Gypsy’s trip north, part one

It was time to leave the dock. All of our preparations were as complete as they were going to be. The engine enclosure, watermaker and windvane were ready. Gypsy was loaded with provisions, we filled the water tank and cast off. Our goal was to sail up to the west Coast of Vancouver Island and see Barkley and Clayoquot Sound. The first step was to sail down the Columbia River.

empty freighter
Freighter being docked at the Port of Vancouver Washington. The tug is helping to push the freighter into position. The freighter is empty, you can tell by all the red bottom paint showing.
old freighter
Old freighter at anchor. It has seen better days. It is also empty.
tug car carrier
Tug pushing a gravel barge up river. The blue and white freighter behind is a car carrier. Portland is a major import and export port for cars.

We like seeing all of the commercial shipping activity on the river. When there are freighters near us, we stay out of the main channel, so we stay out of the path of the freighters.

freighter dredge
Near St. Helens, Oregon. The freighter is fully loaded and floating on its lines. You can see the hailing port on its transom. This ship is registered in Hong Kong. The smaller ship is a dredge. It is clearing sand from the river channel. The freighters on the Columbia River are 650 to 750 feet long and about 100 feet wide.
fuel barge
This is a fuel barge. The tug fits into a bay in the stern to push the barge.
This has become a common sight on the Columbia River. It is an osprey nest. The osprey like to build nests on the top of navigation markers.
On the way to Cathlamet the wind created some chop. We are about to pass another car carrier.
This very pristine Piper Cub float plane was at the dock in Cathlamet. It took off later in the afternoon.
dredge 2
This is one of the big dredges that work on the Columbia River. It was working just below Harrington Point, where the river widens out before it gets to Astoria.
Gypsy Astoria
We spent a couple of days in Astoria doing projects on Gypsy to get her ready for the trip up the coast. We were waiting for a good weather window for our trip.  It was much cooler temperature-wise in Astoria than in Portland, which was having a major heat wave.
Astoria water front, two Coast Guard cutters and the Lady Washington moored in front of the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Freighters at anchor in the distance.
Columbia bar
Crossing the bar, we left on a Friday and we had bananas on board. So much for following traditional superstitions. It may explain why we both felt queasy. The grey skys were a reliable constant on the trip. We made it to Ucluelet, BC Saturday evening. Cleared customs and went out for pizza.
Barkley fog 1
Sunday morning we left Ucluelet and headed for Pipestem Inlet on Barkley Sound. The morning was foggy.
sun brerak
The sun did start to break through late in the morning.
monitor steering
While sailing up to Pipestem Inlet we rigged up the Monitor windvane. It is steering Gypsy.


near Pipestem
Near Pipestem Inlet, by Bazett Island.
near pipestem 3
Cove behind Bazett Island.

near Pipestem 2

We anchored in a small cove behind Bazett Island. There was not much swing room for Gypsy. We decided to run a couple of lines to shore to keep Gypsy away from the rocks. While we were getting the dinghy ready we heard something crashing through the brush on shore. A black bear walked out on the beach. We waited until we were sure it had moved on to row ashore and tie our lines to a couple of trees.

During the afternoon we saw two different bears. The next morning the smaller bear was back. it spent about 45 minutes looking for its breakfast on the beach. It would roll over the rocks on the beach and eat the little crabs that live under the rocks.

bear 1

bear 2

bear 3
To make sure the bears were gone when we untied our stern lines, we rowed ashore loudly singing “the bear went over the mountain, oh I feel so silly.”  It must have scared them off because we didn’t see or hear them again.
relaxing at anchor
Nina reading at anchor.  Mmmm, what to cook next?
Pipestem 2
The next morning we went up Pipestem Inlet. It was a sunny day.
Lucky Creek
We then stopped at Lucky Creek and saw the falls. There are several falls and pools.  Go in at high tide and wear swim suits and climbing shoes so you can work your way up the pools.
fog from sea
As we sailed to our next anchorage, by Turrett Island the fog started rolling in.
fog from sea 2
Fogging in.
rocky shore
Rock shores on one of the islands. Most of the islands are very rocky.  They are fun to row around.  The sea stars are coming back and we saw a number of edible sized rock crabs around the shorelines.

11 thoughts on “Gypsy’s trip north, part one”

    1. What a gift you’re giving us land bounds with all your pictures and adventures. Love to receive them. Happy sailing! Keep them coming! Love and hugs, Mom.


  1. Welcome to beautiful British Columbia! We have been enjoying the eastern side of Vancouver Island. After attending the rainy Shoal Bay Music Fest on East Thurlow Island, we headed south and explored Bute Inlet until the smoke obscured our views. We‘re now enjoying swimming and snorkeling in Desolation Sound. We‘ve been doing a lot of stern-tying, too, but we have only encountered oysters to avoid ashore. Singing doesn‘t help. 😊


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