waiting all winter to sell the house, and re-insuring the boat and us,
then finally getting rid of our 4 wheel friend, we are free! To go
where we want, when we want.
This page is a
chronicle of our "learning" the cruising life before heading off to the
big blue, and beginning of "out there somewhere" adventures.
August 17th 2009
To comment on these
pages, or post contact info you can use the forum at
http://www.freshnelly.com/phpBB3 , or you can
contact us at
June 22nd 2009: Steveston to Montague Harbour
WX: 5-10 kts SE Overcast, clearing later in the day,13 deg C to 19
Hours: 9, Hours on engine 27.4, Dist 40 NM (appx)
left the pier ( shown above) in Steveston, Richmond BC fairly early in
the day, 9 AM, in order to beat the low tide out of the river. It's a
little tight for us newbies and 6.5 feet of draw after the last foot
of low tide. ANd this one was exceptionally low. As we had planned to
go to Active pass, we'd need to goof around in the strait for a few
hours until 5 PM to avoid going against currents that were 6+ kts
Early in the afternoon the winds died so we just bobbed around
checking the electronics, trying to make heads of tails of the
compass, and eating lunch. There was lots of ferry traffic at the
mouth of Active, so we had to stay relatively clear. Suddenly the wind
picked up and we sailed to the US border line and back, then it was
time to go in. We arrived at Montague Harbor (yes our first anchorage
last year!) at 6PM.
|We have been
anchored for several days, and plan a couple of more as we are, yes we
can't help ourselves, doing more little projects...well some are"
The secondary GPS, which
is a DGPS, wasn't working once we came into the pass area and it was
discovered that it skeptically placed location on the dash - inside -
wasn't going to be good enough to receive all of the satellites. After
we pulled it out of the hatch above the pilot seat and centered it,
everything worked fine. We use this GPS because it is very accurate
compared to the Furuno. The drawback is that it requires a PC running
all the time. (Bad for anchor watch!) We have decided to use it and
the PC only when in questionable anchoring situations, like the one
tonight: a 20 - 25 kt wind and crowded because it is the weekend and
the end of the school year!
When we arrived, the place was
practically deserted (photo right)
the WX was great, warm and sunny, pleasant breeze, so we just did
whatever we wanted. I rowed around the harbor in the dinghy for 3
hours, Gena relaxed and read a book. Eventually we had to try out the
new 6 hp motor on the dinghy, no problems. For the next few days, we
decided to get rid of some annoyances.
Annoyances: The compass sticks. The
BattCars on the main are jamming. The Tachometer is way wrong. The
reverse position at the cockpit steering station stopped working.
Somehow, the Jenny furling halyard is now too short!??
'Round Tuits: The firewire for the camcorder stopped working, the
septic level not working, intermittant aft nav light (brand new!!),
fish guts from marina VERY stuck to waterline. PC in pedistal keeps
falling off the network.
Raising the main has suddenly become very
difficult, to the point one must stop and rest a moment, and nearing
the masthead to the point the halyard squeaks on the winch. Something
is wrong with the battcars! Today we pulled them all off and Gena
cleaned and inspected all of the Torlon bearings in each car. We think
that all the mast drilling going on over the last 2 weeks to
mount pendant halyards, lazy jacks, cameras etc. some of the filings
may have fallen into the cars, thus jamming the little balls. Not much
was found, but then it may have fallen out during the removal process.
We'll give it a hoist once the wind and rain stops howling.
never worked properly on the shakedown either, but aside from the
apparent 90 degree+ deviation, we noticed that it is sticking!
| Gena decided enough
is enough and we must overcome our fear about draining the oil and
pulling it apart. It's no good this way and who fixes compasses?
She devised a method of carefully removing
all of the oil as shown in photo. She fitted some hose to a brass air
compressor fitting ( lucky we kept that stuff!) then squeezed the
silicone diaphragm to fill the pop bottle. We thought there might be a
bit of brass stuck in the pivot axis as there were a few visible
particals inside, but it wasn't that.
I spun the card around while on the pilot table after Gena
pulled it off the gimbals and noticed it wasn't balanced. After
putting on some "super magnifier spectacles" it was certain that it
was way off. Probably enough to touch against the gimbals. At the
factory, Ritchie paints on some heavy paint to get the thing balanced
one way or the other. I think it must have been a Friday as that was
the side that was dipping. After some liquid tape was painted on the
other side, the disk became perfectly level again. Spinning it around
some adjustments on the compensators we can say there is a relatively
increased degree of accuracy (excuse the pun!) and we hope that all
this swinging around at anchor will further de-gauss the hull.
Tachometer was a little sneaky in it's portrayal of the RPMs the
engine was running at. Because we're not seasoned mechanics, and we've
never rigged a tach before, the problem went unnoticed. One day, last
summer, we were motoring around in the strait with Ian from Ocean
Rigging aboard. He thought it was kind of strange that we we clipping
along at 6 knots while idling at only 700 RPMs. We began to question
it too. Gena pulled out the instructions for the VDO tachometer, and
re-calculated the formula for the contant that is to be entered into
the little display. The alternator has 12 poles, and the ratio at the
pulley is r, so r*12 = number to enter. That's what she did. I
decided to intervene yesterday with my oscilloscope under one
arm and a flashlight, small solar panel, and white sticky tape under
the other. We taped the white tape on to the pulley on the main crank,
positioned the solar panel in front, then aimed the flashlight at the
pulley. The scope read a fine pulse every x mS! After one measurement
at idle, we had it. 13.6 pulses/ second = 820 RPMs. How simple. Then
we just guess-timated the number until the tach read 820 RPMs. AFter
that a higher idle and new scope reading verified the tach is
intermittent aft nav. light has been replaced by one of my concoctions
of flux LEDs, 15 to be exact. We are going to try it out tonight
but I did the "lights the wall pretty bright" test comparing it to the
original 10 watt bulb. This only draws 1.2 watts though. Big
difference when you're trying to conserve power. The masthead anchor
light is next. I made the thing but need to get a "real" bulb to
destroy and solder it to the base. Gena won't let me destroy the one
that's there now, a 20 watt guzzler.
fixed the reverse gear in the cockpit. Turns out there just wasn't
enough swing, so the stop screw was adjusted a little wider, and
everything re-positioned slightly.
