Fall 2017 Wrap Up – Ladysmith, Sidney, Sidney Spit, Stuart, Jones & Obstruction

A catch all update blog entry to wrap up our Fall 2017 trip.

A catch all for two reasons… one, still trying to stick with highlighting the newer places we’ve been, instead of dragging everyone through another visit to our favorites (although there’s a bit of that too). And two, well, it’s January, probably time to start thinking about 2018 trips!

Ladysmith, BC
Having used up pretty much everything (food, 12v power, drinkable water) at Montague and Wallace, it was time to reprovision, plug in, fill some water tanks and, most importantly, find a cozy spot to celebrate our twentieth anniversary. Our new “friends” on the dock at Montague said we’ve love Ladysmith, BC… and they were right. What a pleasant stop over. We spent the night at the Ladysmith Community Marina, and this one’s a keeper. Very quiet, clean unlimited showers (for a donation, which we were happy to pay), and flower boxes on the docks at each slip (don’t tell Brig that Bass didn’t order ours especially for the anniversary, she thinks he’s pretty clever!). Before a relaxing dockside celebration, a bit of work to do. A few small repairs requiring a power drill, fill the water tanks (which were nearly bone dry), and head to town for lunch and reprovisioning. After a great, very British lunch at the Fox and Hounds pub (steak and stilton pie, seafood pie, holy cow!) we went to 49th Parallel grocery store and the liquor store next door to restock. Ahh, bit of a hangup… about a mile walk carrying groceries, beer, liquor, and even a 20 pound bag of dog food hanging off Bass’ back… OK, I think we got our exercise for the day. Rest of the afternoon shower, listen to music, and enjoy a beautiful sunset in a great spot enjoying each other’s company even more than 20 years ago!

Sunset Panorama (1:19):

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Cowichan & Sidney, BC
Heading south from Ladysmith, we went down the west side of Salt Spring Island through the Sansum Narrows in light to no wind. A few options were investigated for the night (Burgoyne Bay is a pretty anchorage, but we couldn’t tell how private land on shore was for walking the dog… plus, Bass will admit to getting a bad vibe as we motored past a dead, bloated seal) in the narrows but we moved on toward a great spot we’d heard about, Genoa Bay Marina… supposed to be very mellow little marina with an excellent cafe attached to it. Unfortunately, despite being able to get reservations at the cafe we couldn’t find anyone on the grounds at the marina or reach anyone by phone, so were unsure if we could stay or where or ??? So reluctantly, we move on again and cancel our cafe reservations (turns out the normal deal is to just stay and figure it out in the morning, but we’re new to this so we didn’t try that). Our evening ended at the Cowichan Bay Fisherman’s Wharf in Cowichan, BC. Scrambling attempts to get someone on the phone while Bass idled in circles inside the marina were, surprisingly, not as stressful as they used to be in the past, so perhaps there’s a comfort level we’re approaching as far as boat control. We spend a quiet, early night in Cowichan, a nice enough town but sorely lacking in decent spots to let the dog run, so it was off early to one of our favorite spots, Sidney, BC.

We got an early start, knowing the wind was going to build during the day, and hoping not to be caught in the narrow island passes around the BC ferry terminal or coming into the marina in high winds. Unfortunately, our timing was quite poor and we ended up doing the trickiest stuff in the highest winds of the day, 20-25 knots. We did get a nice downwind sail under jib alone along the top of the Saanich Peninsula, although we did tear a bit of the sun cover on our furling jib in a big gust, so that went on the list to have looked at end of trip. Meantime, some meandering through the islands got us to Port Sidney Marina for two pleasant nights in a comfortable spot (upwind slip, fortunately, as it was howling a bit when we came in). Fantabulous fish and chips were eaten at The Pier Bistro, groceries were shopped for (shopping carts at the top of the marina ramp, walk them to the grocery store empty and bring ’em back full… nice!) and ripe things were rolled in on the beach (by the dog, mind you)… what more could you ask from a destination?

Final Push: Sidney Spit, Stuart & Jones Islands, and Obstruction Island
Our final push back to Bellingham may sound familiar. Two wonderful days in the sun on the beach on Sidney Spit (including Canadian Thanksgiving Day!), a night in Reid Harbor on Stuart Island, and a night on the dock at Jones Island (no racoon experiences this time… well, at least not IN the boat). Final night was a new stop, we spent the night on a mooring ball at Obstruction Pass, a marine park that was, like the others this time of year, all for us, not another soul around. A pleasant afternoon in the sun on the mooring ball, little hike and sit on the beach for the evening, and then a good last night’s sleep onboard. One note about Obstruction, once the ferries and other traffic start running in the morning in the Harney, doesn’t matter how calm the weather is, you’re getting rocked and rolled quite a bit and it’s time to get going.

Back to Bellingham on a nice sailing day (the wind around Eliza toward B’ham is ALWAYS good it seems) and time to tidy up and button up for the winter, drop the headsail at the sail repair shop, and drive back on to Hailey and hope for snow!

Sidney Spit Panorama (1:11):

(Use arrows in lower right corner to go full screen if you want)

Until next year… fair winds and following seas.

(P.S. Just as a point of reference / review, Bellingham Sails & Repair treated as really really well, going above and beyond to take care of us… thanks Dave!)

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  1. brigid
    January 25, 2018

    Thanks for the recap….Cap! Gosh I cannot wait to get back on Boundary with the fam!

  2. Deborah Sears
    January 25, 2018

    Sidney spit looked fab and I liked the music. What a nice life you have there. Yes indeed, on to 2018. Eager to hear of your sailing plans.


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