most excellent pizza in Port Browning Pub

I have returned from a most excellent venture ashore to the Port Browning Pub in search of pizza, and they have good pizza. The tummy is happy, the wind is down to zero, the bay is mirror-like, and the last little boat is tucking himself in for the night.

That was actually a most interesting conversation with the owner of the small sailboat – as I returned to Beetle via dinghy he pulled up and asked how deep it was, as his depth sounder didn’t work. I indicated I had set in 35′ of water. He then asked how much line he should let out for his anchor, so I asked him if he was all chain or chain and rope? He said chain and rope, so I suggested 4:1 might be good, depending on what kind of anchor he had. What kind of anchor do you have? I asked. He didn’t know the name, so he pulled up the chain hanging over the bow to show me the anchor hanging from the end – a danforth-style anchor with one of those loop shanks that allow the chain shackle to pull one way and set the anchor or slide along to the crown and pull the other way to get anchor out. He said he’d already tried to set it once and all it did was bounce along the bottom. His anchor was hanging with the shackle at the crown – I pointed out that would never work and all he was doing was pulling the anchor out. Ahah! he said, and flipped the anchor over so it was oriented for setting. I suggested he might want to be back towards the beach a ways (mostly because that would put him further away from me, but it would be shallower also in case he didn’t have enough rode). He finished up by saying Thanks! There’s got to be a first time to try this anchoring thing out, as he normally stayed in marinas but tonight Port Browning was full up and he was stuck figuring out his anchoring technique. I hope it goes well for him, at least it is quiet calm and the forecast is for more of the same for the night.

Earlier today, when rounding the red buoy that marks the rocky shoal at the head of Port Browning, I came across a wrecked sailboat hull stuck up on the rocks. That boat wasn’t there a couple of weeks ago, and it was completely denuded of mast, rigging, or rudder. I wonder if it came off a mooring in the big storm of last week, and fetched up there? From outside the entry you see the starboard hull, all glistening black and looking good. Later, as one enters and passes the boat, I looked back and discovered the port side was missing, as was the deck – the only part of the boat left was the starboard side of the hull. Ouch! I hope nobody was on the boat when that happened – not good.

Elsewise it has been a pleasant day, not much wind, temperature has been perfect (not too hot, not too cold, and mosquitoes are down in number). A number of sneak ferries were observed at Active Pass, and one particularly sneaky one came in through the pass then made an immediate hard turn o port to go into the ferry terminal. Most of the big ferries cruise on through to Sydney, but not this one! The fish boats were surprised and had to move out of his way – ferries have right of way here, as far as I can tell. Even if they don’t have right of way, I suspect that Jamaican Rules of the Road prevail (aka “tonnage wins”).

Plan for tomorrow is to up and out on the early side, bound for Orcas Island.

– rob

Thursday evening, good run down from Lasqueti

It’s evening at this end, sunset is happening with a few coloured clouds up high, all the little boats that have been out running about today are safely nested in the anchorage here at Montague Harbour. Beetle arrived a bit after 6pm and the place is surprisingly popular for a Thursday this late in the season. Perhaps these are the stragglers returning from a long Labor Day holiday? I don’t know; lots of Canadian as well as American flags in the mix.

The day started out well with a quick out from Lasqueti, light breeze from the north and, surprisingly enough there was positive current headed towards Nanaimo despite going south against the flood; perhaps there is a back eddy that runs down the shore.

Military activity area Whiskey Golf was active today, so I talked with Winchelsea Control on VHF 10 and the fellow told me that from Lasqueti headed for Nanaimo, take Ballenas Islands to starboard and pass within 1000 yards of shore, do the same with Winchelsea, and I was good to go no problems. I like the friendly nature of the Canadian military. This is the first time I’ve been near WG when it was active, and there were four different grey military boats running around out there – go forward, stop, turn around, race off in a different direction. No idea what they were up to, though it is supposed to be a torpedo testing range.

