Log #58o Sullivan Bay Marina and Fishing experiences

September 13, 2014 in Log Series 50-59, Logs by Series, Series 58, The Logs

Buccaneer Cove, Von Donop Inlet, Cortes Island

Aug. 30, 2014

Hi Folks,

We are back further south now in Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands area. This well sheltered cove in Von Donop Inlet on Cortes Island is secure and scenic. We actually have seen this inlet before when we were over in Squirrel Cove a couple of months ago. There is a trail from one side of the island to the other which we hiked. Judy went in the water for the first time today to clean the water line and replace the zincs. It was cool, but not unbearable. She volunteered!

This log talks about Sullivan Bay Marina and some of the fishing experiences I’ve had here on the west coast. I have yet to actually catch a salmon! I have had more luck with the prawn trap.

Please give me some feedback. I have had no reaction to Judy Johnson’s account of her vacation with us, even though I mangled the sending of it into three separate sections. Did you get them OK? Incidentally, this bay has a good supply of sea asparagus as pointed out by Nikki when we went on the Eco tour with her. The commercial fishing season has opened up here in the last week or so. I hope you agree that Wild Caught Salmon are better than fish farmed salmon as advocated by Bill Proctor in my last log. I have visited a logging camp, but have not visited a fish farm yet. I hope to do so before the season is up.

Please drop me a line.




Log #58o Sullivan Bay Marina and Fishing experiences

Buccaneer Cove, Von Donop Inlet, Cortes Island

Aug. 29, 2014

Sullivan Bay Marina Resort on North Broughton Island is not a mom and pop small operation, but a large well developed floating village.







Main dock at Sullivan Bay

There are many private float homes as well as float homes available as part of the resort and some are for sale.







Float home with covered patio








This float home is for sale

It is a large marina with fuel, water, propane, fishing supplies, showers, and internet sometimes. They have an incinerator for burnable garbage, a fully licensed restaurant, fish cleaning stations, a laundromat, a well-supplied general store and a book exchange. I especially liked the book exchange as it also exchanged DVDs. A marquee on one of the floats is called Happy Hour Square and hosts a happy hour every night, frequently featuring music. This is a pot luck hors d’ oeuvres event, allowing us to meet other boaters and taste some interesting delicacies.

PotLuck  Pot Luck Happy Hour

There is over 3000 feet of dock space with many large yachts tied alongside. The floating docks are given street names.


A street of float homes

Small world department, we met a boater on a yacht called Corona who was the musician while we were there, and who was across the dock from us where we left Veleda last winter at Telegraph Harbour Marina on Thetis Island.

The float homes here are quite substantial and luxurious. They have ramps or boat lifts for their watercraft, patio decks, white picket fences, barbeques, fish cleaning stations, and one had a helicopter pad on its roof.






Helicopter pad on the roof






White picket fence







Septic system and water catcher

The marina is also served by float plane and helicopter service. I think a float home would be another idyllic way to live full time or as a seasonal dwelling. Float homes are quite common in this area as the mountains are so steep-to that there is little flat land on which to build a cottage or home. Most of them are on large logs as opposed to metal pontoons or Styrofoam blocks. They have their own generators, propane, electricity and water from the Sullivan Bay Marina, and their own septic tank systems. Several of these homes were available for rent and at least one for sale.

The staff is friendly, but it does not have the intimacy of the smaller marinas such as we found at Echo Bay and Lagoon Cove. The location has dramatic scenery with mountains and ocean channels providing a panoramic backdrop to this luxurious resort.


It was here at Sullivan’s Bay that I bought a used prawn trap and 300 feet of heavy line. The friendly staff explained how it worked and showed us a few locations on our charts which I successfully used over the next week or so, with good prawn catches. The trap is prepared by suspending a bait bucket containing a punctured tin of tuna cat food, or some kibble-type bait sprinkled in the small perforated bait pail. A weight is hooked inside the trap to hold it more securely on the bottom. The opening at the top to access the bait pail is then closed, and the trap hooked onto the line with a carabineer.






Prawn trap with bucket and weight

Initially I lowered and raised the prawn trap by hand. Hauling up 200-300 feet of line is exhausting.









First launch of the prawn trap

I soon developed the technique of wrapping the line around the drum on the electric windlass, thus making hauling up much easier.







Judy is very co-operative in coiling the line while I clear the trap and take the heads off the catch. At least I am catching something.

I have not caught a salmon yet, other than the stupid randy one that jumped into the dinghy as reported in the previous log by Judy Johnson.

Salmon1     Salmon2







Salmon flopped into the dinghy           Judy retrieving the salmon

I have caught and thrown back over a dozen dogfish, small (24”) shark-like fish with sandpaper rough skin. The only one we kept was one that swallowed the hook, and it was too much trouble to try to remove it.

DogFish1 Dogfish2

                                     A couple of dogfish

We weren’t sure whether they were edible, and so consulted a fishing book to check and to learn how to clean it. I badly hacked it up trying to filet the thing, and wasted a lot of good meat. I have since learned the first thing to do with dogfish is to strip the skin off, then clean or filet it. Cleaning the fish is the worst part of catching fish, as neither Judy nor I have had much experience doing such, and doing so in the cockpit of a sailboat is not simple. I caught and released several small flatfish, and kept one other small fish.








Not as tasty as dogfish

These have been caught while at anchor, jigging a silver minnow lure up and down just off bottom. These fish are smaller than the ones we were catching crossing the Atlantic and in Florida and the Caribbean.

  BlueMarlinCaught and released Blue Marlin

I acquired a small downrigger which has let me troll deeper for salmon, or whatever would take the lure. I have had a couple of friends show me how to rig the downrigger and lure, a relatively complicated evolution for a naïve novice fisherman such as myself, from the cockpit of a sailboat with side windows, no rod holder, and no grappling net. Even killing the fish is a problem. In the Caribbean I would spray cheap rum into the gills, and the fish would die with a smile on their faces. Rum is too expensive up here, and so I just have to club the fish to death with a broken mahogany flagpole standard.

I would desperately love to go fishing one day with some knowledgeable fishermen in their boat, catch some salmon and watch them clean them. (Of course it is always easier cleaning fish at a cleaning station in a marina with a water hose readily available, sharp knives and tools laid out, and an ice chest ready to receive the cleaned catch.) One other problem I have is that I have not gone out fishing. I will set up the troll line and downrigger, and slow my speed to two knots as we are travelling from one anchorage to another. I have not yet gone out explicitly to fish, and drift in a current off the end of an island as I have seen hundreds of boaters do. Oh well, hope springs eternal!