Leaving Lund the forecast winds of 10-15 NW were spot on and we had an excellent downwind spinnaker run to Powell River.
We made quick work of the reprovision chores, laundry, groceries, showers, garbage and water while tied up at the dock. Powell River was a challenging place to reprovision. The visitor dock we were tied up to was not connected to the main dock and so we could either walk a dusty trail to the showers/laundry or take the dinghy. We chose the latter. It was also quite hot and Powell River is hilly so we found getting groceries to be a little tricky. We carried the girls up hill to the grocery store early one morning before it got to hot and then after our shop, we arranged to have the groceries delivered to the dock later in the day. This worked out well because we had other errands to do on foot and still ended up carrying the girls and a heavy load back to the boat.
Next we made it to Musket Island Marine Park nestled next to Hardy Island. We happened to arrive just as the last boat was leaving so we had our pick of the place to anchor just where we wanted. It is extremely rare to have an anchorage all to yourself at this time of year. It was short lived as another sailboat pulled in 5 minutes later and by sunset there were over a dozen boats in the anchorage. Although there was not a lot to do onshore, the anchorage was beautiful and calm. We were also able to go swimming and get out on the SUP.
After two glorious days at anchor we headed to Pender Harbour. I had been to Pender Harbour once before with the navy a few years ago but had never been ashore. The harbour is well protected from all weather and has many smaller bays within that each have marinas and numerous private docks along the entire shoreline, which we explored.
We anchored next to S/V Full Circle a Kendall 34, from Nanaimo, which is the sister ship to the Westsail 32 (same hull, different deck). I had met the owner Ken earlier in the trip when we were in Nanaimo but did not have the time to visit his boat. This time I had a tour and then we had drinks in the cockpit while discussing all things sailing.
We were able to find a much needed kids playground for Maddie and a grocery store to do a big reprovision.
From Pender Harbour, we headed back to Jedediah and it was well worth the return visit. Again we spent two nights anchored there in cozy Deep Bay. We went walking ashore both days and enjoyed the tranquility of the easy forest paths and quiet bays. We once again heard the wild sheep and spotted them before our presence scared them away.
We once again bumped into other cruising friends from Tango and Nimuie as we were returning to our dinghy from our second shoreside hike. The conversation covered the usual topics of where each other had been, where to next and other relevant quirks and salty dips. It was also a welcome distraction from the full-on-out-of-control tantrum that Maddie was throwing.
After Jedediah, we headed to Welcome Passage, where Secret Cove and Smuggler Cove are located. Secret Cove provided us with a few provisions and showers, which we were very grateful for.
Smuggler Cove is a tight entrance and I can see how it got its name. Even using GPS in daylight, the entrance to the cove is not easily spotted until you are quite close. Once inside there are several nooks in which boats with shallower drafts might easily hide. You can imagine why Smuggler Cove used to be used for boot-legging on the coast. I always like to arrive at a new anchorage at low tide so you can be certain to be clear of any dangers.
We promptly set the hook and stern-tied in the first basin next to S/V Firesong a Cal 34 with a family onboard. Their two daughters Zoe and Odessa were having a blast playing on their paddleboards and swimming. Maddie was really excited about the prospect of having new friends to play with and immediately wanted to invite them over despite the 10 year age difference. We had their family over to our boat in the afternoon and Maddie was so happy when Odessa played with her and read her some books. We were then invited over to their boat after dinner.
This family was only the second couple cruising with kids that we met on this trip so it was fun to discuss where everyone sleeps and how the cabin is organized.
Smuggler Cove was a perfect place to explore with the SUP as it has three basins and a couple of lagoons. At low tide, we enjoyed showing Maddie all the sea stars.
On our rest day, we did a morning trip via the dinghy from Smuggler Cove to Buccaneer Bay on Thormanby Island to have some beach fun.
From Welcome Passage, we headed to Gibsons, which we were really looking forward to. I had been there years ago with the Navy and I was certain Chari would like it. We tied up to the public wharf and promptly went ashore to explore as we arrived Sunday afternoon and wanted to make the most of our time. Gibsons had a festival happening on their main street so we went to check it out and arrived just in time to see a fly-past, which was very cool.
It was really hot so we decided to go find the aquarium that we’d read about. We arrived at the aquarium and it turns out admission was by donation. The aquarium was spectacular; there were tanks at Maddie’s eye level and touch tanks as well. We were able to teach her about various sea stars, sea cucumbers and anemones.
We did do a grocery shop in Gibsons but for the first time on this trip, we used a taxi to get the groceries back to our boat. We spent the remainder of our rest day beating the heat by hanging out at the library in the children’s section and going to the only air-conditioned cafe, Beachcombers.
We finished off the day and our time in Gibsons by taking the girls out for Mexican as it was our 7th Wedding Anniversary. We had to wait for a table so we picked blackberries nearby. We had a great time and Maddie only spilled 2 glasses of water, which was actually refreshing when it dropped on us because it was so hot!
Now we head to the big city, Vancouver!
– Ellery & Chari