Whales, Dolphins and Bears

I’ve learned it’s really hard to get good pics of humpbacks.  These guys are everywhere south of the Dent Rapids, this one had a baby with her and what a show it was as we sped past them at 11 KNOTS with the current.  No chance of slowing down unless we wanted to go back through the rapids as the tide changed.

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The first week of August has been full of  awesome surprises.  We left the Broughton Archipelago, bidding it farewell from Lagoon Cove.  We left the most awesome sights of our summer sailing, we thought….

Preparing to go through the rapids and timing our passage as we left Shoal Bay we were accompanied by the “bullet dolpins” which is what I call these black and white creatures that dart back and forth under the bow and pop up to say hello.

The next surprise was a bear on the shore in Port Neville as we ducked out of some headwinds on Johnstone Strait.  We headed into the back roads to bypass the strong currents and winds against us and anchored in Foreward Harbor, one of our old favorites.  Coming out the next morning we squeaked past the tugs and logbooms starting their tow in Welborne Channel.

We needed some supplies so after Green Point Rapids we docked at Blind Bay Resort and treated ourselves to dinner and live music at their attractive restaurant.  YUMMY!!

We stopped in Van an Dop Inlet (pretty sure that’s spelled wrong) and then Gorge Harbor which turned into a bit of a fiasco.  A boat came in with a jib sheet hanging over the side and jammed their prop, causing the engine to cease just in front of us.  They quickly dropped their anchor just before dark. I’m sure they were relieved to hear us call on the VHF to help them solve their problem.  The next morning one of the lady crew jumped in the water and untangled the line, and the motor started right up.

Later on we were relaxing in the cockpit after getting laundry done, and our neighbor stopped by on their kayak to tell us there is a rock near us.  We fired up the chart plotter to have a look and sure enough, it’s too close for comfort.  Up came the anchor and because it was so crowded near the marina we went to the far end of Gorge Harbor where there was this treasure anchored.DSCN4457

We are at Heriot Bay and woke up to a Humpback feeding along the edges of the shallow water.  What a wonderful way to start the day!!  I can truly say the sights since leaving the Broughtons have been a very pleasant surprise.

The Last Freedom

OMOO continues to wander around the Broughtons, looking for spots we haven’t been, and there are plenty.  The familiar marinas for fuel and provisions are well spaced out and accessible between jaunts into the wilderness, it’s a perfect way to explore the area.

We stopped at Sullivan Bay and had a lovely evening chatting with the crew from High Seas Drifter, a boat built in 1942 war time for torpedo retriever out of Shearwater, B.C.  The current Captain has used her for crew during forestry work and is now retired and had the family on board.  She attracts alot of attention so we chatted with the group of men that came to admire.  Have a look at her here:



Next stop was Kwatsi Bay in Tribune Channel, another favorite from past visits.  Thompson Sound was recommended by sailors we met at Sullivan Bay, and away we went.


The highlight of an anchorage like this is experiencing the vast wilderness, and being the only humans around for miles.  This is so amazing that we can do this.  The Skipper comments often how it is “The Last Freedom.”

Sideways Sally is enthralled with the wildlife and the changing views as OMOO dances at anchor.DSCN4322 (2)

I woke to the sounds of spashing outside the hull and knew the dolphins were circling.  The Sound was filled with these delightful creatures playfully diving under the boat or jumping up to say hello.



Today we are back at Lagoon Cove, and starting to head slowly south again, winding our way back through the rapids to Desolation Sound.  The Broughtons are waiting for another year of boaters, as this year has been a tough one for many marinas, with no American boats.  We have to admit, it’s been nice having Canada to ourselves.


City to Serenity


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From the sounds of sirens, traffic and loud neighbors in Vancouver to the dark, calm and quiet night in a bay at anchor in the Broughtons, the contrast is welcome. I slept for 12 hours.

Sideways Sally made a quick trip to Vancouver last weekend for a couple of appointments. A short flight from Port Hardy airport to Vancouver South Terminal takes all of 50 minutes. Then a taxi ride to VGH for my appointment and a short walk to my old B&B at 13th and Cambie puts me back in the heart of covidization. Donning my mask and picking my routes on quiet residential streets gave me some sense of safety.