I arrived at Nanaimo a couple of hours early for slack water at Dodd Narrows, and given WG was active it did not make sense to try and go east of the area to come in through one of the more southern passes. No worries, I turned in to the anchorage I was at before across from the town, and dropped the hook for two hours to wait for the current to go away. Only this time I did not try and squeeze Beetle into the anchorage, I anchored on the wrong side of the NO ANCHORING buoys; nobody came by and asked me to move, and I deliberately chose the area furthest from where the sea planes are landing and taking off again. While there I got to watch two small tug boats put together a log barge; it takes a lot of back and forth to push logs around, and periodically one of the fellow would walk out on the logs and do stuff (couldn’t really see what he was specifically up to, it was a bit far away for that).

2PM was magic hour and I headed over to Dodd Narrows for the 3:35 slack. Upon arrival I found two mid-size log tows waiting, the longer tow had a steering tug at the back end to help negotiate the turn in the Narrows. The shorter tow only had the single pulling tug. Plus the usual assortment of pleasure craft hanging about waiting for the current to go slack. The big 75 foot power boat started off the parade, after the lead tug suggested that the faster power boat go first. I followed the 75 footer in, and then the caravan of small boats began. I was glad to get through ahead of the log tows, as I watched their trasnit speed on AIS and they were doing 1.7 knots – that would be on the slow side.

The south side of Dodd Narrows puts one smack at the top of the Gulf Islands area, which in this case meant instantly less wind, totally flat water, and much hotter. The day has been getting gradually brighter with fewer clouds, until it was downright warm out on the water. I was happy to have positive current for a change, it seems to not happen very often that Beetle is a downstream salmon. Not wanting to forego the nice current, I decided to continue the day’s run another 21 miles to Montague Harbor – which worked out fine. Definitely glad to have my wide brim hat, as most of the day is spent standing or sitting on deck peering forward to inspect for logs in the water. Saw a few loose logs, certainly not many as were up in Toba Inlet, though the logs are here. As are the crab pots. Pesky things, those pots.

Montague where moderately full when I arrived, so I dropped hook on the outside edge of the boats in 45 feet of water. The half-dozen folks that arrived after I did are anchored outside of me, and then the very last boat went by a few minutes ago in the dark, he had two huge spot lights aimed forwards so he could see the water and he wasn’t going fast at all.

And now it’s dinner time. Eggs are cooking away on the stove, plus I’m hard boiling up the spare eggs that won’t be consumed prior to hopping over to America (and America doesn’t like raw Canadian eggs, as far as I’m aware), so gotta cook up those eggers.

Enjoy the evening.

– rob

Onwards to Lasqueti Island, in the middle of the Strait of Georgia

Today finds Beetle at one of those places that isn’t visited very often despite being fairly close to ‘on-the-beaten’ path: Lasqueti Island. False Bay is a nice anchorage, well protected from both the north and sound winds (unlike, say, Hornby Island, where the anchorage looks completely exposed to SE winds), quiet, there are more boats on moorings here than visiting yachts.

The trouble with Lasqueti is that it’s too close to Nanaimo so people bypass Lasqueti on their way to Pender Harbour. It’s also somewhat north of the direct route between Pender and Nanaimo, therefore it’s not at all convenient to visit if on that path. The big boats going south from Campbell River can make the 70 miles to Nanaimo in one shot; from what I can work out, just about the only time one would need to stop off at Lasqueti is someone such as myself that departed Campbell River this morning, and in a S or SE breeze the 48 mile run is just about right for pulling off the road for the night, as it were.

The anchorage is reasonably well protected (flat as a pancake here now), not terribly deep (anchor is set in 55 feet of water), and it would be easy to put a couple of large 150 foot boats out in the middle of the False Bay anchorage. According to the Waggoner’s guide book there is a passenger ferry service to the island but no car service; perhaps any cars that might be out here are brought in on a private or charter landing craft – lot of those ’round these parts. Best boat name so far seen on a landing craft is ‘Fetch’, at the Toba Wildernest Marina.

