A HARD DAY FOR SMALL GAINS

I woke up this morning feeling great.  Green Island anchorage is the best so far, like being in a big wild garden anchorage, sheltered and safe.  As today is Friday the 13th I considered not going anywhere today – sailors are superstitious.  In hindsight staying put and exploring may have been a good option.

Green Island Anchorage - Just Perfect. Photo Ray Penson
Green Island Anchorage – Just Perfect. Photo Ray Penson

We set of in the normal morning calm and headed out into Fitz Hugh Sound.  The place was littered with logs, easy to spot when its calm but more difficult when there is a sea running.  Well we hit one, a sickening dull thump that goes right through the boat.  I was in the cockpit and looking out but I just didn’t see it.  The log was about 4 meters long, old and weathered and low in the water.

I was hopeful for a good days sailing as the forecast talked about southerly winds.  But of course the normal N Wly wind arrived mid-morning and blew solidly in our face all day.  We ended up only doing 29 miles in nearly 9 hours.  Progress was so slow I reckon I could have walked faster.  Mr. Yanmar buzzed away all day, drinking valuable diesel but for not much gain.

So far we have had either calm or headwinds.  Its very tiring and I don’t want to have this all the way to Alaska.  We need a break.

Coming up Fitz Hugh Sound there was a steady procession of motor launches heading north, most were from the USA.  I suppose the large cruise ships will start appearing soon for the annual Glacier Bay trips.

Apart from the headwinds and seas the weather was perfect today.  The sky was clear and the sun shone all day.  The temperature got up to 18 degrees and was of course much hotter in the sun.  The scenery was stunning.

Forest Flowers along the Shoreline Codville Lagoon.Photo Ray Penson
Forest Flowers along the Shoreline Codville Lagoon.Photo Ray Penson

This evening we are anchored in Codville Lagoon.  It’s a bit blustery with winds attacking from all directions off the hills.  There is a warm water lake about 20 minutes’ walk from the anchorage and there is supposed to be a trail leading to it from the beach.  I packed my towel and shampoo and set off in the pig to find it.  Really looking forward to a warm wash and shampoo.

Floating log with friends in Fitz Hugh Sound. Photo ray Penson
Floating log with friends in Fitz Hugh Sound. Photo Ray Penson

I got to the beach in the bay but could find no trail.  I made a couple of attempts to get inland but there was no way and I didn’t really know the direction to take anyway.  I got acquainted with a couple of million sand-flies, covered in smelly mud and arrived back at the beach hot and sweaty.  I retreated back to the boat in a worse state than I had set off.

Blustery Anchorage in Codville Lagoon. Photo Ray Penson
Blustery Anchorage in Codville Lagoon. Photo Ray Penson

After a cockpit shower and a beer, I am back to normal.  Total voyage distance 387.3 miles.

 

Logged 13th May 2016

WATCHING THE WEED GROW

Still waiting. I expected the courier to turn up today with the EPIRB but he was a no show. Called the dispatcher who sent it from Canoe Cove to learn that he doesn’t work weekends and will be back on Monday.

I am getting so frustrated and stressed by this whole saga. I don’t want to say anything negative so will leave it there.

For the last couple of weeks I have been losing fresh water to the bilge. Just a small amount and its been so hard to trace. Looks like I found it today and fixed it so happy about that.

I hoisted the pig out of the water today and put her on deck ready for sailing. It went quite well and nothing got damaged or bruised. The fresh water got topped up again and the boat has a wash down.

The Pig nested on deck Port Mcneil Canada. Photo Ray Penson
The Pig nested on deck Port Mcneil Canada. Photo Ray Penson

Its Sunday tomorrow and since I will definitely be here until Monday now I will try and have a side trip and take in some culture. Nothing much else going on today.

Logged 7th May 2016

PORT MCNEIL WELCOME

Nice clear cold morning and the rain had finally stopped. Had an easy trip across from Alert Bay to Port McNeill with the outgoing tide.

Port McNeill Harbour Canada. Photo Ray Penson
Port McNeill Harbour Canada. Photo Ray Penson

On arrival at Port McNeill the dock crew offered to help me with the lines which was welcome as the wind was quite blustery. Once tied up and secure I checked in at the Harbourmasters office and paid for 3 days berthage.

Later in the morning I had a walk around town, it’s quite a small place so didn’t take too long. Everyone is very welcoming and friendly. I also found ling life milk which is the good news, the downside is that its $4.65 per litre which is an outrageous and five times the NZ price.

Later I visited the laundromat and now have fresh bedding and clothes again. I have quite a long list of chores to undertake here and I will start with an engine oil change tomorrow morning.

Yacht Truce at Port McNiel. Photo Ray Penson
Yacht Truce at Port McNiel. Photo Ray Penson

This evening I was invited to an American boat for dinner. I had a really nice time, good food and pleasant company. They are leaving tomorrow but also headed towards Alaska so we may meet again further up the track. Total Voyage distance 266.5 miles.

