Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A thoroughly wonderful spot

On our first trip after we bought the boat, on the way to Princess Louisa, I spotted what I thought must be the entrance to Smuggler Cove and I have wanted to come back here ever since.  Today we finally made it back.  And its every bit as wonderful as I had imagined.  It was however a bit of an adventure entering the bay.


As you can see, our GPS track was impossible.  The charts for this area seem to have some anomalies in them.  I’ve noticed it before on the Pender Harbour small scale charts and today it was particularly evident on the small scale chart for this bay.  OpenCPN flags the chart icon with a red triangle, they don’t quilt properly with adjoining charts and as you can see from the image above, they just flat our are wrong.  That makes it more than just a little alarming when you are inching your way into unknown waters.

Land traverses notwithstanding, we made it into the bay, dropped the anchor and got ourselves stern tied to conveniently placed rings in the rocky shore.   As you can see in the picture below, we’re only 30 or so feet from the sheer rock face on the shore.


The blue fabric at the top of the picture is another of Marilyn’s acquisitions – a rear deck gazebo awning.  Its wonderful.  Its been pissing rain ever since we got here and despite that the deck is starting to dry in places.  Until it got too cold in the late afternoon we sat out under the awning and watched it rain. 


That’s the entrance.  You can see the beach at South Thormanby Island across a narrow channel from the entrance.  If it clears up by the weekend the way the forecast claims it is going to then perhaps we will take the kayaks across to explore the beach.  I put a bracket on one of the kayaks today so that we can mount one of those ATV fibreglass flag poles on it.  Too many times we have seen kayaks out in the middle of some body of water that were more or less invisible until we were almost on top of them.  I don’t fancy some less observant skipper running over one or the other of us so we aim to be visible.


Coming out of Nanaimo this morning it occurred to me what a wonderful job vessel traffic services (VTS) do.  They were trying to hail some fishing vessel that was out with its radio turned off, by no means an uncommon occurrence.  Fishermen seem to think that they own the water and that the rest of us owe them their existence entirely on their terms.  I’m sure VTS has better radar than we do, perhaps a lot better, but it still can’t be easy. 

IMG_5560 That’s a shot of our radar screen as we were leaving Nanaimo.  The strong signals behind and to our right are land but a lot of the rest of the clutter you see is rain and/or fog.  There’s several vessels interspersed with the rain signals but I can only imagine what a challenge it is to keep track of vessels from Victoria to Vancouver to Comox, particularly so when 30% of them ignore any attempt to contact them by radio.

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