Other problems, i.e. the firewire was just unplugged behind the panel,
and the mysterious halyard shortening was just replaced with another,
and finally the fish guts needed to be scraped then scrubbed off (took
2 afternoons to clean that up: avoid fishboat marinas!) were pretty
easy to solve.
The PC in the
pedestal loosing ethernet connection is still a mystery, but it wasn't
really intended to do that anyway. It's kinda handy to have the charts
displayed on it (from the dash PC inside) instead of needing to run in
and out to check positions in a crowded pass. I have a few ideas, but
that'll be next time.
The anchor has held just fine even
through today's blow, not a problem. Things were pretty bouncy, but
wind is back down and a peaceful light mist of rain is carefully
cleaning off the topsides. Lights of other boats flicker in the flat
water, and the stars are beginning to twinkle overhead.
To everyone out there who has faithfully
followed us through this whole journey from then to now, thankyou. We
are having the time of our lives! This lifestyle is definitely
agreeing with us thus far. We are officially cruisers.
July 3rd 2009: Montague Harbor to Preedy Harbor
WX: 0-1 kts NW Sunny, 23 deg C to 26
Hours: 3, Hours on engine 31.5, Dist 13 NM (appx)
ran the engine for a while to allow for battery charging (we ran up a
huge deficit doing solder-type projects) Then head out at around noon.
There was absolutely no wind, except our apparent +1, which has been
rare these days!
| For the first time
since 2008, the saltwater pump to the rinse hose at the bow was
powered up. Suddenly water was spraying everywhere! It turned out the
valve for the freshwater (which also connects in the bow) split down
the side during the exceptionally cold winter. I guess that's one area
we didn't drain before we returned to Alberta. Luckily, we stuck to
the cruisers adage "Always have 2 of everything" and had a spare
valve. It saved the day, or, well, a very dirty chain locker! The
fresh water won't be used (wasted) spraying off the chain unless we
are setting off on a passage.
The water maker is about to get it's first test.
It took about 4 hours to change the membrane and tighten up clamps and
remount the casing. Gena did it all except recruiting me to be a vise
holding the casing as she hammered at the caps with a pry bar.
The anchor came out surprisingly easily
even though it had great holding power in the shell and mud. Once out
in the channel we started making water! After 3 hours the port tank
was over 1/4 full, that's about 15 gallons, so the 5 GPH reading on
the meter was pretty much right on. Gena used a dissolved solids test
meter to check it. After a few minutes it was at 47 ppm. I gave it a
taste and wow! No chlorine/bleach just sweet water! Better than
bottled (that has a plastic taste).
up Trincomali channel into Houston Passage, we went by Wallace island
a favorite from when we were taking cruising lessons with the thought
of pulling in there, but it was packed. Boats stern tied side by side
like a Safeway parking lot. Seems there's still a lot of boaters out
there, especially from the US, despite the recession. Kept going.
Coming into Preedy the charts showed a nice
reef that was visible with the low tide, and we gave them a wide
berth. Even though one knows the depths are adequate, it still gives
the nerves a run when you see the depth meter tumbling towards zero!
Beautiful solitary evening in Preedy
fairly exposed, but offers decent protection from the NW winds. We
were going to anchor in the north end but Gena didn't like the
shallows, so we anchored with a lee shore which made me nervous.
The holding wasn't great either, but we set the anchor watch before
bed, and there was no wind at all. The next day I wanted to take her
out into Stuart Channel to check out the mainsail Batt cars and the
new Jenny halyard block position as the wind had picked up to a brisk
20 kts. (Plus I wanted to re-anchor at the north end of the harbor)
The Batt cars are almost back to themselves. We think that excessive
amounts of grit and dirt was blown into them over winter in the
workyard at Steveston, which in turn was jamming up the flow of the
The Jenny is now too
far aft and needs yet more tuning. Gena had also loosened off the
backstays a bit to reduce the curve in the mast, so the forestay was
flopping around a bit. After returning she tightened them up some.
I wanted to just dive into the water off
the swim platform, but noticed there were Jellyfish swimming around in
the flotsam. I have no experience with those! After a little surfing
on the net (Yes! Our fab antenna/ wireless actually works all the way
across Stuart channel to Chemainus!) we found out that they do
indeed sting, but seem to be somewhat akin to a bite from a hornet.
Not paralysis stuff, but I declined. Near shore there are none, but we
read they seem to be increasing in numbers and are usually present
around ferry terminals. There is a small ferry here that runs to
Chemainus so... I wonder why? There were lots of Zooplankton in the
area as well. They seems lifeless, perhaps sliced up by the props of
the continuing ferry service, but then we didn't have the microscope
We spotted these 2 types for certain.
Mitrocoma (Medusae) has a cross on it, while the other has long
A funny thing happened while I was checking out a
rubber fish lure on the rod. The weight had sunk to the bottom and I
sort of forgot about it. When out paddling around in the dingy, I
noticed the line off the rod and thought I'd give it a tug to fool
Gena into thinking we'd caught a fish. That didn't work as she was
inside listening to the radio and didn't hear. So I started pulling up
the line, still in the dinghy, and it felt heavy. I figured it had
fouled with some seaweed so pulled it up. Suddenly I noticed there was
a large crab hanging on to my rubber fish with his giant claw and the
other! I called Gena and she said "just grab it" but it looked
pretty feirce so I couldn't. I tried picking it out of the water with
the line but it decided it didn't like air and let go. All I could do
was watch it sink out of sight. How silly of me, and just at that
moment I was wondering what I should make for supper, as if my wishes
had been answered: It could've been crab!
We ended up eating wieners and beans. The rubber fish is pretty
When rowing into shore yesterday, a large seal poked his head out
of the water 5 feet in front of me. After a couple of seconds he
playfully went swimming around and stopped for another look then
disappeared! That got me to thinking about how us as humans are really
wreaking havoc with the environment. The plastic bags we found and
collected, washed up on shore along with nylon rope, fishing ties,
tires etc. were all too depressing. I found 2 oyster shells joined
with a length of nylon line. They had grown around it, which is ok.
But the bright colored nylon line didn't belong. When you see all this
nature, then human "stuff" abandoned amongst it, you really think....
The next night was fantastic as there
was a big wedding, and a fellow in a sailboat nearby was playing the
bagpipes. The whole harbor applauded his medley! What a suitable
instrument for a sailboat.
