We head south from Gorge Harbor, Parsifal’s prow dipping & rising as we break through the southerly swells, shedding spray off our bow. We have a long run to round the clanging red buoy marking the mile long reef off Sutil point, the southernmost tip of Cortes. The eery noise of the clanging bell competes with the cries of the cormorants on the few exposed rocks, calling us towards them. It is at moments like this that I thank God for all those brave mariners who went before us and first charted these waters.
Once safely past the bell we head east, hoisting Parsifal’s main, sailing on through Baker passage around Hernando Island before becoming becalmed in the noon day sun. While we drift lazily we take the opportunity for a tasty hot lunch of grilled cheese on English muffins & spicy leftover lamb curry mmm.
As we eat lunch we start thinking about the place names that surround us; Hernando Island off the tip of Cortes, both named after the Spanish conquistador who colonized Mexico, apparently the Spanish & English charted these waters together. Desolation Sound itself named by Captain George Vancouver, as he apparently said ‘there was not a single prospect that was pleasing to the eye’. What a misnomer that was, I think most people would find it hard to find a prospect that is not pleasing to the eye.
After our sunny interlude & peaceful lunch we continue south now motoring & sailing. As we round Savary Island the sun disappears behind the clouds and the wind suddenly blows up again heeling us over and chilling us, as we make our final run to Powell River. Ron has us on a tack heading straight towards Harwood Island to make the most of the wind filling our main sail, before his final tack towards Powell River.
Once we enter the harbor & locate Hytta we find to our surprise that the docks are pretty full, unlike our experience so far. After taking another look we spot an open section right by the harbor entrance, but as we are here to weather another storm Ron wants to go back and side tie to the main dock in between two of the piers. It is the widest opening but unfortunately once Ron is committed to the turn, we realise that Parsifal is not quite going to fit without touching the other boats. We spend a few stressful moments with Ron on the deck of another boat carefully moving our projecting metal davit arms so that they do not scrape anything, and me moving quickly around with the boat hook staving us off and giving Ron warnings of any impending trouble. Ron decides to abort this plan & head back to tie up at the open dock by the entrance. Once we are safely secured & able to relax at last, it is definitely time for an ‘emergency’. A term coined by Tom when he & Ron are working on their respective boats side by side in Nanaimo & he wants a beer break!