1000 No need for an early start as we would just be fighting the current in Sansum Narrows if we got there too early. Departed Canoe Cove in light winds which we seemed to have on the nose for most of the day. A combination of motoring and mortor-sailing with main and working jib was the general pattern for the day. We managed a bit of sailing near Maple Bay and again near Ruxton Passage, while killing time - waiting for the slack in Gabriola Passage. We actually had the CapeHorn wind vane steering for 10 min or so, in light winds, sailing downwind at 2-3 kts. The work I did to loosen up the rudder seemed to have made a difference, as the vane did not have so much friction to overcome. We finally ran out of patience about 1 hr before predicted slack at Gabriola- another sailboat motored through without obvious ill effects, and we followed. We only had 1 knot of current through the pass and were pushed sideways a couple of times- nothing major and certainly not as tricky as Iroquois Pass near the marina- which we tend to run with no regard for the state of the tide/current.
Got into Silva Bay and dropped anchor among 4 or 5 other boats at 1830. There was a fair bit of wind and current in the anchorage and the boats were not all swinging the same way, so I awakened often to check our position.
June 1 Tuesday
0645 Departed Silva Bay on a grey morning. Winds were initially light and we started motoring with single-reefed main. We had a fair way to go and I planned to motor unless the sailing conditions were favorable and we could make 4 knots or better under sail. This was the general rule we followed throughout the trip when we had more than 20 miles or so to cover in a day.Once we got out in the Strait of Georgia the wind built rapidly to 20-25 kts from the NW and we were dealing with chop and waves (4 ft). We pulled down the second reef in the main and motor- sailed across to Welcome Pass (Thormanby I). This was probably the roughest conditions Barbara had seen in Manali and she was not too convinced when I assured her that "We'd had a lot worse than this on the trip with Al and the boat handled it with no trouble!" . The good news was that Barbara did not get seasick, a good sign - there was a very irregular pattern to the waves, though the boat motion was easy.
1130 Entered Welcome Pass as the wind dropped. Lots of logs about- a beachcomber was assembling a small boom of logs right in the pass (!). We had a favorable current in Malaspina Strait of 1-1.5 kt - and no wind so it was straight motoring in calm conditions. The autopilot had been working erratically- re-setting itself, shutting down, etc. and I decided to wash out the connector with fresh water as it seemed to have some signs of corrosion and salt deposits, etc. This seemed to do the trick- a good thing since motoring without an autopilot is extremely boring and it looked like we might be doing a fair bit of motoring- we were heading into a week of following narrow channels enclosed by high slopes which would probably funnel any breezes... with our luck the winds would be on the nose.
1530 Arrived in Blind Bay and dropped anchor in a little bay/cove between Fox I and Hardy I. As we had the place to ourselves we anchored in the middle and didn't bother getting the dinghy down to set a stern tie. A couple of hours after we arrived (time enough to festoon the boat with drying gear) another sailboat arrived and anchored with a tie to shore about 50 yds away.
So the first "big deal" of the trip was past - crossing the Strait of Georgia.
June 2 Wednesday 0700 Departed Fox I on a clear beautiful morning with not a breath of wind. Beautiful views of the mountains on Vancouver I to the NW- still snow-capped as Creole (a ~75 ft wood double-ended motor cruiser, home port Sitka AK) led us out into Malaspina Strait.
A good day for sightseeing and walking about the deck as the winds were too light to sail except for 45 min near Westview. Autopilot took care of some of the steering and Barbara and I shared the rest. Some interesting views of Savary and Copeland Islands with many cottages/vacation mansions in evidence along the shores.
1530 Docked in Squirrel Cove at the government dock- my usual botch of the docking (too cautious and not getting close enough to the dock) resulted in a small "ding" to the hull. There is now a $3/bag charge for garbage drop-off here, and the pay phone apparently was not working. A couple of fish boats came and went, but it was generally quiet.
