Mar and Gar's Adventures

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Worst Blogger Ever

I cannot believe how little I have written this summer.  I can blame it on the lack of internet but the truth is I just find other things to do.  I had to go back and see the last time I posted anything!  And it was a very long time ago.   I think I said something about heading down to the Broughtons.

In all honesty, things got a little crazy there for a few days.   We left Blunden after 3 great nights of anchoring.  We caught some crab, got some nice bottom fish, saw a humpback whale while out fishing and had a couple awesome sunsets.  DSC_0034

We left Blunden and found out Sandpiper was in Sullivan Bay so decided to go there for a night.  That is when it got crazy.  Most of you know we put our building up for sale before we left.  Well, we found out when we had internet that there was an offer and we had less than 2 days to respond.  So, no phone service and the wifi would not download attachments.  The managers at the marina went above and beyond letting us use the satellite phone and their email (faster with their own router) so we were able to with ‘some’ stress make a counter-offer.  We left Sullivan Bay after 2 days not knowing how that went and actually didn’t know for 4 days that they did not accept the counter-offer.  It was a decent offer, and even more decent counter, but not meant to happen yet.

At Sullivan Bay Marina they have a nightly happy hour where you do a meet and greet then an optional golf tournament.  You get two balls and try to hit a floating target.  Hitting it is a night’s free moorage.  Closest to pin gets a free freshly made apple or cherry turnover in the morning.   Simon got bragging rights the first night.  Not sure how because he came in 2nd but they gave him pastries.  Night 2 Garry won the closest to the pin.  It’s kinda funny because they are the least golfy golfers going against real ones.  Simon, especially, has only held a golf club a couple times.  Those that know Simon will crack up over this.   He is constantly talking and making jokes and someone actually asked him if he was a professional comedian!   That made us all crack up!!!

After Sullivan Bay we went to Claydon Bay for 3 nights of anchoring.  We tried some crabbing (Simon did pretty good) and prawning (Garry did ok) and Yvonne and I got to do some kayaking.  Garry took a tumble on some rocks and if he tells you a story about a mother Grizzly and her two cubs and how he fought her off don’t believe him.  It was a slippery loose rock and lots of barnacles.IMG_2451

Our last night at Claydon we were joined by fellow Des Moines Yacht Clubbers, Bill and Judy on the Bumble Bee and Frank and Trish on Double Eagle.  A fun night had by all.  They were going to stay there a few days but were on their way eventually to Pt. Hardy. We had to leave because Yvonne and I were flying out of Echo Bay to come home for a week of fun and frivolity.  She had girls weekend in Spokane to go to and I wanted to check on the house, the grandkids, see Mom, take long an endless showers….. You know… all the fun stuff.  Garry’s son Dale and his friend Tracy flew in to stay the week with Garry.IMG_1637

So, now it is Tuesday night, the 26th.  I have had a great time at home.  Yvonne is due here any minute and we leave early tomorrow morning back to Canada.  We fly into Big Bay Community Dock and Marina and Dale and Tracy fly out.

That is everything… and typed in a hurry!

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Post HardySo, Wednesday the 13th and we are in Blunden Harbour and this is our 3rd night here. We had an easy and smooth crossing the Queen Charlotte Straits on Monday. We tried some halibut fishing at Taylor Bank but no luck. Blunden Harbour is a nice protected area and usually a far number of boats here. Our first night we had 4 other boats here, last night 5, and tonight only 3. As we were setting our anchor a hummingbird flew right into our boat. It took a bit of coaxing but we got it out. Then a few minutes later another one almost flew in. Crazy!

We have done some crabbing here with some success. Not too many but we have enough now to enjoy crab a few times. Garry went fishing yesterday and got some nice bottle fish. We both went out today and I have never seen the Queen Charlottes so glassy calm. As we were bobbing along we saw a humpback whale pop up a few times. I took some pictures and I hope they will turn out. I took some pictures in the harbour last night on my iPad and they look really great! I will hopefully post them later. 

Tomorrow we are heading down the the Broughton archipelago area and hope to do some successful prawning and crabbing.  


