A PITT STOP AND SAILING

Yesterday I was getting fed up of headwinds and asked for a break, today we got it.  Set off early this morning to make the most of the usual calm.  We motored up Lama Channel to new Bella Bella where I put some more fuel in the boat.  We have been consuming more fuel that I had reckoned due to calms and headwinds.  There aren’t many possibilities to get fuel between here and Prince Rupert so decided to add a bit to the tanks, we should be good now.

New Bella Bella Fuel dock and Wharf Photo Ray Penson
New Bella Bella Fuel dock and Wharf. Photo Ray Penson

On departing Bella Bella we rounded Dryad Point and set off down the Seaforth Channel.  As usual the wind and sea started to increase on the nose.  As Seaforth Channel is quite wide I decided to tack up and set the jib.  I kept the main in the cover as every time I hoist the main we lose the wind; it ends up being a lot of bother for nothing.  We made good progress and after five long tacks I was able to Lay Reid Passage and sail up the passage.

Dryad Point Lighthouse North of Bella Bella. Photo Ray Penson
Dryad Point Lighthouse North of Bella Bella. Photo Ray Penson

We then crossed over to Mathieson Channel and caught the flood tide with a good wind behind us.  We romped up Mathieson Channel with 25 knot gusts from astern and pulled into Rescue Bay on Susan Island for the night.  Nice to get some wind power today.

Today I saw four other sail boats, the most in one day so far.  This is the main route going north and most are also headed for Glacier Bay.

Its Sunday tomorrow and I haven’t decided which route to take or what to do, I usually do some maintenance on Sunday but this anchorage is not conducive to hanging around.  There is a village, Klemtu, which is on the way, I may stop there tomorrow and have some R&R and then find a nice secure anchorage for some maintenance on Monday.

Total voyage distance 438.0 miles.

Logged 14th May 2016

CAPE CAUTION ASTERN

It was an early start this morning as I was fairly determined to get around cape Caution today and the weather forecast was for strong N Wly winds again.  Bloody headwinds, so Mr Yanmar was put to work again.  Finally at 09:00 after some serious pitching and rolling we rounded Cape Caution and started out track northwards.

Cape Caution Map. image courtesy coastandkayakdotcom
Cape Caution Map. image courtesy coastandkayakdotcom

Cape Caution is one of two major passages on this trip and is only really significant for low powered or sailing vessels as the prevailing winds are not favourable when going north.  Sailing boats are not really suited to this coast and its easy to see why the heavy displacement motor cruisers seen around here are so popular.

Our total time spent sailing this month so far is less than 3 hours, all due to either lack of wind or headwinds.  We are just dragging all this cloth, string and rigging around for decoration at the moment.  We have motored for 15 hours in the past two days and its time for using some wind power.

The second major passage this trip is Dixon Entrance, this is an open water passage and marks the departure from Canada and the entry to USA waters.  Dixon Entrance is crossed after prince Rupert, I have fond memories of Rupert from many years ago, it will be interesting to return.

Lunch today was a Marmite and Branston pickle sandwich, these were the first two jars to tumble out the locker and we were bouncing around so horribly I couldn’t we bothered to look for anything else.  I have had worse combinations.  Not to worry, I will make some culinary delight for dinner tonight.  My favourite food at the moment is Stagg Dynamite Hot Chilli beans from the USA.

Reminds me of the film Blazing saddles.

This evening we are anchored in Takush Harbour, not as sheltered as last night but from where we are anchored there is a spectacular view inland cross the harbour of the forested hills with snow-capped mountains beyond.  Total voyage distance 328.6 miles

Logged 11th 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

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.

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

MOVING ON NORTH

Has a bit of a blow last night and the anchor chain was rumbling around over my head as I am sleeping in the forward cabin.  I had a look around at 2 in the morning and made a cup of tea, it wasn’t much wind, just some gusts and rain.  This morning I decided to calibrate the anchor chain and re-stow it in the locker so it doesn’t jam.  The chain is now marked in meters.

Set sail a little late this morning to carry the tide all the way up through Dodd narrows and up to Nanaimo.  The wind lasted for 3 hours before it disappeared in the afternoon and we had to motor the last couple of hours.

‘There are lots of logs floating around, not always easy to spot’ Photo Ray Penson
‘There are lots of logs floating around, not always easy to spot’ Photo Ray Penson

Dodd narrows leads into Nanaimo from the South.  The tide can run through here at seven knots so its important to read the tide tables.  We went through the narrows on the last of the flood and got a nice 2 knots push from behind.

“Heading North through Dodd narrows” Photo Ray Penson
“Heading North through Dodd narrows” Photo Ray Penson

Logged 21st April 2016

GROCERY SHOPPING, MAKE AND MEND DAY

“Truce lying to a mooring at Canoe Cove’ Photo Ray Penson
“Truce lying to a mooring at Canoe Cove’ Photo Ray Penson

All very peaceful today at the mooring in Canoe Cove, this morning.

I jumped on a bust to Victoria and then to Sidney to do some grocery shopping, thought it was time I had some fresh veg and fruit.

This afternoon spent doing small jobs around the boat.

I the past few days I have had a lot of things going wrong, fuses burning, lights going out and of course the engine stopping.

Its just frustrating to keep having to react to things going wrong.

Hopefully I can get a mechanic to look at the engine tomorrow, they are of course very busy this time of year and don’t really want to be bothered by small jobs.

I suspect it’s the fuel pump that has thrown the towel in. Monday tomorrow and I remember exactly one week ago I thought we would be sailing on Wednesday.

Lets hope we will sail before this coming Wednesday.

Logged 17th April 2016

ALL READY TO GO BUT NOT QUITE.

The boat is ready to go and so am I.  The new spreader was installed this afternoon after which I tightened up the rig and we are all good

to go sailing. Today I have been playing around with the Iridium Go. The first test call home went through without a hitch, followed by SMS and email.  There is still some set up to do and I need high speed internet to complete the set up.  Unfortunately, I can’t get internet on the boat and have to keep trotting off to the laundry – for some reason that’s where the best Wi-Fi signal can be found!

I hope my EPIRB and boat stickers show up with the courier tomorrow so we can get going.

13th April 2016

WET, WINDY AND OVERCAST

A wet windy and overcast day today.

The sort of day when you never can get warm.  I sorted out a number of charts that the previous owner passed on to me, some are very old but interesting.

Also did another rig inspection today as the port spreader is bothering me.  I was considering doing a epoxy wrap but have now decided to replace it.  I don’t want any failures on my trip and it has to be done at some stage so might as well do it now and not worry.  So I am going to take the old spreader off and make a copy replacement.  The mast can remain standing and I have backed off the turnbuckles ready for the old spreader removal tomorrow morning.

The Insurance company came through with the insurance confirmation today, an improvement on the previous quote so I am happy to save a few bucks. Wind has dropped this evening and all is calm again.

Logged 5th April 2016