June 3 Thursday
0700 Went through the usual routine to start up the motor and nothing happened when I pushed the "Start" button. A couple of anxious moments till I found that the wire had fallen off the starter solenoid. I tightened it up with pliers and pushed it back on and the motor started right up. (I'd had a similar thing happen with the VW Jetta and remember being embarrassed at the simple diagnosis/solution at the dealership after I'd push-started the car and driven from Kemptville-Guelph without shutting off the engine.) 0715 Departed Squirrel Cove enroute Hole-in-the-Wall and Florence Cove. This was to be a short day - just getting ourselves in position to transit Yuculta (You-cla-tah- I still can't say it) Rapids at the slack next morning (0830). The weather was fair with high overcast. We actually got in some sailing for about 1.5 hr, tacking up Lewis and Calm Channels (contrary winds, naturally). Managed to contact Al at noon on the VHF and told him where we would be that night. Passed a couple of fishing lodges/ summer homes including one spot with a "Restaurant" sign with Canadian and Jamacian flags flying. Jerk chicken and patties up here, I wondered?
Motored for the last couple of hours and arrived in Florence Cove via the narrow entrance to Hole in the Wall- pretty spectacular with very steep rock wall (800 ft high?) on one side of the entrance which is only about 100 yd wide. Dropped anchor in 50 ft at 1410 and put dinghy together so we could organize a stern tie to shore, using the end of an old logging cable as an attachment point. There was a surprising amount of current through the anchorage and at times during the evening we were pushed sideways toward the "beach" aka rocks. However we had a good anchor set and the stern tie kept things under control so we were OK. We did use an anchor light as there was a Coast Guard cutter anchored about 100 yd away from us! I decided to go for a bath/swim and Barbara went along with the idea- it was freezing and I was glad to get out. Barbara had some trouble getting up the (rope) boarding ladder so a folding ladder will be on the list of purchases once we get back.
Al arrived at 6pm - I actually hadn't expected to see him as he'd planned originally to anchor in the Rendevous Is, a bit south of Hole in the Wall, but in the main channel leading to Yuculta. We invited him to dinner and he launched his beautiful wood strip dinghy ("Isabella") and rowed over to share the meal. After he got back to his boat he ended up re-setting his anchor. There is not a lot of swinging room here considering the water is 60 ft at high tide, so we were all on fairly short rodes. The Coast Guard cutter was a significant presence in the middle of the anchorage as well. Another large power boat (fishing charter?) arrived later in the evening so things got a little crowded feeling.
Approximately 15 miles.
June 4 0645 Departed for Yuculta Rapids, Gilliard Passage, and Dent Rapids. We didn't know exactly how much adverse current we would have on the approach to the rapids, which we wanted to transit close to slack current, so we left a little early. Weather was drizzly and overcast with no wind. We transited the rapids with no problem and were opposite Dent I by 0830. We were part of a small flotilla which seemed to magically appear from various points of the compass, all wanting to get through at slack- Al, a couple of other sailboats, a couple of trawler type power boats and a tug and tow (barge with a house on it!). As usual, Al was having good luck with the wildlife, having a number of porpoises playing around his boat for 20 minutes or so. Perhaps our boat sounds/smells bad??
The turn into Nodales Channel came up quickly and we turned south toward Johnstone Strait, with Al just behind. The rest of the boats took the northern route heading for Chancellor Channel or Mayne Passage. By 0930 we were almost through Nodales , 1 mile N of Thurston Bay. As we were riding the ebb current we were making good time- this pattern continued for the rest of the day with speeds over the ground of 6.5 to 8.5 kn . Johnstone Strait was a combination of motoring and motorsailing (jib up, jib down, jib up...) with (for once) a following wind. When Al had his jib up we could see him in the distance- we motor faster than he does so generally got ahead of him in these conditions. Al had planned to stop at Billygoat Bay on Helmcken I in Race Passage; our plan had been to stop a little further on at Tuna Point (Blenkinsop Bay), so we were in more of a hurry. In any event we were making such good time that we decided to head for Port Harvey - a better anchorage than Tuna Point. Throughout the day, the water was flat or just slightly choppy but there was lots of debris- logs and wood scraps- in the water to look out for.
