Powell River to Montague Harbor
Desolation Sound Vacation -8/4/2019 - 8/5-2019 🍒
Powell River 🌛 --> Montague Harbor 🌛
We arrived at Powell River from Roscoe Bay after a very nice cruise early in the morning. The water was flat until we went around Sarah Point. From Sarah Point and south to Powell River the wind was light and the seas were 1~2 feet. The sun was out, the temperature was pleasant. This is not a bad way to start the day at all. There were a few other boats, but it there were no crowds on this portion of the journey.
Arrival at Powell River
We easily recognized the breakwater at Powell River from cruising guide pictures. I hailed them to ask for a slip assignment about ½ a mile out. I was only slightly confused when I hailed “Powell River Marina” and they replied “Westview Harbor.” Being a quick learner, I only had to ask one more time before I learned that the name of the marina at Powell River is Westview Harbor Marina.
I received my slip assignment and directions to the dock. Once I saw the side tie slip, I was certain there was a problem… Our boat won't possibly fit in that little tiny space they told me to park. Well, I made the best approach I could, turning 180 degrees to get the starboard side tie we desire. Well, Cerise did fit in the slip and I put her there like a pro! A little help from the thrusters, and I had one of those dockings that boost confidence. Once we got tied up, the dockhands then told me where the office is so that I could go register. They pointed at this building about 100 yards to the north. Then she pointed to south to the trail to the office. Turns out, that building, 100 yards away, is more than a ¼ mile walk. It is however, a very nice walk down the dock and along a waterfront trail and across a parking lot.
We arrived at Powell River about lunchtime. Well, at least we were hungry and didn’t feel like making lunch on the boat, so we went exploring, and in search of a place to grab a bite. Just across from the marina office is a Thai Restaurant with one of the best restaurant names. The Thaidal Zone. Unfortunately, being Sunday, it was closed for lunch, but we vowed to come back for dinner. We walked a few blocks and found a place that was open. It was the restaurant at the local bowling alley. We were hungry and they had food and beer. We went in. They had great food and the people were wonderful (most Canadians are). After lunch, we did a little shopping and managed to find the local liquor store – it IS open on Sunday- and bought a couple bottles of wine for boat. We walked back to the boat to relax for the afternoon, and drink some of our new wine.
As we promised ourselves, dinner was at the Thaidal Zone. It was packed with people – but for good reason. The food was delicious! As we began our leisurely stroll back to the boat, we noticed many people gathering near the ferry dock. Several had cameras and tripods. They were gathering for what would surely be a beautiful sunset. Sunset was still some time away, but we hung out with the groups, looked out over the boats in the marina, and watched some sea lions frolicking between the breakwater and the docks. I don’t know what game they were playing, but they did seem to be having a good time. As promised, the sunset was beautiful. It is a good thing we noticed these folks gathering because our boat was low behind the breakwater, and we would have missed most of it. A little more wine, and it was bed time.
Tomorrow's plan was to leave early and head to Nanaimo. Tracy wants to take the little people ferry to the Dinghy Dock Pub. The trip south out of Powell River was beautiful. Flat water, blue skies and snowcapped mountains. The epitome of boating in the Pacific Northwest. One of those mornings that makes a person want to be here forever. The cruse down the east side of Texada Island was wonderful. The waves picked up a little, 1~2 feet or so for our crossing of the Strait of Georgia toward Nanaimo. Military Area WG was open, life is good as cruise on toward Vancouver Island and Nanaimo.
The time went by quickly as we were enjoying this day on the water. As we got closer to Nanaimo, we realized that we would be there rather early. I did some of that navigation stuff and realized that we would-be right-on schedule for slack water at Dodd Narrows and that we could make it to Montague Harbor by about 3:00pm. So, we decided to change our plans mid channel and make our destination Montague Harbor on Galiano Island in the Canadian Gulf Islands. There were boats lining up at Dodd Narrows for the slack water. We waited behind a large cruiser that seemed a bit nervous about entering. There were a lot of boats going both ways and we held about 30 minutes while everyone determined their place in line. That part was frustrating, but we all made it through safely, and that is the important part.
A Well-known Harbor in Gulf Islands
Once through Dodd Narrows I made a phone call to Montague Harbor Marina. I asked if they had a slip available for tonight. The short answer was yes, but we couldn’t arrive until 4:00 pm – after the gas dock closes. Then I could moor near the gas dock. So, we slowed down on the cruise south through the Gulf Islands so that we would arrive about 4:00 and continued to enjoy this wonderful day on the water. Upon arrival, we did tie up just off the fuel dock. While we registered, I asked about where to catch the bus to the Hummingbird Pub-also known as The Hummingbird Bus.
Hummingbird Bus Ride Up The Hill
This bus is well known as the best way to get from the Marina to the Hummingbird Pub. The bus driver, Tommy Transit, is a very entertaining man that has been driving this bus from the marina and the campground for years. He asks for 1 Loonie each way, but the trip is worth way more than that. Upon entering the bus, you pick up your instrument of choice – Tambourine, or Maracas, or a kazoo or whatever else Tommy happens to have in the box that day. You get to sing and play along with Tommy for the few minutes ride up the hill to the Pub. He will also tell you a few stories of some of the Galliano Island locals. There is no way to explain the trip, please watch our little video and then search for “Tommy Transit” on you tube and watch other videos that have been posted. You’ll be glad you did. The Pub itself is a nice local bar and restaurant. The food was good and the beer was cold. It was a nice evening dinner, only to be capped off with a trip on the bus back to the marina. What a great, entertaining, way to have dinner on Galliano Island.
Upon getting back to the marina, we stopped at the marina store for an Ice Cream cone and wandered back to the boat. Once there, we poured a couple of drinks and visited with people from other boats until late into the evening. Montague harbor also is a wonderful anchorage that attracts dozens of boats. This became very apparent once the sun went down. There were so many boats in the harbor that it was difficult to tell where the stars stopped and the anchor lights began. That was a very interesting optical illusion.
The next morning, we are going back to the USA and our more familiar cruising grounds of the San Juan Islands. Since we didn’t spend the night in Nanaimo, we now have an extra night to use on the way home. The plan is to go to Wescott Shellfish Company for oysters after clearing customs in Roche Harbor.
We woke up and were in no real hurry to leave, but we had to be gone by 9:00 am so the fuel dock could open……
Good bye Canada. We will see you again soon.
More Pictures of Powell River
More Pictures of Montague Harbor