Sunday, June 30, 2013

Oh my god its been a long time

Where to start ……….

Mike and Diane arrived safely.  We postponed our departure from SNSYC for one night on account of weather and in return got a glorious day for the crossing.  When we got down to Trial Island where Haro Strait turns into Juan de Fuca Strait there was no decision – we just pointed the nose south and 5 hours later we were pulling around Ediz Hook into Port Angeles.  Customs was a breeze – again – but by the time he got done with us the harbor master had gone home so we spent the night on the customs dock.

When I phoned Mike from the dock it turned out that they were a day ahead of schedule as well so they were already in Port Angeles.  We didn’t get together that night but the next day – Saturday – they moved onboard.  Sunday morning we got a moderately late start and headed generally northeast towards San Juan Island.  San Juan Island is where the whale watching boats from Victoria and Vancouver generally take you but evidently not on the days we transit its shoreline.  We did however get boarded by the US Coast Guard so the day wasn’t a complete flop.

We saw the RIB shortly after we left Port Angeles and when it buzzed in a big loop around us and then stood off about a mile ahead of us facing our course at right angles we were pretty certain what would come next.  That advance warning did give us time to get the body retrieval devices (PFDs) in place.  Sure enough, as we crossed their bow the RIB started up and zoomed an arc up to our port quarter.  Marilyn went on deck and helped 2 young girls and a boy get onboard.  When they came in the cabin the leader (who looked like she was about 19) marched up to me and said “I need to see the lowest point of your bilge”.  “OK” sez I “ …………………… why?” “I need to ensure that you aren’t flooding so that our lives aren’t in danger.”

Now you have to remember that we’ve been through all this once before so I already knew that I needed to leave the boat in gear and maintain steerageway.  So there I am heading down the steps to the engine room thinking “this is pure bullcrap --- I’m leaving the helm unattended to show this nitwit that we aren’t sinking – what’s the balance of risk in that equation???”  That’s why when I got down the first flight of stairs I turned to her and said “I’m not comfortable leaving the helm unattended so there’s the bilge –help yourself”.  And I went back upstairs.  I have no idea whether she opened the floorboards or not.  I am however 110% certain we weren’t sinking.

It took about an hour but eventually they got done filling in all the blanks on their form and we continued on our way to not seeing any whales.  That night we tied up at the dock in Prevost Harbor where we spent time with Kim & Steve on our trip from Seattle to Sidney after buying Gray Hawk.  On Monday we got an early start and bucked the current up through Haro Strait, eventually arriving in English Bay in mid afternoon.  The courtesy dock at Granville Island was open so we tied up there for a while to restock perishables and then went the rest of the way up False Creek to the anchorage in front of  BC Place. 

We spent a couple of days in False Creek and then got an early start to catch the ebb tide out the Strait across to Montague Harbor.  We popped our mooring ball cherry and then took the dinghy ashore where Tommy Transit drove the Hippy Bus to get us up to Hummingbird Pub.   The bus ride was better than the pub experience but you have to go to the pub to get the bus ride.

Our original plan was to sit on the dock in front of the Empress Hotel in Victoria for a couple of nights before putting Mike and Diane on a ferry back to Port Angeles but we hadn’t factored in the Canada Day weekend and Victoria was booked solid.  So the revised plan called for a night at anchor behind Trial Island and then taking them into the inner harbour in the morning in time to catch their ferry.  It was the best we could do without being able to book space on the dock but it got complicated when I did a stupid thing.

In the morning when we were having breakfast in Montague Harbour at one point I was waiting for a pan to warm up so I went down on the swim grid and got the dinghy hoisted.  I never went back to finish tying up the loose ends of the dinghy falls so we travelled all day with two lengths of about 40 feet of line lying loose on the swim grid.  When I backed down on the anchor one of those lines went into the port prop.  I didn’t realize what had happened of course until the port engine shuddered to a stop.  I thought “that’s weird” and started it up again.  It started right up and then stopped again as soon as I put it in gear. 


After many hours of putzing around with wetsuits and swimmers and boat hooks Marilyn tried phoning the Victoria Harbour again and by that late hour the 16 year old kid running the dock had figured out that they still had dock space so we limped into town on one engine.  Meanwhile I had lined up some very expensive divers to come and clear the line in the morning.  Our local diver Terry would have been happy to do it in Cow Bay and would probably have charged at most half what I paid the guys in Victoria but I was glad to have the evidence of my stupidity expunged. 

Despite our diver induced late start from Victoria we still got back to Cow Bay by 5:00, in time for drinks with Bill and Donna.  We waited until the parking lot settled down before a late evening trip to Walmart and then got an early departure this morning.  85 miles and 13 hours later found us tied to the dock in Powell River where Marilyn was able to catch up on laundry & I got the impellers on both engines changed before replacing the dinghy fall that I consumed a couple of nights ago. 

Tomorrow we’ll time our arrival at Roscoe Bay so we can get into the bay.  We’ve been to Roscoe before and both really liked it but its not dead simple to get into the bay because the entrance dries at low tide.  That means that when the tide goes out the rocks stick up above the water enough to dry out.  So we’ll time our arrival to get there just before the end of the flood tide.  That way if we run aground the tide will still lift us a little bit more to allow us to either back out or get the rest of the way in.

No comments: