Bolting to Portland…

After almost two years of being retired it has finally sunk in that I can actually do what I want when I want…well, within reason, right?

Last week, I was thinking about a girlfriend in Portland as I knew her birthday was on the horizon and wondered what she was doing. We have spent many of her birthdays with a group of her gal pals, doing fun road trips, hiking in the back country of Yellowstone, whale watching in the San Juan Islands, the list goes on and on.

 

EEF5BEEC-A493-4705-A833-CC8609BE7495

 

We started texting back and forth and she told me her upcoming plans, I shot a text back asking the B*&ch why she didn’t invite me too??? Well, she thought I was still out on the boat…Well, I am not and I am coming to Portland for your birthday, so there! Fine, she texted back…get your ass down here.

 

C732379A-B6D3-4588-9B5E-D532DE04F4E2

Misty was glad to see me when I arrived in Portland!!!

 

Here is when the bolt of lightning struck me again… I can do that!!! We aren’t planning to leave Anacortes until September 26th so I should still have lots of time to play and then get the Road House ready to roll – YAY!!!

Since we only have one automobile, I decided it would not be cool to strand Wally in Anacortes and just drive to Portland. I could rent a car but the idea of driving was not very appealing so that left several options, plane, train or bus. No matter what mode of transportation I chose, it would mean some commute to get there from Anacortes. I am really partial to Amtrak but from Anacortes, it was going to be a real pain once I got to Seattle. All the direct trains were already booked so I would have to take a bus to another train station. No direct flights from nearby Bellingham and I would have to take a shuttle from Anacortes to Seattle to get a direct flight. After some research, I decided that taking the BoltBus from Bellingham would be the easiest and least expensive way to get to Portland plus I know lots of Portland Peeps who love the BoltBus so I decided to go for it.

 

1D8F3638-4498-47D5-974E-462F5145F2F3

 

What is BoltBus you might wonder…
According to Wikipedia, BoltBus is a premium brand of service that was launched in 2008 offering safe, non-stop, premium level bus transportation with fares as low as $1 between New York, NY and Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA, Cherry Hill, NJ and Boston, MA. In 2012, Boltbus expanded its operations to the West Coast with service between Portland, OR, Seattle, WA Bellingham, WA and Vancouver, BC. Turns out, BoltBus is exclusively owned and operated by Greyhound Lines, which surprised me as I have always thought of GreyHound in a not so positive light.

Turns out is was quite relaxing to Bolt: get on, plug in the devices, surf (the bus has wifi), read, just zen out or eavesdrop on other people (which of course I would never do). We did stop in Seattle briefly to let passengers on or off but otherwise it was a direct 6 hour cruise…not bad for $28.50 each way! Just a word of warning, don’t sit in the back of the bus near the restroom…not sure why I thought that was a good idea on the way to Portland.

 

D41BF12B-CF0F-490B-A0A5-C528065898B7

Lake Union from the window of the bus.

 

Once I got into Portland, it was nonstop fun! Sushi at Yoko’s, a visit to the Lake Oswego Farmers Market, wine tasting in the Columbia River Gorge, BBQ’s at friends, lunch dates, shopping, girl gab, dinner dates, walks along the Willamette River.

 

9135DF1C-42B6-4ACC-A4DA-1099069344C8

The produce at the Lake Oswego Farmers Market was absolutely beautiful.

 

ACFBC48A-874C-4A04-B1B0-6EA20DBAFB04

The wine tasting experience at Analemma is top notch. The area around Mosier Oregon is just gorgeous too.

 

75573A47-F8E1-4B5E-B1C0-DF3639660B00

Love the modern architecture at Cor Cellars. We opted to sit on the other side of the building in adirondack chairs looking right out at Mt Hood.

 

DBB71F74-A7E3-4B2A-8FC3-517AAA0E03A8

The whole area around Lyle, Washington is so picturesque and the wines being produced at Cor Cellars are definitely cellar worthy.

 

0BE42EC3-65F9-4148-BCC0-152B2BA3BF45

Loved the all female wine making team at AniChi…its funky, fun and delicious. The views across the gorge are drop dead gorgeous. 

 

 

9E3373C8-48C9-4137-AAC2-5E0F9A64A64C

Drinks and food are great here…most dishes are cooked in the huge wood fired oven.

 

1FE20188-4EF8-41D0-87A0-B64C75D0E651

This is one of the oldest still-standing firehouses in Portland, having been built in 1905.  It operated as Station 29 until the 1950s, and was used in a variety of ways until becoming a restaurant in 2008.

 

My five days went way too fast, there were so many friends I didn’t have time to see and soon I was Bolting back to Anacortes replete with a glow that only time with good friends can induce.

Hanging at the Dock

Well, here we are back in Anacortes Washington after a grand summer adventure. We sure did enjoy ourselves despite our rough start. Over 125 hours spent motoring, over 800 gallons of fuel burned, 4 major straits crossed, dozens of rapids traversed and so many beautiful sunsets logged! EPIC…well, yes it really was.

In case you were wondering, we did not run out of food or beverages. The pets had plenty of chow and the freezers still have enough in them for another four week cruise. I may have over packed the galley but we sure did eat well, especially with the addition of all the fresh seafood  that we harvested.

Who knew having such an epic summer would be so exhausting. We came back a bit weary and it has been great to simply just hang out in the marina, catch up with friends, walk the local trails with no fear of bears, get fresh veggies at the local farmers market and walk 5 blocks to a plethora of great restaurants where they do the dishes too!!!

4823F662-EDF8-44DA-A74E-F8167995F91E

So what’s next??? Well, we are trying to sort out what needs to be fixed on the boat as a result of the water in the engine room. The only thing that really quit working during our cruise was the water maker and luckily we didn’t have any issues getting fresh, potable water up north. Since we took on water, the starboard transmission has gotten much louder than the port when it is engaged and will need repaired. Most of the other things that will need repairing or replacement are all part of mitigating potential future issues.

