Well, we are back from our first—and likely only—cruise this year. And I think I can safely say it was a success. We saw some new anchorages, hiked some new trails, met some new people, had some great sails (and finally some good downwind ones) and learned quite a few things.
- 58 days
- 8 (-ish) weeks
- 434.8 nm (805.3 km) travelled
- 26 days traveling
- 8 marinas visited
- 20 nights in a marina (only 8 were paid for—the other nights were in our home berth)
- 33 nights at anchor
- 5 nights on the hard
- 0 nights on a mooring ball
- 7 new anchorages visited
- 5 popular Desolation Sound anchorages that we had to ourselves
- 1 new marina visited
- 120′ of new G4 chain
- 4 new motor mounts
- 2 pieces of teak refinished
- 0 whales, dolphins or any other large sea mammals :-(
- 681 images captures
- 333 film clips (62 gigabytes of files)
We had so wanted to make it back to the Broughtons, but after talking to a few of the marinas up there about services in April, and the fact that Leslie was going to break up our trip by flying to YYZ at the end of May, we decided to limit our trip to Desolation Sound. And it was magnificent. Over and over again we had popular places like Smuggler Cove, Garden Bay, Laura Cove, Squirrel Cove and Teakerne Arm all to ourselves. For the first 25 days our definition of a busy anchorage was 4 boats. And when we headed south in mid-May you could see the stream of bigger boats heading north and we smirked in self-satisfaction.
Sure there was rain. And cold. But on average we saw some blue sky every second day and there were always times we could go for a hike or walk without being poured on. We quickly settled into a 13° C rule (55° F). If the temperature in the cabin was 13° or lower when we (I) crawled out of the berth, then we fired up the Webasto diesel heater. If it was 14° (60°F) or higher, we just boiled water for tea and toughed it out with blankets.
And the weather meant we moved a bit more than previous trips since there was less lolling around in the sun. In the past we have tended to try to stay 4 nights and max out our battery capacity before heading to a marina to do a bulk recharge. But since we were only staying in anchorages 2-3 nights, generally the couple of hours engine time going from one anchorage to another was enough to recharge the batteries sufficiently to keep ahead of the dreaded 50%-discharged level. And that saved us tons of marina fees.
The only downside of the trip was we when we both caught colds and discovered that rain + colds + wilderness anchorages = misery. So we spent a few unnecessary days tied up at an off-season resort (cheap!) and pampered ourselves with unlimited heat and hot showers.
And we had some great sails. Maybe not as many as we had expected, but it was nice to sail in moderate winds for once. It seems too often on this boat, we have sailed in light winds or reefed down and holding on for dear life. And we got some good downwind sails in 10–20 knots — and I finally experienced the real deficiency of the B & R rig. In Ganges, I ran into a fellow with Hunter 380 who had spent ~$9000 to add a slick roller-furling gennaker to compensate for the poor direct-downwind performance, but at that price, I think I will stick to just gybing my way downwind. At least cranking in the main over and over is good exercise.
Will we do the early-season trip again? I sure hope so. We had a ton of fun and there were very few negatives. If we can continue to cover most of our boat ownership costs with July-August-September charters, then having the boat for up to 2 and half months in the shoulder seems a perfect solution. This year we were off mid-June because we had a charter booked for the last two weeks of the month, but I might consider not doing that next year as it would be nice to finish off the cruise with some really warm days for ourselves. But then again, maybe not. We had some nice days and I remember all those boats heading north—I wonder if we might be turning into sailing misanthropes? Oh well, there is always Alaska.
Now all I have to do is see if there is anything worth posting in all that video I shot.
The Interactive Map
I broke the map up into three legs: Desolation Sound, our return via the Sunshine Coast and the Gulf Islands. You can see some of the stats from the Navionics tracks from the sidebar or if you go to the Google maps site, although they aren’t completely trustworthy as I run Navionics on my old iPad and it has a tendency to crash—so I have to go in later and edit the tracks by hand thus screwing up the stats. There seriously has to be a better way…
|24-Apr||Nanaimo Harbour, Newcastle||23-May||Plumper Cove|
|25-Apr||Nanaimo Harbour, Newcastle||24-May||Plumper Cove|
|26-Apr||Smuggler Cove||25-May||Nanaimo Harbour, Newcastle|
|27-Apr||Smuggler Cove||26-May||Stones Boatyard|
|28-Apr||Garden Bay||27-May||Stones Boatyard|
|29-Apr||Garden Bay||28-May||Stones Boatyard|
|01-May||Copeland Islands||30-May||Stones Boatyard|
|05-May||Squirrel Cove||03-Jun||Clam Bay|
|06-May||Cassel Lake/Von Donop||04-Jun||Clam Bay|
|07-May||Von Donop||05-Jun||James Bay, Prevost Island|
|08-May||Taku Resort||06-Jun||James Bay, Prevost Island|
|09-May||Taku Resort||07-Jun||James Bay, Prevost Island|
|11-May||Octopus Islands||09-Jun||Russell Island|
|12-May||Octopus Islands||08-Jun||Russell Island|
|16-May||Texada Island Boat Club||14-Jun||Stones|