Friday, August 31, 2012

Onward and Upward (northward)

Friday, 24 August, Cortes Island, BC
Tuesday:  We motored from Nanaimo to Garden Bay SYC outstation (Pender Harbour) and spent one night.

Wednesday:  We motored from Garden Bay to Sturt Bay, Texada Island.  We've passed Texada Island many times over the years not knowing that is was anything more than a great, hulking, forested rock in the middle of the Georgia Straits.  Sturt Bay, near the north end, has a good little anchorage and moorage available at the Texada Boat Club docks.  Everyone was so friendly.  People driving down the street would often stop to ask if we needed directions.  The grocery store was well stocked and reasonably priced.

Thursday dawned breezy out of the north, and we could finally sail.  It meant tacking upwind among the many reefs and rocks, but it was a good sail.  The wind eventually died (as usual) and we motored a few remaining miles to the SYC Cortes Island outstation.

Posted on the bulletin board is an interesting article about packs of wolves stalking hikers on Cortes Island earlier this summer   Yikes!  Unfazed, we caught up on a few chores:  Bill laid the anchor chain out on the dock and replaced missing length markers.  He also inflated the dinghy for upcoming anchorages.  Kathi rearranged (again) our clothes and linens for the ambient climate. We're loving the cool, sunny days.

After spending a couple nights tomorrow morning, Saturday, we heading north to Yaculta Rapids, Gillard Rapids and Dent Rapids.  This should be interesting.  We'll be adding wolves to our wildlife watch list.

Cruising Desolation Sound, British Columbia

Time sure flies..., Here's just a quick word while we have brief internet access:  After lavish provisioning at Ganges and Nanaimo, we've been cruising in the Desolation Sound area for the past couple weeks, making a loop around Cortes and Sonora Islands and stopping in many beautiful, calm, quiet, sheltered bays.  We've seen some wildlife:  seals, porpoises, and orcas.  The snowy mountain peaks looming in the background in the hazy, cool late summer air.  The calm waters make dinghy travel like skimming on a liquid mirror. 

So far, our stops have included:
Cortes Bay, SYC Outstation
Refuge Cove for fuel
Dent Island
Chameleon Bay
Octopus Islands
Gorge Harbor.

There hasn't been much wind, so we motor all the time. There are a fair number of boats around, but it's not at all crowded.  The powerboats are starting to look pretty good, and we've undressing them with our eyes....

After a quick pause at Cortes again, we're off to Tenedos Bay before starting south again in a few days. Will post some photos later.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back in Beautiful British Columbia

Wednesday, August 15th, Victoria BC
After a chilly, foggy night motoring we arrived in sunny Victoria and got a berth in front of the Empress Hotel in James Bay.  The weather was really hot and sunny.  We wandered around looking for our favorite chandlery, but it's gone.

Mary Doherty, Seth's wife, drove up from Seattle to meet us.  We all had a beautiful afternoon at Butchart Gardens followed by a terrific dinner in the restaurant there.  Bill and I broke out our clown bikes and rode around the Dallas Road shoreline route.

Friday, we moved the boat around to Royal Victoria Yacht Club.  It was so pretty and peaceful.
We were able to explore the neighborhood a bit on our bikes.

Our friends the Ellsays, off Stray Kitty, who sold their boat in Brisbane, are now living near RVYC.  Now we call them the "Stay Kitties".  Chris and Christine picked us up and took us home for a wonderful dinner (and more laundry).  Their daughter and Activities Director, Kerry, made sure we had a good game of Charades after dinner. The Ellsays' kids must be very well behaved, because their father did not guess "temper tantrum" in the game. A good time was had by all.

After a couple nights at RVYC, we motored (again) up to Ganges on Saltspring Island.  It was the usually sunny, chilly weather we missed so much.  Again, were wearing our August fleece ensembles.

Anyhow, we spent the night at Ganges.  It was great to see some SYC friends again.  It was really handy to have our bikes for quick shopping trips to the village.

After 1 night, we motored (again!) up to Nanaimo via Dodd Narrows.  We anchored out overnight.  There was an Austrian Amel and a German cruising boat nearby.  We would have liked to hear their stories.

Tasman to Tatoosh: Landfall!

