Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 8 - Grace Harbor, Desolation Sound Marine Park

Thursday  July 21, 2011.  .
Peaceful Squirrel Cove morning
Woke to a beautiful partly cloudy morning which turned into a very sunny day.  I simply sat, sipping coffee, and drinking in the Squirrel Cove scenery around me.  Yesterday evening it was snotty with wind and rain and this morning it is absolutely gorgeous.  I felt I was truly in paradise.

One of my successes for so many years of successful cruising is paying attention to necessary engine maintenance.  The MV Independence has a 120 HP Ford Lehman engine which is common among many boats built in the mid-seventies.  One of the key items is to change the injector pump oil every 50 hours.  So, I changed the injector pump oil at 6134.3 hours.   

After breakfast we pulled up anchor at 0940 to go to Grace Harbor – a place we’ve never been to before.  While Squirrel Cove was calm, Desolation Sound was anything but calm.  The wind was blowing hard from the NW through Desolation Sound making for about a 1-2' chop.  We went round the W end of Kinghorn Island which put us in the lee of this breeze and chop, which made the ride much more comfortable.  We then pointed the bow to go down into Malaspina Inlet with our destination being Grace Harbor.  There’s some rocks about half way down Malaspina Inlet that you have to pay attention to, particularly by Josephine & Beulah Islands and again to avoid Rosetta Rock, but other than that it’s a pretty simple cruise.  We turned to port out of Malaspina Inlet and thought about anchoring behind Jean Is. but it seemed too shallow so we went on to the main anchorage in Grace Harbor.  I'm glad we did, what a pretty bay is Grace Harbor.  There’s 12 other boats anchored here and we found a spot in the SW corner of the bay in 37’ of water at high tide.  We did a slow cruise from Squirrel Cove to Grace Harbor cruising only at a lazy 1700 rpm.  We dropped the hook at 1137.

Grace Harbor is well within Desolation Sound Marine Park.  It's a "bomb-proof" anchorage in that it is completely protected from all winds.  The wind continues to blow briskly from the NW but it really didn't affect us here.  The bottom holding was good of thick heavy mud.  There's a bit of a "hump" in the middle of the bay that will save you from putting out too much rode.  You can also anchor in either of the small nook at the north end of the bay or at the east end of the bay.  We chose to anchor along the west shore of the bay.  There's also a small camping site for kayaks that has an out house too.

Grace Harbor looking south
We took a short walk after lunch to the small beaver pond/lake that's about 5-6 acres in size just about 1 mile north of Grace Harbor.  You'll need to wear boots because the trail is quite muddy since it follows the creek from the beaver pond.  The trail is mostly flat and easy walking.  Once at the lake, there's a nice little beach where you can sit on some rocks and swim in the peat colored water.  The water was very warm.  We had the place all to ourselves so I took a quick swim - it was oh so refreshing.  We threw the stick in the water for the dogs so they too could cool off and go for a swim.  Hank actively went after the stick, but Rocky after his two falling in mishaps is much more reluctant about going into the water. After the swim we picnicked and just enjoyed the beautiful day.  I was surprised how long we had this spot all to ourselves.   After returning to the boat I ran the generatov for a bit to give the batteries a charge and put a bit of chill in the refrigerator.  We sat, sipping cold drinks, reading, and watching boats come and go all afternoon long.  Grace Harbor is a popular place. 

I spent more of the day looking at my charts for the area and all the anchoring possibilities in the Desolation Sound.  Hmm, we could go to Prideaux Haven... beautiful but crowded.  Laura Cove... beautiful but crowded.  Mink & Curme Islands... never anchored there, looks interesting - maybe.  Galley Bay... lots of possible nooks to anchor in.  Tenedos Bay...? Or, on further down Malaspina Inlet to Okeover Inlet... maybe.  Or Theodosia Inlet?  There are so many anchoring and exploring possibilities.  This was our 21st year traveling up the coast but for so many years past we simply hurriedly past through these waters on our way to points farther north.  We couldn't explore them all this summer but we'll have to pick a spot or two.  The crew was wanting a place to walk, maybe a swim, and some mountain scenery.  I didn't want a place too crowded - that might be hard to do.  Either way, that started to narrow down the possible anchoring spots.  I finished off the day with reading some older cruising guides and pondering where will we go tomorrow.  The weather was looking very promising for the next few days with no rain and warming temperatures. I'll think about it overnight.

For supper, we made a nice meal of couscous with tomatoes and cucumbers along with some grilled asian style pork chops.

Stats: Ending engine hours: 6136.6, elsapsed engine hours:  2.3, 10.5 nm, average speed 4.9 kts., 2:09 hrs motoring.

No comments: