Melanie Cove to Grace Harbor: 12NM
It was still a bit windy in the morning, so we decided to forego the kayaking and try the dinghy instead. I wanted to check out nearby Laura Cove for future visits, as it is highly recommended. So Bob took the dinghy and got it up on a plane, so that it wasn’t bouncing too badly.
Navigator Karen, checking another spot "around the bend".
We zipped around in Prideaux Haven and then over to Laura Cove. Laura Cove is nice, but I think Melanie Cove is nicer, so we filed that information away and headed back to the boat.
Today was going to be leisurely, with a visit to private Mink Island to see if the small anchorage there was appealing before heading over to Grace Harbor to anchor for the night. It was mostly calm by now, so the motoring was uneventful and smooth. Mink Island is a cute little island that has private docks and moorings. Lots of signs announcing that not only are fires prohibited, but so are dogs and other non-residents. Not a bad place to stop for lunch, but probably not an overnight we’d be interested in.
As we headed for Grace Harbor, Bob mentioned that he couldn’t believe it was supposed to be another gale force warning day on the Strait of Georgia, as it was so calm where we were. Well, as we approached the turnoff for Malaspina Inlet, the white caps started to appear and the wind began to blow. We were happy to make the turn into the inlet, where it was lumpy but not annoyingly so.
Grace Harbor is a well protected harbor that had lots of boats in it, though it wasn’t crowded. We had lunch and decided to kayak over to the landing at the marine park. We took a nice hike to a freshwater lake, running into folks headed that way with towels and soap. If you don’t have a way to store enough water on your boat for freshwater showers, it’s not a bad way to stay clean. The lake was really peaceful and had a nice large ledge about a foot under water, a great place to sit and lather up (with biodegradable environmentally ok soap, of course)!
We had to get back to the boat for our next adventure, which was to dinghy 4 miles down Malaspina Strait to the Laughing Oyster restaurant for dinner. I had heard of this restaurant for several years, and decided it was time to visit. We had heard that they had some space for visiting boats, but we thought we’d like Grace Harbour better, so decided to make the trek in the dinghy instead. We scheduled an early dinner so that we could dinghy home in the waning daylight. Bob had his portable GPS and had plotted in our course, so that going and coming back would be relatively carefree.
The ride started out smooth, but quickly became very bumpy and lumpy. In the bow and up on the plane, I was getting hammered. Bob decided to slow down, and that’s when we managed to get the dinghy rope entangled in the prop. Luckily, it was just a tiny bit, he was able to work it free, and we continued on our way. Still, bouncing about in the inlet with wave and wind action and no handheld VHF radio, you quickly realize that if this had been a serious problem, boats passing by were few and far between. Note to self: get that portable VHF radio for the next trip.
When we got to the docks at Okeover Landing, where the restaurant was located, the floating docks were surging up and down in the waves and wind. The docks were completely full of small runabouts and fishing craft, and we had to work hard to find a place for our dinghy. All the boats were rubbing together as they surged up and down, and we were extremely glad that we hadn’t brought Best of Times over to this landing.
The "docks" at the Laughing Oyster. Now I know why the mollusk is so jovial.
So we get ashore….and there is absolutely no signage for this restaurant. We decide to walk up the hill and see a place that might be the restaurant…and it was! From the outside, you don’t expect much, but inside, you can tell it’s going to be good. The food was absolutely fantastic, as were the views from the restaurant deck. We had a great meal, then prepared to dinghy home. I held that darned dinghy line in my hand the whole way home to avoid an encore. It was less bumpy going home as the wind and waves had died down some.
The million-dollar views from the Laughing Oyster. That last mountain peak is about 90 miles away.
As we entered the harbor, we detoured around a large and lovely Royal Passagemaker anchored alone in a secluded spot before we headed for the boat. We were just in time to get some lovely pictures of the pink sky at sunset. Another great day in paradise.
Sunset in Grace Harbor. "Red sky at night, sailor's delight."