Desolation Sound Marine Park

Solace anchored in Desolation Sound Park

The northwest wind was heavy and steady at 15 to 20 knots. It had been like that for three days with no end in the forecast. My engine appeared to be running well, so I shoved off the dock and carefully dodged the other boats transiting the Lund Marina. As I rounded the most northern point of mainland before Desolation Sound Marine Park, my engine began to sputter. I throttled down to just above idle, hoping I could limp in. No dice. With a half…

The Sunshine Coast

From Nanaimo, I sailed due north, up to Welcome Passage. On the back side of the peninsula that houses Smuggler’s Cove, is another, mush lesser known anchorage called Frenchman’s Cove. It’s a crazy tight anchorage. I accidentally (fortunately?) arrived at low tide and idled through a passage that was only twice the width of my boat. At one point a huge boulder loomed in front of my boat, only a foot underwater. I threw the boat into reverse, then forward again, slowly creeping by it…

Canning Seafood While Cruising

Preparing Oysters to Can

At Frenchman’s Cove I came across a pile of perfectly sized oysters in clean water. As a local recently reminded me, the ‘red tide’ will soon be making an appearance with the warmer waters and so the availability of oysters will only go down hill from here. How can I preserve the harvest? I’ve flirted with canning, but it’s always seemed like more trouble than it was worth. The canner I have in storage is a *huge* 24 quart monster. Canners, jars, and supplies take…

Cornet Bay, Deception Pass

Solace at Rosario Head

Today was one of those rare days where not one single second of it sucked. The entire day was a conveyor belt of fun and engagement. I started off this Saturday morning by waking without an alarm clock. A friend and I were going to head inside Deception Pass, but I wasn’t sure which island I wanted to end up on. I laid in bed and considered my anchorage options for that evening. Hope Island was a favorite, but the off-season is a great time…

Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 2

Tumbo to Whaler Bay

Sunday, 8/31/14, Day 2 Saturday night we all dropped separate anchors, avoiding the kinetic pinball mistake we’d made the night before. We all slept soundly and woke up refreshed. As usual our initial plans changed completely to take advantage of the changing tide and wind conditions. The original plan was to sail from Tumbo Island to Whaler Bay, off Galiano Island. We all agreed to leave late in the day to take advantage of the evening winds for sailing. That would give us the morning…

Crabbing with Family

Bayliner 288

After years of cheerleading and encouragement directed at my parents to get a four-season boat so that they could join me on adventures, they finally got one. No-one in my family but me has any sailing experience, despite three generations of avid boating, so it was no surprise when they purchased a Bayliner 288. The four-day trip we took last weekend was months in the planning, yet only considered a ‘trial run’ for the three-week trip we’ll be taking in September. If it wasn’t for…

Summer Sailstice

I’m pointed north with two sheets to the wind. The breeze this morning is coming from the southeast and I’m on a downwind run heading northeast from Watmough Bay on Lopez Island, to Eagle Harbor on Cypress Island. It’s Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. As I write this I’ve got my Genoa jib up trying to grab as much of this 10 mph wind as possible. I’m averaging 4-5 mph and haven’t had to tack once in the last 10 miles. I’m…

Sailing in Solitude

Bowman Bay Rocks

When I set out the water was as placid as a lake. The only ripples were those from my bow cutting through the calm, cold water. This weekend I was headed to Bowman Bay, just west of Deception Pass where Fidalgo and Whidbey islands meet. This is a great little bay with a floating dock, three mooring buoys, and another dock at Rosiaro park on the other side of the bay. It’s a tricky entrance though. The mouth has three rocks, one of which is…

Surrounded by Porpoises

Harbor Porpoise

You can never count on the weather in November, but you can always count on good boating friends! Again, I had extravagant sailing plans for the weekend but they were for not. But the weekend was not without its pleasant miracle. Wednesday and Thursday were blustery and the forecast was for steady 8 mph winds for Saturday and Sunday – perfect sailing weather. Midweek I was playing with the idea to sail to James Island. The dock is gone, so I had fantasies of dropping…

Watmough Bay, Lopez Island

Watmough Bay on Lopez Island

I set off towards the sunset, the water as smooth as glass. Every time I leave the dock I get a high, a rush, from the sense of freedom; the sense of escape. It’s a confirmation that I am not defined by my life on land. I am a boater. My home floats. The islands are waiting to feed my body and my soul and my small craft can handle whatever they throw my way. I am one with this environment. This weekend feels especially…

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