Around Vancouver Island - May 31 to June 19, 1999 - by Al Gunther

Kingston, WA to Florence Cove, BC

Florence Cove, BC to Bull Harbor, BC

Bull Harbor, BC to North Harbor, BC

North Harbor, BC to Queens Cove, BC

Queens Cove, BC to Hot Springs Cove, BC

Hot Springs Cove, BC to Kingston, WA

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The inspiration to make this trip dates back to the late 1960's when my good friend, and then neighbor, Bill pointed out a boat to me which was moored near his Islander 33.   It was a little Columbia 24 and she had taken her owner all around Vancouver Island, single handed.   Years later, Bill purchased a 25 foot Bayfield which he sailed to Alaksa and back, mostly alone.   I'm sure he was inspired by that little Columbia we saw that day.   The thought certainly stayed with me all these years.   I had accumulated several books on the subject, first Roger Rue's Circumnavigating Vancouver Island, then Don Douglass's Exploring Vancouver Island's West Coast, Don Watmough's Cruising Guide to the West Coast of Vancouver Island, and Waggoner's Cruising Guide.   Preliminary to this trip, I had been as far as Desolation Sound, up the inside, and as far as Hot Springs on the outside, each only about half way around the island.   My longest prior solo trip was a two night trip around the San Juan Islands from Kingston.

My reason for going in June was that Annamarie and I had other plans in July, and I liked the idea of beating the crowds, and less probablilty of fog.   In hindsight, because of all the rain and adverse current I experienced, I'll probably pick August for my next trip around, even though the fog is supposed to be more prevalent then.   Also, several places like the museum at Zeballos, were not yet open for the season.   I didn't find the fog to be a real problem, even though I certainly got a good sampling of it.   I had prepared for fog each night before the outside passages, by insuring I had all my course bearings and distances and the proper charts and waypoints in the GPS.   Also my compass, and depthsounder were in good working order.   This combined with the fog whistles and horns, which are located on the charts gave me more than I needed for navigation and there aren't any large ships in this area, so I felt pretty relaxed compared to some of my prior experiences in fog.

My reason for going alone was that no one I asked to go along was available.   I don't think I would ever go alone if I had an available shipmate.   It's too grand an adventure not to share.   There are aspects of a cruise that are easier when there is no one else to consider, but there were many times when I would have loved to have someone to discuss various options and strategies, or on many occasions to have simply taken an afternoon nap.   I had sent a copy of my planned itinerary to my Canadian friend John and he and his wife Barbara decided to join up with me in their boat Manali, which they did.   That added a lot to the trip and although we traveled at different speeds and stopped at different places, we did share anchorages in six different places along the route and had many fine meals together.   John set me his log after returning and it is fun to compare them.

The way my log is written is not like an article one might find in a travel or adventure magazine.   It's written from my raw log of the trip and I recorded basically what was on my mind and my concerns as I ventured off on what was quite a challenging trip for me.   I had never done the trip before, the Catalina was an 18 year old boat with mostly original rigging and gear, and I was all alone.   I had considered editing out all the comments regarding the buzzer problem as it doesn't add a lot to the story, but at the time, it was a major concern to me and so I decided to leave this and other seemingly non essential comments in this version of the log.   Engine hours, courses, latitude and longitudes, distances between points, times passing various landmarks, depths, water speed, speed over ground, and battery voltages make up a big part of the raw log.   I have mercifully left these out except as they became major concerns.

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