Friday, May 31, 2013

#2013-15 Onward to Exchange Cove and a Crab Fest?

Exchange Cove always has crab this time of year, mainly because the Alaska commercial crab season hasn't yet opened. We're looking forward to a fresh crab dinner today!

This morning the battery's voltage showed only 11.8 volts which is unusually low for the main battery bank which is just one year old. We will have to take a look at the batteries when we get to Sitka..

It was flat seas and light winds this morning in Clarence Strait.  Overcast skies with rain are predicted for the rest of the day. We continue up the east side of Prince of Wales Island and are soon passed by the cruise ship Statendam most likely on the way home to Seattle. Eventually we pass the small community of Coffman Cove which has a small general store but no cell service.  Already we are starved for data communications.

By 2pm we are snugly anchored in exchange cove with two other boats and crab pots soaking. An hour and a half later we had harvested four large male crabs which were quickly prepared and dropped in a pot of seasoned boiling water. At 6 after a delicious crab dinner and knap we pulled the anchor and headed for Port Protection for the evening with calm winds, flat seas and a favorable current. By 10pm we had reset the anchor in a cove near the Northwest tip of Prince of Wales Island ready to transit Rocky Pass in the morning.
Statendam passes close aboard.

Coffman Cove has a general store and market but no cell service.

Crab is always plentiful in Exchange Cove in May.  Four large crabs were caught in just 90 minutes.

We oush on over the top of Prince of Wales Island to Port Protection in flat seas and calm winds.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

#2013-14 Exit Ketchikan to Tolstoi Bay on Prince of Wales Island East Coast

We loaded 500 gallons of fuel at Anderes Oil.  That 500 gallons powered us all the way from Anacortes, WA to Ketchikan, AK via Victoria, BC at approximately 1.35 miles per gallon including diesel heat. Yahoo what a bargain!

Before we left Ketchikan we installed a new main engine manifold temperature sensor and a new air filter element.  Instead of the high reading of 170F manifold temperature and ocassional engine alarm, we now get a standard temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Amazing what a new temperature sensor can do to fix a hot engine!

As we're heading North through Tongrass Narrows exiting Ketchikan, the normally quiet VHF comes to life.  "Wild Bliss, Wild Bliss this is Alaska Ferry Stikine".  Thinking Wild Bliss, now that's an interesting boat name, it took a few moments before Alex realized the ferry was most likely calling Wild Blue! We answered the call as Stikine, about 500 feet behind, wanted us to move to the right allowing the ferry across on their way to the Kasan Peninsula on Prince of Wales Island. We quietly obliged, not commenting on the ferry captain's eyesight or reading ability!

Just as the Stikine ferry captain stated: Wild Blue is Wild Bliss!
The seas were a bit tall where Clarence Strait meets Behm Canal but the seas and wind were running with us so it was a fairly comfortable ride. The Clarence waves dissipated yet the wind built to 18 knots as we drove north west and approached Tolstoi Bay. Once we anchored in the pretty Bay, we had little wind and the Bay all to ourselves.

Pretty Tolstoi Bay was quiet and calm.  We had it all to ourselves.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

#2013-13 Gaggling to Ketchikan

At 7AM Wednesday we left the Yacht Club closely followed by the Nordic Tugs 52 True North.  Captain Jeff hadn't yet exited Rupert via Venn Passage and wanted to follow us through the narrow, winding canal.  We entered Chatham Sound by 8AM with little wind and calm seas.  The forecast called for a weather window between the next front so all the boats scurried to cross the Dixon Entrance, which can be no fun at times.  Pat has been dreading it for days, especially after last year's scary crossing in 8 foot seas.

At Dundas Island the Entrance looked calm and we crossed at slack current making it a gentle ride.  Soon Miss Ann Marie passed us doing 10.5 knots, a gaggle of boats crossing in unison.  The trip, our ninth crossing, was mostly uneventful and we tied up at City Float in downtown Ketchikan by 3:30PM Alaska time.  US Customs cleared us after questioning Wilson.  As usual the Harbor Department crew greeted us, remembering us from the previous four years, making our arrival like coming back home.

