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Strait of Georgia, Gulf Islands, Juan de Fuca

6 August 2018 | MB
Our third day in Von Donop Inlet. It is the only time this trip we have stayed in the same place three days. Luckily there is plenty to do here. Today we went for a kayak tour of the shallower parts of the inlet before the heat of the day. Most of the inlet and surrounding land is a provincial marine park except for a couple of small sections of shoreline that we explored. Of course, the non-park areas have a few houses but they are tastefully done and aren’t really visible from the core area of the park. We paddled for about four miles, which is a long way for us in our inflatable kayak. Our arms could tell when we got back to the boat. After that we just tried to make as much shade as possible and stay in it.

7 August 2018 | MB
Our longest day this trip, 56 miles. We’re in Tribune Bay on Hornby Island, a popular anchorage with a long white sand beach. The trip down the Strait of Georgia was routine except for three different sets of humpback whales. One of them was particularly exciting with fun slapping and even a couple of spectacular breeches. Now we are unwinding and rigging the boat to block as much sun as possible while listening to the distant sounds of kids playing on the beach. Since you can get to this island by car, via a ferry, this wonderful beach tends to get lots of summer visitors. It kind of reminds me of going to the Jersey shore when I was a kid. Fun in the sun.

Plenty of sandy beach and room to anchor at Tribune Bay

Plenty of sandy beach and room to anchor at Tribune Bay

8 August 2018 | MB
It really felt like we were on summer vacation today. We kayaked ashore this morning and did a hike to Helliwell Park. It’s a wonderful trail along the top of a cliff overlooking the bay and the Strait of Georgia. Total distance is 6.5 miles, part of which is along a quiet road connecting the beach to the trailhead. By the time we got back the tide was coming in and there were lots of other people on the beach. The beach is so shallow a slope that walking out 200 feet into the water it’s not even up to your knees. White sand bottom and nice sun-heated water. Later we kayaked over to the nearby clothing-optional beach which wasn’t as nice, though nowhere near as crowded as you might expect. It’s a lovely place and well worth a stop during settled weather. This is our fourth trip here and we’ll definitely come back.

Superb hiking at Helliwell Bluff

Superb hiking at Helliwell Bluff

8 August 2018 | MB
We are in the Gulf Islands at last, anchored in a little nook in Clam Bay. It was another long day in the Strait of Georgia in light winds and lumpy seas. And kind of boring until we got near Nanaimo where the number of boats increased dramatically. We had to dodge other cruisers, sailboats, ferries and a plethora of whalewatching boats that converged near us to watch two humpback whales feeding. Plus lots of buoys from commercial crabbing operations. The weather continues to hold but we are struck by the layer of smog in the air down here that was missing up north. We’re back in civilization now.

10 August 2018 | MB
Our trip to Winter Cove involved quite a lot of ferry dodging around Active Pass, but otherwise was uneventful. We had current with us most of the way which was nice — it seems so much better to be going 8 knots rather than 6. We went for a short hike to Boat Pass and by then friends Bev and Kris had anchored next to us and we spent the rest of the day partying, first on their boat Kia Ora, and then on ours. What fun. It was a real joy to see them out on the water again.

Anchored near friends Bev and Kris in Winter Cove, watching a beautiful sunset

Anchored near friends Bev and Kris in Winter Cove, watching a beautiful sunset

11 August 2018 | MB
We’re back in the US of A. We cleared customs over the phone and went directly to Suchia Island in the San Juans. It’s pretty busy here but about what I expected for a Saturday in August — Suchia is quite close to Bellingham so it gets a lot of weekenders. We went for a bit of a hike, about 5.5 miles out to Johnson point, no relation. We are making every effort to wind down from the cruising lifestyle, without much enthusiasm or success. But we’ll be home soon. Sigh.

Sunset is getting earlier each night. Another nice one at Shallow Bay on Suchia

Sunset is getting earlier each night. Another nice one at Shallow Bay on Suchia

12 August 2018 | MB
We had the ebb current with us and made a quick trip over to Cypress Island, taking a buoy in the small nook behind Cypress Head. The chief attraction of Cypress Island is the great hiking trails. We hiked about 8 miles and gained around 1500 feet of elevation — a good workout. We hiked up to the abandoned airfield that is struggling to return to nature — the hard packed gravel surface doesn’t provide much opportunity for plants larger than grass. We also went by three lakes. A lovely place. Almost all of the island is a state park and it is well cared for. We are finally getting in the hiking we couldn’t do up north where there are very few trails.

13 August 2018 | MB
Watmough Bay. A picturesque anchorage on the southeast corner of Lopez Island is our chosen destination for our last night in the San Juans and to meet up with our friends Craig and Ellen who are just starting their cruise aboard their sailboat Pilot Project. They have never been here before so we took them for a short but steep hike to the top of the cliff that borders the bay. We had dinner on Mischief and they brought crab they had caught near Everett the day before. It was wonderful to see old friends and catch up on all the happenings of the last months.

Crab dinner aboard Mischief with friends Craig and Ellen in Watmough Bay

Crab dinner aboard Mischief with friends Craig and Ellen in Watmough Bay

14 August 2018 | MB
We are in Mystery Bay on Marrowstone Island near Port Townsend, which has become our traditional return destination from our cruises. We do the same things here every year — walk up the road to the Nordland general store and have a Whidbey Island ice cream bar. They come in lots of good flavors and are a wonderful treat. And on the way back we pick blackberries which are so plentiful along the road it hardly slows us down to get two large plastic bags full. So it’s fresh blackberry cobbler tonight and more berries in the morning in some fashion, with plenty to bring home with us, so at least we will have some food in the house. It has been a fantastic trip. Karen and I spent 2,192 hours together continuously, we spent 92 days / 91 nights on the boat, stayed at 10 dicks and 3 mooring buoys and spent 78 nights at anchor. Of those 78, 31 nights were spent in coves with no other boats. What an amazing trip. Until next year…

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