Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The fleet is out

It must have been something I said.  Everyone except us left this morning and for a few minutes there was just us and one other sailboat anchored in this little cove.  Since then a couple more have arrived but its still a far cry from the mob that was here before the SNSYC crew left. 

We had intended to leave too but it was another gray BC day this morning complete with a little drizzle and a wind warning for the whole strait.  We’d have been fine moving – its sheltered and we generally operate from indoors anyway – but we decided to stay put.  If its gray tomorrow morning we might just stay here another night.  Its pretty easy to talk ourselves into staying when its as scenic as it is.  There’s a bit of commotion involved with a move – untie the stern tie and reel in the line, stow the dinghy, undo the anchor bridle and stow it, pull, wash and stow the anchor – and then of course you have to do it all in reverse when you get to wherever you get to.  So staying put is a pretty attractive option at least until we get bored with the current scenery. 

Washing the anchor and chain was something that we hadn’t really considered before we started doing it but it is likely the most important part of anchoring.  You really need to be well equipped for washdown and from what we’ve seen a lot of people simply aren’t.  I’ve often seen people using a bucket to splash water over the chain – that would be like pissing on a house fire – right idea, wrong execution.  Good heavy clay is our preferred choice of bottom – not that we get to pick – but when you find that clay it is covered with wet clay on the top – not too surprising since its under at least 25 feet of water.  Anybody who has slogged through the Regina gumbo will know that it sticks to everything.  When you’ve got 100 feet of anchor chain lying on the bottom that means you are going to have 100 feet of gumbo to wash off the chain as you reel it in. 

The system on Gray Hawk when we bought her was a joke.  Perhaps it worked at one time although I find that hard to believe but by the time we got her it was worse than useless.  I’m still not wildly happy with what we have but its workable.  Our seawater pump is adequate but I need a pressure reservoir so that the pump doesn’t cycle off and on while you are washing the chain and I’d like the reservoir to be stainless or plastic because it will be holding salt water.  So far I haven’t found what I want so the stream occasionally pulses while Marilyn is aiming it at the chain. 

In really good mud we have to stop regularly so the wash process can catch up with the chain retrieval.  If you don’t wash it off all that mud ends up in the chain locker.  Aside from the mess it will make I expect it would stink because it would be wet mud inside the boat.  Eventually after we wash enough chain we get to wash the anchor.  The Sarca has brought up some absolutely incredible lumps of mud on occasion.  Sometimes we let about 15 feet of chain fly out once or twice just to get rid of the worst mud before Marilyn does the final wash on the anchor.

Gorge Harbour just phoned to say they’ve had enough cancellations to get us on the dock for June 30th/July 1st so we might wait it out here and move directly to Gorge Harbour on the 30th.  It will be weird having a dock to tie up to after so long on the anchor. 

We’re constantly commenting on how similar the scenery is to the Churchill River system.  We have loved travelling and fishing on the river and so far there’s nothing out here that is any prettier than what we have in northern Saskatchewan.  Obviously we don’t have mountains in the background in Saskatchewan but typically it isn’t pissing rain while you’re looking at the scenery either.

We’re seriously looking forward to getting back on the prairies.  Every day out here the anchorages get busier, there gets to be more chatter on the radio and when we travel we increasingly have to contend with someone else’s wake.  I can’t imagine what a gong show it must turn into after the July long weekend and I don’t want to find out.  We always loved the Shuswaps until after Calgary Stampede and then were glad as hell to get out – I expect this place is exactly the same.  Hardly a day goes by now that there isn’t some moron doing something idiotic on the radio or the water or both. 

Whenever we do get around to spending a whole summer out here we’ll absolutely be doing it at least in the Queen Charlotte Islands or the Broughtons.  To get up there you have to get through Johnstone Narrows which has a couple of tidal bores that act as gates to keep a lot of cruisers trapped down on this side.  I expect that even that area may get more crowded than we like but this area definitely will.

1 comment:

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Lovely pictures, thanks.
Is being on the anchor the same as boondocking? A free site?

Oh, I never thought of having to wash the chain and anchor! What a chore.
I guess I will stick to unhooking an RV.
Happy Trails, Penny, TX.