Monday, 1 July 2013

Canada Day

It's going to be a scorcher of a day today; summer has arrived on the BC coast. The clouds from a few days back are nothing but a damp memory. It's early and already it's hot. It will be one of those kinds of days where sunscreen is a limp promise of protection yet an essential requirement. Plus, no wind.

That may not really be the case. Days like this, these days of clear blue, endless sky, are typically part of the summer high pressure ridge that forms over the BC coast from late June to early September. Periodically this patter produces land breezes, some with famous names like the Nimkish and the Qualicum winds. These winds, like the Sirocco of North Africa and the Mistral of France, are built over the land, in this case Vancouver Island, and rush down valleys to the sea, creating sudden gusty winds and rough seas. The only plus is that these winds are typically cool and dry, creating terrific sailing conditions, assuming you are not heading to where the wind is coming from, a situation all too common along this coast.

These islands where we cruise, known as the Gulf Islands, dot the east coast of Vancouver Island all the way from Victoria up to Comox, making this area one of the most protected and beautiful cruising areas in the world. The waters are rich with salmon, seals, porpoise, dolphin and whales. The skies are home to the eagle and raven. The land is lush and green and rich. No wonder the natives didn't want us white people showing up. Yesterday we came within a few feet of a Harbour Porpoise and I have seen all kinds marine mammals in these waters.

Today we are going to head across Cowichan Bay and down into Saanich Inlet on the southern end of Vancouver Island. Our plan is to stay at Brentwood Bay where they have an excellent marina. I want to have a shower but most of the marinas along the coast qualify as rustic. Brentwood Bay Marina is fairly high end, much like the Sidney Harbour Marina opposite on the other side of the peninsula.

It will be an easy day today with only 12 nautical miles to cover, taking about 2 and a half hours. We will stay at the dock until 11:00 AM or so, then, lazily and with no sense of time and timing, we will head out onto the water, drifting our way across the glass, sunning ourselves and taking it easy, until we get to the other end of the chart. I like days like this.

Happy Canada Day!

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