Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Idiots and maroons

Not everyone we meet on the water is a fool. Yesterday I noticed somebody eying up the boat and finally opened the door to visit with him.  Having previously had extreme difficulty getting rid of Mike from Canora I was reluctant to engage the next dock-walker in conversation.  He turned out to be a welcome relief from Mike the Ukrainian. 

He lives near Anacortes and takes occasional contracts with local charter companies to help newbie boat drivers get used to a boat.  That’s why he’s here now – “here” in this case being the inner harbour at Victoria.  He must have a couple of the aforementioned idiots as charter customers though because evidently this is the third time they have hired him.  They could just like his company I guess.  Our Sarca had caught his attention so we spent a long time talking about anchors.  He had evidently never seen a new-gen anchor which seemed strange given his part time occupation.

We pulled into the inner harbour around noon yesterday in order to get Marilyn to her class for wannabee actors.  There’s some certificate you need to have in order to work on a film set.  She has talked about doing that as long as I can remember.  I think the anticipation was better than the reality but for better or worse here we are.  The price has gone up – way up – since the last time we were here – we’re into high season moorage rates now.  And by “high” they mean HIGH.

Before we left Cow Bay I noticed that we didn’t have a red nav light.  Actually when I looked closer all we had was a green nav light – both our forward and rear facing white lights were also out.  So I spent yesterday tracking down electrical gremlins and now we not only have nav lights all around we also have spare bulbs for the three – count ‘em – three different bulb types that are used in four nav lights plus two spreader lights.  That doesn’t count the anchor light which is a different bulb again.  I’ve managed to standardize a lot of the interior lights by going to LEDs but the exterior lighting is still a mishmash of original equipment and various owner modifications/bodges. 

Diving classes are over and SWMBO is now certified.  Certified and damaged to be completely accurate since the last dive did something to her ears and she now can’t hear properly.  (She hasn’t been able to hear properly since I met her but now she admits she can’t hear properly.)  Today she went to a local quack who told her that time would fix the problem.  That means no fun dive this weekend.  The class was over last weekend but some of them are going back for a last dive this weekend.  They’ll have to do it without her and that means that we can leave a few days earlier for Desolation Sound. 

So tomorrow we’ll ride the tide back up to Cow Bay so she can return her diving gear and I think I’ll run up to Nanaimo to buy a spool of stern tie line.  Then we’ll be ready to head out and we’ll likely cross the Strait on Thursday.  There’s a huge armada from the yacht club leaving about the same time on roughly the same route so we’ll hook up with them off and on for a couple of weeks.  They’re going up to Princess Louisa first and we don’t really want to go back there yet so we’ll likely see them off from Pender Harbour and then head for Lund.  We’ve got our oldster friend with the dock in Pender Harbour that we need to stop in on – she’s already invited us for supper.  Once we get past Agamemnon Channel it will be new water flowing under the keel again. 


The graphic kind of shows our route from the tip of Gabriola Island to the entrance to Desolation Sound.  Pender Harbour is about dead centre on the image and Gabriola is about three hours north of our dock at Cow Bay.  We’ll leave from there because it lets us get around the south end of the Whiskey Golf (WG) live weapons range that the navy uses between Comox and Nanaimo.  Lots of times its inactive and you can transit it freely but we’ve got no way of knowing that ahead of time so its easier to just plan to miss it.  That also lets us miss running Dodd Narrows but we’ll have to run Gabriola Passage instead so there won’t be any big gain there.  It just happens to be slack about 6:30 PM boat time so that works out well.  Considering that its going to run at 6.1 and 7.5 knots that day we really don’t want to be there anytime but slack water.

Now back to the idiots and maroons.  Being on a transient dock is absolutely the best place for unscripted entertainment.  You can hear them coming.  The good operators are almost silent – the first sign you see of them is their hull ghosting quietly by a window but the idiots are another matter altogether.  They invariably announce their presence by either drunken yelling or revving engines or on the really good occasions, both.  Today there was a Uniflyte arrived – about 40 feet long.  It came flying down the slip beside us before I had a chance to get outside to menace it with my boathook.  We’ve got a really wicked boathook with this great ugly rusty iron point on it.  I like to visibly wave it around so they know that they are going to lose some gelcoat if they get too close but this clown was by us before I could get outside. 

Then he drove all the way up to the head of our slip all the while yelling at passersby that he was in a hurry and asking where the harbourmaster was.  When he got up to the causeway in front of the Empress he was about 30 feet from the harbourmaster’s kiosk so then he started waving imperiously for her to come out and talk to him.  Never heard of a radio I guess because I have been keeping a watch on the harbour channel and it was silent the whole time.  He had about a dozen men aboard and they started hopping off whenever he bumped into a finger pier, which was fairly regularly.  Once they were on the piers they could keep him fended off by leaning against the boat whenever it got too close.  The harbourmaster is long on charm and short on wisdom (she looks to be about 14) so she decided that he needed to go over two fingers.  He argued with her for a while but eventually gave in.  Then he came charging back out past us and over to the neighbouring pier where he tried to execute a 360 in the slip by bouncing off a very large boat that was already tied up over there.  Whenever he bounced off something he would rev the engines all the harder.  The owner of the boat he was bouncing off of looked like he would have enjoyed using my boathook.   Its getting late in the day – with luck there will be some late arrivals for evening entertainment.

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