Because there is a dogleg at the north end of the pass, boats must transit carefully so as to not be surprised by oncoming traffic. Some people announce on VHF radio channel 16 that they are coming through. However, since there are normally only two slack times per daylight hours, when those times occur during busy summer months, a parade of boats will be coming through. No need to broadcast guys, everyone is doing it. We crept through slowly, keeping to the right and hoping that nothing huge would come around the corner when we did. Nothing huge did.
I'd been talking to a power boat operator the day before who witnessed what he called "road rage" in Dodd Narrows. A few powerboats were coming through at slack when right at the tightest point they came upon a small fleet of sailboats, all trying to sail through without the benefit of their auxilery engines. The powerboats, being "give way" vessels, had to dodge the sailboats who were "stand on" vessels by maritime law. Channel 16 erupted with road rage as power yelled at sail.
When I heard that story I remarked politely to the power boater, "Seems like those sailboats could have just motored through like everyone else. Maybe they were in a race." And of course that's what was happening, a normal occurrence there at Dodd Narrows. To myself I chuckled and thought of the times I'd been going through narrow passages when a powerboat roared through tossing me about in an unsafe way. Can you say, "Just desserts?"
In Nanaimo we anchored two nights and tied at the dock two nights with the Nanaimo Yacht Club. Canadians, what friendly people. They invited us to a party and gave us hamburgers, hot dogs and cheap local beer or wine. We left Nanaimo on Canada Day, avoiding zippy little boats, jet skis and the fireworks display that was to take place right there in New Castle marine park where we'd anchored. Everyone wondered why we gave up our precious spot...
Exiting through Departure Bay and seeing big wind and waves in the Strait, we hauled up a reefed main, rolled out the jib, and pushed out into the bigger water. With the wind and waves on the stern, we sailed north. The Strait of Georgia gets up some big blocky rollers, we call it chop, when the wind blows across that long stretch of fetch, not unlike the Golfo de California. We were battened down well and stayed on deck so as not to get seasick; such it was as we galloped north. Traveler was happy to have wind in her sails and to get playfully tossed about.
Eventually we rounded the corner and found Northwest Bay with a sheltered anchorage for the night. I fired some flares (half of them failed) to celebrate Canada Day and we listened to the people ashore on the beach celebrating around their camp fires by singing Oh Canada.
The next day was similar weather and sea state. By early afternoon the rollers were about three foot high and we were happy to again turn the corner, this time into Deep Bay where we found Hal and Kathy on their summer boat, Ms Kathryn. This couple has two boats, one in Mexico (Airborne)and one in Canada (Miss Kathryn) and that's where they call home.
|Summer home, Miss Kathryn|
Hal and Kathy arranged reciprocal moorage for us there at the Deep Bay Yacht Club dock and we spent three nice days with them there, sharing meals and tall tales. Deep bay is deep, the marina being in about 50 feet of water and just the right depth for me to catch crabs off the back of the boat. Could't be any handier. We took the opportunity of having Hal's 18 year old nephew, a lifeguard and recent graduate, available for labor, and he cleaned the bottom of the boat for us.
|Boat bottom cleaning team: Boss #1, Boss #2, and Diver|
I'm amazed that after 15 months there was very little growth and no barnacles! That's what happens when you keep the boat moving and then put her in cold Puget Sound waters.
|Oysters a plenty!|
I was worried about the weather forecast as it predicted 10 to 15 knots from the SE rising to 15 to 25 knots early in the morning. Tribune Bay opens to the southeast so I had good reason to be concerned. The night was calm. The early morning was flat as a pancake. The big gaff schooner, Pacific Grace had anchored a quarter mile off our bow and we watched her three boats row ashore, each young bosn steering with an oar, the bow person calling out the cadance to the four oarspersons. Each of the three boats beached, then got carried up the tide line. The 30 crew then set about playing an active game of frisby. About 09:30 the wind started softly from the SE. A few boats up-anchored and left. At 10:00 the wind became brisk and a short chop came up. A few more boats left. At 10:30 I looked at the small sailboat next to us and the skipper on the bow was having difficulty hanging on while trying to pull the anchor up. Time for us to go!
|Crossing the Strait of Georgia|
As we came across the strait I saw on the AIS that Pacific Grace had also left Tribune Bay as was making her way south. Just think of the team building experience those kids had launching those boats in the surf and pulling hard to get back to the mother ship.
Lasqueti and Texada Islands are right in the middle of the Strait of Georgia and serve as stepping stones for boats transiting from Vancouver Island to the mainland. Between Lasqueti and Texada are a group of little islands that seem remote, but aren't. They have excellent anchorages. We found our spot and spent a quiet night. The next day I set out a shrimp trap in 200 feet of water and a crab trap in 50 feet then we went to work on projects. The day before when Connie was stowing the staysail halyard she inadvertantly pulled the wrong end and it got lost inside the mast. Now somebody had to go up the mast to drop a weighted line down inside the mast so we could re-run the halyard. Normally the person named "somebody" is me. However, there is an old saying "She who 'skies' the halyard, climbs the mast". Nuts up the mast.JPG CB up the mast.JPG
It took a few tries but finally I was able to retrieve the line from inside the mast as Connie fed it in from the top. When I looked up I could see her way up there above the deck clenching the mast between her thighs like a vice. I'm darn proud of my wife for facing her fear of heights and scampering right up that mast. And what a relief to have the halyard back in service!
While Connie continued work on her new song, I went back out in the dinghy to search for the shrimp trap and at long length found it just where I left it. Empty. Then the crab trap. Empty. With my head hanging low I stowed my traps, floats, and lines while my wife fried up some fresh oysters for dinner. Then while bread was baking in the oven, we watched one of the new videos we'd scored from Hal and Kathy. Thanks, you two. Such nice people. They are Canadian, you know.
|Lonely anchorage on Lasqueti|
While boiling two pots of water I hung various pieces of fabric around the cockpit creating a bit of privacy then got naked and had a wonderful bath/shower/cleanup there in the cockpit. Connie followed suit and then we're both squeaky clean. Me shaved. Fresh clothing on, ready for tomorrow when we go ashore to seek out the following:
Gasoline ( for the dinghy )
Hydrogen Peroxide ( for a splinter in somebody's finger )
Prescription refill ( my rosacia is acting up )
Internet ( to post this blog entry )
Wine ( always )
Trash ( depositing, not acquiring )
Panko ( for all that seafood stuff we are catching )
Kale or Chard
Broccoli or Califlower
1/2 and 1/2 ( for my dear Connie's tea)
I look at the GPS trail and see that we sailed right by here ten months ago, making good time to cross the Strait of Georgia, bound for Nanaimo. That was a different time, a different plan altogether. What we did then in two days we now do in the opposite direction in five. Taking life at ease. Meandering.
|Pender Harbor, Gerrans Bay on the Sunshine Coast|