Anchors Aweigh At Last

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

(Part 3 of the voyage, see also Part 1 and Part 2) … In the morning, the Captain drove the thirty miles back to Campbell River and bought a used outboard, a 6 horsepower Sailmaster he’d heard about yesterday. It’s perfect for the dinghy, it will give us freedom in the ports to anchor anywhere and run into town. Before he came back I rowed over to the trimaran, replaced a rope holding up the tri’s outboard, did some other small jobs getting it ready to tow, and rowed back to the fishing boat. The fishing boat definitely needs some work. The anchor windlass isn’t functioning, the hot water is cold, the steering is loose … in other words, it’s a typical boat.When the Captain returned, he and I finished setting up the tow line and making the “chafing gear” to protect the tow line from chafing through while we were pulling the boat.

day four tow boat from the triOnce everything was ready, we took the dinghy and its new used motor to pull the tri over to the fishing boat and hooked on the tow line. I took a last look at our erstwhile workspace, from which we so laboriously had launched the trimaran. Seems hard to believe that was only yesterday. Gotta say, they got some pretty nice turf up here in scenic Canadia, home of the scenic Canadians … shame about the winters, though …

day four the workspace

Of course we had to hoist the anchor by hand. I’d been unable to get the hydraulic anchor windlass running, despite expending much time and sweat on it. So we horsed the anchor aboard, stowed it away, and departed for points south. Our first port of call would be Nanaimo, where we’d pick up the crew member who was returning the rental car. The tri towed like a champ, very happy.

day four tri towing

The scenery is beyond belief here, photos can’t do it justice. Islands upon islands, picturesque lighthouses …

bc lighthouse

… boats of all descriptions, lovely blue water everywhere. The weather has continued its run of clear, calm days. We hurry south, hoping it lasts a while longer.

As I mentioned, at sea things happen very slowly. A half hour run in a car at seventy miles an hour is a five-hour run at seven miles an hour. With time on my hands, I climb the mast to get a better view.

day four aloft with keffiyah

At sea, I often wear a “keffiyah”, the square cloth favored in the Middle East, over my baseball cap to protect my head and neck from the sun. It’s the black-and-white checked cloth around my head at the upper eft of the picture, with my black-and-white hat bill sticking out from the front. The white rectangle you see on the deck below me is the self-launching life raft, which (in theory) kicks free and inflates if the boat sinks. I have no wish to put that theory to the test.

In the late afternoon we get to Nanaimo, where we pick up our wandering crew member, and set off again. Nanaimo is the main ferry terminal from Vancouver and the mainland, so there’s lots of folks there and lots of business going on.

day four nanaimo

The harbor is full of boats—tugs towing or pushing barges, seven-decked double-ended ferries, sailboats, go-fast power boats. It’s Saturday and a three day weekend in BC, so everyone is on the water.

day four bc ferries

After picking up our fifth and final crewman, we continued south through the islands. At last light we anchored up and slept where the darkness overtook us, which was just south of a shallow tide-swept pass called “False Narrows”. We timed it right, we hit it at high water, and slid on through with no issues. Once we were clear of the shoal waters, at last light we dropped the hook on what looked like good holding ground, near one of the islands, and watched the evening fade and die.

day four sleep

A good start for the trip, we’re finally on our way, the amazing run of good weather continues. No wifi, of course. My best regards to all, more to follow.


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Mike Bromley the Kurd
September 3, 2014 10:07 pm

I see you are enjoying the Left Coast. In the straits formed in the backarc sag….

September 3, 2014 10:50 pm

Lived on the Island for a year, the weather you are enjoying is rare but not unheard of during August but most of the time you only have to wait a few minutes ” climate” to “change”, eventually the constant winds drove me back to the Interior of BC, An area much like the central Washington State valley between the Coast and Rocky mountains. Btw love your diary it does bring back memories.

September 3, 2014 10:52 pm

That looks like a Newick tri ….
I had a Newick 26 “summersault” a long time ago.
Good seaworthy little boat.
Bonne chance on your delivery ….

