Sidney to Savary Island – 20160806 to 20160821 (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1


Cam agreed to join me for a couple of nights for the sail back south.

We tidied up the cottage and caught the ferry back to Lund.  We spent the night on the boat at the marina and got an early (05:50) start the next morning.  It was still dark when we cast off and we motored south, past the shoal south of Savary Island and raised the sails as a NW wind was picking up.  We enjoyed a nice sail for most of the day running downwind but about half way down Texada Island the swells started to build which made for an uncomfortable sail.  We were making pretty good time and sailed south, between Texada and Lasqueti Islands.  Once we were around the southern tip of Texada we started the motor and motored over to Secret Cove.

As we were nearing Secret Cove I could feel the engine slowing down and almost stall.  I gave her more fuel using the throttle and after a few tense moments the engine picked back up and everything appeared ok.  We chugged into the narrow passage to Secret Cove and pulled up to the fuel dock to fill up.  We chatted with people at the marina and picked up a steak for the BBQ.  The wind was picking up pretty good and there was a small craft warning on but this was a nice protected cove with lot’s room for several boats at anchor.  We dropped the hook, fired up the BBQ and cracked a beer.  By now it was howling but the anchor seemed well set as we danced back and forth on anchor.  We hit the sack early as we were planning to drop Cameron over at Halfmoon Bay by 07:30 so that he could catch a taxi/ferry back to Vancouver.  As we were settling in for the night a few fellas from the large boat behind us came over to let us know that they’d be leaving early and would need to pull up close to us as we were settled back near their anchor.  We were planning on leaving early anyway so that was fine.

We woke up by 05:45 and had a quick bite and when we jumped up on deck to start the motor we noticed that the boat next to us was in the process of pulling their anchor and their boat was getting close.  We fired up the engine and I pulled in our anchor rode which pulled the boat forward, away from the other boat.  We waved and steamed out of the passage and around the corner to Halfmoon Bay.  I slowed the boat as we neared the dock and the engine slowed and stalled as we drifted towards the public dock.  Since the engine was off I didn’t have reverse but luckily we were going slow and I jumped off and used the stern line to slow and stop the boat before she crashed into the dock.  Cam grabbed his bags and jumped onto the dock and helped me get her tied up.  It turned out that we were on the Coast Guard dock which is off limits to pleasure craft but my motor wouldn’t start right away so I figured they’d be ok with me being there…  Luckily it started back up after a few minutes and I was underway once again.

I motored out to Georgia Straight once again and turned south and raised the sails.  The wind was up and to the NW once again so I sailed with the wind behind me.  The swells grew and after a few hours I noticed I had entered Navy Practice Area WF.  My understanding is that pleasure craft are allowed to enter WF but I can’t find a definite answer online so I’m not sure.  However there I was, out in WF and I noticed three large navy vessels motoring in formation towards me.  Yikes…  I was still a little shellshocked about what happened in WG so I wasted no time to tack and head back out of the area.  They got closer and formed a straight line and moved parallel with me towards the edge of the area.  I’m not sure if they were just performing a training exercise or if they were trying to intimidate me but it worked so I continued to sail towards the edge to exit the zone. There was another sailboat sailing about 1 NM south of me which was sailing along the outside edge of the zone and the first ship passed directly in front of it and the 2nd ship passed directly behind it so I think they were just performing a training exercise.secf-not35-img13-en

It made for an interesting few hours before they finally moved off and disappeared down south.  I continued South  and about 6 NM to the west of the entrance to Gibsons harbour I noticed a large dark shadow following me for a while.  Initially I was thinking it was a shadow from a cloud but I looked up and there were no clouds in the sky.  It stayed about 50 meters behind me for a couple of miles and while I wasn’t sure if it was a whale or a submarine I assumed it was a submarine since I was near the DND sub surface operations area (Sea Area WE).  Who knows…  It slowly disappeared as I got within a couple of miles from the Gibson’s harbour entrance.

