June 23, 2008 Vananda to Oleo’s

I determined today that it is better to leave Bellingham on the new moon instead of the full moon.  The tides would work out a little better on the inside of Vancouver island.  Tides dictate everything on this route.  With our timing this time, our departures need to be very early for the tides and currents to work.  That means we have to run awhile before the winds pick up.  The early departures make for some long-mileage days, however, which is good for morale early in the voyage.  We pulled up the anchor at 5AM and motored out onto the still mirror of Malaspina strait.  As soon as the sun came over the mountains a stiff breeze developed from the south and we had a great sail past Powell River and right into Lund.  Lund is one of our favorite little towns, not to be missed.  We tied up for an hour and ate lunch at the bakery there, and Colleen got a great deal on a new sweater.  Through the afternoon we had a relaxing sail in the sun, throughout the length of Desolation Sound.  The winds and currents gently pushed us along to the mouth of the Devil’s Hole rapids at just the right time.   All of the math from yesterday’s calculations paid off!   At first viewing of the rapids, they were a torrent of whitewater coming toward us.   We stood off at the entrance for an hour or so, waiting for the rapids to subside, and reverse direction.  The trick is to go through just as they reverse direction.  Even the whales will line up and wait to go through then, too.  I was humbled by the force of the rapids today.  Even though it is a neap tide they are still extremely violent today.  Suddenly the waters calmed before us and we gunned it through the rapid.  Other than a few boils and smaller whirlpools, we had a smooth transit.  Soon we were through and turned the boat north into Frederic Arm for the night, to Oleo’s restaurant.  Oleo has since passed away, I sadly learned.  His son Paul and his mother did all of the cooking and serving that night, just like I remembered it.  They lease a spot of water from the BC crown and operate a floating restaurant in the wilderness there.  It was great to see Paul again, and we talked late into the night.  He just got a new speedboat and says it’s just the “cat’s ass.”  Paul had re-built the restaurant and served a terrific meal of greek salad, chicken, loaves of home-made bread, and a huge chocolate cake.  Perfection in the woods!   Oleo was an old character who used to tell people he hid all of his gold in trash bags in the basement (the house sits over 40 feet of water).  He would be very proud of Paul and his mom carrying on the business so well.   The food was just as I remember it from years before.

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