Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Quesnel, BC

After Olympia Pete and I visited Pat and Betty, from SV Ile Flottante, at their home in Shelton. They treated us to a wonderful dinner followed up with their favorite dessert, Ile Flottante. Then it was off to Mill Creek to spend 2 days with my brother Andy and his wife Linda. Brother Matt, brother-in-law Walt, and Walt's sister Susie joined us for an early Christmas dinner. The next day I watched the Seahawks for the first time this season. They were courteous enough to win. Our whirlwind tour of the Puget Sound region then took us to Enumclaw to visit my close friend James, his wife Becky, and their daughters Jennifer and Katie. We got to attend Katie's chorale concert at Enumclaw High School. Top notch performance, you would never guess it was high school. Pete and I were both very impressed.

About a week later Becky, Jennifer, Katie, and a close family friend were involved in a serious car accident. After a day of skiing at Crystal Mountain their car was struck by a very large falling tree. They will all be OK, but Becky and Jennifer sustained some very serious injuries. Pete and I wish all involved a complete recovery. It will take serious time and work - hang in there James, they will need quite a lot of your help and patience.

Pete and I had already travelled on to British Columbia to spend Christmas with Pete's family. We spent a night in Midway with his sister Monica and her husband Steve. They put on another early Christmas dinner for us with their son, his wife, and their 3 children. A couple of days later the rest of Pete's siblings, Don, Liz, Rosemary and her daughter and foster sons, and others joined us in Quesnel where we hosted another early Chistmas dinner. Pete's daughter Melanie, husband Mark and 3 children joined us later in the day. Pete and I had prepared a skating rink by shoveling the snow off part of the nearby creek (yes Virginia, creeks freeze quite solidly in central BC), some of Pete's grandchildren went skating there after dinner.

It should be noted that all this occurred before Christmas even got around to happening. The big day saw us at Melanie and Mark's house opening gifts with their 9, 6, and 4 year old children (YEAH!!! as the 6 year old said with alarming frequency). Before dinner I represented the Empire in a game of Star Wars Battleship. The 6 year old used the force against me and the dark side lost. Melanie put on a feast of turkey, stuffing, and various less important victuals. What a great Christmas. We also worked in time to visit Pete's great friends Kim and Debbie where we enjoyed a great turkey soup. Tomorrow we will go to Prince George to see Pete's son Tim, wife Leah and their children. Then it will be time to board an evening flight and begin the journey back to SV Cygnus in Ensanada Mexico. (Remember Cygnus? This is a blog about Cygnus.) Our next post may include some sailing.

Monday, 28 December 2015

New tracklog - all the way to Ensanada

Here is the latest track log from the voyage of SV Cygnus. This shows the boat all the way to Mexico! :)

Click here to download.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Ensanada Mexico and Olympia, WA

After the Thansgiving weekend I sailed a bit further south to Dana Point. This is one of the few places where you are allowed to anchor out for free behind the breakwater. Not having to pay for protection from the ocean swell is one of my favorite things so I stayed 4 nights here. This is also the closest harbor to Doretta's home, so we were able to get together twice more. She drove me to San Juan Capistrano where we toured the Spanish era mission. We also had a great lunch at a small mexican restaurant. The next day Doretta joined me for a day sail on the ocean. We motored north into a light breeze for a while, then raised sail for a liesurely run back to the harbor. The wind freshened in the afternoon so we turned toward Hawaii and went more than a tenth of a percent of the way there before thinking better of it and turning back to Dana Point.

My attention then turned toward Mexico and a nefarious plot to visit family and friends back in the Puget Sound region. I made runs to Oceanside and Mission Bay, then set out for Ensanada. Mission  Bay to Ensanada is further than I like to go in a day (about 70 nautical miles) so I spent the night on the ocean. The wind freshed in the evening and the sailing was great. The wind freshened some more and the sailing got so great that I could have overshot Ensanada by 20 miles before sunrise. It became necessary to reduce sail to slow the boat. (There are those who say Westsails perform so poorly one should avoid what they call a "Wet snail". On this night my Westsail performed so well it had to be intentionally slowed!.) The next morning, after a little sleep on the choppy water, I tied the boat at Baja Naval in Ensanada. The marina manager, Jose, helped me with my paperwork and directed me to the government offices for aduana, migracion, and the port captain. A couple hours later Cygnus and I were cleared into Mexico. If you visit Mexico do not miss the street tacos. Alas, I spent just 2 days there before it was time to leave for a while.

