Monday, July 23, 2012

Blaine to Comox Summer Vacation 2012 - Days 1 - 5

Day 1 - 7/19/12 – Thursday – Fall City to Blaine

We have been really looking forward to this two week cruise from Blaine to Comox, B.C. and back on our CD25 Cruiser Daydream, and are anxious to get started! There is a C-Brat Get-Together in Comox, B.C., next weekend, so we have decided to take a week cruising up and a week cruising back down. We had a fun planning session at the Taproom and we have a tentative itinerary that includes a lot of our old favorite spots and a few new ones. We are going with Garry and Vicki Anderson on their Ranger Tug R27 Amy Marie, Jan Risheim on his new-to-him CD25 C-Change, and David McKibben on his CD25 Anna Leigh. While we are in Comox, Garry and Vicki will go to a Ranger Tug rendezvous in Ganges, and we will hook up again south of Ganges after the weekend.

Today's plan was to go to up to Birch Bay for the night with Garry and Vicki, and launch early Friday morning at Blaine. We got off to an inauspicious start, I hope this is not an omen! I came home from work at 3 p.m., and we were ready to leave Fall City for Birch Bay at 6 p.m. with Garry and Vicki Anderson. Pulling out of his driveway, Garry hit the brick pavers at the end of the driveway and took out the sidewalls of both port side trailer tires. Thank heavens for AAA and Les Schwab emergency road service! Garry got two new tires, and we were ready to leave now shortly after 9 p.m., a little later than planned!

We had an uneventful trip up to Birch Bay, arriving shortly before midnight. We decided to put Daydream on the grass and Amy Marie in the driveway. It was a little more difficult than anticipated backing Daydream onto the grass in the dark but we finally got her tucked in. Then the darn trailer ball would not release from the coupler. We struggled with it for an hour, and it finally came loose. We didn't get to bed until after 1 a.m., definitely not what we had planned for an early start!

Day 2 - 7/20/12 – Friday – Blaine to Cabbage Island

Baxter got me up at 5:30 a.m., so I got a total of four and a half hours sleep. I picked raspberries from our 20 foot row at Birch Bay while I was waiting for everyone else to get up, the canes were just loaded! We put a couple of trays in the freezer that we will bag up when we come back after the cruise, and we all got a nice bowl with our breakfast.

Patty and Vickie at
dock in Blaine

We were all kind of dragging after the late night, and it was about noon before we were able to get going. We launched at Blaine and cleared Canadian Customs at White Rock. We ran most of the way to Cabbage Island at about 7 knots. There were some pretty good sized waves in the Strait of Georgia but we just slogged our way through them – the boat handled them fine but we were a tad uncomfortable ourselves! Anna Leigh and C-Change were already at Cabbage Island on mooring buoys. Daydream and Amy Marie snagged the last two available buoys, and so we are set for the night. I got the Alaskan Series dinghy down and put the little 2 horse Mercury outboard on it – and amazingly, it started right up. I took Baxter to shore, emptied the water out of the dinghy and pumped it up, and I think we will probably get a lot of use out of it on this cruise.

Anna Leigh
We have great memories of Cabbage Island from a prior trip, where Anna Leigh and Daydream met up with our amateur radio friend Norm Lim from Victoria on his Albin 30. We picked oysters, and Norm blanched some oysters he had picked and tossed them in a hoisin and cilanto dressing that was just fabulous. I was not sure whether oyster season was open in July or not, but there were “toxic shellfish” warning signs all over, so we did not take any oysters.


Amy Marie
We had drinks and appetizers on Amy Marie, now dubbed the "party boat”! Jan is aces with those Maker's Mark Manhattans! It is dead calm right now, and drop dead gorgeous here but cold – we had the Webasto heater on this evening turned up to high. Looking forward to a good night's sleep tonight for sure!

Amy Marie in Strait of Georgia

19.5 NM / 8.3 gallons used = 2.3 NM / gallon

Day 3 - 7/12/12 – Saturday – Cabbage Island to Montague Harbour

Baxter got me up at 5:45 a.m., after a good night's sleep! I rowed him ashore and back and then got the coffee going. Not much better than the first cup of coffee in the cockpit on Daydream! We are still close enough to Mount Constitution on Orcas that I was able to do our morning ham net with the little 5 watt Wouxun handheld.

Jan, David, Patty, Vicki and Garry
Old building on Tumbo Island
After breakfast, we hiked around Cabbage Island – not too strenuous, it is a very small island! Leaving Cabbage Island in the dinghy, the lens shade fell into the water, and I thought it was gone, gone gone. Then we went over to Tumbo Island to take a look around but had to leave as the tide was going out rapidly, and we didn't want the dinghies stranded. We went back over to Cabbage Island, and found the lens shade in a couple of feet of water and were able to retrieve it!

