Our first ummm… 2 weeks

It’s been busy 2 weeks. A lot of change, a lot of settling in and a lot of re: readjusting, rearranging,repositioning and rethinking. I am surprised on some levels how smoothly it has gone; and on others I remain sceptical about the amount of success we can claim in actually adjusting to life back on the boat. Still, we’ve got time and intend to let matters take their course.

I am going to do a post over at neverforever.ca detailing some of these issues but I thought I would do a quick catch up of the day to day of the last two weeks or so.


20 April

  • Travel from YEG to YVR. We caught a cab to the South floatplane terminal and had a bee in the Flying Beaver while we waited for our flights. Our extra bags almost tripled out 35 lb baggage allowance so we paid an extra $25. Still a good deal.
  • It was sunny in Vancouver but we landed in Nanaimo in a light rain; it remained sporadic for the rest of the day.
  • We walked over to Stones Marina and collected the boat and gate keys from the new Marine Store. We loaded our gear on board and started unpacking.
  • There are at least 3 owners on dock right now so we share the keys to the courtesy car around. Owen from Keykera (the Hanse 40) lets me know when he’s done and we pile in to buy supplies.
  • I carelessly stuffed my reader in the front pouch of my carry-on and when I stacked it on top of the rolling luggage and then we dropped the whole mess it turned out that half my screen was now inoperable. Since I didn’t want to read only half a book (only the bottom half) we decided to seek out a Chapters. Since we were at it we bought two (one for each of us) and then skipped across the parking lot to Save On to provision.
  • Despite our careful lists last spring we still managed to to buy things we didn’t need like laundry soap and tinfoil. A lesson learned for next year.
  • IMG 0180

21 April

  • Sunny 14°
  • The morning started slow as we bounced back and forth from the NYCSS office to the boat listing deficiencies (missing cushions, missing dish rack etc.) and straightening little details out.
  • L’s parents picked us up around noon and we went out for lunch and coffee afterwards.
  • Back on board we engaged in more unpacking, tackllngour storage locker. Our initial intent to not haul it all was soon abandoned and the only thing we left behind was a couple of pillows and a comforter as NYCSS had supplied us with linens. Still, I got my favourite pillow and our fleece sheets so the boat is over supplied with linen.

22 & 23 April

  • After some humming and hawing we decided to stay on dock settling in. There were a few issues (a lose wire, I wanted to replace the dinghy painter etc.) and the evenings were on the cool side and we like the electric heat. So we took the time to acclimatize both physical and mentally.
  • By the time we had moved everything around the boat had been transformed from the stark charter boat to something more akin the home we were used to.
  • We did dinghy to Newcastle and walk around for a bit. My stomach had been unsettled for the last couple of days and remained that way for more than a week; I took to having late afternoon lie-downs. I still don’t know what the problem was but I stopped taking cholesterol meds I had recently been prescribed and things have settled. L is convinced its a psychosomatic coincidence but I am not so sure. I will restart them in a day or two and see how it goes.

24 April

  • We finally cast off and motored the  long 1 nautical mile to the anchorage off Newcastle Island.
  • The weather is unsettled but not unpleasant
  • When we hopped in the dinghy to take a run into town the outboard seemed to be seized. I couldn’t pull the start cord for love or money. A bit of investigation and poking around found that the engine was fine but the transition was in gear. A little more poking around found a bolt lying loose under the engine. I managed to retrieve it and fasten the bracket for the transmission shifter cable and voila! We motored back to NYCSS and borrowed a deep socket to tighten it back up and we were good to go again.

25 April


We went to run errands in town. Picked up some loonies and twoonies for laundry and showers and some more fresh produce. I also snagged a second frying pan and a bunch of odds and ends of kitchen ware from the dollar store.

We hiked to the lake on Newcastle and enjoyed the rest of the day.

IMG 0203

26 April

  • Sunny.
  • We weighed anchor and motored across Strait—no wind to speak of.
  • About half way through Welcome Passage — a narrow passage between South Thoramsby and the mainland — we were hailed by a tug that had just passed Merry Island behind us. He let us know that the tug way ahead of us was coming into Welcome passage as well and that we should be prepared to make room for the two tugs and barges to potentially pass each other in the narrow passage.
    I assured him we would.
  • I checked the AIS and it looked like our CPA (closest point of approach) for the tug ahead would be four minutes or so after I intended to turn off into Smuggler so we relaxed and just kept an eye on him.
  • We pulled into an empty Smuggler Cove a little before low tide. We went a bit deeper into he Cove than we usually do and managed a pretty decent stern tie manuever.

27 April

  • Sunny.
  • We paddled around and hiked part of the trails. A quiet day.
  • IMG 0217

28 April

  • Sunny.
  • We pulled out and made the short motor to Garden Bay in Pender Harbour. There was big powerboat anchored off our stern but he left a little later. Once again we were the only (transient) boat in an anchorage.
  • There was a small aluminum boat tied off to a mooring buoy (I thought)  a few boat lengths off the end of our rode but I ignored him. Turns out he wants on a mooring buoy but on about 80 feet of rope road and when the small powerboat returned to take over the line from aluminum job we were closer to  30 feet. I talked about moving with the owner but decided to see what would happen.
  • We headed in to Madeira Bay to buy some meat and a few forgotten provisions. We checked out a few places to potentially eat dinner and eventually motored around the point and checked out the Painted Boat Resort and made a reservation at their restaurant.

