Archive for the ‘Where in the World is Sundown’ Category

IMG_1242We left Anacortes, Washington, July 20…FINALLY!  We are out for a much-needed six-week cruise in beautiful British Columbia. Clay has been working nonstop on a 70-foot Nordlund as a project manager with the Anacortes Marina Group. While the work is rewarding, it is time for a break. (more…)

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Experiencing summer in the San Juan Islands has been delightful! The past two summer seasons we’ve been up north in British Columbia and I didn’t get out of my fleece and wool clothing till we made trips back to Colorado. I was not a fan. But here in Anacortes, we’ve been enjoying temperate weather—60s to low 80s—which feels just right for the adventures we’ve also been enjoying. (more…)

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Life after Tofino…after we bid farewell to our Belgian clowns*…went by fast.

First we continued to the Broken Group where we enjoyed three anchorages in six days. Then we sailed our longest day yet; 75.4 miles in the infamous Juan de Fuca Strait. It took us 14 hours; 13 of those were in dense fog. The last hour before anchoring in Sooke Inlet we finally could see land and everything else only our radar detected beforehand. The next day we finished our final leg of the west coast of Vancouver Island: Sooke to Victoria.


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by Clay

The west coast of Vancouver Island. I have read about the challenges, remoteness and solitude to be experienced. So far it has been a walk in the park (although we have had excellent weather) and if you like the scenery of logging’s desecration of vast swaths of forest, then the west coast is for you.g


Cape Scott

We rounded Cape Scott and anchored in the northeast section of Winter Harbour, then went around Brooks Peninsula and stopped in Columbia Cove where we found very beautiful sand beaches sprinkled with lots of commercial fishing trash. 


The  forecasted weather called for several days of gales, so we moved to a quaint little anchorage in the Bunsby Islands that we felt would offer better protection. We were welcomed by a wolf family complete with a litter of pups and a bear. We also shared a beach dinner of lingcod and roasted vegetables with our cove neighbors Bob and Dina of s/v Silverado (a scaled down Slocum Spray made famous for the first solo circumnavigation by Joshua Slocum in the late 1800s). Bob is an over achiever who not only learned how to weld so he could build his own aluminum sailboat, but taught himself how to sail as he singlehanded his vessel from Mexico to Hawaii and then Hawaii to Alaska! It was fun spending time with Bob and Dina, and hearing of their adventures.


Quentin, one of our clowns from Belgium, and I fished hard for two days in the wind and sun. We filled the freezer with lingcod. Amandine and Quentin made a video of my fishing exploits. Check it out here.



Next, we went in search of food, fuel and water in Tahsis, BC. Unfortunately, the smoke from mainland wild fires was so thick that it obscured the view of the surrounding mountains.


Smoke in Tasis Inlet

We choose Tahsis due to the high praise given to its Westview Marina by Waggoner’s Cruising guide. We won’t go there again. First, as we approached the fuel dock, the waiting attendant said she’d been trying to hail us on VHF06 to see if we had a reservation and wondered why we didn’t answer. Kim replied that we monitor VHF16, as all mariners are required to do. That seemed like news to the attendant.

Next, after spending nearly $150.00 for fuel and fishing gear, Kim was told by the owner that she couldn’t fill our water tanks at the dock because there was a small power boat waiting (which pulled in behind us and filled up without a problem). Kim replied that she was handed the water hose by his attendant, at which point the owner went inside and chewed out the staff who then came back outside to Kim and said we needed to move to a different dock to complete filling up with water. Apparently our spending $150.00 didn’t qualify us as elite paying customers. So while Waggoner’s touts Westview Marina as being cruiser friendly, I would guess any vessel longer than our 41’ boat better have bow thrusters to maneuver inside of their breakwater. We backed out without an issue, but I would not recommend this marina to anyone but recreational fisherman and small fishing boats. Waggoner’s has let us down in the past with information that supported their advertisers over unbiased accuracy; they failed us this time also.


Next stop: Hot Springs Cove and its popular hot springs which provided a welcome warm bath and our first encounter with real civilization again since leaving Nanaimo back in May. The down side is there are a lot of fast boats and planes coming in and out of the cove during the daylight hours hauling crowds of tourists. So if you want to bathe with at least a couple dozen of your closest friends, you’ll enjoy that spot.

