Ganges and Montague Harbors

from Winter Cove we motored to Ganges on Salt Spring Island well known for its expansive Saturday Market. Boaters plan their routes to make the market. We missed it. Stayed two nights, showered, went to Thriftys for food, did laundry, and took on water. MOBYs pub at the head of the Dock was excellent for food and craft taps. Canadians like their brews. Beautiful resident whir swans and their brood begged food around the harbor. We meet a lot of sailing folks like ourselves and their dogs. Met a nice couple from Bainbridge Island and invited on board their motor vessel Greywolf. It is encounters like this help us too with info and good gouge about sailing and places to visit. Thanks Jean and Doug. We departed for Montague Harbor two hours to our North on Galiano Island. Wind was blowing to 18kts on our nose with some choppy waters so passed on tying up to the pump out station which was on open water and congested and regrets no departure music. Montague was welcoming and calm and we tied up to a mooring buoy, one of 35 and its best to get there by 1400 to get a buoy. $14 Canadian as it is a Provincial Marine Park. Their Marine parks also provide excellent camping facilities, heads and sites. I’m afraid they have us beat in that department. We rowed the dinghy ashore and went to the local store and pub for of course a tap beer.

Kestrel out

Kestrel out

Under sail,

In our departure from Poets Cove the music was the Navy Hymn “Eternal Father” in memory of the sailors lost aboard the John McCain off Singapore.

We sailed a couple of days and hoisted the staysail once and practiced off the Pender Islands in our way to Winter Cove on Saturna Island. Kestrel did well in15 knot winds with main and genoa. She continues to impress us. I’m still in the learning curve when two head sails are flying. Winter Cove was the idyllic anchorage one reads about in the Gulf Islands. Unlike The previous anchor night the Cove was peaceful. On shore there we hiked to Boat Pass with views of the Straits of Georgia.

We departed the Cove to Vivaldi’s “Winter” from his Four Seasons heading for Ganges on Salt Spring Island. Ann is taking the helm more now under sail. We rely a lot on our Raymarine tiller autopilot both with sail and motor. Chow and wines have been enjoyed. Kestrel out

Portland Island

Finally under sails off Sidney with a southwest 8 to 10 knots we made good 5 knots. Tiller steering is a joy under sail as you can feel the helm. I learned to sail 15 ft. Sloops with center boards as a 12 year old. I’m at ease when under sail and enjoy the quiet movement of the hull through the water. Diesel engines silenced. We sailed a couple of times now and getting more confident with Kestrel.

So we stayed over at Princess bay on Portland Island on our way to Pender Islands. We anchored for the first time on this voyage in 20 ft of good holding bottom paying out 110 ft of rode. That night the wind blew a steady 10-12 knots out of the southwest and gusted to 18. Being our first anchorage in Kestrel in tight shoreline quarters I didn’t get much sleep. I had the anchor watch radius set on my chart plotter and wrote down the coordinates. The anchor held and did not drag. Enough scope saved us. Ann rowed the dinghy ashore and walked around this small uninhabited marine park with Ensign Wilson. Delightful to have left the big cities behind us. The next day we hauled anchor and set a course for Bedwell Harbor on South Pender Island.

The departure music, The Navy’s “Anchors Aweigh.”

Pictures from our anchorage.

Day 8 to Sidney Spit

off to Sidney Spit about 20 nm just East of the city of Sydney where the WA state ferries call. Winds calm so called on the diesel and headed north about 20nm. The protected Spit bay had mooring buoys and easy night there. Set a crab pot and one red rock crab. Good walking trails ashore via our dinghy powered by oars. Kind of fun to not use a motor. The departure music was Peter Boyer’s contemporary Symphony 1. A lot of sailors go ashore to hike. This was a good warm up for the Gulf Islands.

Day 7 Aug 20 Oak Bay BC Canada

picture is from the Straits crossing. So we arrived Canada and I must admit there was a sense of freshness after the political ordeals and concerns for the US. Canadians are good folk to be with and this trip confirms as well the beauty of the landscape with sea and mountains and the many islands. Customs entry was made by telephone after landing at Oak Bay and the process was courteous and quick. I often wonder why we need a border with Canada. Nice day with good friends and the Pub Penny Farthing for a pint and mussels! Ummmm.