I left Cygnus in the care of Baja Naval and boarded a bus for Tijuana. After a "short" wait at the San Ysidro border crossing I was back in the USA. I flew to Seattle where Pete met me at Seatac airport. On Thursday I surprised the staff at the Geology Division (where I worked until June) by crashing their Christmas pot luck lunch. We had a great lunch and white elephant gift exchange. Beth Norman was a great sport about getting stuck with the silly Elmer Fudd style red hat emblazed with "CANADA" that I brought for the exchange. We all caught up with stories about their, and my, adventures. Beers after work with some of the gang (Daniel, Ashley, Corina, Tim, and too many others to name), completed a wonderful day.

Next up is some time with Pat, Betty, James, and my brothers. Then Pete and I plan to have Christmas in Quesnel with his family.

The altar in the chapel at San Juan Capistrano

Me at San Juan Capistrano

The mission at San Juan Capistrano
Doretta at San Juan Capistrano

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Los Angeles

Sorry, my posts are a little late in coming. I will attempt to get the blog back to real time soon. This post is about a day trip I took from Long Beach to Los Angeles the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

I went to see the Getty art museum. This took quite a lot of public transportation to get from Long Beach and back. The first light rail line ran through Compton and Watts. Later, the bus routes took me through Beverly Hills and Bel Air. Quite a day of contrasts. Every light post in Beverly Hills was decorated for Christmas with a colorful banner reading "Joy to the Hills". I noticed this at the famous intersection of Wilshire Blvd and Rodeo Dr. I always thought it went "Joy to the world". Apparently if you live in Beverly Hills the joy of the rest of the world is irrelevant. Hmmm.

The Getty was well worth the trouble. This is the best art museum I have ever seen. It is set on a hill top overlooking Santa Monica Bay and downtown Los Angeles. The views and architecture are stunning. The art collection is even better. I have pictures of a few samples below.
The main entrance to the Getty

A Van Gogh

A Monet

A statue of Mercury

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Long Beach, CA

After Oxnard I went to Paradise Cove in Malibu. This offered surprisingly good protection from a westerly blowing up to about 25 MPH. The wind was still at it the next day as I proceeded to San Pedro Bay. I had 8 to 10 foot seas at about 7 seconds. This is really steep! So I had a rowdy ride for a few hours.

San Pedro Bay is the location of both the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The breakwater is like 6 miles long. Really incredible. I anchored in the lee of an artificial island that conceals an oil pumping station. There are oil rigs, a refinery, anchorage for tankers and cargo ships, 170 cargo terminals, and marinas for maybe 6,000 boats, all inside the breakwater.

For Thanksgiving I kayaked ashore and bussed to Laguna Niguel to meet an old friend from DNR, Doretta Collins. She made a great holiday dinner and put me up for the night. The next day she showed me around nearby Dana Point and drove me back to Long Beach. Thanks Doretta!

Doretta at an overlook of DanaPoint

Replica of Richard Henry Dana's brig Pilgrim

Oxnard, CA

Business at home has forced Pete to return to Quesel. I saw him off at LAX and returned to Santa Barabara. This never gets any easier for either of us. The good news is we plan to get together again for Christmas. We will meet in Seattle to visit my family and friends, then proceed to Quesnel for Christmas with Pete's kids, grandkids, and siblings. I have arranged moorage at Ensanada to keep Cygnus safe during this time.

After leaving Santa Barbara I spent 5 days at Santa Cruz Island. The weather was incredible, I got in a lot of suntanning and a little swimming (in November!!!). A Santa Anna wind came up during this time, but I found a snug hole at Coches Prietas Cove to wait it out. Finally, I returned to civilazation at Channel Islands Marina in Oxnard.

Coches Prietas Cove looking north

Coches Prietas Cove looking northwest
Coches Prietas Cove looking southeast

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Santa Barbara, CA

We left Morro Bay on Wednesday with a favorable wind in the forecast. The first hour or so was all motoring, then the wind came up and we were able to sail all the way to Point Conception. This is where the California coast turns eastward into the Santa Barbara Channel and on to Los Angeles. We are now officially in Southern California and, until this morning, have been enjoying clear skies and very warm days. Today the weather has turned foul, just as forecast, and we are moored in the marina here to wait for better sailing and a trip to the Channel Islands.

