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Keats Island: Spider bites and Mooring Balls

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

July 30-August 3

We have an awesome slip neighbour. He’s always helpful, but said there was no way we’d get a mooring ball at the popular Keats Island marine park on a long weekend. Well nuts to you Paul, we got one!! …Okay, okay. We did leave on a Thursday. At 7 am.

We left the marina with grand plans of sailing straight through to Keats by way of Collingwood Channel instead of the more direct route. After a lovely motor down the Fraser, we got out to the the Straight of Georgia to find there was no wind. None. The water was like glass so we motored on towards our destination. Since it was a work day, we took turns helming so the other could go down below and work for a bit. Finally as we entered the channel, we caught a bit of wind and got the sails up for a nice cruise up the channel and around the backside of Keats. We got close to Keats, dropped the sails and motored (maybe faster than the other sailboat behind us) right up to the only available mooring ball in the park. Thanks to the Sailing Virgins, we knew what to do and caught the mooring on the first go.

Plumper Cove is the marine park located at Keats Island. There’s a fair amount of mooring balls and dock that holds about a dozen boats. The dock didn’t change over the whole time we were there, but a handfull of the mooring balls changed over daily. There was enough room to anchor as well, but we opted for a mooring. On shore, there’s a campground, some hiking, water and out houses. The beaches were nice for the dogs to get out and explore on too.

As Canadians, we don’t worry about spiders. Until now. Mark managed to get bit by some type of spider when we were out hiking. It left a decent sized welt and a scar that lasted several months afterwards.

Since we’re still in the middle of a heat wave, we spent the rest of the afternoon fashioning some shade and swimming. I’m surprised at how warm the water is at Keats! We spent a long time swimming around and Mark took the time to wipe down the bottom of the boat. After several dives off the boat, we were trying to get up the courage to attempt some flips. We practiced off the paddle boards and transom with zero success. There was footage of this, but weirdly, it’s since gone missing. After putting on quite a show for the rest of the anchorage, we decided to paddle board around the outlying islands to see what we could find.

The next day we decided to cross over to Gibsons for some adventure. We loaded up the dogs into the dinghy and took our first destination trip in the dinghy. There’s a little dinghy dock in Gibsons that’s free for a couple of hours. We wandered around the waterfront with the dogs before stopping in at the Black Bean Cafe for some great coffee and carrot cake. We obviously stopped at the Persephone for some pictures before grabbing some lunch at Smoke on the Water for a picnic on the beach.

We realized over dinner that we’ve been treating sailing like RVing and have just been going to a place and staying for the weekend. So the next day we pulled up the anchor to take a sail around. We didn’t have a plan in mind other than heading up towards Port Melon. It was a lovely, albeit slow, downwind sail. We eventually turned back and decided to head back to Halkett Bay for the night. By the time we turned back, the wind had picked up and we tacked back down the channel and over to Halkett for the night.

We ended up anchoring in the exact same place as last time we visited Halkett. We took a short paddle board around and then settled in for a nice sunset.

We sailed home through the Howe Sound. It was upwind, so we had to do a fair amount of tacking before we got back out to the Straight. The wind had picked up quite a bit and we put the sails down and motored back since I’m still a bit nervous of the high winds in the little boat.

We ended the weekend on a high note and were looking forward to heading to week-long sailing school to sharpen up our newly learned skills.

Serious sailing

Early mornings require coffee


Lemonade on the beach at Gibsons

Good shade


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