The return flight had a delay due to technical problems so I lived in the airport from 9am to 4pm. Because of the alphabet, MS BROWN was called up early to make arrangements on cancelling my flight or rebooking. I’d chatted with Eric and Connor while waiting and we hatched the plan. I scored the last three 3 seats for myself and the two young gentlemen on the only flight north to Campbell River that day. They had to get to Port Hardy for work, so they rented a JEEP and I jumped in the back. Once we were on the road Eric drove like a bat out of hell so I made it to Port McNeill in time for dinner with the Skipper.

Yikes, I was so glad to be back on OMOO, we let the lines go at Port McNeill the next day after provisioning for the next couple of weeks. We decided on a short trip over to Sointula to plug in to the dock and do some pressure cooking and make enough meals for the next three days. This makes life a breeze, then off we went in the breeze, sailing into the Broughtons. With the forecasted NW winds to 25 knots we sought the best sheltered anchorages. We navigated through Blackfish Sound, saw a couple of blows from a distant Humpback whale, and dropped the hook behind Goat Island(no there are no goats) and then Waddington Bay. Both these anchorages are bomb proof so we had peaceful, blissful nights.

On the trip to Waddington Bay SS navigated through Village Channel and Spring Passage between small islets with eddies and currents giving us a fun ride. Retreat Passage going north gave us a pleasant sail with the jib on a broad reach. We glided past the Gilford Nation Village with it’s prominent Long House and colorful houses. As we pulled in the sail and started to motor into our anchorage between the Fox Islands, a blow RIGHT BESIDE THE BOAT just about gave me a heart attack. The Skipper steered the boat slowly away from the humpy who kept swimming along side of us, then gave us a whale tale wave and sounded, coming up on the other side about 300 feet away with a full breach and a magnificent display of power and grace. I was shaking with excitement trying to get my camera going but only caught the “tail end” of the breach. OH MY HAT, what a surprise. We calmed down eventually and got anchored in the lee of a small island inside the bay. We talked about the whale for quite awhile, these encounters are so amazingly special that it leaves one in a wonderful state of love with nature. The wind subsided by the time we fell asleep and it was a calm glassy morning on the water.

I KNOW HUMPY IS OUT THERE WAITING FOR US!! We can’t wait to see what happens today. We pulled into Echo Bay for fuel, and checked out a possible anchorage at Laura Cove. It was uninviting so we headed across to Simoon Sound with it’s sharp cliffs and promising nooks for anchoring.

Just inside the entrance to the sound, our friends Josh and Sandy approached on “The Next Chapter.” We hailed them on the VHF and stopped for a chat. They had just caught 150 prawns so were happy to share. Josh jumped in their dingy and zipped over to OMOO for the handover. What luck!!

We anchored in a fairly open spot after trying to tuck into a small bay, only to see an uncharted rock at low tide. It was too close for comfort. The conditions were calm and sunny as we enjoyed the prawns with our dinner, lavishing in luxury in the cockpit. Summer had finally made her appearance in the Broughtons and we were feeling very fortunate about that. The morning brought a low hanging fog, mystifying and deceiving. As the sun slowly rose, the shifting shapes and shades were mesmerizing to watch, and finally the “Bald Mountain” appeared with it’s prominent cliffs. There was not a cloud in the sky and the sea was calm as we headed for our next destination in Greenway Sound.


The area has been logged extensively on the low lying hills so it looks desolate. At the head of the Sound we rounded an island which the guide books say is good for anchoring. A colony of seals greeted us, perched on the rocks at low tide. They watched us with curiosity and provided an intertaining evening of grunting and moaning at eachother, possessive of the rocks they could find as the tide rose. A pod of dolphins splashed and jumped, circling the far end of the sound. Another perfectly sunny calm evening as we took our dinner into the cockpit and took in the sights.

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Far removed from covidization, we are happy and comfy in the belly of OMOO, and exactly where we want to be.


Dolphins of Tribune Channel

Sideways Sally is always thinking, (and it hurts).  Today this thought keeps going around inside her noggin, “Back track Jack.”  It’s because she couldn’t wait to show you Lacey Falls, and skipped from her favorite place, Lund to the Broughtons.  So “CHEERS” to back tracking.  It’s 11am so I’m cheering you with java!!

