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Old 04-13-2016, 01:00 AM   #1
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Spring PNW Charter Adventure

Getting excited about our fourth PNW adventure. We (wife and daughter #1 of 2) are chartering a Grand Banks 46 Classic out of Bellingham for 10 days departing May 11 with early board on the 10th. Here is our plan with some repeat destinations and some new. I would be interested in comments/opinions.

Day 1- Bellingham to Ganges clearing customs in Bedwell. Dinner at Auntie Pesto.
Day 2 - Ladysmith (new destination) - Restaurant recommendation?
Day 3 - Nanaimo - Restaurant recommendation?
Day 4 - Anchor in Genoa Bay. Crabbing and dinghy to Cow Bay for dinner at the Masthead.
Day 5 - Sidney to pick up daughter #2 and dinner at Bistro Suisse.
Day 6 - Victoria (new destination with trepidation). Doing just because we(womenfolk) think it would be neat to dock in front of and visit the Empress. Could be swayed by comments. And have heard about an annual sailboat race that may be around that time and the place gets crazy and may want to stay clear? If we stay in Victoria have a restaurant reco?
Day 7 - either Roche or Friday Harbor. Have stayed in and love them both. Dinner at McMillin's if we stay at Roche. Need dinner recommendation for Friday.
Day 8 - Cap Sante in Anacortes for the start of Trawler Fest to look at some boats. Yes, called and got a slip reservation today. Dinner split between Rockfish for mussels and Brown Lantern for the Blue Cheese burger.
Day 9 - back to Bellingham (dinner reco?)
Day 10 - pump out, refuel, and reentry into reality and depart for home.

So we would usually opt for anchoring in Montague Harbour and visit the Hummingbird Cafe for day 6 but considering the Victoria stop instead. Mistake? Comments/recos/suggestions?
Can you tell we don't do much cooking on the boat? I have been told the cook is on vacation too...
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Old 04-13-2016, 01:54 AM   #2
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The Empress may still be wrapped in scaffolding when you are there. It is undergoing massive renovations by its new owner. But they hoarded it in with a picture of the hotel. Might not even be able to tell from the boat.
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:44 AM   #3
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Just last week ate at the Fox and Hound Pub in Ladysmith. An absolute must is a stop at the bakery.

The trip to Victoria will be weather and tide driven, so keep an alternate ready such as an extra day in Sidney with a trip to Buchart.
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:51 AM   #4
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The Empress may still be wrapped in scaffolding when you are there. It is undergoing massive renovations by its new owner. But they hoarded it in with a picture of the hotel. Might not even be able to tell from the boat.
Trying to send you a PM. Bounced back, box is full.
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Old 04-13-2016, 11:17 AM   #5
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Strange. My message box has 8 messages with 200 allowed and is showing a long green bar...
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Old 04-13-2016, 11:30 AM   #6
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Nanaimo: try the Dinghy Dock Pub. Better fare than you would expect, and a unique location. Access by Dinghy or the little ferry from across the harbour.

Genoa Bay: Best restaurant around is right at the top of the ramp in Genoa Bay. Reservations are necessary.

Victoria: Compared with all of your other days, that will be a long slog, with strong rips and currents to get you around the corner. Try mooring in Cadboro Bay and get a taxi to the Harbour.
Have a great trip!
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Old 04-13-2016, 12:25 PM   #7
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[Victoria] Try mooring in Cadboro Bay and get a taxi to the Harbour.
I disagree. If you have not been (even if you have), Victoria is a very interesting place to stay. If you want something quieter than in front of the Empress and one that takes reservations, you can dock at the Coast Hotel.

In Roche, I would take a taxi to the Duck Soup Inn for dinner. It is arguably the best place to eat on the island.
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Old 04-14-2016, 11:35 PM   #8
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Thanks for all the input. Fox and hound in Ladysmith it is. And we will hit the bakery. We love the Dinghy Dock Pub in Naniamo and definitely on the list. We always eat lunch on the Genoa Bay dock restaurant. It is a great place with fantastic food. Based on input here and from others and weather permitting we have a slip reserved in Victoria! Then on to Roche and are considering the Duck Soup Inn this time. Thanks again.
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Old 04-15-2016, 12:28 AM   #9
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Coho Restaurant
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Old 04-15-2016, 09:24 AM   #10
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When in Ganges rent scooters to tour islands artisans....Brewer, bakers,butchers,winery etc. instead of victoria, anchor in tod inlet and dinghy to Butchart gardens...great anchorage.
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Old 04-15-2016, 01:44 PM   #11
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Victoria is never a mistake. Not seeing Vancouver would be, in my opinion, unless you've enjoyed it before. The trip sounds great, there is only so much you can do in 10 days, but it always leaves more for next year.
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Old 04-15-2016, 01:53 PM   #12
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Based on input here and from others and weather permitting we have a slip reserved in Victoria!
An excellent choice!
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Old 04-15-2016, 06:22 PM   #13
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For dinner in Friday Harbor, we agree with Padeen, the Coho Restaurant is consistently good. We lived there for almost 10 years (moved to Port Townsend in 2010) and would tell visitors it was the land of "over-priced mediocre food"...
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Old 04-16-2016, 12:12 PM   #14
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Great minds think alike! We have scooters reserved in Ganges. Super nice folks at the top of Ganges Marina. Rented brand new scooters last year. They are opening up a couple weeks early just for us! We have changed our minds and going to Friday instead of Roche this year and the Coho it is!!! Thanks again.
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Old 04-16-2016, 01:41 PM   #15
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Almost any water side eatery north of Seattle is a good bet. Especially the small towns like Langley, Coupeville, La Conner in WA; Ladysmith, Cowichan, Genoa etc. in BC. These small town joints, run by locals, not chains, need boaters in the summer and locals through the winter. Fail either one and you don't survive.

If conditions keep you out of Victoria Harbour, it is an easy 35 minute bus from Sidney to DT Victoria. If going that route, get a day pass for $5. Cost is the equivalent of two bus trips but is a go anywhere, all day ticket. Oak Bay has good grub too.

Tiny trivia treat?
Oh, ok.
How about Nanaimo?

Long before neighbourhood and brew pubs, legal watering holes consisted of Legions, some private clubs and the mainstay, hotels.

Hotels had cocktail lounges, mostly darkened and large bright, noisy, smokey "beer parlours."

Beer parlours were divided in two; Men's and Ladies or, higher class Ladies & Escorts. Only way into the ladies side was either with a lady, regardless of community standing, or an "invite" via bartender to cross over from the men's side.

Natives, aboriginals, first nations (sorry I mean no offence, I just never know what term to use) were simply not allowed in any place that served or sold alcohol.

The result of that was a huge coastal bootleg industry, but that's a whole 'nother story.

House loans and monthly tabs were all part of the beer parlour game. Most steadies got cut off, tossed or barred sometime, somewhere.

Oh yeah, right, about Nanaimo.

Logging, fishing and beer sales were the 1-2-3 industries of BC; all natural resources of course and beer sales was the most competitive.

Known as the Hub City, supported mainly by hard drinking loggers and fishermen, Nanaimo had the most beer parlours per capita in BC and was very proud of it.

Prince George, in the north, another logging centre, had the highest alcohol consumption per capita. For years, decades even, Nanaimo tried vigorously to catch up but just never could.

Victoria's claim to fame for decades, ahead of the Empress and Parliament Buildings, was the Ingraham Beer Parlour. "Largest beer parlour in all of BC."

http://raincoasthistory.blogspot.ca/2007/09/ingraham-beer-parlour-1960-2003.html
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