Monday, May 26, 2014

Gulf Islands with Grandpa

We love having Grandpa join us on the boat. He has been from Seattle to Stuart Island with us already so we decided to have him visit for some sailing in the Gulf Islands. We sailed from Sucia to Poet's Cove where we anxiously awaited his seaplane. We watched as a seaplane landed just about on time and we all hustled down to the end of the dock to greet him. We watched a few people climb out but none of them were Grandpa. Hmmmm...what to do? We were all starving so we sat down at the restaurant for lunch and waited some more. Eventually his plane arrived and I rushed down to meet him while the others awaited our food. After hugs all around and lunch we headed over to Bedwell Harbor where we picked up the last mooring ball. Not taking into account that Grandpa had been awake since 4am and that he had spent the whole morning on airplanes, we decided to death march him up Mount Norman. In our defense we had forgotten how steep this hike is....poor Grandpa. He was a trooper. The next day we had a great sail to Ganges to get some groceries as we were all out of veggies on account of crossing the Canadian border. This shopping trip was supposed to be easy and relaxing. We would tie up to the dock for a couple hours, grab a coffee, peruse a bookstore, get some groceries and head out of town to Montague. Not-so-much. Apparently it was time for a Canadian three-day weekend, Victoria Day, as well as a race around Saltspring Island, so all the dock space was full and the harbor was also full of anchored boats bobbing up and down in the white-capping waves. But what could we do? We needed food so we anchored just barely out of the seaplane path and Grandpa and I eased ourselves into the bucking kayak to go get as many groceries as we could. It was a choppy paddle in as we surfed down the waves into the incredibly crowded dinghy dock. Luckily a kayak is easier to tie up than a big dinghy and we managed to squeeze in. At this point I had serious doubts about kayaking back to the boat without drowning. We worked our way through the crowded grocery store gathering as many food-stuffs as we dared. As we checked out, the cashiers found out that we were in a kayak and then informed us, "you know there are white-caps out there." Yep. We are fully aware of the situation, lady. Back at the dinghy dock I had to climb through someone else's boat to load our kayak and then we were on our way back to the boat with comments like, "it's a bit lumpy out there, eh!" and "I hope your chips don't get wet *snicker*" coming from shirtless, sunbathing Canadians. Very funny. Contrary to my belief that we were certain to capsize with groceries sinking to the bottom of the ocean, we bashed through the waves (I tricked Grandpa into taking the front seat) and arrived safely (and a little wet, ok, maybe Grandpa was soaked) back at the boat. Mission accomplished. After squirreling away our food, I raised the anchor and we set sail for Montague but along the way a lovely, empty anchorage at Prevost Island called our names so we anchored there instead. I cooked up some newly purchased fresh salmon and it bordered on divine. We sat in the cockpit and enjoyed delicious food while we watched stragglers from the sailboat race inching their way along through the sunset.

The next morning we climbed into the kayaks for a much mellower hike from James Bay out to the lighthouse point. Along the way we meandered through a picturesque old orchard with every tree covered in white blossoms. We were told there are sheep that roam the island. We found tufts of the wool along the trail but never laid eyes on them. At the lighthouse we ate lunch and lazed around in the sun before heading back towards the boat. We hit the beach at low tide so we took our time to check out the tide pools on our way to the kayaks. When we got back to the boat we headed for Montague Harbor. We arrived just in time to kayak in to shore, take a few turns on a beach swing and then catch the first Hummingbird Pub Bus of the evening. Wowee! This was quite the experience. When the bus pulled up, loud music was blaring from within. We were greeted by our drum-playing driver for the evening. Above the driver were a set of symbols and to his right a set of drums. As we rolled down the road he shook a tambourine with the music as he tried to pawn it off onto the people behind him. He finally had to tell the guy behind him to "take the tambourine, man, I'm trying to drive here," as he swerved all over the road. Thus it continued until almost everyone on the bus had a noise-making device of some sort or other. We're lucky our ears weren't bleeding when we exited the bus. It has definitely been named one of the highlights of the trip so far. After dinner and a return ride on the pub bus, the boys threw rocks to their heart's content as the sun set.

The following day we sailed to Portland Island where we hoped to anchor in Royal Cove but it was full. We figured the same would be true for Princess Cove too so we opted to anchor just on the other side of the reef from Royal Cove in what I will call Roll-y Bay where BC ferries passed by every half hour or more. We paddled in and took a short hike to Arbutus Point where we explored more tide pools before heading back to the boat. The next day the boys and I left poor Jason behind while he worked (and Grandpa rested). We hiked across the island to Princess Cove and then to the white shell beach where we explored, threw rocks, whittled sticks and watched humming birds and owls, all in the glorious sunshine. Jason and Grandpa eventually joined us and we all paddled back to the boat together where we enjoyed another lovely sunset.

Click here for photos.

Click here for a video of our sail to Poet's Cove.


  1. Great trip, great salmon, wet waves, long walks.

  2. Great trip, great salmon, wet waves, long walks.