From there, we bumped over to Tofino to celebrate BC Day with the locals. We made some repairs to the autopilot and cleaned house. We also say goodbye to our friends Amandine and Quentin who took to the road again to hitchhike to Cuba. We will miss their company, but will also enjoy our first real time together all summer!DSCN3735

Next up: the south end of Vancouver Island, Juan de Fuca Strait and Victoria!


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He says: So…I saw a flyer down by the dock about a couple of clowns from Belgium who are looking for a ride south on a boat.

She says: Yea, I saw the same flyer in the laundry mat. What do you want for dinner? I’m hungry.

He says: I met and talked with them for about 40 seconds. What do you think?

She says: I think a salad would taste good.

He says: No. About giving them a ride.

She says: What? Are you serious? That would be kind of CRAZY! We don’t know these people. They could be drug addicts or worse. And the boat is small. What about everyone’s hygiene habits and needs?

He says: Yea and we couldn’t exactly kick them off the boat if it doesn’t work out; we’ll be in the middle of nowhere for days. 

She says: Well…God knows we have enough food aboard; we won’t run out of that.

He says: And this could be another opportunity to share what God’s blessed us with.

She says: Okay, at the very least, let’s buy these kids dinner and get to know them a bit.

Thus began the latest leg of our adventure with two clowns aboard Sundown. (more…)

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So before this season’s adventure began, a friend of mine said, “Why do you want to go cruising? You will get bored.” Ha! I am neither bored nor tired of living on a sailboat and cruising! What a life! We make day-to-day travel decisions based on the weather, which is always exciting. And given we travel on a sailboat, we strive to move with the wind to save on fuel and to reduce our carbon footprint. (more…)

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Look at our route through Haida Gwaii.

The rain beating on Sundown’s canvas biminy sounds like a rolling snare drum. As gale and storm force winds blow through Hecate Strait, we’re nestled in Gordon Cove on Moresby Island surrounded by forests and snowcapped peaks. A curious seal pops up to look around at visiting boats—ours, Chris’ (our boating buddy) and a couple others, also here to hide from the weather outside, I’m sure. (more…)

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Where in the world are we? Look here.

With weather still in our favor, we left Shearwater on Sunday, May 28, for “The Outside” (a.k.a. the eastern edge of the north Pacific Ocean). We sailed across Milbanke Sound and up the west side of Price Island (we’re pretty sure it was named for our friends Larissa and Jim). Along the way, we passed McInnes Island, a weather reporting station we hear about on VHF; it’s fun to see the places named on the radio. (more…)

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We’re already in Shearwater, BC! In the last two weeks, we’ve wasted no time traveling 400 miles to this northern village. What’s the rush, you might ask? Well, Haida Gwaii off the northwest coast is our first main destination and we want to get there. No dawdling. (more…)

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We said our goodbyes to Anacortes Marina on Friday, May 12, a couple hours later than planned. The 20-30 knot SE wind didn’t allow an easy departure; Sundown went every way but out.  So, we waited a couple hours for the wind to die down enough for us to get off the dock with some help from our friend David. (Thank you!)

From Anacortes, we enjoyed smooth sailing to Jones Island; it’s such a sweet little place. On Saturday we crossed Boundary Pass and checked into customs in Bedwell Harbor, on South Pender Island. Easy peasy. We love Canada! Our next stop was Walsh Island and Princess Cove where friends Chris, Dutch, Ruth and Harold were waiting for us. Check out the fun we had (thanks for the video, Ruth!).

After a couple of nights, Chris, Clay and I sailed on to Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, the last big city as we head north. Chris (who we met last year in Desolation Sound and who we’ll be buddy boating with all summer) treated us to an amazing dinner at Asteras Greek Taverna. It’s a “must try” if you’re ever in that town and want a great meal.

From Nanaimo we crossed Georgia Strait to Jedediah Island. Stern tying in Deep Bay was an adventure due to the way the current swirled through there. Once we had both Sundown and Chris’ boat, Puget Escape, secure in the ways we liked, we took off for a great hike and successful oyster mushroom hunt. Needless to say, dinner last night was extra tasty!

A motor sail up the west side of Texada Island today took us to Westview Harbour/Powell River back on the mainland. I immediately went for a run to decompress and check out the town. Clay and Chris beat a path to Powell River Outdoors, where Chris bought a fishing license and they both bought MacDeep lures, guaranteed to catch the big ones! We’ll see…

Tomorrow we’re heading to Hariot Bay on Quadra Island. There’s an historic waterfront hotel and pub, and small quaint community to explore.

Oh, and the weather has been amazing! Lots of sun, relative warmth and only a little rain. Life is good.

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