S/V Hello World's Travel Log


Our last visit to Tsehum Harbor, we were chomping at the bit to get our adventure started. Sure, we sailed to Port Townsend, across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and spent a fabulous weekend in the San Juans. But that hardly qualified as adventure. We sought remote anchorages, dangerous waters and wildlife with big teeth. Instead, we were stuck in Tsehum Harbor waiting for our new sail to be adjusted and some engine parts to show up while ski boats roared past us throwing up enough of a wake to make walking inside the boat hazardous.

This visit, our attitudes seemed to be different. We spent the last few months chasing that adventure and loved (almost) every minute of it. But now we found ourselves out of touch with friends and family and pining for the siren song of the super-sized chocolate shake at McDonalds. So we settled into life at Tsehum Harbor for a few days of preparation for the arrival of McKenzie and Matt, Christy's sister and soon-to-be brother-in-law.

The first thing Christy noticed as we pulled into the anchorage was another Caliber, the first Caliber we've seen in the wild. We've known a couple others at Shilshole but have yet to run across one until now. Dennis and Pam aboard s/v PamDemonium proved to be wicked cool folk. We shared drinks and dinner with them as we discussed voyaging plans. They live aboard at anchor and are preparing the boat for a voyage down to Mexico just about the same time as us this fall. They introduced us to Mike and Marni aboard s/v Picara who are also voyaging down to Mexico about the same time as us this fall. We also met Keith and Olena aboard s/v Anon and you'll never guess what their plans are for this fall. Mexico. Everyone was fantastic to spend time with and further cemented our belief in people who live and voyage on their boats. If these are the kinds of people we'll be spending time with in Mexico, than we can't get there soon enough.

Pam and Dennis gave us a ride down to Victoria so we spent the day walking around this incredible town. What a beautiful waterfront. To really enjoy this town you need two ingredients, 1. a boat and 2. garbage cans full of money. The waterfront is loaded with great cafes, restaurants, and pubs. Since we didn't have our boat with us (still anchored in Sidney) and none of our garbage cans have any cash in them at all, we made ourselves content with a tasty lunch at the local Pita Pit and a nap under a tree.

Back in Tsehum Harbor, we got the boat prepped for visitors, the first visitors we've had since we left the dock. This involved a good deal of effort cleaning out the quarterberth which we had packed with tools, kayak paddles, spare parts, books, and more tools. We also had the aft head (our guest bath if you please) packed to the rafters with wet foulies, life jackets and diesel jerry cans. We spiffied up the boat and talked about how excited we were for McKenzie and Matt to get here.

And so it was that we actually enjoyed our stay in Tsehum Harbor this time around. The harbor certainly hadn't changed. But maybe we did.

Sunset in Tsehum Harbor.

s/v PamDemonium - the first Caliber we've seen in the wild!

The familiar confines of Tsehum Harbor.

The Empress Hotel in Victoria.

The Victoria waterfront.

The "legislative" building in Victoria. Does that mean it's the capital? We may never know.

48°40.312'N 123°24.457'W


We pulled into Esquimalt after running the Strait from Barkley Sound on the west coast. Up to this point, our lives had been comprised of sailing the whale-laden Pacific Ocean between remote, rocky anchorages teeming with otters, seals and eagles. We'd had weeks on end of reveling in the absolute back and beyond of nowhere. The two towns we visited during our month on the west coast of Vancouver Island were all remote, small and quiet with no real sense of the rest of the world. Entering Esquimalt was like walking up to a wall with a light switch on it that says: "CIVILIZATION" and flicking it on. Cars, tankers, airplanes, ferries, traffic all sounded foreign and strange. We heard our first siren and sat up with a start. I think we were a bit sad to have left the wilderness feel of the west coast behind. But if we are going to sail to Mexico and meet up with Christy's sister McKenzie and soon-to-be brother-in-law Matt, there are schedules to keep and so we found ourselves back in the modern world.

