•    Wind-up Cruise   

    Despite forecasts for soggy weather, we had 5 boats come out to Snug Cove, and of course more by ferry, for a total of 20 attendees at the pot-luck dinner. Four boats came over early on Friday: Free Spirit II, Lady Dane, Hale Pau Hana, and Zelda III. Fortunately Friday wasn’t bad at all, a bit grey and the occasional light drizzle, but nothing to complain too loudly about. Rory and guest crew Richard came over on Saturday on White Feather, and boy did they get rained on! Well, that’s what we buy wet weather gear for, eh?

    Captain Haddock sails for Bowen aboard Hale Pau Hana

    The early birds convened at Doc Morgan’s Pub, which was great to see still open this late in the season. Some of us hadn’t been to Doc Morgan’s for years, because it was only open for a shorter summer season, or at times not open at all. Great to be back, enjoying good food and live entertainment.

    Despite the downpours on Saturday, the crew of Hale Pau Hana braved the torrents and undertook an expedition to the far side of the island, just a convenient bus ride away. We explored “Crayola Beach”, in search of geocaches, and also noticed a number of large buoys just off-shore, which look just like the same that are at Marine Parks. Perhaps some of us might come back here in the summer and try tying up to one or two for a spell. We also explored a fascinating old mine shaft, from over 100 years ago, when prospectors thought there might be enough copper, gold, and other metals here to make a second Britannia Mine. And in the rain forest, boy did it rain! So glad I wore my Wellies! Some paths were white-water torrents! We were some glad to catch the island bus back to Snug Cove and dry out by the fire in the cabin.

    There was plenty of food of course, and some hilarious outfits for the “Religions of the World” theme. Saints and sinners alike enjoyed the food and drink. My “fishes and loaves” (salmon and herring on baguette) was snapped up by hungry believers.

    Manna from Heaven!

    Morning saw Jean and Richard host a simple but scrumptious breakfast for those of us who stayed overnight, and the coffee was much appreciated. A little Christmas shopping at the island shops, then back onto the boats for the return trip, and last cruise of the season for some of us. Alas, there was hardly any wind to speak of, in fact the water were glassy calm at times, but it was DRY, so there was no complaints from the crew. Back at home dock, it’s time to break out the tarps and put our boats to bed, though some of us die-hards will still head out on nice clear winter days. And maybe we might get a Christmas Carol Ships trip together this holiday season?

    Thanks to Bernard and yours truly for the photos:

  •    Gibsons Fall Cruise   

    The SLYC gang took advantage of a fine fall weekend for a cruise to Gibsons. Our little fleet set out on Friday, into a strangely grey and misty day, with not a breeze in the air, not a ripple on the water, all strangely quiet and muted. It was actually a very peaceful and calm passage, with the world transformed by the soft mist. The hustle-bustle of the city was soon left behind, and out of mind, we seemed afloat in a timeless place. Eventually, Hale Pau Hana found Gibsons, and was soon joined by White Feather and Zelda III.

    Being in Gibsons a day early, we opted to try a different restaurant for dinner, and found some fine Greek food at Leo’s restaurant. Nick Adonidas would have enjoyed it, I’m sure. The next day dawned bright and clear, and it almost felt like summer had returned. Some explorations were in order: Jen, Sean and David found some hiking trails (and geocaches along the way) while Rory met up with David and Anne to explore the offerings of the Bitter End Sailor’s Exchange, up the big hill.

    Dinner that night at the Waterfront Cafe was very good, with the proprietor, Art, always glad to see us. Sunday Brunch was by tradition at Molly’s Reach of course, and the Eggs Benny did not disappoint us!

    Reluctant to leave this paradise, our vessels departed via Shoal Channel into a fresh breeze, which slowly eased after a while. Our boats all ended up on different tacks, and only by chance did Hana find a fresh breeze piping up near the southeast corner of Bowen Island, a Howe Sound inflow that soon had us cruising along nicely at over 5 knots. In fact, we sailed all the way from Shoal Channel to the mouth of False Creek without having to touch the engine once! What a fine sail it was. And a fine way to remember Gibsons… with the town having approved the George Hotel development despite well-organized resistance, we may see changes a-plenty when we come this way next spring.

    Enjoy the slideshow!

  •    Newcastle Cruise   

    Could summer get any better? The sunshine was glorious for the whole weekend, and the evenings warm enough to sit out in shorts and T-shirts until the stars twinkled overhead. The crew of “Hale Pau Hana” got an early start to the weekend by setting out on Thursday, crossing the Strait for Silva Bay. Things were a bit lumpy around the Bell Bouy, with a bit of wind-over-tide action going on, but the seas settled down after a while, and the perfect north-westerly put us on a direct course for Thrasher Rock. Not a single tack required!

