Recall in Part One, on August 27th we departed Port Angeles to explore the recently opened Canadian waters that had been closed for about 18 months due to Covid. On day four, we found ourselves pulling into Montague Harbour off Galiano Island. Already, Resa had buoyantly carried us halfway through our trip around B.C’s Gulf Islands.
Perhaps like many amatuer marine explorers, I get a visceral sort of excitement or anticipation when approaching a new coastline or anchorage. Turning into Montague, the oldest park in the Gulf Islands and a popular Canadian destination, I still had the feeling of thrill and discovery. After slowly motoring around the mooring field, surveying availability (about 15 of 40) and sufficient depth (10 ft. would work) we ended tying up to buoy #1. The depth instrument displayed approximately 11 feet of clearance at the time. Mooring so close to the cliffside put us right over a shallow rocky escarpment but closer to the beach and less neighbors. After triple checking the tide chart we confirmed that Resa’s deep keel wouldn’t go bump in the night. Time for some R&R and adventure shore-side.
We paddled our tiny tenders over to the well built “government” dock, walked up a narrow flight of wooden stairs to the park entrance and deposited our registration form and moorage fee ($12 CA) in the dropbox. It was a short hike through a dozen or so campsites to the other side of the peninsula. Remarkably, after being used as a midden for thousands of years, the beach is made up entirely of broken shells. It made sense that my beachcombing Canadian grandmother had a history of visiting this popular area of Galiano Island. After finishing the terrestrial loop around the park, we boarded our paddle boats and made for buoy number one, Resa’s temporary address.
It had been balmy in b0oth Westcott and Saltspring. But August was wrapping up and by the time we made it to Montague layers were back in vogue. The next day Resa dropped the mooring ball and sailed back in Trincomali Channel with the western entrance to the busy Active Pass in front of us and a dark, rainiy cloud behind us. After giving way to two BC ferries and a tug'n tow we continued towards the entrance to Navy Channel. An hour later, in Plumber Sound, the rain cloud finally overtook us, giving Resa, and our foulies, a well earned freshwater rinse (picture). Loren was happy as a clam reading his book below where it was warm and dry. Smart guy.
Our intention was to anchor in Lyall Harbour off Saturna Island. In fact we did... but not for long. Near the end of the long narrow inlet we found a peaceful, tree-lined anchorage with room for Resa. Unfortunately we misunderstood there was access shoreside to stretch and explore. Oh, well. The day was young, the sun was back and the wind was filling in. Time for Plan B, weigh anchor and sail to Port Browning. After an awesome southerly reach down Plumber Sound we turned west into the long finger inlet. Probably with a bit of Lyall mud still attached, I dropped the anchor about a 100 yards off Hamilton Beach. The anchorage wasn’t crowded per se but making sure Resa had plenty of swinging room between her two new neighbors took some adjusting in both position and scope. Once settled, Loren B-lined to the beach. He had had enough lounging around and just wanted to dig holes and comb the sandy shore. Two whistles from mom or dad and he would head back to Resa for dinner.
Back on Resa we settled in for a nice, light dinner supplemented with smoked salmon we picked up in Ganges. By 1900 hours the sun was down and the anchor light was on. Not an hour later we made like old cowpokes and hit the sack, err..bunk. Night sailing, under fair conditions, is as pleasant and adventurous as a day passage. The same experience can be said for anchor watch. At times I’ll crawl out of my warm and cozy berth at some wee hour of the night to check our anchor position. Much of the time the chore, surprisingly, will be a treat, a moment alone for introspection or a minute or two shared with the nocturnal world. This time I soaked up the quiet light from the Milky Way twinkling off the water and heard the screech of an owl hunting in the distant thick of trees. But more importantly, Resa was holding steady among our sleeping nautical neighbors (picture). In the morning we decided to visit Bedwell Harbour, literally right next to Browning. It was a flat and calm day for a motor ride. Interestingly, a ¼ mile long channel connected Port Browning to Bedwell. Unfortunately Resa probably wouldn’t fit under the 29 foot high bridge that spanned across the short, narrow waterway. Our alternative, not crash into a bridge but instead enjoy a smooth ten mile, two hour passage around South Pender Island and back into Bedwell Harbour (picture).
Our plan was to check out Poet’s Cove Resort (S/V Egret approved) on South Pender but as we approached the marina our sixth sense was verified, the resort was closed due to Covid. Sorry Erika, no Swedish massage this trip. We continued over to Beaumont Marine Park. Part of the Gulf Islands National Park system, Beaumont offered beach access, hiking trails and a protected anchorage. Truthfully the park was more our speed but we hope to return to Poets for a little frill another time.
A UCSC graduate in Marine Biology, Keith holds a 100 ton USCG Capt. License and is an ASA/US sailing certified instructor.