29 April

  • Raining mostly but it cleared late afternoon.
  • When I poked my head up in the morning the anchored power boat was bumping off our bow and the owner had come out to make sure we weren’t scraping up the side of our boat. Nice guy. So I gave in and we moved the boat a couple of hundred yards further out.
  • I’d forgotten onions so we dinghy over to the Garden Bay Pub docks and walked over to Henry’s. They didn’t have much at this time of year but I did grab a couple of onions.
  • That night we motored over to the Lagoon Restaurant at the Painted Boat Resort for a lovely dinner.
  • IMG 0239

30 April

  • Sunny with partial cloud
  • A couple of hours motoring into 15-20 knots of wind (will the wind ever go my way in the Malaspina Strait?) we arrived for an Illicit docking at Westview marina. Dock 6 was empty because they were doing repairs. But we figured since it was Sunday we should be ok until morning.
  • We topped off the tanks and got set to go if we had to cast off early.

1 May

  • Very rainy in the morning, but a lovely sunny afternoon.
  • We cast off mid morning. The Marina manager said they wouldn’t be doing any work until later in the day.
  • We decided to try our luck in the Copeland Islands. We found a one boat nook between two of the southern islands and stern tied  a few hours before low tide. All the rocks were awash and it was pretty easy to manuever in. We did later discover a wreck that showed up in the narrow bit coming in that was awash at low tide and noted it for when we were heading out.
  • We hiked the shore line for a few hours and rowed around a few of the islets, enjoying the sun and warm weather.
  • DSCN1782
  • IMG 2076

 2 May

  • Partially cloudy but the winds are climbing.
  • We decided to l and the winds were predicted to climb and we were stern tied beam on to them.
  • Leaving at high tide was a bit more exciting as you couldn’t see the wreck or the rock and had to guesstimate. The chart plotter wasn’t overly accurate so I pretty much ignored it except to get my bearing. And coming off the stern tie in the wind swung our stern towards the other shore a bitt to close for my comfort. But all turned out well.
  • Thurin Channel  between the Copelands and the mainland is narrow and a tug with a log boom was just entering from the north. He didn’t answer a hail on 16 so we decided to cross his bow and pass on the starboard as he seemed to be drifting to his port.
  • We turned into Desolation Sound proper and decided to check out Prideaux Haven, a very popular destination in high season. We pulled into beautiful Melanie Cove just in from Prideaux a few hours later and there was only one boat in Prideaux which might house 40 or 50 in summer.  And there was one lovely green boat from Victoria in Melanie Cove that we passed as we anchored at the far end.
  • The anchor chain bound in the windlass and we had to do some MacGyvering to get the anchor down. 

3 May

  • It was rainy but we suited up and explores & hiked some rough trails. We are obviously some of the first as I had to clear a lot of winter deadfall. It will be easier on the next crew.
  • Then we rowed the cove and explored the shoreline. We spotted our first Lions Mane jellyfish: rusty orange with tendrils 2 feet long streaming behind a 3 or 4 inch jelly. Really fascinating.
  • IMG 0290
  • IMG 0313

4 May

  • I awoke to misty swirls of cloud disputing in the emerging sunlight.
  • I had coffee up in the cockpit for the first time. there was a crack and a rock plunged into the water over on the north shore. I don’t know what it was but  less than five minute later a series of reverberating cracks and bangs on the south shoer echoed through the cove and then a tree sedately dropped into the water with a big splash. It was an extraordinary amount of noise.
  • The laptop batteries needed to be recharged so we flipped on the inverter for an hour or so while we enjoyed the morning. Unfortunately I forgot that I had plugged in the electric heater in Powell River and since we had opened the hatches to let some fresh air in andmositure out no one noticed it blowing hot air in the v berth. I came down to check the SOC (set of charge) on the batteries and was astonished and dismayed to see it sitting at 53% (letting it drop below 50% is extremely hard on the batteries). An quick investigation revealed the heater as the culprit. This meant we had to either motor for a couple of hours or find a dock to plug into.
  • We decided to head to Squirrel Cove to do laundry a few days early. It might have been a good choice anyway as we passed 6 boats heading east  on our way west.
  • We tied up at the Squirrel Cove public dock (with 30 amp service) and walked our laundry over to the Squirrel Cove General Store. We started the loads and picked up some fresh produce and some more wine, then enjoyed the sunny afternoon. Three hours or so later we cast off, with clean laundry, fresh supplies and topped up batteries.
  • We dropped anchor deep in Squirrel Cove all alone in an anchorage that literally can hold hundreds of boats. Two more boats showed up later in evening but it was till pretty peaceful. We BBQ’s some chicken and went out to explore and try out the underwater housing on my small action camera.
  • IMG 0317

5 May

  • Rainy in the morning. Clearing as I type…
  • We decided to stay in Squirrel Cove; we’ve been moving too much lately. All the other boats have cleared off and we are alone again.
  • L’s baking cookies.