Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Few Photo Memories

One of the things about cruising our beautiful coast are the many memories you gain.  Those perfect sunrises and sunsets, the times before and after a storm, peaceful anchorages, wildlife, and more.  If you are lucky, you'll have a camera handy and take a picture that will last a lifetime.  However, other times you won't have a camera handy and the images and the moment will live in your mind forever.  Unfortunately, only you can remember these sights, sounds, smells, and the moment, but still how rich you are to have these memories!

This year was the 21st year of cruising the beautiful BC coast in the MV Independence.  Twenty one years ago there were no digital cameras and those pictures I took then are fading in a box somewhere or becoming lost in my mind.  I never been much of a photo album kind of guy.  Luckily I invested in digital photography many years ago and I can easily retrieve the hundreds of photos I've taken by putting them on a screen saver, making a slide show, or by putting them on my computer desktop.  These photos then bring back to life those moments in my mind.  Oh, what a beautiful coast we have.

I thought I would share a select few of my favorite and best photos.

Indian Passage, Fife Sound
One of my favorite anchorages was a small bight on west side of Baker Island, in the narrow passage between Insect and Baker Islands.  The archipelago is called the Benjamin Group which are located in the Fife Sound area of Queen Charlotte Strait.  We would anchor here and get up early to fish for coho near Penphrase Peninsula in Fife Sound.  One of the short cuts to get to our fishing area was to go down Indian Passage between Davies and Baker Island.  On this morning the sun was just rising over Gilford Island and it was oh so still out. I can remember we got our limits of coho salmon that day.

Foggy morning in Cullen Harbor
One of our most favorite anchorages in the Fife Sound area of Queen Charlotte Strait is Cullen Harbor.  The whole harbor area is a good safe anchorage with excellent holding.  There is so much to do here.  There's excellent fishing for both salmon and bottom fish nearby.  Lots of wildlife - sea lions, whales, dolphins, bears.  You can play in the tidal rapids by Booker Lagoon.  Or explore the many islands and bays.  There is world class scuba diving here.  And the scenery is always changing.  On this morning after a night of rain a low fog was dissipating to reveal this tug anchored nearby.  My boys commented, "It looks like a ghost ship."
Before the storm in Turnbull Cove

Environment Canada had been forecasting a serious low approaching the coast and warned all mariners to find shelter.  Turnbull Cove in Grappler Sound, just off of Wells Passage in the Queen Charlotte Strait area is the perfect "bomb proof" anchorage to wait out a storm.  As the storm approached the proverbial "calm before the storm" was very evident.  As it turned out, all we had was some rain and light winds, but other locales in Queen Charlotte Strait were being pounded by the storm.  We spent our "stormy days" fishing, shrimping, hiking, and just enjoying the scenery.

Sunrise cruising down Spring Passage
Our time in the Broughton archipelago was coming to an end.  We weighed anchor early, just before sunrise - it was still dark out - and started our trek home.  I was the only one up as the crew slept.  As I cruised south past the Fox Group of islands I noticed a pink and magenta glow on the waters before me.  I peered out the side cabin door and behind me to see this beautiful sunrise.  I put my coffee down, set the autopilot, grabbed my camera and enjoyed the sunrise out on the deck.  It had been a successful trip - plenty of fish, crab, and shrimp.  Lots of adventures and good times.  And no problems.  I remember thinking how lucky I am to enjoy and experience all this.

After the storm in Crease Island Cove
Just off of the end of Knight Inlet are the Indian Group of Islands.  Two of the prominent islands are Crease Island to the west and Village Island to the east with at least a dozen small islands in between.  Just off the east end of Crease Island is a popular cove and it is a great anchorage.  We often used this anchorage as a "jumping off" spot when heading back to Port McNeill or when starting our trip back home.  On this occasion, almost all night long a storm raged with wind, rain, thunder and lightning.  When morning came the storm was heading inland and there was the calm that comes afterwards.  You could still hear thunder far off in the distance. Otherwise it was eerily quiet; so quiet you could hear the water dripping off of the trees on shore.

View from Althorp Point.
A little known anchorage is the small one-boat nook just by Althorp Point at the confluence of Wellbore and Sunderland Channels.  Most boaters head into popular Forward Harbor but I prefer this scenic spot.  It's well protected from the westerlies that blow down Johnstone Strait and you can go fishing right by your boat.  On this morning after days of stormy weather up north we woke to see better weather to the south.  When you looked north it still looked like rain and bad weather.  Shortly after this picture was taken we hit the slack at Whirlpool Rapids and traveled through the Yuculta's to anchor in Squirrel Cove. 

Sunset from Jedediah Island
One of our common stops as we cross Georgia Strait is to anchor in the many bays around Lasqueti, Boho, Bull, and Jedediah Islands.  Its a great way to break up the trip from Nanaimo to Desolation Sound.  There's some great gunkholing here.  On this evening we were anchored just off of Jedediah Island in "Little Bull Passage."  If there's any kind of northwest winds you can't anchor here, but you can if a southeast wind is blowing.  So many times we have experienced unforgettable sunsets here. One of the funny things about this anchorage is that in the evening the feral goats living on Jedediah come down out of the woods and graze.  You can hear them bleating.

These are just a few of the many years of memories gained from cruising the beautiful Salish sea.  We are so lucky to be able to have some of the best cruising grounds on the planet.

If you want to learn more about these photos and others you can visit my Panoramio photo site by going to:  Here you will find not only the above photos but the Google Earth location of each too.  Enjoy.

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