Blog post June 27
So here I am on the bridge of the boat in Westview BC at their great marina. Time to catch up on the blog before I lose the free wifi!
We have had an adventurous three days… Especially yesterday. I don’t know if it is good or bad that I left my good camera at home. You might not have wanted to see some the of the ugly water we got in.
We actually left right on schedule on Thursday and after a nice ride made it to Pt. Townsend in 5 hours exactly. It was not entirely uneventful though. We had been putting in some long days to get ready for the trip so Garry was napping and I was running the boat when a boat called the Coast Guard. He had seen a paddle boarder in the middle of the shipping lane and a huge container ship was bearing down on him. And then he never saw him again. The boater had tried hailing the ship several times to warn him but no response. So after the ship goes by the boater calls again, pretty concerned. Just about then I spotted the paddle boarder. Upright and paddling away. No life jacket. He had survived and was about half way between Shilshole and the other side so I reported the sighting to the Coast Guard and all was good. The picture with my iPad does not do it justice. He is just a tiny tiny speck in the distance.
Friday morning he left Pt. Townsend at 5:45 a.m. to hit the Straits of Juan de Fuca before the predicted winds picked up. Unfortunately we got caught in the ugly stretch between Pt. Townsend and the tip of Whidbey. Even though it was slack tide there was some nasty water. We got in huge waves coming every direction. We were banging and slamming around. I could hear things crashing. Then I looked back and saw the cable to our dinghy had broken and only ropes were holding it on. I had to try to run the boat while Gar went back to check on it. Nothing we could do at that point. Well, this lastest for about 20 minutes (of a 3 hour crossing) and then it abruptly just ended. Like we passed through a wall.. and from then on the rest of the crossing was fine. Of course there was clean up to be done!
We cleared Canadian Customs at Bedwell. They asked fewer questions than ever but there was a new twist to alcohol. They wanted to know how many unopened containers and how many opened ones. It took about 5 minutes to clear and we then headed further north. The plan was to stop at Silva Bay and cross the Straits of Georgia in the morning, but we had made texting contact with Simon and Yvonne on the Sandpiper. They were heading to Nanaimo hoping to cross on Saturday, too, but winds were going to be picking up. Based on predicted weather changes in the wind category we decided to head across the Georgias. Oh, joy. A four hour crossing this time. It was a little sloppy for the first 20 minutes or so outside of Porlier Pass (that seems to be a theme with us) and then it was a fairly decent crossing. About 3 foot waves most of the way but coming at us in a consistent, drivable way. I ran the boat most of the way while Gar napped, then the last hour I napped. When I woke up the seas were calm and we were close to our destination of Pender Harbor. By the time we docked at the Garden Bay Pub and Marina we had been on the water for 12 hours! We were beat and hungry. Dinner at the pub took care of the hungry and an early night helped with the tired part. Oh! Almost forgot to mention this. Inside the harbor just before the marina there was a deer swimming in the water right in front of us! Again, the iPad pic not so great. Just a spec in the water.
Saturday’s goal was Westview (near Powell River) for fuel, some groceries that were not allowed to bring across the border and a quiet night in their nice and friendly marina. It was about a 3 hour trip from Pender up the Malaspina Straits. And of course a little lumpy at times but after the prior day it was a snap. We fueled up… took on almost 1200 litres of diesel at $1.15 plus tax a litre. But I kept telling Garry with the exchange rate it wasn’t that bad!!
Texting is the best way to communicate between boats when there is phone signal. When using the VHF radio the reception isn’t always great and the whole world hears you. When you text you can say whatever and it is quick. We are using Garry’s phone for texting and mine for phone calls. Don’t try to figure out Verizon’s pricing but that is what works best for us.
So I texted tons with Yvonne the last few days. They are holed up in Nanaimo due to the heavy winds. The probably could have made it Friday late but their boat is a single engine and slower than ours and it would have not been a fun crossing at all. And now the winds are bad over there for several days. Also we found out Wayne and Peggy on the Boondocker made it to Nanaimo yesterday. Friends Frank and Trish are in Ganges waiting for some repairs to something then are heading toward Nanaimo and crossing in a few days.
Overall, even though we had not great water at times and some long days we are lucky to be on this side of the Straits! It is calm waters and super hot where we are. We are leaving today for a 4 hour run to Ramsay Arm for 1 or 2 days. No phone signal there so now texting with the world. We will load up on clams and oysters and maybe a fish or two if lucky and then head further north. We are hoping to be at Pt. McNeil or Sointula for Canada Day on July 1st but that means making it up the last of the big water, the Johnstone Straits, and the winds are predicted to be bad for several days. We will just wait and see!
Oh… the two pictures came out huge and not where I wanted them but you get what you get. The first one is the speck of the paddle boarder and the second is the swimming deer.