July 6th 2009: Preedy Harbor to Ladysmith
WX: 15-25 kts NW-SE Sunny, 15 deg C
Hours: 2.5, Hours on engine 38.1, Dist 8 NM (appx)
ran the engine to charge up as over past few days there hasn't been a
lot of wind to run the gen. and the solars haven't been keeping up
well with our land based electricity habits, then repositioning today
as the anchor was dragging in mud and big wind from the SE. Resetting
the anchor watch became tiring, but the couple with the boat shown
above probably wished they'd had one. He took it in stride and got off
when the tide came back up.
We could have moved back over to the south end of the harbor, but the
weather got ugly and rainy so it was time to go!
was on the itinerary as we had run out of milk, bread (although Gena
could have made some) but also cigarettes which is next to safety gear
in importance until we can kick the nasty habit!
You know the old advert phrase "I'd walk a
mile for a Camel?" Well we'd sail 8 in a blow for any cigarette lol!
We did a fair bit of motoring as the
rock on the south from Preedy didn't look at all inviting. It's
amazing how fast she sails, but how sloggishly slow she seems under
power. It must be psychological as the difference is only a couple of
||The anchorage we had
planned on, Sibell Bay turned out to be rock and surrounded by
many houses on the shore and no other boats. Kinda felt "glass
bottle-ish". The 75 lb. CQR wouldn't hold more than a dinghy in a
10 knot wind in there so after several tries we opted to anchor a
little north in the very narrow gap between Dunsmuir and Bute
islands. (Bute island is for sale by the way, $995,000, a bit much
for us!) It was narrow and shallow, but had a really good hold
right away. Good enough for us. 30+ knots blew and we were fine.
The next morning, the first order of
business was to dinghy over to the marina, hike up the hill into
town, then do some shopping...which made us realize how out of
shape we are. It was a rather hurried affair as the weather radio
had predicted high winds later on again and we didn't want
to be so far away in case something happened.
island is some rather interesting rock erosion (some shown above
at low tide). The best I could guess was that it was sandstone.
Many years of time and tide had created a masterpiece! The
shallower side of the island had similar but full of starfish.
100's of them. Up until now, the starfish we have seen are deep
purple in color, but there were some tan speckled starfish as
well. Unfortunately I didn't have the camera in the dinghy so no
pics of that.
|I can understand when
people say tying up at a dock makes getting groceries much easier.
We didn't buy a whole lot, but wow was the little boat ever
crampo'd. For any serious haul, it'd take 2+ trips, or a mini
barge lol. In this photo I'd already taken some stuff out already.
Had a lovely steak for dinner, used electric oven to cook in 30
AH. Not bad. I found that using the timer, at 5 minutes, then
leaving it for 10, 3 or 4 times, uses less power for the same job.
As the rain is now falling non-stop ( I
made a wish for some to wash off the salt spray accumulated from
our spritzy voyage here) we'll just hunker down another day, then
head for the notorious Dodd Narrows and Nanaimo beyond.
July 8th 2009: Ladysmith to Nanaimo Harbor
WX: 5-20 kts SE Overcast, rain in AM,13 deg C to 15
Hours: 5, Hours on engine 41.1, Dist 19 NM (appx)
Back in 2002 I
steered Cap'n Mac's boat, Kinohi, through Dodd Narrows at full flood
while he patiently stood nearby ready to grab the wheel if I fell off
the "track". This was during our cruise and learn course, and was
pretty exciting as I spun us around 180 degrees on a whirlpool lurking
unexpectedly at the exit of the narrows!
We weren't totally up to all that
excitement so waited until closer to slack tide. We left way too early
as the wind was expected to be fairly light for the morning, and the
time/distance was calculated based on that. At 7 AM, in the cold and
rain, we pulled out of Ladysmith and into the "fast lane" up Stuart
channel, shut off the engine, then pulled out the Jenny only for a
pleasant run.. Suddenly the winds were honking at 20+ knots, and we
had to reduce the Jenny down to 60%. The slack was at 11, and it was
only 9 and we were almost there. We reduced to 50%, 40, 30...
narrows is pretty tight, only about 150 feet of useable depth at
the narrowest, plus it is a main route into Nanaimo via
Northumberland Strait. It was amazing how many boats were lined up
to go through, just on our side. I counted 12 nearby, and could
see many more in the distance. The first boat, a big power boat
went in, then a sailboat, so we figured we'd waited long enough so
went next. Gena took her turn this time and I gave her a little
guiding remembering all the way back to '02. Not nearly as
exciting but there were still strong currents and she did fine.
||Once in the Strait, the
SE winds died, shadowed by the land now aft, and the traffic was
heavy, so we had to rack up more hours on the engine. I turned on
the water heater while we were making so much power, that way we
can have a hot shower once arriving in Nanaimo (which is only a
once a week thing now!) then into some warm dry clothes.
We have our survival gear, but our
regular rain wear seems to be missing the pants parts. Gena
mistook our ski pants for the rain pants and we ended up
absolutely soaked within the first hour.
Gena commented that this trip in the
cold and rain and wind was good experience for us, and it proved
that we were ill-prepared for sailing in it.
self: Make sure rain gear is really rain gear before
pulling the anchor!
...we still haven't found those rain pants yet!
Running the engine is nice for charging
batteries, not having to worry about sails, and getting hot water,
but the boat rocks a lot, as do all sailboats, when no sail is up.
Especially when some super cruiser flies by with a wake the size
of surf in Hawaii. We watched this small sailboat, perhaps a 26
footer, steer into a huge wake at the last second. His bow went
from 45 degress up to the same down, I'm not kidding! I thought
they we going to pitch-pole, they didn't seem shaken, so must be
accustomed to it. Our boat just bridged the waves so we didn't
feel much. I wish I'd had the camcorder out for that!
Speaking of video, I posted an accidental video ( I thought I was
taking a picture) on
youtube just before Dodd.
would be happy nto see our next "spot" growing larger on the
horizon, but this arrival involves a marina (which I don't much
like) and fixing some more "annoyances" that have become bigger
annoyances. Gena doesn't mind marinas, but I like my privacy, and
"free"dom. Marinas make one spend money.
