Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 397 Into Shearwater Marina

The day dawned with a total fog out.  The entire lagoon was enclosed in the white stuff.  First we have seen since we left Port Townsend almost two months ago.  I thought that once I installed my fog horn, we would never have it again.  That's the way it normally goes doesn't it.  Add on a piece of equipment that you don't normally use or that you needed and didn't have and you don't ever have to use it again.   We sat and just waited.  It burned off quite quickly.

The other three boats in the Codville Lagoon took off by 0900 but we wanted to hike up to a nearby Sagar Lake.  We piled into Puff and headed ashore.  With the tide gong out, we used our long line that was tide to the dingy and pushed her out away from shore and headed up the "unimproved" trail.  I'd put on my foul weather boots so I could step ashore with out getting wet so I wore them.  With in 30 feet, Tracy was headed back to Puff to put hers on.  It wasn't so much an "unimproved" trail, it was more an improved stream bed.  With the previous days rain, it was a soggy mess and from the look of it had been for quite some time.  We had to watch where we put our feet or we would sink in a good 12 inches into the muck.

The books said it was about a 20 minute hike according to the books.   They most not have had togo through the bogs we did.  The lake was gorgeous.  Almost three miles long.   The water was the color of Lipton Tea.   A golden brown color due to the cedar trees that surround the lake.  Once we got there, we came out on a very pretty sandy beach a couple of hundred yards long.  There were all kinds of animal tracks in the sand.  Bear, deer, raccoon, and cougar tracks from the look of them.  Every one needs fresh water.  The hike back was just as much fun but a bit quicker since we already knew where not to put your feet. 

When we got back to the lagoon, there sat poor Puff, high and dry on shore.  The tide had gone out and she didn't stay in the water.  About 5 feet up the shore from the water.  I grabbed the motor and Tracy took the bow and we slowly dragged her back to the water and headed back to Zephyr.  We hoisted her on deck and had a nice lunch in the cockpit.

By 1300, we were off for Shearwater.  As we left Codville Lagoon, up the channel came two big ships.  We slowed down and let them pass just turning in circles waiting for their wakes to hit us.  We were all heading up the same channel but there is only so much room and they're a lot bigger than we are.  I fired up the computer to have our AIS working and of course, that is when the computer decides to not allow me access to that piece of equipment.  Oh well, it only works when you don't need it.  It hasn't worked since so I'll be playing with it over the next day or so as time allows.

While I was down below waiting for the ships to pass, I checked on the propeller shaft to make sure it wan't leaking again.  Nope but the Aqua Drive appeared to be having some problems.  It was making a screeching sound as the shaft turned in low throttle.  There was a bit of grease coming from one of the holes where it joins the transmission.   When the engine is running at normal speed, there in no noise.  Now I have something else to investigate and try and fix.  

Once the ships had passed, we headed up Lama Channel towards Shearwater Marina.  Since we were entering a channel that carries much bigger ships, I used the VHF and announced our entrance to the channel so other would know we were there.  With no response, we headed in.  About half way up the channel, Tracy saw a microwave tower that looked to be for cell phones so I fired up the Macintosh and checked to see if I had service.  Yes, we sure did!!  It was the first time I have been on line for almost a week and I had lots to get done while I could.  I posted the previous days posts that I had done in another program and then checked our emails and there were a bunch.  Now most were just spam as expected but since the computer already had my mail program running, it downloaded all 72 of them.  I would have some reading and filtering to do later last night.  I sent out some asking questions about the Aqua Drive and to friends about other things. I had a very strong connection and it was quite fast for a change.  It's a good thing I did it while I could as here at Shearwater(right around the corner)I have a very poor connection but at least I can get on line.

Up past Bella Bella and around to the Shearwater Marina(52 08.849N 128 05.306W).  I'd called ahead on our VHF to make sure they had room for us.  We got the last place they had.  Two of the boats that had been with us at Codville were already there.  We got settled in and hooked up the electricity.  It was already 1700 so we checked in and went to the local restaurant for dinner.  It's Saturday and just about everything around here closes at 1730 hours for the rest of the weekend so we will have to wait till Monday for fuel.  The water here is not "approved" by the government as safe for drinking(like Shawl Marina) becouse they don't have "approved" filtration devices on their water systems.  There are signs all around that the water must be boiled to be used.  Of course the water that made the ice in my drink comes from the same source and I'm still fine this morning as is everyone else in the village.  It's just another government regulation they are forced to live with.  Even though the water may be fine, we aren't going to load up our tanks.  Better safe than sorry and we still have plenty of the stuff to live on.

