Now We’re Cruising!
June 11, 2023
Well. Vancouver wasn't letting us out that easy. Once we passed under the Burrard Bridge, we got hit with 20 knots of wind on the nose. That wind continued until we turned into the Howe Sound, where it dropped to zero. Fun stuff for our first day of officially cruising.
We were heading to Gambier Island to stage for our trip up North. We planned to get settled for a day or so and catch the following southeasterly wind up to Jedidah and then to Princess Louisa. Plus, we thought taking a couple of days to unwind from City life would be an added bonus. With the lack of wind, we crawled our way into Port Graves and were pleasantly surprised to find a relatively empty anchorage.
A few days to relax turned into three as we waited out Northwesterly gales in the Straight of Georgia. No big deal. We have all the time in the world now! We spent the next three days hiking around the island, paddling our new boards, and even fitting in some minor boat maintenance. Eventually, we got the weather window we were looking for and headed closer to the Straight to be ready to head north.
We raised the mainsail at anchor and pointed the boat to Keats Island. We managed to sail nearly from anchor up to anchor down. This was a first for us and would be many of the firsts we'd have on this trip. It was a fast upwind sail with some challenging wind shifts closer to Keats Island. We originally planned to anchor in the bay. After a quick look around, we decided to take a mooring ball instead.
We weren't planning on lingering here for long. It looked like we'd have the right wind in the next couple of days, and we had big plans to make it up to Princess Louisa before the summer crowds set in. So we popped into Gibsons and ran into our old sailing instructor. We had dinner with him and his students. Then we visited S/V Pitou, with whom we had crossed paths over the last three weeks. They'd be heading down to Mexico around the same time we were.
It was a quick couple of days on the Sunshine Coast, and we were off bright (cloudy and rainy) early to get up to Jedediah Island. We'd never been there before and had heard nothing but good things. We also knew the anchorages were on the smaller side, and I was a bit nervous about finding a spot for the night.
The sailing was fast. Some of the strongest winds we'd been to date, and we just cruised along with the wind, rain and waves up to the bay entrance. We had planned to anchor in Codfish Bay, but with the southeast swell and wind, it was a bit too tricky. No worries, we had plans A, B and C lined up and headed to Deep Bay.
As we rounded the corner into the bay, we were surprised by how small it was. Thankfully there was only one other boat so far. We needed to stern tie, which is something we hate. Stern tieing is anchoring close to shore and running a line back to the beach to keep the boat from swinging. It means that we have to gauge the proper distance, then while trying to hold the boat still, one of us has to get on the paddle board and drag a line to the rocky shore, tie it around something and then come back. All while keeping the boat from drifting into someone else. This nearly always results in copious amounts of swearing.
Jedediah Island is a Marine park. But before that, it was home to a family until the 1990s, when it was bought and turned into a marine park. This boat access-only island is home to wild goats and sheep leftover from the original homestead that still stands today. Some marked trails lead to and from the various bays, but many other paths exist to explore. But most importantly, there were wild sheep!
I'd heard about the sheep and was determined to find them. Turns out it actually isn't that hard. Once we hiked to the homestead site, we found them grazing in an orchard. We never really go close enough for pictures, but they looked like sheep badly in need of a haircut.
It didn't take long for us to realize we wouldn't leave the Island for a while. This time it was by choice. We weren't stuck because of the weather. We were stuck because we loved the place. We spent hours wandering around the island, tracking the sheep and looking for the goats. We never found the goats, but we did find a fully intact goat skull. We debated keeping it but ultimately didn't. We hiked over the island, exploring the shorelines, bays, and the old homestead. We also took the paddleboards out to explore the bays. We kept seeing what we thought was garbage but found out later that these round things were egg collars (where they lay and protect their eggs) for moon snails.
We also used the shallow bays to put on our wetsuits and try our snorkelling gear. Because it was so shallow, it was easy to get to the bottom to explore what was down there. We saw no fish, just a pile of starfish and some old bottles. Mark ventured off for some fishing and sadly came back empty-handed.
Eventually, though, we decided it was time to move on. Otherwise, we'd never go around Vancouver Island and down to Mexico. So we looked for the wind to take us over to Pender Harbour and Princess Louisa. It looked like the next day, we'd be off.
It would be sad leaving Jedediah, knowing we likely wouldn't be back for a long time, if ever.
NM sailed: 33