We pulled the dinghy off the foredeck and ran over to check out an old British Naval Armory on Cole Island at the very back of the harbor. I don't know much about the history of this place other than it had a.) some really interesting brick architecture and b.) very uplifting grafitti. We scrambled around on the island for a spell and dinghied back to the boat for another round of napping before an afternoon exit to make for Sidney.

Christy climbing trees.

The armory on Cole Island.

Hello World anchored in Esquimalt Harbor (on the left).

48°27.068'N 123°26.808'W

strait of juan de fuca

After parting with Happy Camper in Bamfield, we headed to Wouwer Island. Waggoner's describes this island at the very western edge of the Broken Group like so:

At half tide or higher, most boats can make it through the slit between Batley Island and Wouwer Island. A bow watch will only scare you. <snip>... From the deepest indent in Wouwer Island, a short trail (a salal tunnel, actually) leads to a beach that faces the Pacific Ocean. The beach is choked with drift logs tangled like a mass of Tinker Toys. At the south end of the island, the shorelines around the headlands offer teeming tidepools, carpets of mussels, roaring sea lions, and storm-torn trees with eagles perched in them.

This really sounds like a place we need to spend some time in. We were foiled on our last attempt on Wouwer Island so we decided to give it another shot. This time we made it through the slit and into the anchorage (the bow watch was not scary - the depth sounder, however, caused a moment of pucker). We made an attempt at anchoring with a stern tie tucked in behind the lone islet inside the anchorage. Once we got the boat settled between her anchor and stern line, we couldn't stay out of the swell. It would have made for a long, rolly night with ocean swells starting in Japan and terminating on the side of our hull. So we decided to weigh anchor, scoot over to Effingham Bay (again) but just long enough to get ready for the passage down the Strait of Juan de Fuca. If we couldn't spend some time in Wouwer, we were determined to take advantage on the rare tame weather forecast for the strait and favorable tides.

Once at anchor back in Effingham Bay, we pulled the dinghy up on deck, moved the staysail stay off the foredeck and back by the mast, and pre-rigged the whisker pole. We were ready for some serious downwind sailing. We planned to ride the 5AM flood tide as far into the strait as we could so we departed around 10PM that evening allowing us the last remnants of the sunset for visibility to get out into Imperial Eagle Channel. Of all the sailing we'd done until this point, this was the time when we'd need to be the most cautious in our navigation. This was our first overnight sail in Hello World which also promised to be laced heavy with fog.

As luck would have it, our faithful chartplotter chose this exact moment to shit the bed. No GPS signal period. This was certainly not a deal breaker, we have four other GPS' on board, functioning radar, all the proper charts for the areas we were transiting. But still, the chartplotter would have been nice, particularly for exiting the rock-littered Broken Group and getting out into the Pacific.

What we lacked in chartplotter functionality, we more than made up for in phosphorescence. The prop wash (no sailing to be done all night) and waves running down the sides of the hull were lit up with phosphorescence. The Milky Way was brilliant. The sky was packed with stars. At least until the fog set in. Once the fog enveloped the boat, standing watch became a function of staring at the radar looking for the tiniest pixel of a return. We received several radar returns and were incredibly grateful to have it. This would have been wicked scary without it. It was scary enough with it. At one point, Christy woke me up when she saw three radar returns, all with bearings that looked to intersect right at us. Nobody came within 3/4 of a mile but we never caught a glimpse of any of their lights.

A windless day followed the windless evening and we motored uneventfully past Race Rocks and up into the anchorage in Esquimalt at around 3PM. We happily set the anchor in the back of Esquimalt Harbor, high-fived each other and augered into bed.

Sunset as we left Effingham Bay for the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Sunrise over the Strait!

An easy motor down the Strait of Juan de Fuca in glassy water.

48°24.694'N 124°09.015'W

happy campers

Boats have a gravitational pull on a certain type of people. Amongst the boating population, wankers, fucksticks and jackasses are sorely under-represented. There is a disproportionately high number of genuinely friendly, open, bright, and funny people. When you slice that boating population into those that live and voyage on their boats, the statistics skew even further. So it shouldn't come as such a surprise that we got along so famously with the crew of s/v Happy Camper after a chance meeting in a laundrymat in Port McNeill.

