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Robin & Jim
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Posted By Robin & Jim

After weeks of hard work, Jim finally got the new diesel fired heating system finished and working well.  We enjoyed being "stuck" in the lovely town of Sidney, but we were ready to officially start our Pacific Northwest cruising adventures after years of dreaming and months of preparation.  For the next few weeks we are cruising in the Gulf Islands - an area on the SE side of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.  Later this summer we'll move north to Desolation Sound and the Broughtons.

We cast the lines off on Friday, headed to the fuel dock to stock up on diesel for the big boat and gas for the dinghy, and then we cruised to South Pender Island, part of the Gulf Islands National Park.  On the way to South Pender we saw two bald eagles harassing a gull, and they eventually drove it down to the water.  It was surprising to see the eagle actually land in the water - it didn't float  very well, but it was able to take off without too much trouble.  We see bald eagles every day, as well as harbor seals (they're shy), otters, and various sea birds.

We met up with our new friends in South Pender, launched dinghies, and headed ashore for some hiking.  We read that the view from the top of Mt. Norman was worth the climb and we decided to dinghy to the nearby marina for cold beer and some dinner afterwards.

We had a great time, but the hike turned out to be much more challenging than we thought.  The view was definitely worth it though, and we could even see the snow-capped Olympic Mountains across the Strait of Juan de Fuca 50 miles to the south.

mt norman view

On our way down the mountain we had a nice view of the harbor, and we watched a number of seaplanes land and take off.  Seaplanes are a very common way to get around out here, and there is scheduled service to many of the islands throughout the area.

south pender

The weather has been glorious - bright sunny days and just two short rain showers in the last two weeks.  The thermometer says mid-high 60's, but if the wind is light we're comfortable in shorts and t-shirts.  The weather is very changeable though, and we're learning to just dress in layers.

We're also learning to pay attention to the big tidal swings, since we had to beach our dinghy to get ashore.  Our dink weighs about 550 lbs, so if the tide leaves it high and dry we will have a long wait until the tide comes back to re-float it!  Our planning paid off, and we had no trouble.  We saw a lot of these little crab shells on the beach near our dink - left over from the crabs molting (shedding their shells to grow larger). 

tiny crab

The next day we headed to Saturna Island and walked up to check out the little winery (decent!), and then moved to another anchorage recommended by friends for some light hiking.

monday morning


 
1 Comment(s):
Brad Hines said...
Robin and Jim it sounds wonderful. I have taken to reading your posts with Google Earth open on the computer and flipping back to it everytime you mention a new location to get a better lay of the land (or sea, if you will). So exciting. Take care and have fun.
June 19, 2013 8:14 AM
 
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