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Posts Tagged ‘sailing’

Sundown_EmilyBay_01

Sundown in Emily Bay.

I woke the morning we were going to make the next big leap north toward Alaska feeling confident and ready. But as we crossed the north entrance of Raymond  Passage out of Shearwater on Denny Island, I had an overwhelming gut feeling we needed to immediately change direction. I said as much to Clay and we did. Rather than continue out and around Price Island and up Hecate Strait, we went the opposite direction up Return Channel (the name was not lost on me) to Emily Bay in Briggs Inlet. It’s a beautiful spot surrounded by granite walls and high forested mountains with a small river at its head. Perhaps, for whatever reason, north British Columbia is meant to be our destination, not Alaska.

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IMG_3178.jpg

Clay scantily clad on the beach?

When we’re not sailing, you probably imagine we’re strolling on white sand beaches at sunset, dipping our toes in the surf. Actually, we’ve only walked on two sand beaches in our journey so far and we had our Bog boots on. One of the beaches was about 100 yards long by 50 feet wide until the flood tide when it shrunk to about 100 feet long and 10 feet wide, but there was sand, nonetheless. The other was during gale force winds (34-47 knots knots) with rain coming down in sheets. It was marvelous! We HAD to get off the boat that day after being cooped up for a couple previously, so we dressed in our foul weather gear and dinghied to the Hakai Institute landing in Pruth Bay to hike to the west side of Calvert Island where we could check out the Pacific Ocean. Then we hiked to the island’s northern shore—just because we could. (more…)

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When Kim and I aren’t moving from one anchorage to another, I stay busy doing important stuff like maintaining the engine and fishing. I won’t do the math, but it has been an expensive hobby so far. I started with a rod and reel, a couple dozen big lures, a crab trap and a prawn (shrimp) pot. I’m down to the crab trap and about five lures…and I haven’t lost my rod and reel yet, either. Nor have I come home entirely empty handed, so perhaps I’m close to breaking even.

During our recent journeys, we’ve enjoyed some amazing sailing days and were blessed to have a traveling companion, Chris on Puget Escape, to capture some great Sundown moments for us.

When we’ve been able to go ashore and bushwhack around, we taken photos of lots of different plants, mushrooms and animals of the Pacific Northwest, and have seen signs of the First Nation People in the form of petroglyphs.

Life is good!

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I have to confess that I have some misgivings about this trip to Alaska. The scenery gets more breath taking, but the resources get more scarce. The farther north we go, the more I think I’m developing a case of fuel insecurity…as in diesel for the boat and food for us. (more…)

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CAUTION: This blog post sounds a bit like an advertisement, but I mean every word of it!

Can something be clean and still green? Absolutely! As long as the green isn’t mold. (more…)

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When you begin your day deep in crap, it can only get better, right? That wasn’t exactly our recent experience, but things could have turned out worse.

doddnarrows

Dodd Narrows, a .2-mile-wide slot through which the current flows more than 8 knots. You must transit at slack tide unless you’re in a white-water raft or kayak!

But first, know we’ve made it through Dodd Narrows, spent a couple days anchored in Mark Bay near Nanaimo, sailed over to Jedediah Island and anchored in the beautiful little Deep Bay and explored that island, sailed to Garden Bay in Pender Harbour back over on the coast of British Columbia and then left there planning to travel the 24 miles  to Sturt Bay on the northeast end of Texada. That plan evaporated when the 10-15 knots of wind forecast for Malaspina Strait was more like 20-25 straight on our nose. The sea was big and not necessarily comfortable, even with one reef in the main and the staysail up for stabilization. So, we executed our Plan B and went into Blind Bay for a couple of nights till the strait settled down.

The first night we anchored in Ballet Bay. It’s beautiful, but surrounded by private property so you can’t go ashore to hike, which lowers it down several notches on our rating scale. It did offer reasonable cell connectivity, though, so I could work…or so I thought. The next morning, the good connectivity was gone and I had work to do. My patience wore thin and blood pressure rose as I fought to keep connected…I just wanted to finish my work! As I was cursing the magical cell coverage gods who seem to get enjoyment from being whimsical with their consistency, Clay went below for his morning constitutional. Next thing I know, he’s digging plumbing tools out of their storage spot. The head was clogged. I didn’t even go down to look. After a bit, everything came out alright, but I still needed better reception, so we decided to move to another spot within Blind Bay–Musket Island Provincial Park and its Dol Cove.

When we dropped anchor, it wouldn’t grab. I watched and heard it skip over rocks. Then, as we were moving slowly in reverse to try to get it to set, Clay killed the engine, which was weird. His reason? Lightfoot’s “floating” painter (the rope that secures the dinghy to the boat when we’re in transport) got fouled in Sundown’s propeller. NOT good. The outcomes could have been a bent prop or shaft, transmission failure, a hole in the boat and losing our dinghy as it got sucked under. None of those things happened, however, due to Clay’s quick responses and the D ring getting pulled off the front of Lightfoot. Clay detangled the line from the propeller using the boat hook and then we hauled the dingy onto the deck to reattached the D ring. Whew!

This mishap feels like a greenhorn mistake and is a bit embarrassing to admit. We really are very diligent to make sure we’re doing everything just right. Actually, we often overthink things, thanks to my Type A personality. This time, though, our trouble stemmed from  becoming a little complacent believing a floating line would never give us trouble of this kind. WRONG! Lesson learned: ALWAYS tie the dinghy up tight before you begin tight maneuvers or operate in reverse regardless of the type of line you use to secure it to the boat.

On the bright side, the cell coverage was awesome and I finished my work! There is that…

 

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alaskaorbust

What we hope to see in Alaska!

After returning from the Seattle area where we sold and shipped some unused sailing gear that came with Sundown but we decided not to use, we hung out in Deer Harbor on Orcas Island for over a week. While there, we accomplished a lot. (more…)

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liveonceWe often hear from friends and everyone seems to want to know the same things. What do we like most? What do we like least? What do we miss the most? What don’t we miss? So, because inquiring minds want to know… (more…)

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It’s February. Since arriving back in the Pacific Northwest in mid-January after our holiday break, the weather seems a tad milder. I’m not freezing every day and there are longer breaks between strong wind storms. I’m knocking off significant work-related deadlines, too, so daily dockside WiFi doesn’t seem as necessary. That also means the perceived security of our Deer Harbor Marina community doesn’t seem as necessary either; perhaps it’s time to leave the dock. After all, we didn’t intend to live on a boat in a marina. (more…)

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weatherSailors for all history have taken advantage of the ebb and flow of the tide. Here in the Pacific Northwest, and in particular the San Juan Islands, the currents created by the tide have a profound effect on your movement by water. Depending on the time of day and location within the islands, there can be plus or minus two or more knots for or against you. In light winds, that means the currents could cause you to sail backwards! (more…)

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