I was elected to drive us in, and
parked her well in Nanaimo Port Authority's marina. It actually is
a very nice marina here. Restaurants, pubs, shops, malls, chart
stores, bookstores, and the largest chandlery on Vancouver island
are all here! Gena called us in at 47 feet (LOA+++) which made the
dock $50/night. Not bad as we have a pretty dire task at hand.
The fuel/oil on top of the center
tank has persisted and needs to be addressed. Gena came to the
conclusion that it's the fitting that's used to "suck" bottom
water out of the tank. The pressure during a fill, if the diesel
gets up past the breather hose, can't release as the breather gets
blocked branching off of the fill hose. Therefore it is finding a
new exit point, through a tiny pinhole leak in the water-suck
She had tried to cover it with silicone but silicone doesn't stick
at all to coaltar epoxy. So, after she removed the whole fan
assembly from the front of the engine, I went down there and
dremel-ground off all of the coaltar and silicone bits to bare
metal. I then covered the whole connection with "Goop" and once
dry, we'll silicone the goop to protect it from the heat.
After a brisk walk into the chandlery, we came back with, amongst
other stuff, a longer hose to connect the breather to the proper
fitting she had put in long ago. I think what happed there was the
hose was moved as it might have interfered with the fan assembly,
but Gena forgot that the big fill hose fitting was attached to a
length of pipe going down into the tank to stop foaming during a
fill! Wow, that's all pretty complicated hey?
Another nasty was the fuel gauge on
the same tank seizing to work last week. It turned out the wire
potentiometer in the sender unit had caught on the stator, then
eventually broke under the strain. That's why it would only read
5/8 of a tank, even when we knew it was full. A manufacturing
defect. We're praying that the 2 outer tank level sensors
are ok, as they'll be very hard to remove. Once again, we had a
spare sender unit and replaced it.
|Because that repair
basically incapacitated the engine, we didn't want to do it at
anchor. Another job I have is to change the anchor light to all
LED. Some mods are required, so must pull it down for a while.
Even though the sky was overcast, and
it was a bit cool, we went out for dinner and really enjoyed the
evening we arrived.
When I came out of the boat on the way
to go eat, Gena was stopped, talking to an RCMP officer. I thought
"OMG! What has she done?" then "I should get my passport!"
It turned out he had been following our project on the site, and
recognized the boat! We had a brief chat as he was about to board
the speedy looking vessel pictured above. Thankyou for the kind
words sir (Sorry we forgot your name!) and happy to hear you
have enjoyed the site. Also our friend Doug stopped by on the pier
to say hi, turns out he's working here so we'll have him over
before we leave.
A great view in Nanaimo! We want sunshine!
||Many people have
been curious about our boat here. I guess she does look
different. We've even given a tour or two of the interior!
We have done some "replacement"
shopping in the way of groceries, but must do a bit more to
stock up before we head north. The plan on how far north to go
is still up in the air. Exiting over the island involves some
challenging passes, narrows, and locations. But we have heard
it is so beautiful up there. We're pretty tempted. I guess
we'll just go and see how far we want to go. Desolation
sound is definitely on the list.
One great change for us in recent weeks
is that we are losing weight! We're not sure how much, but
climbing up and down on the boat is definitely easier, and
clothes we packed on the boat last year, some are starting to
It's hard not to be
active without a car. If we need to go shopping, not only is
it a pretty long walk, it is also hauling everything back. We
don't buy lots of "junk" as that would get even heavier if we
did...which might burn up the calories created by the junk
Anyway, we went to London drugs
and bought one of those plastic pull carts, which was really
useful for going to the chandlery as ropes, cleaners,
fittings, and rain pants were quite heavy.
July 12th 2009: Nanaimo Harbor to Newcastle Island
WX: 10-20+ kts NE veering to SE Overcast, 22
Hours: 0.5, Hours on engine 42.0, Dist 2 NM (appx)
have been some pretty crowded anchorages thus far in our travels, but
wow this one tops them all! Only experience will relieve the tension
of anchoring in such close quarters. When we arrived, a lightwind was
coming in from the ENE, but then veered to SE later in the evening.
Suddenly we found ourselves within 30 feet of the sailboat next to us!
What made matters worse, a boat, now ahead of us, was directly over
our anchor, so we couldn't even move. The wind started pumping up to
20 kts, so it was a pretty worrisome night. All we could do was put on
some fenders where we figured our boats might bump in the night. We
also reduced the scope on our anchor by 30 feet, which made us even
more nervous. Luckily I had made a "snubber" for the anchor chain the
other day, so that was added to the ground tackle. Both our boats were
veering back and forth, sometimes close enough to toss a beer over,
but we didn't hit. I slept well actually, but Gena was up a few times.
she did "watch" last night, I decided to cook her a nice old fashioned
bacon and eggs breakfast, complete with "real potato" hash browns. As
you can see she was pretty happy about that!
Later the next day, the weather calmed
down, the sun came out, and we were able to pull our anchor the next
morning to move into an open spot left by a boat leaving.
I hope the further north we go, the less
crowded things will be. Now we can leave the boat and go ashore to
A Big Brekkie!
| Way back
in the 20's and 30's, mill stones were cut and finished here. We were
attracted to the sight by a row of large (3-4 feet) round stones
sitting along the pathway. These stones were used for grinding up wood
to pulp (I thought they were for grain, but Gena corrected me!), and must weigh 2 tons each at least.
The amazing part is the machine
devised to cut the stones out of the ground.( Shown right) It's
basically a giant hole saw! And here we thought our 3 incher was the
epitome of drill bits ha ha! The drill would take 3-4 hours to cut
down 3 feet, then they would use controlled dynamite explosions
to break the "rock" free. There was also a lathe to do final finishing
before they were rolled away onto a boat destined for mills all over.
Millstone cookie-cutter on Newcastle
|There is also
a beautiful park and picnic tables/benches, many more sights, and even
a country style restaurant, so we'll be going back over today for a
picnic for sure. It's a beautiful calm day, but hope the winds will
get up soon for sailing.
Protection island would be part of
Newcastle island if the shallows were about 6 feet shallower. We
knew about the floating Dingy Dock Pub from our visit here with
Cap'n Mac years ago, and little has changed. Still great service,
marvellous atmosphere ( the way it should be done!) and popular
enough that tourists (we're not tourists) can come across from
Nanaimo on the "Dinghy Dock Pub ferry" which leaves every hour for
a taste of the good life.
||Every Wednesday, a
sailboat race departs from the pub, and is kinda informal, but the
boats, some up to 35 feet, will take on crew to gain an advantage.
