BEER PROBLEM

After a perfect night in Dixie Cove I am now fully rested and happy with life again.  Dixie Cove is a good anchorage and recommended, I pulled up globs of black smelly mud on the anchor, lovely.

Departing beautiful Dixie Cove.Ray Penson
Departing beautiful Dixie Cove.Ray Penson

The weather forecast was a gale warning again.  The Canadian weather forecasters seem to call it higher than it is – just in case?  Anyway, the wind was perfect 20 knots and we made easy progress south down the coast, outside the reefs, to our next stop in Queen Cove.

On the chart I notice a Cook Channel, Cape Cook and Clerke Point.  Clerke was a Masters Mate on Cooks second voyage.  There is also a Bligh Island here as well.  It seems that the ship’s crew are used as names for navigational points and landmarks.  I wonder if it was done by Vancouver, he was only a boy when he sailed with Cook but later sailed extensively on this coast.

The weather is getting warmer, we dropped below fifty degrees north this afternoon.  In fact, it was hot and the air was warm this afternoon.  This leads to a problem – the beer is getting warm.  Or at least not chilled like it should be.  So far this trip the weather (and sea) has been cool enough to keep the beer conditioned at a reasonable temperature.  Truce has no fridge on board, just an ice box.  I may have to invest in a twelve volt cooler box, it’s just too uncivilised to have warm beer on board.

This evening I am anchored in Queen Cove off Esperanza Inlet.  Truce has been here before but it’s my first time.  Queen Cove used to be a thriving Indian village but now is just empty houses and a church, trees are growing up through the church roof.

So far Vancouver Island is exceeding my expectations, apart from a horrid night in Columbia Cove the weather, scenery and sailing has been great.  I am enjoying this part of the voyage and am happy I chose to come this way rather than down Johnstone Strait.  Total voyage distance 845.8 miles.

A NIGHT TO FORGET, A DAY TO REMEMBER

Last night I anchored in Columbia Cove, what an awful anchorage.  The wind howled in all night, great express train gusts that spun Truce all over the place, straining at the anchor cable.  I didn’t get much sleep as the shore was close, a dragged anchor would have put us on the rocks in no time.

Walters Cove, Vancouver Island West.Ray Penson
Walters Cove, Vancouver Island West.Ray Penson

The forecast for this morning was thirty-five increasing to forty knots later.  No way I was spending another night in that awful windy anchorage so I picked up the hook and headed south.  Once clear of the anchorage I hoisted sail and we made great time – for about thirty minutes then the wind died!

We motored south in glorious sunshine and clear visibility, weaving in between the numerous rocky reefs that fringe the coast here.  After some time I felt the engine vibrating and the speed was down.  I stopped the prop and did a few ahead and reverse manoeuvers – a large lump of weed popped out astern.  I had to do the same thing later in the day, I suspect I may still have some weed clinging in there.  A friend had the same thing but he couldn’t get it lose, it was wound so tight he had to get a diver to clear it out.

The trip down the coast was beautiful, sparkling seas and great scenery.  The seagoing weasels (sea otters) were out in force today, I passed a group of about fifty appearing to be having a floating conference.  I didn’t see any other boats out today apart from a couple of fishing skiffs, very quiet at this north end of Vancouver Island.

I called in at Walters Cove, a very pretty little place with holiday homes scattered around a protected lagoon.  This evening I have come up into Kyuquot Inlet to an anchorage on Hohoae Island called Dixie Inlet.  It’s a beautiful location in a marine park.  I hope it’s as tranquil and protected as it looks because I will sleep like a log tonight.  Total voyage distance 819.3 miles.

GALE WARNING AND GREAT SAILING

The anchorage in Klaskish Inlet is protected and secure, hardly any wind gets, its cocooned from the outside world.  The weather forecast called north-westerly gales so I had to leave the anchorage to find out what the weather was doing outside.  Well, there was quite a big sea and swell running and I decided to depart.  Half an hour later I turned around as the sea, swell and wind were all against me.

Solander Island off Brooks Peninsular.Ray Penson
Solander Island off Brooks Peninsular.Ray Penson

For the next couple of hours, I drifted in Klaskish sound, had a good breakfast and did a bit of housekeeping.  At eleven thirty the wind had gone more to the north and I tried to get out again, this time after a struggle to break out of the entrance I was able to hoist sail and bear away for Brooks Peninsular to the south.  For the next four hours Truce picked up her heels and under a reefed jib and staysail we romped along with a fresh north-westerly wind behind us in bright sunshine.

It was good to be sailing along the coast and not in a channel or passage as I seem to have been for the past months.  It was also good to be making real speed without engine noise.  Out to the west all I could see was open ocean.  The big Pacific swells were running, when in the trough the horizon is the top of the nearest swell, then the boat gets lifted to the top of the swell and you can see all the other swells marching along.  I didn’t see any other boats today, I expected more guys to be out fishing, maybe the wind has kept them in port.

At the end of Brooks Peninsular there is an island called ‘Solander Island’, quite an impressive Island.  Dr Solander was a Swedish botanist who accompanied Cook on his first voyage when he found New Zealand and the East coast of Australia.  On that voyage was also another botanist Joseph Banks.  A little further down the coast from Solander Island is a small reef called ‘Banks Reef’.  I wonder who named the island and reef.

Sunset at Columbia Cove.Ray Penson
Sunset at Columbia Cove.Ray Penson

This evening I have anchored in Columbia Cove, supposedly a sheltered and protected anchorage.  I am not so sure, its shallow, hard bottom and the wind is blasting into the anchorage.   The rocky shore is only fifty meters astern.  I am expecting forty knot winds tonight so it may be a long night, keeping watch on the anchor position.

There is a gale warning out for tomorrow as well.  If it continues from the northwest it won’t be so bad, it may be possible to slip down the coast a bit more under sail.  Total voyage distance 792.9 miles.