With provisioning finally settled in Ganges, the flotilla headed north to Madeira Park in Pender Harbour. The rain was heavy in the early hours of the morning as the crew of Deception waited for the sunrise to safely navigate through the minefield of mooring balls within Ganges. Just as the sky began to illuminate, the clouds started to break apart giving us a cloudy, misty morning. A cup of coffee goes a long way as the water droplets fall across the pilothouse windows as we sit comfortably warm and dry, winding a path through the Gulf Islands.
Captain Jordan instructed the flotilla to “snuggle up” as we passed through a narrow passage between Wise Island and Montague Harbour. The sandstone cliffs stood proud off our starboard side with the recent rain producing vibrant reds and oranges in the rock against the dark evergreens shrouded in low-lying clouds.
Once into the Strait of Georgia the swell picked up. Deception’s bow danced on the tops of waves averaging a meter only then to surf on a broad reach down the face of the swells. She’s a stable yacht, and the motion was a pleasant change to the glass-like conditions we have experience for the majority of the time. The flotilla sailed across big water, white caps as far as the eye could see, and land had been shrouded in fog and low clouds. It felt great to be in the middle of it all.
Chatter on the radio indicated humpbacks were near by. Our channel 80A erupted with excitement as the whales surfaced a few hundred yards nearby. I reached for my binoculars when I heard Jack, aboard Anamcara, say he had spotted more off his bow. Just then, I could see a giant pectoral fin raise high into the air and slap the water with a thundering crash! It was a small group of adult humpbacks lunge feeding and slapping the surface, so we idled back our throttles and Deception rocked back and forth in the waves with the whales. Moments later, as we departed from our large friends, Jordan spotted more on the horizon that were breaching clear out of the water! What a fantastic display of nature.
After a three-hour crossing of the Strait, we reached out destination. Madeira Park is located far back in Pender Harbour. Navigation can be tough with a complex network of shoals and rocky reefs inside the maze-like coves and inlets making the task of finding an ideal anchorage difficult for the novice mariner. One of the great benefits of traveling with NW Explorations is the knowledge of the support crew and their extensive experience in these settings. Captain Jordan and our mechanic Brian are very helpful finding the best anchorage within a crowded cove, providing enough swing room so as not to disturb any of our neighbors in the night.
Dinghies were deployed to the shore for a chance to stretch the legs after six hours of cruising. It was a great opportunity to get some fine dining within the sleepy town of Madeira Park. As the sun set behind the high mountains surrounding the anchorage, cocktail parties could be heard aboard many of the boats. BBQ smoke emanated from many of the other boats giving a sweet aroma to the air. It was a fine day full of adventure, wildlife, and good food. We certainly are the fortune ones among the