Logged 4th May 2016

BREAKFAST IN THE COCKPIT

I had breakfast in the cockpit at 7 this morning in shorts and brilliant sunshine. Then I went and retrieved the (empty) crab pot. But not discouraged, the bait had gone so I just need to place the bait better and should have some results next time.

Breakfast at the cockpit sailing yacht Truce. Vancouver to Alaska.
Breakfast at the cockpit sailing yacht Truce. Vancouver to Alaska.

The forecast today was not good so only a short hop planned for the morning when conditions are usually calmer around here. Even managed a couple of hours sailing under the headsail. Then pulled into a place called Potts Lagoon, which one guide describes as the best anchorage on the coast.

Shortly after anchoring it blew hard from the South East, it’s now blowing just as hard from the North West, around 30 knots.

I saw another yacht today, a large one anchored in a bay some distance off. Like most nights, I am the only boat in the anchorage again this evening.

This place looks good for crabs but don’t want to risk a trip in the Pig in this wind, so will have to wait until calmer days for my first crab. Total voyage distance 238.9 miles.

Logged 2nd May 2016

ONE MONTH TOGETHER

Time has flown by but it’s a month today that I became the owner of Truce. It has been a time of learning, discovery, fixing, installing, repairing and maintaining.

Truce pre purchase inspection at Canoe Cove Marina Vancouver. Photo Ray Penson
Truce pre purchase inspection at Canoe Cove Marina Vancouver. Photo Ray Penson

We have not done much sailing due to lack of or contrary winds, what little sailing we have done has been a pleasure and Truce is clearly a boat that is built to sail. I like just about everything about the boat, she is well built, stout and staunch. She needs some TLC in some areas but there are no urgent projects and I will work to improve and maintain. What I don’t like is the dinghy – renamed the ‘Angry Pig’. It nests beautifully on deck as a good dinghy should do.

The problem is it weighs a ton and is built so solidly it damages just about anything or anyone who gets in its way. Launching the pig is impossible without the use of a halyard and winch, not fun when the wind is blowing. Because its so difficult to launch and retrieve its either spends too much time in the water or on deck, it takes courage to launch and retrieve single handed.

Once in the water the pig tries to attack the stern, rudder and anything else within range. Often when at anchor it will clatter into the side of the boat for no apparent reason, it seems to take pleasure in doing bumps at two in the morning. I am not a fan of inflatable rubber duck dinghies. But unless I can come to terms with the pig, she may be replaced with a rubber ducky.

Today we had a Maintenance Sunday, both boat and personal. The bilges, pumps, batteries, engine and all essential systems get checked on Sunday. As for myself, I had a ‘sanitation Day’ as they say in Nigeria. Beard trim, haircut, cockpit shower and even some deodorant. So all in order, we had an easy motor from Burial Cove through the Chatham Channel to Cutter Cove.

Again we are the only boat here and have the place to myself. This is a very tranquil cove with abundant wildlife swimming and flying around. It’s also supposed to be good for crabbing so my crab pot has been deployed. I am not too hopeful as the crabs don’t seem to like Walmart cat food but we will see the results in the morning. Total voyage distance 229.6 miles.

Logged 1st May 2016

EARLY START REWARDED

It’s always good to have a plan B. Today I had a plan B, C and D, Then ended up using plan E. The weather forecast today was for the same strong N W’ly winds as yesterday which would make progress up the Johnstone Strait impossible. As there is no option to using the Johnstone Strait if going north to Alaska and its always good to make westerly progress in this notorious waterway.

The morning forecast was for lighter winds and I set off early to get as far as possible up the track before the wind and sea increased.

However, the forecast winds didn’t show up and we motored in calm conditions past the first three selected refuges and ended up at a very cosy and sheltered anchorage named Burial Cove on East Cracroft Island.

We are a long way up the Johnstone Strait and great progress made. We will now take some time to explore the islands and coves in the area before dropping down for a provisions stop at Port McNeill.

I was wondering this afternoon how many places in the world I have been with names starting with Port or Porto. I joined my first ship in Portland, there are hundreds of such places, showing the importance of maritime trade to our recent history.

Since leaving Nanaimo seven days ago I have seen only three other sailing Yachts. It’s still early in the year and most sailing boats heading north haven’t set out yet. Most of the trip so far has been spent motoring.

The wind has for the most part been missing or bang on the nose, both conditions no good for sailing. Sitting on the bow and using noise cancelling headphones takes some of the pain out of motoring.

Fresh stores on board are running out now, we don’t have a fridge on board, and yesterday I baked bread. So nice to have fresh bread on board. Total voyage distance 222.3 miles

Logged April 30th 2016.

WORKING FOR A BERTH

Almost finished cleaning the jetty
Almost finished cleaning the jetty

An early start this morning, the wind came calling so I pulled the anchor and made for Green Point Rapids.  We arrived early but didn’t have too much current against.  When we popped out the West side the wind had got up to gale force.

Despite best efforts of Mr Yanmars 27 hp we were going nowhere fast apart from bobbing up and down.  Then the autopilot couldn’t handle the wind gusts so we ducked for cover up Loughborough Sound.  I wasn’t sure we would find good shelter but I didn’t want to back track.