The trip from home port of Maple Bay to the Broughton Archipelago is not as far as one would think.  When we arrive to this incredibly scenic area of the central coast we are pleasantly surprised all over again by the familiar sights and friendly marinas waiting there (pinching ourselves again).

We never actually planned this trip.  We were hanging out in the Southern Gulf Islands in May and June, waiting to see what happened with Stage 2 reopening from Covid-19 lockdowns.  After mid June it looked like things were opening up again and British Columbia was heading to Stage 3.  The marinas up north were starting to do business so we pointed OMOO into the wind of the Salish Sea and away we went!

After spending time with Skipper’s favorite dog and his humans in Desolation Sound,  getting more chocolate bars (code for provisions) and clean undies (code for laundry day) the Skipper was like a horse waiting to get out of the gate.  “Let’s hit the rapids tomorrow,” he said to SS before bed.  This is about how far ahead we plan.

Refuge Cove for provisions and laundry.


Sailing up Lewis Channel between West Redonda and Cortez Islands

Sideways Sally transited the Yuculta and Dent Rapids in the calm waters of the slack tide (between Stuart and Sonora Islands).  She’s often on the wheel on the longer days when the Skipper goes below to “tinker.”  SS scans the water and the chart plotter constantly watching for obstructions and logs, but most importantly the horizon for the splash of dolphins jumping, or the blow of whales.   She’s been called “Eagle Eye Brown” a few times.


Yuculta Rapids map below.


After stop-overs in Shoal Bay and Lagoon Cove OMOO gets into our next favorite place.

Tribune Channel never disappoints.  After letting the lines go at Lagoon Cove OMOO slides across Knight Inlet and into Tribune.  The sky is milky and the ocean is calm.  There’s not another boat in sight, OMOO has the Channel to herself.  SS keeps the binoculars and the camera handy and when she spots some sea life the sudden slowing of the throttle brings the Skipper back into the cockpit.  They trade spots and this is what happens next!!


Sideways Sally is so excited to share the news that 48NORTH is publishing a series of articles called “Small Marinas, Big Personality.”

Here is the link to the first one:  https://48north.com/cruising/cruising-destinations/small-marina-big-personality-texada-boat-club/

Have a great read and a great weekend.  Thanks for enjoying our blog!!


Lacey Falls 2020

LUV LUV LUV the Broughtons, and this is why…

Tribune Channel treats us to the most spectacular waterfalls, pods of dolphins, snow capped mountain peaks, slate colored cliffs, and the list goes on and on. We headed off the dock at Lagoon Cove early in the day. This means 1:00 pm for us, lazy days suit us very well. It’s approximately a four hour trip and we took our time, stopping to watch the pods of dolphins popping up off the bow, and gazing lovingly at Lacey Falls.

We rounded the turn that opens up the view for Lacey Falls and found “Squirt” hanging out at the base of the falls. After a few moments of jaw dropping gazing at the falls, we backed away to give them room and take some extra photos.

Every time we’ve been to Lacey Falls it’s completely different. The water tap gets turned on full, or half way, or not at all. We’ve been very lucky to visit when it’s gushing and disappointed when there’s nothing. It’s always worth the trip to check it out.

Squirt hailed us on the VHF after we left the falls and asked if they could send us pics they’d taken of OMOO.  “Of course, we’d like that!!” we answered.  And this is what boating is all about, awesome people in awesome places.  We’ll swap photos and hopefully meet up with Squirt again somewhere.


A short distance later we spot a blow just off the Burwood Group, near Echo Bay. The illusive humpback teased us, sounding forever, no where to be seen. Just as we gave up I spotted the blow again waaaay off in the opposite side of the channel. Sigh… A few more dolphins entertained us as we powered up and headed to Echo Bay.

We checked in with the staff that Pierre had working there for the last few years.  It’s not gonna be the same, but everything changes and we’re happy Pierre and Tove have found a happy home to retire too.   The First Nations of Gilford Island have purchased the marina and we wish them the best in the future years, Covid-19 year being a tough start.

