Well, last night sucked. It blew and blew and something was banging off the hull all night. This morning in the light of day I figured out that it was the aft fender, about a foot and a half from my head. Last night we had no idea. L actually abandoned me around 1:30 and went to try to sleep forward, although I don’t think it did her much good. I resorted to a pillow sandwich to dull the noise and dozed pretty well except for the big gusts.
This morning is rainy and I have gotten wet a few times so far, filling the water tank and walking up to the store. I’m down to one beer so I picked up three singles to get me through.
Yes. It’s almost over. Tomorrow is our last night aboard, and we’ve got no real plans except home. I just checked Air Canada and there are no flights Sunday available out of Comox. I’ll head up and check WestJet next. We want to try and get in a visit with L’s parents in Comox, but we will see whether they can meet us within our still-vague schedule.
We are killing time this AM. A walk on the beach and a pretty rock for Carmen (the girl, not the basil) and some reading down below. I really do regret the lack of a bimini on days like this. I tend to perch in the companionway below the dodger just to be outside.
It’s been a fab trip and I’ve met some great people and seen some extraordinary sights. Apparently Dave has been telling everyone about the blog, so I hope I’ve managed not to offend anyone. Not used to writing for a wider audience, and anyone who knows me will tell you I have a big mouth that tends to get going before the brain has quite caught up.
I never managed to make Shannon smile although I’ve seen her smile a few times. Just not at anything I’ve said. I have a sneaking suspicion she read my earlier offhand comment. If so, sorry: see above disclaimer. Sigh, me and my big mouth 🙂 Or it could be I’m just not as charming as I like to think I am. Heaven knows I have lots of ability to rub people the wrong way: been doing it all my life. I’ve come to appreciate something good about everyone I’ve met on this trip, which is really all you need to enjoy yourself.
We were rather nervous about the social aspects of the trip and the potlucks (which turned out to be a relative non-issue), but I should have realized with 30 people along you pretty much have the whole spectrum. Anne mentioned she was surprised at the numbers and that they had been expecting (hoping for?) a smaller group. Personally I liked the bigger group as it gave us more places to hide in plain sight.
But as I said, it’s been great. People to sail with, people to play with, people to gossip with, people to learn from… A great introduction to the broader sailing community.
Anyway… There is apparently a skippers meeting at 1 to discuss the order of boats through the rapids. Some of the lower-powered boats are rightfully nervous, and it seems to me that the power boats should hang back and play safety. I guess that’s all TBD. Until then it’s some ramen noodles and a bit of writing.
Electra left early, trying to catch the early slack at the Yucaltas so they could make Powell River tonight. The rest of us kicked around. A brief meeting at Corus reset the departure time to 3 along with the discussion of the order of boats through the rapids. We were ticked in behind R Shack so we were at Dave’s mercy, but since he was leaving at 2 it was fine.
I started itching to go around 1:30 and was ready to pull out at 2. The problem with that was R Shack Island was fueling and so were we, so I would have to wait an extra 15 minutes for him to get off the fuel dock. Sigh.
Then disaster struck! Charles from Arcturus came by and said they were also fueling up and I graciously (stupidly?) said they should go first. It’s not so much that they were slow (although they were), but that Dave had been super fast and set the bar for my expectations too high.
I pulled out when I saw Arcturus put the fuel hose back. And then they had a fuel spill or something on their deck and I did little circles in the current waiting for them to finish. At last one of the fishing boats next to the fuel dock pulled out and we went in anyway.
Another 26 litres and all ready to go, but the fuel girl had left to help an incoming boat. So I had to wait again! L was eyeing me like she was going to have to club me or something, and then finally we were off the dock.
By this time it was 3, and Corus and Ocean Grace were off too. I found myself last in line when Laurence announced he’ll proceed at a sedate 5 knots. Aargh!
Past the first set of current I veered off to follow the coast instead of focussing on the slowpokes in front of me. That worked for a while until we hit another patch of current and I had to rejoin the line.
At that point I figured since we were going so slow anyway I’d just throttle down even more and gawk at the misty, wet scenery. Oh didn’t I mention the rain and fog? Rainy and foggy. I was pretty wet, with water pouring off the brim of my hat every time I looked down. Wet.
Actually I was pretty snug except for my hands. We had no waterproof gloves so they got soaked early in and stayed that way. It was warmish so I was pretty good for most of the trip, switching out for dry gloves right at Dent Rapids and whacking my hands together to get the blood flowing loudly enough that the other boats noticed. And we had an impromptu dance party, grooving to “Rock Lobster”, ABBA and whatever else L could come up with on her iPhone.
Eventually Mariners Compass and Ravens Magic caught up, and Mariners Compass blew by us like we were standing still. Ravens Magic apparently had a lot of patience and dawdled back with us.