People here sure don’t have a sense of personal privacy or space when it comes to running around in their dinghies – I have two go by on plane less than 15′ off the transom. I guess when so many people use boats in their daily routine they become more like cars – just getting from A to B and if someone has anchored in your way then you just swerve a bit to avoid them. But we’re back to quiet again now that those boats have gone away.

Saw a funny thing today, and to set up the funny part it’s useful to have listened to all the different broadcasts to the Canadian Coast Guard regarding ‘my lost dinghy’. Invariably they are grey, usually have an outboard attached, and sometimes people are doing circle for them and more rarely the folks on the boat have no idea when the dinghy was lost and they abandon the dinghy and continue on to their destination. When a dinghy is reported lost, the Coast Guard asks if there are any identifying markings on the boat, and whether or not the caller would like the dinghy back if someone else finds it. There are also an equal number of calls to the Coast Guard regarding ‘found a dinghy, it’s here, do you want it?’. The Coast Guard doesn’t seem to be in the dinghy return business, so I imagine there must be a few excess dinghies that simply turn up on some shoreline or other.

So this afternoon I’m bumping along under power out in the middle of nowhere aiming for Lasqueti and there’s a sailboat up ahead crossing my bow about a mile ahead, and he’s towing a dinghy along behind. A couple of minutes later he has turned around and is headed back towards he came from, so I pull out the binocular and sure enough, there’s the dinghy a long way behind him, quite happily bobbing about on the water and most definitely no longer under tow. He re-attached his tow line fairly easily, that was good, but it makes me wonder what it is about dinghy tows that makes them want to undo themselves from the boat doing the towing.

Tomorrow is going to be another full-day hop to one of the passes into the Gulf Islands, the breeze is supposed to fill in from the NW today (it didn’t, stayed out of the SE the whole day, but it was not all that windy at 5-14 knots). The passes should be slack around 3PM, and I have four to choose from. I’ll decide which one to use as I get closer.

For tonight I’m going to enjoy my movie I started to watch last night (Argo, it has Alan Arkin in it and I always enjoy him), and get in a good night’s sleep.

– rob

Drew Harbour Sunday afternoon

Kristen and I spent quite a while looking at the current information to decide which way we wanted to exit the Octopus Island area; choices were back through Hole in the Wall at 11:53AM slack, or Beazley Passage at 12:15PM.  The goal is to set Beetle somewhere close to Campbell River, as we need to have Kristen available on shore Monday afternoon for to catch the taxi shuttle to the airport – she has a flight out to Vancouver.

We decided that Drew Harbour would be a good place to start from Monday morning, and Beazley makes for a significantly shorter run than Hole in the Wall – so Beazley it was.  Then it dawned Sunday morning and we had low-lying foggy stuff floating about the trees and passages.  I’d read about Beazley in the guide books and the general statement is: “Dangerous, go at slack, don’t hit the rocks, and don’t do it if you’re a first timer.”  Kristen pointed out that following those directions would make it difficult for anyone to ever go through Beazley as there is always a first time for everything.

By departure time the foggy bits had lifted, and then a flurry of boats headed out of the anchorage and turned right (Ahah! They are going to Beazley!  We won’t be alone!)  We upped and outed as well, and followed along behind the large sailboat Capaz (he was running AIS so we  could follow his progress), towards Surge Narrows leading immediately into Beazley Passage.  We hit Beazley about 40 minutes before slack and still had 2 knots of current rushing us along through the narrow twisty turny cut between the rocky islands port and starboard and then POP! we were out, Drew Harbour some miles down towards the right.

Even with just two knots of current there was still a lot of turbulence and eddies on the downstream end of Beazley; must have been quite a bit more exciting when the full 7.7 knots was flowing, and that’s not even the max current – it was runing 10 knots through here the week previously.  Slack water is a nice thing, mostly-slack water works pretty well.

On the way to Drew Harbour we came across a half-dozen boats floating around in a semi-circle, doing nothing, so we stopped to see what they were waiting for… and a pod of killer whales surfaced not too far away.   They have seriously tall dorsal fins and the fins bend over, as if their weight exceeds the fin’s ability to keep everything upright.  We had three adults and a baby whale – very pretty to watch.  We took a bunch of pictures and I need to review them to determine if any  turned out.