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Port Hardy

Well, it has been interesting using cell phone this year. It is my first year with a smart phone and I am on the nifty $2 a day Verizon plan for Canada. If I leave cellular off there is no fee. But I learned while in Port McNeill that I was not receiving calls – I was only able to call out. Also, I was not receiving most incoming texts. I called Verizon but it was complicated being on the phone that I needed to be changing settings on so decided to wait on that.
We left Port McNeill early Saturday morning for Port Hardy. We were not able to get on the regular Marina dock so are just next to it at the city harbour dock which is mostly commercial boats. We have a great spot and it is much cheaper moorage so all is well.
Our friend, Gord, who lives here came down to visit so I borrowed his phone and called Verizon. They walked me through the problem. This far north my phone was using the Telus network and it is not very compatible with Verizon. They told me how to switch it to Rogers Wireless and bang, I immediately started receiving about 30 texts that had been sitting in space. And I got a phone call. So all is good.
Garry and Gord are out fishing right now. It has been cool, rainy, wet, then sultry and wet, but no too much wind the last couple of days.
I was just up talking to the marina office and learned some very valuable information. We had been thinking of going to Hope Island and tie up to the First Nation dock in Bull Harbor like we have done in the past but unless you are a First Nation member you are no longer allowed on the island, even to use their docks. Some totally irresponsible people had been going ashore and stealing relics and disturbing ancient burial grounds and bragging about it on social media. Some were caught but a lot of others decided to do the same. I wonder what on earth why they would think this is acceptable. What a beautiful island. I am so glad that I got to visit it a couple of times before this happened.
I am not sure if we are leaving here tomorrow or staying one more night. It probably will depend on how fishing goes today.


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Time Flies
We are in Port McNeill for a couple days doing boat maintenance and waiting out some not fun weather. After 4 nights in Ramsay Arm, we headed on a short run to Stuart Island and their community dock in Big Bay. Sandpiper got there just ahead of us. It was pretty empty on the dock which was a bit of a surprise since it had been the long Canada Day weekend. It is always entertaining there to watch boats try to travel through the Rapids at the wrong time.
Tuesday morning was another early departure (5:30 again!) to be able to hit the rapids at the right time. We headed to Sidney Bay in Loughborough Inlet to stay on the docks run by Dane and Helen, longtimers in the area. Sandpiper headed to Forward Harbor. We had a nice chat with Dane and Helen when we took the dinghy over to their home the pay our moorage. Helen is an amazing artist and we got to see her studio for the first time. We wished her an early 85th birthday before we left. They have been in Sidney Bay 47 years, raised their two kids there and are amazing on how they live with the land. Dane is very clever and able to fix, build, and create pretty much anything. He always has a project. We got to meet their son this year who was visiting with his 2 teenage kids. Dane took them back to Campbell River just after we met them.
The weather report for the Johnstone Straits for Wednesday was promising so another early departure (5:30 again!!!) and we left Loughborough. It was a fabulous day on the water, with virtually no wind and glassy smooth water. Sandpiper was ahead of us by about an hour and were headed a different direction than us. We hope to meet back up with them later. Anyway, we boated along and ended up at a community run dock on Malcolm Island which is walking distance to our friends Dan and Denise’s island home. (Dan is also known as Logger Dan to many of us). Amy, a good friend of theirs is staying in a house down the road. We met Amy a few years ago when we all stayed in our motorhomes at the NASCAR race in Las Vegas. We did some visiting then spent a quiet night back at the boat.
We had reservations at Port McNeill the next day to fuel up, provision up and then head further north past Port Hardy today ( Friday ) but yesterday it blew and rained like crazy so we decided to stay a second night. Garry is changing out our fresh water pump because ours was starting to squeal a lot!!! And it was taking forever to pump back up. It is a good project to do when we are in a town in case he needs any fittings or hose or anything else.
We had dinner out last night. The food was ok, but not cooking or doing dishes was great! The marina was jam packed due to the weather but has emptied out quite a bit today. I will check later for weather updates so we can decide what we will be doing next.

update.. We are leaving around 6 in the morning… That is sleeping in!  Will be out of cell etc for several days.  Just found out that we are not receiving any incoming phone calls but we can call out.  Also not receiving voice mails.  I will try to figure it out tonight with Verizon. I hope.