Day 6 Crossing the Straits of San Juan De Fuca

Weather has been nasty with small craft and gale warnings. Saturday from midnight to 7 am the West wind howled through the night while tied up to the Dock. Off and on sleep thinking about the Passage. At 7:30 the wind suddenly went calm and at 7:40 let go lines and with the last of the ebb tide headed out Admiralty inlet passed Pt Wilson to Port and set course 300m for Oak Bay on Vancouver Island a near 30 nm motor into west winds of 8-10. The departure music was “Victory at Sea” by Rogers and Hammerstein used in the epic WWII movie history of the war in the Pacific. The ebb current provided a one knot boost. Lumpy first third and then winds calm and waves subsided as did my heartbeat. Here we were in the middle of the Straits and could not be on a better boat than our Dana 24 for us. We encountered a strong flood current just off our approach to Oak Bay in the Haro Straits and like a cross wind landing found ourselves moving north of target at the whim of what appeared to be a 3.5 knot current. Had to terminate my tiller auto pilot and take the helm changing course to due south. Lesson learned. Arrived Oak Bay which is just east of Victoria in a high brow neighborhood and very nice marina. Met by our friends and stayed over two nights leaving Day 8. We were happy to say that we had made safe passage on our maiden voyage across the Straits. Ensign Wilson provided security watch and fortunately no big ship traffic encountered in the Vessel traffic lanes. . Beautiful day and friendly seas. Pictures later as having wifi issue. Kestrel out.

Day 4 And 5 Port Townsend

Day 4 was an easy 3.5 hour motor to Port Townsend where we tied up at the Hudson Point Marina near Admiralty inlet the East entrance to the Straits of San Juan de Fuca. Port Townsend is about wooden boats, architecture and history. Lots to take in around its seaside shore. The music for departure from Port Ludlow was Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture replete with real canon. It's somber rather memorial tribute beginning and canon fire was chosen because Port Ludlow was named in honor of Navy Lt. Augusta Ludlow who served during the War of 1812. A her, he was mortally wounded during a battle at sea. His Captain who also died during that battle issued the famous command to Lt. Ludlow, "Don't give up the ship." Both are buried at Trinity Church in Manhattan.
Due to small craft advisory and gale warnings in the Straits we stayed an extra day and plan to depart Saturday for Oak Bay Marina on Vancouver Island. We had dinner with my cousin Steve Park who lives here in Port Townsend. A consummate story teller and writer we had our fill of tears of laughter. Thanks cousin!
So early light out tonight in preparation for the crossing. It was a nice day of rest and local exploration.

Day 3 Port Ludlow WA

Departed the Viking village of Poulsbo at 1250 hrs. After some discussion about departure music we sided with Wagner over Sibelius and played The Ride of the Valkyries in honor of Ann's brother Ron Trauner an opera aficionado and loyal member of the Wagner society. When it comes to the Ring, Ron has few if any equals. Shortly after departure we encountered a humpback whale alongside us next to the Navy torpedo station at Keyport, a possible spy of mammal origin.
We passed easily under the bridge at Agate Passage and into the Sound for Port Ludlow. Winds variable but less than 5 knots out of the NW we again relied on the 21 hp Yanmar for propulsion. So with the ebb tide we galavanted along at 5.5 to nearly 7 knots making Ludlow at 1810. Distance of 30 nm. Wow! So sailing is a turtle kind of pace. Weather sunny and light winds encountered porpoises, avoided the Kingston Ferries, a Westwood container ship and a Mitsui auto carrier.
Ensign Wilson our watch dog managed some security between naps. Overall a good Passage and happily hoisting a craft beer from an amazing market in Poulsbo. Incidentally the Navy jazz band at Poulsbo was up to New Orleans class. All young guys. So it's nice to be tied up to the dock in this quiet harbor. Ann and I and Wilson send you all fair winds.

Day 2 Poulsbo WA

Departed Gig Harbor at high Tide for Poulsbo a 5.5 hour motor run up Colvos Passage to Port Orchard Passage to Liberty Bay avoiding Bremerton ferries. Winds variable out of the North to Northwest. Music on departure was Vivaldi's mass choral work Gloria in D major with the Robert Shaw choral in honor of Howard Meharg. Sunny day and light traffic outside of a tug and barge tow that had the nav watchful. My Rainier ever present during the voyage.
The quaint town of Poulsbo and its Nordic cultural ways is a good port to spend a couple of days. But we will be off around noon Wednesday for Port Ludlow via Agate Passage. Navy band plays tonight in the park! Enjoying another good day and thankful for the tiller autopilot. . Open water though is on the way yet. Thanks for checking in on us and have a good day!

Day One Gig Harbor

Departed Olympia at high tide to the music of Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” in memory of my Brother. Wind calm so motored taking 5 hours. Tied up at Arabella’s Landing for the night. Beautiful day on the South Puget Sound carefree and relaxed. Our Dana 24 Kestrel was all good. New Garmin chart plotter was a welcome addition to the navigator though paper charts also accessed. Toasted our safe arrival at the famous Tides Tavern for a cold draft beer. Picture of Ann under the Tacoma Narrows bridge with a mild ebb current of about 2 knots.
Our dog Ensign Wilson stood watch while we were on tavern liberty. Depart tomorrow for Poulsbo. Fair winds. Gary and Ann and Wilson.