Then on to Drew Harbour, which has a pebbly rocky shoreline with a reasonably steep slope to it.  As holding ground goes, it is not supposed to be the best – I imagine it is due to anchors trying to hold in pebbles rather than mud – I know that my anchor came up mud-free the next morning, but it sure set well initially.

I learned that Doug and Gretchen live on Quadra Island, in fact they are right there at Drew Harbour.  These are folks I last saw when I was perhaps 16 or 17, a way long time ago, and they are the kids of one of my Dad’s old friends.  Gretchen had sent a note over saying it would be fun to meet up, so I was hoping that could work.  Kristen and I ran the dinghy over to the adjacent marina, Taku, and they would not make WiFi available to non-guests, so we then headed around the corner to Heriot Bay Inn and availed ourselves of WiFi, some diesel, some food & drinks, and was able to figure out Gretchen’s phone number as well as email and telelphone them using the Inn’s behind-the-bar telephone.  And they popped over – a super time was had catching up on what’s been happening since all that long time ago.

Kristen was also able to check in to her flight, and then it was back to the boat in the dark in the dinghy.

– rob

Saturday thru Hole in the Wall to Waiatt Bay

Had a very nice sleep-in this morning what with being tied to the dock at Toba Wildernest Marina and it was quite calm, and also with not needing to get an early start as we wanted to pass through Hole in the Wall en route to Waiatt Bay (at Octopus Islands) and one wants to go through Hole in the Wall at slack tide to minimize the rapids that can exist there. So, it was a lazy start to the morning.

Kristen and I were both checking to see if the black bear appeared at the lodge, but alas the bear was elsewhere. However, we did purchase two showers (one for eaches) as part of our moorage ($5 Canadian for a shower, on the pricey side, but well worth it given our location) – so we each got a nice warm shower this morning. A couple of the boats departed before we did, and then we headed out.

Not much to report for the 17 mile run across, and we paused at Florence Cove in Hole in the Wall to check out the grassy banks on each side of the small cove. No other boats were around, and I’m not surprised as this is now fairly late in the cruising season, it’s not that easy to get to Waiatt Bay, and the rainy wet weather we’ve been experiencing may have caused some folks to put off their cruising plans. Either way, we did have the entire place to ourselves. We were early for transiting Hole in the Wall, and we were considering where best to hang out when a big power boat charged on by. That was interesting, so we poked back out into the current flowing towards the narrow gap that we will pass through to see how this power boat fared. Max current should have been 8 knots, and we were now down to 90 minutes before slack. Power boat went through fine, so we motored on up, nothing untowards going on, so we powered up and ran through as well. A bunch of swirling water on the other side, but nothing significant.

This time I tried out the narrow channel that leads from Bodega Anchorage into the bay we’re in, as opposed to sneaking in through the rocks between Okisollo Channel and Waiatt Bay that I went through last time. The channel is super narrow and lined with rocks and tall trees – which is kind of fun to go through. Minimum depth we saw 22 feet, so plenty of room for Beetle.

Waiatt is a wide open anchorage, easily larger than Prideaux and Squirrel, so one can more or less drop the hook wherever one might like. We elected to not try and tie up on an edge of the bay, but instead are out a ways from shore in 42 feet of water. Kristen took the dinghy around for a tour of our side of the bay, and found many large crabs [rock crabs?] in one small cove, and lots of small fishes in a different cove. So good stuff to see ’round these parts.

Now it is evening, there’s a bit of rain/showers in the forecast and we’re having one of those showers now. Weather is forecast to remain on the light side for the next couple of days, with maybe sun or maybe clouds and showers, hard to get a fix on that from the weather folk. We’re thinking that tomorrow we’ll go south through Beazley Passage, which I have not done before.

Now time for a read, listen to the rain patter on the deck, and then get some sleep.