Gilford Island First Nation buys Pierre’s Marina Lodge

OF NOTE!!  Billy had a valve replacement last year after he was rushed to hospital in Victoria.  Some children had gone for a walk to visit Billy and saw him take a fall.  So they ran back to Pierre’s and alerted the staff.  Sam whipped over in his boat, then called the Coast Guard.  This summer Billy is taking a break from his museum and visitors.  He doesn’t want to invite the virus!!  He is 85 after all…  Hope to see you next year Billy!!

Billy’s Museum



Park it Skipper!!

Hitchhikers in Snotty Johnstone Strait.

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When Sideways Sally drives to town to buy groceries she doesn’t think twice about parking when she gets to the store.  When she decides to get to a store with OMOO, the Skipper thinks more than twice about parking.

Wind on the mast, current taking the keel, water under the keel, other boats to navigate around, and dock space.  Since Lund, we have stopped a few places, some at anchor with LOTS of room.  When we got through Yuculta and Dent Rapids we were looking forward to pulling into Shoal Bay.  It’s a slow year in these parts with no American boats.  Soooo, we thought there would be lots of space on the dock.

SURPRISE!!  As we got close enough to assess the space available a gentleman from “Mango Mama” called out to us, there’s room on the inside of the dock.  This meant taking OMOO into shallow water around the end of the dock closest to land and backing into a narrow space between the dock and the pilings.  There were some little run-abouts tied up there so we had to mind them.

Everyone that was tied up, which were about  six other boats, came out to guide, catch lines and pull us in.  It’s always interesting when Sideways Sally prepares the fenders and lines and waits for the Skipper to do his job.  The fun part is getting tied up once close enough, and what people do that show up to help.

We NEVER refuse help, it’s very reassuring to have people catch your lines.  BUT we’re never quite sure what they’ll do with our lines.  SS was ready to throw the mid-line as the Skipper maneuvered around the shallow end of the dock and lined up the stern to back into our spot.    One of the lovely ladies who was ready to help called “don’t throw that line yet, you’re not close enough.”  Our mid-line is super long, and meant to be tossed across the gap between the boat and the dock for anyone to help pull us over.  SS thought, “hmmm, this is the only way we’re getting in here” and threw the line, lassoing the lady.  She quickly handed it over to her hubby who had come out of their boat and he stood there for a moment with the line in his hand.  “Could you PLEEEEZ give us a wrap and pull us in?”  SS pleaded.  If they didn’t pull us in right away we’d be up against the small boats doing whatever damage we could.

The wharfinger arrived right about then and took our stern line, had it tied down in two seconds, and secured the mid-line so SS could step off the boat and grab the bow line just in time to stop OMOO from heading off sideways.  (No this is not where the name Sideways Sally comes from)

There have been times that that the Skipper has suggested, “Just throw a line that’s not attached to anything” and let him bring OMOO in by ourselves.  This is not something anyone should try at home, it’s a crazy idea.

After OMOO was all settled in, everyone came over to the Skipper to give him accolades for his fine parking job.  The lady who told me not to throw the mid-line commented on the size of OMOO, “is there enough room in there for just the two of you?”  To which the Skipper said “Not always!!” She was having boat envy.

The morning tide was starting to ebb about the time we were ready to leave, so we had to scurry around a bit to get going.  This happened at approximately 10:30 am.  We are NOT morning people.  There was only Mango Mama left on the dock as we let the lines go and they weren’t paying any attention to us.  As we rounded the end of the dock in a tight space for water under us, the Skipper called out, 7′, 6′, 5′ OOPS.  Kerplunk, keel is in the mud.  “We don’t want to stay here” SS called back.  DUH!!

The Skipper is always calm, cool and collected.  He sat looking at his chart for a minute, then backed up a bit and gave the engine a thrust to propel us through the track he made backing up and was able to gain some momentum to plow through the soft silt.  The gentleman from Mango Mama looked up at this point, hearing the motor work.  With only a small audience to cheer him on, the Skipper gave a wave as we slid past the dock.

“WHEW, we’ve done this a few times but don’t tell anyone” I called out to Mango Mama, and they called back, “We hope to see you again somewhere.”

Later the Skipper says to SS, “That was really stupid, I’m NEVER going to do that again.”

