Thursday: Knowing once Sept. hits, our chances of any multi day trips will be zero, we headed down for Sucia Island, the most northerly of the San Juan Islands, and just a short run south of our home port of Point Roberts. Having 4 days, we had debated about doing a longer trip, but having heard about all of the spectacular trails and scenery of Sucia, we opted to go for quality rather than quantity; and we weren't disappointed. We seem to be boaters of extremes; it seems whenever we go out it's either too much wind, or no wind. Today was light seas and hardly any wind. We opted to power over to start, and maybe do some sailing once we got closer.As it turned out we ended up motoring the whole way in. We swung in to watch the seals sunbathing on the exposed rocks of Clements Reef, and then took a few extra minutes to pull all of the kelp that I managed to foul the prop with. Oops. After that we continued into Echo Bay and tied up to a mid distant mooring pin, tossed our lunch in the tender, and rowed in to have lunch on the beach. As we came in, we kept looking for a supposed dock, but it wasn't to be found anywhere. Neither was any potable water. With there being 5 different bays on the island, we decided to do a little walking and see if we could find a better location to call home for our stay. So we walked over to Fossil Bay; finding plenty of nearby pins available, space at each of the 2 docks, and water & washrooms close by. So we made a brisk trek back to T/T BoB and buzzed over to Fossil Bay. I should have changed fuel tanks before we left, but we didn't want to lose our chance at a prime spot. I thought about the fuel again as we were coming into the wharf, but the Suzuki kept on going -had to be sucking fumes at that point. Met up with a lovely older couple, Jim & Veronica, as we came in. Turns out he had an old Venture 26 (precursor to the Macgregor) along time ago, and he was very curious about the 26M. They came aboard and had a good look around. I had an extra brochure on board, so left it with him. It wouldn't suprise me if I bump into them again, but next time they won't be in a Bayliner. That night we did a little walk out to the bluff on Fox Point. What a spectacular evening view; went to sleep to a clear night and a waning crescent moon. Friday: There's so many trails to explore on Sucia. We decided to do the longest one first and head out around Echo Bay towards Ewing Island. The tide was starting to ebb, and we saw a neat cave down by the water (near where we had originally moored the day before), so decided to do a little exploring. Although more difficult than the trails, the girls were all up for the adventure of climbing in, around, and over the rocks as we weaved our way around the bay. There were a couple of places where it took a little persuasion to get the girls to try getting around some of the obstacles, but assisted by the falling tide, we made it about 2/3rds around the bay. We ended up not going all the way out to the end of Ewing Pt., but had a great time getting to where we did. I missed saying goodbye to Jim & Veronica; Elsa was rowing me around the bay in the dingy, but with the extra dock space that was in front and astern of them, they left a nice 35 ft space on the dock. So at supper time, a 44 ft sailboat decided that was his space. After interrupting about 10 peoples dinner to allow him to squeeze in, we had a new neighbour. I had noticed there were a couple other Macgregors that had come in during the day and were rafted together out in the bay. Someone said they heard that there was a group of them coming out this weekend, so I looked forward to seeing what was to become of that. There was no moon tonight, and with anchor lights as the only other light source, the stars shone brightly. The girls hadn't noticed it when they had gone up to get ready for bed, so I hauled them out in their PJs to take a look at the heavens above. Those are the types of things that make it all worth while. Saturday: Woke up and saw a big old green Chris Craft with green canvas moored to one of the mid pins. It's kind of hard to not notice a boat like that, and I was sure that it wasn't there the day before, so I had Elsa row me out to say good morning to Gladsong II, another boat from Langley Power Squadron. They had guests on board, so I mentioned to him that a spot was opening up on the dock should he choose to be there instead. Another boat beat him there, but they rafted together until the two Camanos astern of us left, then Dave slid his boat back in there. This day we spent exploring the cliffs and chasms of China Caves over on Shallow Bay and got some wonderful suggestions for some of the other islands to explore from a newly retired teacher that was about to enjoy his first Tuesday after Labour Day off, in over 30 years. Congratulations Chris! That evening we had fun playing card & dice games. After suggesting to the girls that we watch a video on the laptop, we came to the realization that its' battery is nearing the end of its life; we got about 30 minutes into the DVD before it died Sunday: It rained for a couple of brief stints overnight, but clouds were lightening as we awoke. While most others still have till Monday to begin their returns to home, Lisa has to work on Monday, so we're heading off with the change of tide @ 900; water flat as glass. The canvas was still damp, so we left it all up for the first time under power. While it seemed a little dark, it did cut down on the wind noise considerably. I do think we'll look at completing the cockpit enclosure come spring. While it wasn't that hot sunny final weekend weather that we always hope for, it was still a great weekend. And another destination that we will visit many more times I'm sure. More photos
Pt. Roberts to Port Browning.
