2016 Trip to Victoria BC (August/September 2016)

For the past several years, we have been going to the San Juan Islands, the Gulf Islands, and Vancouver Island BC during the week ending in Labor Day.  Here’s a high level overview of our route.

We end up in Victoria for the Classic Boat Show. Our guests arrived the day before so we could get an early start:  Paul G. from Michigan, Rob from the tricities area of Washington, and Paul and Erica from West Lafayette, Indiana.

August 27, 2016 (Day 1:  Ewing Street Moorings to Swift’s Bay, Lopez Island)

We left early in the morning to beat summer crowds in the locks.  We went through the small locks about 0800 and headed up the Puget Sound.  We headed east of Lopez Island and up through Thatcher Pass.  About 1630, we arrived in Swift’s Bay.

We used the VTS system on the way north to get more practice.  It was interesting–even though we were way out of the shipping lanes, they followed us and even wanted details about our anchorage and how many shots we had out (a shot is 90 ft of anchor rode).

Shortly after we had found a good spot to anchor in Swift Bay, we got a cell phone all from Bill Scherer. He had seen us come in, and called to offer his dock. I (Peter) demurred, since I was afraid we might be too big for the dock, and we had a good anchorage. We had met Bill and his wife Miguel at LUBR over the past year – they had a ferrocement sailboat there. We had toured each others boat. They had sold the sailboat, and were spending time in their cabin on Lopez.  Small world.

August 28, 2016 (Day 2:  Swift’s Bay, Lopez Island to Reid Harbor, Stuart Island)

The main reason we had anchored in Swift Bay was so we could go and see Ben Harry’s new farm on Lopez. We all jumped in the GFB, went over to Ben’s and got a nice tour.

Heading over to Lopez Island

The Gyrfalcon at anchor in Swift’s Bay

We weighed anchor at 1130 and went west through Harney Channel, through Warp Pass and North Pass.

We had quite a show of orcas right off Speiden Island.

We arrived at Reid Harbor, Stuart Island in the early afternoon.  In the harbor, there   were river otters in the place that we’ve seen them in previous years.  Several of us went kayaking.

August 29, 2016 (Day 3:  Reid Harbor, Stuart Island to Glenthorne Passage, Secret Island)

We started the mains at 0946, and the anchor was up by 1000.  We headed out of Reid Harbor, went through Johns Pass, and cleared customs at Bedwell Harbor at 1144.  By about 1300, we arrived at Secret Island.  This is an annual rendezvous put on by Curt and Marsha–they very generously open their house to neighbors and boating friends, and put on a big potluck dinner.

Deerleap was anchored in the harbor, rafted to Double Eagle.  We anchored a bit west of them, and stern tied to a buoy that they were also stern-tied to, to keep swing to a minimum.  It’s always amusing to see how many opinions there are about anchoring.

A facilitator


A discussion aboard Deerleap

Gyrfalcon GoFast Boat visiting Deerleap


August 30, 2016 (Day 4:  Anchored at Glenthorne Passage, Secret Island)

We spent the day wandering around Secret Island, and taking the GFB over to Ganges, and went crabbing.  The feast put on by Carl and Marsha is always amazing.  We always meet interesting folks and have a great time.  This time we brought some loaves of homemade bread.

Bread hot from the oven

August 31, 2016 (Day 5:  Glenthorne Passage, Secret Island to Cadboro Bay)

We left Glenthorne Passage in mid-morning, and headed over to Sidney Spit, where we day anchored.  We did some kayaking and hiking on the beaches.  At 1420, we weighed anchor and headed over to Cadbury Bay by way of Baynes Channel.  We had never anchored here, but Slim (on Deerleap) and Randy (on Double Eagle) recommended it as a good place to anchor on the day before heading down to Victoria BC for the Wooden Boat Show.  It was a cloudy day, so we got the little ceramic heater out to keep Erica warm.  At the time, we didn’t realize that it was broken.  No wonder she stayed cold.

Erica trying to stay warm

We set out the crab pots, ever hopeful for a good catch.

