Friday, 31 July 2015

Quatsino Provincial Park

Dave seems to be making good headway. I was worried when he didn't check in last night, but there have been some wind warnings, so he may have stayed put yesterday. In any case he is now in Quatsino Sound, at Quatsino Provincial Park.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Cape Scott!

This has been a dream for Dave for a long time. To round Cape Scott. Today he did it.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

God's Pocket

It has been an amazing adventure so far.  I needed a bit of time off the boat to take care of a few issues. Dave has insisted on going on alone. I left him with my Spot Locator. This is a device that sends a satellite signal out when one requires. The messages are pre-programmed, so I can only know that he is ok, or not ok.
    This afternoon I received an OK message from the very northern tip of Vancouver Island in a snug anchorage aptly named God's Pocket. This is where Dave meets the north and west coast of the island. There is little there in the way of communications, so I will pass on when I receive a signal and tell you where he is.
Cheers! Pete.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Beyond Desolation

     So much has happened since I last posted here...
     Pete and I said goodbye to Pat and Betty. We were at Squirrel Cove, near Desolation Sound. Sorry, there is no Moose Cove nearby (my apologies to those unfamiliar with Rocky and Bulwinkle :)). Pat and Betty planned a few more days in the Desolation Sound area, and Pete and I were heading toward Hole-in-the-wall and Okisollo rapids; one of the routes to go "Beyond Desolation".

Betty took this sequence of images while Pete and I were sailing toward Gorge Harbour, BC. This is the way to travel!

Betty, Pete, me, and Pat at Gorge Harbour, BC tipping back a round of drinks. Thanks Pat.
     What a long sequence of goodbyes is has been. Doug Buster, my boss while of Health Dept. years ago arranged a goodbye lunch in May for our former co-workers there. We had a family BBQ in June to say goodbye. My niece, Lizze, asked me to take her and husband Chris out sailing. Co-workers from the Geological Survey dad a goodbye lunch for me at Oyster House. James and Becky met us in Gig Harbor for a wonderful goodbye lunch the next day. We said our goodbyes to Pat and Betty about a week ago
Lizze and Chris aboard Cygnus in Budd Inlet, Washington

     Yesterday Pete and I said goodbye for now. He decided that it was necessary to attend to home and family in Quesnel, BC. So, yesterday I watched Pete board a bus out of Port MeNeill. This was very sad and difficult, but I accept that Pete is doing the right thing for himself. I will sail the west coast of Vancouver Island without his wonderful company. With luck we will meet up again when I reach Tofino or Ucluelet.
     I learned yesterday that cruising is about unexpected meetups as well as goodbyes. Greg Larson, a former co-worked from Health Dept. (who was at the goodbye lunch mentioned above), and his wife Heather sailed their C&C sailboat into Port MeNeill. It was good to see a friendly face in an (almost exotic) foreign port.
     Along the way Pete and I made a wonderful passage of the notorious (for high winds in the wrong direction) Johnstone Strait. This took 3 days, but we had some almost good weather for it. One stop was at Helmcken Island. This is right in the middle of Johnstone Strait, an unexpected place for a beautiful anchorage. Pete tried a little fishing for rockfish, but they were having none of that.
The view from our anchorage at Helmcken Island

Pete angling for rockfish
     I have just a couple more errands here at Port McNeill. Then it will be over to the fuel dock to top off the diesel. Then head toward the west coast. I expect to round Cape Scott Wednesday or Thursday if the weather holds...

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Pendrell Sound

Swimming in the warmest salt water north of Mexico
View up Tobo Inlet
    We decided to motor to the north end of Pendrell Sound today. There are many oyster spat harvesting operations here, probably due to the very warm and clear water. The rocks are covered in big, fat oysters. I harvested another couple of dozen. No one else really likes them, so I get to eat most of them myself. (Yum!) I make sure they don't have PSP (paralytic shellfish poisoning) by rubbing one on the inside of my lip. If it doesn't go numb, then I eat one or two raw and wait a bit. So far, so good!
    We went for a walk on a trail that took us through a beautiful hemlock forest. Everything was green and lush, but obviously lacking rain. It was good to stretch our legs again.
    The winds came up in the afternoon, and we dragged anchor again. We have a stern tie, but the bottom is rock, and the winds are coming from the bow. Hopefully we're set now for the night, as the winds are supposed to switch to our stern.
    The food is great, and the grog is fine. Only problem is not enough excercise. I am going to have to get a routine in place soon, or we will have to buy a bigger boat.
Cheers! Pete.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Walsh Cove

   Last night we anchored off Roffey Island. It was difficult  to find a spot that would hold an anchor, but it was worth the trouble. Other more popular anchorages in the area looked like parking lots, and we had ours all to ourselves. In the morning  Pat went fishing for the ling cod he lost in 2009. He managed to hook it and promptly lost it again. Apparently it had grown quite a bit, and was just as smart. My luck was better. I gathered about a dozen fat and delicious oysters that we shared at dinner time. 
    After our fishing, we motored up Homfray channel and watched the beautiful scenery unfold in front of us. The mountains, hanging valleys, cliffs, and trees pressing right up to the water continued as we turned up Toba inlet, where the water turned jade green from the glacial till. When we reached Brem Bay, the wind was strong from the south and anchoring was poor, so we turned around and we ended up here at Walsh Cove. Everyone was hot and the water was cool and refreshing. 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Ballet Bay