Seems like forever since we've been out! This has been the busiest summer in a while for scheduled events, and while we wouldn't have missed them for anything, the fact is between commitments and cancelled runs due to bad weather, we haven't gotten out.
The nice thing is that we now have our Nexus passes, so between that and the Boater Registration Numbers we got from Pt. Roberts Customs, that has made things much simpler; although the process of getting them were an adventure in and unto themself.
Wanting to catch slack tides through the Gulf Islands, we headed on our way to catch an early(ish) 9:45 slack. Because it was a low tide, and we've not gone through pass between Mayne & Saturna Isl. before, we opted to go through Active Pass instead; a little longer, but we're wanting to be out on the boat anyways, right? It was nice being able to just phone in to Cdn Customs and get a clearance number that way. If we were continuing on, we would of had a 5 min. wait and then continued on, but as it was our destination for the day, we didn't even have to worry about that. After a pleasant, flat, motor over we were at Port Browning for lunch. After lunch we took a leisurely 10 minute stroll up to the strip mall, enjoying many ripe and juicy roadside blackberries along the way. After the obligatory ice-cream, we were back to the marina. It was a hot day, and the first time we've stayed somewhere with a pool, so the kids were quickly into their suits and enjoying the pool. The Marina is for sale and although this was our first visit, it seems as though they're letting it go. Waggoner's painted quite a glowing picture of it, but to me it was not the same place that the travel guide described.
Friday: Port Browning to Montague.
Just a short run up to Montague. Unfortunately there was no wind at all, so it made for a quick trip with the motor. The early arrival did help ensure we got dock space at the park though, as we expected the place to get pretty full for the weekend; and it was! Montague is such a great place to go -especially with the kids. There was a great low tide for the kids to go exploring the shore and the midden bay. Girls made great friends (yet again) with a girl off the adjacent boat. After a nice walk to watch the setting sun from over on the north bay, and a rousing game of yahtzee, we called it a night.
Saturday morning Elsa awoke early and climbed out the vee-berth hatch to say good morning. Seeing way too much energy at that time of day, her first 'chore' of the day was to row us out to the converted Gabriola Island ferry boat, now serving as a floating bakery, to get some delicious, fresh from the oven cinnamon buns for breakfast. After breakfast the girls, along with a new friend from the neighbouring boat, collected some very colourful marine life. The kids were thrilled when the park biologist came over and asked if she could include their catch in her tidal shore display. After that they did a couple of hour examination of the low tide sea life. Lots more to see when you know what to look for.
The south winds came up quite a bit and blew straight up the inlet, tossing everyone around pretty good. Some boats anchoring pulled up and went around the point to the beach on the north side of the park to anchor there. It continued to blow till around 1930 or so. Then it died away as quickly as it came on earlier.
We headed off Sunday mid-morning, and allowed ourselves time to give the boat a good cleaning when we got back to Pt. Roberts. Another great couple of days. More photos
Thur., July 5 Pt. Roberts - Nanaimo - Newcastle
By the time we got things ship shape it was to late at home to really get anything done that day, so we still didn't get going until today. My goal was to leave by 900, but it was 1200 before we actually left the slip; the tide had fully turned against us. The northerly wind was also against us, and had continued to pick up throughout the morning, and again during the afternoons' crossing. The plan was to go the direct route; a straight line diagonally up Georgia Strait, around Gabriola Island, and into Nanaimo. My mistake was to not take action in either one of 2 ways; push the issue on departure time, or modify the route for changed conditions. Leaving as originally planned would have given a lighter head winds and we would of had the tail end of the flood tide to assist us along. As the wind picked up, I thought of cutting over to Pollier Pass, but didn't want to have to sit at the south end of Dodds Narrows to wait out the now ebbing tide. So we pushed on. We were motoring, as we would have been sailing backwards if we attempted to go against that hard of a wind & current. What would have been a 2.5 to 3 hr. trip ended up being 4 hrs. with much of the bow spray being carried back and dumped on yours truly. After a dockside phone in to customs -with yet another verbal clearance- we ran over to Newcastle Island. The forecast was calling for continued northerly through the night, so rather than attempt our first overnight anchoring, we decided to tie up at one of the open spaces at the park dock. Apparently that was a good choice, as a few dragged anchor over night. Once tied up we rowed over to the 'Dinghy Dock Pub' to have dinner with Lisa's parents. After a nice meal out on the deck, they took the shuttle ferry back to Nanaimo, and we headed back to the boat. More photos
Fri., July 6 Newcastle - Nanaimo
Last night was my first time enjoying no slapping lines. It was so nice not to hear that somewhere nearby. This morning was a leisurely walk around the Island's trails and historic sites. As we were preparing to leave Newcastle a large trawler style yacht came in to the other beside us on the next dock finger over, but he didn't pull all the way up, instead staying at the end and kind of boxing us in; leaving only about 10 ft of space between him and the boat tied directly behind me, to negotiate through. My polite request for him to move forward got me a response of 'Ah, you've got lots of room.' Well the crosswind used up some of it, and as we were moving over to gently push by the sailboat that was behind us, I didn't see our shifting weight had pulled the mast to starboard, and we touched spreaders. No damage, but certainly a potential for it. The power boater looked a little sheepish as I called out 'Thanks'.