He meant that he’s never going to go inside of that dock in Shoal Bay, but SS knows he really means he’s never going in the mud again, and she doesn’t believe him.  Hehehehe.



Eagles and Bagpipes

I can’t help myself.  It’s 0600 and “GiderdunII” is loaded up and leaving the harbor and  the kingfisher is busy diving off the spreader. Sideways Sally is sipping coffee in the cockpit with a wee bit of internet and a wee bit of delightful sun peeking over her shoulder.


Last night was a spectacular mix of visual and audio!!  The bagpiper of Lund graced us for an evening concert from the shore.  Draped in her long kilt with the setting sun reflecting off the greenery she was simply splendid.


Then the eagles started fishing off the dock next to us, all with the evening sun changing the light every single second.  Sideways Sally had to pinch herself.

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Look at those tallons!!  SS wished the evening could last forever.  She never wants to leave Lund!!

The shimmering silver diamonds reaching across the water are mesmerizing.


For those who have never been, it’s a must on the Sunshine Coast.  It is a destination we can’t wait to get to every time we head north.  There’s Nancy’s bakery, Historic Lund Hotel, and a brand new store fully stocked with Native art and clothing and the largest wine selection since Nanaimo.

SS is feeling so grateful and so lucky to be in this place.  There is a calm sense of normalcy about being somewhere so familiar.  There are more than a few characters that hang out here and we’ve gotten to know them.  There’s Charlie, whose long white beard and smiling eyes are welcoming.  Everyone knows him and greets him when he arrives in his skiff from across the water.

There’s an “Ode to Joe” on the bulletin board.  It says “A sailor cannot learn to sail on calm water.”  When OMOO first arrived to Lund almost 10 years ago, Joe caught our lines and said “OMOO, I have that book.”  The Skipper was astonished, no one he’d ever met had heard of OMOO.  Joe told us all about Herman Melville’s second book called OMOO, about a wandering whale.  The first book is “Moby Dick” whom most are familiar with.  “I think I still have the book at home, I’ll look for it for you.”  He also mentioned how much he liked our heavy dock lines, “not like the dental floss some boaters use.”  We got to know Joe that stop over, he spoke 6 or 7 languages and was a jack of all trades.  On subsequent visits he was not around, but the locals told us he’d gone fishing, or was driving the water taxi.

SS soon learned from the current wharfinger that Joe passed away last year from cancer.  It brought tears to her eyes and a lump in her throat.  Joe was as large as life, friendly as the day is long, and full of energy.  SS remarked to the Skipper, “why does cancer get the good guys?”

The truly beautiful life we lead is precious, and tender.  While we have this day, we may not have tomorrow and that is the message from Lund on this stunning morning.

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The Smaller the Marina the Bigger the Personality

Vananda and no virus!!

Vananda and Texada Boat Club are in the shelter of Stuart Bay on the Northeast end of Texada Island. There are floats secured by anchor out into the small bay for local boaters and visitors. After having a look at the head of the bay for possible anchorage we decided the SE gusts blowing in would not make for a very restful night. We hailed Bob the wharfinger on 66A as we approached the docks and he directed us to help ourselves to the last space at the end of B dock. The visitor dock was already full.


In the times we’ve spent on the dock in years gone by there was always a lively gathering at the picnic tables under the canopy, flower boxes lining the dock, and a book trading box. This time there was no gathering of the sailors that sought shelter from the snotty weather in Malaspina Strait, social distancing was recommended, and Bob, the harbor master came to the dock wearing a mask. We were impressed since we’ve been running from the virus since March.  The canopy did provide shelter during a downpour, and a lovely view of the rainbow over the marina.

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The large limestone breakwater looms into the bay, a tidal grid on the low low tide was utilized by our friendly neighbor Darren whom we heard leaving the dock at 5:30 am. He had her half painted by the time I was up and on the dock at 10 am. The little harbor is busier than most at this hour, a trailer pulled by a John Deere tractor put two boats from the hard in the water, three sailboats have left the dock and locals are up and down the ramp with supplies for the weekend, their dogs in tow.