I sailed right into the harbour and dropped the sails outside of the Gibsons Marina and motored into my assigned slip.  I was a little worried about the engine cutting out at the worst possible moment but all was well and I got tied up in my berth.  I spent the day exploring around Gibsons and enjoyed a bite to eat at Molly’s Reach.  It brought back many memories from various trips years ago.  Also there’s the nostalgia that goes along with The Beachcombers, The Persephone and Molly’s Reach…

I relaxed all the next day, did laundry, showered and explored around Gibsons.  It’s a beautiful little town that wasn’t too busy with tourists with a beautiful little walkway along the shoreline to town.  I spent the evening at Grandma’s Pub and made arrangements to meet Deb and the girls in Vancouver tomorrow.  I’ll sail and meet them somewhere downtown.  The winds are forecast to be fairly high which should make for a quick sail.

Next morning came and I checked the forecast and the winds were suppose to be around 20 knots from the NW so it should be a brisk quick sail.  I motored out thru Shoal Channel and into the straight and the winds were blowing pretty good as forecasted.  I put up full sails and enjoyed a fairly stong wind behind me as I proceeded around the south end of Bowen Island.  The wind picked up a little things were getting a little tense so I figured I’d reef in the jib a little to reduce the sail size.  I put the autohelm on while I was adjusting the sail but the wind took control of the boat and rounded her up into the wind which caused the sails to flap uncontrollably.  Groan.  Out in Georgia Straight again with things getting a little harry.  The wind had picked up to 28 knots and big swells were bouncing me around pretty good.  I killed the auto-pilot and let the boat point into the wind while I wrestled in the jib.  I managed to get things under control and fell off to sail downwind and towards Bowen Island.  A ferry passed close by and the waves from the ferry combined with the other swells to make a confused sea.  I fought thru it and sailed towards to the lee of Bowen Island.

Once in the lee of the island everything settled down and I called Deb and the girls to let them know of a change in plans.  I decided to change plans and head into Snug Cove on Bowen Island instead of trying to make it for downtown Vancouver.  It’ll be no fun to fight single-handed into Vancouver and find anchorage in a NW wind with a grumpy unreliable motor.  Snug Cove is a beautiful little cove on Bowen Island and is well protected in a NW wind so I figured I’d just anchor there and take the ferry over to Horseshoe Bay to meet everyone.  There were no vacancies in the anchorage so I made for the Snug Cove marina.  Unfortunately there was no room at the marina but I managed to find a spot at the public wharf (right next door) by rafting up to another boat that was there.

2016-08-19-15-10-23Rafting is a common, acceptable practice when space is limited and while not every boat owner likes the idea of having someone else tied up next to them it’s perfectly legal.  The owner of this boat wasn’t around so I tied up and jumped on the ferry for Horseshoe Bay to meet the girls.




It’s always so nice to spend time with my girls.  So nice to see what beautiful young ladies they are becoming.  Their mother has done a great job raising them and they are well grounded young women with positive outlooks on life.  They really have bonded with Debbie and it seems like they enjoy spending time with us as much as we enjoy time with them.


We caught the ferry from Horseshoe Bay, picked up groceries and settled in for the night.  The forecast for tomorrow was for moderate NW winds and we would need to make an early start to make the currents thru Porlier Pass tomorrow morning.  I woke before 6am and monitored the forecast and the winds for a while before getting up.  Deb joined me on deck and we agreed to let the girls sleep in while we cast off.  The girls were up before we motored out of the cove as they were excited about the crossing in front of us.  The NW wind was between 15 and 17 knots and the sea swells grew after a few hours.  The conditions were fine but the large swells made for a crappy crossing.  Taeya started feeling sick after a few hours, she turned white and started puking before long.  Deb was next to start feeling sick so it was up so Brooklyn and I to steer the boat for the remainder of the day.  Luckily the girls felt better once we turned south and the swells were behind us instead of hitting us on the side.  We saw a pod of killer whales 500 meters or so off the starboard side and we enjoyed decent conditions the second part of the day.

There’s an area west of the mouth of the Fraser River where murky water from the silt of the Fraser mixes with the clear sea water to form a distinct line thru the Straight.  It was kinda weird passing thru this line with the murky water on the Island (west) side of the Straight.  This line appeared reversed as the murky water is typically on the Fraser River side but I guess with all the NW wind in the past few weeks it has blown the silt over to the other side of the Straight.

We sailed down past Active Pass towards Saturna Island and by good fortune (and a bit of planning) we arrived at Boat Passage and entered Winter Cove at slack.  Boat Passage has an interesting history from the days of the rum runners which I’ve spoke of previously.  We went for a hike, had a BBQ and turned in for the night.