We tied up in at the Government Basin for the next 3 days. We had made arrangements to spend the rest of our stay in Nanaimo at Lisa's folks place, and they graciously made sure we had transportation as needed, and as Lisa, her mom, and the kids headed off to the mall, I was over to my brother's to help prep things for the next days wedding. More photos
Mon. July 9 Nanaimo - Telegraph Marina, Thetis Island
Although breezy, we set off at 1145 to catch the 1250 slack at Dodds Narrows, which we timed great. After passing through Dodds, we set the sails for what we planned to be an easy couple of hours of downwind sailing with the ebbing tides helping us along. The wind continued to pick up, and quickly overtook our comfort level. I remembered only then from my Laser sailing back in university, how much more difficult downwind sailing is to control. No one was really comfortable, so we doused the sails to power the rest of the way down. Once again, our original thought of anchoring (this time at Wallace Island) was replaced with something a little more substantial to lash onto, so we headed for Telegraph Marina via the Cut at Clam Bay for some protection from the wind.
We had to come cross wind into the dock finger, which was a little concerning given how close in we had to stay as we approached. I had to use a little more way than I would have liked, but came in fine. After we tied up and secured the boat, a old sailor came over with some words of advice -tied up with the wind hitting our stern, the waves will be slapping all night, and keep us awake the whole night. We quickly untied and swung the boat around bow first before someone tied up beside us and made it impossible to do so.
The wind continued building and the lowering tide took away much of the upwind approach area to the docks. A 40' Uniflite was holed above the water line as it got itself broad to the wind and tried to abort a missed docking. I didn't see him coming in until I heard him gunning the engines. I leaped up, running over to try to assist but couldn't get there in time for that one. Both another sailboater and myself arrived at the same time, while 2 other power boaters just stood around watching the entire thing unfold from the outset.
Telegraph is a nice marina, with kid friendly grounds and lots of rocky beach areas to explore. No walking trails though, so you do have to hug the edge of the road if you want to get around the island by foot. More Photos
Tues. July 10 Telegraph to Montague Harbour
The wind continued to blow well into the early morning hours, but was noticeably calmer by 1000. Although we could of departed at anytime via the natural harbour to the south, we waited for the rising tide to give us 4 feet of water through the cut, lowered the centerboard one foot, dropped down one rudder, and departed by that more direct route at 1300. Megan was watching from depths from the bow, while Elsa was to port. Lisa watched starboard, and kept one hand on the line for the lowered starboard rudder as we didn't want to hard tie it. We did bump once ever so gently. There were a couple of Canoe Coves getting even itchier to come through as they watched our sailboat exit the east entrance, but they wisely continued waiting patiently for a while longer.
The short run down to Montague was a pleasant one. Given the bumpy downwind ride of yesterday, I didn't think it was the wisest time to suggest raising the sails, so we motored straight in. All of the mooring pins were occupied, so we took up a spot on the Parks dock and proceeded to go for a walk around the north end of the park. At one spot, where a rocky reef extended out into sandy cove, the kids were out about 40 feet from shore, but were only thigh deep in water. Elsa spotted a big red crab and wanted me to come in and get it for her. By the time I got over there, it was on its way to deeper territory. We continued our walk around the point, only to meet up with the family of 2 teachers I work with. We had a nice visit on the beach, and watched as one gentleman with an oar, was wading out and herding in, one by one, several of these large rock crabs for dinner. He'd get them into shallow enough water that he could eventually just bend over and pick them up. He was keeping all the kids on the beach occupied! When we came back to the dock, we met up with a former Mac Classic owner who was travelling with his family up on their annual Anacortes to Desolation Sound trip. They were now sailing a 26' Hunter, but he had lots of questions about the newer M configuration, and lots of tales about his old Classic. More photos
Wed. July 11 Montague Harbour - Point Roberts
We were late getting away again; I do need to work on getting every one going on those days that we do have to keep to set time schedules. Anyways,we missed slack tide at Active Pass by an hour. I know it's not a big deal as far as getting through, but with the fuel bill of beating against wind and current from our run up to Nanaiimo still fresh in my mind..... The winds were also supposed to pick up in the late afternoon, but as we exited the sloppy east side of Active, the winds picked up, and continued to blow. Of course our preferred route takes us directly abeam of the seas on this run. I did try pointing a little up on the waves with the idea of making our approach to PR a littl more comfortable, but the wave direction changed and we were still stuck taking seas abeam. The wave activity did ease off somewhat, the last 2 or 3 miles. Knowing that our fuel was getting low in the one tank, I took the opportunity of reduced seas to point into the wind and switch over fuel tanks before coming in and having to run close along the shallow shoreline. We had barely gotten going again when we were visited by a US customs helicopter. After they circled and had a couple of good looks at us they were on their way. We explained to the kids how they must have noticed we were stopped and were wanting to check to see if we were safe. We came back to home port, waited for a US Customs agent to stop by, then proceeded to regular cleanup and prep for our next outing. Several people asking for updates as to how it was out there. a neighbouring Catalina 32, needing to come in a little faster to swing across the wind to dock, came into it's slip a little hard. Said it took him over 6 hrs to beat up from Sucia.