First we looked into Beaver Inlet, it was howling so had a look in Sidney Bay.  This looked a little better.  Fortunately I spotted a guy on a floating dock and he offered a berth for a dollar per foot.

Now that’s $36 and I don’t have any cash on board.  So it was agreed I would do some work and helped Jim clean the dock off.  He received 3 hours labour so not s bad deal.

The forecast for tomorrow does not look too good.  Maybe there will be s lull in the morning to make a break out.  Voyage distance 182.9 miles

Logged 29th April 2016.

RAPIDS,RAIN AND A ROCKY BOTTOM.

Early start to get the slack water at Yaculta Rapids.

I slept in the salon last night as I didn’t like the anchorage but fortunately we had a calm and clear night, the starts are spectacular.  A clear morning but bloody freezing, thermals, 4 layers and sea-boots weather.  The layers came off later and by midday it was warm enough for shorts again.

The Rapids at Yakulta, Gillard Pass and Dent Rapids were transited without incident.  It’s quite benign at near slack water but I can imagine it can be tricky with the tide running.
After the Rapids we entered calm water, flat calm with no wind, so motoring again.

I stopped at Shoal Bay intending it to be the stop for the night.  I took a walk ashore and had a chat with one of the residents, his dog bit me. Only a puppy bite, but the bugger drew blood.

Dog bite
Dog bite. “Only a puppy bite but the bugger drew blood”.  

The anchorage there is on a rocky bottom and the chain made a terrible grating noise even through the snubber.

The sound was like rusty chain over cobblestones and gave a sensation similar to chalk on a blackboard.  Impossible to tolerate.  I picked up anchor and moved onto the government dock, then it rained, a lot.

Got tied up at the dock and found they wanted money for mooring, never though I was the only boat around.  By this time I was bloodied and wet and had my fill of Shoal Bay.

I let go from the dock and motored around the corner to Bickley Bay where I found an anchorage very close to the shore in nine meters mud and shale.  I dropped the anchor, it stopped raining and calm descended.  Took the dinghy out and set a crab pot.

The fire will be on tonight to dry out the damp clothes and get some warmth through the boat.  Should  be cosy, this anchorage looks good.

Tomorrow is another rapids day, this time Green Point Rapids.  Not sure where I will end up tomorrow but not looking for any more rocky bottoms.  Voyage distance 165.4 miles.

Logged 28th April 2016

ELECTRIC DAY

The weather this morning was nasty and the forecast just as bad.  So stayed tucked up in Scottie Bay and got stuck into the electrical jobs that I can’t find an electrician to do.

First I set about the easy job and fitted a new light over the chart table, it works but just need a couple of small screws to mount it properly.

Matsutec AIS up and running
Matsutec AIS up and running

Emboldened by this early success I took on the solar controller.  I even read the manual again and all I could figure it was not reading the battery.  So with my trusty light on a wire I eventually found a wire that was only letting current pass one way, therefore stopping the controller from reading the battery.  I just removed the non return valve in the system and hey presto juice flowed again into the batteries from the solar panels.

The only worry is that without the non return valve something else may go beserk, someone put it there for a reason.  We shall see.

There is one other boat in the anchorage, a nice schooner with a guy sailing himself.  This afternoon he brought some fresh cod over that he had just caught.  I cooked it straight away and wolfed the whole lot, swilled down with a Lighthouse lager, beautiful.  I will start fishing when I have my boat in order very soon.

With a full stomach I decided to see if my run of good luck would hold out and wired up the AIS.  Very tricky and small wires in tight spaces.  I switched the unit on and bingo, lit up like a Christmas tree and asked me for data.  I called up a passing tug boat and asked if he could see my signal and he confirmed yes.  Truce should be showing up on marine traffic soon.

Now it’s time to clean the boat up, have a rum and hope the weather improves tomorrow.

Logged 24th April 2016

I CAN WAIT NO MORE

This morning I checked again at the marine office for my packages from NZ.  NOTHING! Fourteen days since they left New Zealand, that’s snail mail. That’s it!  I can wait no more.  I am moving out, I feel trapped at Canoe Cove.

I will check back from time to time by phone and maybe get the packages forwarded if they ever turn up. I slipped the mooring at Canoe Cove at mid day and headed out in a northerly direction.  Just a light breeze on the nose but I decided to get some sail on and have a play.

‘Anchorage at the end of Glenthorne Passage’ Photo Ray Penson
‘Anchorage at the end of Glenthorne Passage’ Photo Ray Penson

The boat sails beautifully in a light breeze, I just had the jib and staysail up and was playing around with the trim and balance.  Even better the wind vane self steering kept her on rails without any effort.  I was concerned that the self steering would need some decent wind to work but certainly in calm conditions and light wind she worked beautifully and is easy to trim.  The boat seems well balanced and that helps a lot.

I am a happy chappie this evening.

This evening I have anchored at the east end of Glenthorne Passage on Prevost island.   Sheltered little pool at the end of the passage and sheltered from the forecast SE wind this evening I hope.

Logged 20th April 2016