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