    Alas, the Silva Bay Pub and Restaurant was closed, on account of either a fire or a power failure, or maybe both, depending on where you heard the story. Plus, due to the ongoing drought, the washrooms and showers were closed from 4 to 6 PM each day to allow the well system to try and keep up. Things were dry indeed in the Gulf Islands! Luckily we had stocked up on plenty of liquids, water and otherwise.

    Jen and I took a hike to Drumbeg Park, which rewards one with great views across to Valdes Island, though it is a bit of a hike. A cool bevvy back at the boat was much appreciated. We enjoyed a quiet evening on the boat, with the afterglow of sunset lingering long into the summer twilight.

    In the morning, we conferred with Halfmoon II, who had arrived and dropped anchor overnight. The winds were up in the Strait, but the timing of the tides worked out well for doing the passage through Gabriola and Dodds Narrows, so we set off for the scenic route. After shooting through Gabriola with an ebbing current, and briefly hitting 9.5 knots on the GPS, the waters inside the Gulf Islands were calm as a bathtub.


    Boat traffic at Dodds had backed up quite a bit, as two tugs and log booms pushed through southbound. The crowd filed through in good order northbound, and we soon set the jib for a romp towards Nanaimo Harbour with gusty winds spilling over Gabriola Island. Halfmoon II and Hale Pau Hana arrived around noon, with plenty of dock space still available at the time. Irish Cream and Blue Max arrived shortly afterwards. Gil confirmed the crossing of the Strait that day was a bit “on the rough side”!

    Jen and I launched the dinghy and set out for Protection Island, to go exploring around and find a few geocaches. We also got some well-deserved ice cream from the island’s very own golf-cart ice cream truck! And a few veggies from the island’s community gardens – just leave a donation in the boot at the little booth! Another dinghy run in the evening (after BBQ ribs, mmm!) into Mark Bay rewarded us with encounters with a raccoon family, some otters, and even a mink!


    Free Spirit II arrived on Saturday and grabbed one of the last remaining mooring bouys… the docks and other bouys having long since filled up for the weekend. Also arriving that day were Jean & Richard’s friends, Bill and Denise, and Bill’s grand-daughter Mia from Montreal, and Sean’s friends the Bentleys (George, Carol, William and Richard) all the way from England, who happened to be on a Western Canada family vacation. The boat parties took turns drifting between Half Moon II, Hale Pau Hana, and the dock.

    The entire crowd joined us at the Dinghy Dock Pub, with some dinghies getting a tow from others. It was really great to see a big crowd of us at the Pub, and we were given a great outdoor spot to enjoy the late afternoon sun. The Bentley Boys even got some Dinghy Dock Pub T-shirts to take back to England with them.

    Sunday saw some of us doing local explorations of the island, as Jen and myself applied a little sailing expertise to engineer a way up a tree to retrieve a geocache hidden some 20 feet up in the branches – a rope ladder and a spare halyard did the trick! Ted and Dorte arrived on “Lady Dane” later in the day, under tow… Lady Dane blew her engine on the way over, and will be in Nanaimo for repairs. Hopefully insurance will help cover it! I’ll stay in touch with Ted to follow their progress.


    On Monday most of us set out for the return crossing of the Strait. The winds were blowing pretty strong at first, as we beat our way out towards Entrance Island, poor Jen laboured away down below in the galley making sandwiches as the boat lurched along. The forecast had called for winds to keep increasing throughout the day, but this time the weatherman was completely wrong – the seas eased as we passed Entrance Island, and about halfway home we had to start the engine and motor-sail. The breeze picked up enough to sail again as we passed Spanish Banks – making for a nice last leg as we made our way to home dock. And a drink with friends on the dock when we got there – what a nice way to end the day!

    The slide show, photos courtesy of Bernard and myself:

  •    Plumper Cove   

    Yes I know, this post is late, late, late! Things have been sooo busy this summer! I’m just trying to catch up!

    We had fewer members out for Plumper Cove this year, though not for lack of good weather. Lots of folks were off vacationing in other directions, but those of us who did attend all had a good time. Boats that came out included “Zelda III”, “White Feather”, “Free Spirit II”, and “Hale Pau Hana”. The only drawback this year was a persistent westerly wind that brought constant swells into Plumper Cove, making it live up to it’s nickname, “Bumper Cove”. Sleep was a little hard to come by with all the bouncing around.

