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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Day 18: From Welcome Pass to Holy Crap!


July 17, 2012 Secret Cove to Montague
Boat traffic between Welcome Passage & Montague:
Victoria Clipper, mini-tanker, BC Ferry
We passed through Welcome Passage, crossing the broad expanse of the Strait of Georgia.

Porlier Pass... looks innocent,
but it was
our most challenging stretch

Despite an early start, a favorable current and even some wind, we still found hitting Porlier Pass just an hour off from 100% slack tide (the in-between point when the tide is neither coming in or going out – the water is much calmer then) was a bugger.  Wayne would point our boat toward a calm, flat stretch.  Then, water that was completely flat just seconds before, began roiling, malevolently, with whirlpools.  We were periodically at only ¼ knot; normally we move at about 5-6 knots.  A stretch that in good conditions could’ve been a smooth sail for 5-10 minutes, took us about 45 minutes of hard-fought progress.  Had we missed the slack tide by a little more, we wouldn’t have made it.  We’d either have to go somewhere else, or wait 11 hours for the next slack tide.

I took the helm (steered) so Wayne, a bit worn out after all his steady work with the tiller, got a well-deserved rest for a while.

Rowboat ashore at Montague
We carried on to Montague, a large, calm and busy! bay.  Despite lots of mooring balls to tie off on, they all appeared taken by the hundred or so boats.  We moseyed over to the marina and once again caught our dinghy painter* in the prop; we’d forgotten we let it out when underway to see if some seaweed was responsible for some sluggish progress; it wasn’t.  Once again Wayne instantly realized what happened and shut off the motor.  This time he was the hero.  He untangled the line without having to swim under the boat to do so.

*A note to dinghy owners .… Use floating polypro line for your dinghy!  It will greatly reduce the likelihood the line will go under the boat and get caught by the propeller.  We’ll do that on our next boat, but on this trip, we made do with what we had this trip. 

Montague's easy hiking trails...
my favorites in Desolation
We fueled up, checked out the cafĂ© (mostly burgers and fries – passed) and considered the mooring at the marina.  Instead, we made way to a nice – and cheaper – mooring ball near the shore of a small beach. 

Wooden platforms for tents
at Montague
We dinghied a blissfully short distance to shore, and took off on the trails, paths, really, which were excellent!  Relatively flat, the path paralleled the shore of the peninsula, shaded by pines and arbutus trees, with trunks arching periodically over the bay.  Campsites populated the area, some with wooden tent platforms.  


On the other side of the peninsula, three substantial-sized schooners were anchored. We wondered if their owners knew the owners of the 85’ schooner we were soon to crew, Destiny.

What looked like white sand
was small, coarsely tumbled
pieces of shell
Approaching our boat, we noticed an official looking boat tacking a ticket onto it, as we hadn’t yet paid for the use of “our” mooring ball.  We rectified that, retuned to our boat and prepared supper.  Once again Michael Greenwald’s “Cruising Chef Cookbook” provided my meal inspiration, this time making the hearty ham-rice casserole with mushroom soup and peas.  It’s a tasty option for a long passage, as it uses all non-perishables -- canned goods and rice.