Boat Delivery

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

Last night I turned to the gorgeous ex-fiancee and said “Man, I can’t believe I’m shipping out to sea again! I thought I would have learned my lesson by now”. She just laughed. So, up at 4:15 AM and rolling at 5 through the foggy vineyards of Sonoma to the coast range 1local airport. Of course, the cheap flight to Vancouver, Canada can’t just go north, nooo … first I fly 600 miles south to LA, and from there one long jump north to Vancouver.

The mountains of the coastal ring of fire are amazing, particularly now in July when the plains have no snow. I’m going north to be first mate delivering a fishing boat from northern Vancouver Island to southern Oregon. Oh, and did I mention we’re towing another boat as well?coast range 1

Another crew member picks me up at the Vancouver airport, and we drive through the city. I’d never been to Vancouver. It’s a lovely town, ringed with mountains, with a big volcano in the background. It’s a bustling city, lots going on. The most surprising thing I saw was a Chinese Christian pagoda with a jade roof, real jade … with a statue of Mary inside and a cross on top.  Words fail me.

jade pagodaFrom Vancouver,  we drove to Horseshoe Bay, which is a short drive north of Vancouver. There we boarded the ferry for Nanaimo, on Vancouver Island. The views in all directions are awesome, long fjords with mountains on the horizon.

vancouver island ferryOnce the ferry gets partway across to Vancouver Island, you look back at Vancouver, with its volcano almost floating in the sky over the city …

vancouver from island ferryToo soon, we arrived at Nanaimo, and watched the ferry speed off on its return run.

vancouver island ferry side viewThat ferry was mega-sized, seven decks. During the passage I stayed on the top deck and drank in the sun. The weather has been stupendous.

Midnight finds me right about where the “d” is on Vancouver Island.

vancouver islandTomorrow, we’ll get the trimaran ready on the beach, get the mast lashed on, and use rollers to get the boat out as far as we can. Then we’ll let the 15 foot (3.5 m) tide pick it up. Anchor it offshore, and then go up further north and bring down the fishing boat.

Day Two: Up early and back to the boat that we’re going to tow. It’s a “trimaran”, meaning it has three hulls—a large main hull and two smaller floats, one on each side of the main hull. You can see the main hull and one of the two floats below. The challenge was to get it from where it sat, well above the high water mark, out to where the next high tide would float it away.

day two firstCan’t have a boat without a mast, so the five of us carried the large aluminum mast down to the water’s edge. The boat is 30 feet (9 m) overall, and the mast is about 7 feet (2 m) longer.

day two mastAnd oh, dear friends, how the day sparkled. Out on the water we could see the ships and sailboats passing by … but where we were it was sunny and warm and calm. Distant mountains seemed nearby, including this odd mountain, flat-topped with what looks like an ice cap and glaciers.

day two view ice cap mountainAfter a town run to rent a chain saw, we cut up some rollers and started easing the boat down the beach to where the high tide would float it.

day two egyptian style 1We used to call this manner of moving heavy things “Egyptian style”. Boards and rollers and levers. And slowly, inch by painful inch, we spent the entire afternoon moving 3,000 pounds (1300 kg) of boat down towards the ocean.

Here’s the basic plan:

day two egyptian style 2Boat movement is away from the camera. Down at the bottom of the roller system you have two 2×8 (200x50mm) boards laid flat to serve as rails. The a whole bunch of logs serving as rollers. Then a layer of boards on top of the rollers to protect the boat. Then everyone gets together, five people, and pushes it forwards 6″ or a foot. (150-300mm). Then you look underneath, reset the rollers, reset the boards, move the rollers. Repeat until the heat gets to you then take a break, then move it some more.

