Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Stand up paddle surfing at Chatterbox Falls

Malibu Rapids

Rain forest hike

Sidney to Campbell River

We arrived in Campbell River last night after 5 wonderful days working our way up British Columbia’s mainland west coast from Sidney B.C. Last Wednesday night was spent peacefully anchored in Pender Islands Port Browning. We arrived there in the afternoon and kayaked ashore where we visited the local bookstore, market and bakery. The bakery offered wonderful whole wheat artisan bread that was impossible to pass up. It also featured an assortment of imported British food items that Anne remembered fondly from her childhood. On Thursday we continued northeast across the Strait of Georgia past the city of Vancouver heading for Secret Cove where we planned to rendezvous with our friends Doug & Patricia who were sailing southbound from Desolation Sound. When they arrived we were pleased to celebrate their anniversary over dinner aboard our boat. Doug & Patricia spoke so highly of the scenery at famous Chatterbox Falls that we made the 50 mile trip through beautiful Jervis Inlet and Princess Louisa inlet the next day, timing our arrival at Malibu Rapids at the slack water period that evening. The rapids are so narrow that only one boat can pass through at a time and care must be taken to avoid transiting the area during anytime but slack water. At peak flow the current can flow at up to 15 knots, which is faster than most large boats can motor. We’ve been told that numerous boats have been wrecked on the rocks there when they failed to correctly follow the narrow channel. Once inside Princess Louisa Inlet we motored through the majestic fjord to the numerous waterfalls at the end. Mark describes it like sailing into Yosemite Valley. At about 8:30 pm we joined about 7 other boats at the public dock, managed by Canada’s park service and within minutes were making new friends, sharing sailing stories and giving folks a tour of ”Blue Rodeo”. We had been underway for over 8 hours but were able to sail a large portion of the way with a light, warm breeze from astern and the time seemed to go by quickly. The scenery was absolutely majestic. The next day was spent hiking, paddle boarding and traveling by dinghy to the “Malibu Club” located at Malibu Rapids. The club is a summer camp operated by the Young Life organization for city kids from the U.S. who have never had the opportunity to experience the great outdoors and to challenge themselves in healthy, physical ways. Although in-between groups of guests, normally 300 at a time, a few camp staff was on the premises and one of them was nice enough to give us a very interesting tour. Our guide explained that the property was originally purchased by Tom Hamilton, inventor of the constant speed propeller for aircraft and used as a personal retreat for his family and Hollywood socialites including some famous actors. It was eventually sold due to the inconvenience of its location to the present association. The lodge buildings and facilities were amazing and the location was breathtaking. There was a full size swimming pool carved into the rock adjacent to the rapids and the dining room had a great view overlooking the entire area. We can only imagine what impact this camp and its healthy activities has on the many less fortunate inner city kids that visit. That evening and the next day was spent getting to know our new friends and restowing hundreds of pounds of hastily stored provisions aboard “Blue Rodeo”. Our final night there featured a pot luck dinner on the dock with great food, lots of laughter and music provided by David and James on their guitars. The group couldn’t help but sing along to many of our old favorites from the Beatles and Bob Dylan. Considering the magnificent surroundings and the great camaraderie, we found the evening magical. It served to reinforce what we have heard from other cruisers, and already experienced ourselves, that aside from the memories of the beautiful places visited, it's the new friendships made that will be treasured for a lifetime.

Dock party with new friends

Malibu Club at Malibu Rapids

Chatterbox Falls, Princess Louisa Inlet

Anne with a can of Treacle and required reading

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Leaving Sidney

Hi everyone,

After a hectic week at home in McCall we returned to "Blue Rodeo" in Sidney B.C. late Saturday night. The last 3 days have been spent biking around the area, and getting a few boat projects completed. One of our hydraulic back stay adjusters suddenly started leaking so a rebuild was necessary. After working on our water maker all day yesterday, Mark finally succeeded in getting it to produce fresh water. He felt a little like Tom Hanks in the movie "Castaway" where after struggling to start a fire and finally succeeding, he strutted and did a primitive dance chanting "I have made fire". Well, Mark chanted "I HAVE MADE WATER"!!! In preparation for our departure we biked into town last night and did a major grocery shopping run. We stuffed 2 large back packs and and biked back to the boat grimacing at every bump in the road as the extra weight we carried pounded our tender back-sides into our bike seats. We are shoving-off now for a short run up to Pender Island where we will do more exploring by bike and will plan to continue toward B.C.'s mainland (Sunshine Coast) the next day. We are a few days behind schedule but have been encouraged by others to take the time to cruise all the way up to Princess Louisa Inlet to see Chatterbox Falls. It will take at least 2 days but will probably be our only chance to visit this unique and beautiful area.