There are signs everywhere that this has been a well utilized harbor for many decades. The cement pilings emerge along the rock wall behind the docks, my favorite part of this quaint bay. Across the water the lime kiln stands against the backdrop of trees, it’s weathered bricks tell a story of industries including mining of iron ore, copper and for the last century, limestone. A floating hospital was moored in Vananda, and the harbor was also the shipping point for illegal alcohol to the United States during prohibition. The remains of a “hooch boiler” can be seen on the beach.

If you talk to the locals, which we do, you find hardworking folks who have made Texada home. A walk up to the village shows the care given to their homes and gardens. Everywhere are blooming rhododendrons, alongside palm trees and roses.

A lady I met on my walk was on two cellphones at the corner and was still there on my return half an hour later. “So this is where you have cell phone service?” I asked. She replied, “No, I’m playing pokemon.” She then invited me to stop off at her pottery shop!?

People who work here get off the rock on their fishing boats, and others come here by sailboats as they pass up and down to and from Desolation Sound and beyond. In the two nights we were on the dock we met an immigrant from Holland, a Doctor from South Africa who worked at the Cancer Clinic in Vancouver, a Coast Guard staff from Victoria who was British, travelling with her companion who was in the navy, and a good ol’ guy from New Brunswick. The Skipper tracked down the connections to this man’s brother-in-law, whom Hershey worked with in the window business in New Brunswick in the 80’s.

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Mr. Green from New Brunswick

The evening ended with the softest light on the boats and the rock wall.


Before we left I took one more walk up the ramp to admire the harbor, the large tide and the limestone breakwater.

We’ll be back Vananda!!

COVID-19 and Summer Sailing 2020

Outrunning the virus…  From the East Coast to the West Coast this Skipper is experienced in dealing with many medical issues.  This summer we’re isolating on OMOO, which is an idyllic way to deal with the pandemic.  It is also not all that different than what we normally love to do.

For all of you that are new to our blog, (which by the way made 437 views in 10 countries last week so THANK YOU!!) the Skipper had spent most of last summer in the hospital with a hole in his upper intestine. It took 6 weeks to find it, repair it, and stabilize him.  Due to having Marfans he  lives with significant medical issues and he’s like a cat with 9 lives,  he’s using his 5th life now.  See post “The Day That Changed my Life.”

Therefore, with COVID-19 we’re super cautious.  His immune system is wrecked, and Sideways Sally is a Psych Nurse who works in Vancouver.  She took 6 months off work to run away from the virus.  This spring he had pneumonia which was not Covid related, and recovered after two rounds of antibiotics.   This explains why we are beyond ecstatic to be back out summer sailing 2020!!

Long and lanky, great for cleaning the mast!


We’re anchored in Garden Bay today which is in Pender Harbor on the Sunshine Coast.

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For those of you reading this from far away lands, it is the West Coast of Canada.  We are on our way to some of the most beautiful cruising sites in the world.  With deep fiords between majestic mountains, plentiful sea life, whales and dolphins, it is paradise.

For this prairie girl, the gardens of Garden Bay and Pender Harbor are exquisite.  I pinch myself every time I’m near a palm tree!!


It looks like we’re in for a treat with boat gawking today, which is an amazing activity with front row seats, and we’re almost on the stage!!  The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club outstation is getting ready for Canada Day Shenanigans.  So here’s a toast to the most amazing boat that’s pulled in yet, Lazee Gal.

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Lazee Gal is a custom 63′ Grenfell motor yacht. Commissioned by a Vancouver businessman in the early 1950’s, Lazee Gal was designed and built by legendary builder Thornton Grenfell.

The working boats of Pender Harbor are intriguing with their fishing, crabbing and prawning gear.  The hard working men and women on these boats come up the ramp, soiled clothes with sweat and saltwater. leaving their vessels for the ravens to invade.

Stay tuned for the CANADA DAY CELEBRATIONS.  We feel honored to sail under this great flag.

Good friend and crew Barb Christie (2019)






Leaving Nanaimo via Departure Bay we pulled out the main before heading out between Snake Island and Five Finger Islets.   Winds were forecast at 20 Knots NW so we unfurled the main half way.  On a beam reach, heeling over to starboard we pulled out the jib, also reefed  half way.  OMOO flew across the Salish Sea at 6 – 7 knots.  We learned a long time ago that this Jeanneau 43 sails faster upright, so we tend to set the sails conservatively in strong wind, besides nothing goes flying below decks either!!  Well, only one thing went flying… a hand held vacuum that needs to find a home. (thanks Vic, it works great!)

