Back in the Gulf Islands

For weather purposes, the Straight of Georgia is divided into 2 sections – North of Nanaimo, and South of Nanaimo. This has often seemed a bit arbitrary to me – its easy to draw a line on a map to make this division, but does it really make that much difference whether you’re on the Sunshine Coast (North of Nanaimo), or in Vancouver (South of Nanaimo)? Now that we’re neatly tucked into the Gulf Islands, I would say that Yes! it really does make a difference. (Note: click on the images below and they will open up into a gallery with full-size images).

After leaving Comox, we headed South to Jedediah Island Park for a few days (to wait out another storm) and then headed further South to Silva Bay on Gabriola Island. The rainy weather had mostly all blown away by then, and we were treated to several warm sunny days. On Sunday, we took a walk from Silva Bay to Drumbeg Provincial Park – about 3km away. The wind was up but the sun was out – so the October afternoon felt much more like early September.

Gabriola Island’s geology features big sections of sandstone, and these are easy to see at Drumbeg park. At low tide you can walk out onto the sandstone beaches, and explore the unusual patterns of erosion on the rocks. The park ecosystem is also home to the Garry oak tree – an endangered species – as well as many Arbutus trees. Did you know that Arbutus trees have berries in the fall? Somehow I had never seen that before!

On Monday, we sailed down to Wallace Island, which is just east of Salt Spring. This is one of our favourite places to anchor, although we can no longer get into the very shallow Conover Cove anchorage (Innisfree draws 5 feet, but the bay is closer to 3 feet at lower tides). In the 50’s the island was a private summer resort, and several of the cabins still remain. For a great local read, check out One Man’s Island, and Once Upon an Island, by David Conover, who moved here from California in 1946 to homestead and build the resort.

Today’s forecast was for gale force winds, but we are happily tucked into the anchorage, well protected from the storm. We even managed to get ashore for a hike this morning, and spent the afternoon in the cockpit enjoying the sunshine. The difference in weather from farther up the coast is really clear – warmer mornings in the boat (14*C instead of the 11*C from a month ago), and no misty grey days where the solar panels barely charge. We know this weather won’t stay for much longer, but at least we can enjoy it for a few more weeks now that we’re south again!

One of the old cottages has become the ‘library’, where boaters leave a sign to mark their visits to the island
This is our sign from our visits on No Bad Days, our previous boat. Our July 2020 visit couldn’t be recorded because they had closed off the cottage during covid. We will need to rectify that tomorrow!

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