Log #61m To Quadra and Cortes Islands

October 3, 2016 in Logs by Series, Series 61, The Logs

Log #61m To Quadra and Cortes Islands

Berkeley Yacht Club, Berkeley, California

Oct. 2, 2016


Hi Folks,

I have been having trouble with Windows 10 (again!) and the E-mail program Outlook. It did not want to load the entire Log and so I divided it into part 2 and Part 2. I hope you get the pics in this covering letter and the first half of the log.


This Log #61m gets us further down the Inside Passage to Campbell River and Quadra and Cortes Islands on the fringes of Desolation Sound, with pictures of a whale and deer we encountered along the way, as well as more of the dramatic scenery of the B.C. coast.


We are now down here in central California in drier, warmer climates. We have reciprocal privileges with the Berkeley Yacht Club and after two free days can stay here for $10.00 a night, including water, electricity, and club priveleges. We have been here for a week already and are enjoying the camadarderie in the club and this weekend went on a club cruise to Clipper Cove on Treasure Island, rafted up with ten other boats from the club for a pot luck supper. We had Sara, Judy’s Neice and her friend over for supper tonight, the first time we have seen her for since she was in elementary school, and is now pursuing her PhD. in Materials Science at the University of California, Berkely campus.


The pasted chartlets below indicate our trip down the west coast to San Francisco Bay. We will spend a few weeks here before heading down to Los Angeles and San Diego until November when we will head to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.


We left Victoria Sept. 8 to arrive in San Francisco Bay at Berkeley Sept. 26 after

870 miles in several legs stopping in Oregon and northern California, our longest leg being 242 miles from Neah Bay, Washington to Newport Marina in Oregon.

Log #61m map 5 Log #61m Map 4

All is well with us and we are looking forward to exploring this large San Francisco Bay for another two weeks or so before heading further south. Here, hopefully are a couple of chartlets indicating our travels and a picture which did not come out in the last covering letter of the weather rock in Pierres Echo Bay.



All the best,




Log #61m To Quadra and Cortes Islands Part 1

Berkeley Yacht Club, Berkeley, California

Sept. 28, 2016

From the pleasant Waddington Bay on Bonwick Island in the Broughtons, we motored a 50 mile passage down Johnstone Strait, with favorable tides and currents with us most of the way, but with grey foggy and drizzling weather all the way. (See the chartlet at the end of this log.) This strait can be a long haul if the tides or winds are against you, and more than once we have taken the sheltered convoluted passages inside Sonora, East and West Thurlow, and Hardwick Islands to avoid adverse NW winds and contrary currents. The strait is well known for its “square waves” when there is wind against current in this wide, long passage along the north east coast of Vancouver Island.

Whales frequent this stretch as it is the main channel of the inside passage for migrations north. We were surprised and to some extent frightened when a large humpback whale surfaced just 100 yards off our port bow, its massive arched body surging to the surface like some leviathan of the deep, then sliding back down into the depths.

Humpback whale surfacing


A fear was that we might collide with such a denizen of the depths or worse yet be attacked by it (shades of Moby Dick). However the surface flattened out after the waves and ripples of its emergence died down, and we saw no further signs of it.

We were making good time with the tide and current in our favor. There are a few stretches where the pilot book indicated tidal rips and strong eddies as the strait enters into the more narrow confines beginning at Hardwicke Island, especially if there is a strong westerly wind opposing an ebb current. We were fortunate in that we had a light westerly breeze flowing the same direction as the flood current was carrying us, boosting our speed up to over 10 knots at one time.

As we altered course to take the north channel around Helmcken Island we had to calculate the drift we were experiencing in order not to be washed down beyond our entrance to Billygoat Bay, our anchorage for the night (50 23.919N, 125 52.029W). We weren’t sure if the currents would be swirling around inside the small bay, but found the water placid once we were inside.

