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Freedom's Gunkhole Adventure 2007
Part One: Port
Ludlow, Blind Bay, Stuart Island, Jones Island & Nanaimo
"Official" departure was on June 16 from our homeport of Grapeview, WA., where we had returned to 5 days previously--after cruising locally for 17 days, several in the company of Tony & Ginette on Shearwave, and a FYC Memorial Day Raft-up in Poulsbo. We had no itinerary planned for the summer, intending to wander wherever our fancy, the wind and weather took us. On September 29 we arrived back to our homeport of Grapeview... all in all a fairly non-eventful adventure! Just the kind we like to have!
Tami joined Pamela and Angel during the first two weeks of the adventure having bribed the proper authorities to let her miss work as well as leave her family behind! We left Grapeview with the wind blowing 15-20 out of the SW. We raised our sails and had a fantastic sail all the way to Blake Island, where the wind died. We dropped anchor in Blakely Harbor just as a torrential downpour started, which set the pattern for most of the summer! The next stop was Pt. Ludlow, to have some minor adjustments made on the new engine that had recently been installed in Spirit. BJ also went up the mast to do a rig inspection for me. While there we were entertained by the eagles on the Totem. We left Pt. Ludlow and motored across a flat calm Strait of Juan de Fuca, Angel's first crossing, which she slept thru!
Upon arriving in the San Juan Islands, we headed for Spencer Spit on Lopez Island where we grabbed a mooring buoy and hunkered down...it was rainy and cold! We ended up spending three nights there, just relaxing, reading and sleeping. Tami and I both were exhausted and it was a wonderful place to unwind. There was only one other boat there, and since it was so rainy it was quiet. We finally left Spencer Spit, raised our sails and headed for Blind Bay. Of course the wind died just as we reached Upright Head so we fired up the engine. And passed Anthem... I didn't even know they were up there! We chatted a bit via cell phone, and then said goodbye as they were headed home. While we were anchored at Blind Bay (Shaw Island) we were entertained by several "learn to sail" charter cruises that came into the bay during our two night stay; we watched them practice sailing, anchoring, reefing etc. It was cheap entertainment! Even though it was rainy most of the time, we had one evening that gave a gorgeous sunset reflection on the ferry dock and the Arbutus trees onshore. I only wish my photos did justice to the colors!
From Blind Bay we headed to our old standby, Reid Harbor, Stuart Island. We had a great time there, our own little party! The weather cleared and the evening was warm...warm enough for dancing on deck. There is a floating photography/art gallery now in the harbor. I dropped over and had a lovely visit. We were hailed on the VHF by Tony (Shearwave) wanting to meet up with us. So first we headed over to Roche Harbor to fill the water tanks (I hadn't run the water maker!) and to let Tami take a shower. From there we headed back to Reid Harbor to meet with Tony & Ginette and their company from England, Bob and Ruth. We rafted up and had a lovely time watching deer, the osprey's in their nest and the eagles and osprey's fighting over territory! I had never seen that before, unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the fight!
From Stuart Island we all decided to head over to Jones Island...and for the first time in years I was actually able to get a spot! The anchorage had three mooring balls available. We were finding that there were very few boats in the islands, normally by this time, end of June it is packed. But, the weather was not good, and the fuel prices were high. We had a lovely time walking around Jones Island...and it was Angel's first time off the boat in a week. Because we were still in the potty-training phase with her, I had kept her aboard training her to use her mat. The downside? She doesn't like going potty ashore! She will spend hours playing on a beach, or going for a hike and rush back to the boat to do her business! Anyway, Jones Island was a lovely interlude....and also has one of the prettiest outhouses around! <G>
After leaving Jones Island we headed to Friday Harbor, where Tami was to leave from the next day, and Cliff and DC were to arrive at. We dropped anchor after fueling up, and went to town for dinner. Tami was up early and left on the 7:30AM ferry. Cliff and the cat flew in at 5:00 PM. He and I immediately headed out under 18 knots of wind to Blind Bay where we wanted to check out some real estate. We spent one night there...one night too long! A house on the shore started setting off fireworks (it was July 1)...a great display, but they terrified Angel. So the next morning we decided to head north ASAP to avoid the fireworks. We headed out with the tide the next day and sailed to Stuart Island to spend the night, where we were entertained again by ospreys and eagles before heading to Bedwell Harbor and Canadian customs. We had a great sail past Turn Pt. Lighthouse on Stuart.
After clearing customs we sailed (yes, we were getting a lot of sailing in at this point!) to Montegue Harbor. A GREAT sail that day, downwind the whole way topped off by a pretty sunset view thru the NW entrance to Montegue.
We decided that since the weather pattern was changing for the better, and that southerlies were blowing we would head to Nanaimo and on to Desolation Sound. We arrived in Nanaimo after waiting in Dodd Narrows for a Canadian Coast Guard Cutter to clear the narrows... it was BIG! We found Marks Bay off of Newcastle Island to be very crowded, but managed to find a spot. It was blowing like hell! Cliff was nervous about crossing the Strait of Georgia so I was hoping the winds would die down for us. We ended up waiting three days to cross...it was blowing 20-25 consistently. We had some great entertainment while waiting...including a sailboat race that started and ended in front of the Dinghy Dock Pub, which meant that a large part of the course was right through the anchorage!
Go to Part
Sound & the Octopus Islands