True North our anchor buddy back in Miles Inlet.
True North following closely on the way to Ketchikan.
Phil and Rachel on the Custom 78 Miss Ann Marie as it passes us in Dixon Entrance.
It always makes one wonder why the dive boat is looking under a cruise ship.
We're taking a week off and connecting back into San Luis Obispo.  Will start up again from Ketchikan on Wednesday, May 29.  See you then.

Monday, May 13, 2013

#2013-12 Oh Yea Prince Rupert.

On the 45-mile long Grenville Channel, it's all about the current.  The flood current rolls in from both the south and north entrances, meeting "somewhere" in the middle.  Likewise the ebb starts "somewhere" in the middle and moves out against both ends.  It can reach 3 or 4 knots in the narrow sections, so finding that "somewhere in the middle" is critical to getting a boost, or a bust current.  We have it marked at just about the entrance to Klewnuggit Inlet and by exiting Lowe at 5:30AM we made the best of both the ebb and the flood.

We came out the top of the Channel and Arthur Passage into open ocean expecting big swells.  It was flat water with 5-10 knots of southeasterly wind.  As always it's best to go when you can, and we should have, but opted instead to what we hoped was good wifi in Rupert.  We arrived at the Prince Rupert Rowing and Yacht Club at 1PM and tied up behind True North, the original Nordic Tugs 52.   Later Miller Time, an Ocean Alexander 70, and Miss Ann Marie, a custom 78, tied up as Environment Canada warned us of another gale.  We planned for at least two days in PR.

Flat seas greeted us upon exiting the Grenville Channel.
A commercial crabber works the waters just outside Prince Rupert.
We counted 11 ships waiting to load grain and minerals at the bulk loading facility on the way into Rupert Harbour.
Prince Rupert is now accepting Far East shipments for rail transport directly into the US Midwest saving almost 3 days transit time, much to the detriment of the Ports of Seattle and Vancouver.
The Canadian CG Gordon Reid spent most of the evening loading fuel just next to the PRRYC.
On Tuesday Captain Jeff from True North came over and invited us to happy hour.  He invited the crew from Debra Lynn as well.  We enjoyed snacks and drinks.  Then Captain "beam me up" Scotty from the Debra Lynn said his corned beef was almost done and he had enough for us all.  It's great to be invited for drinks and yet not leave without dinner.  We agreed to team up with True North for crossing the Dixon Entrance tomorrow.

The Admiral and Captain of Wild Blue aboard True North
Homemade corned beef and cabbage form the yacht Debra Lynn.  It's vegetarian corned beef.......
We came for drinks and left with dinner!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

#2013-11 Khutze or Lowe Inlet?

This year the wifi internet access has been less than optimal.  Hakai Center was throttled down and  Shearwater was mostly off due to Telus problems.  This Blog has suffered from lack of access. About the best boat wifi access on the Inside Passage has been the various fish farms like Potts Bay on Midummer Island in the Broughtons, and the Jackson Passage fish farm. At 8:30AM on Sunday while most are in church somewhere, Pat and Alex were doing a slow circle in front of the Jackson Passage "west end" fish farm, just outside of Rescue Bay.  We read Google news, received and answered critical emails, and had the bandwidth for clear Skype calls.  If the weather forecast wasn't so dismal, we would have updated the Blog right then, but instead pushed northward,  putting miles between us and the gale approaching the coast south of our position.  It was raining good, and many floating logs and pretty waterfalls kept out eyes employed.
Dozens of waterfalls like these lined today's route.
By 2:30PM we reached Khutze Inlet and pulled off Princess Royal Channel.  We anchored just east of the submerged reef about a mile inside the 5 mile inlet.  The wind was building from the southeast making the reef into a lee shore behind us. We had our lunch while the anchor kept making grinding noises as it slide back and forth across the rocky bottom.  We had anchored here in the Fall but not in a Southeasterly, and so feeling uncomfortable, we pulled the hook and moved on.

We motored up the Channel admiring the numerous waterfalls.  We've seen only a tug and tow all day, and no boats headed south for three days.  As we neared Butedale a familiar boat name popped up on the AIS transponder receiver.  "Tranquility, Tranquility, Wild Blue calling, channel 16".  "Where are you guys?" was Pat from Tranquility's immediate question.  We have cruised with Rick and Pat a few times over the years, but it's usually on the way to Alaska, or in Alaska.  Their Selene 53 winters in Wrangell, Alaska, presumably to avoid the long journey up and back each year.  But Tranquility is headed south!  Pat explained the the boat is headed to Seattle for more improvements.  We had a nice chat and photoed each other as we passed.

