Log #61n Down the mainland to Vancouver

October 5, 2016 in Log Series 60-69, Logs by Series, Series 61, The Logs

Log #61n Down the mainland to Vancouver

Clipper Cove, San Francisco Bay

Oct. 14, 2016


Hi Folks,

It is a grey rainy day here in San Francisco, the first rain we have experienced in several weeks. We have been gunkholing around this large inland waterway, most recently up the Sacramento/San Joaquin River estuary.which we understand has over 1000 miles of navigable waters. Clipper Cove where we are presently was originally the landing zone for the Pan Am clippers flying to China in the 1930’s. We recently enjoyed Fleet Week here in San Francisco, touring a couple of navy ships, including HMCS Calgary, and watching a dramatic air show featuring the Blue Angels.


This log gets us on our way back to civilization from Cortes Island to Vancouver where we spent a couple of leisurely weeks enjoying the area and visiting friends and relatives. We are nearing the end of our four years cruising on the B.C. and Alaska coasts, and looking forward to our passage down the west coast of the U.S. on our way to Mexico.


All the best,



PS We brought the rainy weather down here from northern B.C., but no problems for us.

Log #61n Down the mainland to Vancouver
Berkeley Yacht Club, Berkeley, CA
Oct. 5, 2016

We finally left Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island at 1030 Aug. 30 to sail for a half hour, and motor sail the remaining five hours to get 25 miles down to Powell River Public Dock (49 50.122N, 124 31.793W) at an economical $0.75 per foot moorage. We had not been there before and wanted to see this northern B.C. mainland town along the so-called “Sunshine Coast”. There are only four major  mainland coastal communities north of Vancouver but south of Prince Rupert: Gibsons Landing, Pender Harbour, Powell River, and Lund which is at the end of the mainland highway, and accessible by bus. We have now been to all four of these communities. On sailing (motoring) past the large pulp and paper plant on the north side of Westview/Powell River I counted eight large ship hulks chained end to end serving as a breakwater for the barges and vessels delivering the lumber and chips for the industry. I am not sure where Westview and Powell River borders are, so I refer to the area as Powell River.

We were in the South Harbour which has transient and commercial fishing boats, as the North Harbour is mostly for permanent slip holders. The town is a good provisioning centre with a few large chain grocery stores, boutiques, adventure and fishing charters, laundromats, a Shoppers Drug Mart, liquor stores, and even a Walmart. There is a museum and golf course. In season there is a free shuttle to save the hike up the aptly named Cardiac Hill to other stores and services. We did not venture that far.

After doing some grocery shopping we returned to the harbour for a quiet night’s rest before heading next day 30 miles down to Secret Cove just beyond Pender Harbour. Powell River and Pender Harbour are our two favourite communities on the Sunshine Coast. (Lund is too small, and Gibsons Landing is too touristy.)There are several good anchorages in and around Pender Harbour, including Secret Cove ( 49 31.714N, 123 57.293W). We were now on our “go home” passage to civilization around Vancouver, the end of our adventures in northern B.C. waters.

August 1, we weighed anchor from Secret Cove and motored 33 miles down to the Union Steamship Company Marina on Bowen Island to visit our UNTD friend George Langford in his lovely home overlooking Howe Sound and English Bay. The town dock had no room and we were reluctant to go there anyways as the last time we were there there was so much wave action that we had to get off the dock for our safety. This Union Steamship Company Marina is a very good full service marina with all the amenities including a lounge with computers, and a book exchange. It was a grey rainy period when we were there, but we enjoyed a meal with George and Janet at their lovely hillside home.





View from George’s home on Bowen Island  

Next day we motored our final 12 mile leg to False Creek in downtown Vancouver where we were to spend the next two weeks free of charge with an anchoring permit.
                               From Squirrel Cove to False Creek

I have commented before in earlier logs as to how convenient this location is for cruisers to drop the hook with easy access to downtown Vancouver. We enjoyed shopping at Granville Market, had an exotic meal at The Afgan Horseman restaurant, and made several trips to Steveston Marine, an excellent chandlery where we bought a new deck wash water pump and all the hosing necessary to replace our old one. Of course Murphy’s Law, the hoses of our old system were not the same size as the new one, and so we had to remove all the old hose, and thread through the new from the central water-in-take up to the anchor locker at the bow. At least that job is finished and we have an operational deck wash pump.

There is also a nearby West Marine chandlery where we got other boat parts, including another five gallon jerry can with a control nozzle that allows the fuel being poured out to stop without having to lift the nozzle out of the fuel filter we still use.  On board we now carry five five gallon jerry cans for diesel, a three gallon jerry can for mixed gas for the outboard, a two gallon jerry can for gas for the Honda generator, and a five gallon jery can for fresh water. Most long distance cruising boats have jerry cans strapped on their side decks to permit extended cruising.

We had the opportunity to meet with another Judy, an old friend of Judy’s from Port Coquitlam, as we  may not see her again for some time as we will be leaving B.C. before the end of the month on our way down to Mexico. By happenstance we met with Dan, Judy’s brother-in-law from Florida, who was temporarily employed at Simon Fraser University for a couple of months on a research project. We had him on board for a meal and went with him for a day’s ride up into the mountains and over to Kamloops, and back down the Okanagan Valley near where we were house sitting a couple of years ago. A week later we had a visit with Barbara, Judy’s sister, who was up visiting with Dan for a few days before heading back to her job in Panama City, Florida. That family does a lot of travelling. We hadn’t seen either of them for several years and it was good to get together with them. We are looking forward to seeing their daughter Sarah in San Francisco when we are down there next month on our way to Mexico. She is working on her PhD. in Materials Science at Berkley.

We shifted around a few times in False Creek, going over to the fuel dock and to the free pump out at Heather Civic Marina where the anchoring permits are issued. The dock attendant mentioned that a couple of derelict boats are removed each month from False Creek in adherance to the anchoring regulations. Some are derelict while others could be freeloaders trying to live aboard full time in False Creek. Even the marinas have a limit of full time live aboard slips they are allowed. If such can be obtained, it would be cheaper than renting any accommodations in the expensive Vancouver area. Waiting lists for such are over a year.

We enjoy watching all the dragon boats, kayaks, paddle boards, and a variety of sleek rowing skiffs gliding up and down the end bay where we are anchored. The dragon boat docks also have accommodations for the handicapped, and we watched several paddle boards with handicapped crews enjoying the opportunity to get out on the water.

61N-3 61N-4



False Creek is a very people friendly area in spite of the expensive high rise condos and the operational cement company and its barges beside the
Granville Market. Even this company blends in, with its silos colourfully decorated with squat human faces above outrageous garments.
Cement Plant Silos
Their barges which often lie alongside are painted a vivid green, and are clean with minimal dust even when offloading. All this beside million dollar float homes next door on one side and Granville Market on the other.
  Float Homes beside Cement Plant
At several landing docks there are pianos permanently set out for people to enjoy playing them. Some were very good, while others were just tinkerers. The pianos brightly painted, are covered at night or in rain. There are many benches, chairs even, and sculptures around the False Creek promenade.

Before leaving Vancouver we motored around through Lions Gate Bridge to enjoy a night as reciprocal visitors at the Vancouver Rowing Club over in Stanley Park. We wandered through the park and enjoyed a different view of the Vancouver skyline from that perspective.
        Vancouver skyline from Stanley Park
August 19 we said goodbye to Vancouver as we motored out through Lions Gate Bridge, across English Bay heading over to the Gulf Islands in our preparations to leave for Mexico by the end of the month. (Ha!)

Leaving through Lions Gate Bridge