This is a trip blog about my sailing adventures.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

One week left

The hardest part of this trip was turning left at the entrance of Juan de Fuca.  Next time I make no promises. :D  I am in Oak Bay now and will try to catch up on my writing but I make no promises.  Wind and Weather might steal me away

Monday, September 10, 2012

How to receive the news that the Coast Guard is looking for you.

I think that the only way to hear that the Coast Guard is looking for you and you are reported as an Overdue Vessel is while sipping a cup of tea while sitting in Hot Spings Cove.

On my trip down the coast I had a little run in with a bit of water and my interface with my little transponder died a very sad death.  I have never had as much trouble with electronics as on this trip. 

I also had a small problem with my main and so when I heard via text that I didn't have a guest for the long weekend. I went to sleep and then eventually back tracked a bit to Hot Springs Cove.

Having to hand sew dacron king of sucks.  It took me just over two days to finish restitching the seam that I blew off of Kayuit.  The other repair was having to switch out my anchor.  Of course I forgot to take a picture of that.

So instead here is a picture of the hot springs

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sailing without Radar

Or there is a very load horn sounding over there.

Blackfish Sound was very frustrating for me with the fog.  I didn't too much when there was no wind.  But sailing from Sunday Harbour there was wind.  When I got to Lizard Pt on Malcom Island I had good wind and a fog bank so solid I  couldn't justify sailing into.  There is something very unsettling about fog horns.  Ended up watching two cruise ships and the above tug and tow come out of that bank.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Smallest ferry

The ferry between Denman Island and Hornby is the smallest I have been on.  The run takes only 10 mins.  From the discussion at Phrog (yes I do remember that night) they are planning on replacing it with a cable ferry.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Ghost Pipe

 Something I found on Mayne Island and could figure out what it was.

 The following is from my friend Emily (it is good to have a botanist as a friend):

Monotropa uniflora, ghost pipe, corpse plant, or indian pipe.  COOL!  It's pretty interesting, and not very common!  A non-photosynthetic plant that doesn't have chlorophyll to give it the normal green color, it doesn't get energy from light like most green photosynthetic plants do.  Instead, it's a saprophyte - kind of like a parasite, but instead of living off of other living things (like a parasite) it lives off of dead things - rotting trees or other plants or animals.  More recent research hypothesizes that these plants have a symbiotic relationship with fungus.  Because it doesn't get it's energy from the sun, it can grown in deep forest.  Monotropa uniflora is in the Blueberry family, the Ericaceae, most of which have pendant (hanging) pale flowers.  Other pacific northwest saprophytic plants include more commonly seen Pterospora (pinedrops), also in the Ericaceae family, and Coralrhyza (coral roots), an orchid.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Posting on the west coast

I am not sure if I will have any Internet access so I am planning a few post and if I can cell coverage I will be sending small posts via text.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sunday harbor

I decided to got up into Blackfish Sound from Alert Bay in the hopes of seeing some Orca. Sadly I am still Orca-less. But I got to anchor in an amazing little spot, Sunday Harbor. Which is a little spot between Crib Island and Angular Island.

There are three entrances into there but on the way in I went with the easiest, Crib pass.

While I was waiting for the fog to lift I went for a paddle.
I found a old chain that was either used for booming or for a stern tie.

On the way out I took Sunday pass. Nothing like coming out of that with kayakers just hanging out at the mouth.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Kelp Killer

So sailing with no engine makes you occasionally end up in interesting spots. Some of those spots are amazing, but some just kind of suck.

I had left Alert Bay with the intention of sailing to Hanson Island and anchoring on the north side of it. Light air and high current (going opposite what you would think) lead to my dropping anchor just off Perse Island and waiting for the tide to change to the ebb.

Finally the current slacked off and the wind came up a bit. I decided to give it a try to get through and continue my day off sailing.

I was making progress but I had to decide what side of a kelp patch to attempt. With the current still running against me I decided to go for the side closest to shore. This ended up biting me in the ass.

Needless to say the wind died and the current swept me back into the kelp. I ended up well ensconced in the kelp.

Ok now what. I tried cutting my way free with my kitchen knife. Between my lack of reach and an unhappy incident on the back swing I decided that wasn't working. I ended up attaching the knife to my boat hook with a sail tie. At least now it was out of range of damaging me(well unless it came flying loose).

