Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cruise to Cortes Island, BC -- Day 1

September is a great month to cruise in Coastal BC. The crowds are gone and you can find quiet anchorages. The weather is warm and still feels like summer. The day after Labor Day many seasonal business close, but there are enough year-round facilities to make late cruising a good choice. Here's one September trip we took to Cortes Island.

We started from our home port in Powell River. Our first stop was at Lund for fuel and goodies from Nancy's Bakery. Lund is an excellent stop for boaters (and land travellers) on the northern tip of the Sunshine Coast. It has fuel (be careful, winter hours start in September), the historic Lund Hotel with it's excellent restaurant and lounge, general store and, of course, Nancy's. Be sure to visit the Tug-Guhm Gallery and talk to the owner Debra Bevaart. The gallery includes her own beautiful stone sculptures, art items from over 40 local artists and the Coastal BC Stories books by yours truly, Wayne.

After our quick stop we headed north up Lewis Channel along the east side of Cortes Island and then into Sutil Channel on the north side. Our destination for the first night was Von Donop Inlet. Von Donop cuts deep into Cortes Island, almost all the way through to Squirrel Cove on the east side. Von Donop (Ha’thayim) is a Provincial Marine Park where wilderness abounds.

We found a protected anchorage at the head of the inlet. With only a few boats, there was plenty of room for all of us to have our own private space. I bet it wasn't this way a week ago. Once our anchor was down, we launched Mr. Bathtub, our not-so-trusty dinghy. He took us to shore in search of the trail that leads across the island's narrow isthmus to Squirrel Cove on the opposite shore. On previous trips we had anchored there and knew that Marilyn's Salmon Shack had great salmon burgers and blackberry pie. Today was the day after Labor Day, so we departed with hopes that closing day hadn't yet arrived. But after a good long walk on the well marked trail (including several signs pointing to Marilyn's), no Marilyn, no salmon burgers and no pie. No matter, the solitude of the wilderness and some fresh baked pizza from Nancy's back at the boat was reward enough.

We arrived back at Halcyon Days just in time for sunset, a wine cooler and a relaxing evening swinging gently at anchor. Now that's cruising September style. -- Margy

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