Places We Go – Gulf Islands – Ladysmith Harbor

July 7, 2010

We have been on a slow bell all summer. We had lots of plans, and all were subject to change.  We waited in Telegraph Harbor to rendezvous with M/V ARKAYLA.

We were in Telegraph three separate times – 8 days total. We anchored out every time. There are two marinas in the harbor. This is a favorite destination and the harbor is very busy. Commuter float planes come and go several times a day. There is a constant exchange of boats daily.  Boats leave late morning, daily, headed to a new location, and shortly after boats start arriving from their last destination. It is a constant juggling of boats from one place to another.  There were many boats that anchored out.  Some of the boats were permanently moored on buoys, which seems to have just happened in the last couple years.

There is a lot offered in this harbor. One marina has a pub and restaurant, small grocery store and liquor store. The other has a few groceries, a deli, and a favorite ice cream counter! There is an “honor store” on the island, too. Customers shop, write down what they purchase, leave the correct money (cash!), and go on about their way.  There are fresh baked pies and other desserts, frozen meat- including lamb, canned jams, salsas, chutneys etc., and fresh vegetables and fruit.   The meat, bakery goods, canned items, and most of the fresh vegetables are grown on the island.  One other feature, here on Thetis Island, is a ferry that runs from Thetis Island to Chemainus. Many boaters come to Thetis Island, tie up to a marina or anchor, and then ride the ferry to Chemainus on Vancouver Island.  We have taken the ferry on several occasions.  Stand by for an entire blog on Chemainus!

We left Telegraph Harbor for Ladysmith Harbor. Bruce wanted to check this place out – we had never been there. We cruised the entire harbor before settling on a small anchorage just north of Dunsmuir Island. The sign showing the 49th parallel was in the north end of the harbor. Ladysmith is a busy logging port. We watched a handful of little tugs moving logs around for two days. There was a lot of shore side industrial noise and road traffic coming across the water, from Ladysmith, on Vancouver Island. We heard a train, too, which was news to us. It runs from Nanaimo to Victoria. Very neat! We might have ridden it if we had known about it. We counted two passenger cars. One other thing was the odor – very strong odor of fresh cut logs. It made me think of fresh cut firewood in the fall, but it was almost oppressive.

The first two days were nice. It was full summer, hot, and local folks were boating over from the island in the afternoon and evening to cool off and swim in little holes in the cove. It was fun watching all the people enjoy the water and picnics. At the end of the second day, around 1700, one of the tugs came over for a chat. It seems we were anchored in a place that would most likely be full of logs late that evening. He suggested moving about 200 yards. There was no 200 yards left in the anchorage – and in fact that couldn’t have been far enough! There was nothing left to do but haul anchor and move on – BACK to Telegraph Harbor. We saw the log barge as we departed Ladysmith Harbor. It was in the process of ballasting their port side in order to dump the logs. If you look close, you can see the tilt to the barge with the logs looking to take a dive into the water. What you can’t see is what we realized the little tugs were working at the last two days. They had created a huge – as in very long – boom, that would surround the dumped logs and move them to the working area we had just vacated.  A couple other boats moved, too.

Though it was not an entirely satisfactory stay, we can say that we have been to Ladysmith Harbor.  And so, at 1700,  we were underway to another Place We Go!