Sunshine, solitude and a taste of spring in Pirates Cove

Sailing north under Big Blue
Sailing north under Big Blue

When we woke up on Saturday morning, we didn’t expect to see the sun shining so brightly through our cabin windows. A brilliant blue sky followed and we quickly readied Yahtzee to get going north from the Dunsmuir Islands in Ladysmith Harbour towards one of our favorite spots in the Gulf Islands — Pirates Cove Provincial Marine Park.

About an hour later, Porter and I pushed our spinnaker Big Blue up on deck and prepared it to fly. With Jill at the helm we got it rigged and set quickly and Yahtzee bounded forward like she knew where she was going. As we ticked off the miles, I trimmed the sail to the shifting breeze while Jill held a steady course and the boys reveled in the sunshine. It was a perfect morning to be out for a sail.

Magnus and Porter hanging out as we sail
Magnus and Porter hanging out

Pirate’s Cove to ourselves

Being the only boat in the anchorage, we had our pick of spots in beautiful Pirates Cove on De Courcey Island and dropped the hook just before noon, promptly kicked off our shoes and shed layers down to t-shirts. The warmth of the day had us drying things on deck and getting ready to do a few small boat projects.

Jill atop Yahtzee's mast
Jill atop Yahtzee’s mast

Our pesky anemometer (wind gauge) hasn’t been working, which doesn’t bother us all that much, but it would be nice if it was operable. So Jill went up the rig to check and set the vane on top of the mast and inspected all the fittings along the way. I tried to reset the instrument at the unit on deck but no such luck — hey, at least we were out enjoying the sun!

Another view of Jill atop the rig
Another view of Jill atop the rig
View from the top
View from the top

IMG_0267

From there I tackled a few small rigging projects while Jill and Porter gave Yahtzee’s woodwork down below a much needed clean and dusting. This gave us a small taste of spring cleaning and, along with flowers and trees blooming in the islands, made us feel like the season is truly here.

Yahtzee was the lone boat anchored in the cove all weekend
Yahtzee was the lone boat anchored in the cove all weekend

An empty Pirates Cove is a cruiser’s dream. Besides the small private marine in the cove, the anchorage can be packed with boats in the high season, so we relished the solitude of the moment and explored the park to its fullest by foot and boat for two full days. With Hornpipe (our dinghy) and Spirit Bear (our kayak) in the water, we headed out to row and paddle through the small islets nearby and got another preview of spring as showers and sun alternated overhead.

The crew out to explore the cove
The crew out to explore the cove

IMG_0271

Magnus and I out for a stroll
Magnus and I out for a stroll

With the mix of sun and rain, the park’s flora popped and bloomed in electric green hues and we hiked many of the trails along the water’s edge and through the woods. A favorite of the boys, of course, was the treasure chest on the point and Porter found a few small things to bring back to Yahtzee and then a few things to donate from his own treasure chest of toys as well.

The boys digging in the treasure chest
The boys digging in the treasure chest

P and M

The forest was Porter's favorite playground
The forest was Porter’s favorite playground

Before taking off on Monday morning to head south, Porter and I got into some more projects and gave the engine a bit of love. It was sad to leave, but after a weekend of getting things done around the boat, enjoying the spring-like weather and exploring the park, it was time for Yahtzee to roll on.

Porter and I working on the engine
Porter and I working on the engine

12 thoughts on “Sunshine, solitude and a taste of spring in Pirates Cove

  1. I noticed you don’t have a full canvas enclosure for cockpit. Do you find that to be a problem in PNW? Seems like most boats have them. Why have you decided not?

    1. Hi Roberta: We don’t, though we do have a bimini and side curtains but they don’t really constitute a true enclosure and are mostly helpful for providing shade in the summer — they’d be great if we were in the tropics!

      It’s definitely not a problem for us and we cruise full time in the winter. But the question does get posed to us by other boaters, “Have you guys ever thought about getting a full enclosure?” Sure, and we get why they’re great to have, but we’re fine without it.

      Honestly, we don’t have the funds for a full enclosure and if we did we’d probably spend it on something like new sails instead. We like being able to see the sails and move in and out of the cockpit with ease, and the dodger I built has proven to be all we need to block wind and rain from the companionway.

      Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any other questions!

      1. Great comment – my last two boats have had no dodger or cover of any kind forward. I have a bimini top similar to what it sounds like you have to cover the majority of the stern area of the cockpit from sun in the summer, but that’s it.

        I find it really nice to be able to see forward, all of the sails, and especially in the summer, see what’s ahead. My passengers like it because they aren’t getting as seasick because they can see where we’re going

  2. Sailboats and family time together – truly it doesn’t get better than that. Very much enjoyed your travelog. Keep ‘um coming.

    1. you and your family are truly living a life that is blessed, although i have gone to the dark side [ an american tug 36/5] i hope our wakes will not only cross but perhaps we will actually meet somewhere in the islands ,, steveandtina a pirate looks at 70

  3. How do you manage heat? Do you leave the diesel on 24/7? Turn it off when sailing? Just bundle up at night? We are getting ready to cast off early this season but we can’t make up our mind how early we want to go…a bit chicken, truth be told 🙂

    1. We have a Sigmar (now Dickenson) diesel fireplace that keeps the boat dry and toasty. We typically run it in the morning and then again in the evening till we go to bed. Last winter we ran it all night a few times when the temperature dipped, but we haven’t needed to this winter. We don’t use it while sailing. And when we’re under power we have a forced air heater that is heated by our engine.

  4. Wonderful story and pictures. It’s great to see young kids on the water and having a wonderful time; I have the fondest childhood memories from boating adventures with my family growing up. Sadly I couldn’t get my family as interested in the hobby as I am. Just heard from my broker looks like I have a buyer after a year on the market for my boat.

  5. I look forward to reading your article In BWS .It helps these long Nova Scotia winters pass quickly .My wife and I should have our Landfall 38 in the water with in the next two to three weeks.Keep up the great work,and safe sailing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *