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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Welcome to the paradise known as BC.

Martin S

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.

Greg Goodman

Bon vent !

Bloke down the pub

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?

Bloke down the pub

I know these boats are built for it , but it seems to work well for them. http://beerselfdriveboats.co.uk/gallery/4578058618

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.

… Of snow.

Bloke down the pub

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?

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.  ☺

M Courtney

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

Paul Coppin

” 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…

Navy Bob

Looks like a classic Dick Newick tri.

Mike McMillan

The power company’s gonna miss those poles.

Great story …. great pix.

UK Marcus

Thanks Willis. A wonderful story of expertise and technology, with added CO2.

aGrimm

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.

Tough duty, but someone has to do it.

Gamecock

There is something about the air in Nanaimo. Different. Magical.

john

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

aGrimm

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.

Another great post Willis, fantastic pictures! What kind of camera? Thanks, you are truly an inspiration.

Rob

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.

Robert in Calgary

Quadra Island? Are you going to swing by David Suzuki’s place there?

D. B. Cooper

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.

Don Easterbrook

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.

Mike Rimmer

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.

r murphy

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

Lee L

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.

Man Tran

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

Steve P

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.

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)

Don Easterbrook

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!

Don Wagner

“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?(:

Shoshin

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

Betapug

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

Steve Salter

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.

ferd berple

it is about 50 miles from Vancouver to mt Baker, to give some idea of the scale of the volcano floating over the city. often hidden in the clouds, baker is a very impressive sight on a clear day. steam plumes are seen time to time.
http://mbvrc.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/mount-baker-steam-plume-update/

dp

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.

JoshC

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

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.

James at 48

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.

Robert B. Stephens

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.

inMAGICn

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

Robert B. Stephens

Willis,
Oops, Vancouver Island. Over active fingers.
Bob in Courtenay

Toto

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.

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…)

highflight56433

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!

brians356

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.

William Sears

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.

milodonharlani

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).