M On Pender HIl 15

Across two straits

JULY 2  2015  |  Escaping Seattle just in time for the hot weather this year, we’re off on a month long cruise to Desolation Sound.  For once the weather looked good enough to head across the Strait of Juan de Fuca instead of going thru Deception Pass. We made good time and decided to go thru Port Townsend Channel. Anchorage is not so good at Pt Townsend, so we drooped the hook just before Kala Point for some peace and quiet.

Calm the next day so Michael treated me to some puffin spotting at Protection Island before crossing the Strait. Got boarded by the Coast Guard in the middle for a safety check. The day turned cloudy and cold. We actually had a bit of rain! Zoomed past the San Juans and went directly to Customs at Bedwell Harbour and anchored for the night.

Now in Canada, we needed to stock up on produce in Ganges. Then a short trip over to James Bay, so we could stretch our legs on a hike out to Peile Point, Hot and sunny again. Great sunset, plus full moon and Jupiter converging with Venus.

Very pleasant travel inside the Gulf Islands up to Dodd Narrows. We went thru just after max flood and hit 13.5 knots! Serious whirlpools on the other side tossed us around. Now exposed to the wind from the Strait of Georgia, we made our way past Nanaimo and anchored in Mark’s Bay. According to the forecast, we would have 20-30 knots during the night, with hope of it diminishing to 5-15 the next afternoon. That would be our only weather window for a couple of days to cross the Strait.  A short but strenuous dinghy trip got us to Newcastle Island for a hike all the way around. We bounced around all night at anchor.

The next morning was still windy in the anchorage, but Michael plucked up the courage to head across anyway, so we steeled ourselves with every seasick cure we had and ventured out. Once we got into the big waves, it felt manageable, and we felt good. Three hours of splashing later, we were headed up Malaspina Strait to the protected waters of Pender Harbour.

We anchored in Garden Bay, exhausted. Decided to give ourselves a break and spend two nights here. Today we hiked up the hot and sunny road to climb Pender Hill in 88 degrees. The reward was a huge dish of ice cream at John Henry’s in Hospital Bay. A detour but worth it. Eight miles total. Hot showers on the boat thanks to our new water maker. We’re happy!

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