I decided before starting to write this post that I am not going to complain about the weather (rain, wind, rain some more, thunder storms). After all, I am living a wonderful life with my best friends (human and canine) aboard and doing something that many dream about, so complaining is not in order. So I’m not complaining but I am wishing for some sunshine soon!
We haven’t been letting the weather slow us down. We left Friday Harbor and spent some wonderful days – a couple of days at Spencer Spit park, which I wrote about previously and another at a small marine park called Clark Island, where we were alone in the bay! Quite wonderful. Then we spent a few days at Sucia Island, which is another fantastic marine park – we had a great time at those San Juan Islands locations.
We crossed back over into Canada and spent a couple of days on Pender Harbour (Canadian spelling) at Port Browning. Port Browning is a quaint marina with a nice store not far away. We did the usual things we do while in port – laundry, provisioning, etc. We met up with our friends aboard Ariel X and some new friends, Sandi and Andrew, at Beaumont Marine Park – also on Pender Island near Poet’s cove. We spent a fun few days crabbing, barbecuing, kayaking – and, well – drinking. Poet’s cove has a spa where we were able to utilize the facilities – what a treat! We celebrated Canada Day on July 1st with appropriate fanfare.
We said goodbye to our friends and resumed our slow progress north (heading for Desolation Sound where we plan to spend several weeks). We decided to stop at Russell Island but the weather turned and we felt that we didn’t have enough protection there, so we went to Fulford Harbour (Salt Spring Island) for a night. Since then we have been moving along each day. We have stopped for a night at Genoa Bay, Chemainus (both Vancouver Island), Preedy Harbour (Thetis Island) and Silva Bay (Gabriola Island). Now we are anchored in Nanaimo, at Newcastle Island Marine Park. We are spending two nights here, most likely.
Now, for lessons learned lately. We were leaving Preedy Harbour and decided to go to Pirates Cove on D’Courcy Island. Our guide books talked about the beauty and popularity, so I’ve been wanting to go there for a while. We were getting close to the destination (in unpleasant weather – not complaining) and Ralph zoomed in on the chart because we were aware that the entry to the cove could be challenging. Well, turns out that the entry was not only going to be challenging, but impossible for us at that time – the entry is very shallow and we would have run aground. Also the depths in the bay were very shallow (our draw is over 6 feet) – we decided that this destination was not for us, although there were a lot of boats in there. Luckily, Gabriola pass was favorable at that time (the currents run in the passes and you have to be cautious) so we headed for another destination.
Lesson 1 – Check chart for appropriateness destination before leaving.
We went through Gabriola pass and headed to Silva Bay – a confusing and fraught route as it turns out. We made it fine, but:
Lesson 2 – take the time to check ahead on chart plotter and make way points when a confusing route is coming up.
As I may have mentioned, the weather was rainy and very windy – we docked easily at Silva Bay at Page’s Marina and tied up the boat. We ran a line through the toe rail to try to keep the boat more steady in the tumult.
Lesson 3 – Don’t tie lines through the toe rail. In the morning, our dock line was worn through.
We departed from Silva Bay and followed our trail on the chart plotter from the trip in. The wind was behind us and we put up the head sail. About 10 minutes later, the sail went flying. I couldn’t figure out what happened for a moment – but the bowline knot had come loose from the sheet that was in use (a sheet is a rope that is used to attach to a sail).
Lesson 4 – This lesson could be to check your knots, but really I think the bowline coming loose was a fluke – this has never happened to us in 15 years. I think the lesson comes in what happened next, which was that Ralph told me immediately to put the boat in neutral (we were still motoring, getting ready to put the main sail up) – the sheet could have easily gone over board and wrapped around the propeller, but it was retrieved and we were able to get the sail under control. I think lesson 4 is to stay calm whatever happens.
So we are still learning – a lot, really. People I meet sometimes say things like, “Oh, you must be a good sailor”, or “You must love sailing”. The truth is, I am learning. I’m probably not a good sailor yet, even after all these years, but I think I am a good boater – and I do love boating and the gifts that it gives me – peace, lovely nature to entertain myself with and wonder at, and time – to read, think, sleep – so many wonderful gifts.