Cruising Southeast Alaska - 2009

By Linda Lewis

 

22. Strait of Georgia - Montague - Roche - Home

 

The day dawned in Campbell River with a weather forecast that meant "go" - well, at least go part way. The winds were from the southeast (not the prevailing summer northwesterlies we would have liked for our trip southward) so that meant making our way across the upper half of the Strait of Georgia in choppy seas. We were leaving on a flood, so we had that unfortunate situation of wind crossing current to deal with. At least until we were abeam Mittlenatch Island - approximately where the currents meet. Then the seas laid down a bit as we went against both current and wind. Better that than bucking our way all the way to our goal: Lasqueti Island.

We were headed there because we knew we could find appropriate shelter from the southeast winds for a peaceful night at anchor. Besides, it's really pretty between Lasqueti and Jedediah, with many nooks and crannies available for anchoring. This photo looks toward Jedediah, with Texada Island in the background.

The next day we were skeptical as we listened to the weather report, but we decided to take a look for ourselves. We left the beautiful rock wall at Boho Bay on Lasqueti behind us.

But we didn't get very far before we looked at each other and said: let's go back and wait until tomorrow. That's just the way it is sometimes. Getting across the Strait of Georgia becomes a two-step dance. Two steps forward, one step back. Then go and try again.

We had plenty to look at while at anchor, including the blessing of this rainbow.

As I watched the rainbow and turned in a circle, I realized that the sky I was looking at was different from every angle - all at the same time. The following series of photos scan the sky from right to left as fast as I could click the shutter.

Hard to believe that was all there at the same time, isn't it?

We were also entertained by two seals who apparently thought they were whales. They were splashing around and even broaching - coming clear out of the water...

... and slamming down with a splash.

The next day looked better for a final cross-over to Nanaimo. Look at that sullen sea. But it was a quiet sea, so that's what counts most. I was hoping that this view of the sun's rays squeezing through the clouds held some promise for the day. It did. By the time we were half way to Nanaimo it was sunny.

And it looked like we had a good chance of making the Dodd Narrows slack at 1036 if everything went well. A nice ebb and a decent wind and sea state helped us across in a timely fashion and we slipped through Dodd Narrows at 1038. Yes! We weren't the only ones, either. Here is just part of the parade of boats at Dodd Narrows.

We turned our thoughts to anchoring for the night. It was Friday of Labor Day weekend (a holiday that Canadians also observe) so we tried to think of a BIG anchorage in the Gulf Islands. No contest: we headed for Montague Harbour. Even by early afternoon it was filling up. By evening we thought we could count about 100 boats.

Boats to our left...

And boats to our right...

Here is what it looked like on the radar screen.

The amazing thing is that it didn't feel crowded. I got up very early the next day and looked around in the darkness at all the anchor lights. I felt like I was on the inside of a Christmas tree.

The next morning the weather again sounded ugly. However, there was supposed to be a short morning window with a drop in the winds to SE of about 15 knots. We decided to make a go. When we get this close to home we start to feel like horses heading for the barn door. We probably would have held for another day at anchor, but... we were both itchy to get back into the San Juan Islands and closer to home. Besides, we knew we had friends playing in Roche Harbor and it would be fun to join them.

So off we went. Oh boy. Yes, the wind wasn't too bad, but the remnants of the gale force winds in Haro Strait and Boundary Pass were still in strong evidence. We encountered two-foot swells with three-foot wind waves on top of them - so the Green Devil (our skiff) was kiting off five-foot water mounds. We came very close to bailing out at Bedwell Harbour, but the urge to continue was too strong. We figured we could tough it out this once. So, for about an hour we went through some of the biggest seas of the entire trip - right in our own back yard. Poetic justice.

We happily cleared customs at the Roche Harbor Customs dock.

As anticipated, the Marina was all booked up when we checked with them. The boats were wall to wall.

However, we speculated that the weather conditions might also keep some cruisers at home who had made reservations, so we dropped anchor and waited a bit to see if we would move up on the waiting list. All right! They did find a spot for us at the dock after all. We were able to tuck in and go play with friends.

We skiffed over and found that some of the Bunzel family kayaks were already out on the water. But the bikes were still available. Nicole watches while her Mom, Leslie, negotiates the use of a bike.

We decided to just play dock rat and lounge around after all. Although, I had to make a mercy mission back to our boat to pick up an important tool for Mark to use. M.J. loves driving The Green Devil so I asked him to chauffer me back to the Royal Sounder.

Here's the critical tool. A plunger.

And here's what it was for.

Can't be without a functioning sink, can they?! Mark and the plunger saved the day. Errr... the sink.

I was so busy enjoying our dock-side dinner that I forgot to take a picture of the gang! However, this picture will make up for it. While we were chattering away we heard a faint plea for assistance coming from the water behind us. When I looked, I found a photo op I could not pass up. (I even got their permission to take the picture.) These folks get the prize for The Happiest Happy Hour in the Harbor.

Today we're waiting out the weather once again. But doing so in Roche Harbor makes it a pleasure. The weather looks good for tomorrow, so we'll be making our final approach to safe harbor in Anacortes where we keep the boat.

It's time to say goodbye from Linda and Dave and the Royal Sounder.

It's been fun sharing this cruising summer with all of you. If you can, you ought to try cruising the Inside Passage in real time. There's no place like it.

If you're interested in learning how to operate your boat or if you would like some Inside Passage Voyage Planning Consultation, take a look at Linda's website www.privateboatinginstruction.com or email her at lindalewis@privateboatinginstruction.com. Or call: 425-239-1225.

 

 


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