Below you see the worksite around three pm, near low tide. What a spot. In the background you can see the white wing and one float of the trimaraa.

day two worksite w boat in backFinally, we determined that the boat was down low enough that the high tide would float it. I have an app called “Theodolite” on my iPhone that shows the same thing as the camera shows, that is to say the viewfinder picture, overlaid with crosshairs. There are dials that show the elevation angle, so of you set that to zero, the crosshairs are at exactly eye height. Here’s an example I just took from where I’m sitting:

day two theodolite

We’d seen how high the tide was the night before, so I used that as my gauge.The tide charts said about the same height for today. I got down the beach and sighted using my theodolite. It showed if we moved it a few more feet down the beach, it would float at high tide.

High tide was at nine pm. By eight the boat looked like this:

day two water inAt nine, it was still sitting on the rollers. So we gathered ’round and slid it sideways off of the rollers, and wonder of wonders, it was back in its native habitat … it was floating.

The Captain got in the little tiny rowboat that’s all we had today, and rowed the trimaran offshore, and set the anchor. Great to see it floating, we’ve left it at anchor and come up the coast. Midnight finds me in a motel up near Campbell River. We’ll take a ferry tomorrow to Quadra Island, which is where the converted fishing boat is that we’ll use to tow the trimaran.

Fire up the fishing boat, take it to the fuel dock and fuel up, and then we’ll run the 35 miles (60 km) back to Royston where we’ve anchored the trimaran.

day two map

Anyhow, I gotta rest. Moving onto the boat tomorrow, who knows what the internet situation will be, but “occasional” is likely.

Best to all,

w.

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67 thoughts on “Boat Delivery

  1. Egyptian method. First encountered it referred to as the “egyptian trick” at the local gun store. Involved getting heavy gun safes into cars or trailers rolling them on across a half liter soda bottle filled with water. Worked wonders.

  2. Don’t know if the trimaran hull was strong enough to take it but, generous application of old cooking oil to the runners and slide it along might have been an easier option?

  3. I’m curious to know if you knew the name of the “volcano”. I’ve skied there. Had a miserable experience sitting on the ski lift with ice pelting my head and getting “brain freeze”. There’s a story of some x military criminals hiding out on the mountain not knowing their camp would be under 30ft (1 bazzilion mm) once summer was over.

  4. Willis, does the boat you’re crewing have a ship-tracker fitted so that we might follow your progress? Or would you prefer to spend some time away from prying eyes?

  5. Another interesting story, this time with enough pics.

    Willis says:

    …the cheap flight to Vancouver, Canada can’t just go north, nooo … first I fly 600 miles south to LA, and from there one long jump north to Vancouver.

    The biosphere thanks you for the extra CO2.  ☺

  6. Looks nice – Vancouver always sounded interesting. Exotic, distant and strangely kind of English-looking.
    And what an interesting place just north of Royston.

  7. ” M Courtney says:
    August 1, 2014 at 2:59 am

    Looks nice – Vancouver always sounded interesting. Exotic, distant and strangely kind of English-looking.
    And what an interesting place just north of Royston.”

    Yeah, English as in “Hong Kong English” and “Mumbai English” … :) Victoria on Vanc Isle is maybe the last refuge of the Empire…
    But yes, BC is overblessed with beauty, now with price tags to match…

  8. Mountain meets sea with nothing but trees in between. I spent every youthful summer in those waters cruising with the family on a 45′ Chris. Every place you named brings back sweet memories! I also did a summer on a purse seiner and we took the in-land passage to SE Alaska’s Icy Strait. I have to ask, “Why a sailboat as the tow boat?” I’ve towed and been towed many a time but never with a sailboat. I know you are an excellent sailor, but watch your weather closely on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It should be good this time of year, but I know only too well that it can be a wicked piece of water. It will be early for the salmon runs, but you might want to drop a line anyway especially as you get out West near Cape Flattery. King salmon typically run at 100-150 feet. I am envious and wish you smooth sailing.

  9. Willis, welcome to my old back yard, and be careful where Juan de Fuca dumps out – it can be … a tad rough at times. :)

    Yours, from Luzon.