One interesting thing happened just after we got into Johnstone Strait- a Whaler-type runabout came right up our wake and pulled up beside us. The gentlemen in the boat asked if they could look at our chart as they'd grabbed the wrong chart pack before leaving Campbell River. I actually had a spare (older) chart I'd picked up at a garage sale, which I gave to them. After they roared away, I realized that I'd neglected to mark their current position on the chart before I handed it over .
Later in the afternoon it got quite windy (15-18 kn) , and by the time we headed up to reach into Port Harvey we had the engine throttle pulled back to idle. We knew we were going to be dropping sail soon and the weather was not looking very promising, with fog/mist and low clouds along with the drizzle, so we took the available excuses and left the main down and just motorsailed. Once into Port Harvey the winds dropped and it was fairly simple to douse the jib and drop the anchor in 50 ft., N of the Mist Islets, at 1645. We had good swinging room and the anchor was well dug in- a good thing as during the night it got pretty windy and the boat was rocking around, rigging was howling, etc.
60 miles approximately in 10 hr.
June 5 (Saturday) Up early - today we are headed for Alert Bay, and need to get fuel, ice, showers, etc so we want to get a good start on the day. After the wild conditions of the night we found a glassy calm , cloudy morning. Weighed anchor at 0700 with thousands of small jellyfish all around the boat- translucent white, about 2 inches diameter. The washdown pump didn't deliver the usual pressure/volume to the hose making it a bit difficult to clean up the anchor chain and anchor. Once the anchor was secured, I went below and found the filter was completely clogged with the gelatinous remains of many jellyfish. As the conditions were so calm, we shut down the motor and I quickly checked the main water filter in the engine cooling line, but found it was clean. We were off for another day of motoring- dead calm all day with occasional drizzle. Things in Johnstone Strait were never boring though as there is lots of traffic- one large tug was hauling a barge loaded with semi-trailers and large shipping containers. A quick bit of arithmetic as it passed showed that it was carrying 300+ containers! We also saw a number of tugs with log booms, small freighters, large crab boats, and a couple of modest sized cruise ships of the older type.
Tied up at the fuel dock in Alert Bay at 1220. Got diesel fuel (about 13 gallons) and filled up the water tanks. Then we moved the boat to the government dock which is exposed to swells and ship wakes but we thought it would be easier to leave from there than from the docks behind the breakwater which were crammed with fishing boats. We were glad we had a good selection of large fenders as the ferry from Port McNeill and then a cruise ship (floating LasVegas style) induced violent rocking of boats and float. It was now more obvious how large sections of the rail (2x4) on the float had been splintered.
After some lunch we set off on "Quest for Shower" and ended up walking up the hill behind the town to use the showers at the "Gator Gardens" campground ($2) - nice clean campground-style shower with warm water, soap, and even fresh flowers on the shelf by the basin. We also called parents from the pay phone in the campground. Gator Gardens was interesting- a swamp on top of a hill with huge skunk cabbage, dead spikes of cedar trees, hummingbirds, eagles, etc- a boardwalk makes it an easy walk.
Then we walked west along the harbour/main street toward the fish docks and the old residential school (decaying) with the new Cultural Centre/Museum attached. We were too late to visit the museum- next trip. There was a dugout canoe in the water near the museum- very interesting. This canoe was about 30 ft long and had about 6 thwarts/seats as I recall. Most of the canoe is shaped from a large log (very large)- the outside is shaped first and holes are drilled to uniform depth from the outside. Pegs are driven into the holes- when hollowing the inside the appearance of the peg end indicates that the correct thickness has been achieved. After the inside is hollowed out the wood is softened by filling the canoe with water which is heated to boiling with hot stones. The canoe sides can then be splayed out and held in place by braces. A cap rail is shaped and pegged to the canoe sides from the top- this and the seats keep the sides from springing back. The end grain at the ends of the boat is covered by carved prow/horn timber pieces which are set in to the solid timber of the ends. The inside of the boat was painted black- the outside was decorated with (traditional-looking) designs. Later in the trip we saw one of these under construction on the shore near Eliza Inlet.
Al had arrived and asked us out to dinner at an excellent little Italian restaurant-(Isola Bella) a most welcome and very pleasant end to the day complete with wine, etc.
