Thursday, April 16, 2015

Delightful Pender Harbour

Watch Out, No Brakes on these Barges!

We left Howe Sound on an overcast day and rounded Merry Island Lighthouse with calm seas (1ft or less) traveling up the Strait of Georgia along the B.C. Coast.  The sun tried its best to peak through the cloud layer and hopeful Sea Lions hauled themselves out on “White Islet” in a huddled mass.  We entered Welcome Passage, formed by North & South Thormanby Islands going against a 1-2 knot current. 
Tug towing barges through Welcome Passage
As we approached the north end of this narrow passage, we were faced with a Tug pulling three barges heading toward us moving quickly with the current.  We hailed the Tug on the radio regarding his intentions, hearing no response we quickly moved off to the side so as not to interfere with his path; no explanation necessary, the unspoken rule is to make room for the big boys! 
Entering Pender Harbour
The rest of the journey was uneventful; we arrived in Garden Bay in Pender Harbour at 4:30pm and set the anchor.  Pender Harbour is a complex of several inlets and coves, a pretty area that has built up over the years with lovely new homes surrounding the Harbour; older, original homesteads still remain and can be seen along the shoreline. 
Numerous Homes in Pender Harbour
Inside the Harbour are sheltered anchorages and several marinas and resorts, both rustic and upscale.  Public docks provide easy access to pubs, cafes, shops, and a well-stocked IGA Market.  The following day was warm and sunny so we headed out with the dinghy to pick up some groceries and partake in the legendary selection of ice cream at LaVerne’s diner, mainly popular because hard ice cream is not always easy to find in more isolated areas. 
Gunnera Manicata Plant
Behind one of the pubs we discovered Gunnera Manicata growing along the pathway near a creek. 
Prickly Stocks on the Gunnera Manicata
This unusual big-leaved perennial forms giant clumps of prickly stalks with bottle-brush like flowering spikes.  The leaves can grow up to 6 feet across and the stalks up to 10 feet tall.  These Gunnera Manicata plants were quite a surprise as the plant is native to South America. 
Java enjoying her Dinghy Ride
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the nooks and crannies of Pender Harbour by dinghy, Java rode along enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun.

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