Next morning we woke up and decided to make for Sidney. The wind was blowing from the south…  just the direction we wanted to go.  Groan.  We motored out towards Plumper Sound and  the waves started to build.  I could see by the look on Taeya’s face that she was starting to feel seasick so instead of putting her thru another day of boating hell I turned around and headed to the Saturna Island ferry terminal.  The ferry was pulling up just as we got near the terminal so we tied up to a private mooring buoy and jumped into the inflatable and I dropped the girls off on shore and they raced up to catch the ferry.  Luck was on our side and they managed to catch it just in time.  Whew.

I motored out into the sound and beat my way south as Treylya smashed thru the waves.  I rounded the tip of South Pender Island and out into Boundary Pass and turned west towards home port.  The wind was now behind me and I was fortunate enough to have the current behind me as well so I enjoyed a quick sail back to Sidney, often reaching speeds over 7.5 knots.  I was nearing port around the same time Deb and the girls were so they just caught a taxi over to the marina to meet me.  The motor stalled once again as I was pulling into my slip but I was again lucky enough to stop her using a line fastened to the wharf before she smashed into the dock.

Very disappointed now that the Volvo diesel motor is having issues and is stalling out.  Groan…  Another project…

We tidied up Treylya and headed for home.  Whew…  What a great few weeks…  I need a rest.

Day 8: Lund to Secret Cove
Date: August 16, 2016
05:50 – 18:13 (12:23)
Distance: 51.8 nm
Sail Time: 10:19
Engine Time: 02:04

Day 9: Secret Cove to Gibsons
Date: August 17, 2016
06:00 – 14:13 (08:11)
Distance: 30.4 nm
Sail Time: 05:17
Engine Time: 02:54

Day 10: Gibsons to Snug Cove
Date:August 19, 2016
07:10 – 12:58 (05:48)
Distance: 17.4 nm
Sail Time: 04:19
Engine Time: 01:28

Day 11: Snug Cove to Winter Cove
Date:August 20, 2016
07:12 – 18:35 (11:23)
Distance: 41.5 nm
Sail Time: 05:24
Engine Time: 05:58

Day 12: Winter Cove to Sidney
Date:August 21, 2016
09:13 – 14:23 (05:10)
Distance: 19.6 nm
Sail Time: 01:49
Engine Time: 03:20

Trip Sail Time: 52:03
Trip Engine Time: 24:22
Trip Distance: 322.4 nm

Sidney to Savary Island – 20160806 to 20160821 (Part 1)

Now that I’m back in BC I’m planning a trip out sailing for a few weeks.  Was thinking that I might try to head to Desolation Sound but it’ll take about 6 days to get there and six days back so I won’t have much time to explore, but hey this is about the sailing right…  Deb agreed to head out with me for the weekend at Montague, she’d get the ferry back and I’ll continue on.  I talked with my former business partner and friend Cameron and he agreed to meet me in Nanaimo for most of the rest of the trip North.

Sara took the ferry over from Vancouver to join us for the weekend so Deb, Sara and I set out from Sidney on Saturday morning.  There was a nice southeast wind and we got to sail most of the way to Montague.  Bonus!  Sara was feeling a little seasick so Deb fed her some Mrs. Vicky’s salt and vinegar chips which always works wonders.  We pulled in, dropped anchor near the marina and had a quick bite to eat and a drink as we straightened things away and headed in to catch the bus to the Hummingbird Pub.  The ride to the pub on the pub bus is a fun experience.  The bus driver is a fun loving hippie who handed out instruments and had us all singing and banging whatever instrument (maracas, tambourine, drum, etc) we had in our hands to the beat of old 60s tunes blaring out on the loudspeakers…  It was a perfect start to a night that we figured would go down in the history books.  Not so much…  We got to the pub and it was fairly busy and we couldn’t find a table so we sat at the bar.  The lady at the bar was super busy and stressed and explained they were very understaffed.  She was nice and kept apologizing for the slow service as several patrons visibly upset.  We finally got our drinks after 30 minutes and it took another 30 to get food but we were in no hurry and were having a laugh talking and sharing pictures on our phones…  We stayed for another drink and went back out to catch the bus back to the marina, took the inflatable back to the boat and turned in for the night.

The next morning we headed in to the little marina restaurant for a few cocktails and brunch.  We spent most of the day walking in the park and hanging out on the beach.  Deb made arrangements for the girls to have a spa day on Monday and I planned to set sail towards Nanaimo…

I departed Monday around noon, chugged north thru Trincomali Channel and made plans with Cam to meet him in Nanaimo Tuesday afternoon.  That’ll give me a night somewhere between Montague and Nanaimo.  I think I’ll head to Silva Bay, a little bay on the south end of Gabriola Island.  It’s a great little spot that I visited several times years ago on my previous sailboat, Alleluia.  I was a little concerned about motoring thru Porlier Pass as  Porlier is known to be a nasty spot (rocks, back eddies, strong currents) when the current is running (it can get up to 6 knots) but I arrived near slack so everything was ok.

I arrived at Silva Bay around 18:00 and it was packed…  I circled several times but didn’t feel comfortable about squeezing Treylya into the middle of the tight fleet that was anchored so I moved towards the entrance and found a spot near the northeast opening to the bay.  I dropped the hook and once I had it set I realized I was a little closer to a big wooden power boat than I would have liked.  Luckily there was no wind so I headed below to make dinner and take a break.  The whole time I was down there I was assessing the situation and as the sun was setting I decided to haul anchor and reset it a little further from my neighbour.  I felt much better about the new placement (as I’m sure my neighbour was as well) so I crawled into the sleeping bag to catch some sleep.

I woke several times during the night to check on things and make sure I wasn’t drifted onto my neighbour but everything was fine so I drifted back to sleep.  Next morning I had breakfast and got underway around 09:20.  There was little wind so I enjoyed a quick steam north to Nanaimo.

I arrived outside the Nanaimo Inner Harbour and when I radioed in I was assigned a berth at S dock…  S dock?  Hmmm…  Not familiar with that one…  Turns out it’s a dock across the harbour from the amenities and is primarily used by large boats.  I was sandwiched in between two massive boats which made Treylya look somewhat out of place…

Cam took the ferry over from North Vancouver and met me at the marina.  We dropped his stuff at the boat and headed over to the grocery store to pick up the necessities (beer, wine, food and water) for the next few days of sailing.  Next we jumped in the inflatable and headed over to the Dingy Dock Pub on Newcastle Island for dinner.  The Dingy Dock Pub is one of those places you have to visit if you are visiting Nanaimo by boat.  It’s a neat little pub with good food and live music.  Cam and I enjoyed dinner on the patio and watched the boats come and go as the sun settled over the horizon.  We headed back to the boat and John Day, Treylya’s former owner, came down to meet us for a beer on the boat.  It was great seeing John again.  John, Cameron and I worked together back in the early 2000’s at WebTech and Cameron and John had lots to catch up on.

Next day Cam and I cleaned up, set out around 10:30 and hoisted the sails when we rounded Protection Island. Unfortunately the wind was from the NW which was the direction we wanted to go so we decided to point as high as we could and sail across Georgia Straight.  If all goes as planned we’d end up somewhere over near the south end of Lasqueti Island where we could just anchor in one of the bays over there.

While we were heading across I noticed I didn’t have my handheld radio turned on so I flicked it on and within a minute or two I heard some chatter on the radio from Winchelsea Island to a sailboat somewhere.  Cam and I were enjoying the strong wind and though we couldn’t make the progress we wanted this was better than tacking back and forth into that wind.  We watched as a large US Navy vessel steamed south towards us.  Man, those are BIG vessels that move VERY FAST.  Luckily it looks like it’s heading behind us so we don’t have to worry about getting run over…  Another hailing over the radio…  This time it said “This is US freighter so and so hailing the sailing vessel which is three miles south of Winchelsea Island and is heading northeast.  You are about to enter the restricted military training area Whisky Golf.”  I looked at the charts and realized we were about three miles South of Winchelsea Island…  and were heading NE.  Hmmmm…  All of a sudden sirens started blasting out of the freighter and it turned course directly behind us.  Gulp…  That’s me they’re hailing!!!  Again they came on the radio “This is US freighter so and so hailing the sailing vessel which three miles south of Winchelsea Island and is heading northeast.  You are about to enter the restricted military training area Whisky Golf.  Alter your course 123 degrees.”  I grabbed the handheld and responded that we were altering course as directed.  Yikes…  What a fright…  I had forgotten about the restricted area WG!  WG is a restricted military training area outside of Nanaimo harbour that extends about 12 miles north along Vancouver Island.  It’s not always active but turns out today it was and we were close to entering it.  We altered course and the large freighter proceeded to chase us out of there.  My knees were shaking and after what felt like an eternity it finally changed course satisfied we were no longer a threat.  Lesson learnt.