Well, we said to the kids on earlier, much smoother crossings, not to expect the glass like conditions to be the norm. On this leg of the trip, they got the other. It was still another great trip. The only disappointing part of the past two weeks was the wind; it was either too little, or too much for our limited experience level. However, 2 weeks out on the water to start off the summer holidays? You can't complain too much about that.
Wed. June 27 Pt. Roberts - Port Townsend
What a great (early) start to summer. Using some 'in leu of' days being owed to me, we pulled Elsa from class 2 days early and set off for a weeklong trip to BWYs rendezvous at Port Orchard Marina near Bremerton, Washiington. Each departure gets a little smoother and less stressful, even though a week out is a lot different than going overnight. Our departure was uneventful. Although I did get the 20hr oil change done before leaving, I could not get the lower gear oil drain plug open, so that portion will have to wait until our return.
The plan is to make a b-line down to the rendezvous, and then take a little more time on the return leg. This is actually the first week of 2 on the boat, as we will be back in Langley for a day to check in on the house, water plants, do laundry, etc. and then departing on the 2nd leg; a week up to Nanaimo for my brother Rick's wedding.
So another flat day for our departure. Although it makes for the most relaxing of motorings, it also reconfirms our choice of boats. On days like this, headway in a traditional sailing vessel would be minimal. Our timeline dictated we would be motoring at least to Kingston, so the flat water and indifferent tides meant that we travelled comfortably at 14 knots +, most of the trip down. We arrived at our first rest / refueling stop, Blakely Island just before 1600, and proceeded to fuel up. Good thing we did so, as they closed at 4:00pm. I did add on some gerry cans for safety, but did not want to have to start the trip by using them to get to Port Townsend. Aside from the odd store/fuel hours, the marina is beautiful little spot that I know we will return to and overnight. We took a few extra minutes to watch a small transport barge deal with trying to off load 2 5 ton moving trucks off it's ramps at low tide. With a little coercion an a little dragging their bumpers, they made it off, and we were on our way. Although it was still mid-week, I was surprised by how quiet and absent of boats both the waterways and the marinas were.
We got in to Port Townsend Marina at 1830. PTM is a little south of the downtown area, but was also further along for tomorrow's departure. Their slips and alleyways are very narrow, and the after hours system doesn't address that. We took an available slip # and proceeded towards it to tie up for the night. Although designated a 28' slip, it didn't possess enough dock for the kids to get off/on the boat safely. So back we went to find another slip. The second one was better (barely), but the alleyway was barely wide enough for us to spin into it. Maybe I'm just spoiled with the wide alleys at Pt. Roberts. After the extra time spent getting settled in, we opted out of walking to town, and opted in for a game of Yahtzee instead.
Thurs. June 28 Port Townsend - Port Orchard
We fueled up and were underway by 900, travelling south through the cut at Port Hadlock. Our plan was to head down to Kingston for lunch, and that would mean just a short little run out to the mouth of Agate Pass to meet up with the Macgregor fleet that was departing from Shilshole Marina on the mainland.
As we were approaching Kingston I heard a 'thump', and at the same time noticed my depth sounder readings were flashing. I looked back to see my transducer & speed wheel mounting was flailing around by its' wiring harness. While an inconvenience, not a big deal for this particular trip, so after tucking it safely in the engine well, we were back underway.
Kingston is a great little town. A wonderful guest dock, and even though it was quiet a low tide, still easily accessible. We walked up the couple of blocks above the marina/ferry terminal, and decided on pizza for lunch. While it baked, Lisa made a dash for the quilt shop we passed on the way up. While should could have been there a lot longer, we were both good sports. She did get a couple of pre-bundled pillowcase kits that were in a nautical theme. While not quilting per se, they'll be great projects for the kids to do during the summer and can take pride in contributing to the outfitting of the boat.