We missed the opportunity, only remembering that after the race
Some of the boats,
weaving in and around anchored boats, came awfully close to
us only to tack at the last second! It made for a fun evening in
any case. There'll be a video on youtube when I get the chance to
Monster log washed ashore!
|The next day we went
exploring the east side of Newcastle island, and found a great
little beach with warm water, and rocky shallows. We, of course,
didn't bring swimsuits!
hike was 4-5 km's which isn't a great distance, but we decided to
do it in bare feet just to make it interesting! "Ouch, oooch,
ouch" was the bulk of the conversation as pine needle turned to
gravel, then back to pine needles. Sand was a welcome relief!
We hadn't considered the pitch from
the needles sticking to the soles of our feet, which will take a
while to come off. Anyone know of a good cleaner to remove pitch?
In the photo (left) is part of a
giant log that washed ashore, who knows how long ago, and was
||Inland along the trail
is a lake depicted on the map pamphlet of the island. It appeared
more to be a swamp to us, but it was beautiful none-the-less. Lily
pads spread out over 3/4's of the lake and some where flowering.
Ducks happily splashed around, and there wasn't another soul in
on the itinerary is Lasqueti island (north up the Strait of Georgia),
a fair hop from here, and it's many nooks and crannies. Not sure if
we'll get the 'net but I'll post here whenever I can! Fair winds
July 23rd 2009: Newcastle to False Bay, Lasqueti Island
WX: 5-20 kts SE Cloudy, clearing later in the day,18 deg C to 32
Hours: 10, Hours on engine 51.1, Dist 45 NM (appx)
For days and days we had planned to leave
the anchorage at Newcastle in our wake, but a new thing would always
come up. Need more fresh greens, the bread went moldy, ice for the
second cooler, deciding to buy some snorkeling gear, deciding to buy
another solar panel, Gena throwing her neck out, the great times we're
On the day we finally decided to go,
military zone "WG" became active. This added to the length of our next
leg considerably. Setting out at 7 AM we rounded the south side of
Protection island as WG is actually further south. The wind was coming
out of the south contrary to the predictions so it ended up being a
broad reach to run scenario. Problem was, the wind died down and we
kept blowing towards WG. A few gybes along WG kept us out, but
when we were heading towards the line, the coast guard started calling
"sailing vessel 4 knots on NW course you are entering a restricted
zone". I keyed up and ensured them we knew where the line was.
There's a little video on youtube from
the trip at ___ .
||The wind veered some almost directly in
line with Lasqueti Island, so we tried a "wing on wing" with the
sails. This is where one puts each sail out on either side of the
boat. We picked up speed, but keeping in line with that track is
requires a lot of attention! We had been using the Furuno Autopilot,
but I don't know if it would've done the job here.
When I gave the helm to Gena, she was
amazed at how finicky the helm was. I wonder how the the spinnaker
|The last 5 miles we had to
motor-sail as the wind had died, then wouldn't you know it, it
picked up to 20 knots at the last bit, allowing us to beat a
couple of other boats into the anchorage!
The lazy jacks definitely need to be
modified. The back of the sail spilled again causing the rest of
it to flake all wrong.
Well we're here! And a lovely spot
it is. Fist order of business was to go for a row and do some
exploring around our end of the bay.
|The are numerous small coves that
are very shallow, but not too shallow for a dinghy or kayak. We've
been thinking on perhaps buying a couple of small kayaks as they
are so much faster with less effort.
Oysters are everywhere here, but the
oh-so-too-common bi-valve warning signs are up. Red tide or just
effluent, we're not sure. We won't risk eating them anyway!
The next day everyone left, leaving
the whole bay to ourselves! What a contrast from busy busy
||There is a public dock in the section
of the bay to the east, also used by a locally owned ferry, and the
occasional seaplane. There's a small store there, which is hard to
find (we walked right by!) if you don't know it's there, a restaurant,
and a hotel.
Walking down the road
we thought would lead to the store, we discovered numerous other small
businesses. The post office, a flower shop, and the "free store". It
was closed, but we had a look inside. Almost a pawn shop where one can
bring unwanted items, and others can take them. I'm not sure where the
profit is, but judging by how much is there, business is booming!
||After asking a young teenager at the
bottle depot for directions, we were on our way to doing some
Every place we went to had lots of
island character, and it seems there are lots of artists here, you can
see art everywhere, in all forms.
The weather is still very hot, 32 - 35
degrees in the afternoon, so we were glad to get back to the boat for
a nice swim! There are jellyfish here too, but they only come with the
tide changes. So we had to wait a wahile. We think they are harmless,
but still not sure. People seem to be oblivious to them as if they are
a new phenomena.
|Another sea creature of
a more pleasant kind has been coming to visit us every day. A
new-born seal pup showed up the other day, trying to suckle on our
We were pretty concerned as he was
always crying out as if he had lost his mother, so we started
phoning around to see if anyone could help.
One woman told us that sometimes the
mothers will abandon the sea pup because, like humans, some just
aren't cut out to be mothers. I tried to feed him some fish,
but he had no palette for it yet. A couple of evenings later, we
saw his mother coming in, watching cautiously as her baby went
from boat to boat. Eventually they were re-united.
"What's this on my leg??" Gena picks up a stowaway
|He is pretty pudgy so
is in good health, and the nearest we can guess, his mother must
go out fishing all day. There are no other seals here, so we have
become his babysitters.
Upon jumping into the water with
him, he came to us right away! What a little cutie!
He climbs all over us trying to
nurse, but also very curious and not one bit afraid. Youth knows
no boundaries, a true statement here.
We couldn't help but think about
past incidents of people beating seal pups to death. How could
they be so heartless as to commit such an act??!
Love at first sight! We are so lucky to meet this fellow!
|I'm sure this one has
no worries about that, only props of small boat that occasionally
zip by on the way to the docks.
We have both learned a whole lot about
seals from this little guy, as he has probably learned lots about
humans. I just hope we haven't made him a little too brave.
We have a little video on youtube
) if you want to see/hear this cute
|As I am
typing this, a day later, I can hear him squeaking against the
hull, asking " come out and play guys!"
