At Anchor

At Anchor
Whiskyjack at anchor in Garrison Bay, San Juan Island

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Summer rain and Burgoyne Bay

Today it rained with the sun shinning through and it made me think of the first time we anchored in Burgoyne Bay, Saltspring Island, BC.  At the time, our boat, WhiskyJack, was moored at Westport Marina, within walking distance of the Swartz Bay BC Ferry Terminal.  The drive from Portland was as boring as it ever was and we just couldn't wait to be on board.  We left our car at the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal and paid walk-on fare for the ride to Swartz Bay.  A ten minute walk after the ferry arrived on Vancouver Island and we were on the boat.  Peace at last! 
Well, almost.  The overcast sky was really getting dark and it seemed that it was about to rain.  We made ourselves busy getting underway and within a half hour we were moving out of the marina with the sky getting darker.  In a few short minutes we were winding our way north through the narrow channel to the west of Coal Island,  past the BC Ferry landing and west through Satellite Channel and it began to rain.  Not just a little rain, but a downpour.

Mt Maxwell and rainbow from inside the pilot house.
Mt. Maxwell in the clouds from the cockpit

Visibility was reduced considerably as we entered Sansum Narrows.  The only good news here was the flood tide.  Just as we were at the north end of the narrows, out of the clouds appears Mt. Maxwell.

The rain stopped just as abruptly as it had begun.  I stepped out of the pilot house and into the cockpit to look around.  It was warm and smelled fresh, it had been a summer rain. 

The entrance to Burgoyne Bay

The entrance to Burgoyne Bay beckoned with a Siren's Song.  We had no intention of staying there but could not resist the urge to enter the bay and check it out.

Burgoyne Bay is the northwestern terminus of the low laying land that nearly splits Saltspring Island in two.  On the other end of the valley, the south east end, is Fulford Harbour.

Looking northwest toward Maple Bay
We entered Burgoyne Bay and found a small dock on the northern shore, almost at the head of the bay.  We tied up here temporarily and went for a short walk.  We walked in an easterly direction for aabout 1/4 mile, the took a road south toward the Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park.  Twilight was just beginning as we walked along the tree-lined road.  We stopped to converse for a minute when my wife said, "Don't make any sudden moves, but a deer is looking at you through the tall grass about ten feet behind you."  I very slowly turned my body until I could just see the deer in my peripheral vision, and sure enough, a doe was giving me the once over.

Sunset in Burgoyne Bay
We returned to the boat via the shoreline and moved off the dock, anchoring at the head of the bay.  There was one other boat at anchor.  We prepared our evening meal and retired to the cockpit where we were treated to a most beautiful sunset.

This is my memory of Burgoyne Bay


  1. Could you tell me what anchor and rode type you use? Also what type bottom that anchor woks well in and what type it doesn't in your experience.
    My boat is an Albin 25
    Thanks Don

    1. WhiskyJack carries an appropriately sized (20#-25#) CQR (hinged plow) on a bow roller as our primary anchor. We have had good success with this anchor in the mud and sandy bottoms which are the most common in our area. We also carry a Danforth (fluke) anchor as a spare and a folding Grapnel anchor for rocky bottoms. Our rode is 30' of 1/4" chain attached to 300' of 1/2" 3-strand nylon. We carry an additional 15' of chain and 300' of 3/8" 3-strand nylon rode as spares. A discussion regarding anchors and anchoring can be found at: