Sunday, March 11, 2012

It all comes back to me now ……….

…………… like the skunk said when the wind changed.  That was one of father’s favorite expressions.  It all came back to Marilyn about halfway across the Strait of Juan de Fuca yesterday.  George didn’t make it out of the Victoria Harbour before he shat himself but Marilyn hung on until at least the halfway point of the strait and in her case it came out the other end.

The one thing you should absolutely never have on a boat is a schedule and we violated that rule yesterday.  Marilyn has been looking forward to the sewing convention in Victoria ever since she heard about it a year ago now.  That wrapped up Saturday afternoon and our haulout was Monday morning so our window for crossing the strait was pretty narrow.  I started watching the weather a couple of days ago & I didn’t like what I saw but I thought it would be manageable.  Turns out I was right – sort of.

I was up until after 2:00 AM Sat/Sunday because my stainless steel bender didn’t get my davit brackets done when he said he would.  Then he offered to bring them into Victoria on the weekend and then he didn’t show up until the middle of the night.  It probably wouldn’t have mattered because I didn’t sleep much after I went to bed anyway. 

We untied just before 11:00 and were leaving the Inner Harbour at 11:00 but even inside the harbour we could see that it was going to be a rough crossing.  There were gale warnings out for all of Georgia Strait and Juan de Fuca Strait and some areas went to storm warnings.  That’s been a head shaker for me – “storm” is worse than “gale”.  Anyway, the gale force winds weren’t predicted to come up until Sunday evening in Juan de Fuca so I thought we’d likely make it but get beat up some on the way. 

As it turned out, we got a different beating than any we’ve had so far.  First off the wind was blowing straight out of the west and we were going straight south so we were heeled 5-10 degrees just from the wind.  That also meant that we were going exactly crosswise to the waves all the time.  I tried zigging and zagging some but more or less we just took them beam on all the way.  We got smacked down hard a couple of times – things were too exciting to look at the inclinometer in the moment but some later smackdowns took us to 35 degrees so I think we probably hit 40 degrees in the worst of it.  That doesn’t sound bad but its pretty exciting when the boat lies over on its side so far that you wonder if its going to get back up this time.  Most of the trip we were getting hit by long steady Pacific rollers but there was enough local wind chop mixed in with them to make it occasionally exciting.

We had things battened down a lot better this time.  The dinghy took it all in stride and the main cabin was relatively untouched.  The galley didn’t suffer at all – all the Silver Birch china emerged unscathed.  Our bedroom was another matter.  The hanging locker sprang open and puked its guts out – probably about the same time Marilyn was doing likewise over the port rail.  And all the DVDs were spewed over the bed along with the books that were up there beside them.  All in all though it could have been a lot worse and amazingly enough the big TV in the bedroom never moved.

The only serious issue on the trip was the GD buzzer alarms for the bilge pumps.  We have four bilge pumps and each of them is wired in parallel with a buzzer light on the dash so that whenever a bilge pump runs the light and buzzer come on.  The problem is that the float switches for the pumps are set too low so the pumps cycle on when the little bit of water that is always in the bilge sloshes against one of the float switches.  There’s so little water there that the pump never actually pumps anything but we had to listen to the damn alarms going off pretty well constantly through the worst of the crossing.

For a change clearing Customs into the US was a piece of cake.  Maybe he felt sorry for us.  Marilyn was curled up under a blanket downstairs and only poked her head out so he could see that she was there.  By that time the cat had recovered and he was happy to meet a new friend.  There isn’t actually a Customs office here so I had to phone the guy and he came down to check us out but I don’t suppose he was here 15 minutes in total.  His main concern seemed to be that he got my credit card information so they can mail me the $27.50 border sticker that we have to have stuck in the window so that nobody can ever pay any attention to it again.

No comments: