From the Lethargy Zone to the Southern Gulf Islands

First, it appears I forgot to post these wonderful dolphin photos from our encounter near Fredrick’s Arm last week. So here they are!














 It’s Monday night and we are at anchor in Reef Harbour between Tumbo Island and little Cabbage Island. The sun is still pretty high in the sky at 6:35 PM. It’s high tide now, but in the morning we should see the reef clearly marked on the charts appear around us. We are nearing the end of our journey. We can see Point Roberts, Bellingham and Anacortes in the distance to our East and South. To our north and west we can see Vancouver. We even see the Cascades. DSC_5255 DSC_5280This is a special spot to end this year’s True Love Cruise Adventure. It isn’t often that you are on the edge of the Strait of Georgia and there are no winds. Supposedly this spot is protected in a SE wind. But it certainly can’t be a big wind. Tumbo Island just isn’t very big or tall and Cabbage Island is much smaller.


The Lethargy Zone of Nanaimo:

We spent the last few days winding down after arriving in Nanaimo late on Saturday after a 10-hour cruise south.DSC_5236

We were pretty tired and shifted into the True Love lethargy zone. After sleeping in we walked to breakfast in “downtown” Nanaimo. Nanaimo, whoa, whoa, whoa. Nanaimo . . . you get it. On our way to breakfast at the recommended Tina’s Cafe we heard our names. Believe it or not, but Jim’s cousin and colleague at Dick’s Drive-In, Ron Schmeer and his son Kian family were walking down the road a block away.   Ron, his wife KC, and their two kids Kian and Maria had just spent the night at a Nanaimo hotel on the way to Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Small world!


After breakfast we searched for a bicycle shop to procure a working pump for the hydraulic repair. It wasn’t easy to find, but after circling the area we stumbled upon their sign that led to a cute shop in an alley. Well fed and properly equipped we headed back to the True Love where we used the plentiful water for cleaning before entering fully into the “lethargy zone” at the “Dingy Dock Pub”. We’ve been to Nanaimo many times, but always in transit never allowing ourselves the luxury of approaching the “space time continuum” that leads to the do-nothing-chill-completely-relax zone. No one really realizes how much they need some time in the lethargy zone until they’re in it. Our cruise has been amazing, but we needed a respite from the adventure, the fishing and the visits.


The Dinghy Dock Pub was suggested to us by Stan Harrelson, on a comment he made on my Facebook post. Thank you Stan and thank you Facebook!


We stresslessly took the tender to the bar, planted our hinies in perfect seats along the edge of the bar where we drank and ate, on the floating Pub with a 180 degree view of Nanaimo’s Harbor. We were intermittently blessed with the warmth of the sun and gently cooled by the occasional clouds. As we lounged we saw the BC Games’ small sailboat race. The BC Games were underway in Nanaimo. They are the equivalent of the Junior Olympics. Some of the sailboats were extremely little — young elementary school child It wasn’t busy at the Dinghy Pub and we didn’t rush. When it was the perfect time we loaded the tender and headed gently back to the True Love, only 5 minutes away, where we spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in bliss. While lounging, a huge 150 foot sailboat docked almost in front of us and just behind the stunning , century-old, 100 foot classic yacht owned by the Foss Tugboat company. The True Love was in extremely good company. We listened to jazz, ate cheese and watched people gawk at the two stunning yachts in front of us.


Because we hadn’t yet paid for our moorage we picked ourselves up and exited the lethargy zone for a walk to the harbormaster and then a stroll along the waterfront to an extremely bustling dock. It’s hard to believe that this hub of activity was so visible off our pier as the crow flies, but it took a one-mile stroll to actually get there. We passed people walking, running, eating ice cream, fishing, crabbing and throwing food scraps to seagulls and an eagle. Now this eagle is always there at this time of the evening. We have seen it from the True Love before. This is not a majestic wild eagle. This eagle is fat, lazy and happy living in bliss inside the “lethargy zone.” He wouldn’t even grab the turkey leg that was offered to him just before sunset. He was just too full!


Sunday morning we set our alarm so we wouldn’t sleep in. A first for the trip. We needed to work off the lethargy, so we drank a healthy protein, kale, spinach and berry elixir and went for a 3 mile run/walk along the waterfront. Next, we used the new bicycle pump to increase the pressure in the hydraulics so the gearshift and throttle would be more responsive. Lastly, we topped off the water before departing through Dodd Narrows at slack tide for our next destination: Montague Harbour.


Montague Harbour

Like Nanaimo we had never lingered in Montague Harbor, we just used it as a great anchorage coming or going. But we wanted to stay awhile and explore.   A masseur from Poets Cove had suggested we try the Galliano Island spa. So we called on our way and after some phone issues we were able to schedule massages and a pick-up at the dock. Because the favorable light SE winds we anchored for the first time in relative seclusion on the outer NW arm of the bay in front of a bright white shell beach..


The Galiliano Island Resort & Spa was lovely. It’s located on the east side of Active Pass, the main route for ferries between Victoria and Vancouver. We enjoyed our massages, steam and dinner. In the lobby, the little resort and spa has an extremely cool mural made up of individual painted squares that together create a larger image of an orca and calf.   It was commissioned from the local Galliano artists. We returned by car and then tender to the True Love just in time for a quick sunset before melting into bed.


