Last night we had confirmed with Zak that he was coming for a visit arriving on Sunday. We had though we would be further south by now but some rearranging of appointments means we have a week’s grace. So Zak will do a 26-hour bus ride from Edmonton to McNeill and we will pick him up at the Greyhound so he can make the trip back to Vancouver with us. It should be a great trip for him.
Thursday morning is fuel day at the Sointula marina. So at 7 am sharp our next door neighbor fired up his big diesels and moved his boat down the dock. Apparently the Co-op fuel truck drives down to the pier and then fuels anyone who needs it. Also it is apparently cheaper and of a slightly better quality than going to McNeill. Huh.
So I got up. Mornings are chilly and when we opt to do without power like we did last night, there’s little I can do about that. Anyway, coffee and toast and we (I) was up and running. Someone else was a bit slower to rise and/or shine, but I’m not naming names.
I walked the dock, received an unnecessary but appreciated apology from our big loud neighbor and checked out the facilities. Then I headed up to the office to pay my $39 bucks. Back on board I started prepping as we were meeting R Shack out in the channel at 10:30 so I wanted to be off the dock by 10.
We’d had a new neighbor arrive off our bow so getting out was mildly tight. But a friendly fellow boat gave us a good shove so we cleared the Island Packet behind us with tons of room. The fellow who owned the 40-foot Packet was a retired Ontario teacher and very distraught to hear we don’t fish. After chatting a bit he was determined we would stay a few days while he taught me everything I need to know about downrigging and then he was prepared to let us have the old manual downriggers he just replaced that were built especially for sailboats. I think my demural was a bit of a disappointment.
We rounded the breakwater and basically idled while we waited for Dave to clear the McNeill shoal. Imagine my surprise when he came out in company with another boat. And soon it was clear that not only had he found a new friend but it was another Tartan! My last hope was crushed as they rounded the buoy, barely 50′ feet apart, two elegant swans heading for their pity date with the ugly duckling.
But when I finally fell into place in the little formation Dave gently let me know that the other Tartan (Raven) was off on a circumnavigation of Vancouver iisland and would be leaving us shortly. So there’s still
a chance…maybe…if I try real hard…I’ll be a swan too…
We motored for a couple of hours in the calm water and sunshine until the wind started to creep up. We gave sailing a try for 15 or 20 minutes, but the fickle breeze died and we had to fire up the engine.
A few minutes after we starte the engine Leslie spotted what she thought might be a whale. And then another. But it was awfully small. We spotted a few more as they surfaced to breathe. They had an odd hump behind their dorsal fins but were too small to be whales. A little research with my app and we figured they were Dall’s porpoises.
After we entered Wells Passage I spotted something while dodging a log, and lo and behold a whale surfaced alongside us, heading back out. We watched him come up for breaths four or five times as he slowly moved away. He looked different somehow from the humpbacks we’d seen, but I have no idea if he was or not.
A few minutes later we pulled into Tracey Harbour, our destination for the night. We had heard it was nice here and that bears in the meadows were a common sight in the mornings. We anchored at the end of this medium-sized inlet in Napier Bay along with R Shack and two other boats. I set our stern towards the creek and its grassy banks and we crossed our fingers.
Dave invited me over for a beer but Lealie opted for a nap. We caught up on the trials and tribulations of fuel filters and engine issues, and I sang the praises of Sointula’s marina. We are here for at least two nights and then we will head back to McNeill to pick up Zak. Dave might go into Sointula instead of McNeill.
I made some rice and a stir fry and the predicted rain started to fall intermittently. A few hours of West Wing and we wrapped up the day.
Although it was a warmer morning than we’d had lately, I fired up the heater since it had been raining most of the night and the air was damp. Then I boiled the water and made oatmeal muffins for breakfast. L emerged just as the muffins were coming out of the oven and had some warm breakfast.
I noticed we had left the inverter on all night and the batteries were flashing 12.2-12.3 volts, which is pretty much dead for the purposes of good battery life. After I killed the heater and turned off the inverter, it recovered to 12.5. That should do us until tomorrow. If not we have to borrow Dave’s generator and top up.
Then we cleaned up and did a few chores. I moved one of the LED bulbs to the forward cabin for Zak to use and we raised the salon table since we had invited D & M over for dinner tonight. Not sure exactly what’s on the menu: pork loin if it’s raining and BBQ chicken thighs if it’s not. Everything else will follow from that. Then we kicked back and listened to the rain. If it clears we will go explore this afternoon. If not, it will be a down day.
The sky cleared and we broke out the engines and explored. Beautiful country here although a lot of forestry remnants scar the countryside. Things like rusting steel cables and donkeys are left to their fates when the loggers move on. You’d think there would be some profit in scrapping it but I guess not. We explored for a few hours at idle, checked out a curious seal and then Leslie took over and zoomed up and down the shoreline. Kids.
Back on board we started dinner. I decided it was cool enough that I would cook inside, so it was pork loin on the menu. I added roast potatoes and a tomato salad to the list and called it enough. The loin was still raw when I took it out the first time and a tad overdone when I took it out the second. C’est la vie. The potatoes were great but also a bit crispy. But the salad, made with lemon as its acid — which usually doesn’t work for me — was terrif! Best I’ve made in a long time. So I didn’t totally fail C.
While I was working I popped my head up and saw Dave pointing his big lens at the shore. I grabbed the binoculars and sure enough two black bears were turning over rocks looking for a tasty crab dinner. Leslie and I watched them for over a half an hour before they wandered out of our sight. This might account for the slight dryness of the pork.
Actually during dinner, a fellow I had talked to in one of the other boats came by in his kayak to tell me about the bears — they were back. I had mentioned we’d hoped to see them and he wanted to make sure we did. Boaters are seriously friendly.
D & M arrived and we ate, chatted until dark and then it was time to call it a night. Good day. And we’ve decided to stay yet another so hopefully tomorrow will be just as good.