Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hey rube!

It got a little exciting tonight right after we checked into the Fisherman’s Wharf at Comox.  We thought we might anchor outside the breakwater but there is such a minefield of mooring balls out there that we decided against it.  Our new yacht club claims to have a reciprocal with the local armed forces club but the harbourmaster didn’t know anything about that so we paid the price and tied up.  Actually we tied up first and then paid the price, which is where the trouble began.

The harbour has very shallow draft so we snuck in carefully and took the first opening that we saw inside the breakwater.  It seemed odd that there was an opening which made me think somebody had recently left it open but nobody was answering on the VHF so we did a crude job of tying up and walked up to the office.  There was no one there when we arrived – which would explain the lack of response on the VHF – but eventually a large woman arrived and checked us in.  Then we walked back to the boat to finish tying up.  By that time a fishing boat was rafting up to the boat behind us so I asked them if we had taken their spot and we had.  I told them that I had asked the harbourmaster about that and she had assured me the space was open.  Then I offered to move so they could tie to the dock and we would sidetie to their boat.  We were in the process of discussing that when something distracted them and they seemed to lose interest in the project so I went back to tying us up.

All of a sudden I heard some screaming and hollering.  When I looked behind us it looked like somebody was rescuing someone from between the two vessels.  Then for a while it looked like rather than rescuing him the “rescuer” was in fact trying to put the other guy in the water between the boats.  Eventually the scrap disappeared behind the bulwarks of the boat behind us and I went inside.  By this time Marilyn had heard the hollering too.  Actually the guy that was getting the worst of it could have been heard a mile away.  I knew he wasn’t getting choked because there was nothing wrong with his voice.  We locked the doors and I called 911.  The 911 operator assured me that the RCMP were already responding but it seemed like they were taking a bloody long time to do so.  The captain on the boat behind us had his cell phone to his ear too so I assume he made the initial call.  From that time until some yellow striped pants finally showed up had to be 15 minutes or more.  Before the cops finally showed up the guy on the ground got away and ran past us with a bleeding head.  Then the crew of his boat came running by armed with crescent wrenches and knives.

We tried to stay invisible – after all we have to spend the night on the same dock as both the boats – but of course the cops wanted to know what I had seen.  Marilyn stayed indoors so she was spared their questions and I kept my responses as vague as I thought I could get away with.  It was a pretty exciting end to an otherwise uneventful day.

It took us over a half an hour to wash the anchor chain and anchor before we left Pender Harbour.  The bottom of Garden Bay has some particularly tenacious mud and our washdown system needs some work.  Canadian Tire and Wallyworld will be happy to see us tomorrow.  We got beat up a bit coming across the last bit of the Strait of Georgia but Marilyn and the cat slept through all that.  She forgot to take her Gravol with breakfast so she had a forgettable day but when she finally woke from her all afternoon nap she had her legs under her again.

Last night we had a delightful visit with a local who picked me up in a bookstore.  Marilyn says I’m always picking someone up on the internet but I was definitely picked up this time.  I was shopping for the Sunshine Coast edition of the Dreamspeaker series of cruising guides.  There’s six guides in the series and they should be mandatory equipment for every Pacific Coast cruiser.  I could buy it off Amazon for 30 bucks but it would take forever to get to us and by then we’ll be done this trip so I was prepared to pay the premium to have a copy but everywhere we went they were sold out.  I finally found a copy in the little bookstore in Madeira and then I got visiting with the owner and another woman who had stopped in with coffee for the owner.  One thing led to another and soon I was getting a ride to the hardware store up the hill which led to a dinner invitation.  I declined dinner but we dinghied over to Anne’s dock and had a cup of tea with her in the evening.  Going home in the cold dark in the dinghy was another new adventure but in the famous words of Bilbo Baggins “if you wants to have adventures then you’ve got to go on adventures.”

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