We left Port McNeill on Monday, 8/19, and scooted across Queen Charlotte Strait, heading to Turnbull Cove in the Broughtons. The weather forecasts were for strong winds along the inside waters and we thought Turnbull offered excellent protection. Either it did or the winds weren’t as strong as forecast because over the 2 nights at Turnbull we never saw anything over 10 knots.
We then stopped at the marine resort Pierre’s at Echo Bay for a night to attend one of their prime rib dinners. While there we reacquainted ourselves with Kathy & John Youngblood owners of Mystic Moon (Selene 53). They have spent the last 12+ years cruising down the coast, through the Panama Canal, around the Caribbean Sea, back through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific to New Zealand and Australia, through SE Asia, up the eastern coasts of Japan and Kamchatka Peninsula, through the Aleutian Islands, and back down the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia (I am exhausted just writing that route). Enjoy their travels at Mystic Moon Voyages.
We also met at Pierre’s, Peter and Sue the owners and builders of Kama Hele, a 54 foot Diesel Duck. They live in the San Francisco Bay area and cruised up to Alaska this year. We saw their boat in Petersburg but weren’t able to meet up before they went north and we went south. I’ve been following their building efforts at their blog BuildingKoloa and their cruising at KamaHeleCruising so it was a treat to meet them and tour their lovely vessel.
From there we positioned ourselves the night of 8/24 at Port Harvey so that we could get an early start along Johnstone Strait and take advantage of favorable currents and winds. This year, as we have the last several years, we used the route through the Octopus Islands to move from the northern waters between Vancouver Island and the mainland to the southern waters of the Strait of Georgia. After a night in Waiat Bay we continued down to Gorge Harbour and a lovely lunch at the Floathouse Restaurant.
An early start and surprisingly favorable currents allowed us to scoot the length of the Strait of Georgia past Nanaimo Harbour to a spartan anchorage a mile north of Dodd Narrows. The NW winds blew all night long but the bottom was sticky and we just weather-vaned at the end of our anchor chain and didn’t budge.
The next morning, 8/28, we joined the parade of boats through Dodd Narrows. Our winter dock mates, Barb & Eric Wood, were also southbound and allowed us to pull in ahead of their vessel BarbEric through the passage. We continued to Montague Harbour for the night while the Wood’s headed off to Thetis Island. A surprise to us at Montague was the strength of the wind. The harbor seems landlocked but the NW wind blowing down the Strait of Georgia seemed to pop right over Galiano Island blow right through the anchorage. Fortunately, it calmed down in the afternoon and we paddled the kayaks to the marina and had an early dinner at the restaurant.
The next day, we crossed back into USA waters and, after clearing in through the new CBP phone app, headed to Echo Bay on Sucia Island. We arrived early enough to paddle to shore and take a hike along one of the many trails on Sucia. Even though we were coming up on Labor Day weekend, the anchorage and island did not seem to be excessively crowded.
We headed into Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes to spend the first two days of the holiday weekend. Other than a few provisions, the main reason for stopping in Anacortes was to take on fuel. An additional attraction is the Lopez Island Creamery trailer at the marina’s entrance scooping out generous portions of ice cream.
On Sunday we headed over to Deer Harbor on Orcas Island. Our yacht club, Queen City, leases dock space at the marina for its members to use. The marina was buzzing with activity from holiday boaters at first and then with a flotilla of classic wooden boat attending the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival a few days later. While at Deer Harbor we continued our bad habit of having ice cream for our “lunch” as the marina store served Lopez Island Creamery ice cream.
After four days in Deer Habor, we traveled the short distance to Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island. We met up with our friends, Barb & Eric Wood on BarbEric who were anchored in Reid Harbor on the south side of Stuart Island, and hiked out to the light house at Turn Point with them.
After two relaxing nights, we headed to MacKaye Harbor at the south end of Lopez Island. David Cohn who owns a “cousin-ship” to ours, the classic Seahorse Marine Diesel Duck Shearwater. David and his wife Rachel own a vacation home a few hundred yards from the beach in MacKaye Harbor. We anchored, near Shearwater then paddled the kayaks to shore. Dave prepared a wonderful meal featuring king salmon he caught this year which we enjoyed while catching up on how our respective summers went. We got back to the boat just before the rain and lightening started.
Besides enjoying our visit with David & Rachel, we found MacKaye Harbor was the perfect jumping off point for crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Port Townsend. Although we weren’t hauling out until Tuesday morning, 9/10, we wanted to arrive on Sunday so that we could take care boatyard paperwork and any in the water tests ahead of the haul-out.
After 9 days hauled out and another 2 days at the dock, we departed Port Townsend at first light on Saturday, 9/21 and arrived at the dock in Eagle Harbor at noon, closing out our 2019 cruise.