Every night there are huge splashes on
the other end of the bay. We're not sure if it's whales herding
fish, or perhaps porpoises, but the splashes are really big!
We were going to leave this paradise
today, but will stay a couple more days as the long weekend is
upon us, and anywhere that we might go will likely be very
crowded. Why not? we're not in any hurry, and this place is
fantastic. A few jobs have been done ( covered in
projects aboard page) including
making a riding sail, and getting some bug screens for the hatches
made up, and we're still fairly well provisioned in the cooler
(beer, milk, fresh greens etc). Gena made some bread in the bread
maker for the first time. It smelled like a bakery in here for the
better part of the afternoon, but being 35 degrees out, a hot
bakery! Fresh bread afloat, I recommend it.
Until the next post, S&G
August 4th 2009: False Bay, Lasqueti Island to Garden Bay,
WX: 5-10 kts NW Sunny, smoke haze,,16 deg C to 26
Hours: 8, Hours on engine 60.5, Dist 29 NM (appx)
After spending some 10
lovely days in Lasqueti
Island's False Bay, we decided that the conditions were right to bid
farewell to this memorable place.
Where to go next has been the topic of
discussion for several days as I wanted to go straight north towards
Cortes Islands and Gorge Harbour, even if it meant staying a night at
Comox. Gena, on the other hand, didn't like the idea of going to Comox
at all as there are dangerous shallows and it doesn't look very well
protected from the wind. Not to mention getting perishable supplies (
which we are in need of badly ) would mean long distances and
inconveniences. I guess my destination of desire will have to wait!
|I suggested we head north east to
Pender Harbour as it appears all of the amenities are close and
there's some shops to pick up parts and maybe some groceries at
mainland prices. Gena agreed, so up came the anchor the next day.
I mentioned Gena had made some bread the other day. Today was "bun
day". The alcohol oven worked great, along with the kneading the bread
maker did, and we have buns! The boat was hotter than hell with the
temperature soaring over 32 C outside in full sun, but hey, if you
can't take the heat...
I know this isn't really amazing enough
to post on the blog, but I think it is really cool! No more need to
stow bread until it's on the verge of going moldy, or purchasing it at
$5/loaf only to have it go moldy the next day.
Gena's on-board bakery!
| Anyway, back to the voyage at hand. The
forecast (take it with a grain of salt!) predicted that the wind would
switch from NW to SE 15 early in the morning which meant we would
going directly against it all the way down Lasqueti.
When we got out there though, the wind
was still blowing from the NE at 10 so we had a pleasant downwind sail
with just the Jenny out.
As we had predicted, once we started to round the south end of
Lasqueti, then Texeda Island, we lost the wind completely. The motor
was turned on for 45 minutes, which was ok as we were making water at
|After clearing the islands,
the wind started picking up from the SE. Perfect! We just blew along
towards the entrance at Pender, which was kind of hard to see because
of the smoke in the area from a record number of forest fires burning
in the interior.
||As clarity increased the
wind picked up even more. We pulled in the Jenny and went under full
main sail alone. One thing about going on a reach is one doesn't
notice how much the wind has picked up until looking at the indicator
and figuring in the speed one moving through the water!
We decided to sail right up to the
entrance, but the wind was up to 25 knots. We'd need to turn into the
wind to drop the main, so I was considering turning into the narrow
entrance (the largest of 3 ) which would put us into the Lee of
Charles island where we could drop the sail in comfort. There were
boats going in and coming out everywhere around us as this is a very
busy area, so we both agreed quickly that this may not be a good idea.
|I swung us
around hard and Gena let the main bugger flop down. Thank god for the
lazy jacks! It was a bit of a mess, but the sail would've been over
board without them. Once we went in, only a couple hundred feet away,
that 25 knot wind was gone, the entrance was clear. It would've been
cool to make the original maneuver, but safety first! After weaving
our way by all of the other anchorages, we found Garden Bay, which was
predictably packed with boats, so we anchored just a little outside of
the bay. It's somewhat windier, but we need the power generation
anyway. The dinghy went in, and we had a cup of tea and played some
tile rummy. (chits we call it!)
Problems, problems, problems.
Under the engine there seems to be a demon. He is a little sympathetic
of us, but always popping up to present nasties to the weary crew of
Dulcie-Darlene, usually after a long day of sailing.
Today's presentation by the engine room demon was:
(1) more tar under the engine fan
(2) fresh water in the tar (and possibly oil?) but not antifreeze
(3) a continual airlock when drawing water from the starboard tank
(pressure pump was stuck on)
(4) water in the main bilge that wasn't there before.
The electrical demons also came out with
not only the Horizon knot log working intermittently (this has
happened before) but also the water temperature then the depth display
on the same unit not working at all.
| Yesterday, Gena crawled
under the engine to clean up the sticky tarry mess that has
mysteriously appeared. The tar has been popping up from time to time
and is the result of a mistake we made when putting in the septic
tank. One of those "it seemed like a good idea at the time" moments.
Somehow the tar has found a tiny pinhole in a weld along the join from
one from to the next, and flows out onto the top of the main fuel
tank. Then it stops for weeks. We think it's temperature changes from
the engine running or how full the tank is or both. One day it'll stop
as there's only so much tar around the tank!
The real bummer was the water on top of the
tar. Suddenly Gena noticed water up on a frame near the port side
water tank. She found this (photo right) fitting off of the solenoid
from that tank!
|It must've also been
damaged last winter from the freeze. It's amazing more water didn't
squirt out as it's under pressure when we're pumping from one tank to
the other (which is what we were doing when making water on the way
This also explained the constant airlock
problems and the water in the bilge. A "T" and a plug was used as a
replacement so we're back in business. It turned out there was no oil
on the tar, the water just looked like oil.
issues haven't been solved yet, but we know that there is a wiring
issue at the knot log sender unit, or the unit itself has failed. We
have a backup unit, but while in the water it's a bit of a pain to
The sonar has us baffled thus far as today it's working again.
August 10th 2009
Had a real blowdown today, gale force 30-35 knots. Our anchor held much
better than our nerves. Lots of other crews were out in the rain
re-setting, letting out, reeling in etc. so we feel lucky all nice a
warm inside reading and watching "House" on TV. :))
It has been raining quite a bit as well. More rain than we've seen in
the past 2 months combined. Great! No need to worry about washing the
salt off the ropes, halyards, sheets, and decks. It's all been done by
Stay tuned for more!
