The Canadian Gulf Islands

It has been over a month since I last posted. We went to Cleveland, Ohio to visit my mother, brothers and family and upon our return we made our way from Sidney Harbor on Vancouver Island to Vancouver on the mainland. We were meeting our children and grandchildren there. The route involved several days of travel through the Gulf Islands of Canada. We sailed to Saltspring Island, an artist colony and home of the renowned Saturday market, to Thetis Island, to Nanimo, then across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver. Thetis Island is charming and has a population of 350. We were definitely the largest boat in the tiny marina (more on that later), and frightened the young dockhand when we approached the edge of the dock to tie up. We took a ferry to the mainland to see the sights and met a very interesting farmer who by sheer determination and entrepreneurial skill had developed a business model that produced a thriving vegetable farm and livestock conservancy using WWOOFERS, people who volunteer for World Wide Opportunites for Organic Farmers. He teaches the volunteers about organic and sustainable techniques and in return they work for him. He has developed a lively community on this remote island. He was so bright and enthusiastic it was a pleasure to talk to him. The next morning, as we sat outside in the quiet of Sunday, we were treated to a float plane pulling up to the dock next to us to let off and pick up passengers. It's was an amazing sight for this desert dweller.

Thetis Island Float Plane

Our trip to Nanimo was thankfully uneventful. We had to pass through an area called "Dodd Narrows". The Gulf Islands that are due east of Vancouver Island are spaced closely together, with another large body of water (Straits of Georgia) east of them. The tides constantly move all the water around, ebbing from and flooding into nooks and crannies, harbors and inlets, four times a day, two ebb tides and two flood tides. The volume of flowing water depends on the moon and it's particular stage-full, new, half, etc. When the spaces for the water to move get narrow, such as in channels between islands, the speed of the water increases, strong currents form and lots of mischief happens. These obstacles can grab your boat and have their way with it unless you go through at the golden moment, called slack tide. This occurs in the approximate hour that the water stops flowing out and starts flowing in, or stops flowing in and starts flowing out. The water goes flat! You just have to time it. You hope everything you read, all the tide and current reports that are specific to each day, plus the wind and weather reports, all line up as promised and one can zip through those channels as if they were a piece of cake. Boring is GOOD! Dodd Narrows was our first tight channel of this nature. You have to radio ahead and declare that you are entering the channel and in what direction, because there is a great possibility that another boat is coming from the other direction! We were anxious, needless to say, but I can report that we had a completely uneventful crossing.


Nancy winebrennwe 6/28/2018

wow,the blog is terrific..just absolutely first class. I love all the pix and the descriptions of what you are experiecing. Obviously it is good that you two did this now while you were still able to load the boat. That was the time to call in young dudes to do all of that lifting and toting...a u haul trailer full yet!


i am absolutely thrilled for you both, and to think of Dick taking control of that vessel like a duck to water! Yes, this must have been a meant to be situation...

have a geat time in the NW, please keep me on the short list of all your bloggings. So very, very happy for you both. FULL STEAM AHEAD! MATEY!!! (Ok, too corny even for me..) xxxxxnancy W.??

Barbara Loving 6/28/2018

Love your blog and pictures.

So happy for you. Enjoy this trip and many more.