Glenthorne Passage To Telegraph Harbour

Glenthorne was a millpond for all of the evening and the morning. The calm always makes for a good night’s sleep. Our neighbor hoisted sail a little before our departure. A single-handed sailor, he lifted the main, pulled the anchor and hoisted the jib. And he sat. The wind was calm and after about five minutes, he surrendered to the obvious and turned on his engine.


Our Neighbor Gets Under Way

He made his way out through the little cut and having picked up a few knots of breeze from Swanson Channel, he turned off his engine and returned to the life of a true sailor.

We, on the other hand, fired up both engines, the generator, our vast array of electronic navigation, radar and communications equipment and made our way out the long cut that is Glenthorne Passage. Having started life on the water as sailors, this mode of nautical travel, sitting in shirt sleeves in a heated cabin, coffee in one hand and the auto pilot making good the course, dims the fond memories of sailing while cold, wet and wondering when, if at all, the wind would pick up.


Karen Sits on the Foredeck as we leave Glenthorne Passage

The trip over to Telegraph Harbour was uneventful. This was one of the places we visited when we first came to British Columbia in 2004. It’s still owned by the same couple, very nice and friendly Canadians.


Karen at the gateway to the Telegraph Harbour Marina

After a walk to Marilyn’s Kutsina, Howling Wolf Farm Market, and the Golden Pot coffee roaster we launched the dinghy for a trip through “the Cut”. The Cut is a dredged ditch that bisects the island and terminates in Clam Bay. It’s just for very small boats with minimal draft. Not much to see, but something we always wanted to say we had done.

After our return passage through the Cut, we visited the local Thetis Marina Pub for an Okanagan Pale Ale on draft.


The regulars at the Thetis Marina Pub solve the World's problems


Very delightful. Those who live in the Northwest know good beer.


Karen wants me to finish my beer and get going



One of the local residents at the docks




One of our dock neighbors goes aloft to do some work



This is another reason we left the world of sailing.



Our next task is to do some laundry, followed by refilling the water tanks, making dinner and planning what we’re going to do tomorrow. Rough life, eh?















Winter Cove to Glenthorne Passage via Breezy Beach, Saturna Island

It was a calm night, most welcomed after the big, but brief, blow of yesterday evening. The two large phalanxes of Canadian Geese were swimming in formation around Winter Cove. It seemed nothing more than a practice drill in learning to follow the leader and fly in a “V” formation. I never did see them take to the air.


The Canadian Geese patrol Winter Cove


Bob's self portrait in the "barbie"

Karen was cocooned in her blanket and reading on the settee, so it was almost 1PM before we hoisted anchor and bid Winter Cove adieu.


Karen lifts part of Winter Cove with the anchor

The entrance is guarded by the Minx Reefs. The entrance is well marked and charted, nevertheless a wooden sailing vessel managed to find the reef one night. Unable to make a salvage, the hull remains as a reminder to all mariners. To read more about the event, follow this link.


The wreck on Minx Reef

Karen has always wanted to visit Saturna Island. I had just read in one of the local nautical magazines about the Saturna Island Winery and the fact that they have a dock at Breezy Bay that visitors can use. To add to the attraction, they have a bistro at the winery. Decision made. Let’s go find that dock.


The dock was a nice one, shared with the neighbors who own lots along the water. There was no one there – so plenty of room for Arctic Star.


Arctic Star on the dock at Saturna

It’s almost a mile walk from the dock to the winery. The vines were almost yellow in their new growth. The setting was idyllic with vines in the foreground and Plumper Sound stretching out in the distance. It’s a young winery, with the first planting starting in 2000.


The view to the sound across the vines


The vines of Saturna

As luck would have it, the chef was new this year. And he was a gem, serving up some of the best offerings we’ve ever had in the Gulf Islands. Karen enjoyed a pulled Andulsian pork sandwich and I devoured a Shepherd’s Pie made with lamb. Neither of those descriptions, do the food justice. As I said, it ranks among the best.


The bistro and gift shop

From Breezy Bay we traveled to Glenthorne Passage, one of the anchorages we visited when we first came to this area in 2005. In fact we dropped anchor about 250 yards from where we had done so three years ago. While we love new places and seek them out with a passion, it is also nice to snuggle into familiar waters where the bottom and the effect of the winds and tides are predictable with confidence. There were only two other boats there – a real surprise.

Glenthorne Passage Genoa Bay


Glenthorne Passage to Fulford Harbor: 9.3NM 

Fulford Harbor to Genoa Bay: 11.5NM 

 Our trip is winding down, as we have to have Best of Times back to Friday Harbor in the U.S. by Friday morning. We also had to drop off the kayak (affectionately called “the canoe” by me) on SaltSpring Island today. So we took one more morning kayak in Glenthorne Passage, We went at low tide, which is definitely the most interesting. There were gobs and gobs of the purple starfish, crammed into newly exposed crevasses as the water receded. A few orange ones were seen here and there, but not a lot.  