– rob

Friday evening at the foot of Toba Inlet

Today was a super day – Expedition Toba Inlet was a success!

We awoke in the morning to discover that the evil nasty semi-floating tree did not let go of the shore and become entangled in our stern line – it was right where we left it last night. Note to self: do not consider stern tying to really heavy looking trees that are wedged in against the shore, as they might float when the tide comes in.

In zero breeze we tooled on down Pendrell Sound, turned right at Waddington Channel, zipped up past Walsh Cove, and onwards across Pryce Channel and into Toba Inlet. The interesting part about Toba is that it is made up of sheer cliffs, steep sides, and immensely deep – you are traveling along through the water whilst looking up at peaks that stretch up and up. Many had fresh snow on them, and the tallest peak visible clocks in at 7100 meters (that’s tall in my book) and it had lots of snow on top.

We had been intending to run up Toba since before Kristen arrived in Campbell River, and it’s only taken us seven days to finally have everything line up well: clear skies with good visibility to the peaks, no rain, and the just-past rains of the last several days have dumped an enormous amount of water on the mountains – resulting in lots and lots of vertical cascading waterfalls. The rocks are sheer and the trees spread out, allowing you to see through them and follow the white streams of water as they wind their way down for thousands of feet before launching out into the salt water. Kristen has perhaps two zillion pictures of waterfalls, and we went to visit three of them up close and personal-like. When you have a vertical cliff face descending into the water, it’s also likely that the bottom below waterline near the cliff is pretty much way down there as well…

The water in Toba becomes an interesting thick creamy green color, not unreminiscent of split pea soup, as one travels up the inlet – no visibility down through the water. Fortunately the depth sounder does work through the green color. Not too helpful out in the middle of the inlet, where depths run towards 450 meters, but at the edges when one approaches a waterfall it might only be 70 meters deep 15 meters from the rock. Lots of wood debris floating about, so the nineteen mile run up to the head of Toba Inlet required constant scanning of the waters ahead. In fact there was more wood up that way than I’ve seen anywhere else in B.C. The autopilot got a workout as we used the remote control to turn the bow away from floating logs, trees, and smaller chunky bits. We have a new term: B.C. sharks. These are floating logs with triangular bits sticking up above the surface that appear not unlike shark fins to the untrained eye. The B.C. shark has an unusual diet – they sneak up and eat boats. Several were sighted. Also came across a vertically floating deadhead with maybe three feet exposed above the surface; this particular deadhead came complete with a flat wavy portion sticking out to the side that we decided looked like a sail. Perhaps that deadhead is going places.

About half way up the really big peak at the end came into view, way way up and above everything else. It’s also set back a ways from the water’s edge, so it isn’t as if one actually drives directly beneath it, but it sure is impressive standing up there etched against the dark blue sky.

The end of the inlet has what I believe is a logging camp, and a particularly well organized one at that. They have a big building on a barge, most likely the ‘hotel barge’, docks and boats, a long road running alongside the inlet for a mile or so, complete with two bridges. Interestingly enough Kristen spotted some hi-tension power lines running down from the mountain and on into the valley and river-head at the top of Toba Inlet. That looked like a lot of power for just a logging operation, so perhaps there is a power plant somewhere up that way – there might be some hydro-power in the area. Something to investigate.

It was a 5-1/2 hour run from Pendrell to the top of Toba, and we turned around when we reached the 80 foot depth line. According to the chart the Toba River turns into a wide delta that spans the width of the inlet, before running out into the salt water. Theoretically one could go up the river a bit, though that did not look at all enticing as there are numerous big tree stumps sticking out above water level; not too deep, one might think.