    John

  10. PS: If you do decide to drop a fishing line, be sure to have a license (or use the don’t get caught tricks I’m sure you know). The Fishery and Coastie boys are pretty thick around those parts these days. If you plan to make port regularly, there are a bunch of small ports on the Olympic Peninsula and I always liked Neah Bay, though I haven’t been there in a long time. If the weather is cooperative, it is a great run up the Strait. Enjoy.

  11. Willis: That volcano is Mount Baker and it is Washington State. It was named after a British admiral by Captain Vancouver when He was exploring the northwest coast.

  12. Had a fabulous dinner last night at a resort in Parksville, which you passed through/by on your drive north from Nanaimo. It was a magnificent evening to be on a deck, beside the ocean, enjoying a rack of lamb and a lovely Burrowing Owl Pinot.

    You are in gods country!

    If you get the opportunity, try a Nanaimo Bar.

  13. Rob says:
    “Willis: That volcano is Mount Baker and it is Washington State. It was named after a British admiral by Captain Vancouver when He was exploring the northwest coast.”

    Sorry Rob–that photo isn’t Mt. Baker (I grew up around Mt. Baker and have studied it for decades). The volcano photo is Mt. Rainier–note the small secondary cinder cone on the summit.

  14. Willis, if you should happen to put into Sidney Harbour about 30 kilometres north of Victoria a couple of options for good eats are ‘The Rumrunner’, a seaside pub, with a nice view of the harbour. If you happen through on a Friday, ‘Boondocks Restaurant’, half a block from the harbour has an incredible prime rib dinner special with a Yorkshire pudding the size of a soup bowl. The queen-size option is more than enough for most appetites, while the king-size could probably be doggie bagged for lunch the next day.

  15. Watch that you aren’t kidnapped by the gulf island hippies! Seriously check out Rebecca Spit while you are on Quadra, very unique.

  16. Don.. there are 2 volcano photos. One pic from the air ( THAT’s Mt. Ranier) and one facing southeast from the BC Ferry (that pic IS Mt Baker). Either way both volcanoes are in Washington State!.
    I live in Vancouver, and used to see Baker floating like that on my way to work most clear mornings. It’s a beatuful and maybe scary sight.

    Oh and since I rarely post, let me say thanks for your many contributions to this site.

  17. Willis,

    If you choose to cruise through the San Juans on your way out, I’ll buy lunch in Friday Harbor.

    Safe journey

  18. Enjoyable travelogue. Your opening made me think of the Byrds’ classic “Jack Tarr the Sailor”

    And as I roamed the streets of Bath
    the whores they all would roar
    There goes Jarr Tarr the poor sailor
    He must go to sea once more

    Unlike Jack, ‘looks like you’ve got smooth sailing, haven’t hocked all your gear, and still have your sweetheart in your home port.

  19. I assume you are all crewed up and have lots of help, but if you need an extra hand, my brother in law has a 55 foot two master at Comox and the view from his house on Glacier Drive looks out at those snow/ice topped mountains. He would love to lend a hand I am sure. I suspect you have all the help you need but if you want more local help let me know through my email noted in the link above and I will get you in touch. Wayne (Used to ski Baker in the 60″s too)

  20. Lee L says:

    “Don.. there are 2 volcano photos. One pic from the air ( THAT’s Mt. Ranier) and one facing southeast from the BC Ferry (that pic IS Mt Baker). Either way both volcanoes are in Washington State!.”

    Right–you can tell Mt. Rainier by the small cinder cone at the summit and you can tell Mt.
    Baker by the Black Buttes just west of the summit cone. Nice view of both!

  21. “M Courtney says:
    August 1, 2014 at 2:59 am
    Looks nice – Vancouver always sounded interesting. Exotic, distant and strangely kind of English-looking.
    And what an interesting place just north of Royston.”