June 6 Sunday 0600 Motored away from the dock in gray mist and drizzle after a quick breakfast of porridge, juice and coffee- our "usual" when a long or rough day is a possibility. After passing Pulteney point (Malcolm I) we got some wind and put up the jib. Wind built to a respectable 10-13 kts from the E and the swells and waves started to build up as well. Opposite Port Hardy we were on a collision course with a southbound tug and large barge in tow, so we headed up for a couple of minutes to pass astern. Then into Goletas Channel- another of those amazing straight channels- surfing on moderate swells/waves. We had a favourable current all the way and were making 7 knots or better over the ground most of the way. All down Goletas we were closely followed by a 35 foot sailboat with jib up as well , so we kept on our toes to steer a straight course and surf as much as possible. In spite of the persistent drizzle, it was enjoyable to be getting some wind and drive from the sail for a change. Headed up unto a reach and then dropped sail at the entrance to Bull Harbour. Motored in to the very sheltered anchorage- lots of spots to anchor in 30 ft, govt float and a separate wharf for fish boats, etc.
1315 Dropped anchor in 32 ft just opposite the govt float, and N of a small island. Very secure and good swinging room. There is a Coast Guard station and a beach facing N, but the drizzle had now changed to intermittent rain, so we didn't get the dinghy out to investigate. We spent a quiet evening, wondering what tomorrow would bring as we were going across the famed Nahwitti Bar then'round Cape Scott . The weather forecast promised light to moderate winds. Approximately 50 miles
June 7 Monday 0615 Weighed anchor and headed out for "the bar".... Al had left a few minutes earlier. It was glassy calm and quiet- just what we wanted as any swells or wasves rolling in from the W can build to breakers across the bar which is quite shallow (30 -50 ft). It was easy motoring with just a small swell to let us know we were dealing with the Pacific. About halfway across the bar, Al slowed and when we caught up asked if we had any extra oil as he'd concluded that the warning buzzer from his engine was caused by low oil level. Barbara drove while I dug out a 1L container of oil . I tossed it from the bow into the cockpit of Al's boat - into his chest actually- as Barbara steered us to within 20 ft or so. We wished Al luck and motored on.
0720 We had whistle buoy MA abeam and had cleared Nahwitti Bar. On to Cape Scott and the Scott Channel between the cape and Cox I where the chart indicated tide rips and overfalls near the cape. With my usual caution, I'd plotted a course which took us farther W than probably necessary - about 3 miles off Cape Scott. I knew Al would be cutting closer to the cape and expected him to catch up to us. Actually we picked up a favourable current further out and Al's sail receded into the distance. The wind had picked up a bit and we had the sails up, hoping to get reaching conditions once we cleared the cape and headed SE. Actually the wind direction changed and as usual we ended up with light winds on the nose agian.The weather was lovely- sparkling seas, broken cloud. There was a reasonable swell, but otherwise conditions were fine except for lack of wind. The day was quite uneventful until we reached the entrance to Quatsino Sound (Quatsino Light) where the wind, funneled by the steep hills, increased in intensity. Suddenly we were reaching at 6-7 knots through the entrance, which has a number of hazards to avoid. We had good GPS waypoints and the visibility was reasonable (mist and drizzle again) so there was no problem. We'd decided to anchor in North Harbour or Browning Inlet rather than go up to Winter Harbour. Browning Inlet was quite windy and has the general character of a narrow river with treed gravel banks and about 40 ft depth. We just motored up and dropped the anchor in the middle of the inlet, which has a fair bit of tidal current. It took a second set to convince us that we were not going to move during the night, no matter what the weather.
1700 "High fives"- we had "rounded the corner" and had been incredibly lucky with the weather. We'd heard stories of boats waiting in Bull Harbour for weeks, then turning back the way they'd come because of bad weather at Nahwitti Bar or Cape Scott.
Approximately 60 miles 11 hr
June 8 A short day today so we "slept in" and had a leisurely breakfast.