We saw some stunning scenery and an infinite variation of cloud, mist and topography. It’s the kind of thing you can never capture on film. At one point on this trip I had mentioned to L that I wished I could paint because then I might be able to interpret the essence into something tangible. Coincidently, Ian (Ian Sheldon that is) mentioned this morning on one of my Facebook pictures that he’d love to do some fog paintings (his current thing is prairie storms). I’d love to see what he could do.
Anyway, past Philip Arm and down Cordero Channel we went and eventually Corus called for everyone to speed up so we would make the slack. I revved back up to proper cruising speed and caught up about 30 minutes later.
As we approached Dent Rapids we sorted ourselves out with Mariners Compass dropping back behind us, Intrepid sliding in front of us (they had left early to go sightseeing), and Dave ceding his place to my lowly 33′ as his palatial 34′ cruise liner moved to the back of the sailboats.
We hit Dent 10 minutes earlier than planned, but it was fine with a lot of turbulence and eddies and the occasional whirlpool. Somewhere near the end of Dent, eagerness overtook Mariners Compass and they started to inch up on R Shack Island’s ass. Dave politely invited them to pass on and that was the last we saw of Mariners Compass until the dock. I’m not saying I wouldn’t be as bad if I had all that horse power unused, but I’d like to think I could have waited until the pass was clear and then let loose the horses in one glorious roaring charge. Each to his own I guess.
There was a lot of drifting and twisting but no one had much trouble except maybe Corus when they skirted a whirlpool too closely and slewed rather sharply. No biggie, though.
We were a tad early so we slowed a bit before trying Gillard Passage, which was about a nautical mile further on. This was the one we wanted to hit right at slack, and slack was only about 5 minutes.
Again an easy transit, with a couple of sailboats coming the other way, one of them being a big Island Packet with a bow wake bigger than most powerboats: a lot of hp in that puppy!
As we exited Gillard Passage we could see Big Bay off our port bow. At least we were supposed to see Big Bay off our port bow. What we saw was a long line of low fog and mist with a bunch of sailboats slowly disappearing into it. Hmmmmm.
We all slowed and inched into the mist trying to spot the docks. Big Bay is a community wharf, and the setup was catch as catch can. I told L to set up for a starboard tie and then she countermanded me because of Stupid Dinghy, so we set up a port tie instead. It’s good to be skipper.
Eventually we could see the fingers, and I watched Intrepid completely miss their spot due to a strong cross current. So I decided to stern in on an empty finger on the down-current side. Good choice. A perfect dock and we walked the Shearwater to the back of the slip.
After watching the hijinks of everyone missing their spots, R Shack Island decided to show us how someone from Blaine would do it. Of course they aren’t from Blaine, but they’ve visited so there you go… Dave came in “with vigour” in the best Tim Melville style. From the look of the faces on the crew standing in the dock, people were thinking less ‘vigour’ and more ‘crazy’, but he smoothly brought her in on the up-current side, eased her into a hearty reverse and stopped her right where she needed to be for Margaret to hand off her midship lines pretty as can be. Sweet.
I forgot (f*ck) to start the GPS before we left the fuel dock so no track for today. I’ll try and fake one when I get home.
We all engaged in a bit of dockside gossip and tidying up, then headed up to the covered deck for a brief meeting. We have one more set of rapids tomorrow (the Yucaltas) and two choices: 5:50 am or 12 noon. The problem is we have 40-some nautical miles to go tomorrow, and noon is a late start with 15- to 20-knot headwinds expected the entire time.
Ravens Magic, Intrepid, Arcturus, Simply Irresistible, and Ocean Grace are leaving at 6 if there is no fog. Corus, Mariners Compass, R Shack Island and we are taking the late slack.
That done, we adjourned to the boats for beer, naps, cooking or all three. Dave was trying to pawn a 5-pack of berry cider he’d bought by accident thinking it was beer. I took pity on him and delivered him one of my last beers I’d picked up yesterday.
I made up all my remaining tomatoes, onions, lemons, and most of Carmen (the basil) into a tomato salad. I took pity on everyone and only put half the remaining garlic in as I had a bud and a half left. Then I fried up the Italian sausage, whipped up some tomato sauce with onions, garlic and oregano, and mixed it with the last of the rotini. Most of our remnants gone in one fell swoop!
We trooped up to join everyone in the covered BBQ area, and ate and drank and shot the shit until the sun set. Carmen (the basil) and Carmen (the person) got compliments on the tomato salad, although Dave seemed a bit awed to be eating such a famous plant.
It was a nice end to the trip as we don’t know whether we will all be able to get together tomorrow at Powell River (at present it seems unlikely).
Back at the boat L and I did dishes and cleaned up before bed. G’night!