Sunday, September 1, 2013

Gorge Harbour - Cortes Island

Red markings are the petrography.
This one looks like a man on a big fish.

I am in Gorge Harbour, Cortes Island.  Of all the marinas in this area, Gorge is one of my favourites.  You enter the harbour through the cut.  If you know where to look, the north walls of the cut are decorated with petrographs, estimated to have been painted over 200 years ago. 

Our last night in Tenedos Bay was exciting to say the least.  We had our tasty blue ling then settled into the evening.  It was calm.  Giselle had recommended a movie Thunderheart that was on her I-pod.  I was watching it when what seemed like out of nowhere a great gust of wind slammed our boats.  I heard a loud crack and a crash.  I recognized this to be a tree crashing in the forest.  I flew out of bed, grabbed my jacket, boots and flashlight only to be met by Len on the deck of Did It.  We were secure and at the moment that is all that mattered. The tree didn’t hit us nor was it near our stern-tie lines. With rain pelting the boats, Giselle joined us in the cockpit of Ta Daa.  We could see the other boats beaming their flashlights into the forest. I concluded they heard the same noise
Shark Spit at Marina Island and Uganda Passage
that I heard.  The three of us sat in the cockpit just listening and looking into the dark and waiting for another great gust.  Being in each other's company was a great comfort. A few smaller gusts followed but nothing that caused us concern. 

In the distance we observed red, green and white lights.  The colour of lights visible helped us determine the direction the boat was travelling.  It appeared as if his anchor had dragged in the wind and he was repositioning to a more secure location in the bay. 

Shark Spit
Needless to say I slept in the cockpit the rest of the night.

The next morning Len and Giselle motored, in their dinghy, to checked out the boat we observed the previous night.  He was an 80’ motor vessel.  We knew he was a power boat but did not know the length.  It something we had not considered while we watched him the night before.

With wind directly on the stern I motored most of the way to Gorge.  I pulled out the head sail when I turned to starboard at the red buoy at Sutil Point.  It was a brisk wind and the opportunity to sail was a welcome one.

Empty mat is mine :)
A warrior doing ballet?
The Gorge marina, in the past six years, has been refreshed:  upgraded docks, pool, hot tub, laundry facilities, camping and a restaurant.  Topping the list is an outdoor fireplace on a waterside patio where (in the summer) music from the live entertainment wafts throughout the harbour.  On our first night, we were introduced to Jeff Drummond from Merville, Vancouver Island.  We were amazed at his guitar skills and his unique and clear voice.  Under the stars, listening to a mixed genre of music, we did not want him to end the show.  S’mores were a little bit of delight that Giselle and I made in the fireplace while
Curious boys watching Barnacle Barry.
listening to the beautiful music.

The next morning Giselle encouraged me to go to a free yoga class. Now this is something I have not done for centuries.  I thought I was going to die.  I took pictures just to get out of holding some of those poses with funny names that do not resemble me - like warrior, tree, boat and so on.

While here, Len got to wondering about his zincs on the prop shaft so he hired a diver to check it out.  Fortunately, I had two aboard Ta Daa.  There was only 20% of his left so my zinc now adorn his prop shaft. 

The diver, Barnacle Barry, was a character.  He lives, with his wife, on his 50’ ferro-cement sailboat in Squirrel Cove.  He is on a mooring buoy.  We mentioned that on Monday (tomorrow) we are going to Von Donnop to anchor.  Barnacle Barry reminded us of a story in Pacific Yachting (April 2012) where a couple was rescued from the wolves on the beach.  Barnale Barry was the rescuer!  The incident took place three summers ago.  We will go to Von Donnop but if we do any walking to Squirrel Cove, we will leave Giselle’s dog, Mr. Bean (a Jack), aboard Did It.

Len with a 'keeper' crab.
Giselle and I dropped the crab traps over the dock.  While the crabs were many, most were too small to keep.  Giselle scored four keepers!  We had them for dinner with steak – a surf and turf meal aboard Did It!

This morning the three of us headed to Shark Spit on Marina Island to pick a spot to drop the crab traps.  It is always a tough decision of where to drop them.  I like to look for a sandy bottom.  Giselle picked her spot.  Next, chauffeur Len dinghied us to Manson’s Landing to get clams. 

On the way we spotted a piece of wood — round and about 8 inches in diameter.  As we
Giselle cleaning crab.
got closer we discovered that it was not just a piece of wood, it was the whole log, floating vertical.  This type of flotsam could be very dangerous to any motor or sail vessel.  Fortunately I had my handheld marine VHF and my GPS.  I was able to get a lat and long and radio the information to the Comox Coast Guard.  Good deed for the day — check!

At Manson’s we tied up the dinghy at the government wharf and proceeded to the best little clam bay.  Within 15 minutes we had enough in our bucket for appies and a pasta dinner.  As I type, they are soaking in a mesh bag so all the tasty little clams can spit the sand out.  We will eat them tomorrow. 

Giselle and I are positive we will have crab in our traps when we go to pick them up – which is in just a few minutes.  I will update you upon my return!  

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