Our yacht, Mercier, is a Beneteau from Vendee, France and we met her in Bandol. So we were very excited to be asked to host French Families and friends of French Invictus Warriors.
Sydney Harbour is an amazing place to share with guests and we had a Invictus flag to get us an anchorage right at the Sydney Opera House. Frosty, James and I wanted to make sure we got the best viewing position for our guests.
We were able to watch the Invictus Elliott’s practice in Rushcutter’s Bay and we were able to cheer the French team on and take a few photos.
We toured around the harbour near the Eastern Suburbs and then followed the Elliotts over to Farm Cove.
The clouds disappeared for awhile and we had some very close racing. The weather was kind to us. There were blue skies and the wind was only a little bit chilly.
The wind was strong going into Farm Cove until the top mark, but lighter on the return. France had won the Gold earlier in the morning for Cyrille Chahboune’s in the Hansa 303 in the morning.
As loud as we shouted for the French team from Mercier, the Danish team were incredible up on the hill. The Dutch and the UK also had a presence in Farm Cove.
There were thousands of people on shore and in the water enjoying the Invictus Sailing. Our guests seem to enjoy the day too. We hope they enjoy the rest of their stay in sunny Sydney. Good luck to all the Invictus Warriors and their families.
Vancouver isn’t kidding when it talks about its harbors, it waterways and the great time you will have sailing in these waters. You do get rain and you also get plenty of sunshine.
After Pender Harbor, we motored off to Secret Cove with about half the fleet. Turns out that was our last Green Box on a dock, so the order of the afternoon were drinks and sharing nibbles and talking the sun down. Actually before sun set, we heard music and before we knew it singers were pouring onto the docks and we spent the next hour singing songs from Amazing Grace to show tunes to Carole King and Janis Joplin. Old MacDonald got a workout.
In the morning, we all sailed or motored over to Snug Harbor, a marina that is the last vestige of the Union Steamship Company on Bowen Island. A great marina with shops and a great pub called Doc Morgan’s who fed the whole flotilla and kept Canadian Geese as guard birds.
And so we finished where we began, at the Royal Van in Jericho Bay. We had an amazing dinner with singers and an old English Folk Song, we had “thank you”s and that we all had a terrific time was duly noted. We were asking when the next ICOYC cruise might be scheduled because it is something many of us would like to do again.
I have to put it in writing that the despite what you might hear, the Death by chocolate was not the highlight of the trip, but it was certainly in the top ten.
We crossed the Malibu rapids again pre-dawn, on our way to the Royal Van Outstation in Pender Harbour. It was about 46 nautical miles in the rain.
The Enchanted crew were enclosed in clears to keep out the miserable weather.
We were happy to be going to an outstation with all the amenities of home. We could get off the boat and make our way to the lovely club house and sit and watch the rain. It cleared up during the late afternoon, and it was time to crack open a bottle of bubbles and toast our hosts.
This was a great spot and we could walk to a great local store, named John Henry’s, have hot showers, do laundry and have lunch in the club house. We were happy to go to a nearby restaurant in the evening. The Australian crew of Corus met us for dinner coming over by dinghy, as well as about half the flotilla. We completely filled the dining room.
In the morning we go off to Secret Cove, but tonight we eat drink and socialise.
Since the first skipper’s meeting, the flotilla had discussed Chatterbox Falls and the Malibu Rapids. Protocols were discussed and reiterated, even the yachting guides err on the side of detailed strategies. We left in the pre-dawn darkness from Harmony Bay, so that we would reach Malibu Rapids at slack tide.
Malibu Rapids often has a 9-knot current ripping through a boulder sided narrows, we wanted to be sure to be there at the right time. Once you get to the rapids, you enter the granite fjord of Princess Louisa inlet, it was chilly and the clouds were at mast height but we were all ready to go through the rapids.
We let all the outgoing boats go through and then went through the rapids. We think because of the lack of rain in previous months, it was only about 2-3 knots of current. It was an anticlimax. Was that it?
We then motored up the six kilometers to Chatterbox Falls; she didn’t disappoint. We were all impressed by the thundering falls and the misty landscapes.
This is granite fjord country crafted by glaciers. Over the next two days we saw elegant Blue Herons fishing, a seal catching a giant silver salmon and bashing it from side to side on the water to stun it and raptors soaring over head. The lushness around the falls creates moss and lichen on every surface.
We could reach out and touch the clouds. They were often lying between the masts.
We took dinghies back to Malibu rapids to visit the Youth camp and see the rapids from above. Still not nine knots but a bit more formidable.
We met a hiker and asked how he came to Chatterbox Falls, replete in backpack and tent, he said float plane. He would go for his hike and then take the ferry back. Hiking through the trees was muddy but lush. Needless to say, this was a highlight of BC. Remote and accessible.
From Alexandra Island, we motor sailed to Seattle Yacht Club Outstation at Garden Bay. We had a green box get together after the Skipper’s Meetings, which was so nice, a club house with hot showers and a great place to mingle and meet other cruisers.
On Thursday, we headed to the Harmony Islands en route to Princess Louisa Inlet. These islands are masses of granite, with forest going up from the waterline. Anchoring was a considered exercise because the water is so deep here. Canadian yachting said nearby Hotham Sound was 2,200 ft deep. A glacier had etched the islands out of granite mountains.
Once anchored, everyone (except the photographer) went for a swim and there were a few squeals at the 17 C degree water.
The skippers meeting was a cosy get-together with all hands, on the Starship- Malaika raft up, to discuss the next days journey up to Princess Louisa inlet and strategies for crossing the rapids and enjoying the wine.
Seals kept their distance but continued to fish and as the sun lowered on the horizon, we went back to Enchanted to enjoy the sunset.
At Alexandra Island, we Aussie and other guests, quickly became aware of how hospitable our hosts were. Yachts came into the pontoon over the next several hours, with the first order of business being a Green box. In the parlance of the Pacific Northwest, a green box seems to be a combination of Aussie BYOB and maybe a Greek meze. In Australia, we meet on our boats most often but at the Outstations, we could all congregate on the dock.
Pam and Chuck Lowry and Val and John Robertson co-chaired our ICOYC Cruise and the amount of effort both couples had put in was patently evident. The main event at our Green box was Pam awarding all the boats their own windsock. There was a story to every windsock and there was no doubt how much work had gone into it.
Enchanted crew walked on the island’s paths and visited the small pavilion. The views were also lovely from the top of the hill.
The next morning, we were off to the Harmony Islands, with half the ICOYC group and two capable Captains to make sure we all arrived. But tonight we were all eating steaks underneath the Northern stars.