Today we woke up naturally and went for a lovely kayak along the SW shore of Galliano Island. The architecture of the buildings, big & small, homes or office towers have become fascinating to me. I wish I had known my interest earlier as I think I would have enjoyed architecture. I also have quite a fascination for big construction equipment and the process of building projects. Ahhh . . . maybe the next time around . . .


But, I digress; the homes on the cliffs were stunning. They are examples of the kind of architecture I appreciate, with the building and materials blending in with the surroundings, yet taking advantage of the spectacular terrain and views. The architecture, combined with the sandstone cliffs, rock formations and the calm water made for a lovely kayak.

Fish Falling from the Sky:

I’m going to take this as a sign from the eagles above that we should keep fishing. When we returned to the True Love, there was a large, but mostly eaten fish in the tender. It was totally gruesome and quite a mess, but it cleaned up easily.

After cleaning up the mess, I mixed up a 2014 True Love Adventure favorite, capresse salad, for lunch, using small multi-colored tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, avocado, oil, balsamic vinegar, spices, fresh basil (from my basil plant on board) and sprinkled bacon (if appropriate), all chopped it into bite-sized pieces.

We ate lunch on the new upper deck area and watched quite a few boats anchor around us. But no bother, we were about to pick up and head to our last destination in Canada where we now sit peacefully watching the sunset, sharing a yummy, decadent, fresh-strawberry-and-cream cocktail.

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On the way we decided to trust the sea condition forecast and choose the shorter route through Active Pass out to the southern end of the Georgia Strait. We’ve always been a little nervous about getting caught in the narrow passage with one or two of the giant BC ferries. DSC_5255But it worked perfectly and we were able to easily maneuver out of the way as two ferries passed by. The seas were calm in the Georgia Strait and we enjoyed a smooth cruise to our next destination: Reef Harbour (between Tumbo Island and little Cabbage Island.


Reef Harbour:

Reef Harbour is very unusual in that it’s only a harbor at low tide. At high tide, the little harbor is almost completely exposed to the Strait of Georgia. But as the tide lowers, extensive shoals are revealed that create a fully enclosed harbor! We’ve never seen anything like it.


After we anchored (at high tide), we explored little Cabbage Island a bit. The “reference text” suggested this little island of rock and trees off our port was worth the stroll. So we landed and circumnavigated the tiny island on foot beginning on a perfect sandy shore. From there we walked past pine trees, birch leaves rustling in the wind, flowering sea grass and pretty madrona trees. We traversed both sand and rock beaches, as well as a strange conglomerate made of large fist-size colorful rocks in a hard black base. Cabbage Island is so much more than its silly vegetable name: a small cornucopia of flora and geology surrounded by beautiful views. And in this calm weather it’s perfect. As we walked the north side of the island, fronting the Strait of Georgia, the driftwood was spectacularly large. photoOne tree stump was at least 50 feet around, 15 feet high and had a significant root system. Standing perfectly upright on shore it was harmless and beautiful, but I can’t imagine seeing it in the stormy waters it had to traverse to land in its current spot.


Now that we’re back on the True Love, the seals are playfully slapping the water all around us, eagles are chirping, perching and occasionally even soaring over the trees.


Tomorrow we head back across the imaginary border separating Canada and the US. We plan to stop in La Conner for a night and visit the Bow Spady clan before our final cruise back to the Elliott Bay Marina on Wednesday.


DSC_5355This morning we got to see our anchorage in all of its “low-tide” splendor. The sun was out but we could see the clouds in the distance so we went for a great kayak to the head of the bay, spotting the local eagle pair close to shore. photoJim found a fun passage that was just deep enough for kayaks through the shoal the creates “shoal harbor” at low tide and we kayaked back on the unusually glassy calm water of the Georgia Strait, passing baby seals soaking up the sun on shore and playing in the water.

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Back in the USA!

Traditionally, during our return to Washington State, it begins to rain just as we return and today is no exception. But we are snug and warm in the True Love’s lower helm, heading back home in some sprinkles with calm seas as we cruise through the San Juan Islands. We’ve cleared customs via phone using our NEXUS cards and all is fine and dandy.


This year we enjoyed sharing our adventure in person with some very special people: Liza & Brian Cohen, Jess & Saul, my parents George and Sheila Lederer and their great-grandson Zan, Jasmine, David & James, and of course all of you who read the blog!  It’s been fantastic and we can’t wait until next year’s cruise. Thanks for sharing our True Love Adventures!


2 thoughts on “From the Lethargy Zone to the Southern Gulf Islands

  1. I had to look up a strawberries and cream cocktail. We don’t have any strawberry schnapps in our collection! Welcome back to the USA. A question about expenses in Canada. Does everyone accept US dollars, does everyone take a credit card, or does one spend Canadian dollars? Great blog.

  2. First it’s my own cocktail concoction. Strawberrues, fresh cream or coconut milk, rum, vodka and a little ice you can add a sweetener if needed.

    Second, in Canada you use credit cards or get Canadian money. Right now the exchange rate is in the US favor.

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