    Nonetheless, we had a good boat party on Zelda III, and on Saturday David, Jen, and myself set off on a hiking expedition to Salmon Rock, at the very western tip of Keats Island. A number of trails all seem to end up at the same place here, and the views are fantastic. At one spot there’s only the stone fireplace remaining of a cabin, which would have been in a beautiful spot. And after much searching, we found the geocache that had drawn us out to this unique spot.

    On Sunday, despite a strong breeze and swells running down the Strait, the crews of “Hale Pau Hana”, “White Feather” and “Free Spirit II” all opted to return by going out Shoal Channel and south of Bowen Island. It was quite a ride for the three of us at first, but after some time the seas calmed down, even to the point where we had to motor for the last leg into English Bay.

    A few photos from the weekend:

  •    Gibsons Cruise   

    The SLYC Spring Cruise to Gibsons was held on the Victoria Day weekend of May 16/17/18. Wow, we couldn’t have asked for better weather! It may have started out a bit grey, but the skies soon cleared, and the sun was blazing away at summer temps! My parents had arrived from Nova Scotia only a few days previously, where they’ve only just seen the last of their mountains of snow finally melt away. Quite the change!

    White Feather, Hale Pau Hana, and Free Spirit II all started out from the Creek in a small convoy, that is until the breeze finally piped up around Spanish Banks, and we set our sails… and different tacks. Stubbornly, Bowen Island refused to yield to my heading, so Hale Pau Hana had to tack around it. The wind was nonexistent amongst the Popham Islands, but always a lovely little trip through there so we didn’t mind.

    We arrived at Gibsons to find Irish Cream already there, and the dock party soon began. Others who came by ferry joined in – David and Anne, and Peter and Marge. When the party got too big for Hana’s cockpit, we just moved up to Irish Cream. What a great day to sit out and enjoy each other’s company in the sun!

    Interestingly, the skipper of Free Spirit II was nowhere to be seen – it turns out JJ loaned the boat to Jean and Richard, who brought along their friends Bill and Denise too. For a couple’s weekend, Free Spirit II worked out just great, and it was very gracious of JJ to loan them the boat. Earl Grey might be jealous!

    Dinner was at the Waterfront Cafe, where we had a whole section to ourselves, the food was excellent, and the ever-exuberant owner, Art, was a most gracious host. We followed that up with oysters at Smitty’s, the oysters were delightful, the thumping music a bit less so. Morning saw us at Molly’s Reach for brunch, we were lucky that they could squeeze our whole party in at one big table. The eggs benny were scrumptious as always. And the bottomless cups of coffee!

    Later in the day, some of us more energetic types decided to take on the challenge of climbing Soames Hill, that conspicuous large knob that’s a notable landmark when approaching Gibsons from north of Keats Island. It was quite the uphill hike, but the trails are well marked, with stairs for much of the way, and the view was stunning. A long walk followed back to town, but ice cream at Mike’s Place made for a well-deserved treat! It was great to have an extra day in Gibsons, courtesy of the long weekend.

    Monday saw our fleet head back by way of going north of Keats Island, the fine breeze coming up Thornborough Channel made for some of the best sailing I’ve seen in a long time… over 6 knots on the GPS, and hardly more than a ripple on the water, the sailing was smooth as glass. Of course it never lasts, though we did *almost* squeak around the north end of Bowen before the breeze died.

    Some interesting information: Gibsons Marina is under new ownership, as of the very weekend we were there, and we are told that there will be more visitor moorage. Some 17 slips currently, and likely more to be available in the future – so that’s good news!

    Photos courtesy of Rory and myself:


    Note – if you can’t see the photo album, you likely need to update your Adobe Flash Player.

  •    Sailpast 2015   

    Wow, what a great day for a sail! The sun was shining, and the breeze was fresh, the fleet looked really great sailing along and having fun. Commodore Peter was on board Lorelei for the occasion. Boats in attendance for Sailpast included: Halfmoon II, Free Spirit II, Hale Pau Hana, Zelda III, Nahani, White Feather, and Kalima. Drift Away showed up a wee bit late to join in, but then the sailpast did get off to an early start too. Hale Pau Hana was pleased to have Fleet Surgeon Annie on board as well. We all had a great romp in the breeze after the Sailpast was done.

    Afterwards, we gathered at the Billy Bishop Legion Pub for the reception, the only hitch was that somehow their communication broke down and the person opening the pub that day didn’t get the message that it was supposed to be opened early at 3 PM, instead of the usual 4 PM. At least it was a sunny day to wait around, and we were extra thirsty by the time the doors opened. Catered snacks were on hand, and several of the folks who couldn’t be on the water joined us for the reception. It was great to see a nice turnout.