Looking back up Glenthorne Passage from our anchorage. 

 We kayaked along the shore of Secret Island, which has cabins with small docks, and said hi to a resident who thought it was a terrific day to enjoy kayaking. He was right. As we headed toward the head of the cove and the private dock there, I thought I saw a dog on the dock watching us. Guess what? It was a big seal. He was high and dry on the dock, sunning himself. We approached stealthily and he watched us intently. Not threatened or unhappy, just alert. He scooted to the other side of the dock when we got close, but as we went around to the other side of the dock, he just sat there, craning his neck from time to time to see what we were up to. He reminded me of my cat Aspen. If he can’t see us, he must be hidden, right? Wrong!  

 We kept on kayaking and Bob pointed out a blue heron just feet away on the rocks, blended so well into the background that you could hardly notice him. How beautiful is all this wildlife? 

 On our way back to the boat, another boater said hello and “it’s a great day for kayaking, eh?”  All those Canadian “eh” jokes appear to be warranted. Really nice folk, they just say “eh” like we say “uh” or “huh” or “right” or “yes”.  


Picture perfect in the Kayak. 

 We decided to drop off the kayak in Fulford Harbor where the kayak place was located rather than going back to Ganges. We did this because we’d never been to Fulford and it sounded nice in the plethora of guidebooks you need for a trip like this. We found the tiny dock that abutted the kayak rental place and stayed there for 2 hours while we had a great lunch and reprovisioned at the local store. 

 Not content to linger, we headed to Genoa Bay for the night. Another spot in the guidebooks, it sounded lovely and like a nice marina, as we were ready to tie to a dock and have some shore power for the evening. Pretty place, nice docks, and an apparent convention of Nordic and American Tugs, by the look of it. Bob and I walked the docks, looking at the boats and some very nice boathouses, and I remarked that all we needed to make it a perfect day was a kitty. 

 Needless to say, ask and ye shall receive. There was a small art gallery on the docks, and the woman who ran it had a lovely 18 year old Maine Coon named Toby. This cat was so affectionate, I sat on the floor and it came over and sprawled out next to me and let me pet it for 20 minutes or so. Every time I stopped, Toby butted me with his head and convinced me to keep rubbing his jowls and his ears. This was fun! 

 Tonight we’re off to dinner at the restaurant just up from the docks and then tomorrow we’re off to Roche Harbor to clear U.S. customs and get ourselves back into the States.

Pirate's Cove to Glenthorne Passage


Pirate’s Coveto Princess Cove: 13NM  

Princess Cove to Glenthorne Passage: 10.3NM 

We had heard that holding was poor in Pirate’s Cove, and that anchors had a tendency to drag, but we were snug with our well-set anchor and stern tie. It was a hazy, cloudy morning, and we were in no hurry to move along, so we took the dinghy over to one of the two dinghy docks to hike a bit. 


Pirate's Cove complete with a treasure chest. 


Someone took the time to hand paint the welcome sign at Pirate's Cove. 

Pirate’s Cove has been a marine park since 1966, and it has wonderful trails that are easy to walk and really pretty. We walked to the other side of the island where some kayakers were making camp.  There are nice campsites and I am always amazed how clean the outdoor toilets are and how there’s always toilet paper. Guess those park hosts keep pretty busy. 


The B.C. parks maintain a nice infrastructure. Take a look at these nice stairs to a campsite on a beautiful little bay. 

 We went back to the boat and decided to depart. It was a bit crazy again, as the wind wanted to blow us into the concrete park host floating dock while we scurried to haul in the stern tie and get the anchor up. Captain Bob came through again, and off we went, back through the tricky entrance (at low tide you can really see those dangerous reefs) and out into deep water again. 


Best of Times in Pirates Cove.  


Trawler enjoying a peaceful, secluded anchorage on the south side of the island. 


Our agenda was to stop at Wallace Island, a favorite from our last trip. I had decided that we’d anchor in Princess Cove and have lunch aboard before doing some exploring. Another shallow and interesting entrance behind us, we snagged a great spot to anchor and had lunch while we watched other boats come and go. It was fairly low tide, so it seemed like a great time to kayak. 


The kayaking was just so-so until we noticed the rocks that are part of the reef guarding the entrance to Princess Cove. As we headed that way, we heard lots of snorting. Yes, there were seals! We were able to get within 75 feet or so of a bunch of seals sunning themselves on the rocks. The younger ones were a bit unsure of us, but the two big bull seals just stared at us with pretended indifference as we snuck closer (“snuck” being a tough thing for a bright yellow kayak to do). The seals were really funny, they liked to swim near and check us out, and then zip away to a safe distance. We even saw one seal get a mouthful of water and spit it directly onto another one’s face. Just like kids! 


We headed to Prevost Island and Glenthorne Passage for the night. I was anxious to check out this anchorage as we had enjoyed Annette Inlet earlier in the trip. The anchorage was absolutely lovely and there were only 4 boats at the head of the cove. Quiet and peaceful, it was a lovely evening.