June 12, 2013
June 3, 2013
I could imagine living in Nanaimo. It’s a real city (second-largest on Vancouver Island, after Victoria), but feels very accessible, with lots of restaurants and little stores. It’s also got an amazing waterfront and some great parks. It reminds me of an upscale Bellingham. I’ve spent two nights here. Today I rode my bike all around town, which is very hilly.
Princess Louisa Inlet is about 4 miles long, ringed by snow-capped mountains, and is very beautiful. It’s also a real pain to get to. It’s at the end of a 32-mile long fjord, with no safe anchorage anywhere along the way. To get in the inlet, you have to go through a narrow, twisty rapids, which are only safe to traverse at slack tide. The night before, I stayed at a marina right on the waterway, with 4 knot currents passing under the boat all night. It sounded like I was on a river. I woke at 4 AM to make the 5-hour trip so I could catch the 10 AM slack. I passed a single boat the whole trip up, and there were almost no houses on the way. It was spooky in the rain and fog of early morning.
This marked day 17 and the northern-most portion of my trip. From here I head south down the Vancouver side of the Straights of Georgia, and get home in two weeks.
There was a long trip up the coast from Howe Sound, and I stayed in Smuggler’s cove that night.
I bought the AIS to let me know what the ships around me were up to, and it works well for that, but on this trip I’ve been anchoring out almost every night and have been using the anchor alarm function. It’s given me real peace of mind each night. For instance, it was very windy last night and this morning, gusting to 30 knots, and hovering around 20 much of the time. There are boats all around me in the Nanaimo anchorage just south of Newcastle Island, and I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t drag into them.
This picture shows two days of being anchored in the same place. The outer circle shows the range I can swing before the alarm goes off, in this case 150 feet diameter.. The dots are GPS positions of the boat, taken every few minutes. The inner set of dots were after I anchored, when the breeze was mild. I let out about 90 feet of line because the depth was around 25 feet. Around 2 AM the wind picked up and I increased my scope about 30 feet for better holding – which is the cluster of dots further away from the center of the circle, where the anchor is. If I had dragged about 20 feet, the alarm would have gone off.
You can tell two things from this picture – the wind is from the NNE, and the Coot swings back and forth about 30% in the wind.
May 29, 2013
It’s been raining nonstop for the past couple of days. I headed out of Gibsons to go north this morning, but a south wind against a fast north current made for steep 2 and 3 foot waves that threw the boat around and knocked stuff out of the storage bins. That, plus they hid the myriad large deadheads, and I decided to go back to protected water until the tide changes at 3 PM. Anchored out, rowed to shore, and walked to town for chili and beer.
A few more Vancouver pictures.
We tied up at the Granville Island public dock for a long troubleshooting session to see why the house battery couldn’t hold a charge. Finall, we decided it was just dead, so I bought a new one the next morning.
Gibsons was the site of a very popular Canadian TV show that ran through the 70’s to the mid-80’s. This was a set on the show, and became a real restaurant after the show was cancelled. The show was about a tugboat guy who salvaged loose logs. The little tug from the show is on blocks in the town.
May 24, 2013
I’m sitting in the New Oxford Public House in trendy Yaletown, which is the closest dinghy dock from where I’m anchored. I’m here for the rosemary garlic fries and the free wifi (password ‘amazingfood’). They have hockey on all the TV’s. I spent the morning washing clothes, and this afternoon walked across Vancouver from False Creek to the downtown waterfront, and back. My feet hurt!
(BTW: Canadian bills are cool – smooth plastic with clear section and holograms. Shiny!)
Coming into town yesterday afternoon. I wanted to go up the Fraser river, but there was an outgoing current of 6 knots, which is my fastest speed, so I spent 45 minutes staying in one place before giving up and heading straight here.
Meryll is planning on coming up this weekend. I’m working on places to take her. Should be fun!
May 22, 2013
This sweet little guy was hanging out on the buoy off of Golden Gardens park when I went by last week.
May 21, 2013
I’ve activated my SPOT tracker. You should be able to see where I’ve been on this page: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0yBWRqb2Bc25HsBrTcd1K8dgi7c4s8sRU
It doesn’t work well in IE10 – use Firefox or Chrome. Please comment here or email me if you have problems seeing the page.
I’m anchored in Drayton Harbor, by Blaine, Washington right now. I can see the Canada border and the Peace Arch from out the porthole. I’ll be heading to Vancouver via the Fraser River in the morning. I want to hang out in False Creek for 4 or 5 days and explore Vancouver by bike and Sky Train. Meryll may come up next weekend, and bring her bike too. Then up the Sunshine Coast to Lund and Desolation Sound.
Meryll drove up to Bellingham on Saturday, and we spent the night anchored in a tiny cove on Lummi Island, then we hung out in Eagle Harbor on Cypress before heading to Vendovi Island and hiking across it to see wildflowers. Vendovi has recently been opened to the public after being bought by a conservation group. It was really beautiful, and the afternoon was sunny and calm.
Pigeon Guillemot sex!
On the way back to Bellingham to drop Meryll off, we ran across brother Steve taking his new boat, the Coral, out for her maiden sail. Steve spent two years building the Coral in his front yard, and brother John and I helped launch it last month. Coral was moving beautifully in a light breeze, and Steve looked justifiably pleased. Interesting sail plan, to say the least!