Pete's tablet had some trouble loading pictures in our last couple of posts. This was likely due to poor internet connections. So, here are the missing pictures of our exploits:

Pete enjoying a vineyard in Napa Valley

Historic ships at San Francisco's Aquatic Park

"The Mechanic's" statue on Market Street in San Francisco and some urban ambiance

Scene on Columbus Street in San Francisco after a wonderful pizza dinner in Little Italy

Herr Weinerschnitzel, our trusty sailing crew who keeps watch from an antenna at Cygnus' stern, and the historic ship Balclutha at Aquatic Park

Pete enjoying a stationary San Francisco street car since we are both too cheap to ride one

Sailing out of San Francisco

The tall ship Lady Washington at Half Moon Bay

Kayaking with the Cormorants at San Simeon Bay

An otter enjoys a meal of Dungeness crab while a seagull hopes for a scrap or two

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Morro Bay

We have spent a few days here after leaving San Simeon Bay. Morro bay is a sleepy tourist and fishing port. A great place to anchor and wait for a weather window. Very friendly people here. We're hoping to get going again Wednesday, and get around Point Conception.
     We spent some time installing a manual bilge pump in the event we loose our 12 volt system.
    Sorry for the lack of photos. My tablet and the Blogger are having some issues. We hope to resolve them soon.

Half Moon Bay to San Simeon Bay

We motored from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay, arriving at about dinner time. Enjoyed a beautiful sunset while barbecuing, but the infernal flies and the cool weather drove us indoors to enjoy our meal.

Early the next morning we motored out on oily seas. We intended on going only as far as Santa Cruz, but decided to cruz past when a beautiful northwest wind came up. We took advantage of the opportunity and decided to sail overnight to wherever the wind would take us. Unfortunately it died about 1:00 am, and by 6:00 am we gave up and motored on to San Simeon on a gorgeously warm and sunny day. We even got some suntanning in. We arrived at San Simeon about 2:00 pm, set the hook and chilled out with a beer or two while looking at the 160 room Hearst Castle on the hill above us. Somehow, Cygnus holds more appeal to us that the static opulance of Hearst Castle.

Tomorrow, if the weather holds, we will attempt to get to Morrow Bay. Although not our choice of anchorages, the weather may prevent us from moving farther any time soon.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Half Moon Bay

Pete and I flew back to the boat on the 24th of October. After 2 weeks in Quesnel, BC I was ready to get back to finish a few small projects (and one big one), and continue the voyage. Pete was amazed to find so much sunshine and warmth. It was sunny nearly every day, and usually up in the mid 70’s (almost 25 Celsius, eh). We put the roller furling on the boat (this was the big project), which went extremely well. Then we got a sail maker working on revamping our headsail to work on a furler. While this was being done we worked a wide variety of small projects. Eventually I had to ask Pete to stop finding new projects so we could finish and start sailing again.

The Golden Gate Bridge

Along the way we found plenty of time for fun. We spent 3 days exploring San Francisco. This included the art museum at the Legion of Honor, walking all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge (and back again), some great Italian food, chowder in a sourdough bread bowl at Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown, the Civic Center, Ghirardelli square (where we loaded up on chocolate), the crookedest street in the world, and more stuff I am forgetting right now. Pete snuck aboard a cable car that was not moving long enough for me to capture the crime photographically (I will not admit to having encouraged this miscreant behavior). We also spent a day in a rental car tasting wine in the Napa Valley. I managed to buy only one overpriced bottle during our wine tasting. On the way home we bought 4 more bottles for the same total price at Wal-Mart that are just as good.

After all this the sail maker had our sail ready. We installed it a few days ago and started test sailing on San Francisco Bay. After anchoring 1 night at Aquatic Park, with a view of Ghirardelli Square, we sailed on out the Golden Gate. We motored (no wind, not much choice) to Half Moon Bay where we found the tall ship Lady Washington on her way out of the harbor on to her next adventure.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Quesnel, BC

Since Dave's arrival in Quesnel I have been enjoying showing him around my city and the surrounding areas. We have visited friends, family and been on a few day hikes to see some of my favourite places. We first hiked to Deserter's Creek, where the creek emerges from an enormous fault in the bedrock. I knew this would interest Dave with his penchant for geology.

Dave and the fault in the bedrock

Pete in the cleft in the rock

The next geologic feature we visited was Quesnel's famous Pinnacles. These are hardened spires of volcanic ash that tower over the valley formed by Baker Creek.

The Pinnacles
No visit to Quesnel would be complete without a visit to Historic Barkerville, a restored ghost town from the late 1800's gold rush. Although officially closed for the season, it was a nice quiet walk through the deserted streets.


   On our return trip to Quesnel, we were extremely lucky to observe a Mountain Caribou licking salt off the roadside. I have never seen one this close in the thirty odd years of living in the area. Dave is here a week and we encounter one! Dave is still complaining about the absence of moose. Maybe next time.

Mountain Caribou

Still not a moose

 We spent Saturday in Prince George where we had lunch with our friend Leanne Ranes and dinner with two of my sisters and their families.

Other than me being sick for a few days with food poisoning, (no, not from Dave's cooking) we have had a great time so far. We are both looking forward to returning to Cygnus at Alameda on the 24th, where we will spend some time installing a new roller furling system and sightseeing in the Bay Area. 
Cheers! Pete.

Monday, 12 October 2015

San Francisco, CA and Quesnel, BC

One week ago (Monday) I left Fort Bragg. The calm seas over the Noyo River bar were an amazing contrast to the violence I witnessed (safely from ashore) at the same location just 2 days earlier. A southerly wind filled in that afternoon complicating my passage of Point Arena with pounding seas and green water over the bow. By about 4 PM I had cleared the point and the seas began to moderate. It is amazing to see how the major headlands affect the wind and seas.

After 1 night drifting at sea to catch a little sleep, I motored past Point Reyes and into Drakes Bay where I anchored for a better sleep before proceeding into San Francisco. Along the way I spotted a few Humpback whales, Pacific White-sided dolphins, and the most amazing pod of porpoises I have ever seen. There were hundreds of them all across the bow and starboard side. A few came up close to the boat to have a close look at me, others were flying through the air (often in pairs). Their activity churned up a huge expanse of the sea.
Point Reyes

The Golden Gate Bridge as I approached under sail.
Alcatraz Island

The new east span of the Oakland Bay Bridge seen from my anchorage at Treasure Island.

Wednesday morning I was ready to go into San Francisco. Off Duxbury Point I had to navigate through one of the largest fishing fleets I have ever seen. There were dozens of commercial trawlers all moving about 2 knots in various directions, along with hundreds of recreational and charter boats – each on a different course at a different speed. Several course changes later I was ready to proceed into Bonita Channel and through the Golden Gate. The wind came up from the west as I passed Point Bonita, so I killed the engine and raised sails. So, for the second time, I had the privilege of transiting the Golden Gate under sail. I can think of no better way to arrive at San Francisco Bay. I anchored that night at Treasure Island with the suspension span of the new Oakland Bay Bridge towering nearly over me.

It is time for a key improvement project I have planned for Cygnus – the installation of a roller furling headsail. So I have obtained moorage for a month at Alameda Marina. My old Genoa (the big headsail) is at Doyle sailmakers (located within the Alameda Marina complex) to be re-worked for roller furling, and the roller furler has arrived. I would begin installation, but…

Arriving in San Francisco Bay and obtaining moorage for a while presented an opportunity for me to travel to Quesnel, BC to see Pete. Saturday I flew from San Francisco to Calgary and on to Quesnel. I am writing this post from Pete’s computer, and I am living ashore (temporarily) for the first time in almost 10 years. Adapting to such oddities as reclining chairs and having to walk more than 3 steps to reach the bathroom is proving quite challenging. In fact walking more than about 10 or 12 steps anywhere without the aid of a dock or dinghy seems really strange.

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. Pete held his family’s holiday dinner yesterday (freeing today for his children to visit/host their in-laws). All 3 of his children and many of his grandchildren were here. We had a marvelous turkey dinner, and I got to meet a houseful of great people. Everyone had a great time chatting and eating. The day was nearly perfect… just one tiny incident involving a five year old princess a pretty dress and a pile of bear poop.