Cutting my way out wasn't working so o went old school, very old school. I had only done kedging once before but it does work. Placed my stern anchor in my kayak and tied its rode to my bow. Paddled as far as I could go and dropped it over. Back to the boat and started pulling myself along. After repeating once more and a bit more cutting I was free and on my way.

 My knife is now called Kelp Killer.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sailing to Port Hardy

Yesterday was a long one. I sailed from Lizard Point on Malcom Island to Port Hardy (with the way I sail just under 50miles).

The day started off with light air and sadly negative current. I decided to risk it anyways. Lots of short tacking the shore and only making an inch or two forward but better than sitting at anchor.

Finally the current turned. It wasn't much but at least I was making a knot forward. Got to Bere Point and still no Orca. I have seen more cruise ships than I have seen than I have seen whales.

At least by that point the wind had built so time to sail. I decided then to go for the late night so I would definitely go on to Port Hardy. I just wasn't thinking it would be as late night as it ended up being.

I finally dropped anchor at 4am. Before that I got to watching shooting stars for a couple of hours. I also got to watch salmon shoot around my boat in the phorescene. It was amazing.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Alert Bay

This one is mainly pictures.

 Alert Bay Ship Yard
The fresh water marsh, eagle nest

 Waiting for the Cup to arrive

 Willie Mitchell with the Stanley Cup

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Havanna to Alert Bay

The morning after getting to Havana Channel it was time for Louis to head north to Kingcome Inlet. It was great having the company but 27ft is too small for two complete strangers to share for more than a day or two.

After he was off I started to get ready for my day. Mainly listening to the weather to decide what sail to start the day with.  They were calling for a gale.   Not what I usually try to start off in.  I continued to listen and I heard something I hadn't heard of before: "marginal gale".  Finally figured out that it wouldn't be blowing as hard as I thought, so #3 on deck and anchors up.  Great sailing was had. 

A couple of hours later I made Robson's Bight.  Finally I was going to see some orca.  The chance to see them rubbing on the beach was a major highlight of this trip for me.  Sadly, it wasn't to be.  The whole area was empty.

On the shore opposite Robson's I saw some thing moving.  As I got closer I realized that it was a black bear.  I got as close as I could without putting myself on rocks and blew my sails.  I was making such a racket that the bear stopped and looked up.

After the bear I saw a minke a couple of times. Eventually I made it to Alert Bay and dropped anchor.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

My Hitchhiker

I now know that you can fit a 17 ft kayak on a 27 ft sailboat.

After chatting at Shoal Bay and discussing how we each did the rapids, Louis asked if he could hitch a ride through the Greene Point whirlpool and get dropped off at Havana Channel.  I thought it would be nice to have some company, so a plan was hatched.  The next morning we loaded his kayak onto my boat. It went from bow to the aft part of my cabin.

Made tacking a little interesting in light air, which unfortuately is what happened.  I think that unless it is blowing over 40 kts I will take Mayne Passage instead of Greene Pt and Whirlpool.

Because of the timing of the tides I didn't clear Greene Pt until 730pm which made for a very late night. Finally dropped anchor near Whirlpool around 130am. Set the alarm to wake up to get the early ebb.  The alarm went off and, well, I decided that we were not going anywhere.
All I could see was the shore about 30ft away everything else was fog.  Not even I am crazy enough to go through a rapid in the fog (or at night).  So back to sleep.  Eventually the fog lifted but now we were tide locked, so had to wait til 8pm for the tide (especially since there was no wind).

We ended up playing a couple of games of cribbage (tied at 3 games apiece) and watching a dolphin with a baby dolphin.  Sadly they stayed just outside of the range of my camera.

Finally cleared the last rapid and dropped anchor for the night since there was no wind.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Shoal Bay

Shoal Bay was amazing, a home away from home.  Mark and Cynthia have created an amazing place for boaters.

I ended up anchored out just off the government dock. Before I even made it to shore I was greeted by a wonderful woman named Sunny. She brought me a little gift bag of some fruit and chocolate.  We ended up talking about my trip and theirs.  I found out that they had been cruising between Vancouver and Alaska for the last few years.  Later, charts were pulled out and they showed me their favorite anchoring spots and a couple of hints about ways around more challenging spots in my trip.

After meeting with Sunny and Bob I wandered up the dock to explore.  Wow, the place is great. They have a little pub with a deck that looks up Phillip's Arm:

Behind the pub is a cute little garden.  I ended up doing some weeding. :D  Has been a while since I did that.  They also have chickens... fresh eggs.  I ended up with 6. I am definitely sending some seeds to Cynthia once I get home.

