M/V DESERT VENTURE
Places We Go – Summer Friends
September 9, 2008
Where did the summer go? Where have we been?
Shawl Bay Marina, O’Brien Bay – Simoon Sound, Waddington Bay, Kwatsi Bay Marina – Mainland, Cypress Harbour – Broughton Is, Pierre’s @ Echo Bay, Potts Lagoon – W.Craycroft Is, Lagoon Cove, W.Craycroft Is, Camillion Bay – Sonora Is, Discovery Harbour Marina – Campbell River, Vancouver Is, Von Donop Inlet – Cortez Is, Discovery Bay Marina (again), Gorge Harbour – Cortez Is, Wiatte Bay – Octupus Is Group, Squirrel Cove – Cortez Is, Comox – Vancouver Is, Tribune Bay – Hornby Is. We anchored 16 nights and stayed at marinas 15. We went a total of 292 nautical miles in August, and have already gone about 80 miles, in September, as we head south.
Many of the stays were a night or two, but we stayed nine days in Von Donop Inlet. It is a beautiful little spot totally protected from all winds. We “weathered” several blows during that time with nothing particular to report. It was blowing 25 to 35 knots out in the main channels, but was breezy in Von Donop Inlet. There was no room for fetch, so we got some breezes, but no real winds or waves, and not much horsing around by the boat. According to one boater the highest wind we had was 17 knots, one time, but it was double or more out in the Strait of Georgia. We were quite content to sit on the hook. We had varying weather conditions from total summer, to dark and pouring-down rain days. They seemed to come two or three at a time, so we were kept from boredom by the changes. The number of boats varied from 5 to 25. There was a sailboat there the entire time we were there, and one other power boat that stayed one day less than us. We realized we weren’t the only people that thought it was a good place to hang out for awhile.
One very interesting phenomena, to us, were the jelly fish. The Moon Jelly Fish is not poinsonous, thankfully, as people were swimming whenever the sun came out. And that was often upon their arrival, so they didn’t know that when it was overcast or very cloudy, up from the deep came thousands and thousands of these little Moon Jelly Fish. They were so dense that we waited until sundown, when they would “go below” to run the generator, as we knew they would totally plug up our generator sea strainer in short order.
(When we got to Campbell River Capt cleaned out the strainer. It had many poor jelly fish, but was not as plugged as we feared it might have been.)
We also spotted this fellow a couple times this summer, after Von Donop Inlet. They may be Sea Blubber.
This past month has been one of reunions and meeting new friends. It is always wonderful to hear a beloved boat name being hailed on the VHF. Boaters are constantly hailing each other on Channel 16, then going to another channel to chat. Of course, every one can listen to their conversation, and often do. It can be boring out there putt-putting along…and well, you may want to know where they are going or not going, as the case may be. Beware to not tell any secrets on the VHF! We had been expecting a dear boating buddy, Mac on CAPTAIN’S PARADISE to come cruising in from SE Alaska. We were anxious to see him one more time this season, before he headed south to San Francisco Bay, and then San Diego. We have enjoyed many an evening together telling each other our sea stories and catching up on mutual friends. So, it was, that CAPTAIN’S PARADISE sailed into Pierre’s@Echo Bay in time for the famous Saturday night Pig Roast – an extremely popular event in The Broughtons. We had a great time at the dinner, and especially enjoyed it with Mac and Gracie being there.
We both got underway the next morning for ports to the south. Though Mac was on a pressing schedule, we managed to spend several days cruising and evenings dining, playing Mexican Train and Hearts, and talking away the evenings.
Really, that seems to be what cruising is about to most boaters. We all enjoy our solitude, but then one day, we need social interaction. You never know when the next passing dinghy will be holding your next best friends. Sometimes, there is but a wave as the boaters pass by, sometimes a few words, and sometimes a friendly invitation for happy hour, that turns into a friendship. We were busy working on D/V’s windows, while at anchor in Gorge Harbour, and a couple cruised by on their way to the dock. On their way back, Capt waved, called out a hello, and expected to be back at his work, when the couple slowed down, pulled along side and chatted with us. Next thing you know we had a warm invitation to come to TENAKEE for snacks later. Wow, our favorite thing – a party with new friends! We ended up spending some wonderful hours together over three different days, and will keep in touch with Bruce and Ida, looking forward to seeing them again.
Friends, on RHAPSODY, sailed in from SE Alaska while we were in Campbell River this last time. Diane was very ill with the flu, so we are waiting for another time to have our reunion with them. At the same our friend Dean on NALU pulled in right behind us. He made a wonderful crab bisque, and we provided the rest of the meal and it was a grand night. It turned out to be Neal’s birthday, too! His was the second surprise birthday we celebrated aboard this summer.
