Salt Springs to Comox

Salt Springs to Comox
By sv Prairie SeaShell on 11 Aug, 2006 11:00 AM

Salt Spring Island. Montague Harbour & Blue Water Cruisining Rendezvous. Comox.

Salt Springs to Comox

Non slip paint
 Don painting non-slip surface
The days and weeks are just flying by, however for as much as we get done, it seems that there is always more to do.
Finally finished the gates on all the railings, made a lazy jack system, (a rope type net made to hold the main sail in place as it comes down) and painted on non-slip on the deck.
Blue WaterCruisers Block Party
 Blue Water Cruisers Block Party
Then we took some time off from our chores and headed to Montague Bay, a marine park, where the Blue Water Cruisers Association was having their summer rendezvous. We met lots of sailors, some who have cruised extensively, and others like us who are new to this lifestyle.
Happy Hour on the Friday night was held on two sailboats rafted together, and about 50 or so people piled aboard.
Breakfast at Montague Bay is a treat.  There is a couple who stay there all summer aboard their boat, and bake fresh bread, cinnamon buns & pies etc. for the visiting cruisers. Their boat was a ferry back in the 1920’s for Model T’s, which they have converted into a bakery boat.
Don bringing home the buns
 Don bringing home the buns
We left Montague Bay on the Monday of the long weekend, and as I motored out of the bay, there seemed to be as much traffic as there is on the Deerfoot at rush hour!
The wind picked up a bit, so we sailed back to Ganges, then anchored in the bay there where we have been many times before. We dropped anchor, had lunch and then stopped in to see if our neighbours on El Amuleto wanted anything from town. This was a couple who had their boat trucked from Winnipeg, who now call Nanaimo home, and they were one of the many cruisers we met at Blue Water. We headed to town, and were in the hardware store for about 20 minutes or so.
When we came out, we instinctively looked out across the bay. We couldn’t see the Prairie SeaShell, thought she had just swung around on anchor, and was hidden behind another boat. We keep looking, but she is gone!
At this point, we are almost running towards the dingy dock, then we see John from El Amuleto on the coast guard dock waving at us. Apparently, our anchor had broke loose, but John had been able to get aboard, lay out more line and get her stopped before she did any damage to herself or anything else.
One of the other boats in the bay had seen John struggling to rescue the Prairie SeaShell, and had radioed the coast guard for help. By the time they arrived however, John had already got her stopped and was on his way back to get us. However, since they were there now, they wanted to do something, so they hauled up the anchor, by hand, and rafted her to their big red boat and took her into their dock. That will be a day I won’t soon forget! The next few were pretty memorable too.
The next day, just as were getting ready to board the dingy to go to get groceries, the dingy broke loose. It had been tied up to us all night, and decides to leave us 5 minutes before we were ready. Fortunately, the fellow from S/V Karlos was in his dingy and saw ours floating away, so he rounded it up and brought it back to us. The boating community sure does look out for each other.
We headed towards Nanaimo, stopped in Degnen Bay Park and had a picnic on board while we waited for the slack current in Gabriola Passage. Beautiful day, until the computer decided to shut down just as we were entering the pass. Had to scramble to get the laptop up and running, so we had a few tense moments. Pulled into Silva Bay, very calm but also a little crowded.
We visited with some other Blue Water Cruisers from S/V Esmerillion, then had a late supper. Just as we are closing up for the night, we see a boat, right on our stern. It appears that the dock that we were anchored beside, is not a stationery dock, it’s swinging right at us, with four boats attached to it. So now, it’s 11:00 pm, it’s really dark, and we have to find a new place to anchor. We did however enjoy some star gazing as we sat in the cockpit for the next few hours to make sure there were no other surprises in store for us. Another unforgettable adventure!
After all the excitement of the past few days, it was refreshing to have a picture perfect trip to Nanaimo. The city has definitely grown, I felt like I was arriving into a very big port city.  We took a dingy tour of the marinas that evening, and next day took the water taxi into town. Did a little shopping, and picked up an antenna for the GPS. Although the GPS had been working, the signals were a little weak from time to time, so the antenna has solved that problem.
Sunday morning we left Nanaimo to head towards Comox. Whiskey Gulf is not active on Sunday, so we thought it was a good day to leave. For you landlubber’s, Whiskey Gulf is the area where the military does their exercises, so you want to stay well clear while they are firing torpedoes etc. 
We were going to go across the Strait to Thornby Island and spend the night there and carry on to Comox the next day. However, mother nature had other ideas. Winds picked up to about 20 kn with about 3 ft swells, and after about an hour and a half of that, we decided we didn’t need to get to Comox that quickly, so we turned back to Nanaimo. The next day was no better, gale force winds forecasted, so Don stayed on the boat and hooked up the water maker, and I went to town to do a little shopping etc.
When we finally did leave for Comox two days later, we left early in the morning and watched the sunrise on the water as we motored past Whiskey Gulf. There were several Navy ships out there, but it was before 8:00 am, so they hadn’t started their exercises. Winds were very calm, and right on the nose, so no sailing today, the swells were almost non-existent so it made for a very peaceful trip. We were able to sit on the foredeck and read or sight see while our Auto Pilot steered the course.
Band Camp
We visited with Shannon for a few days, watched her final parades, drills, etc and  joined her for lunch in the cafeteria. In the evenings she took the Duty Boat over to the marina where we were docked and had supper with us most nights.
We all enjoyed watching the wildlife here. Every morning there were several deer that came down to the water and rummaged around in the tide flats for who knows what kind of goodies. They’d go for a swim, then disappear until the next morning.
The seals kept us entertained all day, and serenaded us in the evenings. Most days there was a Mom and Baby and several others that would come right up to the fishing boats and would let you feed them. The fishing boats were selling fish right off the dock and filleting it for the customers, so they had lots of scraps of fish that you could feed the seals. Their vocal abilities left a little to be desired however. Don said it sounded more like they were coughing up fish bones!
 Sea Life
We had a nice visit with our friends from Calgary, Margaret & Wade, who were also in Comox visiting their daughter who was attending the Band Camp at Comox.
We bought a fresh salmon, right off the boat, and took it back to their campsite and BBQ’d it. Delicious!
Shannon was returning to Calgary with them, and we were returning to Salt Spring Island to meet up with Greg & Julia who were coming out to celebrate their 1st anniversary.
Bread is ready to come out of the oven … gotta run … more to come later!


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