Jim and Jacintha went to check the crab pot in the morning, all they caught was some seaweed! So he took a walk into town to extend his fishing license. While he did that, I made cinnamon rolls from dough I’d prepared last night. Than I got the boat ready to depart. Other boats were leaving and Jim still hadn’t returned and I got worried as the wind was whipping up and the current was getting stronger near the docks. When I saw him walking down the ramp to the docks, I turned on the engine so that we could immediately leave.
We wound our way around the narrow, shallow Duffin Passage into Heynen Passage. The wind got heavier the closer we got to the ocean. We then realized that today, Thursday was when the heavy winds were predicted. On the VHF radio, which we monitor, we heard a call for the coast guard to help a sailboat that got shoaled in the harbor. We headed north into Calmus Passage and the wind was right on the bow of the boat at 30-35 knots with a lot of chop whipped up. It was not living up to it’s name! We were crawling along at 1.5-2 knots boat speed despite us revving up the engine ( we normally can travel around 6-7 knots!) We were planning on heading out into the ocean but the thought of crawling up the coast at 2 knots with the lumpy seas made my stomach queasy so we decided to use the longer but more sheltered inland route. I’d dosed Jacintha with motion sickness medication and thankfully she was sleeping down below.
Calmus Passage is only 2 miles long, but it was the slowest and most painful 2 miles I’ve ever travelled! It looked so deceiving as the Passage appears to be a wide open body of water but there are many shallow areas and we could only follow the channel markers to keep the boat safely of the shoals and rocks. There were many tour boats heading up the coast who could cross safely over the shallow areas as they have these 300hp engines and a shallow drought (the keel of our boat extends down 6 feet).
My turn at the wheel
Captain Jim in Millar Passage
When we turned for Millar Channel the ride got better as the wind was off our nose and as soon as we got into the shadow of Flores Island it got much calmer. In fact you wouldn’t have thought it was blowing heavily out there. We crossed Heyden Passage passing a group of kayakers going the other way and then turned down the other side of Flores Island, where the wind started to blow again, but not as strongly. We rounded into the opening to Hot Springs Cove and looked for a nice spot to anchor in. There were a lot of boats anchored there already and it was windy inside the cove. We finally anchored all the way at the far end of the cove past the entrance to the park and the village. It was a windy anchorage that night and when we tried to use the grill but the wind just kept blowing it out. So we had baked salmon. I’m tired of eating salmon!
Woke up to a beautiful sunny morning, except for the wind! We found a sunny and non-windy spot in the cockpit to sit and have breakfast, then hopped in the dinghy for Maquinna Provincial Park, on the Openit Peninsula.
Brekkie on the boat
Hot Springs Cove is a cruising boat mecca. If one travels the west coast of Vancouver Island then this is a necessary stop. It is only accessible by sea. There are many tour boats and sea planes from nearby Tofino bringing boat loads of tourists to the hot springs now so it isn’t as quiet as it used to be. There are also some campgrounds here and kayakers come here as well.
From the dock of the park there is a 3 km boardwalk to the hot springs. It was a tradition for cruisers to bring a 2×6 plank of wood 4 feet long with the boats name and year of visit to add to the boardwalk, some very artistically done. A few years ago they tore up all those old planks and replaced them with pressure treated wood. Many cruisers have attempted to carve out their names on the new planks of wool, some with just a chisel and others must have lugged a router to the park. Some others have measured the boards and replaced a plank with one they carved up at home.
Some of the boards
It was a pleasant walk across the boards, looking at all the boats that have been there before. It took us 45 mins as we were going at Jacintha pace, which meant a lot of lollygagging and singing and dancing. The walk took us down to the end of the peninsula where we saw a steaming stream flow down the side of the hill to the sea. There was a sulphurous smell in the air. Some boards
How the hot springs form.
There were some nice change rooms there and we changed into our swimsuits, and walked down the rocks. The hot springs flowed over a small ledge forming a small waterfall which fed three little pools of rocks then flowed out to the sea. The temperature of the water was a pleasant 40C and it was nice sitting in the warm water and letting it flow over you like a hot tub. There were some people there from the early tour boat but it wasn’t that full. There was an ocean view from the last pool. After a long soak, we sat on a sunny but windy rock to dry off while we munched on a snack.
A nice warm shower
We’re at the back in the third pool!
The walk back seemed longer as we were all cold. There were a lot more people heading for the hot springs so we were glad we went early. Jacintha managed to walk all the way back with some inducements. We dinghied to the boat where we had some hot soup, cheese and cold meat for lunch. Then Jim and I had a nap as we wanted to go back in the evening. Jacintha refused to have a nap! After my nap, I cooked up some curry chicken to have that night.
Around 5pm we headed for the park again. This time the walk there seemed shorter. We met people leaving the springs but none headed out there. We got to the pools and were the only people there! The tide was high, and waves would occasionally wash into the lower two pools so we used the top pool. It was weird being at sea level and watching the sea wash in. The pools were still nice and warm. We were joined by a couple who were on another sailboat. They’re heading for Mexico in the next week or so. Tofino is their last stop in Canada, and they’d been sailing around the Vancouver Island since June last year.
Jim and Jacintha enjoying the hot tub!
The spa treatment
High tide flooding the pools
View from the top of the hot springs
Again Jacintha made it all the way there and back by herself! Jim had been expecting to carry her part of the way. On the last leg she had a vacant stare in her eyes and stopped singing. She just put one leg in front of the other! We were so proud that she could walk so far by herself! Back at the boat, we ate salmon and chicken curry with rice. Jacintha has been enjoying the salmon dinners a lot!