September 3, 2014 11:03 pm

Willis, most BC ferry terminals are in areas with good wifi (Shaw, our cable and IP provider). Lots of golden arches, coffee places etc. South of Nanaimo you’ll pass Crofton, across from Vesuvius on Salt Spring Island, both of which have wifi. Ditto Swartz Bay near Sidney as you near the South end of Vancouver Island. Lots of marine suppliers in the Departure Bay area of Nanaimo, Enjoy the scenery and wildlife! and wave as you go by.

September 3, 2014 11:09 pm

“The tri towed like a champ, very happy.”
Did you tie the rudder or let it swing from side to side?
I’d have wanted to put a man on her to steer, possibly a very boring job with some fume sucking, but less wear on the tow line.

Joel O'Bryan
September 3, 2014 11:11 pm

Your “keffiyah” is Palestinian tribe.
Also that area of BC is beautiful and so welcoming in late August. Love the people and the nature. But don’t come around in January though, the wx is cold and miserable. Open water is treacherous.
PS, you should get a rescue SOS 401 MHz beacon with texting capabilities. You can send Anthony a text or tweet just before ….

Joel O'Bryan
September 3, 2014 11:14 pm

err. 406 Mhz beacon. 2 beers is my limit. I’m a lightweight.

September 4, 2014 4:24 am

Anthony: I love the darker and serif’d comment text, but I think it would be more readable with more “leading” (space between the lines), like Climat Etc.

Reply to  rogerknights
September 4, 2014 4:26 am

Oops–where’d it go?

September 4, 2014 5:59 am

The winter in southern BC is barely noticeable, gets a little wetter and cooler is all. You make it sound like winter in the rest of Canada which is actually somewhat cold and snowy.

C.M. Carmichael
September 4, 2014 6:14 am

If you have the equipment and the time, you are passing over some of the best diving in the world. The water is cold but the strong currents are full of food for undersea life. The San Juan Islands are beautiful and Then you will pass close to a place called Race Rock that is one of the most incredible dive destinations you will ever find, the cold water and strong currents keep tourists away, but if you take the time you will not regret it.

September 4, 2014 10:20 am

San Juan Island was the scene of the notorious – almost – “Pig War” or “Boar War.”
When the border between the US and Canada was negotiated, the people involved failed to determine which country would hold title to San Juan Island. In 1859, since there were both American settlers and an established Hudsons Bay post, there was some tension between the two groups. The slow communications of the time resulted in Washington and London hearing very little until things locally were very nearly at a boil. The link to the Smithsonian’s magazine is pretty good, if less entertaining than some other accounts.

Frank S
September 4, 2014 10:32 am

Great reporting, love getting to spend some relaxing time away from all the climate controversy. Keep on enjoying life!

C.M. Carmichael
Reply to  Willis Eschenbach
September 5, 2014 5:36 am

I understand your feelings but drysuits have taken water temperature out of the equation for cold water diving. As for visibility, it seems to me that if you can see 100-200 feet, it’s because there is nothing in the water, nutrients are not invisible. The basis for the huge variety of life are the filter feeders and they need the tiny floaters that impair visibility. At Race Rocks it is nearly impossible to find any surface or portion of the seafloor that is not coated with life. Either way, I enjoy your updates and hope you have the wind at your back and smooth water ahead.

September 4, 2014 6:05 pm

Thank you Willis, especially for the photos. My daughter works on a cruise ship that plies those waters, and she never sends such great photos. I think it has been raining in Alaska most of the summer, though.

Keith Sketchley
September 5, 2014 4:08 pm

Great travelogue.
In case anyone needs marine supplies in Victoria, I recommend Trotac Marine on Gorge Rd East. There’s also West Marine branches in Victoria and Sydney.

September 9, 2014 3:43 pm

“Spot” is a brand of communicator via satellites, with fancier models having email capability. (Unfortunately bad web site, I can’t get past first page.)
Probably informal, good for keeping in touch with friends/relatives who worry about you while you are hiking the boonies, but provides location they can give to authorities. Not aviation or marine certified AFAIK, more of a personal device not aircraft or boat carried.
Some tracking devices are intended to be given to people who may wander off, such as those losing memory.
Airplanes have “ELTs” with antenna external to fuselage, but when flying much offshore need salt-water-activated transmitters, usually carried in the life rafts. IIRC they are cylinders with a whip antenna sticking up. (Those are radio-frequency, whereas the beacons to help locators find flight and voice recorders in water are acoustic, also salt-water-activated.)

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