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 local 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?
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.
From 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.
Midnight finds me right about where the “d” is on Vancouver Island.
Tomorrow, 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.
And 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.
We 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:
Boat 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.
Finally, 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:
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:
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.
Anyhow, I gotta rest. Moving onto the boat tomorrow, who knows what the internet situation will be, but “occasional” is likely.
Best to all,