Monday, August 30, 2010

Pender Harbour to Vancouver, July 17 to 21

Yanmar problems fixed – turned out that the ground connector was corroded – so, starter okay, alternator okay – Doug took the connector off, cleaned it up, put it back on and no trouble since. Phew!

After Jedediah we sailed across to Pender Harbour at about 4 knots arriving in the late afternoon. Pender Harbour is huge and consists of a number of bays and coves inside a relatively easy entrance. We anchored at Garden Bay – not the greatest of holding in a mucky, oozy bottom, but very sheltered.

Ka'sala (centre) Pender Harbour

We spent 4 sunny warm days on the hook where I took the opportunity to put two coats of paint on the diamond non-skid grids on the carriage roof. Finding a colour that would work was a challenge, as to repaint it the original white looked too bright. The next available shade in International Deck-Kote was cream – way too yellow – so ended up mixing the two to come up with a custom light cream that I really like.

We also launched the dinghy and explored the nooks and crannies of the harbor and docked at the public wharf in Madeira Bay, to walk over to the grocery store to top up our fresh food. We spent an evening at the Garden Bay Pub where we enjoyed some quirky coastal entertainment that ran from Blues to Reggae, with some folk songs plugged in throughout. We hiked around the local area and admired all the beautiful, expensive properties around here. (Retired people? If not, where do they work? – too far from Vancouver!)

Hospital Bay, Pender Harbour

There are also an extensive series of back roads that could take you to a lake and a look out, but we found we didn’t have the time or gumption to do them. We'll do it next time – Pender Harbour is still close to home! The weather continued sunny and warm the whole time we stayed there.

Leaving Pender Harbour

July 21 we headed out for Plumper Cove, just opposite Gibsons. It was a long day in light winds, but we sailed on a beam reach the whole way at about 3 knots - very relaxing. We picked up a mooring in the marine park about 8 o'clock that night and were eating dinner by 8:30 in bed by 9. Unfortunately it was a bit of a rolly anchorage, so we were up early to continue our journey to Vancouver.

Evening in Plumper Cove

Looking to Gibsons, Plumper Cove

We motored around Bowen Island and faced a stiff breeze on the nose heading down to English Bay. Ka'sala behaved herself and, as we came close to Point Aitkinson, we raised the sails and had a pretty spectacular run for an hour or so - very big and confused swells and 20 knots of wind. We were crossing the swells and the wind kept the boat steady. I am proud to say I was at the helm - a little nervous - Doug had to convince me it was the thing to do, and I was glad I did. Once we were well into the bay everything calmed down. The next nerve wracking part was finding a good anchorage in False Creek as there are many boats there. We tried a few times and had to move the boat twice before we were happy. This part is really tough on Doug. But things settled down and we headed over to Granville Island to the community centre - FREE showers!! It’s incredible how something so simple can be so pleasurable! Afterwards we celebrated with a wonderful salmon dinner on the pier at Bridges before returning to the boat.

Evening in False Creek

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Journey Begins

July 13 to 16, 2010

We cast off the lines smartly at 9am and, in a small puff of wind, Ka’sala was off the dock and gliding down the fairway heading to Mexico. There was no fanfare, no one to see us off, our goodbyes having been seen to over the previous weeks. But the sun was shining, the sky was blue and we had a sense of purpose knowing we had accomplished everything on our lists – some lists years old, others more recent. The last page of a chapter had been written, edited and published. We were on new, unexplored territory now and looking forward to it. Besides, we had to. Our favourite marina pub, The Pier, had burned to the ground the night before! It was a sign that our journey must begin.

We motored out through the channel in the Comox bar and hoisted sail as we entered the Straits of Georgia. We enjoyed a gentle and relaxing first day out sail, winds at 10 knots diminishing to five, as we coasted down the outside of Hornby Island anchoring seven hours later at Tribune Bay. Although a beautiful spot – white sandy beach, Helliwell Provincial Park and great internet access, we knew we could only stay one night. Too close to home!

Thanks, Tom, for the champagne!

The wind picked up from the Northwest in the night and next morning at 9:30 am we headed back out into the Straits in 15 to 20 knots on a close reach to Lasquiti Island. Swells ran to four feet, but despite the rolling one would expect from taking the swell in the beam, made good progress at 6 knots in relative comfort with full main and partially furled headsail. We arrived at the back side of Lasquiti in the Jedediah group of islands around 1pm. From there, we explored the coves, inlets and islets to find a suitable anchoring place out of the wind, settling in Codfish Cove – a tiny little beach off the south side of Jedediah. We were not completely happy with this anchorage as it is narrow and exposed to the southeast, as well as a gravelly bottom. Also, we had some starter problems yesterday, so worried about getting the engine going in a hurry if we started dragging anchor. The North West winds were due to rise to 20 – 25 knots in the night and, although somewhat protected from those winds, enough spilled over the top of the cove to make Ka’sala swing at her anchor. We needed to make sure the tides would not swing her around the anchor, and dislodge it, before we could feel confident to leave her to walk the abandoned farms of Jedediah.

Doug inflated and launched the kayak lent to us by Steve and Barb and I tried my hand paddling it around the little bay. The tide was very low and at the top of the cove, revealed a HUGE oyster bed. As I puttered around I picked six of the smaller ones to bring back to Ka’sala. They are cooling in the icebox as I write this. I’m trying to decide: eat them raw, or bbq them? If they don’t kill me, I’ll go back for more today at the low tide.

After a careful watch last night, we decided to stay here another day. This morning the water pump stopped and Doug fixed it – the pressure switch had corroded and after Doug cleaned the connectors, it was up and running again. Now he is checking out why the starter acted up yesterday, suspecting it is the new one he put on earlier in the spring. He’s replacing it with the rebuild Yanmar original, but suspects it might not be the starter at all, but something else. Of course the starter is in an extreme place in a confined space…could it be the ignition switch? 0h, oh, engine forensics in our future. It’s a good thing we are hanging around the coast here for the first little while to shake some bugs out. AND, it’s a good thing that Doug has long arms and fingers and knows how to do all this stuff!!