Transquility: the only pleasure craft headed south we encountered!
There really isn't many good places to anchor right on the route we planned past Hartley Bay into the Grenville Channel until Lowe Inlet.  So six hours later at 8:30PM we dropped the anchor directly in front of Verney Falls in Lowe.  The rain and snow melt created a strong freshwater current of 1.5 knots flowing outward, and holding the boat facing directly at the Falls.  While secured by the anchor, the boat's water speed read 1.5 knots.  It was constant but pleasant water noise as we watched the sunlight fade out near 10PM.
Verney Falls Lowe Inlet near dusk.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

#2013-10 Off the Dock to Rescue Bay

We paid our yard bill (a bargain at $168 for Loren's time) and moorage fee telling the acting dock master that there's a good chance we would be back if our engine overheats again. It took about 15 minutes of motoring to get the engine up to normal running temperature.  The manifold settled in at 159F which is an improvement but it should be lower.  Later we noted the manifold temp varied from 149F up to 163F without a change in RPM.  I think it's time to use the laser gun and verify the engine temp sensor.

Later in the month we met Tony Athens for a face-to-face when we bought a replacement manifold temp sensor.  Tony showed me where the sensor was located on the engine.  He says many low RPM trawlers are changing to a higher thermostat engine temp of 180F since the standard thermostat never allows the engine to get hot enough to remove the condensation in the aftercooler.  Although he has seen commercial QSL9's running good with 15,000 hours and up, he was quite interested to hear that we put all 3000 hours on the recreational engine ourselves.

We motored west in Seaforth Channel expecting the big ocean swells rolling into Millbanke Sound.  While we docked in Shearwater the weather had turned cold and windy and a southeast gale was forecast.  We turned right up Reid Passage and into Matheisson Channel avoiding all but a few ocean swells, then left into Rescue Bay for the evening.  The engine ran warmer than usual, but not hot.

Free log ride in Matheisson Channel.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

#2013-09 Mechanical Issues at Shearwater

Yesterday as we entered Codville Lagoon, Alex advanced the throttle higher than usual,  boosting the revolutions to counter the ebbing current.  He then throttled back to idle when placing the prawn traps.  At that point, the throttle lever was stuck.  We were forced to motor to our anchor spot at 4 knots, our lowest speed.

The throttle is the standard Hynautic brand hydraulic control system which uses diluted anti-freeze for fluid.  The fluid is pressured to about 80 lbs in the system.   Any foreign matter, such as metal shavings, will not mix with the fluid and clogs the jets in the control box, jamming the lever.  In our case at lowest throttle.  Attempts to bleed off some fluid in hopes of un-jamming the system were futile.

This morning, Thursday, Alex pulled the traps with the tender and harvested a dozen large prawns, quite happy the commercial prawn season hasn't yet opened.  We decided to repair the throttle at our next stop Shearwater, which has a boatyard.  It would be slow going at 4 knots, so we jury rigged an engine room "string" throttle.  Pat and Alex each donned the Toys R Us headphone walkie-talkies.  When Pat at the wheel barked "cruising speed please", Alex in the engine room pulled the string.  The throttled was advanced until Pat yelled "1300 RPM".  Alex tied a knot and the Wild Blue was up to its 8.5 knot cruising speed. Of course to slow, someone needed to untie the knot on the string throttle.

We were happily motoring west in Lama Passage when one of those awful siren sounds started.  The screaming source was clear: the engine panel siren.  The manifold temp was at 170F, too high.  We watched as the temp dropped below 170F and the siren stopped.  This happened three more times and then the manifold temp settled at 167F.  Obviously this engine issue needed to be addressed before continuing on to Ketchikan.
Manifold temperature is 167F just 3 degrees below the siren sound.
As we approached Shearwater Marina, Alex released the string throttle, and the Wild Blue motored into the dock "under control".  We opened a work order at the boatyard and a rugged looking character with "grease creases" showed up at the boat.  Behind all those layers, Loren is a gifted mechanical diagnostician.  He quickly located and repaired the throttle problem and was off the boat in less than an hour.  In fact most of the time was spent looking in the bilge for a dropped steel ball!

