Week 2: Summer Cruise to Desolation Sound


Sunday July 5, 2015 – Teakerne Arm We had haze in the morning – which thickened all day. There was no wind.  The sun stayed a bright orange ball in the sky. The haze was caused by smoke from forest fires on Vancouver Island. The wind was blowing the smoke due East to Desolation Sound. Someone at Squirrel Cove told us there were 131 fires about the area –most from lightning strikes.


Susan and David checking out the charts and enjoying being on the Gyrfalcon

We spent the morning doing chores. Peter installed the new GPS in the GFB. Nancy and David repaired the door in Stateroom 1. We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and took the GFB back to the waterfall and hiked up the trail to Cassell Lake and swam.


Navigating the hills at Teakerne Arm Provincial Marine Park


We think it’s Susan Wisdom’s first (and maybe last) technical climbing event. There is a ten foot section on the trail that requires one to hold on to a rope on a sheer vertical surface. It’s not as bad as it sounds, but we decided that if we told Susan about it before the event, she would refuse to go. She did fine.


Then we took the GFB across Lewis Channel to the Squirrel Cove store, bought 300 feet of 5/8 inch polypropylene line for stern tying, bananas, and stainless steel bolts to attach the transducer. They have an interesting pricing scheme–they sell all stainless steel hardware by weight only. We cruised around Squirrel Cove and then returned to Teakerne. We saw 2 dolphins at the head of Teakerne. We (Peter, Nancy and David) pulled the prawn pots  – got 4 more prawns and a tiny octopus.



David had brought his ukulele up (this was actually a 3-ukelele trip, as Jacqueline also brought her uke for the first week).  Peter and David worked on a few songs.  I think Peter might have David convinced that he should start with a song with just 3 chords.



Here’s a list of the birds we have seen on this trip so far: Bald Eagle, Marbled Murrelet, Rhinoceros Auklet, Pigeon Guillemot, Common Murre, Turkey Vulture, Red Crossbill, Swainson’s Thrush, American Robin, Black-capped Chickadee, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, Black Oystercatcher, Red-tailed Hawk, Anna’s Hummingbird, Rufous Hummingbird, Common Loon,  Pelagic Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant, Glaucous-winged Gull, Heerman’s Gull, Great Blue Heron, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, Caspian Tern, Canada Goose, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Violet-green Swallow, and Purple Martin. Not a bad list, considering that we weren’t bird watching!

Monday, July 06, 2015 – Teakerne Arm to Gorge Harbor. There was less smoke than last night, but it was still very hazy. Nancy kayaked in the morning.


A smoky morning for kayaking

To leave Good Sex Cove, we let out some anchor, and David and Peter went on shore in the GFB – David used a fid to release the knot in the Amsteel line. Susan pulled the line aboard. We lifted the anchor. Nan took the Gyr out to the middle of the Arm. We used the crane to load the GFB on the upper deck, and headed down the Lewis channel around the south end of Cortes. We needed to use our radar because of the poor visibility due to smoke.


Leaving our anchorage at Teakerne Arm

After we came around the southern end of Cortes, the smoke began to lift a little. We went through the gorge – but did not see the pictoglyphs discussed in Curve of Time.  We anchored at the end of the bay between several shellfish installations. We took the GFB to Gorge Resort to buy propane, tomatoes and lemons, and asked if we could purchase water. The marina would not sell us more than 50 gallons, but said if we stayed at the marina, we could fill our tanks for free. Peter immediately made a reservation for the next night. We came back to the Gyr and washed down the decks (since we knew there would be lots of fresh water in the tanks the next day). After that, we finished the gasket replacement in the hatch in the – galley – a job we had been putting off for over a year. It was much easier with 4 people to help with the contact cement on the gasket (unfortunately, as we found out later, even a new gasket does not stop the leaking). Grilled chicken and sweet potatoes and bread for dinner.

teakerne to gorge

The day’s voyage from Teakerne Arm to Gorge Harbor

150707__H8A7009_5D Mark III

Yet another oystercatcher on Stove Rocks, Gorge Harbor

Tuesday, July 7, 2015 – Gorge Resort. We went kayaking among the mussel farms in the morning. Nan applied another coat of varnish to the rear steps. We motored across the bay to Gorge Resort, and moored at a slip just inside the first pier. The resort was very civilized:  it had water, internet, a swimming pool, and a restaurant at which we ate. And did I mention they had water? This made Captain Nancy very happy.

Gorge Harbor

We spent the first night at anchor northeast of Ring Island,and the second night at Gorge Harbor Marina, in the northwest part of the harbor.