Sideways Sally was in her happy place, propped up with feet on the center cockpit table, watching for logs and chatting with the skipper.

One tack took us right to Merry Island under sunshine and spray over the bow in just under 4 1/2 hours.  What a great ride for our first long sail of the summer.  Another hour to motor through Welcome Passage and round Grant Island, past Smuggler Cove and into Secret Cove.


Tide was low low low as we crept through the entrance and took a right into the south arm of the Cove lined with boat houses and steep stairways to opulent homes on the cliffs overlooking the water.

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Entrance to Secret Cove

Sideways Sally was sure there was at least three inches to spare under the keel and along the hull.  Careful maneuvering by the Skipper got us through and into the sheltered, shallow bay we now call our 4th home, after Maple Bay, Clam Bay, and Nanaimo Harbor.

Living aboard a boat means we never actually leave home, we take it with us, and these are becoming out most favorite spots to drop the hook.  That is a feeling that is comforting, cozy and exhilarating all at the same time.

The Skipper was very excited to get settled in.  He was orienting himself to the best spot to drop the anchor while SS was on the bow opening the anchor locker and getting the gear ready.  We had 13 feet of water below so only needed to drop 45 feet of chain.  The anchor set as we back up and SS put out our spring line which consists of a hook on a climbing rope.  This was an idea that has worked very well over the years, as the rope can stretch, taking the load off the anchor winch.   The boat started to turn with the current taking us further into the south end of the bay.

It all looked good until SS went back to the cockpit.  Looking over the gunnel there were really pretty shells visible in the mud beside the boat.  Then the boat stopped moving.  “Come out here and have a look.” called SS to the Skipper.  As he crawled out of the cockpit he brought the boat hook out, extended it and SS put it in the water to measure the depth.  Bringing it back up she measured the wet boat hook against herself.  SS is 5’4″, the boat hook was wet up to 4’5″.  OMOO draws 6’5″.

SS has had a re-occuring nightmare ever since she started sailing that she wakes up in an anchorage that has completely drained of water, with the boat lying on it’s side.  This nightmare was about to come true!!

“How about when the tide comes we pull the anchor up and move deeper?”

Before we got completely settled into the mud the Skipper says, “Let’s move NOW!!” The keel and rudder are both sitting on the mud but we hadn’t sunk in yet.  Up came the chain, pulling us out to deeper water where we dropped anchor. Off to deeper water we went.  OMOO was much happier swinging in 13 feet of water.

Now the story gets really interesting.  After a silent, blissful night’s sleep we woke to rain with forecast NW winds, kinda yucky weather for a sail.  “We’re staying put.” decides SS.  Following breaky and more coffee we hear the sound of big engines coming into the bay.

We look out towards the RVYC docks, it’s full of big power yachts, with more arriving.  PARTY TIME!! It’s low low low tide again.  There’s a converted fishing trawler anchored ahead of us, one boat has run aground ahead of her.   It revs and revs it’s engines, not moving.  Finally it’s twisted it’s way off the mud and comes back toward us.  It’s holding it’s place in the water beside us and calls over, “We’re just waiting for the boat at the end of the dock to leave, then we’re heading over there.”  SS calls back, “We’re not worried, just entertained, besides, we did the same thing yesterday!”

Hanging out in 13′ of water with OMOO

No sooner than SS could get settled back into the cabin, more big engines were revving up.  A huge yacht had left the dock and ran aground in the same spot as we did and the second guy did.  What’s going on??  The Captain of the trawler jumped in his dingy and went over to offer to pull them off.


“How’s that gonna work?” SS remarked.  Obviously there was a change of plans.  The yacht twisted it way around, revving the powerful engines until it shot off the mud, straight toward the trawler.  “Watch out for my boat.” yelled the Captain, drowned out by the sound of the motor as the yacht straightened out and crept past our anchored boats.

Down below the Skipper states, “Now this is boating!”


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