The overheated engine manifold was different.  For the Cummins QSL9 engine, the absolute best mechanical mind on the Pacific Coast is Tony Athens of SB Marine in Oxnard, California.  He's outspoken about all things Cummins, both good and bad, and serves as the Cummins engine moderator on the forum.  He is the go to guy, and so Alex did, after reviewing all the relevant technical articles and how-to videos on  On the phone Tony was blunt: if the strainer is clean, the raw water impeller good, then an overheated manifold can only mean one thing: your aftercooler is full of "green guacamole".  "You slow RPM trawler guys get more green guacamole in your aftercoolers than all other mariners!  The air can't get cooled before it enters the engine because the aftercooler core is clogged.  You have once choice: clean the aftercooler. Read my article.  It's easy!"

We stayed a 2nd day in Shearwater and on Friday enlisted Loren's help again.  Alex had the after cooler off the engine and on the dock.  It took the boatyard's mechanical press to push out the core.  And yes it was full of green guacamole as one can see from the photos.  Per Tony's detailed website instructions, Alex was able to clean the aftercooler core by boiling it in a Simple Green solution.  By the end of the day Friday we reassembled the aftercooler and re-installed on the main engine.

Aftercooler core covered in "green guacamole".  This sludge is created when the engine is run continuously at medium and slow RPM, the speeds at which trawlers run.
Boiling the core clean in a Simple Green solution.  Nobody asked if we also had some crabs in there too!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

#2013-08 Finally Cape Caution and Beyond

This morning the 4AM weather forecast was not good, but the local conditions were good so we headed northwest again.  This time we gave Slingsby Channel a wide berth and enjoyed good sea conditions. It was an uneventful rounding except for a hitch-hiking bird.  A land bird, non seabird, landed on the boat about 5 miles before Cape Caution.  There was a low hazy fog and the shoreline didn't become visible until just at the Cape.  At that point the hitch-hiker got his bearings and flew away towards land.

We anchored in Pruth Bay on Calvert Island.  This was just a wifi stop and allowed us to access the Hakai Conference Center's open system.  We updated the Blog up to yesterday.  The wifi speed was just OK and slower than previous visits.  Hakai has apparently throttled the throughput down to 1 mbps, probably due to visiting boats watching Netflix movies and chewing up the bandwidth. No more Skpe calls from Hakai.

After a couple hours of wifi we headed to Codville Lagoon, set the prawn traps and anchored for the night.

The Planet Group:  Mercury, Mars and Jupiter Islands in Hakai Passage.

Skinny Ward Channel.

Narrow entrance to BIG Codville Lagoon.
Pat's tomato, basil paste and mozzarella cheese dinner.

Seal team activity in Codville.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

#2013-07 Cape Caution today?

A little past 4AM, Alex was up listening to the morning weather forecast.  As expected the storm still has to blow some more with 20-30 knots expected.  The local weather observations were quite a bit different. At 4:30AM, Egg, Pine, and Herbert Islands, which we pass on the Cape Caution route, were reporting light winds, rippled seas and low swell.  Alex noticed the tug Henry Brusco just about 4 miles off Blunden and gave him a call on the VHF.  The Brusco reported flat seas, calm winds and 2 mile visibility.  We quickly pulled anchor and started north.

Soon we received a call from Alaskan Song about 3 miles behind us.  He too was attempting Cape Caution. The Song is an 80-foot charter boat with 4 guest staterooms. Built out of light woods for the military during WWII as a super fast attack boat, the Song is 59 years old.  It was converted into a fine yacht in the 1970’s.  Richard has owned it the past 6 years.  We see the boat in Alaska each year running week-long charters between Sitka and Juneau. Richard has to be in Juneau by May 15 for his first charter, so he’ll be rounding Caution today, come hell or high water!

Alaskan Song was anchored in Blunden next to us.
By 7:30, just a couple hours into our cruise, the large ocean swells drove us to anchor in Miles Inlet, just 2 hours short of Cape Caution.  Later Alex realized the large seas were probably a local effect of the large outflow from Slingsby Channel.  Had we continued a few more miles, the seas would have subsided.  We will repeat today’s routine and poke our nose into the Sound again early tomorrow.