     Taking a bit of a rest today at Ballet Bay on the mainland, part way up Malaspina Strait. The weather is reported as south easterly's to 25 knots, which could be a little uncomfortable for some.
  The crossing of the Georgia Strait was uneventful, which was welcome. We had calm winds and seas the whole time. We pulled into Secret Cove and anchored with a stern tie to the shore. A kayak ride around the beautiful cove and then a walk on the park trails was welcome.
   Unfortunately during the night a very strong south wind came up over our beam and caused us to drag our anchor, pushing us close to the rocks. About 1:00 am, Dave and Pat braved the wind and dark and placed another anchor in order to keep us from hitting the rocks. In the process, Pat broke an oar lock on the dingy. Dave set an hourly alarm and checked that things stayed stable. It was a sleepless night, but we all learned something, and kept the boats and ourselves safe.
   The next morning, we decided to take advantage of a brisk 15 to 20 knot wind, and sailed two hours north to Ballet Bay. It was a fast run with the wind on a three foot following sea. Dave and I had a wonderful time flying the 100% genoa. Sometimes reaching 7.5 knots. Pat and Betty kept right up flying their jib at about 50%. The first half was rocking and rolling, but it smoothed off nicely later.
   Earlier today, we pulled the hook and poked our noses out the Strait, but the seas were too heavy, so we reset the anchor. The plan is to stick around here until the winds calm down a bit, and then travel on to the Copeland Islands. There are oysters in the bay, so we could have a bit of a feast later.

Cheers! Pete.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Boundary Pass

     Crossing Boundary Pass Tuesday morning Pete informed me that I had become a homeless alien :). We cleared Canadian customs at Bedwell Harbour, so at least I am a legal alien.
    After customs a SE wind freshened. We sailed all afternoon :). We had planned on buying provisions at Ganges but the sailing was so nice we sailed right on past.     On Wednesday we went into Ladysmith, BC for groceries, grog, and a marvelous visit with Pete's friends Dave and Pat.     
     There is quite a lot of smoke in the air from wildfires. The Sun has appeared quite dim and orange as a result. Pat doesn't care for this, but I think it is interesting to see.     
     We are planning to cross the Strait of Georgia later today (Thursday July 9th). It has been mostly calm the past couple of days with occasional SE winds. This should make for a really nice sea state out there today. This is good since Pat and Betty have not crossed before. I am looking forward to them having a good experience on the "Big Water" today. The slack water at Gabriola Passage is a bit past 11 this morning so we have a very relaxed start to the day.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Coupeville WA

   The weather has turned a little cooler. It was a hazy day with a nice breeze here in Coupeville. Pat and Betty, our boat buddies arrived yesterday and we tied up together and shared a couple of drinks. Pat and Dave prepared the crabtraps and using Pat's dingy, they motored out to a likely spot beyond the point and dropped them for the evening. After dinner, the fireworks began all around the bay. By nightfall, after a beautiful sunset, we had 360 degree fireworks and lots of racket. Americans are certainly enthusiastic about splitting from Britain.

    In the morning, after a liesurely coffee and breakfast and pulling up the empty crab traps, we kayaked in to the dock and had a much needed shower, followed by ice cream cones in town. A great treat! Tonight we have reservations at Christophers Restaurant with Pat and Betty. We will take the Kayaks over again. This time trying not to get our best clothes wet. It will be nice to have someone else cook and do the dishes.

    Tomorrow we head out again about 8:00 am. We have stayed in one spot long enough.

Cheers! Pete.
Sunset over Coupeville

Friday, 3 July 2015

Central Puget Sound, just north of Everett WA.

    The last couple of days have been wonderful. Blue skies, and some fresh northerly winds. We were able to sail both days, and make progress. Yesterday Dave rigged the staysail and we sailed the way Cygnus was designed, as a cutter rig. We both felt she performed better than sailing with only main and jib.

    July 1st after leaving Eagle Island, we motored up Tacoma narrows and then sailed in front of Walter Mill's house, Dave's brother in law. He watched us through his window and had a good chat with Dave on the phone. We were able to sail at a good speed all the way to the north end of Blake Island and drop the hook for the night.

     Yesterday morning we took some time to walk around Blake Island before heading out. It was good to stretch our legs and see some of the beauty in the state park, including deer, raccoons, and many different trees and plants. After heading out we were soon able to hoist the sails and we beat our way upwind to Kingston where we anchored for the night and enjoyed an early night.

This morning we topped off the fuel and water tanks and motored up Possession Sound then Saratoga Passage to Coupeville, where we intend to meet up with Pat and Betty, our boat buddies from here north. We will celebrate Independance Day with them and then head north together.
Flying the Staysail

Passing by Seattle
Cheers! Pete.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015


     Yesterday morning Pete and I turned in our marina keys at Swantown, I am now officially 'homeless' as I have no physical address. We motored Cygnus to Percival Landing and moored right in front of Olympia's Oyster House restaurant. After all this I went to the office for my last couple of hours before retirement.
     Over a dozen of my coworkers, and my brother Andy, joined us at Oyster House for a lunch time send off. Pete had bought a bottle of Champagne so the whole group toasted our upcoming adventure.
     We stopped off at Gig Harbor on Wednesday for another wonderful departure lunch with my good friends James and Becky Peet.
     Pete and I motored out of Budd Inlet watching Olympia fade in the distance. Will this be our last time in Olympia? Such an inconsequential question today. The Inside Passage is laid out before us. Then the west coast of North America? Then Mexico? Then... wherever we go Pete and I will take good care of each other. We will also take good care of Cygnus, and she of us. Stay tuned for many more posts.
Tacoma Narrows bridges this morning 

Moonrise over Mount Rainier last night