After lunch we departed with the plan of getting down near Agate Pass and then just meander under sail while waiting for the fleet to come in. Well, I guess things were late getting going at Shilshole (I thought that only happened with us), but upon only seeing a few Macs headed our way, I started thinking they must be bringing up the rear (meaning we were late). So we continued motoring a ways farther and then started seeing many more masts coming out from Shilshole. Even though we were now practically at Agate Pass (would be motoring through there), we decided we would spend some time sailing while we waited. We hadn't even taken the mainsail cover off when it started to rain. At that point we opted out of the sailing, and followed what were actually the lead boats through the pass and around to Port Orchard. I can only imagine what the floatilla looks like to the passerbys on the shore.
We were in quickly, and by 1400 were directed to our slip and tying up for the weekend. All the hands at BWY did a great job of getting every one in. By the time Saturday came around there were 57 Macs taking over the guest dock. For the most part they had blue hulls lining one side of the dock, white ones on the other. Many introductions and visiting took place throughout the afternoon. BWY did a good job of pacing events/activities to allow things to remain relaxing and informal, while still making sure people felt like there was a purpose to being there.
Although not a dinner per se, there was lots of munchies, finger foods, and beverages for all. Most were happy just to be talking Macs and sailing. There were long time Mac'ers, rookies like us, some even getting their orientation at the slip during the weekend. Some came boatless, other's interested in macs just came and took it all in. Duane Dunn (s/v Allegro) gave a great summary of his family' of five's 28 day(!) voyage up to desolation sound. It was quickly paced, gave a great overview, and made you want to just extend this trip by a few weeks and a few hundred miles. "I don't know how come we're in Lund, but since we're here.....". More photos
Fri., June 29 Port Orchard
Unsettled best describes the weather Friday, alternating clouds and (sometimes heavy) rain took care of most of the morning and early afternoon. A couple of seminars took care of the morning. Cheryl did a ladies only session at the other end of the dock. We may have got the covered area for shelter, but they got the wine! The afternoon was 'open boat', a chance for everyone to share what they've done to make their Mac 'theirs'. We started practically with being good neighbours with Eric & Mandy (Tate Wia) and stringing a tarp across our 2 vessels to allow dry access to both boats. Although we haven't really done anything to our boat yet, people liked the idea of using the winch's handle receiver as a stand for solar lights, and they also were impressed with the stained and varithaned steps. We, on the other hand got way too many ideas from everyone else. I'm sure Lisa will prioritize them all come fall. They also liked Lisa's Strawberry Salsa, voting it best appetizer of the open house. Friday night was potluck, followed by Mike's (s/v Chinook) presentation of their trans-America trailering to sail from Florida to the Bahamas. The skies were clearing, and things were looking better for tomorrow. More photos
Sat., June 30 Port Orchard
Race etiquette, and some more q & a sessions took up the morning. The 'Not Quite Race' race took up the afternoon. Very little wind made it challenging to get around the course and other boats. A great chance for people to get some on the water tutoring, as Team BWY raced around in speedy inflatables making suggestions for improving your technique. Seemed like the perfect time to hand the helm to Lisa. She did most of the sailing this day. I think she found it both fun, and challenging. The biggest thing was just getting a chance to get a feel for how the boat responds. When things started getting crowded, or we were uncomfortable with any situation (not knowing the other nearby boats experience doesn't help things either), we'd just fall off. Being fastest was not the most important thing (today!).
Saturday night was a fun wrap up that included local entertainer Dave Calhoun playing and singing an evening of Jimmie Buffett flavoured tunes. Many chatted, some danced, all had a great time. 'Team Drink' -ARRRRH! More photos
Sun., July 1 Canada Day Port Orchard - Port Ludlow
A beautiful, sunny morning for wrapping things up and getting underway. I think everyone had a good time; we sure did. I know the BWY group was taking the next few days off, and they deserved it. Here's to next year.
Many made early departures, needing to wrap things up and get ready for work come Monday. We took our leisurely time, and got underway around 1200. Port Orchard has wonderful facilities, and other than the lack of a grocery store nearby, is a great stop for mariners. I'm sure we'll be back (whether it's for the rendezvous or otherwise).
Once again no wind to speak of, so motored the rest of the day. We stopped at Kingston again, just because it was a good time for lunch, and such a nice little spot. We were in Port Ludlow by 1700. Port Ludlow is quiet & picturesque, but also a little bit of let down after the last 3 days. The facilities were okay, but it didn't feel like a destination spot. We got in early enough to let the kid row around in the dinghy a bit while we got settled. Afterward we pitched some horseshoes, then went for a walk down the road towards the (closed, drat!) coffee shop. Back to BoB to play some more Yahtzee, then off to bed. More photos
Monday, July 2 Port Ludlow - Friday Harbour
Departed Ludlow at 1000, and spent about an hour trying to find some wind to sail with. Instead of finding, all I did was lose my hat instead. Normally, we would have swung around for it (can you say Man Overboard drill?), but with the tender trailing behind us (without a floating tether), an oncoming boat quickly approaching us, and me up on by the mast, it wasn't the place to scramble for it. So we continued practicing raising, lowering, and reefing for a little while, and the fired up the outboard and were on our way. Destination, Friday Harbour.