It was sunny the next day as we motored 26 miles to the eastern end of Johnstone Strait where it becomes Discovery Passage between Quadra Island and Vancouver Island. We motored into Kanish Bay on the northern tip of Quadra to anchor in Small Inlet ( 50 15.505N, 125 17.140W) a well sheltered anchorage with a couple of other boats and lots of swing room. We dinghied into the furthest small bay, into which we could have taken Veleda and had that inner bay all to ourselves, as no other boat was anchored in there. I enjoyed dinghying around Small Inlet and into the outer bay where several cottages were located. This bay makes for a good layover while waiting for appropriate tidal currents at Seymour Narrows, ten miles down Discovery Channel.

We calculated the time for slack water and left our anchorage next day at 0430 (4:30 am) to go ten miles down through the Narrows (uneventfully) and another seven miles to the fuel dock at Discovery Harbour in Campbell River. The diesel was surprisingly economical at $0.99 per litre for Canada (or about $4.75 US a gallon considering the US exchange rate). While there we left Veleda alongside while we went shopping for groceries in the adjacent shopping mall. The dock attendants were quite co-operative in allowing an hour or so to do our shopping before we left to go three miles across the channel to anchor in April Cove on Quadra for the night. We have been there before and found it a convenient anchorage to be able to dinghy across to Campbell River if we needed.

Sixteen miles around the south end of Quadra we motored over to our friends John and Kirstie’s place near Mansons Landing on Cortes Island.

Veleda at John and Kirstie’s

While there we dinghied over to the dock at Mansons Landing and had the use of Kirstie’s car to drive around the island, a most pleasant drive to see a couple of parks, a lovely flower garden, ending up at the lagoon behind the landing where we were successful in getting a large bucket of clams at low tide. We got a couple of oysters, but Judy did not want to try them without local knowledge regarding the red tide pollution and paralytic shellfish poisoning. John said there was not any problem so far this year and so we put the couple of oysters in a delicious clam chowder for lunch next day.

Clams and two oysters ready for boiling


At least we were more successful clamming than we were with John when we went fishing for halibut; Nada!

While alongside I worked on my logs and downloaded all my pictures from Haida Gwaii onto my laptop computer. I cleared the camera and was ready to start working on the pictures when I discovered the file folder with the Haida Gwaii pictures was empty! Aaarrgghhh! I have lost all the pictures from Haida Gwaii!!!

Next day we dinghied over to Shark Spit on Marina Island, but before we landed, the dinghy motor ran out of fuel! I should have checked before we left. Fortunately there was another family on the spit who volunteered to tow us back. The spit is part of a marine park, with one side exposed to the predominant winds and the other side in a tranquil lee. The spit does not extend out as far as Sidney Spit does, but is a pleasant beach to explore. The point of the spit extends out into the narrow dog-legged Uganda Passage which separates Marina Island from Cortes Island.


Shark Spit extending out to Uganda Passage

We have gone through this pass in Veleda a few times, needing to navigate between the buoys carefully. It was interesting to see the passage from the spit.

Back over to Campbell River we rafted beside “True Blue” a 1976 Gulf 32 motor sailor at Fisherman’s Wharf for only $0.75 per foot, half of the cost at Discovery Marina at $1.50 per foot. I was quite impressed with the space in this 32 foot boat, and the dual steering stations, one in the cockpit and another down below just above the main salon. It is the only 32 foot boat I have seen with as much space below as Veleda has.

Our purpose in returning to Campbell River was to meet up with Russ and Lynne from Blue Highway, friends from Florida whom we first met in Bermuda when we were crossing the Atlantic Ocean in 1999, and have met several times since in Scotland, England, and the Mediterranean. From birthday greetings they sent me in July, I knew they were in B.C. and coming to Campbell River to meet other friends they had sailed with. We met them at the bus station and had a good get-together before they caught the ferry over to Quadra to meet their other friends.

Russ and Lynne at the ferry terminal

We might see them over on Quadra, depending on their friends’ schedule.