Sailing the Gulf Islands, Part 8

Day 13, Thursday 9/11/14

Lady Smith Dock

Orion Sky docked up to Lady Smith dock.

After a good nights sleep, I checked in with my parents over the radio. We decided to leave my boat in Telegraph Harbor while we zipped over to Ladysmith for supplies in their boat. Ladysmith has made efforts to net their share of boater and tourist dollars by building a great short-term dock through the Maritime Society.

We walked the half-mile to town where we were treated to a well-stocked hardware store and grocery store. I was able to pick up a collapsible 5-gallon water jug, to make future water poaching missions more practical. At the grocery store we were able to buy a small, whole salmon for $12 – much less than we’ve spent on tackle, gas, and licenses.

After returning to Thetis Island Marina, we walked a few blocks down the road to pick up a fresh pie and were treated to amazing art pieces created by burning wood with a magnifying glass. The attention to detail was as astonishing as the time and dedication it must have taken to create each piece. It boggled the mind.

Restocking complete, we set off for Walace Island. A radio check with Andy resulted in plans to meet up near Ganges on Friday or Saturday, as we each traversed Salt Spring Island on opposite sides.

These central Gulf Islands really gave me a sense of ‘dodging’ islands as I first made a 135 degree turn around Tent Island, followed shortly by another 135 degree turn down Housten Passage on the way to Princess Cove on Wallace Island.

Tent Island, just south of Kuper Island looks like a park, but is not mentioned in Waggoners Guide. I saw picknic tables and easy anchorage, but not knowing its state of ownership, opted to pass it on the port side. I asked Andy about it later and he thought he’d read something about Tent Island being a park, but was given to the First Nation people and is no longer open to the public. That’s just hearsay though. I really don’t know what it’s state is.

Princess Cove was a tight, but long, protected cove with several large boats anchored in the middle, despite the plethora of eyelets for stern ties. A stiff northerly breeze made anchoring in the tight quarters a little tricky, but I managed to drop anchor and set a stern tie without looking like a complete idiot.

My father and I took a cursory hike and quickly stumbled upon a hornets nest next to the trail. Neither one of us got stung and we hurried back to the boats to toast our good fortune with vodka and tonic.

Day 14, Friday 9/12/14

Only a few minutes after waking up, I undid my stern tie and anchor. I rafted to my parents boat and charged my batteries off their generator while joining them for morning coffee. It had been three windless days since charging last and my batteries were sitting around 60% state of charge (SOC). I like to keep them as topped off as possible as it extends their lifetime.

Breakfast over, my parents and I hiked Wallace Island, realizing that my father and I had taken some ass-backward trail the day before. Now we were firmly on the main trail. Not too far down the trail, we began to notice salal leaves with faces cut into them and left in the middle of the trail. All along the way, every two hundred yards or so, we’d find one.

Happy Face Leaf

Happy faces cut into salal leaves were left all over the trail.

Eventually the trail lead us to an overgrown field with a decomposing pickup truck in it. The truck was littered with new and old happy-face-leaves and in the bed of the truck was this cryptic message:

Riddle on Wallace Island

I sowed my last field. Now follow my nose for a sailor’s minute to where I lay my head.

After thinking about it for a minute, I realized that hours, minutes, and seconds are units of distance in navigation. A ‘sailors minute’ is slightly over one mile (1.15 miles to be exact). I can only presume the riddle points the way to a headstone. We never found out as we wanted to hike the northern end of Wallace Island. Still, the impromptu happy-face-leaves and riddle was giving our little hike a blair-witch-project-esque feel to it.

As we hiked north to Cabin Cove, we continued to find new and old happy-face leaves. Apparently the natural artist hiked the entire island regularly. Whoever he or she is, I hope they read this. Random acts of art in the woods never cease to infect me with joy.

Decomposing Pickup Truck

The decomposing pickup truck with the riddle in its bed.

We left Wallace Island and motored the short distance to James Cove on Prevost Island. The whole way I attempted to hail Gladness and Izak’s friends on the sailboat Aquila with no luck. As we pulled into James Cove, I saw a pretty little Flicka rafted to a thirty foot wood sailboat with a bunch of half-naked, dirty hippies on it. I motored close and asked if it was the Aquila and they answered in the affirmative. “Hooray! I found you!” I shouted, and another dirty hippy joined the party.

Quickly rafting to my parents I hopped in the dingy and went to visit the Aquila. I watched them build a wood fire in the barbecue and roast oysters and fresh-caught Lingcod. After about an hour of getting to know her nine person crew (about half men, half women), Andy and Izak radioed in with a heads up on the forecasted northeasterly wind that would blow right into the mouth of James Cove. Our little armada weighed anchor and stormed Ganges on Salt Spring Island, four miles away, where we rendezvoused with Andy and Izak. The huge, calm anchorage and farmers market the next day made this the ideal anchorage for the night.

The Aquila

The S/V Aquila

After I dropped anchor, Gladness tied up to me and we caught up on the last few days. Then my folks called us up on the radio to invite the three of us over for salmon steaks. Yum! Afterwards we met up with the crew of Aquila on the docks of Ganges where we danced to some free outdoor music.

Another perfect day.

Related posts:

Crabbing with Family
Routine is Heaven and Hell
Tiny Floating Homes
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