4:29 Missed it by that much

Special contribution from guest blogger: Happy XXXXXday, Bruce!

*****

Very busy day. Too busy to blog. Notes for future:

Wind shifted to NW mid night
So we had anchored in Pirates Cove, which is totally protected from the SW winds that were blowing when we went to bed. So of course the wind shifted to the north. Seems we didn’t take the weather reports into account. So all of us were up several times during the night to check the anchor in fear that we were slowly dragging onto the concrete dock astern of us. We found out later Tim was just as concerned as we beginners were. Eventually it was morning, the anchor hadn’t budged and we awoke officially to start the day in the choppy little bay.

Anchor issues
After a quiet breakfast we went to raise anchor. Leslie was at the helm and I ran the windlass. Unfortunately it was almost impossible to keep the boat head into the anchor and then the chain started to pile up in the locker, preventing me from raising it the last 8 ft or so. Eventually we got everything shifted around and finally could head out the narrow entrance to the cove, directly into the wind.

Motor in 3 ft seas to Degnen
Tim lives on Gabriola island in Degnen Bay; he has a marina there (all permanent moorage). We decided to visit, so after we weighed anchor in the windy cove, which was a bit of an exercise, we headed north into the wind. The waves were crashing over the bow as Leslie wound her way upwind. Lots of fun!

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A Little Talk
As we headed back towards Gabriola Island, we discussed some of the issues we’d been having and the importance of being aware of weather, tides, etc. Apparently Tim had been nervous about whether our anchor would hold in such strong winds and the usual solution (letting more rode out) wasn’t available to us since we were already too close to the concrete dinghy dock. If it wouldn’t have been equally problematic, we probably should have hauled the anchor out in the dark and moved the boat.

Motor to Telegraph
After putzing around the Gabriola Passage and Degnen Bay we headed back out and set a course south for Telegraph Harbour between Thetis and Kuper islands. It was pretty quiet there but between the stage fright and a bit of a head wind I royally screwed up the docking. I blame it on the fact the helpful marina owners came down to help and ruined my concentration, but frankly it was probably just a bad job of docking.

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Lunch ensued. We took a brief walk around, used the washrooms and boarded again to practice some more. After a much more successful docking practice session (Leslie is kickass at this stuff) we exited the Harbour and headed across the strait towards Ladysmith. Tim had recommended a restaurant there since we had decided to eat out that night. About halfway across we called ahead and found out the restaurant is closed on Mondays, so we decided to abandon that course. We changed course to 225 degrees into Chemainus.

On the way there it started to rain. One of the boat deficiencies we had already noted when Leslie was covering the windshields with spray earlier in the day, was that the windshield wipers weren’t worth shit. Thus we were left to enter a strange harbour in rain and poor visibility. To make it worse one of the ferries was just astern of us, and while I had the right of way we decided it was prudent to bear away and circle in behind him. Since the government dock is right beside the ferry dock, the ferry led us right in. That was the good part of the ferry.

We docked right behind a huge catamaran on the outside float with the hope we could shelter in his lee. Didn’t help. We were exposed all night to the NW wind and every time the ferry came in his wash would toss the boat around a bit to keep us alert.

So we had some wine. It pretty much solves everything.

We invited Tim to join us for dinner and headed into town. The skipper of the cat kindly lent us the shower key and told us the gate code so we were good to go until tomorrow when the Harbour Master was due in. We wandered up into town but it was pretty dead. The first restaurant we saw open was Odika, so it won by default. Perfect choice! The food was delicious. My salmon Wellington, Leslie’s soup and mussels, and Tim’s African-style lamb were all superb and accompanied by a great bottle of BC red. We finished off with some terrific desserts and wandered back to the boat stuffed and sated.

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Sleep was good, but our breastlines were too taut and we didn’t have the right length of ropes for spring lines. This means that the boat is basically banging and rubbing on the fenders all night as the wind drives the waves against our stern…where L’s and my cabin is … loudly banging … oh, and did I mention it was freezing cold?

Let’s see, three nights on board, freezing cold each evening, two with waves smacking loudly on the hull and the boat bouncing like a berserk roller coaster. Yah, we’ve been sleeping well, why do you ask?

 


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