Cam and I spent the rest of the day beating into the wind as we tacked back and forth between Vancouver Island and WG as we crawled our way northwest.  Groan…  After 05:22 we covered over 20 nm zig zagging our way northwest but the progress was only about 6.5 nm as the crow flies…  Around 16:00 we finally finished our last tack and were able to sail directly towards our destination.  We dropped the sails outside of Schooner Cove and motored in for the evening.  Schooner Cove turned out to be a great little spot to spend the evening.  It’s a resort and spa that’s currently under renovations so none of the spa amenities were operational but Cam and I weren’t looking to soak in a hot tub this evening.  We were just looking for a safe harbour for the night and this was perfect.


Next morning the winds were once again blowing pretty good (16-20 knots) from the northwest.  We cast off at 9:45 and motored northwest into the wind and after an hour we rounded Gerald Island. Once we felt we were far enough northwest to sail we hoisted the sails and enjoyed a thrilling sail across Ballenas Channel, and then across Georgia Straight to the southern tip of Lasqueti Island.  We were sailing close-hauled with the boat heeling well over so that water was lapping over the deck and were enjoying over 6 knots most of the way.  It was a quick sail across and at 13:00 we dropped the sails, started the motor and motored north thru Bull Passage.  We planned on dropping the anchor in one of the small bays (Deep Bay or White Rock Bay) near Jedediah Island but they were full so we went across and anchored at the NW end of Boho Bay.  Boho is pretty exposed to the south and is not a great place to anchor but in a NW wind it provides adequate protection.  Cam went exploring in the inflatable and I relaxed in the heat.  Tonight was the peak of the Perseid meteor shower so after dinner we settled in with a couple of sleeping bags and ample drinks on the deck to wait for the show.  It was a beautiful clear night and due to the lack of light pollution thousands of stars filled the sky.  I was lying on the deck under a sky of diamonds and I slowly drifted into asleep.  Cam woke me up as it was nearing midnight and the forecasted start of the show.  We watched a few shooting stars but they were few and far between so I fell back asleep after 20 minutes and missed the whole thing…

Next morning we got an early start and weighed anchor at 6:30.  We planned to head to Tribune Bay, Hornby Island and get a rest before we set out on a night sail to Savary Island later tonight.  It was another beautiful morning with a NW wind.  We motored northwest around Lasqueti Island, raised the sails and sailed across Georgia Straight to Tribune Bay.  Tribune Bay is a beautiful large sandy anchorage with a magnificent large sandy beach.  Cam and I dropped the hook and headed up to the market.  The market on Hornby Island is such a treat.  It’s filled with easy going hippies who run the eateries, grocery / general store and small clothing shops.  Everyone is relaxed and cheerful and there is a feeling of peace.  We had lunch, looked around, picked up groceries and then headed back to the boat.  Cam had a swim and then we relaxed in the shade for a short nap.

We got up around 19:00, had a bite to eat and got ready to set out again.  One of the items on my sailing bucket list is a night sail.  We’ve been planning this for a while now and finally the evening had arrived.  We raised the anchor just before 21:00 and motored out into Georgia Straight.  The wind was once again to the NW which meant we’d have to beat into it as we sailed north.  We raised the sails and our eyes adjusted to the growing darkness.  It was another beautiful evening and the moon lit up the sky so that things were surprisingly visible.  We headed across towards Texada Island but after a couple of miles the lights from a tug hauling a log boom were off our starboard so we tacked back towards Hornby again.  Once near Hornby we tacked back out into Georgia Straight and towards Texada Island once again.  The lights from the tug grew more and more distant and after an hour we began to feel all alone out in the straight in the darkness.  It’s amazing that the lights are visible for miles and miles in the dark.  You can see the lights of ships further at night than during the day.

All of a sudden, a whoosh and a motor boat appeared just off our port side.  I glanced over and could see a man and woman in the cabin of their boat, their worried faces lit up from the glow of chart plotter they were huddled around.  They were motoring along with no running lights on (which made it impossible to see them) and they had no one on watch.  The wind was blowing so I didn’t hear them either until they were within 10 feet of us.  What a rush!  Luckily they saw our lights thru their window and avoided us at the last second.  That was too close for comfort…  They were gone as quickly as they appeared so I couldn’t see a name of a boat to hail them to warn them that they didn’t have their running lights on.

The wind was blowing pretty good so we sailed for the entire night, watching for lights of tugs and cruise ships and monitoring the movement of ships on an AIS app I had installed on my iPhone.  We could only see the water about 6 feet from the boat so I had visions of us smashing into a dead head at any point, which was a little unnerving.  We had to tack a few times to avoid traffic but the night went pretty uneventful.  Cam and I took 2 hour shifts which provided a little time to get some sleep and by the time the sun came up we were both in pretty good shape.  The winds jumped up into the mid 20s as the sun was rising but fortunately we were north enough to now run broad-reach over towards the mainland.

We rounded Harwood Island to the south and started the motor as the wind was now on our nose and we had enough of beating into the wind under sail.  The wind dropped back a bit and we chugged for a couple of hours up to Lund and tied up at the marina there.  Whew finally made it!


Lund is as far north as we’re going to sail and the plan is to catch the ferry over to Savary Island and relax for a few days at Cameron’s summer cottage there before heading home.


We took the ferry over from Lund.  A daily ferry service operates in the summer and it’s a quick trip over from Lund. Savary Island is a beautiful little island that’s surrounded by sandy beaches.  It’s a very quite island with only a few full time residents but gets busy in the summer as the tourists flock to it’s cottages.  There’s a pub and general store on the island but not much else.  There are not many good anchorages but you can find safe harbour from a south wind on it’s north side.  The south side of the island has a few places to drop the hook but it’s fairly tricky to get close in a low tide as the shoreline is peppered with huge rocks just under the surface and there’s a shoal that extends several miles to the south that a boater must be wary of.  Cam has a nice little spot on the north side of the island, high on a bluff and overlooking the ocean below.  It’s facing Desolation Sound to the North and is a peaceful place to relax on those warm summer days.

We hung out for a few days and did a few odd jobs such as replacing a few of the planks on the patio and painting it and fixing the walkway down to the beach.  Mostly I just hung out in the hammock and played with the resident deer that visited us every afternoon.

After a couple of restful days I’m feeling ready to tackle the trip back south…

(Continued on Part 2)

Day 1: Sidney to Montague
Date: August 06, 2016
11:30 – 16:51 (05:21)
Distance: 17.4 nm
Sail Time: 03:43
Engine Time: 01:38

Day 2: Montague to Silva Bay
Date: August 08, 2016
11:45 – 17:47 (06:02)
Distance: 21.9 nm
Sail Time: 00:00
Engine Time: 06:02

Day 3: Silva Bay to Nanaimo
Date: August 09, 2016
09:22 – 12:51 (03:28)
Distance: 12nm
Sail Time: 00:00
Engine Time: 03:28

Day 4: Nanaimo to Schooner Cove
Date: August 10, 2016
10:30 – 17:28 (6:57)
Distance: 25.8 nm
Sail Time: 06:11
Engine Time: 00:46

Day 5: Schooner Cove to Boho Bay
Date: August 11, 2016
09:45 – 14:14 (3:31)
Distance: 15.2 nm
Sail Time: 02:21
Engine Time: 01:10

Day 6: Boho Bay to Tribune Bay
Date: August 12, 2016
06:27 – 12:47 (06:19)
Distance: 18.8 nm
Sail Time: 02:18
Engine Time: 04:01

Day 7: Tribune Bay to Lund (Night Sail)
Date: August 12-13, 2016
20:50 – 10:51 (+1) (14:08)
Distance: 50.6 nm
Sail Time: 10:22
Engine Time: 03:41

(Continued on Part 2)