Thankfully, none of these issues prevented us from continuing our cruise up north but the long-term effects of salt water on moving parts isn’t rosy.  The good news is that thanks to our awesome local experts and great insurance coverage, the Beach House will be as good as new by the next cruising season.

0A52BDC5-A266-49A1-95A0-E126F7DFE64E
Fixing the anchor windlass with superior cat supervision.

The Road House sat pretty over the summer… all covered up, hooked to electricity with vent fans running and batteries being charged. The engine started and ran great as did the generator when Wally did his first inspection.

22B3F127-304F-451F-9C79-FC7A3128D418
All uncovered and read to roll.

After engine oil and fuel filter changes at the local Caterpillar Engine dealer, the Road House is now at the Freightliner in Burlington getting her chassis lubricated and the brakes inspected.

So, we will close down the summer home and open up the winter home! Then it’s time to hit the road. We seem to be drawn back to New Mexico again this fall… I am starting to wonder if we are destined to live there some day. Actually, the draw this fall is the Albuquerque Balloon Festival which has been on my bucket list for some time. From there we will head to Sedona AZ to meet fellow RV friends and celebrate birthdays with some other friends.

6E5B54B3-47DC-4777-82FC-6ED395D6E8F3
Balloons as far as the eyes can see… so EXCITED to be attending!!!

Eventually, we will roll into the Outdoor Resort Palm Springs where we will spend the winter. We stayed there for part of last winter and loved this community of RVer’s and the resort so much that we bought a lot there.

658F4C3F-14BA-4F11-9EC0-9866F07F8049
The Road House will be sitting right here!!!
D4497D31-F240-4102-BFD2-40F87C3571C2

Looking forward to enjoying our morning coffee in the sun.

CF1814D1-3C96-4044-9ED0-94C6040C7DEB
Our winter back yard.

But for the next few weeks, its projects on the boat and rv, washing all the boat bedding, cleaning carpets, getting medical check-ups for us and the pets all done. Nope, in case you were wondering, it’s not all fun and games for us. What’s that saying “ you gotta pay to play”.

The Lure of Crabbing

We are back in Anacortes after our summer adventures up north in the Broughton Islands and Desolation Sound. While we are starting to look forward to our fall and winter adventures on the Road House, who can resist the lure of crabbing, the balmy weather and clear blue skies. The San Juan Islands were beckoning…come play, come crab…so what were we to do??

Well, we just gave in, loaded up the crab bait, some fresh produce and off we went to one of our favorite anchorages and crabbing spots.

820BDCAF-09D9-4ECA-966E-6D32FE869102

WOOHOO, the anchor is set!

 

Getting the anchor set is a team effort… we don our geeky headsets, I drive the boat to the perfect anchorage spot, Wally runs the windlass anchoring device on the bow of the boat, we chatter back and forth  on our geeky headsets about the depth (don’t forget he can hear everything you didn’t mean to say out loud) and how much anchor chain we want to lay down, I back the boat down on the anchor chain, Wally tells me to back down again, we both feel the anchor grab hold, the boat snaps back, sometimes I back down again and then we REALLY feel the anchor grab and the boat snap back.

 

C954EB9D-30B8-4C1B-BD85-4F6AD9EAE170

Is it time to get the crab pots put down???

After that maneuver, we feel good about the world and our place in it. Engines are turned off, Sucia gets let out of her travel bag, Bentley gets a trip to the pee mat on the back of the boat and then…only then, we can get geared up for CRABBING!!!!

 

235889F9-27DD-43DD-9048-1774B969F588

This is what we are always hoping to have happen…beautiful mounds of steamed crab, waiting to be eaten fresh out of the steamer with a cold Corona!!!

 

D20E0E58-A580-4CC1-B529-3DDCCEEAA068

Sucia loves crab…she has been known to sit right behind you, grab your hand with her paw and drag the crab you just started to eat right over to her! I love crab too, so I can’t really blame her!!!

 

As predators and scavengers, Dungeness crabs feed upon a broad range of prey including small mollusks, crustaceans, clams, and fishes. We often use fish heads or carcasses for crab bait if we have them from previous fishing expeditions. Even though crabs are bottom feeders, best I can tell, they love chicken too. Who’da thunk…its not like they have a Chik Fil A down there to just swim through.

 

72390026-3523-4E7C-AFE5-D076F0E22AB6

 

Lately, we have been digging clams to supplement the crab bait bag. The bigger the better when it comes to clams for bait and it is actually fun to go dig them up in nearby muddy bays.

 

23B17439-F2E9-4460-B1E2-424FADE9C690

Clams like mud so we go out on a low tide in areas we know are mud, look for water geysers or holes , the dig like crazy!

 

Once all the traps are baited, we like to put our crab traps out in deep water…about 70 feet as this seems to yield the mother lode, like in the photo below! But often times the traps are also productive in shallower areas around 35 feet. Once the traps are down, we mark the location on the GPS and then the hard part comes….Waiting!!! We usually wait at least four hours before we run out in the whaler again and check the traps. Sometimes you have to sip a glass of wine or a cold beer while you patiently wait.

 

9372853A-BECB-48E7-898E-C7C3350ACCEE

 

Bentley loves crabbing too…the best part for him is getting to ride on the bow of the whaler out to pull the traps. When the traps come into the boat, he is fascinated by the crabbies but seems to know that they are best left to his man to sort out.

 

65AC6D45-3B2E-4A9C-937C-7FD5E5033CBF

Holy Momma Zita, that’s a shite tons of crabs in that trap!!!

 

DA56F302-5C52-4210-9B70-34F520552CAA

It’s huge…That is definitely a keeper!!!

 

88E441D4-542F-4381-9A75-870319879BE9

You can only keep the males and they have to be 6 1/4 inches from point to point. Yes, another big boy that was invited to the dinner party.