We surfed the swells into Miles Inlet and anchored in the northwest finger.  Miles is one of the prettiest anchorages along the BC coast.  The Nordic Tugs 52 True North was anchored for a day previously.  The Nordic is regularly moored just across the finger from Wild Blue at Skyline Marina in Anacortes.

Beautiful Miles Inlet is tiny but secure.

Wild Blue and True North anchored in the peaceful Inlet.

Monday, May 6, 2013

#2013-06 Cape Caution or as Far as Comfortable

There is a change in the weather.  Environment Canada is forecasting strong winds this afternoon in Queen Charlotte Strait, Sound and the Cape Caution area.  We’re off the Lagoon Cove dock by 5AM hoping to make Sullivan Bay.  Last year we raced ahead of a storm and made it from Lagoon Cove all the way around Cape Caution.  The weather says it is not to be this year.

Leaving Lagoon Cove for points north.
We wind our way through many small islands entering the bottom of Queen Charlotte Strait with flat seas and calm winds.  By 8:30 we have passed Sullivan Bay with the same conditions.

Winding our way through the islands at the base of the Queen Charlotte Strait
At 10AM the wind was over 15 knots and by 10:45 we had begged off for Blunden Harbor.  We had our choice of anchor spots, and by evening 4 sailboats and 2 power boats had joined us.  The forecast was for 20-30 knots from the north by mid-night, but it didn't happen or Blunden is just a super-protected anchorage.  The best thing that happened today: Pat made a fresh key-lime pie per the Micky Field (Mrs. Field?) recipe.  Yum!

Speaking of cooking, a crisis occurred in the ship's galley.  Our brown sugar supply dried into a rock hard mass.  This happened once before in 2009 but crew Tina Semonsen shared her secret for making the brown sugar good as new. See the photos.
Hard bricks of brown sugar with apple core in plastic bag.
Leave in bag for 1 - 2 days then crush soft bricks into original sugar granules.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

#2013-05: Lagoon Cove has Lost a Good Guy

Sunday, May 5: Lagoon Cove:  We already miss Bill Barber

It’s the standard Wild Blue routine and route:  Off the Gorge dock at 5AM, exit Gorge turning right, snake through Uganda Passage, cross Sutil, up Hoskyn, zip through Beazley Passage with +6 knots of push, bear left to avoid Tusko Rock, wiggle-waggle through Upper and Lower Rapids, up Johnstone Strait, U-turn in Vere Cove, anchor and take a 2-hour nap;  continue through Current Passage, up Johnstone, right at Port Harvey, up Havannah and Chatham, then through the Blow Hole and into Lagoon Cove. Whew!

Nicole Joye and Pacific Joye probably never shut down there engines as they are constantly hauling supplies and fish to and from fish farms all over southern and central BC coasts.  Go to to see where they are right now!
Northbound was busy traffic in Johnstone Strait.
Even southbound traffic was bumper-to-bumper.
Chatham Channel northbound.
Pat and Bob greeted us, but Bill was missed.  He usually took our lines and asked about our day.  The cancer got Bill at age 78 last month.  He and Jeanie have operated Lagoon Cove for the past 23 years greeting us along with thousands of boaters over the years.  He was famous for bear stories (and the one almost got him jailed) and for serving fresh caught prawns each day.  The Marina continues to be up and running year round under the capable hands of Pat and Bob.  Jeannie is supposed to be on site starting late May.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

#2013-04: Boat Issues on the way to Gorge Harbour

Saturday, May 4: Gorge Harbour

The sunshine and Lasqueti nudists not only caused us to overheat, but also the engine manifold and stabilizers got hot too!  Yesterday the manifold was reading 167F while the engine was a steady 161F.  The engine temp is normal and has been 161F since commissioning.  The manifold probably shouldn’t be higher than the engine temp.  Alex got to thinking that maybe the engine’s raw water pump impeller was marginal and causing insufficient flow to cool the both the engine and the exhaust.  So before pulling anchor and leaving nudist-land, Alex decided to replace the impeller with the spare.  These big engine pumps have big impellers which can be difficult to replace.  If we couldn't get it replaced, we might have to stay yet another day at Lasqueti.  …….Sadly it all went well and we were on our way by 8AM.

