We have started our journey back to Anacortes in the US so that we can head back to Denver and pack up the house and put the contents into storage.
We left Forward Harbour for Big Bay on Stuart Island, a passage that would take us through 4 sets of rapids on two tides. Our plan is then to make two more stops before transiting the Strait of Georgia and a stop-over at Nanaimo for Katya’s birthday on the 18th July.
We entered Van Donop Inlet after a leisurely sail down Sutil Channel with islands all around us and dropped the anchor only to have to reset it after we started to drag in high winds. I stayed onboard with Rog whilst the rest of the crew went for an expedition to Squirrel Cove (apparently there are flying squirrels in the woods) in search of bread and cinnamon rolls. I started preparation for supper: home made pizzas. It was a challenge to make the dough without making too much mess. Meanwhile Katya’s friend Riley G entered the harbor. Katya got on the radio and invited Riley and her father over for supper. 3 hours after leaving Steve phoned to say that they had only just arrived at Squirrel Cove and there were lots of goodies in the store. Now they just had to trek back.
The winds did not abate after sunset as usual and in fact they increased with gusts up to 30 knots so I decided to camp out in the cockpit and keep an eye out on the anchor. All was well with the winds dying down around 1am.
We set out in the morning for Westview with winds of 20 knots on our nose so we motored until we intended to turn south and have the winds on our beam. When we turned south the winds died to less than 5 knots so we had to keep motoring.
Westview port seems to be a commercial harbor that is slowly being transformed into a leisure port as the fishing trade dies. Steve and Sandy went for lunch whilst Rog, Jude, Katya and I went for a walk through town where we passed an art school that was offering a Sunday child minding / art school. Katya was delighted to spend a couple of hours painting!
We have met so many people along the way, mainly Canadians and Americans and only two Europeans from Norway. Most of the people seem to be regular cruisers who go north for the summer, fishing, crabbing and prawning as they go. Most of the people we met in the northern part of our journey are retired but as we make our way south again there are more families. Steve certainly wins the award for the most gregarious crew member. I am sure he would suffer some social disorder if he did not speak to anyone else for more than 3 days. Steve however is the fountain of knowledge once we step ashore. He manages to find out who is doing what, when and where and always finds a source of cinnamon rolls.
Katya has kept herself busy on the trip with her artwork. All cardboard boxes have to be kept so that they can be turned into something amazing. Even the small plastic widgets from Roger’s Guinness cans have to be kept which are turned into eyeballs for her art projects. She has also been having a competition with Steve to see who can read the most books. Not once has she said that she is bored (two very pleased parents).
We arrived in Nanaimo and decided to anchor for a couple of nights off Newcastle Island which is about ½ mile across the water from the city. The next two days were spent going for walks around the island and swimming off the back of the boat. In the evening we took the dingy to the floating Dingy Dock pub for a few beers and supper.
Katya woke up on her birthday to a heavily decorated boat. Balloons, streamers everywhere. A hide and seek present hunt had been arranged and full celebrations for later in the day including a cake and dinner out on the town in Nanaimo.