We almost met good friends on DUTCH TREAT at Shoal Bay, in late July. By the time they arrived the docks were full. We offered to let them side-tie to us, so they would have easy access to the docks. They politely declined our offer and anchored out. We passed each other there, with just a word or two, but not meeting. Then one morning we both departed and ended up at Blind Channel Resort – next to each other at the dock. And then we met! We dined together at the restaurant at the top of the dock, and had a fine evening. We both went our separate ways the next day – us to Port McNeill and them to continue cruising. The night before we left Port McNeill, there they were at the dock. They came for dinner, with Peter celebrating his birthday with us, and a new friendship is surely born. We are looking forward to seeing Peter and Katherine soon!
At the same time in Blind Channel we met the folks on RISKY BUSINESS. We were leaving early the next morning and checked with them to make sure their fishing boat was clear of our departure. When we arrived in Port McNeil, there was RISKY BUSINESS waiting for us at the dock! We enjoyed several nice times with Jack and Sharon. Thanks to Jack we had a great crab dinner! We hope to see them again one day.
We had said our goodbyes to TENAKEE the other day, then heard them on the VHF this morning as we were headed to Tribune Bay (our current anchorage (many days ago, now)). We had a nice little chat, promising to meet up again. And as we finished the conversation we were hailed by SPIRIT OF MONIQUE (who was listening to our last conversation – and we’re so glad they were )! Wow, were we excited. The last time we had seen these dear friends was in Mazatlan, MX, at El Cid Marina. We had hoped to see them all summer, but didn’t hear a word from them. It turns out they were in the same harbor as us back in June, at the same time! And now they are headed a north as we head south.
Yesterday, in Comox, as we came down the docks from having lunch, there was TEKA III. We met them in Newport, OR, as we were both headed north this past March. We hope to see them again soon, as we were headed south, and they are headed north.
Some meetings are fleeting, at the time. Most boaters exchange boat cards that have the name of the boat, the couple’s name, with address and phone info. You never know when you will run to find the card to refresh your memory for the next time you meet. So, you see, we all come an go, one direction or another, but somehow fate brings us in touch with dear friends, and introduces us to new friends. It is a wonderful life that we lead.
One of the things that intrigues me, is the coming and goings of the boaters. Though there are many boats, it is often that we pass the same boats going the other direction, then days later find them at our new anchorage or dock. We don’t have a schedule, though many boaters do, and there is obviously no “required direction” for cruising, so off everyone goes first thing in a morning, for their next destination, hurrying to get the best spot at the dock (which some boater has just vacated) or the best spot in an anchorage, all moving too and fro, trading spots, never ending up at the same place, then one day you see a boat whose name you have heard all summer. Oh! So that is what that boat looks like!
Though there are untold spots to go, the cruising guides report the most safe – reporting the holding, the wind protections, noted rocks or hazards, highlights – like trails or stores, etc., and these are the most popular spots for the boaters. The charts will tell you depths, holding, and you can tell from the topography if you will be protected from the winds of the day, but there is something comforting for some, having a guide give details in friendly written format. After visiting many of the places described in the guides, I believe there is a personal preference of the authors, though they try to be general, it comes out. And, those are the places you will see the majority of the boaters. Those locales being less in numbers, means that more boats go from one to the other, then back, making a rotation of the favorites. We have our favorites, and when you see our track for the summer, you will be able to spot several of them.
Our season in British Columbia came to an unexpected end, when we decided we would like to winter in Portland, OR. We figured we probably had a two or three week for a weather window. We were going to continue to visit our favorite spots as we worked our way further south. We stopped in Comox, where we had WIFI and Capt got a good look at the weather, and wouldn’t you know??? There was a perfect opening coming in less than a week. So off we went on our last cruise to Ganges, where we met good friends on SANCTUARY. We spent two days with Steve and Karen, and then the next day found us in Port Angeles.
Though I have mentioned many new and old friends, I didn’t begin to mention them all. These friends represent the many ways we meet as we go along. Marinas often host potlucks or cocktail hour with the boaters bringing food. In all these settings new acquaintances are made and new friendships are born. Sometimes boaters decide to go along together for a few days, or promise to meet up somewhere later in the summer.
Now hold on tight while I switch gears to get you to where we are now. We are now in Gray’s Harbor, WA, on the west coast. Our trip down yesterday, from Neah Bay, was long, but easy. We expect to spend one more night here, and then it is over the Columbia River Bar we go. I will put out a brief blog on this trip.
The good news is we just have more cruising ahead of us, and more friends to see and meet along the way. Life is good aboard DESERT VENTURE.