 

Sorting and measuring the crabs is actually a bit crazy… believe it or not they are not very friendly nor are they happy to be pulled away from the feast in the bait bag. Sometimes, they actually get really pissed and take a run at you with their claws raised. The trick is to pick them up from the back… not the front side where they can easily bloody up your fingers with those huge claws.  As you can see from the pictures below, the gender can be identified quite easily by turning them over and looking at the underside of the shell.

 

 

Back at the boat, we set up the crab cooking station, then Wally gets busy cleaning and cooking the boys. For those you who might be squeamish, I will spare you the details of how the crabs are humanely dispatched but I will tell you that we don’t boil them whole and alive like the ones you see in the grocery store sitting nicely on a bed of ice. Why you may ask? Well, number one…how uncool to throw the dudes in a pot of boiling water alive, bad karma for sure. Number two…boiling them whole literally cooks the crab meat in water, reduces the flavor and makes for a wet soggy mess later when you want to eat the crabbies.

 

B72525D9-0D39-4924-9A7F-12447BFCE17B

Someone is having too much fun!!!

 

We prefer to steam our humane dispatched crabs for about 20 minutes, let them cool slightly and boy oh boy, let the feasting begin!!! There is nothing more delicious than warm, freshly steamed crabs!

 

5D6820F6-8899-421F-A61F-25807C9A6853

Bentley loves crabbies too and isn’t shy about begging a bite!

 

C2424983-3247-461D-B59C-34149F5547F0

I often use some of the picked crab remains to make broth for paella, soups or pasta.

 

MMMM, seafood paella for dinner and the view isn’t bad either!!! I know you will find this hard to believe but I have a whole rotation of recipes that feature crab. White wine is quite often going to accompany a meal involving crab …shocking too right!!!

 

F375CC2F-495D-4E5F-BA15-F86D8E525D86

I love making paella. It is so versatile and the ingredients can change based on what’s in the refrigerator. This seafood paella paired beautifully with a french red wine from the Languedoc region.

 

B6BDED6C-8AC1-4D12-B52D-6B0AC7FD8AFF

 

B6139C27-A387-410F-92D2-868FA8E4FF92

Breakfast crab with a poached egg!

 

0C40D636-53F4-4FCC-B17A-ECF114C555A8

Nope, not tired of crab yet!!!

 

After a hard day of crabbing, we are often treated to an amazing sunset. Sigh, now do you see why the lure of crabbing is so hard to resist???

 

F88C4978-ED47-44CB-9B78-9A974DF42FF4

 

Cruising in Delightful Desolation Sound

While the name, Desolation Sound may sound less than idyllic, this truly is a beautiful part of the Canadian coastline. This deep water sound is at the northern end of the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, Canada. Flanked by Cortes Island and West Redonda Island, it has spectacular fjords, mountains and wildlife which make it a popular boating and sea kayaking destination.

 

6DE6E724-E1D3-4A71-BC3B-B2F1CB1A92EB

Desolation Sound was inhabited by tribes of the Mainland Comox prior to the arrival of Europeans. In the summer of 1792, two expeditions led by Captains George Vancouver, Dionisio Alcalá Galiano and Cayetano Valdés y Flores arrived and cooperated in mapping the sound. Vancouver named it Desolation Sound, cryptically claiming that “there was not a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye”.

 

55802FA3-AE96-4D51-901E-D2F001C3399A

Personally, I couldn’t disagree more with Captain Vancouver…but who knows, maybe he was out of grogg, had scurvy or was feeling particularly grumpy when he decided on that name. I do believe that the area would have been quite desolate and wild with some crazy areas of currents, whirlpools and rapids that would have made early explorers have sphincter palpitations.

This video is just a small tidal rapid near Dent Island Lodge. Luckily, we did not have to traverse it so it was just fun to watch from shore.

 

 

 

Thankfully, the Government of British Columbia created the Desolation Sound Provincial Marine Park in 1973, to help protect this spectacular area from over development. The marine Park area comprises over 32 sq miles and over 37 miles of shoreline. Its many beautiful inlets, islets, coves and bays attract recreational boaters like us each summer. This amazing beauty coupled with the warm summer weather brings hundred boats here to share the numerous small anchorages.

 

D2B19FE8-4C28-44D7-94C6-8275F8977F71

We managed to find a few more secluded anchorages like this beautiful spot near Grace Harbor.

After spending a month further north in the Broughton Islands, the Desolation Sound area was really busy and crowded in comparison. It felt a bit like driving into Seattle! It was also so much warmer, shorts and bathing suits made an extended appearance, YAY! Seems we motored down about the time the summer heat wave hit the entire west coast. I recorded a 93 degree day inside the boat. Truly, the temperature difference was like going from North America to South America.

 

04817666-2360-4709-84F2-928FB6CC8F59

That said, we had a great two weeks there exploring some new anchorages, meeting up with fellow boating friends from Anacortes and hosting friends onboard the Beach House for a week. Fishing, exploring, relaxing, hiking, cooking amazing meals, drinking wine, kayaking and stargazing filled our days and nights. We even happened into a great floating concert in beautiful Prideaux Haven.

 

9250EE6C-1D10-4FBD-980C-ACED966BE3FC

Hundreds of folks rafted together in their dinghy’s to enjoy the concert. The band and entertainers were awesome.

 

 

 

 

Our friends Dave and Tanya joined us for a week and arrived via float plane at Dent Island Lodge. It was so exciting to see the plane touch down on the water as we sat waiting for them in the marina.  They had a great flight from Seattle, low over the water with amazing visibility all the way up the coastline.  What a beautiful setting to touch down and on a private island none the less!

 

BF4E15A4-79CE-4664-BF67-7753C9F1210B

 

28A52A1D-CAAA-47DF-8936-AD9E6317BC6A

 

 

 

We enjoyed a fabulous meal and exploring the hiking trails the next day. It would have been way to easy to have stayed a few more days but we had places to go, fish to catch and things to see.