Another sailer stopped by(tied up right behind us)and we went over some of our charts as to how to get along to our next destination.  He's been cruising up here for years on his boat.  We saw him later at dinner and he stopped by later to pick up some books we had discussed earlier that were authors that he enjoys reading.  Book swapping is the name of the game for cruisers when we pull into a marina.  A nice guy.  It's really nice having input on courses when your new to the area.  

We had a quiet evening--light till well after 2130.  Heck it was still light after 2200.  I'm just not used to that yet.   Today, jobs while in the marina plus I can get rid of the old oil and do some things I couldn't do while on anchor.

I better get to them.  We are on the internet as of now bot don't know when we will be again so stay tuned for more, we just don't know when.  We're closing in on Prince Rupert.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Back on line!!!

We're back on line after at least 5 days with out being able to get on the internet.  You've got a lot of reading to catchup on.

We made it past Cape Caution with no problems and are now approaching Shearwater a whole lot farther North. 

I should be able to connect again tonight with more information as to what is going on.

Have a happy read everyone.

Day 396 Boy can it rain up here!

We listened to VHF radio weather this morning and it seemed like a good day to move on instead of waiting a few more days. The weather at Addenbrook light house was winds less than 5 and seas 1 foot chop. With Addenbrook just a few miles from us, we decided to take off.

We left a bit earlier than we should have at 0945. Low tide wasn't till 1130 and we paid for it. By the time we got to Fitz Hugh Sound(about 4 miles), even though the wind was with us, the tide wasn't and the water was quite stirred up and made the first part of the trip quite rollie. We rocked back and forth for quite a while. Once the tide changed and started flooding, it got better but unfortunately, the rains came. And boy did they come. It poured and reduced visibility to less than a mile. Tracy fired up the radar so we could see what was out there. It's the first time we've used it since we left Port Townsend.

About 20 minutes after she started it a small blip was coming at us. We watched it as it got closer and suddenly a commercial fishing boat came out of the rain on our port side. I told Tracy to turn on the running lights and the "steaming" light on the mast(shines a white light to tell other boaters that we are under power not sail). About 15 seconds after we turned on ours, the fishing boat turned on his.

About 30 minutes later, Tracy saw a big blip on the radar screen. I told her I didn't think big ships used that channel. Boy was I wrong. Out of the rain came the Holland America cruise liner Ziederdam. She was marching right down the center of the sound. I was a bit surprised she didn't radio us that she was coming. Luckily, we were far enough to her port side that we were well away from her. Well, maybe a half mile if that. Once she passed us, her wake came at us like a freight train. I took it at a 90 degree angle and it still threw water up and over the bow. We went up a good 4 feet before we came crashing down. Poor Blue was not impressed.

It continued to rain the rest of the way into Codville Lagoon(52 03.675N 127 50.244W). We passed through a narrow channel and into a very nice(still rainy) lagoon with an island right in the center of it. We went around the island and dropped the anchor in the far East cove right between two larger cruiser boats. A third came in shortly after us and dropped his anchor to our starboard and in front of us. And the rains continued.

Many years ago, Tracy had given me a set of Gill foul weather gear for Christmas and it works great. Even while it was pouring, the only place on me getting wet was a small section of my face where my eyes looked out from the hood and face covering. I was bone dry. The last boat to come in didn't have foul weather gear and I'm sure they got soaked. Once we were anchored, of course the rain and wind stopped and the Sun came out.

While on deck later, we saw the boat next to us was "Aye Aye Sir". We've been following them for the past 3+ weeks. Ever since Nanaimo, they have cropped up at some of the anchorages we have been in. Russ(the captain)stopped by and invited us over for cake and ice cream this evening. Everyone in the harbor was invited. We lowered Puff and Dragon and headed over about 1900. They have a beautiful boat--Ocean Alexander. It's been around for a while but is in beautiful condition with lots of great things on board. The galley was incredible and the master stateroom was huge.

We'd made another 24.5 miles today on the trip North. Each day gets us closer. We traveled almost 760 miles since we left Port Townsend on April 4th and I don't have a clue as to how far we still have to go to make it to Alaska. Everyone that was at the party tonight is planning on making to Alaska and I'm sure we will see each of them again.

Depending on the weather tomorrow, we will either stay here another day or two or take off for Bella Bella and some more supplies, fuel and water. Maybe even the internet so you can read what we have been doing since we past Cape Caution.