As any self-respecting swan will fly south for the winter, Pete and I will return to Alameda to install the roller furling system and prepare Cygnus for continuing her flight south. Our plan is to fly to California on Oct 24th. Once we have the furler working, and complete a few sea trials to learn how to operate it, we will be ready to proceed down the coast of Central and Southern California and on to Mexico.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Fort Bragg, CA

Well I finally passed Cape Mendocino on Wednesday last week. After a  night at Shelter Cove (which isn't really much shelter) I came into the Noyo River and Fort Bragg. A really serious wind was forecast for yesterday, and it did not disappoint. It blew a full gale most of the afternoon. The seas are forecast to lay down by tomorrow, so I plan to head south on the high tide in the morning. With a little fair weather I could make it to San Francisco this week.

Me and the Cape Mendocino buoy.

The green marker buoy entering the Noyo River during the windstorm yesterday

Entry buoy at the Noyo River

Friday, 25 September 2015

Eureka, CA

The weather finally cooperated and I motored out of Newport last Friday. By late afternoon the wind freshened and I was able to sail. This continued for 2 days and nights. I sailed past Cape Blanco about 8 Saturday evening, and right into Crescent City, CA on Sunday afternoon.

I took a couple rest days at Crescent City and motored on to Eureka on Wednesday. Eureka has some really nice architecture which I have been enjoying. Today (Friday) I will get out on the ocean once more (if anything is gonna happen it's gonna happen out there). I should pass Cape Mendocino this afternoon. The forecast for the next few days is good, so I am hoping for some good progress to the south.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Newport, Oregon. Still...

Hello again from Newport. The past week and a half have been a time of changes. First the wind got too strong from the NW, then too strong from the S - along with a small craft advisory for steep seas. The latest forecast is pretty good. Tomorrow should bring light southerlies and gentle seas, changing to the W and finally the NW for the next several days. By Monday it may be too strong again, but I hope to make it at least to Crescent City, CA before that.

Pete needed to go back home to Quesnel, BC, so for the present I will be single-handing Cygnus. It is difficult to balance a life with a home, adult children living nearby, and grandchildren with the carefree life of the vagabond sailor, but Pete is finding the way admirably. Once I get the boat south of Cape Mendocino it may be time for me to pay a visit to Quesnel. We hope to enjoy Mexico together for at least parts of the coming winter.

Pete and I rented a car here to get him up to Chilliwack, BC where his car was at. On the way home I stopped to visit James and Becky Peet. Their hospitality was very welcome after the long drive. James also shared some pictures from our going away lunch at Gig Harbor, WA way back on July 1st. So here are the belated pix:
James, me and Pete at Gig Harbor, WA

Me, Becky and Pete at Gig Harbor, WA

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Newport Oregon

Hi all.

The following is a rundown of the last five days.

Friday Sept. 4th

Our first day offshore after leaving Effingham Island in the Broken Island Group, was spent motoring as there was little to speak of for wind, and we needed to clear the commercial traffic moving in and out of the Straits of Juan de Fuca. We only had one close encounter with a freighter, but our newly installed AIS system that Dave's brother, Andy so thoughtfully provided, quickly picked up the signal from the vessel and gave us time to take evasive action. Thanks Andy!

That evening was my first time at having to do a watch while motoring. It was truly magical seeing a complete dome of a sky with no obstructions or lights to hinder a spectacular starry vista! Add to that the sparkle of millions of stars created by the phosphorescence in the water. Amazing! Near midnight, Dave came topside and we shut down the iron jenny and we watched the moon rise while we sat and revelled in the strange beauty. We decided to allow Cygnus to drift while we got a few hours of quiet rest, getting up regularly to ensure we weren't about to be swamped by another freighter.

During the night, the wind freshened from the north, and we made steady progress south. today we had tremendous sailing. Our wind switched to the south east, and we beat our way down the Washington coast. There we encountered many commercial fishing boats. In one instance, we had to avoid a whole flotilla of dozens of boats. By evening, Dave's stomach had got the best of him, and we had a simple dinner while the wind became gale force, and the seas were high and confused. It was my turn to take the first watch. I was very apprehensive, since I had never sailed at night, and the wind and seas were still a bit crazy. Strangely, once it was too dark to see the high and confused seas, my apprehension died away, and I had a wonderful sail until Dave relieved me about 2:00 am.