 

 

FC14807A-B680-4B47-B6CC-00B43E848DCE

 

EB6E5A12-B458-49FF-A476-007113324B57

Hmmm, not sure what went wrong on this cruise but it wasn’t likely  the skippers best day on the water.

 

Fishing and shrimping are a great way to fill the coffers with fresh seafood. If you look closely at Wally’s fish (on the right) in the picture below, it has a turquoise hue. Most lingcod are light beige or whitish gray with pinkish bellies. However, about 20 percent of lingcod have florescent green or blue flesh.  No one seems to know precisely what causes this but biologists believe the strange green or blue hues indicate that the lingcod have consumed a diet rich in chlorophyll, eating more plant matter—green algae through small crustaceans—than the rest. Regardless of its initial coloring, all lingcod meat turns bright white when cooked and is a dense, mild fish. We ate them both and honestly I can’t tell you that they tasted any different.

 

5E903FC2-CAA8-4F41-B2DB-AC8676E7DA28

Those are some happy boys!! Well, not the fish so much.

 

E25C0CD9-6E87-46FC-81D2-4A9A2C1160E8

Seriously, that is really the color of the fish meat. No photo color enhancement!!

 

The great thing about Desolation Sound is that there are actually plenty of places to get off the boat and enjoy having someone else cook and do the dishes. As much as I love cooking, sometimes shore leave keeps the whole crew happy!

 

C448BEF0-8F9B-4CDC-9B9E-529F62E727FD

Lunch on the deck at bustling Refuge Cove. Bloody Mary anyone?

 

728B4353-24F1-4BAF-8AE3-7171AAB91663

Speaking of shore leave, many of the anchorages in Desolation Sound have great hikes. Fresh water lakes are plentiful with the high mountains and winter snowpack so swimming in the cool, fresh water is a great way to cool off on a hot day. 

 

C01AD522-B632-4470-A315-A4225283CC22

E599685C-BC40-43B4-8FD1-CD4326695D82

 

07EAF336-4803-4DC2-954C-490C290E2D31

Bentley didn’t go full in swimming but he definitely likes wading! He’s always a happy boy when we get out the harness and leash – shore leave…why yes, I will go exploring too!!

 

 

 

There were no shortage of amazing sunsets and one night we were all treated to a dark sky dripping with stars. No light pollution, no wildfire haze and no moon makes for spectacular stargazing. The perfect place to take it all in… stretched out on the bow of the boat with a glass of wine in hand. So quiet and peaceful…

 

AD6BB9F6-8FF0-4DBD-A7FF-E73099C5FBD5

E6B29400-4C42-492B-A3FB-DA71A5CBF413

4B9A9BB8-47A4-4A8D-9A93-C4E77CE06825

 

We saw plenty of wildlife on our two weeks in Desolation Sound. Eagles, Orca Whales, Humpback Whales, Osprey, Herons, Cormorants, Kingfishers, Seals, and Porpoise just to name a few.

 

21821CA5-2E41-4F78-913F-1D6BA33CF320

Isn’t this couple just adorable…I am pretty sure the babe on the right is the girlie! She looks so feminine!!!

 

42A1A996-F02E-4BE3-8652-EECDE1D14E9D

This baby seal found the perfect place to sun itself and didn’t seem to mind that we were this close. Little dude was actually suckling on the side of this giant boat…so cute!!!

 

We really did get up close and personal with the humpbacks in the videos below one night when we went out to check our prawn pot. Check out the link above to read about that exciting evening!

 

 

 

 

It has taken me awhile to sort through all the pictures from this short two week part of our cruise north. I gotta admit that I was a bit tuckered out by the time we pulled into our slip at Anchor Cove Marina in Anacortes. We have had such a great season on the boat exploring the Canadian Coastline and once we catch our breath, I think we will head out for a few four days trips in the San Juan Island! This gal’s not that tuckered out or ready to put the Beach House away for the winter!!!

 

 

 

I love how the wake of our boston whaler made a wake that was shaped like a whale tail!! Wonder if that’s why they are called whalers???

Outposts in the Wild Broughtons

995BDFA3-14CF-43E7-90B7-672CAA35BD77

 

While we love gunk holing and being anchored out in a quiet bay with no one around, sometimes this gal needs a “city” fix. On the boat that usually means we need to do laundry, get fuel or food but in the case of the Broughton’s the main attraction of the marinas was the social aspect. 

Most of the marina’s in the Broughton’s are really outposts, some are super funky and rustic, others are more sophisticated. Rustic means just that, the docks are usually old wood floats, there is unlikely any type of store, no fuel, no laundry. Some times they have water and power if they have good generators.

 

08D15152-DBB7-4A3F-8D91-1DF7FE53896B

Rustic, wild Kwatsi Bay.

 

Sophisticated means there are a full range of services such as fuel, water, power, groceries, laundry, wood fired hot tub, wifi and cell service and maybe updated concrete docks. Don’t get me wrong…they are still funky but with flair!!

 

FCC47CE1-BB83-4F0A-AEF2-90B8154C0739

 

These outposts are where the boaters gather to catch up on chores, pick up friends who fly in on float planes (yes, you have that option too if you want to come hang with us for a while on the boat), and socialize with other boaters.

Most outposts have some sort of organized Happy Hour which is usually potluck and the marina provides the place to gather. Some even have a small restaurant or set meals several times a week. The other thing that sets the tone at the outposts are the owners and the special touches they do to give their outpost its own special vibe.

 

AC2B4488-2F8C-4FCD-B07E-2C6E0D994125

Golf anyone???

 

Kwatsi Bay is definitely rustic…the setting is stunning and all the waterfalls in this area make is very special. Set deep in the bay with 2,000 ft mountains surrounding it, Max and Anca are a delightful couple who have built this place from scratch. Sadly, we hear they are putting it up for sale…so if you are hankering to have your very own outpost, this may be your chance.