Day 395 Some rain and another job.

We woke to rain and it continued till late in the afternoon just as the weather folks had said it would. The wind they had forecasted--20 to 30 knots didn't materialize or if it did, we are so well protected that we didn't get even a wif of it in here. We've been calm all day. We listened to the VHF weather folks and they kept talking about all the horrible stuff happening around us--gale warnings etc that we just stayed exactly where we were and will until at least tomorrow(Friday) till we hear the weather at Attenbrook Light House. They are just out past the entrance to Kwakshua Channel where you enter to Pruth Bay just South of here. If it's calm or at least better, we will take off.

We pinpointed four places as stops along the way for tomorrow. Sea Otter Inlet, Kiltik Cove, or Long Point Cove, all on the West side of Hunter Island. If the weather is all right, we will pull into Codville Lagoon on King Island. That's on the East side of Fisher Channel which is just North of Fitz Hugh Sound. Don't ask me how a Sound suddenly becomes a Channel, but it does.

The tides tomorrow will keep us here till the afternoon before they turn to a "flood" tide. That's the kind we normally watch for as it pushes us North toward our goal. You try not to go against an ebb tide if you can avoid it. Now if you were going South, you would look for just the opposite. An ebb tide would carry you out. It all depends on which way you are planing on going. A year ago, I didn't know what a tide did let along how to use it to our advantage.

We spent a good bit of the afternoon ripping out some of the last of the old wiring left over from the refit. There was a bus bar under the starboard settee that needed removal. Jack, the electrician had told me that it was dead and could be removed. Afraid not!! It had wires that ran to the forward sump pump for the head. They were labeled as such and I back traced the wires right to the main wiring block. Two wires went in the bus bar(both on one screw) and five came out the opposite side with only one that was directly attached to the two wires going in. The other wire labels said they went to running lights and deck lights. I disconnected the two in coming wires and all the outside light were just fine. If the two wire that had gone into the bus bar were connected to each other, the sump pump worked fine. If split from each other, it would not work. So I took the two wires off the bus bar and moved them below the floor boards and butt spliced them together and then went after the bar and the other five wires.

I took out the bus bar and then started taking out the old wires tracing them back toward the stern. Under the settee on the starboard side past the battery box and down into the bilge over the diesel fuel tanks and water heater. They just kept on going. My hats off to the person that installed them. Code is for the wires to be supported by fasteners every 18 inches. These were screwed down inside rings every 10 inches. The bundles of wires were also wrapped in electrical tape inside the rings. So out with the screws and cut the tape and then pull the wires that I needed out. There were more than just the five wires in this bundle harness. By the time I got to where they went through the floor, I had five wires all about 8 feet long, so I cut them to make getting them out easier.

I got as far as under the galley floor and stopped for the evening as it was already 1800. If it is anything like the wires I've ripped out before, they will go inside the engine room and disappear into a tube that is full of old wires that used to go to the circuit board inside the engine room. This tube is so paced with wires that I've been unable to get a single strand out of it. I just cut them where they go into the tube and leave it at that. Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to pull a strand up through the tube. If I can get at least one out, maybe I can get more. I see how it goes tomorrow.

Tracy took on the freezer today. It has been icing up for a while and while it freezes everything in the box to a solid chunk, she felt it was time to get the frost off the freezing unit. Out came the plastic scraper and the hammer and in she went. By the time she was done, most of the ice was gone and the unit has been running for most of the time since trying to get back to the 10-12 degrees it normally runs at. We'll see how it is tomorrow morning. With it running at 2.6 amps, it's not that big a draw on our systems. If we still had the old unit, we would be using almost 6 amps to cool a much smaller space. Tracy made a smart move getting the unit when we were at the Seattle Boat Show last January. It has made this cruise much easier having lots of frozen food to fall back on as time goes by out here.

We even took some time today to play some card games while it rained outside. It made for a nice break in the odd jobs we had to get done. Tonight, Tracy made a dish of hamburger, chopped onions and red bell peppers in a tomato sauce for dinner. It was great.

Day 394 Way off the beaten path.

Still no internet so when you get this one, you will be getting quite a few. We haven't had internet now in three days. We passed a Tellis tower this afternoon but it didn't let either my phone nor the computer get on line. Oh well. Another day of solitude.