That night the Go Fish game of all games happened. :)  Thanks to AJ, Jonathan and Jessica.  It was a blast.

The next night was Pizza Night.  I was so there.  A woodfired pizza oven in the middle of nowhere. Major happiness.  Things got a little interesting at the end with one boat's bow anchor dragging... but that was easily taken care of.  Ended up chatting late into evening with a kayaker.  Which lead to the next little adventure.

Boat wrens?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Anchoring at Shoal Bay

So I don't have a depth sounder on the boat.  Usually this isn't an issue as I do have a leadline.  However leadlines really need to be used at less than 4 knots... a lot less.

When I got to Shoal Bay it was blowing fairly briskly from the head of the bay. No worries; a little short tacking and I will be golden.  Wrong.  I miscalculated.  I dropped my anchor in what I thought was 50 ft. Try 150 ft. I was blasting toward the shore at 3.5 knots and the anchor hadn't bitten down at all.  So I pulled the plug and off I went back out.

Now I had a little bit of an issue.  I had my anchor down with 100 ft of rope out doing 4.5 knots across the mouth of an anchorage with just my main up.  What to do, what to do...

First thing, anchor up.  Not so easy.  Slowed the boat down and went forward to start pulling it up.  At this point couple of guys came up offered to dinghy me in closer.  So for the second time I took an offer of a tow.

Damn, I must be getting soft.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rapids and Dent Island

The first set of rapids were relatively easy, like a mis-timed run on Cattle Pass.  I anchored at Dent Island between Dent Lodge and Morgan's Landing.  In the morning things got a bit interesting.  One of the 100 ft power boats that had passed me in the rapids didn't check his charts while leaving.  There is a section of that little nook that is 0 3 on the charts, i.e. less than 1 meter.  They hit solid, and unfortunately right across from my little boat.

Not much I could do.  They had a full crew and one out on a dinghy.  So I just sat there with my cup of tea, watching.  They worked it for a while and all that happened was their managing to turn sideways, placing their stern right in line with my boat.  Not Happy.

I wasn't sure what to do.  Finally I decided to pull myself forward via my anchor rope.  It worked....well, it made me feel better.  Next time I will anchor in Mermaid.

Dent Rapids were an easy run and I sailed into Shoal Bay.

Anchor Fishing

From Cortes I sailed to Church House.  At first I was going to explore ashore.  That changed rapidly when I saw my first bear of this trip.  I decided that a book and a glass of wine was much more fun than a couple of old houses and a collapsed church.

The next day I was going to run my first rapid.  Normally it only takes me about 15 mins to get my main up and pull my anchor up.  Since I wanted to hit the rapids right at slack before ebb I planned on an hour to get into position.  I started pulling up the anchor and after a bit it just wouldn't come. I tried winching it up and it wasn't going up. I could see the damn thing.  I was so frustrated.

I finally decided that the only way it was coming up was if I dove in and attached a separate line to the anchor.  That water is COLD.  I only had to go down 10 ft but I was shaking by the time I managed to climb back onto the boat (go, test of my ability to get back on the boat without a ladder!). Another 15 mins of winching and finally I was loose.

This is what caught me.  An old fishing net.

By the time I was loose and free the tide was running a bit more than I wanted so moved anchorages and chilled for another night

The Gorge

The longest paddle I have done so far is from Hanson's Landing to the Gorge and back.  I was seriously sore the next day but it was so worth it.  Here are a few pics from the trip.

The entrance to The Gorge was created by some creative blasting.  The tide really rips through it. Yet again a case of having to be up for the tides.

Hanson's Landing, Cortes Island

The sail from Savory Island was slow, so very slow. I only made 8 miles in close to 15 hours. Blahh. At one point I saw a thunderstorm forming off to the west and all I could think was that I would get some wind if it managed to get to me.  Sadly it was not to be. I finally made it to Smelt Bay around midnight. Decided to crash out for a few hours.  Popped up in the morning and moved the last little bit to Hanson's Landing.

What a great place to anchor.  Close to civilization (a grocery and a coffee shop), a freshwater lake to swim in, and the Gorge is only a short paddle away. All of that was nothing compared to the joy that Niaomio and Eric gave me.

They invited me over for a drink.  The usual sailing stories came out and fun was had.  One of the stories was about their outrigger canoe and a baby seal.  Oh man, those pictures were so cute!  Their friend had managed to get a series of the little guy yawning.  Major envy.  The next morning I had decided to paddle to Gorge.  I made a slight detour past their boat, and lo and behold...

