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Blasting northwards


The graphic you see above is what we’ve been looking at on the Environment Canada website for the past week and a half. Wind, wind and more wind coming directly from the west in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We’ve been waiting for a quiet weather window that just doesn’t seem to want to open.

Yesterday morning, we awoke at 4 am to listen to the current conditions at Race Rocks, the notoriously windy and rough area just south of Victoria. It was blowing 21 knots, with westerly winds of 15 knots further out in the strait with winds expected to increase to 25-30 in the afternoon. We’d decided the night before that we were going somewhere. North, south, east, west– we didn’t care but we’d been in the same general area for two weeks and with so much to explore here we were itching to get exploring.

At 0600, after hemming and hawing over several cups of coffee we hauled the anchor up, still not sure where we were headed.

Suddenly, like an epiphany, we knew were we needed to go.


It was glassy as we motored back up Haro Strait, following our plotted course for Nanaimo, a town we had always wanted to visit but hadn’t before. Now the perfect spot to reprovision, fill up with water, dinghy gas and jump across the Strait of Georgia making our way to Desolation Sound. We didn’t come across any breeze until Galiano Island, but it was just enough to practice flying our favorite new sail for a few miles.

We reached Nanaimo 12 hours later and found the harbour anchorage off Newcastle Island to be absolutely jam-packed with boats and happy laughing people and live music blaring from the shore, the Dinghy Dock Pub, and from most of the boats around us. Wow, we thought, Nanaimo sure knows how to celebrate a Saturday night.

But more boats continued to pour in, drop their hooks and raft up, small and large. Surely something has to be going on here other than a Saturday night. Sure enough, we were able to connect to an open Wifi signal and found out that we had landed during Nanaimo’s biggest weekend of the year: Marine Festival and World Championship Bathtub Race.

We also learned that fireworks were starting in 20 minutes. We got the girls back out of bed and were soon in awe at the most awesome small-town fireworks display we’d ever seen. Right from our cockpit.

What a welcome to the north!


  1. Nadine says:

    Hello there,
    I hope you got me (delayed) FB message.
    What a night to land in Nanaimo. I am sure the crowded harbour was a bit much to deal with, but chancing upon fireworks is great!

  2. Herbster says:

    Glad I could get a glimpse of the Wondertime and your adventures. Sounds great.

  3. Kristin says:

    How cool! My folks boat up around that area a lot but have never had such luck dropping into marina. Love the pictures on your blog!