Gulf Islands 1.0

It’s been a while, but wanted to share a bit of the amazing experience I had in the Gulf Islands a couple weeks ago.  Kyle and his dad left Alena (yes, the boat finally has a name) in Otter Bay on North Pender after their trip around Saltspring.  I went out with the ferry Thursday morning joined by Jeremy to get it, and we stopped for lunch at James Bay on Prevost Island before continuing to Montague Harbour on Galiano.  While fairly busy, Alena is conveniently small enough to get in tight spaces close to shore, somewhat of a necessity without a motorized tender.

Jeremy had to leave Thursday evening, but I picked up new crew in Pouya and Juan arriving on the ferry he left on.  A couple good, longtime friends joined for a BBQ on the boat Friday before we continued to Winter Cove on Saturna Island.  Navy Channel proved a good technical spot to work on tacks and the winds remained strong all day.  The “nautical mile” map proved a bit deceptive as the “short” walk to the pub by the ferry terminal was actually a bit over an hour.  But the view and ambiance made it worthwhile.

Our sail to Village Bay on Mayne Island started strong but winds and currents and rain in Navy Channel forced us to motor the last 20 minutes to pick up Jeff, the newest crew member arriving by ferry from Swartz Bay.  We sailed down to Otter Bay for a BBQ lunch where we parted with Juan before continuing to Bedwell Harbour on South Pender.  Surrounded by much larger, more luxurious yachts, we felt a bit out of place, but enjoyed beers and fish and chips at Poets Cove restaurant.  By now we felt like real sailors and didn’t mind our modest set up, surely we were enjoying ourselves as much as any others around.

With uncertain winds for Monday, we set for Caddy Bay on Sunday morning, and except for some light winds around Stuart Island, had a fantastic sail taking just 6 hours to go the 48 km home.  Reports indicated winds of 18 kn as we passed Kelp Reefs, so heeling and rocking over swells were in abundance all afternoon.

It really was one of the best trips of my life, and the guys proved to be perfect crew.  I couldn’t bring myself to leave Alena when we tied up to our mooring Sunday, so one final sleep on board was just the remedy.  Can’t wait to get up there again!

Leaving Caddy Bay to get the boat to Cowichan Bay for Kyle's trip.
Leaving Caddy Bay to get the boat to Cowichan Bay for Kyle’s trip.
Flying the spinnaker by Sidney Island.
Flying the spinnaker by Sidney Island.
Supper on Portland Island en route to Cowichan Bay.
Supper on Portland Island en route to Cowichan Bay.
View from Portland Is.
View from Portland Is.
Alena in Otter Bay.
Alena in Otter Bay.
Juan and Pouya, Montague Hr.
Juan and Pouya, Montague Hr.
Winter Cove, Saturna.
Winter Cove, Saturna.
View from pub on Saturna.
View from pub on Saturna.
Jeff and Pouya leaving Otter Bay.
Jeff and Pouya leaving Otter Bay.
Arriving at Bedwell Hr.
Arriving at Bedwell Hr.
Bedwell Hr.
Bedwell Hr.
Bedwell Hr.
Bedwell Hr.
Which one is ours? (Bedwell Hr.)
Which one is ours? (Bedwell Hr.)
Haro Straight.
Haro Straight.
Pouya heeling.
Pouya heeling.