Main engine raw water pump impeller compressed to fit into pump case.
The SeaMax pump impeller has a threaded shaft to make it easy to remove and install replacements.
On the way to Gorge, the seas were mostly flat but passing boats can generate big wakes that roll the boat, so we tend to leave the roll stabilizers on during our cruising, especially when Pat’s aboard.  A couple hours into this morning run to Gorge Harbor, a siren whine begins to sound.  Now there are so many different alarm sounds on our boat: anchor alarms, depth alarms, engine alarms, navigation alarms, generator alarms, Pat’s cooking timer, the smart phone Amber alerts, and auto pilot alarms.  Even the VHF distress alarm sounds continually through the radio.  It’s a puzzle that needs a quick solution.  Both of us turn ears to the various nooks and crannies aboard, trying to locate the source.  At last…. it’s the stabilizer panel.  “Oil Overheated” is flashing so we shut down the fins.  Apparently the hydraulic oil raw water cooling pump is not.  We continue while Alex examines the pump in the engine compartment.  The power wire has come loose from the pump.  After a quick repair, Pat, Alex and the oil all cool down.

It's the black pump (cylinder shape below the silver tank) that needed rewiring.
Last year we entered Gorge leaving a huge dark cloud and hail storm just outside. This year, after six good days of bright sunshine, it’s beginning to feel a lot like California.  We make it to Gorge for a late lunch and rinse the salt from the boat.  After a lazy afternoon we enjoy fresh cod, salad and chips at the Gorge Harbour “Float House” restaurant.

Sisters Island in the middle of the Georgia Strait provides vital weather info for boaters.

At the dock in Gorge.

Friday, May 3, 2013

#2013-03: Lasqueti Island Nudist Show

Thursday, May 2: Ganges Harbor and Clam Bay

The current was against us up the east side of southern Vancouver Island.  We eventually stopped in Ganges to buy the parts to plumb the water sterilizer.  After this pit stop we motored a few more hours to Clam Bay for the night.

Friday, May 3: Lasqueti Island Nudist Show

It was another bright, sunny and warm day in British Columbia.  We started early working our way northward through Dodd Narrows on a 5-knot push, past Nanaimo, past Schooner Cove avoiding the Canadian Naval Exercise Zone Whiskey-Gulf, then pointed the boat to Lasqueti Island.  Lasqueti is in the middle of the northern Strait of Georgia.  We dropped the anchor inside False Bay at the northwest end of the Island.

Fishing boats and windsurfers were out enjoying the sunshine.
Lasqueti residents are known for practicing “alternate lifestyles”.  We felt pretty insulated from all that, being out away from the shore anchored in the water.  Soon, however, inhabitants of the float home just off our stern exposed all their privates to bath in the bright sun.  It was a great show and Alex, who was feeling a bit “left out”, asked Pat if we shouldn't join in with the Lasqueti folks.  When in Rome, ….and all that.  Pat then pointed out that once disrobed, not only would we ruin it for the Lasqueti people, but all the birds, fish, and wild life would cover their eyes and flee the area!  Knowing Pat’s “wildlife first” philosophy, there was no changing her mind.

The nudist's home and stage in False Bay on Lasqueti Island. Of course we have the photos you want to see.  However this is a family oriented blog so those photos will be kept private.
The tiny town of Lasqueti: market, bar and inn.
These False Bay folks have a fantastic view of Vancouver Island.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

#2013-02: Going south to Alaska: Friday Harbor, Brentwood Bay and Victoria

Sunday April, 28th: Friday Harbor

This morning Pat drove to Seattle to pick up our first guests of the 2013 season.  The crew for the next few days are Augi and Cindy Caimi from “Gundo”. The Caimi’s were our neighbors in Gundo for about ten years before we moved to SLO Town.  It’s great to get updated by the Caimi’s on what’s happening in the cool town of Gundo.  Augi explains Gundo for the layman a bit later in this post.

Pat toured the Caimi’s around the Skagit Valley tulip fields and Anacortes before showing up at the boat late in the afternoon.  We immediately loaded up and shoved off towards Friday Harbor, Washington.

The Caimi’s needed a bit of prodding to convince them to come cruising in the ocean. They were concerned about being unable to attain their “sea legs”.  After a couple years asking, we eventually guaranteed that the Wild Blue only goes out in calm winds and seas. And with that simple statement, the weather Gods smiled on our journey as sunshine, light winds and calm seas continually followed us around.

Around 6PM we arrived in a very quiet Friday Harbor. The empty city streets told us it was time to create a dinner aboard.   Light snacks and dip completed our day.

Monday, April 29th: Brentwood Bay via Tsehum Harbour

Although Environment Canada was calling for high winds, we left at Around 6AM so only calm seas and sunshine followed us into British Columbia.  We cleared Customs the usual way: cutting up Wilson into pieces and placing him in the trash.  As you may know, Wilson, a fescue grass, is our only soil plant aboard.  Wilson looks like the soccer ball in the movie Castaway.  He’s been aboard since the boat was commissioned.  He’s also been the target of Customs, which doesn't allow plants to enter Canada.  Customs agents have admonished us for bringing plant life across the border, so we “trash” Wilson each time we cross.  When asked by Customs about plants aboard, we say “we put our plant in the trash”. Within a few days Pat replants the Wilson parts in new Miracle Gro soil, and he thrives.

Wilson after a recent rebirth.
By noon we tied up at the Brentwood Bay Lodge. The marina is small so it feels almost private and the spa, Jacuzzi, pool, pub and restaurant are the best around.  It’s also almost next door to Butchart Gardens, so we called a taxi and entered the Gardens.  April is tulip time and brilliant colors lit up our feasting eyeballs.

Augi, Cindy and Pat enjoy the Gardens.
A hairy Tulip.
Japanese Garden
Even more tulips!
Pat says it's just like the Trail Ride.
Augi and Cindi are cowboy and cowgirl.

Tuesday, April 30th: Up and over the Saanich Peninsula then down to Victoria

We continued cruising in the sunshine and warmth around southeastern Vancouver Island to Victoria.  Other boats were out and about but the Selene boats once again had the numbers.  Wild Blue joined forces with Spirit-a Selene 55, Page Marie-a Selene 58, and Raindancer-a Selene 60 to almost complete the Selene 50’s line up.  It was cover photo material.

Canadian Coast Guard is checking out Wilson!
They may have to call in the big guns!
Even the ferries were out and about.
The new Selene 58 Paige Marie

The very nice Selene 60 Raindancer.
The Selene 56?
Victoria was abuzz with activity.  We moored just in front of the Empress Hotel.  The shining sun and warm air brought out the locals and tourists, a Chamber of Commerce dream day.  We had cocktails about Spirit hosted by Patrick and Miriam, and joined by the crews of Page Marie and Raindancer.  Then it was off to the best restaurant in Victoria: Il Terrazzo, fine Italian cuisine. And they have expensive wines too.  Veteran Wild Blue crew Vince and Marianne Fonte most always order a $350 bottle at Il Terrazzo.

The Selene 53 Wild Blue in front of the Empress.
We stayed on a second day while Augi and Cindy explored the museum, Imax theater, coffee and tea shops that Victoria has to offer.  Alex, with Augi’s help, found soil for Wilson’s rebirth; a 12V charger, and filled the propane bottles.
Pat's second favorite tourist boat: the Hippo!

Augi is an accomplished attorney who has loads of courtroom litigation experience.  To make their case, courtroom attorneys do a lot of listening, reading the jury, and a good bit of acting.  Augi really likes the acting part, so much so that he took acting lessons.   He had a few bit acting parts then in 2004 he starred in the Fox TV series called “My Big Obnoxious Boss”.  The show was a flop in the US after just 5 weeks running, albeit against the ever popular “Desperate Housewives”. Only 5 million household a week watched Augi.  The series has been a hit in several foreign countries where Augi is still recognized and asked for autographs.  Apparently they weren't watching in Canada.

I asked the actor to explain “Gundo” to the lay person.  Here is his videoed response.

We had fun times with the Caimi’s reliving our time in Gundo.  It’s nice to know all is well in our former hometown.

Thursday, May 2: Wild Blue is Northbound.

This morning we enjoyed eggs, hash browns, biscuits and gravy aboard Spirit, then exchanged goodbyes.  The Caimi’s are off via float plane to Seattle then back to Gundo.  The three Selenes will cruise southern waters and we point Wild Blue north to AK.  The weather continues to look good for a week and so we’re hoping for a smooth run up to Ketchikan.