Thursday: Knowing once Sept. hits, our chances of any multi day trips will be zero, we headed down for Sucia Island, the most northerly of the San Juan Islands, and just a short run south of our home port of Point Roberts. Having 4 days, we had debated about doing a longer trip, but having heard about all of the spectacular trails and scenery of Sucia, we opted to go for quality rather than quantity; and we weren't disappointed. We seem to be boaters of extremes; it seems whenever we go out it's either too much wind, or no wind. Today was light seas and hardly any wind. We opted to power over to start, and maybe do some sailing once we got closer.As it turned out we ended up motoring the whole way in. We swung in to watch the seals sunbathing on the exposed rocks of Clements Reef, and then took a few extra minutes to pull all of the kelp that I managed to foul the prop with. Oops. After that we continued into Echo Bay and tied up to a mid distant mooring pin, tossed our lunch in the tender, and rowed in to have lunch on the beach. As we came in, we kept looking for a supposed dock, but it wasn't to be found anywhere. Neither was any potable water. With there being 5 different bays on the island, we decided to do a little walking and see if we could find a better location to call home for our stay. So we walked over to Fossil Bay; finding plenty of nearby pins available, space at each of the 2 docks, and water & washrooms close by. So we made a brisk trek back to T/T BoB and buzzed over to Fossil Bay. I should have changed fuel tanks before we left, but we didn't want to lose our chance at a prime spot. I thought about the fuel again as we were coming into the wharf, but the Suzuki kept on going -had to be sucking fumes at that point. Met up with a lovely older couple, Jim & Veronica, as we came in. Turns out he had an old Venture 26 (precursor to the Macgregor) along time ago, and he was very curious about the 26M. They came aboard and had a good look around. I had an extra brochure on board, so left it with him. It wouldn't suprise me if I bump into them again, but next time they won't be in a Bayliner. That night we did a little walk out to the bluff on Fox Point. What a spectacular evening view; went to sleep to a clear night and a waning crescent moon. Friday: There's so many trails to explore on Sucia. We decided to do the longest one first and head out around Echo Bay towards Ewing Island. The tide was starting to ebb, and we saw a neat cave down by the water (near where we had originally moored the day before), so decided to do a little exploring. Although more difficult than the trails, the girls were all up for the adventure of climbing in, around, and over the rocks as we weaved our way around the bay. There were a couple of places where it took a little persuasion to get the girls to try getting around some of the obstacles, but assisted by the falling tide, we made it about 2/3rds around the bay. We ended up not going all the way out to the end of Ewing Pt., but had a great time getting to where we did. I missed saying goodbye to Jim & Veronica; Elsa was rowing me around the bay in the dingy, but with the extra dock space that was in front and astern of them, they left a nice 35 ft space on the dock. So at supper time, a 44 ft sailboat decided that was his space. After interrupting about 10 peoples dinner to allow him to squeeze in, we had a new neighbour. I had noticed there were a couple other Macgregors that had come in during the day and were rafted together out in the bay. Someone said they heard that there was a group of them coming out this weekend, so I looked forward to seeing what was to become of that. There was no moon tonight, and with anchor lights as the only other light source, the stars shone brightly. The girls hadn't noticed it when they had gone up to get ready for bed, so I hauled them out in their PJs to take a look at the heavens above. Those are the types of things that make it all worth while. Saturday: Woke up and saw a big old green Chris Craft with green canvas moored to one of the mid pins. It's kind of hard to not notice a boat like that, and I was sure that it wasn't there the day before, so I had Elsa row me out to say good morning to Gladsong II, another boat from Langley Power Squadron. They had guests on board, so I mentioned to him that a spot was opening up on the dock should he choose to be there instead. Another boat beat him there, but they rafted together until the two Camanos astern of us left, then Dave slid his boat back in there. This day we spent exploring the cliffs and chasms of China Caves over on Shallow Bay and got some wonderful suggestions for some of the other islands to explore from a newly retired teacher that was about to enjoy his first Tuesday after Labour Day off, in over 30 years. Congratulations Chris! That evening we had fun playing card & dice games. After suggesting to the girls that we watch a video on the laptop, we came to the realization that its' battery is nearing the end of its life; we got about 30 minutes into the DVD before it died Sunday: It rained for a couple of brief stints overnight, but clouds were lightening as we awoke. While most others still have till Monday to begin their returns to home, Lisa has to work on Monday, so we're heading off with the change of tide @ 900; water flat as glass. The canvas was still damp, so we left it all up for the first time under power. While it seemed a little dark, it did cut down on the wind noise considerably. I do think we'll look at completing the cockpit enclosure come spring. While it wasn't that hot sunny final weekend weather that we always hope for, it was still a great weekend. And another destination that we will visit many more times I'm sure. More photos
Pt. Roberts to Port Browning.
Seems like forever since we've been out! This has been the busiest summer in a while for scheduled events, and while we wouldn't have missed them for anything, the fact is between commitments and cancelled runs due to bad weather, we haven't gotten out.
The nice thing is that we now have our Nexus passes, so between that and the Boater Registration Numbers we got from Pt. Roberts Customs, that has made things much simpler; although the process of getting them were an adventure in and unto themself.
Wanting to catch slack tides through the Gulf Islands, we headed on our way to catch an early(ish) 9:45 slack. Because it was a low tide, and we've not gone through pass between Mayne & Saturna Isl. before, we opted to go through Active Pass instead; a little longer, but we're wanting to be out on the boat anyways, right? It was nice being able to just phone in to Cdn Customs and get a clearance number that way. If we were continuing on, we would of had a 5 min. wait and then continued on, but as it was our destination for the day, we didn't even have to worry about that. After a pleasant, flat, motor over we were at Port Browning for lunch. After lunch we took a leisurely 10 minute stroll up to the strip mall, enjoying many ripe and juicy roadside blackberries along the way. After the obligatory ice-cream, we were back to the marina. It was a hot day, and the first time we've stayed somewhere with a pool, so the kids were quickly into their suits and enjoying the pool. The Marina is for sale and although this was our first visit, it seems as though they're letting it go. Waggoner's painted quite a glowing picture of it, but to me it was not the same place that the travel guide described.
Friday: Port Browning to Montague.
Just a short run up to Montague. Unfortunately there was no wind at all, so it made for a quick trip with the motor. The early arrival did help ensure we got dock space at the park though, as we expected the place to get pretty full for the weekend; and it was! Montague is such a great place to go -especially with the kids. There was a great low tide for the kids to go exploring the shore and the midden bay. Girls made great friends (yet again) with a girl off the adjacent boat. After a nice walk to watch the setting sun from over on the north bay, and a rousing game of yahtzee, we called it a night.
Saturday morning Elsa awoke early and climbed out the vee-berth hatch to say good morning. Seeing way too much energy at that time of day, her first 'chore' of the day was to row us out to the converted Gabriola Island ferry boat, now serving as a floating bakery, to get some delicious, fresh from the oven cinnamon buns for breakfast. After breakfast the girls, along with a new friend from the neighbouring boat, collected some very colourful marine life. The kids were thrilled when the park biologist came over and asked if she could include their catch in her tidal shore display. After that they did a couple of hour examination of the low tide sea life. Lots more to see when you know what to look for.
The south winds came up quite a bit and blew straight up the inlet, tossing everyone around pretty good. Some boats anchoring pulled up and went around the point to the beach on the north side of the park to anchor there. It continued to blow till around 1930 or so. Then it died away as quickly as it came on earlier.
We headed off Sunday mid-morning, and allowed ourselves time to give the boat a good cleaning when we got back to Pt. Roberts. Another great couple of days. More photos