Friday Harbour is a busy place; especially compared to Port Ludlow. We radioed in as we came around Brown(?) Island and were immediately sent in to a slip just inside the outer wharf. We had just gotten things settled away and were preparing to head up into town, when the girls spotted another Macgregor coming in to tie up. It turned out to be a family from the Rendezvous. So the kids thought that was great and got together to chat. We were delayed momentarily as I went back to bring our dinghy over for him to use to change his prop from. Lots to see and do and we could certainly stay another day. In fact, it was evening when we realized that we did have another day available to us. Somehow we hadn't counted things out right. Our options were to stay another day (but would need to resupply for it) or head in a day early. As tempting as it was, we elected to allow ourselves some extra time to get ready for next week. So it's off for Pt. Roberts tomorrow a.m. More photos
Tues. July 3 Friday Harbor - Point Roberts
An uneventful return to Pt. Roberts. Once again flat smooth waters, and a favourable current has us doing 15+ knots much of the way. I heard Cliff (s/v Pura Vida) call into the harbourmaster at Fri. Harbor just after we left, but was unable to raise him on the radio. It would have been fun having some time to visit. In hind sight, it was a good idea just to head back home. That allowed us to get BoB thoroughly cleaned up and prepped for our trip north, and allowed us the chance not to feel pressured as we get ready for the Nanaimio leg. All in all, our first trip through the San Juans was a wonderful trip for all. More photos
I don't know if they're just late like us, or early, but any group that does a Christmas themed cruise in June has to be fun. And it was! We completed our CPS Basic Boating course in the fall, but due to family schedules this was the first club event that we've been able to attend. We are still going to be waiting for our Nexus clearance for a while, so this time we had to make a detour to Bedwell Harbour to phone in. It was another flat crossing, and again Customs gave us a clearance number over the phone -which is fine but it is also a little frustrating knowing we could have just as easily not gone in (I know that's not really true, but it does seem to be a waste of time & fuel). We got away a little late from Pt. Roberts (this is becoming a theme), so it was dusk as we left Bedwell, and past dusk as we arrived at Ganges.
Okay, I don't know what number it is, but I'm sure one of the rules up there in Basic Boating course had something to do with not venturing into unfamiliar areasafter dark, but everywhere is unfamiliar to us at this point! So with running lights on, the radar reflector attached, and running at a reduced speed, we ventured on.
While it was nice to have the GPS for this part of the trip, it was even nicer to find out that our nighttime navigational skills would have gotten us there; we knew where we were and although it was so reassuring to have the GPS to confirm locations & waypoints. My goal is to always use it as an assistant to navigation, not to use it as the navigator.
After the neighbours coming out to look for us on the last trip, I thought to make contact with the LPS commander via GPS to let him know all was well, but I couldn't raise him on the radio. I also didn't know the name of any of the other vessels in the club to contact them. So when a blanket hail for Langley members failed on ch. 16, I eventually manage to raise the marina on 66a, who went down and relayed our message about late arrival. The squadron commander finally motored in around midnight; a broken down ferry boat en route to their home marina and the ensuing tide change slowed him considerably. I guess the night rules change when you have radar... and one honking displacement hull.
The squadron made us feel extremely welcome, and a good time was had by all. Saturday was to ourselves, as we explored the local shops and Saturday market in the park. Dinner was a Xmas potluck, with the Squadron supplying the turkey & dressing. Just like real day, everyone ate too much and were completely stuffed. Lisa's Whiskey Pumpkin Pie was a hit with the over 19 crowd. That night was the lighting up of the decorated boats for judging. There were some hard core decorators there, but we were happy limiting ours to a simple 3x5 flag of a nutcracker hung of the jib halyard. I still think we should have won the sailboat category (okay, we were also the only sailboat, but so what?). The girls were concerned about whether there would be any kids there to play with, but of course there's always someone, and one of the older members had brought his daughter & grand-daughter along, so naturally they all had a great time together.
The return trip started out uneventfully. Our plan was to do some sailing after negotiating Active Pass. We had just cleared Georgina Pt. when we got a flashing red oil light on the engine gauge. The manual was vague as to what it meant, so out of caution, we decided to begin sailing a little earlier than we had originally planned. The wind did start picking up enough, and it's direction was such, that it started making the last half of the Strait uncomfortable for the girls, so we elected to drop the sails and motor home at lower RPMs.