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Summer Boating Begins

Belated Journey Notes

I have been unusually lazy this year about starting to write about this summer’s boat trip. Whenever I think I should do something I seem to just nod off into a nap. Here it is Saturday, July 2nd and I am just starting. Aren’t vacations fun?
We left Des Moines on Monday the 27 right on schedule – 5:05 a.m. All was good. I started out with an early morning nap around 6:30 when Garry woke me and said we had a problem. Our “new used” radar had already quit working. We had been debating on taking along with us the other “new used” radar but had decided to leave it at home. A quick decision was made to pull into Shilshole Marina before we passed it by and figure out how to get the other one from home. The easiest way was for Garry to take a taxi home and back. $100 and two hours later we were back under way. Then the weirdest thing happened. The radar started working and worked every day since. Oh, well, having a back-up is not a bad thing.
Day 1 was a long one – a total of 15 hours. Our route this year was the east side of Whidbey Island, crossing under the beautiful Deception Pass bridge, crossing Rosario Strait and Haro Strait and then clearing Canadian Customs at Bedwell Harbor at 6:45 at night. We thought about staying there for the night at Poet’s Cove Marina but it was a beautiful day, calm water and Mantague Marine Park was beckoning. We made it there in just over an hour and were on the dock at Montague by 8:00. We feasted on a fine dinner of Costco polish dogs and hit the sack.
Day 2 started again at 5:05 a.m. We got to Porlier Pass in an hour ready to head out on the Straits of Georgia. From Porlier it is approximately 38 miles to what we hope is protected water at the south end of Texada Island. We have had better and worse crossings over the many years of doing ‘the Georgia’s”. The worse we got in was 20 knot winds and steady 4 foot waves. About half way across it settled to about 15 knots and 3 footers, then continued to lessen as we headed north. We reached our destination of Westview Harbor Marina by Powell River by 1:00 p.m., fueled up, got a slip assignment and then headed to Safeway to stock up on things we can’t take across the border like fruit, veggies, alcohol, etc. Fuel prices are down this year and the exchange rate is in our favor. That doesn’t mean things are cheap at all, but they are certainly better. Our favorite saying when we buy something and we see the price is “but that is Canadian”.
Day 3 started out later than normal! We didn’t leave until 7:45 a.m!! Bonus sleep in minutes!! We were originally going to head to Ramsay Arm but found out Simon and Yvonne on Sandpiper were in Squirrel Cove which was just a few hours away. We did some fishing at what we call “Roger’s Fishing Hole” and caught a nice red snapper and lost two really nice long cod. The largest one was on the swim step and as Garry was getting ready to gaf it the fish bit through the line and got away. Not only was Garry sad to lose the fish it took with him the lucky MacDeep fishing lure. Dang!
We met up with Sandpiper around noon on Wednesday and were able to catch up on things. They have been gone since about the 15th from their home port of Port Orchard. We both took our dinghy’s to the Squirrel Cove dock to check out their store and gift shop. I bought an interesting book called High Slack, by Judith Williams. It is the story of Waddington’s Gold Road and the Bute Inlet Massacre of 1864. It is pretty interesting reading and I am learning a lot about places that we boat to and through. One thing I learned right away from the book is how the petroglyphs that we see were made. The First Nation bands used red oxide bound with salmon eggs which became an adhesive when mixed with saliva. Calcite or silicate released in small amounts from rain over time which fixed the images and slowed the growth of lichen so the figures would be visible.
We are currently in Ramsay Arm and have been here since Thursday. For years we had always been the only boat here but recent trips there have been other boats from time to time. When we got here this year there was a sailboat anchored in almost exactly our spot. There are few good anchorages in Ramsay Arm so after much scouting we were able to find a good spot, but not too close to the other boat to bother each other. Sandpiper is also here with us. Friday morning was wet and drizzly but not cold. I had seen a small-ish metal boat arrive over by where we clam and wondered what it was but it didn’t stick around long. We went over to clam and get oysters and to much surprise found out the boat had been a water taxi from Campbell River dropping off 5 people who were going to camp for several days. Three men and two women in their 40s or 50s had saws, shotguns, camping gear. They warned us not to worry if we heard gunshots Friday night because they would be celebrating Canada Day. They must have had an early night because we never heard anything. Also on Friday another boat came in, dropped prawn pots across the way and left. It came back Friday night and tied up in a strange place. It looked like there was a small part of the old logging camp still anchored and floating. They tied to it and ran a stern line to shore.
We have had really nice weather except of the one day of rain on Friday. We have a clams, oysters and some fish. Simon caught a nice ling cod yesterday. We got about 30 prawns today. We don’t expect many right now because the commercial season just ended so there just aren’t many down there looking to hop into our traps.