Shower: wait for them office to open to get loonies; check
We spent the morning with some discussions of competency. Tim gave us some brief evaluations on where he thought we stood, which L and I were generally in agreement with. She needs more practice and self-confidence in docking and boat handling. I need practice. Overall we had demonstrated the skill to pass all three courses but we need to work on general competency and polish. In other words, practice, practice practice.
We spent some more time with the chart books and then cast off for a morning of docking and close maneuvers. Tim demonstrated some fancy stuff with the bow pretty much hanging over the docks, and Leslie once again showed her finesse while I muscled the boat into imaginary hard spots. Lots of fun, lots of good practice. It is a great time of year to do a course like this.
Eventually we decided to take off and make our way to Gabriola Island. Likely Silva Bay but we might bail and try Degnen Bay instead if the waves are too rough or the currents are wrong for Garbiola Passage.
The wind was our now familiar 15-20 knots from the northwest (of course the direction we were headed) and it made for some high seas. Tim took our chart plotter away again and we headed up Trincomali channel for Wallace Island. We navigated around the rocks on the SW side of the island and popped our heads into Conover Cove, a beautiful protected but shallow little anchorage. There was another, albeit newer, Bayliner 3288 at the tiny dock there.
Next we headed up island and, avoiding swamping the crazy camouflaged crab fisherman, we turned into Princess Cove–a deeper anchorage with lots of stern tie-in points. We had previously mentioned to Tim our desire to see an otter, so he had graciously ordered one up from the otter supply depot. Tim pointed the otter out romping up the rocks that protected the cove from open water. Just as cute as I had always imagined.
We exited the cove and navigated around all the rocks and reefs off Secretary Island and past Clam Bay, and re entered Trincomali Channel and rough water just off the Rose Islets. I foolishly asked Tim what the boat would be like beam to the wind, and he foolishly replied try it. So I did. And we discovered we weren’t so battened down as we thought as charts, cameras, binoculars and sundry went flying across the saloon. I quickly turned the bow back into the wind and we took stock. Two coffee mugs down, we continued to crab our way up channel.
We moved up to the fly bridge for fun and crossed the channel towards Valdes Island. The motion was actually a little gentler up there and with the bimini it was quite warm and cozy. There were lots of deadheads in the water so we had to keep a fairly sharp watch.
We’d made good time and the currents were good for Gabriola Passage so we made for Silva Bay. Silva Bay is on the outside of the Gulf Islands but fairly well protected, so it is the usual stopping spot for boaters out of Vancouver who want to get out of town as soon as possible then hole up waiting for the currents to be favourable.
Just as we were in the narrowest part of the Passage Tim spotted a whole family of otters on the bank; luckily the currents were good and I could take my eyes off the water long enough to catch a glimpse. No pictures though 🙁
We followed the charts in and around the many rocks and islands and motored into Silva Bay. I had a wind on my stern and a fairly tight slip to maneuver into. There were two men on the dock, but I decided to ignore them as best I could and opted to try and back into the leeward side of a finger to hopefully miss the boats docked off the starboard bow as we entered the marina. I’m going to call it a perfect park. I’m sure I could have done it better, but with tightish quarters, two overly helpful men on the dock and a wind, I think I put the stern and Leslie right on the dock and swung my bow in almost right on target.
We chatted with the men and they mentioned we would have company tonight as a sailboat was due into the slip next to ours later in the evening.
We finished tying up, and Tim and I took a meander around the docks checking out boats. One of the other reasons the men had been on the dock was there was a sailboat with a line wrapped around its propellor. The young man had borrowed a wetsuit and knife and was diving in the chilly water trying to free it. We watched for 15 minutes and he was still trying when we left. The next morning he had moved so I suppose he finally got it off.
Donna arrived from their house 2 km down the road, and she and Tim exited stage left. This left Leslie and I alone at last on the At Last. We quaffed some beer/cider, munched on Doritos and Facebooked for a while. Eventually we bestirred ourselves and took a lovely walk about the immediate environs. On the way back we picked up some BC wine and I talked Leslie into a proper dinner at the restaurant. I had the rib special and she had the bacon-wrapped scallops, and then we were sated, exhausted and ready for bed.
We were tucking ourselves in when the long-awaited sailboat came in, just as the light was fading. They brought her in smartly and needed no help. Seems, though, they had been coming from Nanaimo on the outside of Gabriola and suffered an uncontrolled gybe. This snapped their main sheet and the skipper had been forced to jury rig something. Meanwhile somehow their radio had independently decided to send a distress signal, so he had to cancel that; and then his stove came off its gimbals, so he had even more things to deal with. He seemed calm enough–he mentioned he’s been sailing for 50 years–but his girlfriend was frazzled.
We lent them some water for his kettle and everyone settled in for the night.
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