    Were you thinking of Comox or Cumberland?(:

  22. You went through Comox and Courtenay and didn’t even stop by and say hi? I’m disappointed!

  23. Willis, you are just across the water from one of David Suzuki’s residences, Tangwyn (Welsh for “white fire”) 10 acres of waterfront on Quadra. You should stop by and say hi.

    http://minx.cc:1080/?post=227584

    You are also opposite Cortez which houses Hollyhock and a concentration of the American funded enviro and left political influence in Canada. You should cruise by. http://fairquestions.typepad.com/rethink_campaigns/2011/10/tides-usa-hanks-beach-treedom-gregor-robertson.html

  24. Willis. When you leave Royston, come down Lambert Channel (this is the shortest route south BTW). I live on the west side of Hornby Island, looking out to Denman Island and Vancouver Island. There is a wonderful Pub/Restaurant and dock nearby, if the time works out.

  25. Part I and already a great tale. I’m very jealous – my new twin great grandkids live about 20 klicks from there on Vancouver Island and it’s far enough away that I’ve yet to see them. They should be about 9 weeks old, now. What a beautiful place they’re going to call home. I haven’t seen the north side of Mt. Baker in too long. Thanks for the great photos.

  26. My old stomping grounds – enjoy the trip! Miss that area, spent a fantastic decade there. Boating, fishing and crabbing the San Juans is amazing.

  27. Ah, me! An old guy reminiscences. Spent 11 years in the Seattle area, had a boat kept on Lake Union; we went through the Chittenden Locks into Puget So;und and thence up to Nanaimo and the BC area. I have cruised into Prideaux Haven and thereabouts many times. Sigh. Those were the days, when I was (relatively) young, my first wife and Admiral of the ship was still alive (she had a plaque that said “He may be captain of this ship but I am the Admiral”). Too old nowadays (almost 84) but, God!, I would love to do it again.

    BTW, Used to be a little store just before hitting the Pacific that had super fresh pies! Can’t remember the town, but it was on the south side of the passage just before Fuca Pillar.

  28. RE: Don.. there are 2 volcano photos. One pic from the air ( THAT’s Mt. Ranier) and one facing southeast from the BC Ferry (that pic IS Mt Baker). Either way both volcanoes are in Washington State!.

    ———-

    IIRC, the ferry out of Tsawassen (sp?) heads WSW on it’s journey to Nanaimo. An oddity is that Vancouver Island hangs down below 49N, so heading out from the Vancouver area its just south of a west heading, slight jogs around one or two Gulf Islands notwithstanding. The peak in the photo from the boat appears to be North of the border based on a line from the Ferry to central Vancouver and ENE from there.

  29. Willis ,
    I live about 5 km NE of the “d”. That’s the Comox glacier which is now in summer minimum.
    Always enjoy your adventures. We are experiencing a nice stretch of clear weather. Hope you enjoy Vancxouver Island.

    Bob in Courtenay.

  30. Quadra and C. River are old friends. But next time you’re in a boat there, go north. The passage just gets better.

  31. Distant mountains seemed nearby, including this odd mountain, flat-topped with what looks like an ice cap and glaciers.
    That is the Comox Glacier, in Strathcona Provincial Park.

  32. Looking into StoneHenge, some clever folks found that a dozen folks can move a couple (few?) tons of concrete slab using a ‘rowing’ method. Long poles over poles on the ground parallel to the long axis of the stone. Everyone pulls down and and walks back, object rises about 5 inches and goes forward about a foot. “Rinse and repeat”.

    Interesting to see a dozen or so folks ‘rowing’ a multi-ton stone across the land at a decent clip.

    Ought to work for boats, too. (Though not the trimaran, as the outriggers are in the way…)

  33. This time of year is pretty nice up north the inland passage and down to the Sierra’s. We made some “low” videos from Mt. Baker along the Pacific Crest trail down to about Chico and on into Santa Rosa and a few around the Olympic Penn. Hard to find country as spectacular. Enjoy!

