2023 Princess Louisa Flotilla – Day 8 Ganges | NW Explorations


2023 Princess Louisa Flotilla – Day 8 Ganges

Departing Nanaimo, our journey took us through Northumberland Channel along Duke Point. This Channel is very busy with three separate industries: BC ferry from Nanaimo across the Strait of Georgia to Tsawwassen, cargo and lumber transport and pulp shipping port. It is a busy channel for sure! Log booms  are anchored on the far shore and tugs pulling more log booms across the channel to be loaded onto transport ships.

Dodd Narrows is the next obstacle; it is a very narrow channel with strong currents that demand attention to timing before attempting to pass through.

Even during the slack our fleet entered the Narrows on the west side but as they progress through the Narrows, they are moved to the east side as if sliding across ice. A little extra throttle gets everyone through safely and we are on our way again. It makes for an adrenaline rush in case you missed your morning coffee.

There are no houses in sight on Mudge island on the west side of Dodd Narrows so the man with his dog on the shore was a curious sight. The dog seemed as interested in us as we were in him.

Further south in the channel at Wallace Island we spotted a group of over twenty harbor seals hauled out for their morning rest. These groups are composed of males and females of all ages and can range from a few to many hundred seals. Pups are nursed for four to five weeks and will double their weight during that time. Females will leave their pups on shore for long periods of time while she goes on prolonged foraging excursions.

Small rocky islands dot the waters of the Salish Sea. It is a rough habitat for any living thing and plants are no exception. Only the hardiest survive. The orange bark of the Madrone makes it easy to recognize. It grows on dry, sunny, and often rocky sites frequently with nutrient poor soil. Its bright bark and contorted branches make it an especially attractive tree. Intertidal zonation can be seen as horizontal stripes of different colors. The black, gray, yellow and orange are caused by various species of lichens, some more salt tolerant than others that allow them each to live at a different distance above the tides.

Ganges is a busy harbor and boats need to share the water way with float planes. Trisha may be surprised to see the floats that mark the “Float Plane Lane.” Is that what she is pointing out to Paul?

Welcome to Ganges Marina on Salt Spring Island! We arrived on a Saturday, just in time for the Farmer’s Market where farmers and artists alike sell their wares including fresh vegetables, cheeses, grass-fed meats, honey and artistic crafts to name a few. There are plenty of places to visit in this small town but the crew on Memories decided to take a cab to go out of town to a goat farm and sample some fresh cheeses.

In the evening, Double O’ Seven and Patos crew enjoyed an excellent meal and some live music at the Tree House Café. This popular eclectic restaurant is built around a 100-year-old plum tree and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When we arrived, we were surprised to see friends from Bellingham at tables on either side of us. Nautical adventurers would likely encounter each other in small towns in these coastal communities. After dinner we returned to our boats and turned in for a quiet evening. Tomorrow, half of the flotilla will return to Sidney while the rest of us continue on to Bellingham.

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