The last time I was in Heriot Bay was with Keith Dekker many years ago on our little Newport 27, Platypus, about nine years ago. Back then, we had roared into the bay running from a southeasterly, arriving in the rain and seeking shelter. We finally tied to the fuel dock and spent the evening in the pub, then (after many beers) ran through the downpour to get back to the boat. This time, it was sunny and we enjoyed crab cocktails on the back deck of the mighty Precious Metal.
|Precious Metal - Pamela and Henry|
Traveler ran across Strait of Georgia to Manson's landing and the organic store there, then we jumped south across the strait back to Henry Bay on Denman Island, just outside of Comox on Vancouver Island. We caught a nice northwesterly and with the lightweight gennaker flying, roared into the anchorage, turning downwind to douse the sail then upwind to drop the anchor. Picture perfect. Except we ended up in 12 feet of water and had to reset the anchor. Resetting turned out to be difficult as the wind piped up and I had a heck of a time keeping her head to wind while Connie payed out the anchor chain.
|Oysters, mussels, and clams|
The next day I called Kathy and Hal in Deep Bay. They had a ham cooking and an empty slip so we coasted down the channel and visited them at the marina. Hot showers, ham dinner, and a smoky sunset from the top deck of Ms. Kathryn.
|We've seen some whales|
In transit mode, we decided to make some miles and motored south all day down to an anchorage in Northwest Bay and watched the birds playing on the log booms there. The next day we made more southing and ended up grabbing the last open slip for reciprocal moorage at the Nanaimo Yacht Club.
Working further south we had a long run to Winter cove on Saturna Island. We wove our way into the shallow bay- it was high tide- and found a little pocket of 25 ft water to set our anchor down. There is a little cut in the reef there that lets water in from the Strait of Georgia so we had a lot of current racing by the boat all night, tossing her head port and starboard. We could hear the anchor chain grinding on the rocks below.
As we had but two hours before low tide there was nothing to do but wait for the tide to go out, then come back in. Having practiced the routine just a few days before, we knew what to do. Put the motor on the dinghy, drive it around to find where deeper water lies, put out kedge anchors, and wait.
There is nothing more uncomfortable than watching your home tilting 25 degrees. This time we put out two anchors windward, one on the stern and one amidship. These held Traveler from being pushed further aground as the tide finally started rising. Eventually we got off. I consulted the GPS and we headed her slowly to the west. Then THUD, we grounded again, right where the GPS chart said we'd have depth. We backed off quickly then anchored the boat.
Forget the charts. Forget the GPS. Let's do it the old school way. I got back in the dinghy and with a handheld depth sounder found us a route to deeper water. Using a handheld compass, from that big tree across the bay to the little dock at a heading of 200 degrees there is a minimum depth of 12 feet. Back aboard Traveler with just barely enough forward travel to have steerage we crept out. This time Connie leaned over the bow giving me soundings every 15 seconds. "Twelve point five feet. Eleven Feet. Eleven and a half."
I pointed the hand compass at 200 degrees and lined up the tree and dock and eventually we were free. It was 16:00 on my birthday and so far, things had not gone so well. We left the bay to go pick up the crab traps and one had gone missing, swept away by the current. The other had one female. Oh well. Going out the channel the current was against us so we were making only about two knots. Finally, as we approached Active Pass, I got out the charts, found the nearest anchorage, and we ducked into Ellen Bay, dropping the hook in a safe 40 feet of water with lots of swinging room and no shallows or rocks in the vicinity.
That's when I said, "Can we just have a do-over for my birthday?"
So today is my do-over birthday, and we had a nice time motoring back into the USA and Friday Harbor to check into customs, grab reciprocal moorage, take hot showers, and have home made pizza for dinner. While I'm not too happy to be back in this crazy country, it's pretty nice up here in the San Juans, and Connie is playing music on Friday night at Vita's on Lopez Island! Soon we'll have to dive the boat and see what kind of scrapes and gouges we have in the hull. But in the meantime, we are glad to be afloat.
|What do you want for your birthday dinner? Why, pizza and a fancy bottle of wine please.|