At a slip at Gorge Harbor Marina


Susan refreshed after her swim

The boat across from us was from Terre Haute, IN. The owners came aboard and toured the Gyr. Another guy from a boat called Maggie spent 45 minutes on the dock talking about the Gyr. At dinner, Nancy mentioned that she had lived in Sawyer MI.  A women at the next table said – Sawyer – you’re kidding – I grew up in Benton Harbor. Small world. She now summers on Cortes. When Peter asked how she picked this island on which to spend summers, she said:  “I followed my acupuncturist”. A good guru is hard to find.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015 –Gorge to Pendrell Sound. We left Gorge Harbor, cruised around the south end of West Rendonda Island (past the Twin Islands)  and up the Waddington Channel to Pendrell Sound. We anchored off a small island near the head of the sound.

Gorge harbor to pendrell sound

Here’s our course from Gorge Harbor to Pendrell Sound


Pendrell Sound

And here is where we anchored, right south of the little island below the 180 mark.


There were lots of commercial oyster sprat farms. While cleaning the prawn bait boxes, one fell apart in my hands and sank. Because the charts are not terribly detailed, we could not tell how deep the other prawn pot was – the float was vertical. Decided to leave it – it did not sink.

Nancy’s varnish on the back steps came off with the tape – these back steps just do not want to be varnished.


Varnish salvage surgery

After that, David and Nancy did salvage sanding/varnishing.  The water in the sound was very warm–we all jumped in and swam around and floated in tubes.


Unbelievably warm water

For years, people have been telling us how warm the water is in Desolation Sound, and we were like, “sure, we believe that.” I mean, let’s be reasonable. In Seattle, the water is 56o F all year, and Desolation Sound is over 200 miles farther north – 200 miles closer to the North Pole, for goodness sakes.  We are now believers. It is that warm.  The transducer put the water temp (maybe about 3 ft below the water level) at 75F.  It is so comfortable for swimming. I don’t know if it is the sunshine, or the rain shadow from Vancouver Island, or just plain magic, but it is true. Dinner was hanger steak over salad with grilled peppers.

Thursday, July 9, 2015 – Pendrell Sound. The prawn trap was empty this morning, so we reset it in the same place. Peter is 66 years old, and David is 75 – two old men who don’t have a large number of trap pulls left in them – especially for zero results.


Intrepid prawn hunters

We loaded kayaks on the GFB and went to Roscoe Bay Provincial Park. There’s a sandy beach at the west end of the bay so David and Susan could kayak. We all hiked into Black Lake and swam in the refreshing warm water.  We had a nice picnic at the top of the cove before heading back.


Heading down to Roscoe Bay


Susan and David returning from their kayaking adventure


Nothing better than a picnic at the beach


Swimming in Black Lake, Roscoe Bay Provincial Park

After we got back to the Gyr, Nancy discovered she had left her shorts and shirt on a picnic table, so she and I returned in the GFB – at 35 mph – flying (took 15 minutes).


Successful rescue

Peter, David, and Susan are gin and tonic fans, but Nancy is not.  So David, ever resourceful, invented the GYRHITO.  It is a drink designed somewhat pragmatically–David scrounged for ingredients on board and combined them.  Here’s how you make a Gyrhito:  Notice the wooden spoon repurposed as a muddler (thanks to Peter Riess, I now know that there is such a device). The ingredients for a proper GYRHITO include: rum, mint, fresh lime, lemonade and seltzer water, muddled and served over crushed ice.

And the final result was quite tasty!


But lest anyone think we’re roughing it–take a look at this menu:  For appetizers, wheat thins and a nice blue cheese on Cheetos.  For dinner, we had burgers and tater tots.




Dinner in the pilothouse


Hanging out on the fantail

Friday, July 10, 2015- Pendrell Sound to Tenedos Bay. Peter got up early and kayaked with Nancy towards the head of Pendrell Sound. We found several clusters of loose oysters on a rock, and put them in the kayaks. David and Peter shucked around 20 oysters ranging in size from small to massive.


Oysters everywhere in Pendrell Sound


The oysters plus scrambled eggs made for a tasty breakfast. We checked out the prawn trap–it only contained 4 of the little lobster things. It probably wasn’t on the bottom.

Pendrell sound to tenedos bay

The last leg of Week 2–from Pendrell Sound to Tenedos Bay

We motored over to Tenedos Bay.  We got to Tenedos Bay early enough to get the center of the bay – so we did not need to stern tie. Peter noticed a leak in the crane – it was due to loose fittings on the return side (low pressure), so we got drips, but not spray (read https://gyrfalcon88.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/labor-day-cruise-to-san-juans-gulfs-and-victoria-bc-part-2/ blogs for the details on an earlier crane incident). Peter tightened fittings, and the leaks stopped.

Nancy and Peter kayaked around the island and over to the trail to the lake. After several false starts we found the trail to Unwin Lake, and went and sat on a rock looking over the picturesque lake. After dinner (salmon and pasta) Peter caught a rockfish off the fantail. It was the first fish caught by Peter from the Gyr.


Peter’s first fish

The next morning, we took the Wisdoms to Refuge Cove to catch their float plane.

It was much easier to get them into the boat compared to Week 1 guests.

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