Friday, 5 August 2016

Back down south...

South entrance to Dodger Channel from inside (shallow at zero tide) -- Cape Beale behind
We spent two nights at Dodger Channel*, trying to judge weather, allowing us some kayak time. Dodger is a great location: a wild, west coast anchorage (you can hear the swells breaking outside, yet it is calm inside), close to Cape Beale and hence a great jumping off spot to head south/east to Sooke and beyond.

* Note: the South entrance to Dodger Channel is only about 3 feet at zero tide, contrary to the 9+ feet indicated by at least one popular guidebook, as well as the 2.8 metres (>9')  suggested by the CHS chart (however, the CHS chart does not indicate this is the minimum depth).
After a couple days in the anchorage in Dodger Channel, we headed East/South towards Port Renfrew.  We elected (slept in)  to leave Dodger Channel later (10 am)  in order to miss the fog and hopefully to get some afternoon wind..  We were successful with the fog (none all the way past Victoria),  but the wind didn't come up until Port Renfrew.  We were going to anchor at Thrasher Cove,  but it was blowing 15-20 knots with wind waves in this small anchorage.  Fortunately,  the new "Pacific Gateway"  marina in Port Renfrew had space.  (This brand new in 2016 marina has great docks and,  importantly,  an excellent high rock breakwater.  Space for larger boats is limited so making an advance reservation is recommended.)

Next day,  we waited again for fog to clear, and (hopefully) for winds to pick up.  This time we were lucky,  with a wonderful sail from San Simeon all the way to Becher Bay,  with Fin our Hydrovane steering us (and no fog!).

It was blustery in Murder Bay (Becher Bay)  but it was nearly empty, no seas and an excellent anchorage.

Next morning,  we waited for slack current at Race Passage, then motored the 35 nm all the way to Sidney in the sun, helped by a flood current in many places.

Our trip down the west coast of Vancouver Island completed.

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