August 12th 2009: Garden Bay,
Pender Harbour to Musket Island (and Hardy Island)
WX: 0-5 kts NW Scattered clouds, ,16 deg C to 22
Hours: 2.5. Hours on engine 69.4 , Dist 13 NM (appx)
sailing days are perfect, today being one of those, we had to motor
the distance. The wind was predicted to be blowing 5-15 from the SE
right up until the night before we left windy Pender Harbour. The 5-15
knots from the west was wrong as well. I should have gone with my own
prediction based on satellite images of the low crossing over the
north end of Vancouver Island. Of course, I didn't predict 0 knots
| We had run the engine a few
hours while under overcast skies ( no solar power, little wind power)
to charge up the batteries which were getting dangerously low. Also
Gena doing some engine work required so run time.
Going up and into Blind Bay seemed
confusing to us, and if we hadn't had the GPS, we probably would've
made mistakes. There wasn't a lot of buoys or landmark features
to go on, and our charts for this small area aren't really large
scale. Somehow all of our chart books missed this area with 1:50000
being the only chart.
| The terrain
is beginning to look markedly different, the islands seem more
vertical, and have much higher cliffs, and even the mountains are much
larger and higher. The whole area is amazing, and having traveled
the mountain highways so much in the last year, always in a hurry, it
seems kind of special to be able to stop and admire the views. The sea
meeting the mountains is truly unique in itself as well as the
wildlife, flora and fauna.
| The postcard-like photo is part
of the protection to the selected anchorage we have chosen in lieu of
the busy Ballet Bay to the south (un-named). Musket island is a marine
park that is undeveloped, but more importantly, in conjunction with
Fox island and Oyster island.
At first we anchored in the center of the area,
but noticed the CQR was just dragging along the (obviously) rock
bottom. Eventually we obtained a satisfactory hold. There were no
other boats at that time, but suddenly a procession of sail and power
boats came pouring in on after another, and most were stern tying to
Hardy island. (the shore to the north.)
Our first stern tie...soon to be followed by the second
|Eventually we were rather
crowded in, and we couldn't perceive how we could have enough rode out
to deal with the rock bottom and not hit 5 or 6 boats if the wind
changed in the night!
This spawned our first stern-tie experience. The photo shows the first
attempt. There is something very unsettling about this. Rocks, and
certain paint job damage/ rudder damage are less than 50 feet aft. The
anchor slipped, so we had to re-set it, but this time a little further
out. Some other boats were having difficulty getting anchors to seat
as well, so it wasn't just us. This time it seems to have seated well
(Gena reversed 3 or 4 times on it while I pulled the rope over to a
tree on shore) and the wind is non-existent.
Where there's smoke there's......steak!
I am very nervous. Our friend Doug rolled his eyes on the subject
and said "don't stern tie, it opposes the shape of the boat in
wind, and doesn't feel right". He was right, but it might have
been better if I hadn't heard that! The afternoon turned warm and
sunny, so I went swimming and flipped some baked potatoes and
giant steaks (note to self: must limit steaksize for small BBQ) on
the barby, then went for a solitary pleasant row into the nooks
and crannies around the area. Beautiful!
The next day, today, it is raining
once again (Enough! The boat is clean already!!) and there are
forecasts of T-storms all up and down the coast, so
this evening may prove interesting. We could have left this
morning for Desolation Sound, but didn't sleep well (being
worried) and the wind is...well..not. We can't/won't motor
that far! There is no internet here (as predicted) so this update
may appear with lots of others.
Lessons learned: Make sure we know what the bottom
is comprised of before going there!
Need hand signals for stern tying maneuvers, to lessen the "show"
for other boaters.
Sandy & Gena in Jervis inlet*
August 15th 2009: Musket Island to Sturt Bay
WX: 15-25 kts NW Sunny w/clouds, ,16 deg C to 21
Hours: 4. Hours on engine 74.7 , Dist 20 NM (appx)
in a NW direction with strong NW winds and reefed main, in such a
narrow channel can get frustrating fast! As can be seen on the
little chart we tried. The wind was honking and tacks weren't
working so well first thing in the morning. When we tack, we must
partially roll up the big Jenny, This takes good timing when so
close to the wind because once the Jenny is in, knots drop fast.
We botched the second tack and decided this was going to take
forever so the engine was started yet again. ( Notice I said "we"
no use blaming each other hehe) We were kinda tired from anchoring
jitters the night before, so this way was easier.
Some water needed to be made anyway, and
I kind of wanted a hot shower when we arrived at Sturt Bay. This was
supposed to be just a quick stop, but it's so agreeable here, we've
stayed a couple of days more.
Gena on the shortcut trail to the store
Blackberry bushes everywhere!
Evening at the marina
going into the town of Van Anda, we discovered there is a nice big "real" grocery
store. Like with freezers and displays etc.
Everyone here is so friendly, and the village is really homey.
We're in heaven!
thing we were asked after stepping off of the dock was "where's your
bucket?" The blackberries grow wild here and are everywhere. They look
totally ready to pick, as indicated by the locals standing in bushes
along the roads.
The warfinger, Ted, offered us a map but his
wife hadn't returned with them yet so he told us a little history and
Gena, of course, was full of questions.
There's this large kiln that Gena
thought was for burning scrap wood, but it in fact was used for drying
He pointed out the stone/cement pillars
at the marina entry. These supported a large hotel at the turn of the
century and this was a famous and well known place back then. Van Anda
also had the only opera house north of San Francisco, and was
originally a gold & copper mine town.
This would be a fine place to retire, or
just have as a home base. We fantasized about a couple of houses for
sale, and imagined how it would be. The marina, long term, must be
fairly reasonable as the guest dock is $30/night for our boat. That's
by far the lowest we've ever seen. And those docks fill up in the
We are one of the 4 lucky boats able to
anchor here. There isn't a lot of room, but the anchor is well dug in
and there's enough swinging room.
I rowed up the shallower end in the
dingy to check things out ( love that! ) and found a beautiful tidal
zone that boasted bright moss, lichen, and rocky shallows glimmering
in the sunlight. There was no wind, and it was like entering a
different world, or one of those conservatories you see at some zoos.
