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Sailing Morning Star

SMS Blog

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.        Click the Thumbnail to watch.

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click on map to magnify and move around


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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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.

Gorge Entry.jpg

shown above the canyon entry to the Gorge

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click the store picture to go to the Gorge Marina Website

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.


Morning Star graces Whiskey Dock

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chart of the Gorge showing the narrow entry

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.

To be continued - hopefully we will get to clamming and some dingy adventures...