One of the great things about getting South of Desolation Sound and back into the Canadian Gulf Islands is that you are now back in the near summer cruising grounds for boaters from Seattle and elsewhere in Western Washington.
In other words, you may run into your friends.
David and Lang are the nice folks who also live aboard on the D dock down in Anacortes, and whom we went to see in Vancouver on our way North back in May. As we were about to leave Nanaimo they posted a pic from Wallace Island Marine Park…only 21 nautical miles away. We were only going to go about 15 miles that day, but for the chance to see friends, and pet Ollie dog, we’d do another 6.
After passing through Dodd Narrows early in the morning with a whole bunch of other slow boats who need to time the Slack we meandered down to the Provincial Park at Wallace Island.
Pulling into Princess Bay….David and Lang’s boat Sapphire was just inside the entrance, and the stern tie chain right next to them was open. We took is as a sign.
David jumped into his dingy to take our line over to the mooring chain, and after a little fiddling we got the hook and the line balanced. We had 25 feet under the keel and it wasn’t going to get much lower.
After David finished his afternoon calls (he’s still a working man, but has a great cell and wifi booster system set up) we rowed over with drinks and apps and spent about 3.5 great hours catching up on the summer. The more people we meet the smoother we’re getting about telling that “whale in the narrow passage” story from Alaska.
Friday David and Lang were off to see friends near Ganges so we decided it was time to get the dinghy out and see more of the island.
Wallace Island Marine Park
This is a jewel of the Provincial Park system, but it’s very popular. We got there about Noon after our early start to make slack at Dodd Narrows, and if you get there later during the busy summer months you definitely can have a hard time finding a spot to stern tie.
And this is a tough stern tie as both coves, Princess and Conover, can see cross winds that make backing up once you’ve dropped the hook a little dicey. But then again, that’s part of the fun. You get in, pour a cocktail, and watch the fun as everyone else has the same struggle you just had. The Germans have the word for it; schadenfreude.
Once you have the hook and stern set, you’re good to go. You can hop in the dingy and get to the park dock. From there there are trails to all four points on the island so you can look out into Trincomoli Channel to the East and Houstoun Passage to the West.
Hiking over to Conover Cove is fun as that’s were you’ll find a few remaining buildings from what was a lodge years ago. One of those remaining buildings is the site of one of the Gulf Island’s more famous landmarks. The cabin where you are supposed to hang up a driftwood shingle with your boat name, your first name and the date you visited. It’s packed by know with so many shingles, and yet there’s always room for one more; yours.
Karin and I thought about it for a bit and decided to hang ours next time we visit. We want to work on ours for a bit….making it special.
After a lovely two days, we woke up Saturday the 25th to a few raindrops (nobody minds as we need the rain around here to tamp down the fire danger and clear the smoke). It was time to head a little Northwest to visit Ladysmith, and nice little village we’ve heard a lot about….but never been to before.
The journey continues.