0830 Weighed anchor and headed for Julian Cove, deeper in Quatsino. Weather was dull- low clouds and mist with no wind. Passed some fishing boats headed for Quatsino narrows and saw some logging operations, including what looked like a wharf/dolphins under construction - perhaps for log carrier ships or log barges ? The entrance to Julian Cove is narrow and the cove is a beautiful circular pond with wooded slopes around. Dropped anchor at 1230. One side of the cove had a number of boom logs chained/cabled together and a small tug came to collect a number of them during the afternoon. We got the dinghy out and headed for shore- there is a large "flat" on one side of the cove where a stream enters and we wanted to see if there were shellfish to be had at low tide. It was fun to walk around on the shore as it was very quiet except for the cries of eagles and we had the place to ourselves.
Approximately 20 miles
June 9 Another long day as we are heading to Kyuquot so we are up early.
0500 Weighed anchor and left Julian Cove behind. We had first to retrace our 20 mile trip of yesterday, then head to sea for our trip around the Brooks Peninsula and Cape Cook- another of the feared headlands of the West Coast.
0700 Koprino Harbour abeam with winds from the W at 8 kn.
0830 Cleared Quatsino light (Kains I) with Al to landward of us as we tacked out against the wind which had now gone to the S.(Motorsailing under jib). The visibility was decreasing as we were in drizzle and light fog and the distant headlands were lost from view. This made steering more difficult as the seas were pushing the boat around and we were steering by compass with reference to the GPS which indicated our course over the ground and bearing to the next waypoint. There were strong currents here which required correction in course steered and made the progress on each board quite variable. We were in fog and drizzle for several hours before we started to see Cape Cook and Solander I looming ahead, well to port.
1200 Solander I abeam. Now it was on to Kyuquot, and finding the entrance to the Mission Group at Lookout I while avoiding the Barrier Islands- a string of rocks and islets which we could see from seaward as splashes of breakers against the fog and dark green of the forested coast. Fortunately the visibility improved and we picked up the buoys and light easily (guided to the vicinity by the trusty GPS) and negotiated the winding entrance to Walters Cove and the village of Kyuquot. We found the float snuggled behind the imposing wharf of the government dock and tied up at 1715. A quick change of clothes, shedding layers of polypro and fleece, and we went for a walk along the boardwalk which connects the houses, store, restaurant ("Miss Charlies"- named after a semi-tame seal adopted as an orphan pup by the owners ~20 years ago), fuel dock("only open 3 days a week since the fishing has been shot"), etc. There is no road access to the town so everything is carried by boat, including the aptly named "Seatrucks"- aluminum craft which look like mini-landing craft with large ob motors. We bought some cookies in the store, made phone calls to our parents, and went for supper at Miss Charlies. We had fresh halibut (halibut burger, halibut fish and chips) to celebrate our rounding of the Brooks Peninsula.
June 10 0700 Departed Walters Cove on a glassy calm morning and motored down Nicolaye Channel with its line of rocky islets separating it from the ocean, and to landward dark green forested hills. Just a few miles away was Rugged Point with a sandy beach and anchorage on the sheltered NE side where we anchored in 30 ft. Down with the dinghy and to shore where a well-maintained trail (it's a BC Marine Park) leads to the beaches and rocky points facing the Pacific. You can imagine the conditions here in the winter storms when you see the logs thrown in heaps like "pick-up-sticks" at the back of the coves. We looked for glass floats but just discovered plastic and styrofoam garbage in the nooks and crannies between the logs. We saw tracks of deer on the beach, but otherwise we had the place to ourselves. It was lovely. Weighed anchor and towed the dinghy to Dixie Cove where we arrived and set the anchor at 1230. In the outer cove was a large Cdn govt barge moored to the shore- with 3 stories of accomodation/(labs?)- and a number of smaller craft tied alongside. Apparently some sort of research vessel. We had the inner anchorage to ourselves except for a large (50 ft) log which seemed to be floating free. Some futile work by John to "tow it to shore" revealed that it was secured somehow by the ropes draped around it, so we left it, keeping a wary eye on it as the tides moved us both. Al arrived and anchored a short way away, then a large trawler-type power boat (US) arrived and anchored at the other end of the cove. Although the guidebooks tout Dixie Cove as an excellent spot to wait out bad weather (it is perfectly sheltered) it is in a VHF "hole"- we had to do without our usual "fix" of VHF weather forecasts (and more useful) weather reports from the manned lighthouses still left after govt cutbacks have replaced so many with the puny and ineffective automated lights.
