We started our second week of the trip by heading 30 nm north from Newcastle Island, just off the Nanaimo coast on Vancouver Island, to Hornby Island. We played 20 questions…the…whole…time. It was kind of hilarious, because Spencer (who’s 5), would always choose “Santa” for us to guess. His turns were usually over in less than a minute! Again, the wind was a Northerly, right on our nose, so it was a motor against the wind the entire way. We didn’t feel like being heeled over and making very little headway for what was going to be a fairly long sail going 5-6 knots.
Tribune Bay, Hornby Island
The guidebook we were using, Dreamspeaker Cruising Guide, sang the praises of the white sand beaches and warm water at Tribune Bay and we were sold. We anchored amidst a number of cruising boats in the large bay and hoped we wouldn’t have a Southerly wind, since the bay was completely open to the South. We figured since a Norther’ had been blowing all day and we had a favorable forecast overnight, we shouldn’t have a problem. We headed to shore in the late afternoon for the kids to enjoy the fine, white sand and a driftwood hideout (and the parents to enjoy a cocktail). On our way back, we cruised around the bay in the dinghy and came across a topless woman (and her romantic companion) sunbathing on a rock…oops! We had to answer a lot of the kids’ questions after that!
Almost as soon as we got back to the boat that evening, the wind switched direction, and the huge bay started to get choppy. The waves have nearly the entire Georgia Straight to build up into our beautiful bay, which made for an uncomfortable night sleep.
The next morning we awoke to lighter winds and risked leaving the boat and exploring the island. Since the anchor held all night in the blowing wind we figured Moment wasn’t going anywhere. Near the bay we came upon an adorable market. The kids enjoyed playing checkers at a colorfully painted picnic table and we had a delicious Mexican-style lunch. I swear the burrito that Steve ordered was bigger than his head!
We hadn’t provisioned in a few days and I was thrilled to find a fully-stocked grocery store (is it weird that I love browsing around grocery stores?). One thing I love about the BC coast is the prevalence of local, organic produce and products; and all of the “weird” things I have in my pantry (like brown rice syrup and nutritional yeast) are no big deal to find here. I imagine that’s going to change quite a bit as we travel further north, but my cooking is pretty adaptable based on what’s available. During last summer’s cruise to Desolation Sound we ate spam. Never again…we all felt so sick afterwards!
After lunch (of NOT spam) we packed up our beach gear and had tons of fun playing in the sand. The kids and I (ahem…mostly I) made a sandcastle and the kids tried skimboarding (unsuccessfully) but loved watching the teenagers do tricks on their boards.
The next day we sailed (er – motored…picking up a trend here?!) fighting a northerly to Comox. We were thrilled that my Uncle Jim and Aunty Joan happened to be in Comox at the time and came to visit us at the dock with my second cousin Deani, and my great-aunt Shirley. It was so nice to see family! Since we were at a dock, we made use of the laundry facilities, hot showers and wifi. The kids were excited to pick up a couple of National Geographic magazines from the book swap. Steve did some boat work while I took the kids to a nearby petting zoo – which was such an amazing find! Our boat neighbour at the dock was doing laundry at the same time as me and mentioned that she passed a petting zoo on her run that morning. So we grabbed the kids’ scooters and took off in the general direction she pointed. Along the way, I asked some locals and they pointed us on the right path. The kids had a blast petting the goats and cow and brushing the pony. Paige’s highlight was when one of the goats jumped on top of the rabbit hutch and tried to jump through the window into the office. We happened to be there about 15 minutes before feeding time, so the animals were all getting restless! Spencer’s highlight was watching the contruction workers try to fix the duck pond. He had a lot of questions for them! On the way home Paige got going a little too fast on her scooter and took a tumble into a tree. She got a few scratches on her knee and neck but we got them cleaned up quickly – good thing I always come prepared with band-aids and polysporin!
Uncle Jim picked us up the next morning to drive to Cumberland to visit the most delicious restaurant in all the land…4 Quarters. It also happens to be Deani’s husband, Rikhi, who owns it! The service was amazing and the food was even better. I had the veggie benedict and I still dream about it…yum!
After breakfast Jim was kind enough to shuttle us around for groceries, to the hardware store and liquor store. After our boat was full to the brim with provisions (and an ever important 9-watt lightbulb to act as a resistor which Jim managed to find among his travels), we headed out and actually SAILED the 29 miles to Rebecca Spit and anchored in Drew Harbour, Quadra Island.
Rebecca Spit, Quadra Island
At this point, the kids were itching to do some schoolwork (yay!), so I pulled out some of the summer review books I brought and they were busy for hours. I even had a chance to organize some of the unit studies I had printed before we left. After lunch, we headed to shore and the kids played a driftwood jumping game (the rules of the game started simply enough, but they got incredibly complicated by the end – “you can’t put your foot on the sand, but you can put it on the dirt, but only if…, and only if…”…and on and on, ad nauseum. Though I do love their imaginations!
We really enjoyed the bay here. We chatted with our lovely boat neighbours, who had just bought a new-to-them boat in Quadra and were spending the entire summer to bring it back to Richmond! We also paddled around in the kayak and paddleboard and just enjoyed life on the hook. I have come to realize that I much prefer anchoring compared to the hustle and bustle of the dock.
We spent two nights at Rebecca Spit and just after we rounded the spit to head further North we saw two majestic humpback whales! I was at the helm and Steve was below with the kids – they probably thought the boat was on fire when I yelped for them to come up and see the whales! I wish I had taken some pictures, but we were all so mesmerized watching them spout and show off, I didn’t want to look away. What an amazing end to our second week aboard!