 

ECA15636-3CB7-4ABC-B6AD-120E22DC3A69

Remote Kwatsi Bay

 

The water system at Kwatsi was installed with human man power efforts by Max which meant laying hundreds of feet of pipes up the mountain to the year-around waterfall. The water is piped down to the marina and purified. There is no power at the docks but the small building and the main house are set up in a generator and solar, all done in an effort to be sensitive to the environment.

 

08D15152-DBB7-4A3F-8D91-1DF7FE53896B

We enjoyed a intimate Happy Hour gathering on the docks and no rain!

 

Pierre’s at Echo Bay is another outpost that is owned by a very enterprising couple, Pierre and Tove. Read the link and you will see what I mean by enterprising! They have been living and working in the Broughton’s for almost 40 years and this outpost definitely has their vibe. The pig roast and prime rib dinner events that they hold each week are incredibly popular and well attended. We made our reservations in advance just to make sure we could attend the Canada Day Celebration as well.

 

BB98A3B5-D8C8-487F-8ADB-95B0B0E5D79E

Thats Pierre getting ready to carve the pig.

 

This outpost also has some hiking trails that will take you over to another small bay where you can see Billy Proctors Museum and visit the gift shop. Billy is a coastal legend who tells the best stories based on his life living in the Broughtons. 

We had a chance to meet Billy and chat with him about the fish farms …yes, he has strong options about those!!! A friend had loaned me one of his books “Full Moon, Flood Tide” which was great to read while we were cruising in Billy back yard. A natural, storyteller, Billy’s book points the way to hidden waterfalls, abandon Native villages, old logging camps and the added bonus for boaters is the descriptions of which bays have the best protection from the winds.  He recounts spellbinding and often hilarious tales of the big hearted, hard-bitten and just plain weird folks who have lived in this part of his world.

 

9A1D704F-0E2E-4A5B-91DD-4E7B26437AD2

Chatting with Billy, what an amazing man!

 

Sullivan Bay was one of our favorite outposts in the northwest west part of the Broughtons. This more sophisticated outpost is owned by a group of people who have floating homes there…okay, they really just summer homes…and the marina is top notch with full services. The Manager Deb and her crew were amazing.

 

20C19EE9-E310-4489-AF13-C3E1869DB138

 

2362C257-7B33-4556-A366-28F89D5FBA1E

 

284C838A-F73C-4A7D-B139-3EF504829208

 

48C897F6-AB28-47AB-92F0-301C56CF530B

 

C7828D33-3C58-41FD-BC8A-6B61FA33BFF6

 

We met friends from Anacortes there, Deane and Arlene who have been our Broughton’s mentors. Long time cruisers who know their way around the PNW from south of Seattle to beyond the Broughton’s – Thanks guys for letting us tag along on part of your trip!

 

4F3A89D1-0613-40A1-AEF8-C603F0C88D57

 

It was great to have someone else cook and we all enjoyed the prime rib dinner at the restaurant and the great Happy Hour gatherings at Sullivan Bay. There is something special about the boating comraderery up here. We have met so many wonderful people who will hopefully be boating friends for life!!

 

1DB8C49D-749E-4951-8D28-86878E59505F

The winner of the golf challenge at Sullivan Bay gets to wear this great jacket and get a free night of moorage – WTG Wally!!!

 

Besides catching up on laundry, email and all the boating gossip we did a lot of exploring from these outposts, some fishing, crabbing and prawning too. It is great to be tied up to a dock for a few days and go out in the whaler exploring with Bentley. 

 

6998C669-DED5-4ACE-8F5E-F1E6FE7E7A21

Delicious fresh spot prawns…yummy!!!

 

Lagoon Cove Marina was a great stop over on our way back down to Johnstone Strait. Not only do they have a fresh prawn feed at Happy Hour but there are hiking trails and fun outdoor games on the lawn above the docks. 

 

45012DA9-E003-4CFA-B83D-8AAE6CB92714

Getting set up for the prawn feed at Happy Hour.

 

2EF12231-2107-4F8A-B4E9-F42AFA953D2F

 

28634E90-5BC0-4916-A408-3F55A13D394F

The burn barrel is kinda of a big, damn deal as most of these remote outposts have no garbage service.

 

99E12730-E371-4089-9272-948E2BEF1E5E

At Lagoon Cove the grounds were quite beautiful. It was great to be able to get off the boat and go for a hike…even with a bear in the fruit tree.

 

Our final stop in the Broughtons was at the Port Harvey Marina which is owned by George and Gale Cambridge. This is a great stop for boaters who are just coming out of Johnstone Strait or getting ready to make the transit.

 

EB6C4B24-7145-4F86-A83E-36F0FE49AEDE

 

Sadly, we heard that George passed in his sleep just a week after we were there. I suppose one could feel some comfort knowing he passed in the place he loved, doing what he loved but out hearts go out to Gail.  George will be sorely missed by the boating community. Calm Seas George!!!

Up Close With Humpbacks….

WOW…WOW and WOW…last night after dinner we ran out in the whaler to get our   prawn pot which was out in Sutil Channel.

The ride out from where we were anchored in Von Donop Inlet was stunning. The sun was setting on the mountains and the water was calm flat.

 

9FD5CC38-CD80-4A01-AB30-3699F5E1BA6B

 

We got the pot pulled, not many shrimpies but what happened next made us forget our meager harvest.

Not far off the left side of the whaler, I saw what I thought was a log. But no, it was twisting as it moved…. then a dorsal fin appeared… and another dorsal fin, then a tail.

Humpback Whales…Sweet. We watched for a couple of minutes… then blows, loud like the roar of a lion. More fins and tails. Wow….

We counted at least four humpies and they appeared to be feeding. They seemed to be moving away from us so we sat and waited.

More blows, did I say WOW! So loud and so close…it sounded like a lion roaring.  I had the camera ready and started the video. A full breach… whoa, unbelievable but no video. I must have hit the stop button when Wally yelled…holey shite!

We were afraid to move the whaler so we just sat there wondering where the heck they were.

I did manage to get this video.

 

What an evening… we are still pinching ourselves about how fortunate we are to be on the water and experience so much natural wonder. Did I already say WOW?

 

 

I love the fan tail the whaler makes as we zoom away from our crazy whale encounter.

The Wild Broughtons

It has been just over a month since we left Anacortes Washington bound for the Broughton Islands in Northern British Columbia. So far we have had quite an adventure and have certainly learned a lot on this cruise. While we have been boating for almost 20 years, this has certainly been one of the most wild and rugged cruises we have taken by ourselves.

 

5468BA02-AA4C-4FF2-BF29-3C7CC93B69AA

 

There have been many nights that we have been anchored out in a bay or cove with no other boats or people around for miles…ah, and no cell or wifi  either. Our entertainment has been watching the wild life, reading, fishing, prawning, crabbing, exploring by kayak and in the whaler, seriously competitive games of backgammon and spectacular sunsets! No fear of boredom setting in…really!!

 

995BDFA3-14CF-43E7-90B7-672CAA35BD77

Hanging on the anchor near Cecil Island.

 

18D20662-5B2C-40BF-85E6-0645CEBA098A

Aren’t Dungeness Crabs beautiful….Yes, we ate him!!!

 

We have seen orca whales, pacific white sided dolphins, copious numbers of adult and juvenile bald eagles, mink, otters, seals, sea lions and many other types of sea creatures and birds. So far we have not seen any bears but we have talked to other folks that have seen them on shore. I am still hoping for a bear sighting…just not when we are talking Bentley to shore!!!

 

81D32671-A100-4FDE-8E80-7A864C620CC6

The dolphin encounter was one of the highlights of our cruise.

 

 

03D9ED42-9895-4FD0-B226-9F7B9249D684

Lingcod might not be beautiful but they sure taste good…Yes, we ate  it!!

 

07FCF78E-1890-4BF4-AAB5-BA8EEC7BCF43

This dude was watching us fish…he actually flew down and tried to grab the first small rockfish I brought up to the boat …that was exciting!!!

 

505FA757-4C0B-4AB4-93F3-3F384E5EEA82

What a beauty… Nope, we didn’t eat it…too small, so it swam free!

 

59536D33-6FFB-4E87-B8F1-399960BA3CFC

The big guy was holding court while the ladies were fawning all over him…quite the ladies man!

 

8E8A1655-F06F-4A69-8D50-0B7CA8D5C83B

A happy fisherman with his catch of the day…a black rockfish and a huge yellow edged rockfish…yep, you guessed right – we ate them!

 

30A28998-DBB9-4A88-AAF5-DC8FA32E99DC

Look at those beautiful prawns…Are you starting to get the feeling that we have been eating well.

 

The month has really gone by too quickly and I can’t believe we are starting the trek south already. The good new is that you can expect more frequent updates as we get back in the land of cell reception.

 

F5C56B12-5640-4142-AC25-03598772DB64

Just another spectacular sunset!

Off the Grid With Mother Nature – Part 2

After our earlier adventure in the Broughton Lagoon tidal rapids, we really thought the rest of the day would be uneventful. I mean how much craziness can Mother Nature dish out in one day???

 

995BDFA3-14CF-43E7-90B7-672CAA35BD77

The day started so peaceful and beautiful …just high, fluffy clouds.

 

Well, she had more in her…Around 3:30 pm the weather shifted and it was evident a squall was headed our way so we closed up all the canvas and battened down the hatches! Around 4:30 all hell broke loose, no real wind but the thunder was incredible. The first lighting and the huge KABOOM …it was like dynamite going off over our heads. I didn’t even get past counting one one thousand…Sucia and Bentley were both shaking and running for cover. …I uttered a WOW..WHOA as the squall crested from the direction of Broughton Lagoon…Is this an evil place and it’s telling us to beware???

Lighting has a unique smell especially when you are right under a strike. The ozone layer feels alive…within minutes of the first huge kaboom we could smell something burning. The lighting went on for about 20 more minutes and each kaboom got progressively farther away.

As the squall moved away, I stepped out on to the swimstep and noticed smoke drifting out from the opening of the small creek at the back of the cove. WHOA, WOW… the lighting had hit a tree about 200 years from us on shore and tree was on fire. We listened to the snap, crackle pop and could see smoke but no flames coming from deep with in the forest. After some deliberation, Wally hailed the Canadian Coast Guard on the VHF radio as we had no cell reception. He reported the strike and fire as the intensity of the smoke had gotten worse…it was that orange-brown color that unseasoned, pitchy fire wood puts off.

 

EEFE0C88-F126-4075-B5D4-5C24D53B2CA4

Yep, that’s how close the lighting strike was to us.

 

Wally was on the VHF radio several times as the Canadian Coast Guard took information and relayed it to the Ministry of Forests.  Within another hour, a second rain squall came through damping down the potential fire. There was no threat to us but boy howdy had it been an exciting day…crazy tidal gates, rapids, thunder, lighting and a fire strike just 200 yards away.

 

F7514A2F-B193-4878-A80E-017450E30A07

 

We were still game for a bit more adventure so after dinner when the rain let up we took Bentley in the whaler for a cruise up into Greenway Sound. Moody dark skies, with light pockets made for a beautiful vista. We found the decrepit marine park dock and took Bentley for a short walk up the trail but the misty, dark forest was just too creepy so we headed back to the safety of the warm, crazy Beach House.

 

2CB39EB9-4215-428B-A704-A96CFE04DB31

 

Wally had a final radio call with the Canadian Coast Guard scheduled at 6:00 am the next morning. Geez, don’t they know we are retired…who gets up that early???

It rained off and on all night so the fire danger passed and Wally happily reported no concerns to the Canadian Coast Guard at O’ Dark Thirty in the morning. After all this crazy fun in Greenway Sound, we decided to head for cilivilation…Sullivan Bay Marina was our destination, where we were planning to meet friends from Anacortes, do laundry and some provisioning.