So perfect it seemed to have been purposely made by someone, mother
Tomorrow we will be going on a straight
run to Desolation Sound, our ultimate destination north, if the winds
are kind and switch to SE as predicted. We have delayed an extra day
because of the northwesterlies being so strong. Not good when motoring
or sailing as it's a long way up a narrow channel.
The furthest one can go by car is Lund
(after having crossed Howe Sound then Jervis by ferry ) on highway
101. We're really up in the sticks!
This will be the last update for a while
as we know for sure there'll be no 'net up there, so see you all when
we return south!
August 20th 2009: Sturt Bay to Grace Harbour
WX: 0 to 35 kts SE Sunny w/clouds, ,18 deg C to 28
Hours: 7. Hours on engine 82.5 , Dist 29 NM (appx)
last we have arrived at Desolation Sound! We'd heard a lot about this
area, and just had to check it out ourselves. We waited at Sturt until
SE winds were forecast, but as is more the case than not along the BC
coastline, the wind died shortly after we pulled out of Sturt Bay. We
ended up motoring pretty much all the way.
Just before we exited Malsapina Inlet to enter Grace Harbour, the wind
kicked up to 35 knots from dead ahead! We felt a little short-changed
on that one.
Being the end of August, the inner harbour was pretty full. 30+ boats if
I recall, so we just anchored near the entrance. It wasn't very
comfortable, but we didn't move at all, then later that evening the
wind died down. In fact, that was the end of wind for the week we
|The weather was absolutely wonderful
and we did a lot of things at Grace. Hiking was high on the agenda as
we need the exercise.
Desolation Sound is parkland, there is no real development, but the
established trails are easy to traverse.
We went up one less traveled path and
ran into a large truck, all pulled apart and strewn through the
forest. We could only deduce that it was from the early 60's for
logging before the area became protected. Gena, having much mechanical
knowledge, was quite amazed and gave me a tour of what each part was
named, and used for! It was like an easter egg hunt sorta. hehe.
Gena with brain freeze
|Further along there was a
beautiful little waterfall. Believe me the photo (above) pays it no
justice. It was like a really elaborate display in the zoo, or at a
conservatory. I always figured that kind of landscaping was overly
idealistic, but perhaps not! This is the real thing.
While chatting with another sailor, we
discovered that there are oysters at the point entering the outer harbour, so rowed over in the dinghy to check it out. A few oysters
were collected, but what we found on shore was even better! Tons of
blackberries (I love them!) totally ripe and ready to pick.
|Not knowing much about them the first
day, I picked quite a few "not ripe" ones, but the next day was
While I picked those, Gena picked lots of apples and plums. Fresh
fruit was a welcome change to our diet.
Gena back from "shopping"
| Speaking of food, Gena made her first
on-board cinnamon buns, which came out great.
She's also been making bread with the
breadmaker. Making the dough there, then cooking in the oven uses much
A few projects were also done while at
Grace Harbour which can be seen on the
|| I mentioned
earlier in the page that the white jellies are pretty harmless, but
watch out for the red ones. Well we finally met some and, yes, they
look a bit more dangerous! These were 10" across.
These are Lions Mane jellies. Why they are
called that becomes evident at first site. Any swimming was carefully
September 2nd 2009: Grace Harbour to Prideaux Haven, Desolation Sound
WX: wind 0 kts, sun/clouds, ,23deg C
Hours: 2.5. Hours on engine 93 , Dist 12NM (appx)
At long last,
*my* ultimate destination north has been reached. (Gena puts up with
Prideaux Haven is usually a very crowded anchorage, but since it took so
long to get here we're now in the shoulder of the off season so it
wasn't crowded at all. (as can be seen above!)
The beautiful backdrop of mountains
makes this a very scenic place, but also makes this a fairly windy
anchorage prone to more frequent rain squalls. It did rain a lot, but
the scenery was amazing! The photo below taken from the aft port side
is testament to how easy it is to get a photo that looks like a
| The water
is very clear, and surprisingly warm too. The small fish are
noticeably larger too, about 4" as opposed to 2" everywhere else we've
been. We tried fishing on the way here but no luck. I'll be the first
to admit I don't know a thing about saltwater fishing. I know lake
fishing but this is totally different.
I didn't even know how to open an oyster
until Grace Harbour, and even then I'm probably not doing it right!
Speaking of oysters, there are tons
here, and red tide's off, so off I went to the cut between Eveliegh
anchorage and here where there were sure to be lots.
I was right as can be seen in the photo!
Tons of them weren't even stuck to a rock which made for easy pickin'.
|Actually, I've never seen so many in
one spot. They were piled in heaps on drying rocks as well.
I discovered that the bigger the shell, the bigger the oyster, and
these were bigger than any canned variety. They tasted really fresh
too! If it weren't for the threat of e-coli (sewage) we could eat them
all the time. It just seems a little risky to us yet.
it became rainy and cold for a few days, we ended up doing some
repairs, computer work, and even baking. There's nothing like the
smell of bread baking in a boat, in the rain, in a beautiful
anchorage. Anyone nearby that got a whiff would've been envious I'm
|Some of the apples we picked at Grace
Harbour were used to make my first apple pie. I guess it's not rocket
science, but without a recipe it needed some thought! It came out
great! I'll be making more as there's lots of apples.
Time went by
all too fast, and we realized that we need to start heading back south
in order to get supplies, another solar panel and something to make
mounts with, oil for the engine, and get to a location to wait for
weather for the passage to Hawaii.
Watching the weather fax every day has revealed that we are still in
hurricane/tropical storm season, but that should subside by the end of
September. We have lots of miles to cover and still want to gunkhole
around the Gulf islands a bit.
This page has mostly been for family and friends, so if it was
a bit long winded you can understand why. This is a really big deal
for us! We have become less nervous/anxious about anchoring, sailing
in rough seas, and handling the boat, since the top of the page.
Anchoring around was a really good idea as experience comes only with
The next page,
cruisingaround2, will include
info on preparing for the passage and any interesting places we visit
along the way. Until we get there, we bid everyone all the best in
whatever you're doing, and I hope that us sharing our experiences made
your day a little more enjoyable!
Until next time,
Sandy & Gena S/V Dulcie-Darlene
P.S. Mom & Carl,
Dad & Donna, Mom & Wilf, Scotty (where R U?), Laura & John, Bill, and
all the kids, wish you were here. Not all at once though haha!