As we approached west point sandbar leading into PRM, the combination of tide, wind, and current added to the sloppy seas. Unfortunately under sail, I had pointed a little too far north of my mark, otherwise we would have avoided it, but the alternative would have been to have to go quite a ways south to go around it, so we just bobbed and splashed through it. Lesson learned. No more cheating north. More photos
Okay, I'm starting to see that Nexus will be a good thing. Because we are moored in the US, we have to check in with customs upon arrival at any Canadian destination. There are about 20 approved locations in the Gulf Islands (including Montague), but only 1 (Bedwell Harbour) for non-Nexus (or Canpass) holders. Crescent Beach is also a non-Nexus site.
This is was a busy weekend, but with a little juggling we knew we could do it. We've been aching to get out for an overnighter and some good neighbours of ours were too, so we decided to head over to Montague for the weekend. A few little schedule issues, but shouldn't be too bad... I thought. First off, the girls still have dance classes on Saturdays (one more week) until 2:30, and today was an earlier start because of the upcoming final performance. However, I had forgotten that I had made a commitment for one of the jazz bands at school to play from 4pm till 5pm for a street festival downtown. That by itself would be okay. We could still be to the marina by 6:30, except we still had to deal with the canadian customs issue, and darkness could start to become a factor. Our solution, stay on the boat Friday night @ Pt. Roberts, run over to Crescent Beach in the morning to clear customs, run back to Langley for our obligations, and then race back to depart for Montague. No Problem! But needing to come back into town from Crescent Beach meant that we needed a vehicle, so Lisa and Elsa ran the car around and met us there (Cresc. Beach). When phoning ahead to make arrangements at the Marina, their story on procedures kept changing. Initially they said that it would be no problem to tie up for the afternoon, and when I asked about making a reservation, they said it wasn't necessary, and to just call in the night before. Okay. When I call in Friday they say they have no idea if there will be space, it's just first come first serve the day of. Not very comforting, given our days schedule.
Saturday morning starts with a 30 minute lineup at the Pt. Roberts fuel dock, but I know we won't have time to fuel later, so have to live with it. We do have time, but I'm becoming concerned with the upcoming negative tide getting through the ditch and at the marina itself. As I radio in, Cresc. Beach is now humming and hawing about whether they can find a place for me because of the low tide. By this time Lisa is there and gets ahold of the dock manager who takes control of the situation and quickly finds us a slip to use for the afternoon. Called into Customs, and they cleared us by phone.
By this time our neighbours are there with their boat (to beat the low tide); too bad Lisa brought the car around, because we could have just borrowed their vehicle. Anyways,we got done back at home and raced out to make a quick trip over to Montague. The entire strait was like glass the whole way over. By coincidence we hit Active Pass at slack and it was as flat as the Strait. It was getting dusk as we approached Montague, and our neighbours were just popping out to make sure everything was okay as we were entering. So we followed them over to the wharf, tied up, and sang happy birthday to Elsa before we devoured her cake. There's a BC Parks floating observation hut that they use to give free night time lectures to kids. They light up the water and talk through the nocturnal world below. The kids thought it was great.
The next day we lounged around for the morning and the kids did some exploring of the shores. We then ran down to Otter Bay just for the sake of going there, and they were more than happy to let the kids jump into the pool for a dip before we headed off. Lisa did the return crossing with them, and bought the car back to Pt. Roberts to meet us. Active Pass was running a bit, but the rest of the trip was almost as flat as the original crossing. As nice as that was, I warned everyone not to expect that to be the norm.
Although it was a bit of a run around to make it happen, it was a great weekend on the water. More photos
After many delays, BoB is finally slipped at Pt. Roberts. I had wanted to get her in 4-6 weeks ago, but the biggest cause was the terrible weather we had during spring break. That was the window I had originally set for doing the bottom painting, but it rained just about the entire time. After that, finding a couple of free, consecutive days with nice enough weather to do the painting was an problem. On the other end, I was running into a self imposed deadline of the Victoria Day & Memorial Day holidays, as I knew that that would be the peak time for getting seasonal moorage at the marina.
When I called the marina to confirm the procedure, and how to go about launching from the monorail (all kinds of firsts involved this year), I was informed that the Mac was too big for it (the monorail). Anyways, Lighthouse Park was just around the spit so that would have be the solution. The only challenge was that Lisa was working, and I was having to do all this singlehanded.
The launch had quite a bit of loose gravel on it, so I wasn't able to be too particular on my alignment backing down; I didn't want to get too close to the dock in case I started sliding in the gravel (which I did). There was a gentleman just enjoying the view at the dock who was more than willing to grab a line to help me get the boat over, as I ended up being about 4 feet away from the dock for my launching. I motored around to the marina and tied up at the courtesy dock and went in to the office. The staff was really friendly and seeing as how I didn't have my vehicle with me (still parked over at Lighthous Pk), the sent me our boat on our way down to the docks with a list of empty slip numbers to choose from. After deciding upon one, I proceeded to spin BoB into place like I knew what I was doing. A neighbouring sailor came over to take a line as he saw me single handed (in a shiny new boat) but it wasn't necessary. While I'm pleased that the dockings have been going well so far, I know conditions or situations won't always be so favourable, but I'll enjoy them for now
After introductions and a little conversation I ran (okay, walked briskly) back to the park to retrieve the truck, and to park the trailer over in the assigned field for storage. It was getting late enough that I didn't rig the mast; will save that for next time. But I couldn't resist snapping one photo for the desktop. It's finally in!