We've traveled with Scottie, Kelly, Addie the attention hound, and Presley the canvas attacking cat ever since meeting them. We've shared anchorages, weather forecasting, drinks and coffee grinders. We've watched whales, kayaked, laughed, and raced. We've run the length of the west coast of Vancouver Island with them and consider them our dear friends. Their post-Vancouver Island life takes them to Tacoma and another year in the Pacific Northwest before heading south to Mexico. We're sad to be parting ways. We'll be thinking about them alot this winter as we make for the tropical latitudes ahead of them. We can't wait for the day in a sunny Mexican anchorage when their familiar hail comes across the radio and we see their Maple Leaf 42 round the point. Until that day, Happy Camper - fair winds, my friends.

Hello World standing by on one-six.


Bamfield was our final stop with Happy Camper. We had traveled together for a month after a chance meeting in a laundrymat and this was the last hurrah. We had a great night out at the local (only) bar and got a tow back to the boats from the powerful HC dinghy when we didn't feel like rowing back to the boat (after not feeling like putting the outboard on the dinghy - it was a day of excessive laziness).

A little more about the cute little town: it is split down the middle by the bay - so there's East Bamfield and West Bamfield. We got the feeling that the water is like the railroad tracks in other towns. East Bamfield had road access (via a logging road) while the west side does not - boat access only. There's a fabulous boardwalk all along the west side which made for a great walk, especially when we got to the cat village. I've never seen such elaborate pet housing. I was even kind of jealous. There were 9 cats roaming around the cat village when we first got there. 13 at feeding time. From what I gather, the west side was once overrun with cats that kept multiplying - acted more like rabbits, shall we say. Someone finally spayed and neutered all 90 cats (back in the day) and we saw the remaining 13. I'm more interested in what they'll do with the cat village once they're all gone. Maybe we could move in...

Bamfield Inlet running right through the middle of town.

Kelly, Scottie, Jason and Christy having a last drink together at the pub in Bamfield.

Thanks for the tow, Scottie!

The boardwalk in West Bamfield.

The tree house toilets. Best not walk under the tree house.

The cat village. These cats live better than we do.

48°49'35.63"N 125°08'17.03"W

effingham bay

We headed out from the Pinkertons mid-morning in what seemed to be great weather. And then we hit the fog bank. Fortunately, we have radar. Unfortunately, radar doesn't pick up kayakers very well, and there are a ton of kayakers in the Broken Group. The one group that we encountered had radioed on 16 that they were crossing the channel we were in, so we were on mega alert lookout for them and didn't run them over. We think that was the only group out there anyway...

The plan was to go to Wouwer Island where the sea lions hang out and there's a trail to the beach that goes through some sort of tunnel. Too good to miss. We got to Wouwer and after hitting the Pacific swells that would prohibit us from getting in the western entrance, we turned around and tried the eastern entrance. It was much more calm and Happy Camper through down a hook with 300 ft of chain as we motored around looking for another spot to anchor. We didn't find one. We felt pretty bad about HC setting out so much chain just to have to pick it back up again, but they seemed fairly unperturbed. No one was crazy about the anchoring conditions, so we decided on our plan C - Effingham Bay. We still wanted to check out the sea lions and this tunnel, but Jason and I decided we'd come back after we broke off from HC.

Effingham Bay was huge and well protected. Apparently that's what everyone else in Barkely Sound thought too - there had to be 10-12 boats in the anchorage (with plenty of room) - our most crowded anchorage ever on the west coast. We hiked across the island to a beach and tracked GIANT deer footprints in the sand until we figured out it was Kelly's shoe imprint. You gotta watch out for those giant deer.

Happy Camper in front of the fog bank.

Christy on bow watch in the fog after a group of kayakers made a securite call in our area.

Do not like being this close to crashing surf. Like it even less in the fog when you can't see or hear the crashing surf.

In case the chartplotter shit the bed, Christy tracked our progress on the chart.

Chartplotter with radar overlay made navigating the fog possible. Wouldn't have gone out without it.

Pulling into Effingham Bay after not liking the situation at Wouwer Island.