    Slide show, with pics by Bernard and yours truly:

  •    Sinking of HMCS Annapolis   

    The sinking of HMCS Annapolis went off as planned on Saturday April 4th, at Halkett Bay. Attending the event from SLYC were Rory on White Feather, and JJ on Free Spirit II. JJ forwarded this very impressive video (below) and plans to go dive the wreck soon.

    HMCS Annapolis Sink Day April 4th 2015 from Geoff Grognet on Vimeo.

  •    Early Easter at Snug Cove   

    The first official SLYC cruise of the year was a great success! Undaunted by the iffy weather forecasts, the crews of “Zelda III”, “Earl Grey”, “White Feather”, “Free Spirit II”, and “Hale Pau Hana” made the trip easily, even finding a fair breeze to sail by for a good part of the journey. New member Nigel made his first cruise with David and Marty on “Zelda III”.

    Coming by ferry were our hosts, Barb and Tage, Barb’s cousin Margot, Keith and Scotty, David and Anne, and Commodore Peter. And coming along as special guests on board “Hale Pau Hana” were Jennifer’s parents, Peter and Ruth, down for the weekend from Oliver.

    Almost on cue, “Zelda III” became the welcoming party boat for arriving sailors, and the rain held off long enough for us to enjoy sitting out on the deck. The swan seemed to want to join us on board!

    With the first sprinkles though, the party shifted inland to the cabin, where we found Barb had really gone to town with decorating for Easter. There were bunnies, bunnies, and more bunnies! Well done! The fire was soon crackling away, the food warming up in the oven, and conversation flowing. There was plenty of food of course! And it was especially good to see Scotty too. There was also a surprise birthday cake for Jennifer, with a fabulous chocolate bunny on it. The cake was supplied by Artisan Eats Cafe & Bakery, up the hill on Bowen Island, and it was delicious too! (and thanks Anne for picking it up for me!)

    The next morning, we had a good number of folks still here for breakfast of sausages, eggs, toast, coffee and orange juice, which we savoured leisurely while watching the rains pour down outside. Nobody was in a hurry to leave! But leave we eventually all did, as we suited up in our foulies and cast off our lines. It was a fairly damp trip home at times, though there was some good breeze to roll out the jib and do some sailing for part of the trip, and the crew of Hana was good enough to make up a hot rum toddy for the valiant skipper! Which finished off the last of my bottle of Ironworks rum from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, so now I have to go back and restock!

    Many thanks to our hosts Barb and Tage for making it a fun and enjoyable weekend!

  •    Caulfeild Cove Raft-up   

    The crews of “Earl Grey” and “Hale Pau Hana” decided to have the first unofficial SLYC raft-up of the year by meeting up at Caulfeild Cove, on the fine and glorious sunny Saturday of March 7. My new GoPro camera captured much of the sailing action from it’s mount on the dodger grab-rail, the mount is intended for bicycle handlebars but works just fine on railings, stanchions and such. And it’s in a waterproof housing too, so maybe next time I’ll try hanging it outboard by bolting it onto the low end of a stanchion, and get some good heeling action!

    There was not a soul at the Cove (well, save one canoe!), so we had the dock to ourselves and soon had snacks and appies out to enjoy, Jean and Richard even put a salmon steak on the barbie! Later Jennifer and I got out for a hike around the park, looking for geocache treasures. It was full dark by the time we found the last of them, good thing we had flashlights! The night-time run back was uneventful, though use of my Marine Traffic AIS app on the phone was handy to identify an out-bound freighter that crossed in the traffic lanes well ahead of us.

    The only drawback is that the sun sets early behind the high cliffs of Lighthouse Park, otherwise it’s a lovely spot, and has been completely empty any time I’ve passed by lately. I even flew over it the next day at 2000′ in a Cessna 172, with John J. as passenger, and it was empty then too.

    Photo slide show and YouTube video is below:

  •    Events for 2015   

    The calendar of events for 2015 is now updated, yes, even as far as the next Christmas Party! Please see this page: Events
    and pencil in the dates on your own calendars so you can be sure to be able to attend!

    First event – the Snug Cove Cruise on March 28/29 . With the Summer Cabin booked as usual, it’s Pot Luck Dinner, and the theme is Early Easter – bring an Easter bonnet, or maybe bunny ears! Please RSVP to host Barb Thomsen , at (604) 524-1710 or click here to email Barb
    Hope to see you there!