Profound discussions about something

At some point, we readied Stateroom 3 for additional guests.  We had a double mattress, which we sawed in half with an electric knife to make 2 bunk mattresses.  We were going to have the most guests ever one night in Victoria, so we were getting prepared.

Initial measurements and marking

Cutting the outside layer

Using the electric carving knife to cut the foam (easier said than done with this thick of a mattress)

September 1, 2016 (Day 6: Cadboro Bay to Victoria Harbor)

In the morning, we checked the crab pots.  We had 3 pots, with 45 crabs, and not a single keeper.  Hopefully by next year, they will have grown to legal size.

Rob was bound and determined to learn our standard knots:  clove hitches and bowlines.

We left Cadboro bay about 0930 and followed Deerleap and Double Eagle down to Victoria Harbor.  We had a change of guests at Victoria:  Rob went to join his family at a wedding nearby, and Mom and Bill flew in from Michigan.

We were docked opposite Deerleap, which was a great location.  Here are some photos that Erica took of the harbor, boats, and people.

Gyrfalcon on the left, Deerleap on the right

Gyrfalcon and Deerleap

Overview of the harbor


Here are some photos from an early kayak trip that I (Nancy) took around the dock.


September 2-4, 2016 (Day 7-9: Docked at Victoria Harbor; Sailaround)


We had large crowds through the boat on this weekend.  We also got to visit other boats.  Here are photos from a very impressively organized engine room:






On Sunday afternoon, the show closes for a sailpast.  During this event–crazy as it sounds–most of the boats leave the dock and parade out and around the Oriole of the Canadian Navy, which is the Salute vessel for the sailpast.  HMCS Oriole is the sail training vessel of the Royal Canadian Navy based at CFB Esquimalt in Victoria, British Columbia. She is a sailing ketch, currently the oldest commissioned vessel in the Royal Canadian Navy.  We had never done this before, as I (Nancy) was quite comfortable with docking only once.  However, since Deerleap only had one functional prop, they were not going out, so we (Peter, actually, again pushing the envelope) decided it would be good for me to participate.  We had our guests on board, plus Jo, Jimmy, and Dylan from the Deerleap.

That night, we had many guests on board:  The guests were:  Joan and Bill, Paul and Erica, Paul G, Chunyan Hu  (a colleague of Peter’s from China) and her son Hao.  Paul G was gracious and bunked on one of the new mattresses in the pilothouse. Everyone survived the crowded tenement-like conditions

September 5, 2016 (Day 10:  Victoria Harbor BC to Port Townsend)


We got an early start, because we needed to arrive at Port Angeles between arrivals and departures of the ferry Coho, and we wanted to get to Port Townsend in time to wander around the town.  We turned the mains on at 0610 and departed the harbor just at the break of dawn, 0645, when we could see enough to navigate the harbor.  By 0730, we were passing Constance Bank, and arrived at Port Angeles at 0947.  We had never cleared customs at Port Angeles, and didn’t know anyone else who had done so, so it was a new experience.  We were told to call prior to arrival, and the person who answered the phone took down all the details on the phone as we cruised into the harbor.  There was a bit of a turn getting to the dock, but the dock itself was great–it had real cleats and was plenty long for us (probably about 150 ft long).  Agent Smith came down to the boat and cleared us through–he was obviously an admirer of wooden boats.

Great blue heron

After Port Angeles, we headed east, by McCordy Pt, and around Point Wilson, and anchored in the usual place south of the Boat Haven.  We put down the GFB and most of us headed into town.  We got a great tour in the Northwest Center for Wooden Boat Building; a guy told us all about the mast that they were making for a wooden ship.

September 6, 2016 (Day 11:  Port Townsend to Ewing Street Moorings)


The trip home from PT was uneventful–it was an excellent day.  We had a smooth locking through in the large locks (port tie), then headed up the Ship Canal towards our slip.  We had to stand off for a bit while a gravel barge left Lakeside Industries (a transfer point across the canal from our berth).  We docked, and our guests made their several ways home. Thus ended our 2017 Summer Season.

Bill made a great video of the trip–if you want a flavor of a trip to the Victoria Wooden Boat Show, take a look at his YouTube channel:




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