The way back was equally fun, we checked out more waterfalls, and decided to see if the Toba Wildernest Resort/Marina had any room for us for the night. There’s not much to work with as regards overnight anchoring in Toba; the depths are far too great in the inlet to anchor, and there’s one spot called Brem Bay that theoretically could be used as an anchorage, but that does not come recommended by the guide books. We could anchor in the flats at the head of the inlet, and that leaves one entirely exposed to any inflow or outflow winds that can (and do) funnel through the inlet. Apparently it’s fairly typical to have a night time katabatic wind come rolling down the mountains to the water, and I have read that wind is really cold, windy, and not much fun. Therefore it was nice to have Toba respond on the VHF radio (they monitor 66A) and say yes, we do have room for a 45 foot sailboat. And that’s where we are for the night.

The facility is well done, two good docks set at right angles, room for six boats or so (350′ of dock space, I’m told), a book exchange, some cabins available for those that arrive after fishing for the day in small run-abouts, a cool micro-hydro electrical generating setup, and a black bear that sometimes appears on the beach. We didn’t see the bear tonight, but he or she was seen last night and this morning ambling along the rocks adjacent to the dock gangway. The super part about the place is that while it is too deep to anchor, it’s not too deep to have a dock that one can tie to, and we’re right at the head of the inlet, tucked in behind Double Island. I put some books into the exchange, and have a few new ones on board. We also paid for showers, which we are going to enjoy in the morning. And met a delightful couple in their Slocum (43?) sailboat, on the other side of the dock for the night; they are from Seattle and have been up this way since mid-August.

I’m glad we made the run up, and I’m glad the weather turned so perfectly for the run. Lots of photos were taken!

And now it’s good night from Beetle.

– rob & kristen

Thursdsay night in Pendrell Sound, pretty cool

Tonight Beetle can be found lodged between a smallish rocky islet off the bow and the oyster bank and steep drop-off off the stern. We’re up in an un-named tiny cove in the middle of Pendrell Sound, a body of water that is six miles long, somewhat deep in the middle such as 750 feet, and only has one inlet/outlet – there is no thru-flow of water here. This means there is very little current where we are as there is no water flowing past with the tides, and instead we simply get the rise and fall of water as the sun and moon pull the water about the planet.

Today was also our first attempt at stern tying the boat. It did not go particularly well, no one died, and we are here, firmly attached to the steeply sloping side of the glacier cut cliff that is underwater by the bow anchor, and firmly attached ashore to a deceased tree exhibiting a great many beetle bore holes via several hundred feet of floating 1/2″ polypropylene double braid. Getting into this position was not pretty, despite a lack of wind and a lack of current.

First pass was to ascertain that there was only one other boat here, which there was. We dropped anchor well out from the shore in 65 feet of water, and proceeded to back up towards the sharp drop off of the shore. After letting out 200′ of anchor chain it still seemed like we were a long ways off from the shelf, but I persevered. The dinghy was launched, I rowed ashore and took with me the tail end of the 600 foot spool of polypropylene line (that kind of line has a specific gravity less than salt water, therefore it floats). Landed in a bit of rocky beach in between the oysters, trudged up to the tree and got the rope around it, back to the dinghy and rowed out to Beetle. Meanwhile Kristen has been keeping the boat in idle-reverse, sort of, to try and keep the stern pointed at the now-lassoed tree. I get back to the boat, we tighten up, and it feels like we’re way out in the middle of the channel. Not so good.

We decide to up anchor and pull ourselves in via the stern line and re-drop, hoping to arrive at not quite in the middle of the channel. I raise anchor to the 50′ mark on the chain and we back towards the shelf. Down goes the hook again. Now we’ve slid sideways a bit and are nowhere near perpendicular to the shore. Hmm… looks funny. We tighten up the stern line and it feels like we’re really close to the shelf. I put the engine in reverse idle and we back up right to the shelf. I put engine in forward to keep the rudder off the oysters and rocks that make up the shelf. That clearly didn’t work well. It appears that I an not up on precision anchoring.

