On our return trip through the Sunshine Coast, we made a stop at Lasqueti, to “Graveyard Bay” on the southwest side. Although Graveyard Bay sounded ominous, it was the perfect little anchorage. There’s tons of wild life around Lasqueti – in our little cove we saw numerous birds, seals, a couple blue herons, and three sheep grazing on the hillside. It’s a quiet, peaceful place, with few other boats – most other boats pass up Lasqueti on their way to Desolation Sound, probably because it requires detouring a bit out into the Strait of Georgia, rather than sticking to the more common route up Malaspina Strait.
We met up with another sailor we know from the Seattle area – Alan of S/V Kingfisher. Our paths happened to be crossing, and we had a great time having dinner on our boat (with ribs, salad, and plenty of beer and wine) and then breakfast on his the next morning.
We regretted not spending a second night at Lasqueti to try out a new anchorage, but the wind forecast was perfect for sailing to Nanaimo, our next destination. But first I need to jump back a bit – there were several other stops on our Sunshine Coast round 2 before we made it to Lasqueti.
Sturt Bay, Texada Island
Sturt Bay is at the Northeast end of Texada Island. There aren’t many anchorages in this area, so it provides a convenient place to stop for the night before doing Malaspina Strait the next day (or vice versa if you’re northbound).
The town it’s adjacent to, Van Anda, is a quarrying town, so it’s a bit industrial, and quite small – the population is only about 70, according to Wikipedia.
We got an inside spot at the westernmost edge of the anchorage, near the lagoon. We explored the lagoon at high water with our dinghy and it had lots of cool granite rock, oyster beds, and wildlife.
From the dinghy dock it was a 15-20 minute walk to a small grocery store. The beer selection there wasn’t great (no microbrews), but they had a manager’s special on Goose Island’s Sofie – bottled in 2014. They probably had trouble selling the beer and wanted to get rid of it, which I was happy to help them with, since a Belgian beer often improves with age.
At Buccaneer Bay we found our least favorite Sunshine Coast wildlife was back in force – mosquitoes. We had nearly two dozen mosquitoes in the cabin that night. I don’t even know how they got in, because we followed our precautions of closing the hatches upon anchoring, keeping the companionway hatch closed as much as possible, and lighting a citronella candle in the cockpit. We didn’t sleep too great with the buzz-buzz sounds going by our heads.
Secret Cove Marina
Secret Cove marina was perfect timing for our once-a-week marina stop – it was raining, sometimes quite hard, and being in a marina on a rainy day lets us dry out the boat more easily while still getting our shore chores done.
Secret Cove also has good anchoring and we saw several boats dinghying in to use the store or fuel dock. We were happy to be in the marina on a rainy day though, and we did dinner at the Upper Deck Cafe, their restaurant on the marina floats.
Our visit to Nanaimo was exciting for us because it’s the biggest city we’d been in for a while. It’s small by Seattle or Vancouver standards, but it was still far busier than we were used to. It was a good chance to ease back into civilization.
We picked up a mooring ball in Mark’s Bay on Newcastle Island for two nights. The mooring balls are $14 (about $10 USD) and it was well worth it to have a bit of extra convenience and peace of mind while we were doing dinghy runs into the city for shopping and recreation. Plus the winds were still blowing 10-20 knots.
We rented bikes for the afternoon and biked to a winery and a brewery. Wolf Brewing was recommended to us by the bike shop tech, and was a good choice for great beer – their IPA was on par with Lighthouse IPA (which apparently has a distribution shortage in BC?!).
We also hiked a bit on Newcastle Island – it has some really nice hiking trails, and we were sad we didn’t have time to do the full perimeter loop (7.5 kilometers).
Clam Bay, Northern Gulf Islands
After Nanaimo we took Dodd Narrows an hour before slack (with about a 2 knot push) to the northern Gulf Islands. We were amused listening to a couple boaters on VHF 16 chastise two powerboats for going through Dodd Narrows way too fast. One 50’ motor yacht had passed us at 15-20 knots in only 100 feet of water, creating a huge wake which rolled our boat and dozens of others.
Clam Bay is a nice anchorage on the east of Thetis and Kuper Islands, with room for many boats, in relatively shallow depths (20-30’) in good holding – all the things we like in an anchorage. We also took our dinghy through “the cut” – a shallow canal cutting through the islands to the west harbor of Thetis to visit the C&C rendezvous at the marina.
We’re in Vancouver now, and not sure where we’re heading next – possibly Howe Sound for one night, and then back to the northern Gulfs briefly before going to Sidney.