We decided to head for Montague Harbour before lunch. Active Pass was running strong against us, but we saw two pods of Orcas coming right down the center! It was a wonderful show, but unfortunately I did not get any pictures.

The other boats all grabbed mooring buoys while we anchored. We are all pretty close together near the dinghy dock. Daydream was the “party boat” for drinks and appetizers today, it is pretty tight with six on Daydream's cockpit but we managed it!

Then, the highlight of Montague Harbour, the Hippy Bus to the Hummingbird Pub! We caught the 6 p.m. bus up on the road above the camping area, and true to form, Tommy Transit, “Bus Driver on a Mission,” was at the wheel of the old bus. This is hard to describe, it has to be experienced! Tommy has the stereo up loud, and is drumming on the steering wheel and cymbal mounted over the driver's seat, keeping up running patter that has everybody laughing. In the old days, the bus used to have a pole, and on the trip back, Tommy would be up on the pole steering the bus with one finger on the wheel, but the “new” Hippy Bus does not have the pole. We surmised that perhaps a few people felt a bit unsafe with the bus driver swinging around the pole although we never felt unsafe. The food is OK at the Pub (actually pretty good) but the trip back with Tommy is the best part because it ALWAYS features “Blueberry Hill,” and everybody singing along, clapping, and tapping toes. This is an essential part of the Gulf Islands experience not to be missed! Sorry, did not get any pix of Tommy Transit or the bus!

34.34 NM / 13.4 gal = 12.5 NM / gallon 

Day 4 - 7-22-12 – Sunday – Montague Harbour to Conover Cove

We slept in until 8:30 a.m. and headed out for Conover Cove about 10:30, cruising 6.5 – 7.0 knots.

At Conover Cove, all four boats were able to tie up to the dock – a sign of the times! In past years, Conover Cove, which is quite small, would not only have the dock full but boats would be anchored and stern tied on both sides, and you would be lucky to find a place at all if you came in a bit too late.

Conover Cove is magical not only for what it is now, which is pretty special, but for what it once might have been. It was going to be a resort for Hollywood movie stars, and some of them once came, including Marilyn Monroe. A few of the cabins still stand and in the open dance pavilion you can still perhaps hear the strains of the swing bands if you have a vivid imagination. Now everyone puts their boat name and date of their visit on a piece of driftwood and hangs it in the pavilion – we memorialized Daydream's visit on driftwood in 2008, and it still hangs there among thousands of others.

Patty, Jan and I walked to Sunset Point, and were treated to just another spectacular vista over the water. We were a bit too early for the actual sunset but we did not want to be walking back in the dark. This is a great place, and I am sure we will visit again some time in the future.

40.52 NM / 15.4 gal = 2.6 NM / gal 

Day 5 - 7/23/12 – Monday – Conover Cove to Ladysmith

Jan called the Ladysmith Maritime Society Marina in Ladysmith from Conover Cove and made reservations for our four boats.  Our assigned spot was barely longer than our boat, but Patty did a great job bringing Daydream in, and with our friends to catch lines, we got in fine.  This is a first class marina!   We have power, water and free showers! We have never been to Ladysmith before, so this is a first for us.  We usually anchor out but after a few days, you realize a hot shower is exactly what the doctor ordered!

We walked up to town and got some Canadian money from an ATM - up to now, we really had not needed any, but better to be prepared!  Then we went to the Liquor Depot - wow!  BC prices for anything alcoholic are outrageous! 

We are headed for Nanaimo and trying to decide where to stay between Nanaimo and Comox to break the trip up, but if push comes to shove we are thinking of making the trip, about 50 miles, in one run at, say 14 knots - not a long day, but we will just have to see. Our main issue anchoring out anywhere along the way is getting Baxter to shore.

As we were sitting on the dock for our sundowners, Bob and Marilyn Hale (Waggoner Guide) wandered by, and we chatted a bit.  Bob took a shot of our little group, maybe it will show up somewhere, maybe not. Bob was no help in finding a spot to spend the night between Nanaimo and Comox! 

We had a great communal dinner on the dock, but it is still doggone chilly for this time of year - or as we say, it is really mild for December!  Except it is in fact the middle of July.

52.09 NM / 21.5 gal = 2.4 NM / gal 

1 comment:

  1. Say Hi to the Harbor Master Mark for us. Aren't those new showers great?

    Herb and Willie