Scottie and Jason hanging out on the beach on Effingham Island.

Fog rolling around the Broken Group.

48°52'34.9"N 125°18'28.97"W

pinkerton islands

We had planned to layover and spend a leisurly day reading and swimming at Lucky Cove (taking the kayaks in to avoid the high tide problem), but it turned out to be an overcast and pretty chilly morning, so we tried waiting it out to no avail. Jason and I made a short visit, but it wasn't the spa day we were expecting, so we decided to weigh anchor and check out the Pinkerton Islands. There were a few boats anchored throughout the islands, but we found a small bay that fit both of our boats perfectly. There was a maze of islands and narrow waterways all around the anchorage, so we had a great time dinghy exploring.

Happy Camper anchored in front of us looking out towards a big bank of fog.

Hello World lying to an anchor and stern tie.

Christy driving us around the Pinkerton Islands.

One of the many nooks and crannies of the Pinkerton Islands.

48°57'52.17"N 125°16'58.1"W

pipestem inlet, lucky creek

We read some interesting tidbits about Lucky Creek: at high tide you could dinghy up the creek and see a waterfall and the author throught it all came right out of Walt Disney's imagination. So we had to go check it out. We dinghy-pooled and joined Happy Camper for the ride up the creek. It was shallow but doable. And then we got to the waterfall. No one said it, but we were all disappointed. It was about 4 ft of falling water and, well frankly, we've seen better. But we tied up the dinghy and decided to do some exploring anyway. We climbed up to the top of the waterfall and there we saw pool after pool of water winding its way through a rock ledge with small waterfalls in between. Also? A rope swing. We had found nirvana. We took back everything bad we thought or said about this place. It was amazing and pristine and we had the best time just screwing around swimming and hiking up to the upper pools. There was not a soul around; our book mentioned that there were often tour groups that came, but it was an overcast day and we had it all to ourselves. If you find yourself in Barkley Sound, this place is magic.

We headed back before we were ready so we wouldn't get stranded in low water and motored back across Pipestream Inlet to our anchorage. After relaxing for a bit, I heard Jason quietly, but urgently calling my name from outside the boat. They had seen a black bear on shore - right where the boys had stern tied the boats. He rambled up a fallen tree on shore and was noisily rummaging through the woods by the time I figured out what was going on.

Needless to say, the boys were pretty careful when they untied the stern lines the next day.

Happy Camper setting a stern line.

Lucky Falls. Not terribly impressive on first impression.

This is what we discovered after climbing up past the first set of falls. Amazing.

Scrambling around the rocks and pool.

Not having swimsuits didn't seem like a great reason to miss out on the rope swing.

Christy catching up on some reading.

The dinghy tied up at the entrance to Lucky Falls.

49°01'04.31"N 125°17'37.13"W

joe's cove - broken group islands

From Ucluelet, we were itching to get out into the Broken Group. For the number of islands the Broken Group contains, the number of protected anchorages isn't great. We chose to head to Joe's Cove formed by the proximity of Dodd, Willis and Turtle islands. The protection was great and plenty of room which was good because there were also plenty of boats.

We liked the anchorage so we decided to lay over a day and get some kayaking in. The four of us headed out the next morning in kayaks bound for the cove formed by Jarvis and Jacques islands. After paddling around the area, Christy and I found one of the many Caribbean-esque beaches in the area and plopped down for lunch. I left Christy at the beach and paddled back to the boat. After leaving her on the deserted island long enough, I ran over in the dinghy and picked her up.

We got back to the boat with enough time for Christy to make some spectacular bread bowls for soup and Scottie and Kelly joined us for dinner and drinks. Christy introduced Kelly to the wonders of cachaca (Brazilian hooch) while Scottie and I sat back and watched the spectacle.

Sunset at Joe's Cove.

Finding a dead sea cucumber. Mmmm, who's hungry?

Scottie and Kelly paddling through Jacques/Jarvis Cove.

Our own private Caribbean beach.

The Broken Group is full of beaches like this. Camping in a kayak would be heaven.

48°54.927'N 125°19.505'W