 

D98CE01D-B16A-4332-A405-C6631405BBD5

Off The Grid with Mother Nature – Part 1

Since my last post, we have been totally off the grid in Simoom Sound and Greenway Sound. No cell service, no wi-fi, no people, no houses, just a few crappy Atlantic Salmon Fish Farms. They actually litter the coves here in the Broughtons and believe me, no one I talk to about them likes having them in the bays but that’s a whole different post!

The joy of exploring the Broughton is the remote, beautiful areas that you often have all to yourself. Don’t worry, we still have VHF radio access to the Canadian Coast Guard should anything happen.

We spent our Fourth of July, peacefully hanging on the anchor in O’Brien Bay which is in Simoom Sound. For two days we explored the area in our trusty 13 ft Boston Whaler that we tow behind the Beach House. We did a bit of fishing and prawning but neither produce any dinner options. The kayaking in the bay was awesome, so much to look at on shore and in the water. I spent about 30 minutes just floating and watching a beautiful bald eagle in a snag tree just up on shore.

 

F5C56B12-5640-4142-AC25-03598772DB64

 

5FA5F3B8-53C4-4EDB-A7C7-39FA60EE71E2

 

We checked out an abandon logging camp in hopes of finding a road that was walkable but after finding some fresh bear scat, we decided maybe to get back on the water. Whistles, an air horn, and bear mace are in our arsenal of “Hello Mr. Bear” greeting tools. We have been told that there aren’t many Grizzly Bears in this area, especially on the islands as there isn’t enough territory for them here. But black and brown bears are definitely in the area although we haven’t seen any on our Bentley shore leaves yet.

 

C989A043-1468-4567-B2DB-B4652612FE39

Those are all full barrels of jet fuel…interesting since this logging road hasn’t been used since 1986.

 

516BE137-AF7D-4747-92C9-6AFE3962F3EA

That is a very fresh pile of bear scat…it was actually larger than the picture depicts.

 

Getting Bentley to shore for some exercise and constitutionals has been a challenge up here in the Broughtons. The shorelines are steep to and have no little if any real shoreline. We look for small islets or sometimes big rocks that we can get teh whaler up to. Bentley is really sure footed so he can climb up and over the rocks.

 

506CDF9F-5F1F-47DA-AB36-5E11A6343988

Bentley is leaving some scat of his own!!!

 

We headed over to Greenway Sound for one night and anchored in a sweet little cove, behind an islet where the small tidal outflow from Broughton Lagoon rippled out just behind the Beach House. 

 

0440FBBB-DEA8-4F48-8CEA-414BCD8BB9B2

 

995BDFA3-14CF-43E7-90B7-672CAA35BD77

 

Broughton Lagoon is a quiet, secluded, uncharted saltwater lake approximately three miles long.There are dolphins that fish and play in the lagoon so we decided to go exploring in the whaler. 

While this lagoon sounds calm and peaceful is guarded by tidal gates where turbulent, fast-flowing water, hazardous rocks and restricted space for maneuvering make things difficult. We had read that the best time to transit into the lagoon was high water. After consulting the tide tables, the closest one being quite always from where were but we knew it was not HW slack. As we puttered around exploring, a small boat headed into the channel for the lagoon. So off we went, blissfully unaware of just how crazy Mother Nature can be.

They didn’t come back so we figured it was okay to go…the first part of the channel was whirlpools but no serious rapids but as we turned the sharp corner, holy crap Batman it was a raging torrent of water for about 100 yards. I was sitting on the bow of the whaler taking video when Wally said, “there is a tight turn ahead so hold on”. I immediately saw the turbulent water ahead and a wall of water. For a spilt second I thought about getting up and going around to the seat next to Wally but the water was pushing so hard and fast that I knew that would be a crazy move. Plus, I was worried about Bentley who was standing next to me. I quickly stuck my iphone under my left butt cheek, grab onto Bents and the railing of the Whaler…just in time … as we hit the first wall of the waterfall. Then the swirling, whirling mass of water turned into a 2-3 foot wall of water. Wally didn’t lose his cool and powered the whaler through it, thankfully we have a 50 hp engine. Bentley was thrown down as I held on for dear life…in what seemed like an eternity but was really just a few seconds we crested over the huge outfall and into calmer water, then into the lagoon itself. WOW….I was shaken but we were all okay. Okay, that scared the crap out of me, not living to you!!! We took a nice leisurely cruise around the lagoon, got Bentley to shore for a break and tied off to an overhanging tree in the shade to regroup. 

Thanks to limited wifi bandwidth at the marina we are staying at, there is no video so sorry, you will have to believe it was as terrifying as I make it out to be 🙂

 

Meanwhile the other boat roared around for about 20 minutes and then headed back out again…Well, not following that crazy boat again, so we decided to hang out for at least an hour and wait for the tidal exchange to slow down.

While motoring around we saw 4-5 porpoise and followed them for a bit while they fished. It would be crazy to have seen them in that small, narrow  channel coming or going. I bet they have a better sense of timing that we did! 

After one peek down the raging channel, it was evident that the water was definite less turbulent but we gave it another 20 minutes then headed through. I was tense as we approached, ready for another death-defying pass. So we started in, this time I was in the back seat beside Wally, with Bentley tucked between my legs. It was fast-moving and turbulent but no huge walls of water. We might have dropped down over a small outfalls but it was actually fun this time …wow, what a difference 90 minutes makes!!!

The water was calm in the bay as we motored back to the Beach House. After a stiff drink and showers, we all felt good again. Just in case you are wondering, Bentley didn’t have a stiff drink but he sure deserved one too!

Later we explored Greenway Sound in the whaler and found a marine park and trail but headed back to the boat as there was rain coming and what looked like a serious squall.

