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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sailing Desolation Sound: Highlights, Lowlights & Mulligans

June 30 –July 22 ’12:  Everett to Toba Inlet, Roundtrip

Looping back to conclude the Desolation Sound Trip, then will do a summary of our schooner crewing experience from Roche Harbor to Santa Barbara that followed, then quickly get real-time where we are now, in St. Lucia.  As well, photos and maps for this post will be added soon.
 
If you’re feeling lazy and just want the Desolation Sound 30 second (one point / second) “elevator speech” this is it!
  1. Distance traveled:  650 miles, over 22 days on our 27’ O’Day sailboat, mostly motoring and working the tides, see the blogs and maps (coming soon) for the route 
  2. Best scenery:  Prideaux Haven area and Toba Inlet
  3. Most awesome moment:sunset at pristine Toba Inlet, Toba Wildernest
  4. Most difficult water:  Porlier Pass on the way into Montague, even though we were only off optimum passage time by one hour
  5. Biggest rush:  getting sucked under Deception Pass bridge at 2 ½ times our usual boat speed
  6. Worst stretch:  the Straits of San Juan De Fuca (“Fu—a!”) from Port Townsend to San Juan Island under full moon neap tide influence – required repeated contribution to Capt. Nemo
  7. Coolest wildlife moments:
    stumbling over the J-pod of Orcas (“killer whales”) off San Juan Island
    gossamer jellies swarming around Tenedos Bay and the vivid red lion’s mane jellyfish we saw twice in Roche Harbor
    raccoons making a midnight marauder run at Nanaimo Yacht Club
  8. Weirdest name for a community event:  “Meat draw” meat raffle fund raising event at Garden Bay
  9. Best freshwater swimming hole:  (Ohhh that’s tough!  Can’t choose just one!)
    Unwin Lake for skinny dipping
    Black Lake is the easiest access and a sociable crowd
    Cassel Lake as the nicest place to hang out with the gang
  10. Best waterfall:  need to revisit and go into Toba Inlet before answering that one, Cassel Falls is nice, but there’s lots nicer OR & WA State waterfalls  
  11. Best trail system:  Montague 
  12. Worst trails:  bluff trail that leads above Roscoe Bay, long, steep and not that interesting; trail from Unwin Lake to Melanie Cove was too much of a scramble for us
  13. Best restaurant:  we didn’t eat out much but Fountain CafĂ© on a good night in Pt. Townsend (they weren’t at their best this time but our waitress got an “A” for effort)
  14. Best meals (though hands down, PBJ is the easiest):  
    lemon-artichoke chicken in vermouth
    lamb with bok choy and top ramen
    deviled eggs, served “sunny side up”
  15. Grossest meal:  crab (at least Wayne feels that way – it was one of my best, once the prep mess was gone)
  16. Best drinking water:  Toba Wildernest
  17. Best shower:  Toba Wildernest (Wayne really missed out!)
  18. Best facilities:  Nanaimo Yacht Club with Milltown Sailing Club reciprocals – who-hoo!!!
  19. Nicest surprise anchorage:  Copeland Islands, across from Lund, free and beautiful, even if stern ties are kinda a pain in the butt, but stay away from the West –mosquito-infested side -- even though the sunsets make it almost worth it
  20. Most rustic:  Refuge Bay
  21. Ritziest:  Roche (rich!) Harbor; see how the other half lives, though the Sculpture Garden  “donation suggested” is a deal and the sunsets are free
  22. Best pump-out:  Lund Marina, but they do charge $10 for it, if you’re caught (just sayin’ – ignorance can be bliss)
  23. Best seafood deals:  shrimp from Squirrel Cove shrimper $5/lb and 2 motley one-armed Dungeness crabs for 2 beers from a Lund marina fisherman – truly buying local!
  24. Surprisingly expensive:  Canadian beer; $2/bottle and up
  25. Most over-rated:  Secret Cove & Squirrel Cove
  26. Nicest surprise:  fantastic weather and warm water the duration of our stay in Canada
  27. Worst customer experience:  Telegraph Harbour Marina, Canada, where the answer to every question we asked was “that’s for marina guests only and will cost $1.60 per foot”
  28. Worst Guide Book:  Discovery, opinioned, un-updated, omits some of the most necessary info (like anchorage info) and is sometime just plain wrong – then again -- we wouldn’t have heard about Toba Wildernest otherwise
  29. Grossest moment:  donning rubber gloves to break my brick-like s--- in the head (toilet) into flushable pieces
  30. Most grateful to (besides my awesome husband):
    Milltown Sailing Club, especially
    Dave & Laurie Moller for loaning us their guidebooks and charts
    Slavek Milosovek, who loaned us 500 feet of ½” polypro (floating line) for our stern tie
    Walt Drechsler, for his consistent and genuine warm welcome to Milltown Sailing Club, at the Everett Marina upon our return and for helping us out by returning the stern tie line and the guide books when we were really pressed for time


Mulligans (if we had it to do over)
  1. Faster boat to get up to areas like Toba Inlet sooner and better dinghy with a useable outboard and/or kayaks for better exploration
  2. Travel itinerary unaltered by needing pump outs (boat with through holes) – why don’t guide books list who has pump out facilities and put them on their marina maps? -- and better icebox management (insulated freestanding icebox)
  3. Bring stool softener to avoid grossest moment again
  4.  If you suspect you’re anchored too close to another boat… you are.  Move!  Or at the very least, make sure you and they are anchored securely.
  5. The trip?  Oh yeah!  It’s beautiful, and despite the challenges, we loved living simply.