  34. I’m not ready to cede either volcano, Baker or Rainier, to Canada, thanks just the same.

    Willis, Vancouver is indeed easy on the eyes, but the not-so-white underbelly is her high crime rate (the third highest of 17 major North American cities – yikes!) and brazen Asian gang violence.

  35. James “IIRC, the ferry out of Tsawassen (sp?) heads WSW on it’s journey to Nanaimo.”

    Wrong ferry. Willis took the one from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo so the angle is correct and it is Mount Baker. I’ve taken both routes. Oh, it is Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay that you are thinking of. In the days when I worked at SFU I would see Mount Baker floating in the sky as I drove down Burnaby Mountain. Good memories and I wish I was with you Willis – not the work, just being there.

  36. Don Easterbrook says:
    August 1, 2014 at 6:44 am

    Could be wrong, but IMO Rob was telling Willis the name of the mountain looming “in the background” of Vancouver, BC (Mt. Baker), not naming the volcano in the photo (Mt. Rainier).

  37. PS: My dad’s last fishing boat was built at Duncan, BC on Vancouver Island. He kept it on the Swinomish Channel, WA & motored every summer up to the Minstrel Island, BC area to fish for halibut.

  38. Oh, wish I’d pointed to Victoria earlier. I think there are direct flights from SFO to YYJ, IIRC United Airlines small jet airliner.

  39. I’m currently reading a fascinating book: The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake, by Samuel Bawlf. The first half is a page burner. It has everything you need to make a great action movie — gentle pirates, sea battles, mutinies, evil kings, brutal conquistadors, betrayals, court intrigues and spies. The voyage itself wasn’t so secret, it was the exact destination and the reason for going there which were kept secret. Drake would have loved to tell all, but Queen Elizabeth tried to keep it secret from the Spanish king. But the spy knew almost everything anyway and the author draws heavily upon the spy’s reports. The old world maps which we think are wrong out of ignorance are in fact purposely wrong. The author makes a very convincing case that Drake made it as far north as the southeast coast of Alaska. He was trying to find the northwest passage from the west and Frobisher was trying to find it from the East. Drake wanted to found a colony “Nova Albion” where Vancouver is now. Where Comox is now he named “Bay of Small Ships”. An old coin found recently lends some physical evidence to the claim that Drake was there first, and Cook was surprised when the natives told him his wasn’t the first sailing ship, according to their “legends”, which would have been passed on for 200 years.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2573229/Amateur-treasure-hunter-turns-Canadian-history-head-finding-435-year-old-British-shilling-buried-clay.html

  40. BTW, another route from YVR to Vancouver Island is Tsawwassen to Duke Point south of Nanaimo, with easy road access to the freeway bypassing Nanaimo. Notable for its early and late sailings but fewer on weekends as primarily a service for truckers. From YVR Tsaswassen is usually easier s don’t have to go through Vancouver, but going via Swartz Bay puts you into Victoria area traffic, to Duke Point bypasses that.

  41. Speaking of those “volcanoes” Willis saw from the Vancouver-Victoria area, every few decades or oftener people get concerned about Baker and Rainier. In the 1970s people who had cabins near the SW corner could not access them, authorities blocked them for safety reasons. IIRC Rainier usually has small clouds from steam.

    Perhaps today the science of monitoring and predicting is much better today.

    People in the US NW and Canada SW remember Mt. St. Helens, which blew big time after much warning – we heard the noise in Ladner BC. A Pacific Western Airlines flight crew coming from Nevada to Vancouver saw it erupt in front of them.

    Interesting to get close to St. Helens a decade after the blast. Parks people left it natural as a test, so vegetation was only slowly growing back, a creek had already been dammed by beavers. (Outside of the park Weyerhouser had 20 foot high trees growing, they’d logged what they could before the blast (at one time had helicopters orbiting, ready to evacuate workers), then more after the blast (the abrasive ash was tough on machinery but wood is quite valuable today).