We decide to try again, as I don’t like being 20 feet away from the shelf by the stern. Our idea is to raise the anchor back up to the 50 foot mark, power forward in idle while paying out stern line (still run around the tree on the shore) and put the anchor back out into somewhat deeper water. Kristen isn’t keen on driving as she didn’t enjoy the proximity to the rocks and doesn’t want to deal with the stern line as well as pointing the boat somewhere while I run the windlass and do the anchor up/down business. We swap places, Kristen will be on the bow and I will do the driving. [as an important note, when we anchor, I always operate the anchor and windlass while Kristen operates the engine and positions the boat – only we have swapped ends this time… this has a bearing on what happens next…]

Kristen gets the anchor up via the windlass back to 50′. I pay out stern line and we aim towards the agreed upon spot off the rocky bit of the little islet in front of us. At what seems the appropriate point (we didn’t go far, after all, we are tied to a tree), I point at Kristen and she starts to send the anchor down via the windlass. Things went well for perhaps thirty seconds, and then the chain jumped the gypsy. An amazing grinding noise of galvanized steel over metal that sounds not unlike a chainsaw at close range erupts from the bow as 275 feet of 5/16″ G4 chain launches itself out over the bow roller. The chain accelerates as its increasing weight propels it from the anchor locker. Showing great presence of mind, Kristen does not attempt to arrest the flying chain and instead gets away from it all. I put the motor in neutral and go forward just in time to watch the shackle that attaches the chain rode to a 300′ length of 5/8″ nylon three strand… go JAM! into the chain stopper. The cove goes incredibly silent. We both stare over the bow and into the water below. Well that didn’t go well, but at least we are hook down!

We pull the anchor back up to 200′, and I pull in on the stern line. This time we have the boat more or less perpendicular to the shore, that’s looking pretty good now. We pull up to 170′ of chain, I put the motor into idle-reverse and we back up to see how close we are to the stern shelf this time. Much better, perhaps 50 feet off. We snug up the stern line and all is good. At least we’re in, but I bet the other boat in the cove had a wonderful view on how not to set a stern tie. [Later on we rowed over and talked to Dick and Julia, the other boat, and they thought it was fairly amusing to watch us until he saw the anchor chain take off and he was worried the girl on the bow would get in there and try to stop it, and he was quite relieved when Kristen backed away instead. Turns out they thought we did ok, and they’ve done much worse, so apparently all is acceptable when setting a stern tie.]

Following our anchor adventures we got observed a double-rainbow against the green evergreens covering the mountain across from us, and the clouds parted to display an amazing coat of new crispy white snow atop one of the local mountain peaks. That was a pretty darn neat sight.

The reason we’re in Pendrell Sound is that we did not like the look of Walsh Cove at all – it’s tiny, there was already a power boat anchored there (no stern tie), it was deep, narrow, and I had no interest in trying to work to anchor in that tiny place. So we considered Redonda Bay as an alternative – nope, nobody recommends it, totally exposed to the northwest breeze and open and unfun. Rats! Earlier today we had already motored up to the top of Pendrell Sound to see what’s what and perchance the water might be warm enough for a swim (note: it was three degrees warmer at 59.5 F then it was out in the channel, so no swimming] On the way back down Pendrell we saw two large power boats side-tied at anchor exactly where we are anchored tonight, thought it looked interesting, went up to Walsh, said no, then motored all the way back to that little cove in Pendrell – the two big power boats had departed, being replaced with the solitary sail boat that got to watch us make a most interesting stern tie demonstration.

And just to add zest to the anchoring experience, shortly before dark we noticed, as the tide rose, that a huge tree that had been lying on the bottom with only its roots showing, is now floating close to us, anchored to the shore only by the bottom bits of its root ball. I’ve been out and watched it – it hasn’t moved yet. If it does move, I sure hope it moves away as that would be no fun if it floated into the stern line. But I suppose it is safer than the crocodile in the marina in Puerto Vallarta.

All is well that ends well, tonight we had three cheese tortellini with pesto accompanied by spinach and feta sausage, with olives tossed on top for good measure. The heater is on and we’re toasty warm inside, outside it is roughly 10 degrees C (about 51 F), and amazing stars are out – there are zero lights out here other than our two anchor lights. The milky way is easily visible and there are no clouds in the sky. Pretty awesome place to spend the night.

– rob