day with no rest. But boy has it been great sailing so far! Sunny skies, nice wind, and Beauty just slides through the water.

We took off from Tacoma with such warm sunshine, we were barefoot & in shorts & tees by the time we turned Browns Point. Easily felt like an adventure the first day.

We stopped in 4 ports we hadn’t been to (by water); Edmonds, Coupeville (on Whidbey Island), Bellingham, and then sailed to Rosario (on Orcas Island). From there, we met a college friend of Jim’s in Friday Harbor, and took he & his family on a sail around San Juan Island. This morning we saw our first pod of Orca whales as we sailed to Sidney, BC, in perfect weather. We’ve already been able to sail more this trip than last year.

I promise I’ll post more than sunset pictures as we go along, but for now, this was our first night. Pretty good send off….

Edmonds Marina
Coupeville has maintained the historic buildings, and is still as cute as can be.
A great time to visit Friday Harbor – the summer rush has not yet begun.
Like Canadians all over BC, Sidney residents are welcoming & friendly. We LOVE Canada!

Trying out the new blog

As most of you know, I’m slowly figuring out how to set up this blog. Please bear with me as I may be experimenting during the first few days (weeks? hope not!). Most importantly I wanted to get everyone invited that asked. Thanks to you all for your support and interest!

We set sail June 1, and I’ll be posting pictures & a log for the next couple of months. I sincerely hope you enjoy it. But please don’t feel obligated to “follow” – take a peek when & if you want. And always feel free to reply or send me messages too!

In the meantime, here’s a pic from last year’s adventure. I believe it was in the Broken Islands (near the southwest corner of Vancouver Island). Pure solitude.

Fortuna Favet Fortibus! (Latin: Fortune Favors the Bold)