Sunday, August 12th! Landfall at Ucluelet, British Columbia, Canada!
Completing our 18 day, 2,471 n mile passage from Kauai reaching under cool, but sunny skies, we watched the snow-capped mountains of Vancouver Island grow taller and taller, we arrived at our destination.  We were greeted on the way into the harbour by a whale sounding.  [When we get back to the US, it'll be "harbor" again.]

This passage completed our 9,877 mile return voyage from Hobart, Tasmania started on Bill's birthday March 9th. What a relief to have that all behind us.  We didn't have any really bad weather or trouble, but what a long tedious trip.  After a perfunctory visit from the RCMP for customs, Barbara and Harry Lee took us to their condo for champagne and salmon. Life was truly looking good! What a great welcome! Thanks Barbara and Harry!

And many thanks to Seth Siegal, who sailed with us!  His unending thoughtfulness, good humor, resourcefulness and patience made the trip so much easier and enjoyable for us. We are in his debt.

We stayed a couple nights in Ucluelet, showered, shopped, laundered and fueled up. On August 14th headed out again towards Victoria. We made a detour through Barkley Sound and spotted some humpback whales in Imperial Eagle Channel later in the afternoon.

 The breeze came up and we hoisted the sails. As the sun set, the fog closed in and the wind died. We motored overnight to Victoria keeping a very close watch on the radar and AIS for the many vessels traveling and fishing in the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Sometime in the night, we completed our return rounding of Tatoosh Island, closing the loop on our 3 year, 27,351 n mile  Pacific voyage. Now we're off to rediscover southern BC before returning to Seattle for good.

Whale's Tail

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Waving at the Folks Back Home

Saturday 10:23 a.m. Seattle time

We're at Seattle's latitude (47° 43'N).  We're about 400 miles west at 131 47W,
Wave as we pass by.  

Back in our Home Latitudes

Thursday, August 9
Lat 47 01N Lon 134 57W Course 50 Motoring 5kts Calm (duh) Overcast (duh)
After a great downwind ride, wing & wing, gliding on the gentle swells, for a couple days and nights, the wind gave out and we're motoring again.

Although we're 450-500 miles offshore, we're cheering as we pass the latitudes of Astoria (46 10N) and Olympia (47 01N).  We plan to make landfall at Ukee (Ucluelet BC 48 55N) in 3-4 days (and nights, sigh...)

Bill and Seth saw whales spouting today.

Although, we've had good conditions and no real problems (knock wood), we've had about enough and we're really looking forward to the end of this passage.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fashion News: Foulies and Fleece

Tuesday, 7 August 2012 Lat 44 26N 142 08W 
Course 35 Boatspeed 8-9 kts Reaching
Wind NW 24 kts, Showers

Fashion for the new Fall Season is on display on Jarana, with the stylish crew sporting fleece, foulies and shoes or boots.  Accessorized with hot drinks and runny noses.

After a couple days flying along under spinnaker (blue) and SW winds, a cold front brought us brisk NW winds. Our average speed overnight has been over 8 kts. Yowza! With wind strength similar to the tradewinds, the sea state is somewhat lower, as these winds do not cover such long distances as the trades. Good thing.

Even with that, it's too rough to use our Moka stovetop espresso pot. With the gimbaled stove swinging back and forth, and the Moka top fills and the bottom empties, it's so top heavy that it falls over and spills causing a traumatic, early morning, hot espresso catastrophe. So it's instant coffee/swiss miss mochas instead.

We hope for landfall next weekend.

Big News! We put up the kite!

Sunday, 4 August 2012 
Lat 42 40N Long 146 50W Course 25 
Boatspeed 7kts Wind 12kts SW

Flying the kite, a rare occurrence for us. We've hauled the thing around for 25,000 miles buried in the back of the boat. It's been out a few times, torn, repaired and stowed again. But today, after several days of crawling along at 3 kts or motoring, Bill finally had enough (and fuel is running low).

I had just told him we would run out of milk and would have to switch to powdered milk.
Maybe that's what did it.  Anyhow, he drug the asym up to the bow and rigged it, Seth hoisted and were off. We were doing 5kts in 6kts of breeze.  The wind gradually picked up to 8 kts, 10 kts and now 12 kts.  Whohaa! We are all so relieved to get the boat moving again.

