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Sailing Morning Star

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edited January 2021

Winter 2020/2021 Gorge Harbour

Winters end 2020 finds Captain Ev and his boat getting ready to leave our winter haven at Gorge Harbour Cortes Island BC Coast. Over the winter I set up our new YouTube Sailing Channel for all to follow the Aventures of Captain, Crew, and the very able Brewer Whitby 42' ketch Morning Star.


The new Blog will start after the cruising season as the voyages are well chronicled in the YouTube series.        

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I call Cortes Island Maui North as it is indeed a wonderous island graced with so many unique destinations to choose from. One such wonders is Uganda Pass which winds around a long jetty of sand spit called and shaped like a Shark Fin - Shark Spit. There are no roads to this area - the spit itself is on adjacent Marina Island but the many coves and islets share with Cortes.

Squirrel Cove is a sought after peaceful retreat anchorage. Manson Landing is a postcard Park with a bountiful lagoon of shellfish.

Libre Baskerville is a classic font with a modern twist. It's easy to read on screens of every shape and size, and perfect for long blocks of text.

Leaving Squirrel Cove enters Desolation Sound with it's pristine wilderness undeveloped Marine Park. Out of history is neighbouring Refuge Cove - a step back in time. Both Squirrel Cove Store and Refuge Cove have docks cruisers can visit to stock up in the fairly well stocked rural stores. Both have a selection of beer and liquor as does the store at the Gorge Harbour Marina.

Rounding Cortes to the Northern West side is Von Donnop Marine Park - a long narrow inlet which almost cuts the island in two - short trails connect Squirrel Cove and Von Donnop. Both Von Donnop and Squirrel Cove have salt water lagoons which can be explored by entering on a high tide. My four part YouTube series of circumnavigating Cortes last summer will fill in many of the details left out here.

Come the beginning of October after frolicking this season in the Southern Gulf Islands. Meeting up with an old chum, and buddy boating about in coves and a few seaside taverns, it is time to head to our Winter Home the Gorge Harbour Marina on Cortes.

This is my third season wintering at the Gorge. Coming back is a bit of a homecoming with dockside pals - fellow liveaboards - too casting their mooring lines on the dock for winters folly.

Pictured the trail leading up to the marina store.

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Tied securely to the dock Morning Star is home. Our winter seclusion about to start. Power and water kiosks are right boatside. 30 amp shore power is ample for keeping life cozy belowdecks. The water is like bottled water and refreshing to drink and all I can use. I pay for internet and have full use of laundry, store, liquor store, restaurant (limit hours), parking, propane, fuel, showers, garbage, and winter use of the hot tub.

Cell phone coverage is a bust however one can use internet phone calling. Island Life for sure.

Gorge Harbour Marina is a full service resort - Rv parking - cabins and more. The docks are built first class concrete and steel pilings.

In the summer the side tie arrangement allows for some huge sized luxury yachts to visit the facilitates which includes a swimming pool and hot tub. The hot tub remains open all winter.

The winter setup closes the outside ties. The Gorge is a well protected harbour from the rathe of huge windswept seas, however the open area inside the Gorge allows for the winds to howl at times. It would be safe but uncomfortable on an outside tie in these times.


Morning Star graces Whiskey Dock

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shown above the canyon entry to the Gorge

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chart of the Gorge showing the narrow entry

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click the store picture to go to the Gorge Marina Website

The winding trail up the hill brook side to a rushing stream from the pond above takes you up to the store - office - liquor store combined.

The staff from the managers to the store staff are all like a big family - such is island life.

The store has a really good stock of fresh veggies - good stock of quality meats - assortment of fresh breads and of course all of the sundry items one needs to get by with including rum.

Summer 2021

Summer brings new permanent home -  professionally placed 4500 lb mooring block       Gorge Harbour - Cortes Island


The decision to place a mooring was a last minute choice. A friend had placed a mooring and I had asked how he went about it and found Jeremy who has the equipment to professionally set a mooring.

A while back I had purchased a hand held depth sounder and after the decision was made to set a mooring and arrangements made for a date before May 1 the end of winter mooring on the dock rates and time to move on. (till next year) I headed out in the dingy and sounded out the perfect area for my mooring. I found a spot 60 feet deep just 20 feet off shore. 

My new home on the water is awesome just off totally undeveloped shore line with no roads to the area. I called Harbour Chandler and ordered a large approved mooring float made by Envirofloat. The one I chose will float heavy chain - an option I will upgrade to at a later date.

New to my photography equipment is a DJI Mavic Mini drone. With a winter on the docks to read up and learn the basics and after some field practice I can fly it safely off the boat. Even hand catching the drone.

The photo shows my awesome spot - so close to the beach but safely in deep water. My spot affords a huge degree of privacy.

I had been trying to figure out where I could find a spot on our coast to take my boat and finish the major woodworking projects I wanted behind me. I decided to set up shop on the boat right on the mooring.


I set up shop with many a trip to Home Depot and many returning to buy lumber and supplies. My first work spot was on bought saw horse brackets with legs adjusted to the deck slope.

A compound miter saw and a new table saw along with all the rest of my wood making tools and I was in business. First order of the day the new large deck box on the aft cabin. Building this box first allowed me to turn it upside down and use it as a work bench - awesome.

My many projects would span the whole summer. I loved my summer in the Gorge. The marina has a summer concert series with new talent each night playing the dockside fireplace deck. The bands sound was clear from the boat.

In all I went through 10 sheets of plywood with various projects  -  not showing them all here on this page. I worked most days all summer long finishing all but a few smaller jobs remaining. Many of the projects are not completed however the wood working portion is done.  For example the radio box is done but the radios need wiring. 

My main project was the aft deck box which is on the side of the boat I do not use.

In summer it stores all my sails freeing up bunk and below deck storage space.

In the winter sails are moved below and topside items like my outboard etc. are put in the deck box for winter storage and then tarped.


Summer was not ALL work however - I went from land field practice to flying my drone off the boat and even catching it by hand. Amazing camera tool to have.

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Along with some R&R flying my drone I had many visitors - some just here to take in the Gorge and dropping by to say Hi. My old pal since we were kids Capt'n Doug came North with SV Vienna for a visit. I took a sabbatical from carpentry to hop aboard as crew while we visited my friends on Quadra who come every year to camp. We then carried on to circumnavigate Cortes and show my friend the sites.


I was impressed with Grant Signs the people I ordered my lettering for the mooring required by Coast Guard to include Name, Phone, and the twice the big letters PRIV (private). 

I did not partake too much in visiting the summer concert series put on by the marina with the incredible task of a new performer or band each and every day of the summer season. Talent included local and off island guests - all of which were awesome. I did visit a few and once sat in my dingy as the venue is on the docks and listened. Most days I could hear quite clearly with the sound carrying across the water.

I ran out of time for a few things I would have liked to get done like some epoxy work while I had warm and dry weather however spring will be here soon enough. Work carries on improving Morning Star. 

Well that's a wrap on the summer of 2021. 

October 5th was the official day us winter dock crowd could bring our boats to spend winter on the awesome Gorge Marina's docks.

The marina sold this year to the local native band however the management are staying on for yet another year.


Edit Date: Oct 25 2021


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