ALASKA 2016: Leg 7 – Madeira Park to Montague Harbour | NW Explorations


ALASKA 2016: Leg 7 – Madeira Park to Montague Harbour

The weather in late summer in the northwest is often incomparably beautiful, and today, like yesterday, did not disappoint. Warm sunshine fell softly on us as we left the bay and turned to port, following the coastline down past Secret Cove and into Welcome Passage, where the shoreline fell away and we found ourselves in the Strait of Georgia. The Strait is an enormous inland sea, often with wind and seas markedly different from surrounding waters. Luck continues to be in our favor however, and the boat barely rocks as we motor across.

Crossing the Strait is the last big geographic hurdle as we near our home port in Bellingham, and after thousands of miles cruised far to the north, we are again within the confines of the Salish Sea, an ecologically and culturally defined area that includes Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the San Juan Islands, and the Canadian Gulf Islands.

The windswept Flat Top islands welcome us across and back into protected waters. We cruise down Trincomali Channel under sculpted sandstone cliffs punctuated here and there by the gorgeous amber trunks of the Madrone tree. The far-off skyline of the city of Vancouver appears like a mirage on the horizon to the east as we pass between Valdes and Galiano Island, but soon the rising flank of the island obscures the view and we move on as harbor seals bob contentedly around us.

By mid-afternoon we arrive in Montague Harbor, which rightly stands as one of the regions most popular anchorages. A lovely provincial park covers the peninsula to the north and hosts a number of lovely white shell beaches, and Galiano Island boats a number of excellent galleries, restaurants, and shops that showcase the laid back, hippy vibe of the community. One of the not-to-be-missed local legends is the bus which whisks boaters from the harbor ten minutes up the road to the Hummingbird Pub. Tommy Transit has been driving the bus for years, which he has outfitted with a drum set on the dashboard, speakers all over, and a high energy rock-and-roll playlist of crowd pleasers. As you board you are given an instrument and as the bus bounces its way down the road it turns into a rollicking sing-along. The hummingbird pub does a fine job as well, and the good food, full bar, beautiful setting, live music, and pool tables made for a memorable evening (not to mention the return trip on the bus!).


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