Saturday Sept. 5th

We have made great progress. We only had to run the engine for an hour to charge the batteries since shutting it down on our first day out. Our stomachs are doing better, and we put together normal meals. We expect to make Newport on Sunday if all goes well.

Sunday Sept 6th

. Ok..... All hasn't gone well. Yesterday we had some great sailing, but soon after dark, we encountered a strong southerly blow that wasn't in the forcast. Because of the great weather and light winds, we had all sails up, with only a single reef in the main. Once the winds started, it was too dangerous to go on deck in the dark to reduce sail area, so we hove to. This means we brought the boat to a stop by adjusting the sail and rudder pattern. Unfortunately, since we had all the sails up, we healed over about 30 degrees and the rail was in the water. This made it very uncomfortable and impossible to sleep. Early in the morning, we got underway while the wind blew at almost storm force, and the seas were very high and confused. Dave carried on for a few hours while I got some sleep, and then I took over from Dave, who was in desperate need of some rest. It was a harrowing experience for the land lubber. One that I don't wish to experience again any time soon.

Monday Sept. 7th

After a difficult morning of high seas and winds, we had another sleepless night because of high rolling seas. By this time we were both extremely tired. Dave woke up to the sound of the boat sailing itself south, and decided someone should keep an eye out in case we "bumped into anything". About 3:00 am, I relieved him on watch and spent a pleasant few hours sailing slowly south under reduced sail. In the morning, the sun rose and we spent a beautiful morning with our coffees and breakfast on deck and watched a family of Humpback whales right off our starbord side. What an incredible contrast from 24 hours ago!

Tuesday Sept. 8th

We have arrived in Newport Oregon, in yet another unforcast blow, we were both very sleep deprived, and happy to tie up at a dock. Customs clearance went without a hitch, and we treated ourselves to a delicious dinner and beers at a brew pub in the marina. It's good to feel solid ground under our feet.

Last night we both had the best sleep in five days! Today we spent a nice day enjoying Newport and catching our breath. We expect to be here a day or two more, and weather permitting, we will continue the voyage south.

Cheers! Pete and Dave

Dave soaking in the hot springs

The boardwalk to the hot springs

1000 nautical miles! 
A crab feast.

Lucky creek pools

Lucky creek

Newport Oregon

Sea cave at Effingham Island.

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Broken Islands

The Broken Islands

As we waited out our weather for the offshore sail south, we did some exploring around the Broken Island group. The first stop was Joe's Bay anchorage. We found a secluded spot away from the kayakers and pleasure boats. A beautiful cove hemmed in by four or five islands. We immediately dispatched the unfortunate crabs we had caught at Ucluelet, and had one for lunch, and saved the other for topping our barbecued steaks later that evening. The life of a cruiser can be very difficult at times. ;~)

After our delicious lunch, we launched the kayaks and began exploring the islands and islets in the vicinity. What an amazingly picturesque place! Very quickly we came upon an oyster bed, and gathered up eight unfortunate dinner guests. Later that evening, after our dinner, the sky gave us a wonderful sunset.

In the morning we discovered that the crabs had been talking, and the pot only contained a few youngsters who had ignored the warnings. Kids nowadays!

After an easy breakfast, and some minor maintenance, we motored off to one of Dave's favourite spots, a place called Refuge Island. This is actually out of the park and borders on Vancouver Island. Dave insisted we immediately paddle up Lucky Creek. This was a very enjoyable paddle through dark green rain-forest for about 1/2 a mile. The site at the end was astounding! A seemingly endless series of waterfalls and crystal clear pools tumbling through huge craggy rocks greeted us. We pulled the kayaks onto the rocks and then swam each pool as we ventured farther up the creek. The final scene was breathtaking! One could stand at the top of a high rock and see a 300 degree panorama of huge waterfalls and deep clear pools. It looked like a movie set. By this time we were fairly chilled from our swims. We had a quick beer on the warm rocks and kayaked back to Cygnus.

The following day we motored a short distance south to Mayne Bay and anchored in an unnamed cove. There we rousted about three dozen butter clams from their bed, and cooked up a wonderful pot of chowder for lunch the next day. We also found a bazillion oysters and chose five of the best to join us for dinner.

