September 17, 2017: Rocking in Royal Cove

As I write this, we are anchored and stern tied in Royal Cove, a delightfully scenic little anchorage at the north end of Portland Island, all of which is a BC Marine Park. We arrived at the end of an afternoon rain at about 2:30 pm after motoring from Ganges Harbor in the company of several tawny seals who surfaced from time to time and then slipped sleekly out of sight. It’s now 9 pm, the wind has tucked itself into bed, and we are planning the last ten days of our summer at sea.

Both Walt and I showered and breakfasted on bagels before loading ourselves into Coracle and motoring to the dinghy dock at Ganges Marina at about 9:30 am. Rain was predicted, and we wore the appropriate gear, but we were able to tie up and then walk to All Saints By-the-Sea Anglican Church while the clouds were still deciding what they wanted to do later on. Today was the church’s annual Hawaiian Heritage Sunday (many Hawaiians came to the Gulf Islands in the 1800s to work for the Hudson’s Bay Co. in the fur trade). Some of their descendants who still live on Saltspring Island presented a program on their history and culture, performing some elegant hula dances (whose graceful “sign language” is wonderfully expressive); sharing photos of some of their forebears; singing, reading, and chanting in Hawaiian; and accompanying their singing ad dancing with ukuleles, percussion instruments, piano, and string bass. We sang some songs with some verses in Hawaiian, and parishioners wore Hawaiian shirts, shell necklaces, etc. I enjoyed celebrating the Eucharist, the friendly people, and experiencing a little of the Hawaiian language after encountering Dutch, Flemish, German, French, Spanish, Latin, and English during the summer’s conferences in Leuven.

After church we went back to the local Thriftway to buy a few more items (no matter what and how much you buy, you realize, after you return to the boat, that you need/want at least one more item!), walked through a small shopping complex that included a display of photographs and artifacts from Saltspring’s early days, and were directed to a busy coffee shop where we bought excellent cinnamon sticky rolls and beverages and were able to use their WI-fi for the purchase of our plane tickets to and from Ontario, CA, in October. As we walked to the dinghy dock and began to motor back to Braesail, the drizzle turned to light rain, but we were back on board the boat before the light rain became heavier.

We hoisted our anchor and motored off to Portland Island at a little after 1 pm with a light wind to port and the need to run the engine to charge our batteries. The skies brightened as we traveled, and by the time we had chosen an anchoring spot in Royal Cove, the sun was shoving the clouds away and swatches of blue were appearing overhead. We had no trouble stern tying; the process is greatly facilitated by the presence of metal rings affixed to the surfaces of rocks along a cove’s shore! By the time I had heated carrot-ginger soup to serve with tea and sourdough bread and Walt was preparing to take his afternoon nap, the rain had retired, the sun was washing the cove with gentle light, a cool, rain-cleansed breeze was hushing in the trees along the shore, and the dissipating wakes of passing ferries were creating small swells that swayed the boat and foamed against the “honeycomb rocks” behind us.

Royal Cove Portland Island
Wavelets play along the shore of Royal Cove on Portland Island

I spent some time reading and responding to e-mail in the cockpit while I watched for picture-taking opportunities and enjoyed the sight and sound of the riant wavelets and the rocking of the boat.

Royal Cove Braesail and ferry
A BC ferry boat passes Royal Cove where Braesail lies at anchor with a stern tie to shore
Royal Cove sunset
Sunset view out of Royal Cove from Braesail’s bow


Supper consisted of reheated waterzooi, corn chips, and spicy tomato salsa, with cocoa and cookies as dessert, and, after working on this post for over an hour, thoughts of slumber are beginning to creep into my mind. We will rock gently in Braesail’s floating cradle when ferries slide along outside the cove.

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