Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gulf Islands Trip Pt.5 - Cheese Burgers in Paradise

The heat had been almost unbearable, so heading out of Ganges was welcome as the marine breeze would help keep us cool. Well that was the theory anyway. What little breeze that was out there soon diminished and we found ourselves on near flat calm water. Our plan was to head over to Galiano Island and check out Montague Harbour Marine Park.

Charlene on deck as we depart Ganges

This voyage was really the shortest passage of the trip. We were passed by the Mayne Island Ferry as we transited. I was curious if we could secure a mooring buoy for the evening. There was a bunch of American boats in the area. Vacations were now in full swing on both sides of the border, so I thought an early recon of the Marine park might yield a vacant buoy. 
We have tried in the past, unsuccessfully, to secure one of these coveted "tie ups" at a Marine Park closer to home for an evening. I was really hoping to avoid disappointment. 

As we approached the narrow entry into the channel that leads to Montague Bay, a couple of boats were making their exit. Charlene said "That looks encouraging." 
It wasn't long before Corleto had motored into the Bay proper. I got my binoc's and began to scan for empty buoys. 

"I think we are gonna be OK Charlene, I see at least 4." 
Another faster boat was about to overtake us, and with this first come first served rule, I was worried that faster vessels would beat Corleto to the punch. 
My fears were unfounded as we closed in on a row of about 3. I steered Corleto to one that was close to shore, but suddenly one appeared just ahead. 
I relayed to Charlene who was now with boat hook in hand up on the bow, that we would be trying for the closer one. 
I reduced throttle and maneuvered toward our target. 
Charlene reached out and hooked it on her first attempt. I put the engine in neutral and scampered ahead to help her secure the line. And Just like that we were tied up. Our first mooring buoy.

Corleto nicely tied up to a mooring buoy at Montague Harbour

The experience of tying up to a buoy and just relying on your boat systems was one we both had been looking forward to. We celebrated with a light snack and some relaxing on the deck under the shade of our makeshift cover. There was a slight breeze that kept us cooler than being in the sun. 
After a bit we got aboard our dingy to explore the park. It took us about 15 minutes to row to the dingy dock. Note to self for next time: Take a buoy closer to shore or get a small outboard. 
We explored around the tenting grounds and a bit of the shore line, but the heat of the day was just too much. So we headed back to Corleto for an afternoon snooze and some quiet time. 
After reboarding, I decided to perhaps go for a swim.

Thinking about jumping in
Again a new experience to jump off my boat into the water. I hesitated thinking what if I cannot get back aboard, why would I jump off a perfectly good boat? Because it's like 95˚ and I did this all the time when I was a kid. 
In I went with a rather big splash. 

The big SPLASH!

Damn that water was cold! It took my breath away. I swam right over to the dingy and grabbed a hold. Charlene said I had a smile that lit up the whole bay. I swam over to the swim ladder and climbed back aboard. That was fun. 

It's chilly!
We settled down and relaxed and watched the vessels come in an fill up the remaining buoys. It wasn't too long before a friendly couple who noticed our boat came over to introduce themselves and to invite us to next years Catalina Rendezvous. A short time later the park ranger came by to collect the park user fee. A bargain at $12. 

My Cheese Burger in Paradise- with extra cheese

As the sun began to fade, we fired up the BBQ and treated ourselves to two of the finest cheeseburgers we have ever made. We enjoyed a cold Corona and watched an amazing sunset. This place truly was a slice of heaven.

Thank you God.
Days like this are savoured. They are what vacations are meant to be, relaxing and restful to the soul. 
And one more- Heaven

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