Cheers to all,

Mark and Anne

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back in Sidney

Our apologies to those following our blog as we've been anchored off Galiano Island without access to internet and have fallen behind with posting. After two nice days anchored off Salt Spring Island, we motorsailed the short distance to Montague Harbor off Galiano Island. While leaving Ganges Harbor we spotted "Georgia B", a Halberg Rassey sailboat owned by another couple we met last year. We made several tight laps around their anchored boat calling out to them. After not getting a response, Anne wrote a note and sealed it in a ziplock bag with some rice for weight and tossed it aboard as we passed closely by. The thunk it made hitting the cockpit floor was enought to bring them on deck were we marveled at the good fortune of seeing each other again. After our vist we sailed off to our next anchorage where our friends Doug and Patricia joined us with their Crealock 37 "Arcforce". We spent a relaxing two days there, sharing meals aboard, hiking ashore and paddling our new stand-up-paddle surfboards. Anne was first to take an inadvertant dip in the water when a boat wake caused her to fall off, but quickly squirted back on to her board like a seal in the shows at Sea World. She pronounced the water cold but not frigid (a little too cold for swimming without wet suits). The plan was to leave on Monday but before our departure, we watched a pretty, navy blue-hulled Sabre 44 enter the anchorage and settle-in about 50 yards away. Unfortunately, while reversing to set their anchor, their inflatable dinghy's bow line became fowled in their rotating prop shaft and proceeded to winch the boat almost completely underwater before the engine stalled. Even from a distance, we could clealy see their anguish and disapointment. Anne and I quickly grabbed a sharp knife, jumped into our own dinghy and motored over to offer assistance. We managed to let some of the stuck dinghy's air out in hopes of freeing it and struggled with it for a few minutes while hanging over the side of ours before deciding that it couldn't be accomplished from the surface. The chilly water wasn't inviting but after returning to our boat for a wet suit, mask, snorkel and fins, Mark hopped into the water and made three dives under their boat to cut the snarled lines and set the dinghy free. Fortunately, their dinghy and propellor were undamaged and the problem solved. The help given and received within the cruising community is one of the most rewarding aspects of the experience and we were so happy to have been able to help. Monday night was spent back in the marina and on Tuesday, we flew home to Idaho with a stop in Seattle. Then plan is to return to "Blue Rodeo" in about a week and start north for our trip around Vancouver Island.

More soon,

Mark and Anne

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ganges Harbor-Salt Spring Island

After several days in Van isle Marina in Sydney we are finally anchored out in front of the quaint island community of Ganges on Salt Spring Island. We made good use of the cool showery days in Sydney working on boat projects, bicycling and taking a driving tour and shopping run into downtown Victoria with our friends Doug and Patricia. Free internet access was not available from our marina slip so we have fallen behind with our blog entries. Our original plan had been to base the boat out of Campbell River, further to the north, for the month of June allowing us the opportunity to fly home for a week. Because of our delayed departure from Seattle and our need to stop in Port Townsend for repairs, we have decided to rent a slip in Sydney at least until we return from Idaho on about the 18th. That will give us more time to explore the Gulf Islands that we hurried through last year. Before leaving the marina today Mark went up the mast to replace an anchor light bulb but came down an hour later frustrated by not being able to open the light fixture. Meanwhile, Anne busied herself in the galley making what looked like a fabulous batch of chocolate chip oatmeal cookies only to find that she used salt from an unlabeled container instead of sugar. Needless to say, the batch ended up in the dumpster. The trip to Ganges under sunny skies with a light breeze was great and made up for the morning's disappointments. We are writing this at anchor while sitting in the cockpit enjoying the warm evening sunshine and watching Dehavilland Beaver float planes land just 100 yards away from our boat. We will go ashore shortly to have dinner at a funky restaurant called The Tree House, literally built around a live tree and may find the energy to stay awhile longer and listen to the live music that is planned for this evening. Rain showers are in tomorrow's forecast, but the weekend is looking good, so we will likely sail to a few other islands before heading back to Sydney for our trip home to Idaho.

Cheers to everyone,

Mark & Anne