I want one.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Catch up

Finally back in the land of Internet. Will be posting some catch up posts soon.

Saturday, July 28, 2012


One of the joys of sailing late at night (usually due to lack of wind during the day) is the phosphorescence. As a little kid I loved going down to the beach at night and watching the waves glow and stomping on the sand to watch stars shoot out from my feet. 

On the boat it is a different view.  I have stars in my wake. Some times more than others but they are still there. When I end up rowing is the best though.  It looks like I am stirring some magic potion.  Back and forth, glowing all around.  It is a simple pleasure but it makes me smile every time it happens.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


So I ended up meeting another sailor on my trip. I know that is not a surprise.  But the surprise was that he had a number of duplicates of charts.  So off to his boat to sort through.  A number of the charts in his collection were from the 50-60s.  The were beautiful.  I ended up receiving over 15 different charts that I didn't already have a major bonus.  

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Human resources

They are following me. Damn them. Even sitting on an island and drinking a beer doesn't make them palatable.

Phrog Gin

Hitchhiking makes for such interesting adventures.

I ended up hopping a ferry from Hornby Island to Denman Island.  As I was coming back I got picked up by this cool lady.  We ended up chatting about why she was there.  She was an engineer for BC ferries and had been doing an inventory of equipment on an assortment of their boats.  Which was a cool conversation in and of itself. 

But then she mentioned that one of her old Masters who had retired was distilling Gin on Hornby.  Needless to say I said that if she would take me I would LOVE to see this place. 

This is the amazing still that they are using.  Serious amounts of happiness.

We ended up talking random boats (including that his son was off doing the PacifiCup) and drinking gin for over three hours.  :)   

I ended up with a nice bottle of the gin.  Going to try and save some for back in Seattle....well either that or I will need to sail over there again. 

Monday, July 23, 2012


You know that you have ended up in the wrong anchorage when as you go to pull up your anchor there is seaweed on your bow. 

The little storm I was in wasn't that bad.  The main problem was that the wind and the waves were at cross purposes.  I know I should have shifted my orientation to the waves but it wasn't that bad....just occasional large waves.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lasqueti Island

On my way to Hornby and Denman Islands I stopped at Richardson Bay, Lasqueti Island.  It was amazing sailing into that bay.  I was the only boat there and as I was coming in a group of musicians were playing.  I could make out a fiddle and some flute.  Not my typical day.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Next Stop....

The next place I will be staying for more than an evening is the islands of Denman and Hornby.  At Denman Island I will be getting chocolate.  The chocolate made there is some of the best I have ever had.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dragging Anchor

Well it finally happened.  I drug anchor yesterday and to top it off it happened when I wasn't at the boat.  Of course.  Nothing like running some errands and coming back to your boat gone. 

I had taken the little foot ferry into town from Newcastle Island.  As I am waiting to go back I did a quick scan to check on my boat.  Gone.  At first I thought that another boat had anchored between me and my boat.  Further searching showed that wasn't right.  So I started looking farther out.  Way down the bay I found my boat. About 100 meters away from the bouy marking the shoal.  Serious amounts of unhappiness. 

I final got to my kayak at Newcastle and started rowing as quickly as I could to Whisper.  By the time I got there the Port Authority was on the scene and had tied to me.  Luckily they were very nice people.  No lecturing, well except telling me I might need a larger anchor.  They offered to tow me back to the mooring field.  I decided that the marina was going to a better place (had already been planning on moving that evening when the wind died down).  So time to pull up my anchor.  I think at this point the PA might have revised the need for a larger anchor.  She had bit in very well.  With the engine on the PA boat breaking the anchor free was easier than normal but still a bit of work. 

The PA delivered me to the end of the long dock and the wonderful older gentlemen that were at the dock offered me a Gin and Tonic.  Just what I needed.  

Thursday, July 12, 2012

First Orca Sighting

Yesterday afternoon off of Gabriola Island I had my first orca sighting of the trip.  Sadly the I wasn't able to get a picture of them.  It appeared that there were three of them. One of which was a baby.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

First Dungeness

I had my first dungeness crab of the trip last night.  Since I went through the San Juans so quickly I didn't even try and set a pot.  That said to was so sweet and tasty. I had the leftovers with scrambled eggs and garlic scapes.  Life is wonderful.