No, really, we're going sailing this time.
For trailer sailors, Crescent Beach Marina works very well. There's a large gravel lot where you can do all your rigging before you launch. This was great for us, as we are still not as quick in the set up department yet. It must have been rookie day at the marina, as there was another couple -experienced powerboaters- but new to sailing, just finishing up with rigging and taking out their new daysailor, just about to proceed down to the launch area as we pulled in. Another Mac, a 26X, was just ahead of at the launch ramp. He had gotten his boat last summer from Washington State. We chatted for awhile, and got to ask him a lot of questions about the mods the PO had already done. At one point I looked up at the top of his mast and realized that I forgot to install the windvane. Now, why do you create checklists again? We both had a chuckle over that. Anyways, the launch was uneventful (hoo rah) and after parking the truck & trailer, we were on our way.You do have to watch out for low tides though. We launched at a 3 ft. tide with no problems, but I would caution much lower than that; probably 2ft minimum. The dredged channel is loooooong, and although I didn't time it, it was probably a 20 minute run until we passed the no wake zone.
After motoring out, we set the mainsail and puttered around for about half an hour, working on jibing, tacking, and bringing her into irons (intentionally, not during the tacking). Then we added in the jib, doing more of the same. As we got comfortable with that, we killed the motor we had idling 'just in case', and proceeded to enjoy the absence of sound from the engine. I can't really say silence, because that isn't true; there's lots of sounds to hear, they just aren't masked by the mechanical sounds of the outboard. But there was a pleasurable peacefulness to it. Except for Elsa.
Elsa had been sitting below, and instead of 'bothering us' as her stomach started bothering her, she went up to the bow and started reading while she waited for the feeling to pass. Wrong. I had seen her go up, but I didn't make the connection until after she had gone forward. We got her to come up into the cockpit, but it was a little too late, as she got sick on the way up. She was a trooper though, and as it passed she started to really enjoy being topside under sail.
Great docking upon return to the marina. I hope that one will become the norm, but for the first one 'infront of witnesses', I couldn't of asked for better. We loaded onto the trailer, hauled out to the prep area where we de-rigged, and got to chase after the other Mac sailor as he drove out of the parking lot; he'd forgot to remove his wind vane; between the two of us we might have a chance!
Okay, here we go. Sailing at last. Or not.
Yesterday it started raining while we did a dry run of mast/sail raising in front of the house,
mast raising winch accidentally got left in the garage back at home. Oops! I'm starting to understand why all these'experienced' sailors keep talking about checklists. That's okay -we're still out for the day so things can't be that bad. Although it was cool, that doesn't seem to dampen any of the crews spirits. The summer camp that Megan has attended the last 3 years (Camp Stillwood) is located at the far end of Cultus Lake, so she was more than happy to point out the spots they were doing all of their on lake activities. Lisa brought along a nice picnic lunch to enjoy along with a thermos of hot chocolate.
After lunch we
scouted the shore for docks; most were were still pulled up, so not much of a chance to practice docking procedures like we had originally planned. In fact, the only dock we could sort of use was at the launch ramp, but there was only a couple of sections out and the wind was was blowing directly into it, and with the shallow water underneath it, we didn't do a lot of practicing. Sailing next time for sure (I hope). More photos
After such a long stint of crummy weather since the weekend we got her, we finally had a nice sunny day to take BoB out for her maiden voyage. The frame in the background is for the 'covered wagon' tarp treatment it receives while in the driveway. We got some strange looks from people watching us launch this (relatively) big boat at the Ft. Langley boatramp. We didn't bother with the mast, as we just want to start getting hours on the engine.
When we checked out the launch site a couple of days previous, there was open access to a dock about 20 meters west of the launch, but after launching, the girls went over to the pier to board the boat and found it closed off. It was a good thing we had checked out the site at low tide earlier, as it exposed a sandbar just upstream of the ramp, so nervously I beached it and Elsa & Lisa hopped on. Reversed the procedure on the return, except it meant that Lisa was going to have to back down the truck & trailer to load on the boat (hadn't practiced that one yet). A kind soul helped her with her struggles, and we were quickly lining up the boat with the trailer. Megan's bowline toss to Lisa was just that; a little 3 foot toss, except Lisa was about 6 feet away. Other than Lisa's soaker from retrieving that line from the Fraser River in January, it was a great first outing.