    (As for Tswassen-Duke Point ferry, that route also bypasses the dreaded Malahat Mountain Highway northwest of Victoria – significant danger of long delays or worse due idiot drivers. One inexperienced driver couldn’t handle hydroplaning of her small SUV’s almost bald rear tires, crossed the centerline into a full-size pickup truck. Truck dove for the ditch but did not have enough time to avoid, collision tore the SUV apart, at least one of the dead was not wearing seat belt so was ejected, a child who was belted into the back seat survived without major injury.

  42. Boy, I’m glad we sorted Willis out on the volcano issue. Some things are too important to ignore out of politeness!

    But really, if you just look at the pic of Vancouver and “its volcano” you can tell that Mt. Baker is as American as apple pie. And probably a Yankee Doodle Dandy born on the Fourth of July.

  43. Vancouver’s view is Vancouver’s. International boundaries can’t change that. Why are so many of you using Willis’ remark regarding Vancouver’s view as an excuse to jot off an unnecessary geography lesson? Would you do the same for tourists who speak of Seattle’s Mt Rainier? In both cases it is the view of which they speak.

  44. brians356 says:
    August 1, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    “Willis, Vancouver is indeed easy on the eyes, but the not-so-white underbelly is her high crime rate (the third highest of 17 major North American cities – yikes!) and brazen Asian gang violence.”

    I’m from (Metro) Vancouver and I have lived in the city of Vancouver, although I’m currently in the suburbs. I take strong exception to your comment about crime rate. Vancouver does have its share of crime and gang activity (by no means all or even the majority of which is “Asian”), but quoting a statistic like that without any qualification of what it’s measuring is very misleading. Please quote your source. If you want two sources that contradict yours, read “Crime in Toronto” and “Crime in Canada”, both on Wikipedia. For example, from Crime in Toronto, in 2012, the homicide rate in Detroit was 54 / 100k but only 1.2 / 100k in Vancouver. As far as violent crime is concerned, according to “Crime in Canada”, Vancouver isn’t even third in Canada, let alone WRT American cities. You can walk around anywhere in Vancouver, including the downtown east side without the slightest worry about getting mugged. Try that in practically any major American city.

  45. Comox Glacier gets most of its snow with the usual winter storms that blow in from the South East.
    Then when the mainland gets sunny winter weather it can include an outflow of cold air from the interior. As it rolls across the Straits of Georgia it picks up moisture and dumps it as more snow on Comox Glacier. It has filled in the depression between two minor peaks.

  46. Is that the trimaran name, “Nandi”? Nandi, as in Fiji? What’s the story behind that?

  47. USA: white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)

    Canadian: 32.2%, English 19.8%, French 15.5%, Scottish 14.4%, Irish 13.8%, German 9.8%, Italian 4.5%, Chinese 4.5%, North American Indian 4.2%

    Canada and the USA are simply different. Discussing crime is irrelevant here.

  48. Daryl M said:

    >I take strong exception to your comment about crime rate. Vancouver does have its share of crime and gang activity (by no means all or even the majority of which is “Asian”), but quoting a statistic like that without any qualification of what it’s measuring is very misleading. Please quote your source.

    Voila!

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-crime-among-worst-in-north-america-1.967033

    A bit out of date, perhaps, but I doubt the crime rate has fallen precipitously since, it could have even risen. My own family has been victimized in Vancouver, but don’t bother demanding details, please.

  49. Willis -I really enjoy reading your stories – they are so informative and entertaining !
    But when are we going to see a picture of your “gorgeous ex-fiance” that we hear so
    much about ?
    Peter Stevenson

  50. Apparently the inside passage isn’t Internet friendly – was hoping for some tales from the tiller en route.

  51. Dick Newick boats are art pieces , well done and very good luck to repair this beautifull trimaran, c’est ma-gni-fi-que !

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