Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016-25: Comox, Vancouver and Victoria

Saturday, September 24, 2016:  Comox to Vancouver

It was foggy as we exited Comox Harbour, but once at Goose Spit a mile out, it cleared.  Instead of cruising the west side of Denman Island and avoiding the new "Cable Ferry" Baynes Sound Connector, we chose to recross the bar and head directly to Vancouver via Sabine Channel.  Flat waters and light winds contrasted yesterdays gusty wind and sloppy waves.  We arrived in Vancouver late afternoon.  We'll stick around Vancouver for a few days while picking up another Benson crew.

The Queen of Oak Bay bears down on Wild Blue.
The first tree to turn to Fall on Bowen Island
False Creek cement plant gets artsy.
Sunset over Quayside Marina, False Creek.
Brothers under the bridge.
This week's Wild Blue crew are Ryan and Max
Benson.  Ryan, a consultant with Lewin Group,
is now 33 and lives in DC.  Max, a Dev Ops
 engineer, is 30 and lives in Chicago with his
adorable wife Katie.  It's great to have the family

Tuesday, September 27, 2016:  Vancouver to Ganges

We have enjoyed the highlights of Vancouver: a bike ride around Stanley Park, dinner at Blue Water Cafe, shopping at Urban Fare, snacking on Urban Fare's garlic truffle hummus, and perusing the shops on Granville Island.  Today we are off to Ganges on Saltspring Island.

Environment Canada's marine forecast for the Southern Georgia Strait calls for 15 to 25 knot winds.  Should be a bouncy ride until we get into the inside waters of the Gulf Islands.  We were up at 6:30AM to view westerly gusts blowing inside False Creek and decide to hold off departing.  These winds softened by 7AM but due to a miscommunication with the Admiral, we didn't get going until just before 11.  We noted a sailboat tied at the public launch and grounded at low tide. By noon, the winds and waves are up again as we turn south, once clear of the Spanish Banks.

There are no other pleasure boats around and two others, having watched us exit False Creek and following us on AIS, called for sea conditions.  With waves and spray pelting the boat's starboard bow, we eventually turn further south, deciding on Active Pass as our exit from the Georgia Strait, aka the Salish Sea.  At the south entrance to the Fraser River, the seas are 4 to 5 feet, close spaced and the boat is rolling plenty with stabilizers on at 100%.  We need to alter course to avoid a ship which has drifted out of the traffic lanes while the pilot is boarding. Once past this obstacle, an unnamed Benson crew becomes seasick, even with Tums and Club Soda remedies.  The wind pipes up from the north and we're turning 9's, 10's, and even 11+ knots with the big seas on our quarter.  Eventually we steam into Active Pass at 2:30, with flat water and just a light adverse current.  It's an easy motor in calms seas and medium winds to Ganges.

Sailboat tied to float at False Creek public launch.
The tide was high when tied up, but the keel is now
supporting the weight of the concrete float at low tide.
Next the cleats or line will fail, and the boat will
float free.

Ganges and various marinas.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016: Ganges to Victoria

Calm winds and flats seas made the Ganges to Victoria motor comfortable.

Tug and barge tow weave through narrow Enterprise Channel.

Yikes.  They removed the ivy from the Empress. But there's this beautiful
Orcas topiary in front.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

2016-24 Port McNeill to Comox

Tuesday-Wednesday, September 20-21, 2016:  Family Delivery Crew

We met our son Ryan from Washington DC, at Victoria International in the afternoon following a slight disappointment with the Orbitz reservations.  This was for a National one-way, one-day car rental to Port McNeill.  Turns out the $79 guaranteed rate turned into $279.  Anyway we had a chatty six hour car ride to the boat in Port McNeill.

At the Port, we prepped, provisioned, and paid our 5-week moorage fees at a fair rate from Steve Jackman at North Island Marina.  Just before noon Wednesday we headed south down Johnstone Strait hoping to make Blind Channel, Otter Cove, or even Kanish's Small Inlet before sunset.

The ride was smooth under sunny skies with very little boat traffic.  The wind and current conspired to stop our progress at sundown, only as far as Blind Channel Resort, not a bad place to spend the night.

The ubiquitous Orca Chief, a Johnstone Strait regular.
Arriving at Blind Channel Resort just after sundown.

Thursday, September 22, 2016:  Blind Channel, through Seymour Narrows to Campbell River

Our 7AM departure, the light winds, and a strong current push down Discovery passage, conspired for us to enjoy a 10:30AM arrival at Campbell River.  The winds are forecast to be high later today and early Friday,  so we were happy to be in port, secured to a dock.

A classic wooden trawler weaving her way up-current.
Lone kayaker crossing Johnstone Strait from Pie Creek with
a 3 knot cross-current.
Chatham Point Light Station at the intersection of Johnstone Strait
and Discovery Passage
Discovery Dawn just north of Seymour Narrows

Friday, September 23, 2016:  Campbell River to Comox

It blew Thursday evening, then rained Friday morning, fulfilling the 15-25 knot SE winds forecast.  We stayed tied up, waiting for the weather to break.  It paused at 11AM so Alex decided to get going to Comox.  Normally a 3.5 hour run, the boat was slowed by brisk winds, sloppy seas, and a 1.5-knot current against the bow.   The boat bounced around, Pat's teapot slid of the counter for the first time in 8 years, and Alex's "go" decision was questioned.  All was forgotten when the Wild Blue tied up in calm, friendly Comox.

Sundown at Comox Harbour