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  • Capt. Eric

Portland Island

Updated: Jul 8, 2019

A beautiful little island offered to the government by Princess Margaret, now the whole island is part of the Gulf Islands National Park system.

Circular in shape, there are 2 small bays, one on the South East, the other on the North West coast, and both are fairly small and shallow. After poking our nose into the first, Princess Bay, we decided against it and half circumnavigated to Royal Cove. We found it also too small and too busy for us, so we anchored in a less protected area, just west of the cove and its dinghy dock. We could have stern tied like the other boats in the cove, but we'd still have been the big guy around, and we haven't yet practiced our stern tie technique. Much easier to anchor outside and away from the crowds.

I chose a spot in about 50 feet of water, and put a lot of chain down, as I knew we would be fairly exposed to the regular large ferry wakes. We did feel them, but with Enfin's weight, low center of gravity (carrying a lot of fuel) and our flopper stopper doing its job the effects weren't too severe. The winds and seas stayed calm enough during our stay to not be of concern.

Each time we rolled, Princess would come and find me for reassurance, and push her head against me. Considering how "unpet" like she can be, it made me await the next series of wakes with impatience!

Our shortcut to the dinghy dock took us between Chad's Island and Portland Island through rocky narrows, that just shrunk at low tide. Di handled the tender so she continues learning its use and getting accustomed to it. She's definitely hitting her marks maneuvering. Nice to see.

Once ashore, the trails were very enjoyable. Contrary to other islands, there are no deers on Portland, and that results in more diversity of trees and birds. You can see and hear a lot more birds around than on other islands. Less excitement trying to sniff our deers for Princess though. She still stayed busy trying to find raccoons and otters.

Measuring only 223 hectares, and with few trails, it's the first time we manage to walk all the trails in a particular park. It gave us a sense of "we've done it / been there". But we didn't get the T-Shirt.

Overall a very enjoyable stop, best done in perfect weather as the anchorages are on the small size for us.

We left in the rain, on a cold and miserable day, having received confirmation the day earlier that the letter we had forwarded to Port Sidney Marina had gotten there. Arrival at the marina was uneventful, except for the customs queue of more than 10 boats that had formed outisde the jetties. Since we had already cleared Canadian customs, we had no need to join the line, and simply headed to our assigned dock and spot.

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