Hard times in Halfmoon Bay
Slogging southward against strong winds and waves along the Sunshine Coast south of Welcome Passage a tired crew will sometimes look northeast toward Halfmoon Bay and wonder if shelter there is possible.
They will often consider venturing in to investigate, but decide it probably isn’t that well protected and it would just prolong the unpleasantness before they find secure anchorage.
The anchorage off the public dock is sometimes a bit rolly in southeast winds which curl into the bay, but we have found it a reasonably comfortable spot to overnight in such winds. And there are groceries and friendly banter a short walk up the road from the float.
Extremely pleasant. Unless, of course, you go up on rocks, which is what we did on our last visit.
We pulled into Halfmoon Bay, abandoning an unpleasant beat against southeasterlies. Entering Priestland Cove at the north end of the bay, we took the channel east of a group of small islets south of the public wharf.
We had taken this route only once before, but for some reason decided we knew it well enough. We were careless, not bothering to have one of us on the bow or pay attention to the depth sounder.
After all, we had a chart plotter which would keep us a safe distance from the hazards.
We were only going about two knots, motoring without sails, when we hit. At any speed, few things are as horrific for boaters as echoing sound of rock grinding against the hull.
We looked down. It was a highish tide, falling. The peak of the drying reef was still a hand below the surface off our starboard side. We were still, unmoving, locked upon the reef.
Our trusty chartplotter was happily telling us we were still 30 metres (100 feet) from the dreaded rock.
Lynne pushed on the rock with a boat pole, laughable if not so sad.
I reversed the engine. Nothing. An image of Robertson II on Minx Reef filled the air in my head.
We stared in silence. Then a growl from the hull. We froze. A wind was helping us. Another growl. Another. Then we slid off the rock.
We began to nervously chatter as we motored away to anchor off the public wharf.
(Halfmoon Bay is covered in Salish Sea Pilot’s Cruising Guide to Georgia Strait & the Sunshine Coast.)