A Travellerspoint blog

Refuge Cove

sunny 60 °F

50 07.446N
124 50.376W

We had initially planned for our last place to visit to be Von Donop Marine Park. At dinner last night there was a couple next to us and we started talking about sailing in the area. His suggestion was to consider Refuge Cove, which I did when we returned to the boat. It turns out that this harbor is the best place to position ourselves for the trip south.

So, here we sit. The trip from Gorge Harbour was trying. Except for the first two minutes in the Gorge itself, we had the tide on our bow the whole way; and, at least half that time the tide was flowing through narrower places making the current even more difficult.

I have finally figured out how the tides work here. In this part of the Salish Sea all water exits to or enters from the north. All that is necessary is to ideate how the water at any particular place is responding to that gravitational imperative. Sadly, understanding it does not make the boat go any faster. I have a congenital defect: I did not get the patience gene. Going slow requires patience that I do not have. So, the trip was not so much fun.

We tried to run out the foresail to avail ourselves of a slight wind over the stern. Would have been a good idea if Carol had not fouled both jib sheets by laying fenders over the two lines. Got that worked out and gained maybe a quarter of a knot.

I have been using an app on my phone from the Canadian weather service: North of Nanaimo. It has a marine forecast going out four days. Today there was a warning: winds of 5 to 15 knots. Puh-lease! I do not mean to imply that our northern neighbors are weather weenies but at 15 knots the game just barely starts to get interesting. Maybe it’s a metric thing; a speed of 15 knots is probably about a hundred million millimeters per hour. I can see where that number could be off-putting.

When Carol had inquired about a mooring here, she was told that it was first come, first serve but that there was plenty of room. When we arrived in the cove it seemed pretty full. There was a very large sailboat at the fuel dock, and it looked like little available dock space for us. I must have spent 30 minutes doing doughnuts in the harbor with an occasional figure eight. Fortunately, even the shallow water here is pretty deep. Finally, when the large boat left the fuel dock there was an obvious place for us, so we took it.


If the trip was tedious, we did see a couple of interesting boats. One had a great, multicolored foresail that just stood out against the dark mountains and islands. We also saw, first time ever, what seemed to be the Canadian version of our Coast Guard.

Of Refuge Cove, there is not too much to say. For us it’s a place to park the boat and a good springboard for the trip south. For others, it is very centrally located in Desolation Sound. A great place to gather supplies and, maybe passengers from the float planes, before heading out to more exciting places.

We first we arrived the place was packed and bustling; the tide turned about 1430 and boats started to clear out leaving the place somewhat forlorn. I cannot imagine what plans they had that allowed for travel with no more than seven hours of daylight. The implication is going north with the current. There are interesting places to go in that direction but a paucity of anchorages.

Carol and I were comparing “notes” over dinner. Some of the notations were:
 The catamaran we saw in Gorge Harbour was the first we have seen underway.
 We have seen no Island Packets, a somewhat high-end sailboat. We think we should have seen a couple.
 Despite our short time here we have seen some of the sailboats several times at different places. Sailing has always been a small community.

I continue to take pictures of these mountains, even after having taken the same pictures of the same mountains. An irresistible impulse, catnip for the camera, I suppose. They stand in such stark relief with little to diminish their majestic rise from the water’s edge. I have many seen many mountains, but I have never seen anything quite like the way these present themselves. Even if the pictures bore others, they continue to fascinate me. We saw these vistas again, and I've probably put them in earlier blog entries. But, I like them, so here:



These pictures made me think about a song by the Byrd's, Blue Canadian Rockies, on their Sweetheart of the Rodeo album. Great song, great album, as if anyone remembers about vinyl albums anymore.

A coincidence, I’m sure, but …. we’re getting ready to leave and the sun has gone away. A heavy layer of clouds has rolled in despite the barometer still reading a very high 31.3 inHg. I recently read that the Sunshine Coast, the western coast of British Columbia, gets 2,400 hours of sunlight a year. That works out to about 6 hours a day. Allowing over a year equal parts of day and night, that works out to the sun shining 50% or the time or, looked at the other way, not shining 50% of the time. It’s all about the spin.

Carol, as could be expected, just had to go shop at the small general store here. On her return to the boat she was so excited with one of her purchases. Against very long odds, she found a 12-pack of the Pamplemousse (grapefruit) La Croix sparkling water that I drink at the house. She had to convince the manager at Ingle’s to carry it, but it was here for the taking.

Carol was surfing something or another and was excited to see that our blog had been picked up, somehow, under the heading of Canadian travel blogs. Maybe I should demand a raise. Maybe, I should just be quiet.

Posted by sailziveli 17:06 Archived in Canada Tagged boats sea canada cruising sailboats salish

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