 

A20A449F-B691-4BC3-969C-04F49C351E76

 

13C3703D-78F1-4A10-BD13-47CD63911B1C

The dock at the marine park was a disaster but Bentley found this brand new outhouse??? Guess the BC Parks Service has its priorities!!!

WOO-HOO, We Made It!!!

Yippee Skippee…we are in the Broughton Islands but thanks to limited cell and internet services (welcome to the wilderness) along the way, I haven’t posted any news for several days so I will try to catch you up.

Our last big hurdle to getting this far north was based on the temperament of Johnstone Strait. Many a mariner has had their ass handed to them on a platter when the ferocious winds howl down this 110 km (68 mi) channel along the north-east coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. The strait is between 2.5 km (1.6 mi) and 5 km (3.1 mi) wide so the water and wind channel right down through there. It is a major navigation channel on the west coast of North America.  There are ways to limit ones passage through Johnstone by taking some more sheltered routes through Desolation Sound but at some point you have no choice but to get your bow out in the strait.

The weather looked great on Thursday the 28th, light and variable winds in the morning as opposed to the 10-20 knots it often is. Johnstone is well known for the winds building to 20-25 knots by early afternoon. We got a very early start to take advantage of the light wind and the ebbing current to help carry us along faster. We also opted to take the route through Blind Channel into Johnstone, up past Race and Current Passages. This route put us in Johnstone longer but with the great weather forecast we were willing to take the chance, get an early start and off the strait before the afternoon winds could whip it up. We were rewarded with very light chop, less than 5 knots of wind and a very pleasant day on the water. No ass whoopin for us…that was cause for celebration!!!

In route, we saw Randy and Rusty  (that we met at Blind Channel Resort) on Johnstone Strait near Port Neville. We tooted the horn and gave them wide berth as not to swamp them with our wake. They were flying along, sails up taking advantage of the ebb current too. No ass whoopin for Randy and Rusty either!!

 

C5E33768-9051-4135-A60A-2A98858E96C2

 

The Beach House was anchored in Cutter Cove which is well into the Broughton Islands by the early afternoon. On a fair weather day, this anchorage is calm and protected plus we were the only boat there.

 

301EE50D-511F-4051-9799-55C57AF314D0

Beach House on the hook in Cutter Cove.

 

We took the whaler out to explore and did a fast cruise in the light misty rain that set in, over to the now defunct Mistral Bay Resort. We have heard lots of stories about this resort when it was in full swing as a friends family once owned it. The resort is just a shell of aging buildings and crumbling docks now – so sad. The docks can be used at your own risk for free and we chatted with a couple who were tied up there for the night. The whole place was just depressing and I was glad we were on the hook at Cutter Cove.

 

 

FA6A5B10-903C-4854-98AB-425128D28FFA

Defunct and decrepit Mistral Island Resort.

 

A celebration dinner was in order…Grilled Lamb Chops with Argentina Chimmichurri Sauce, Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic along with Grilled Red and Yellow Peppers. Chef Brenda served a Cabernet Sauvignon from Upchurch which is in the Walla Walla Valley.

We swung on the anchor that night, peaceful and quiet so we slept great.

The following day, not in a big hurry anymore, we motored out of Cutter Cove around 10 am with Kwatsi Bay routed as our destination. It was only 22 nautical miles so we dialed back the engines to putter speed, about 8 knots. It was raining and misty but the water was calm and flat. – no real wind.

Our cruise got quite eventful about 5 nautical miles from Kwatsi Bay … eventful in a good way. We spotted Pacific White Sided Porpoises fishing and frolicking in groups all around us. I would guesstimate that there was easily 50 of them. Soon we were the source of their fun. It was unbelievable… they jumped, leapt and sped through the water next to the boat on both sides for miles.

 

81D32671-A100-4FDE-8E80-7A864C620CC6

 

I was hanging out the salon window clapping and laughing as they performed  their aerobic water ballet for me. I just focused the camera near the side of the boat doing burst shots in hopes of getting one decent picture.  It was an amazing show as porpoise sped by the salon window, often three at a time, leaping out of the water right in front of me, then dashing under the bow, leaping out across each other. I swear they knew I was there watching their beautiful show.

 

 

01CE3A24-9073-4648-9846-2E9207BFDA60

 

Wally watched their show off the bow from the flybridge as he just motored along on autopilot. The porpoise seemed to really like the wake our boat was throwing up. They would cue up in the smaller wake the whaler was throwing, then gain speed as the wake got bigger along the side of the boat. Did I say it was unbelievable and beautiful…truly the most amazing thing we have experienced in the boat!!!

 

2A5DAED9-29FA-4C84-9C0B-ECDDDC272279

I was so bummed I didn’t get the whole porpoise in this shot but I love the reflection in the water.

 

Kwatsi Bay Marina is rustic to say the least but in a charming way. Max and Anka have built this place up from scratch over the last 20 years. Just one 400 ft aging wood dock with no power. There is a tiny gift shop and a gathering place for the evening potluck happy hour. Cold, clean water abounds… Hydro power, that they installed is generated from the enormous waterfall that cascades down from the 4,500 ft peaks behind the marina. We love these kinds of places, quaint, charming and intimate.

 

65D9E42B-94F9-44E6-8881-A88395085F4D

Quaint Kwatsi Bay Marina.

 

It was a rainy day for sure, but we got a break from 2:30 to almost 10 pm. We spent the afternoon exploring the beautiful bay in the whaler and on foot as well. There is a short hike to the lower part of that enormous waterfall, which is actually just one of many that ring the bay.

 

32EF4A48-491D-4839-A9D7-6716C6E65CF1

Bentley loves exploring too…

 

B7059F16-631F-4E66-939F-5DF25A28A8DA

 

Happy Hour was at 5 pm back on the dock. We spent a few hours easily chatting with our hosts and the other two couples that were staying on their boats on the dock. Everyone was happy to share with us their favorite anchorages and places not to miss exploring. The next day we are off for Pierre’s Echo Bay Marina and Resort.