June 11 0525 On to Esperanza Inlet! Weighed anchor and motored out into drizzle and poor visibility. There was a very light breeze which built a little as we got closer to Rugged Pt and the ocean beyond.
0640 Rugged point abeam, I ducked below to get a weather report from the VHF. The forecast was a NW gale warning for the N part of the West coast. It did not look anything like a gale outside; and we could handle 20-25 kn winds fairly easily, especially from the NW. When Barbara asked about the forecast, I replied "nothing much - variable to 15 knot winds". In the event we never got more than 8 kn apparent wind all day.
0715 Whistle Buoy M38 abeam- we now had searoom and were motoring in foggy conditions with jib giving some help. The seas were a bit lumpy so again we were being more diligent with steering and keeping a better log of our position, etc. We generally recorded the magnetic headings to be steered between waypoints on the chart, so that we would not be totally dependent on the gps. 1020 Whistle Buoy MD abeam amd the channel buoys in sight.
1145 Set the anchor in Queen cove, Eliza Inlet. Actually the first set was a little too close to the "beach"- the shallow end of the cove. After consulting the tide tables and doing some quick calculations, we decided to move a little further out and re-set the anchor. It is certainly nice to have a windlass when you are learning about anchoring!
June 12 Saturday The weather forecasts had not been to optimistic- gales were predicted so we opted for the "inside" passage around Nootka I via Tahsis Narrows and Esperanza.
0725 Weighed anchor and motored away from Queen Cove
0825 Slowly motored along, looking at the site of the abandoned village Ehitisaht, where the largest totem on the coast was reported to stand. It must have finally collapsed as diligent searching with the binoculars revealed nothing.
1015 Stopped at Esperanza for fuel (80 L) and filled the water tanks and water jugs. The guidebook had said that showers were available here, and we were looking forward to a good wash and shampoo. When I asked the lad at the fuel dock, he indicated I should tie up at the other dock and the shower house would be easily found up the path. When I asked if there was a charge, he just gave me a puzzled look and said "Nope". The shower house was a white clapboard building with clean cubicles. A freshwater stream burbled outside the window. I closed the cubicle door , undressed and entered the shower where I found a ball-valve handle protruding from the wall- when opened this allowed a nice flow of icy stream water through the shower head! Yikes. It was like washing in a glacier stream, which I'd done a few times on climbing trips. Then, though, I'd been dirtier and more desparate. It was a quick shower. (Barbara was much braver). By 1100 we were on our way through Tahsis Narrows. By the time we reached Nootka Sound (1330) it was windy and rainy and there were 3-4 ft waves. Visibility was fair/poor and we wanted to make sure we avoided a number of rocks and islets which lay just before the entrance to Santa Gertrudis Cove. There was always the threat that the visibility would drop and make things really exciting. Eventually we hit the waypoint outside the cove and made our way through the narrow entrance which is guarded by a large sloping rock on the S side. The cove is really very tiny as part of it is foul with old booms and cables. Al had said he was coming to this anchorage as well, but he was also planning a side-trip to Zeballos and we thought that he might stop there or at another anchorage, if he was running short of time.
1545 We anchored in the most protected part of the cove, with the anchor well dug in. We knew that if the wind we could hear howling outside entered the cove, we would not be able to let out more scope as our swinging circle was limited by rocks. Al arrived later and anchored not far away.