The next day we decided to try our luck at salmon fishing again at Swale Rock. This time success! We managed to hook a perfect Coho, about 21". Just the right size for a couple of delicious meals, the first being at Nettle Island where we spent a restless night with the wind pummeling us as an unexpected extreme low pressure system hit us after midnight. Suspecting we might see more winds, in the morning we moved about a mile to Jacques/Jarvis cove for much better protection, and a change of scene. We had to enter at high tide to get enough depth, but the holding was great, and as expected, the winds came up again as the barometer rose. We had another down day of reading and a short explore in the kayaks between blows.

After hearing the weather report, we decided to stay another night at Jacques/Jarvis. A good thing. The wind came up again and whistled through the rigging for much of the night. Then the rain came down in buckets. In the morning we decided to head for Ucluelet and get ready to head south. The trip there was quite rough and windy. I think others were taking refuge at Ucluelet also, since the harbor was full and we had to raft up to another boat. This evening, laundry, showers, groceries, and maybe pizza for a treat.

Cheers! Pete and Dave.
Pete with his first salmon

Tuesday, 25 August 2015


Sorry for the delay in posting. Dave and I have been very busy preparing for the offshore leg of our journey, and have had limited network access.

Since arriving in Tofino, we decided to do a bit more exploring of Claquot Sound before heading south. Dave talked me into returning to Hotsprings Cove. It didn't take much arm twisting. We motored out of Tofino and soon found a favourable wind to take us up Millar Channel and Shelter Inlet to Bacchante Bay. There we had the whole Bay to ourselves. This was definitely one of our most picturesque and interesting anchorages. After setting the anchor, we paddled the kayaks up Watta Creek, through a beautiful rainforest, and then hiked on the stone beach for a bit.

In the morning, we motored to Hotsprings Cove. This Cove is a must-see. A gorgeous 25 minute stroll through an old growth cedar forest on a boardwalk that never lets your feet touch the ground, brings you to an amazing hot spring that spills out of the rock, cascades over a 15 foot waterfall and spills into a series of soaking pools amongst high rocks that protect you from the wind. The whole experience is magical. After a good soak, we made the decision to do some last minute preparations for offshore, and so spent the next day working in paradise. A few more trips to the spring later, we set off for my first offshore adventure. The seas were about 8 feet, and the winds from the northwest about 15 to 25 knots. Once we hoisted a full sail pattern, and killed the motor, Cygnus settled in beautifully, and we had a wonderful sail back to Tofino. This was a great training excercise for me. I was unsure how my stomach would take the huge swells, but it turned out well, and I was even able to hoist the Jib with Cygnus pitching and rolling. It was a very exciting experience! We put in to Adventure Cove on Lemmens Inlet.

As it turned out, our weather window for sailing south disappeared. The winds have switched to southerly, or light, and we need a stiff northerly for this leg.

We decided to take advantage of the situation by motoring to Ucluelet and then exploring the many sights in the Broken Island group. Upon arrival at Ucluelet, we toasted Dave's completion of his circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. Also, amazingly, the odometer on the chart plotter was exactly 1000 nautical miles since Olympia! Quite an accomplishment, and quite an adventure so far.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Tofino, BC

     Pete is back aboard Cygnus! He drove and bused all day Monday to arrive at Tofino about 9:30 PM. We had a great day on the beach and around Tofino yesterday.

     Had a small problem at Nootka Sound. The prop shaft zinc was missing. The bolt for it was still there, but the zinc was gone. The diver just put this zinc on in June, so it did not last long at all. Anyway, I inflated the dinghy, put on a mask and snorkel, and leaned over the side of the dinghy so I could reach the bolt (and breath at the same time). Then I was able to remove the old bolt and install a new zinc.

     Along the way to Tofino I stopped at Hot Springs Cove. The springs there are incredibly warm, about 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). It is so nice I might just talk Pete into going back there with me.

     We expect to spend a few days enjoying the fine weather and scenery here at Clayoquot Sound. Then we will head offshore for a few days. This should be enough to get us to Newport, OR where we can clear US customs.
Rugged Mountain at the head of Tahsis Inlet

My dinghy riding from Bodega Cove to Bligh Cove

Steam rising from the creek at Hot Springs Cove