But wait, there's more!  We caught a fish too. while sailing under spinnaker. Seth minded the sail.  The asym doesn't need much trim. (Racers, brace yourselves: the sheet is cleated! I can imagine the gasps of shock). Meanwhile, Bill landed and filleted the albacore.  It's a nice sensible, 2 meal size for a change.

And it wasn't even noon yet.

We've been seeing debris:  barnacle encrusted logs and beams.  We've managed to avoid running over them, but another boat has hit a couple.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Scenery Along the Blue Highway

Friday, 3 August 2012 Lat 38 25N 150 05W Course 040 Boatspeed 7.5-8.5kts
Reaching, Wind 120 15 kts, Showers

For 2 days, were either ghosting along at 2.5-3.5kts under sail or motoring,
It was quite pleasant, really, the way non-sailors imagine sailing to be:
quietly slipping through the water, gently rocking. (Ha!)  We don't carry
much fuel, so we have to be selective about motoring.  Bill found a good
window where we might be able get into some breeze 12 hours away.

During the calm, the long low slow swell from the west was replaced with a
faster and higher swell from the west, a sure sign of ... something.
Anyway, at 3am today, we found the wind. Fortunately, Bill was on watch when
the wind did arrive, so he could get everything set up and put a reef in before
it got up into the 20s.  Bill expects the wind to last a day or so.

Today's Scenery:  clouds, the usual litter, mostly styrofoam pieces, and
water (duh). However, yesterday we were visited a couple times by a pod of
pilot whales. They're small and black, with curved black dorsal fins.  They
don't cavort and frolic like dolphins, they just swim around.

That's today's big news.

Tomorrow's point of interest:  The Kermit Roosevelt Seamount at 39 30N 146
17W.  It rises from the seafloor at 4,500 fathoms (27,000ft) to 915 fathoms
(5,400ft). There's not much of a view from up here at sea level.  Nor
probably any view down there either, as it's probably pitch dark at that

Tasman to Tatoosh, continued

 The Blue Highway to British Columbia

Tuesday, July 31st, 34 42N 154 34W, Only 1700 miles to go! Course 70 off the wind, wing & wing, Boatspeed 6kts Wind 10kts W Sunny

Sorry for the long lapse in blog posts. For some reason, sailmail stopped posting for us, so our Seattle friend and now editor, Susie Stillman, is posting our emails.
Pink Sunset Along the Blue Highway

It feels like we're on a Blue Highway to home. The seas have been very calm, and our wake looks like the road stretching out behind us over a sapphire blue plain. For the past 6 days since leaving Hanalei Bay, we've been on every point of sail, in generally pleasant conditions. We've had balmy temperatures, moderate winds and seas, very little rain, and wouldn't mind a bit more rain to clean off the salt. It's a no-drama passage so far (knock wood). Surprisingly, we've been able to sail the rhumbline a fair amount. The north pacific high pressure zone has stretched out like a banana, with a low from Alaska trying to cut it in half. So Bill spends an hour every morning trying read the tea leaves (grbs, weatherfax, fishguts). Right now, we're sailing downwind with the jib winged out. Seas are fairly calm and the very low gentle swells from the east are now coming from the south. We've been able to have ports and hatches open for fresh air. Yay!

There are quite a few boats out here, ahead, behind and to the west of us, although we can't see them. Soon a number of returning Vic-Maui race fleet will be on the move too. We we feel like we have lots of company.

The Blue Highway has a lot of litter along the way. there's been a constant trail of trash in the water. However, using our fancy new stainless steel gaff hook, we did recover a glass fishing float, with a colony of gooseneck barnacles and small crabs clinging to the ropes tied around it. On July 29th, the singlehanders' net reported an overturned 25ft alum fishing boat at 34 51.864N 152 30.690W The fishing is said to be very good around there. At the time, we thought it would be too far east for us, but we may end up there yet.

We'll cook the last of the wahoo tonight and maybe put out a line for a new victim tomorrow. We may switch to smaller tackle to avoid snagging another sea monster. They make such a mess.

We'll be blogging infrequently, as not much changes from day to day, But Bill sends a Spot location daily, so you can track our progress if there's nothing good on TV.