Approximately 30 miles
June 13 Sunday 0850 Weighed anchor and hoisted the jib as we motored out of Santa Gertrudis Cove. Today's agenda: Rounding the next "big headland"- Estevan Point and the Hesquiat Peninsula. We had southerly winds most of the way- 15 kn or so at the beginning abating to 5 kn in the late afternoon. We motorsailed most of the day at 5kn-5.5kn through the water but with adverse currents of 1kn - 2.5 kn most of the way around Hesquiat Peninsula. There were fairly big swells (8-10 ft) which made for spectacular breakers on the rocks which we saw from a (considerable) distance only! Again, poor visibility at times made us glad we had the gps and we kept a good log of our position. We made a cautious entrance to Hot Springs Cove, picking up the whistle buoy before turning for the entrance, which is well lit but guarded by rocks , especially on the W side (Barney Rocks). There was a spectacular sheet of foam on the water from the swells breaking on the rocks and the sun was dazzling on the water as we made our way into the cove in company with a couple of fishing boats.
1820 Set the anchor in 30 ft between the mooring buoys and the government float. There was actually one spot open on the outside of the float -just large enough for our boat- but it was right in the corner at one end and I didn't trust my docking ability enough to try it. Later , Al arrived and slipped neatly into the same spot.
We decided to leave the bath in the hot springs till early the next morning when we would probably have the place to ourselves and had some supper. After supper I got the dinghy down and rowed in to shore to visit Al and carve the boat name and date into a plank on the boardwalk- a local tradition here. It was calm and damp and there were some mosquitoes in the woods and around the float, but they didn't get out to the boat at anchor.
Approximately 32 miles 9.5 hours- a slow day.
June 14 Monday We were up early and off to the hot springs for a welcome soak. It was lovely - we were the only ones there and the water was the perfect temperature. After we started to get prune-like, we headed back down the 2 km boardwalk to the dock. We arrived just in time to see Al motoring past Manali to say good-bye; we hailed him and he came by the dock for a few words before he headed out to Matilda Inlet. We were in no rush since today would be our shortest day- just a few miles up Sydney Inlet to Bottleneck Cove. So after a leisurely breakfast we set out at 1030. Once clear of the entrance, we shut down the motor (for a change) and sailed up Sydney inlet, first under working jib, then with the drifter. We had some practice in gybing the drifter as the wind shifted and had a relaxing , but too-short sail. Doused sail and motored quietly through the narrow entrance (20 yd?) and anchored in 32 ft. at 1305.
Later, Mike Thorsen and a friend arrived in his beautiful sloop Dromen which he'd completed from a hull and deck. The woodwork and varnish finish was incredible- inside and out. Mike and Dick invited us for wine and dessert which made a perfect and congenial end to the day. It was absolutely calm all night and we had no worries about anchor dragging, etc. so we slept soundly.
June 15 Tuesday I set off at 0630 (low tide) in the dinghy to collect some oysters from the "mother lode" I'd spotted when here in April with Al. We kept them in salt water till lunchtime when we had the first of them in oyster stew.
0745 We weighed anchor and left for Hayden Passage, which we wanted to transit at slack (0920). By 0830 we were getting quite a strong adverse current in Shelter Inlet and I was a bit concerned that we would be late in Hayden Passage, so we cranked the motor up to 2700 rpm . With the increased push from the motor we made our transit at slack. Once clear of the pass we hoisted main and jib and sailed (2 days in a row- a record for this trip) close-hauled against a current to Matilda Inlet- lots of good practice in tacking for both of us. We had light rain most of the way.
1215 Dropped anchor in 30 ft (high tide) in Matilda Inlet and settled in for a quiet afternoon watching the rain. Later in the evening the weather cleared a bit, but we resisted the temptation to go for a walk and stowed the dinghy back on deck.
Approximately 15 miles
June 16 Wednesday Awakened to mist and drizzle and a weather forecast which predicted SE winds 10 kn. "Yuk. Here we go again!"
0700 Weighed anchor (now from 18') and motored out with jib up in light winds. The swells in the shallow (30 ft) Brabant Channel were steep and we hadn't enough wind to really steady the boat (5kn) so it was an "up and down" experience for a couple of hours. The boat kept us dry, though, as we powered through the waves. Visibility was poor and we had to keep a sharp eye to avoid the many crab pots set here, as well as to identify the many small islands we passed.
1050 Finally we were clear of the shore with Lennard I light abeam and headed for Barkley Sound. Motorsailed with jib (close-hauled) in winds which never got above 8 kn. Lots of currents - mostly advers- made navigation interesting. We found better current farther out from shore (about 2 mi off) , but there was lots of drift in the water- kelp and logs. Generally we were making only 4.5 kn over the ground, motoring at 2500 rpm.
