Nanaimo to Refuge Cove

In one of my earlier posts, I mentioned I’d read 4-1/2 books on this trip. Actually it was 5-1/2, but the half book I read was The Wanderer, by Sterling Hayden. It was the latest selection of the Men’s Book Club, and even though  I missed the last meeting (due to this trip), I felt an obligation to finish the book. But it wasn’t really an obligation at all – it was a pleasure! You might recognize the name Sterling Hayden even if you can’t put a face on him. He was an actor in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s, appearing in dozens of movies. The ones I remember him for are Dr. Strangelove, and The Godfather.

Before reading the book, I had no idea of his background and early life. He dropped out of school when he was 16, went fishing and sailing, and by the age of 22 was an accomplished enough sailor to be given the job of taking a ship from Boston to Tahiti. During WWII he woked for the OSS, running guns to the Yugoslav partisans. And then he became a Hollywood actor, got married, had four kids, got divorced, got custody of the kids, and defying court orders, he fell off the face of the earth in 1959 and sailed (with the kids and others), from San Francisco to Tahiti on his 90′ wooden sailboat, The Wanderer. (I left out a whole bunch of stuff because my run-on sentence had run on long enough.) It’s a great well-written story I highly recommend.

But back to our wandering travels. We bid Ilse adieu, and left Nainamo for our next stop in Tribune Bay on Hornby Island. We sailed for a couple of hours, but motored most of the way. Tribune Bay is a gorgeous bay with good shelter from all directions except the south. We had northerly winds (on the nose of course) so we weren’t too worried. There were even people swimming on the beach and from one of the boats anchored nearby. So of course, Rainer had to have a dip.


I used old age, and the wisdom that comes with old age, as the excuse for not joining him.

The next day we went to Refuge Cove, via Powell River and Lund. I’ve always liked Powell River for their innovative use of old concrete ships that were half-sunk to act as a breakwater for the huge pulp mill that Powell River is more famous for.


I never did find out what the story was behind these particular ships. They’re all ferro-cement, which was thought to be a quick and relatively inexpensive way to build ships during WWII. For a variety of reasons, they didn’t work out very well, and a dozen or so of them ended up in Powell River.

The next stop after Powell River was Lund. It is kinda the end of the line before getting into Desolation Sound. I had stopped there a couple of times on previous trips, and thought I knew where it was. We just kept on motoring, with me thinking Lund was around the next point. After we had motored for far too long, I stopped to figure out exactly where we were. Depending on the level of detail on the boat’s chartplotter, place names are not always shown. It turned out that Lund was indeed around one of the previous points (about 4 miles behind us), but unless you look back, you’ll never see it when you’re travelling north. Oh well, there are worse things than an extra hour on the water on a gorgeous sunny day.

The final stop for the day was Refuge Cove. They’ve got a funky little store (with a good beer selection) and a drive-thru (boat-thru?) garbage barge run by a derelict from the sixties who seems to have caught the entrepreneurial bug late in life. We supported his venture by paying him $5 to get rid of a small bag of trash.

In two days, we’d gone 91 nautical miles, with about 30 of those miles under sail.We didn’t know it then, but that day was the last hot day we’d see for the next month.


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