Saturday, February 26, 2011


We just spent a great couple of days visiting with our friends Dick and Olive.  At 88 and 86 years young they are our heroes.  We can only hope that we will age half as gracefully as they have. 

We met Dick and Olive close to 20 years ago in Alamos.  They weren’t young when we met them.  They were parked in what became our favorite spot in Alamos, in the upper courtyard behind the motel.  Dick came striding over to greet us as we pulled into the lower level campground.  Later that same day their dog upended Bryan St. George from Kelowna, breaking his glasses and bruising his face severely.  It was an innocent incident that we all laugh about now but at the time Bryan’s face looked like hell.  His mistake was to throw the dog’s ball while the dog’s leash was wrapped loosely around his legs.  We have stayed in close touch with both families ever since. 

Dick and Olive have lived in Comox since 1969 and we have visited their home before but obviously not by boat.  There were several sailboats in their past so they were both eager to go for a ride.  We did that yesterday and then went back to their place where they lent us their car for the afternoon and then fed us supper.  We injected a lot of money into the local economy restocking our provisions and adding some equipment that we have discovered we were missing.  Today they came for brunch and then we prepared to leave for Nanaimo.

We never had any intention of making it all the way to Nanaimo today but we thought we’d make a start and probably would have ended up anchored at Deep Bay or Ford Cove for the night.  I say “would have” because we didn’t end up getting 100 yards outside the breakwater.  One of us must have neglected to properly tie one of our big orange bumpers because it managed to escape as we were leaving the harbour.  We tried to corral it with a boat hook but the wind was blowing the boat too much on the first pass and it was blowing the ball too much on the second pass.  After that there was no more chance because we were dangerously close to the rocks on the breakwater which is where the ball finally came to rest.

We pulled back into the harbour and side tied again.  The girl from the marina was out to help us again, as she was yesterday.  Unlike the large federal employee at the government wharf, this one is agile, friendly and helpful.  I guess she doesn’t have the benefit of that secure union position which allows her neighbour to be an ignorant self-centred ass (actually I prefer to refer to her with a word that rhymes with witch).  The one today even tried to round up someone who already had their dinghy in the water over my protests but we ended up launching Hawkita and I motored out to retrieve the runaway fender.  By that time the wind was getting really miserable and it was starting to snow so we decided that maybe fate was telling us something and elected to stay another night tied up to the dock. 

I used the extra time this afternoon to do an oil change.  That’s just over 100 hours that we have put on the boat since early January.  I was relieved to note that this time the quantity of oil I drained out of the injector pumps was exactly equal to what I had put in 50 hours ago.  Last time I thought maybe the starboard pump was diluting the oil a bit but this time it appeared that they both are A-OK.  The reason for the short drain interval on the injector pumps is that, as the pumps wear, they begin to add diesel fuel to their lube oil.  That reduces the lubricity of the oil and eventually hastens the death of the injector pump.  The way you assess the condition of the pump is by how much it is diluting the oil.  If these pumps aren’t diluting the oil at all then that means they are in really good shape.

The plan tonight is to be up and ready to leave in the early twilight.  We’ve got a long run to Nanaimo, most of it over really exposed water.  The forecast is for the wind to be from the south or southwest.  Contrary to what I have “known” all my life, Vancouver Island actually lies mostly east-west which means that a south wind will leave us sheltered on the inside of the island as long as we don’t get too far offshore.  At least that’s the plan tonight.  I’ll check the early morning forecast to see if it has changed any from tonight.  Once we get to Nanaimo we’ve got lots of protection for the rest of the trip but I’m thinking we may get beat up a bit on the way there.

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