We found a little better sailing in Loudoun Channel as we entered Barkley Sound- the weather had cleared and we could see the Broken Group and the many islets scattered though the entrance. We motored carefully through the narrow entrance to the anchorage in Pinkerton Is and anchored in 36 ft with 120 ft scope at 1705. Several contrasts with April, when I was last here: this time there were a number of other boats in the anchorages, and a new float building and fish farm had appeared. The eagles seemed to to have moved away- this was one of the few anchorages on this trip without resident eagles.
June 17 Thursday A short and relaxing day was planned, just moving over to Effingham Island anchorage a few miles away.
1130 Weighed anchor and motored away. Once out of the anchorage we hoisted main and jib and were able to sail for an hour or so. As the wind died we dropped sail and lay ahull in Imperial Eagle Channel while we fixed some lunch. There were many logs about and a very slight swell; a couple of fishing boats trolled up and down the channel. After lunch we motored the rest of the way to Effingham. There were lots
(10?) of sea-kayakers about and some of them had established a camp near Effingham.
1515 Dropped anchor in 35 ft with 120 ft scope (high tide) in Effingham Cove. We heated up the last of the fresh water in the jugs and had baths in the cockpit- luckily finishing just before another boat arrived and anchored a bit further from shore. There were 5 or 6 boats in the anchorage that night.
June 18 Friday Today we were leaving Barkley Sound and heading to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Port Renfrew (Port San Juan).
0545 Left Effingham in fog and drizzle with a 10-20 kn SE wind- just what we didn't need. Another day of motorsailing under jib was in the cards. As we tacked down the coast we kept an eye on the gps to see our progress over the ground. The current varied dramatically depending on the depth and distance from shore- we ended up tacking when the depths reached 175 and 250 feet, as this seemed to give us the best current in our direction.
The rain continued for most of the day with misty and foggy conditions. There were a lot of boats about, moving up and down the coast - mostly fishing boats but some power cruisers as well. At 1030 we stopped for some soup and crackers and backed the jib to see if Manali would heave-to with jib only. The boat stopped in the water in a more-or-less broad reaching angle to the wind- unusual, but it gave us a break from powering into the swells and made working below easier. By this time the wind had shifted to the SW so we didn't have to tack along and were making better progress. The poor visibility was irritating: "Barbara, over there is Cape Flattery. You can't see it, but...."
1500 Dropped anchor in 30 ft (120 ft scope) in Port Renfrew near the government dock.
Approximately 45 miles
June 19 Saturday 0530 Weighed anchor and motored out of Port Renfrew in glassy calm, partly cloudy conditions. We found the best current fairly close to shore and were making better than 6 kn for most of the morning. Slack current at Race Rocks was around 1500; we would arrive before this. Off Sooke there was a fishing frenzy/derby going on - a couple of hundred boats in an area of about 0.25 sq. mi.. We got a little breeze and sailed with the (motor off and) drifter/cruising spinnaker between Point No Point and Beechey Head. Then the breeze died and we motorsailed with jib most of the rest of the day, as the wind varied around headlands, etc.
As we were early at Race Rocks we decided to go outside the Rocks rather than through Race passage. This was "interesting but uneventful" as we rounded at 1415 - you could see and feel the strong currents here. Then set course for Trial I, as a freighter crossed in front of us enroute to the pilot rendevous off Ogden Point. She'd picked up the pilot and was gone by the time we got to the vicinity. The weather was sunny and sparkling and we were surprised to find so few pleasure craft about. It was steady motorsailing with good speed as we cut through Cadboro Bay and Mayne Channel. More familiar landmarks passed: Zero Rock, D'Arcy I, Sidney I and Sidney Spit (with about 30 boats in the anchorage). Soon we were getting out fenders and dock lines and preparing to tie up in our slip at Canoe Cove, which we did at 1930.
Approximately 80 miles
Trip Summary: About 730 miles in 20 days, no storms, no gales, no breakages or breakdowns.