We took off from Millbrook Cove about 0945 just a short while before low tide and slack water. The areas farther in the cove was turning into mud flats yet we had no problems getting out of the cove and into the Fitz Hugh Sound for the way North. As we passed the South tip of Calvert Island, we were passed by no less than 6 other power boats all heading North. They had all just gone past Cape Caution and we figure were heading for Bella Bella farther North than we had planned on going today.

We'd planned for the incoming tide to push us up the Sound which is why we left at 0945 and made over 7 knots most of the way. Every little bit helps when you're having to use the engine.

We were told by several friends a stop at Pruth Bay(51 39.28N 128 07.37W)on Calvert Island was a "must". It's right at the West end of Kwakshua Channel. As we entered the channel, the winds came barreling at us at 15 to 20 knots and slowed us down to the mid 5 knot range. We'd checked the weather and found that there is a front coming right at us from the Southwest with winds expected to hit the mid 30 knot range. The chop in the Charlotte Sounds is supposed to hit the 2 to 3 meter range with rain by noon on Thursday. Pruth Bay may be a wonderful place to stay but it is surrounded by rather low slung hills that funnel the winds right down the channel. We'd be exposed to that funnel effect if we stayed there. We checked Keith Anchorage on the South side of the channel and it was the same. As much as we wanted to stop there, we decided it just wasn't safe with what was coming our way in the next 24 hours, so we took off North through the channel and across the Hakai Passage heading for Lewall Inlet on Stirling Island. It's supposed to have great holding for our anchor and be very well protected from just about every direction. Tracy always plans for at least two different places for the night. If we don't care for the first, we head for the backup. In this case, she had three picked out. She'd also looked into Sea Otter Inlet just off Fitz Hugh Sound on the East side of Hunter Island as a "last resort" stop.

We got into Lewall Inlet(51 46.064N 128 06.262W)about 1630 and found it to be perfect. The winds died down to just about zero and the anchor held just fine once it hit the bottom. We made 41.4 miles today on the way North. We're in for a while we think. The last forecast we heard was for ugly weather over the next several days. Time will tell I guess. We're only 23 miles as the crow flies to Bella Bella so we may just head there at the next break in the weather. It's civilization for the area--grocery stores and electricity!

The kids did well today. As I brought up the anchor this morning, Shadow was walking around the deck having a leisurely stroll. Snowshoe was in the cockpit with Tracy and Blue was below being her normal huffy self. She did come out later into the cockpit. Tracy made sure she got an anti seasickness pill this morning before we took off and it worked great. No drooling and no "accidents" any where. Shadow is coming out more and more and that's great to see. He had shut himself off from going outside for most of last year but now, he is out and really seems to be enjoying it. His rear legs aren't that steady, but her gets up and down the stairs just fine. For 17+, he's doing just fine.

Well, that's about it for today. We may be here for a while. Only Mother Nature knows for sure. With the forecast being 20 to 30 knot winds and 2 to 3 meter seas, I think we could be here for a few days.

Day 393 Just stuff.

Today was a day of just doing stuff. Nothing really important , just stuff. I cleaned out the cockpit of stuff and then washed it down. All the nooks and crannies that were there all got emptied and scrubbed. I took out all the seat cushions and washed the seats and cleaned some mold off the teak. I even cleaned out the drains that are set up to take any water that might enter the cockpit out of it. Not only on the floor but at the back corners of the seating area. The cockpit had gotten really dirty since we left Port Townsend seven weeks ago.

It's 2230 and I can still look outside and see the water and the shoreline. It should be dark out there but we are getting far enough North that it stay light much later than I have ever experienced. Instead, it is more dusk than dark. It seems strange to go to bed with it still being light outside. As we get farther and farther North, Tracy assures me it will be lighter later and later.

One of the "kids" had an accident on one of the forward beds either yesterday or last night so Tracy stripped the bed and washed the linens. We knew that they didn't care for the trip around Cape Caution but really--they were right above their pan and could have just as easily used it. Revenge I guess. We had linen clipped all over the front life lines.

We were the only boat in Millbrook Cove when we got here and are still the only one. It's kept raining late into last night but started clearing up this morning and became a lovely day. The winds never stopped so our nice DuoGen has made lots of amps to keep the batteries happy and charged. It finally died down about two hours ago.

We'll be out of here tomorrow morning(Wednesday) for Pruth Bay about 25 miles up the Fitz Hugh Sound and West down the Kwakshua Channel. We've heard many great things abut this place and hope they are true. If so, we'll probably spend a few days there. There are supposed to have some lovely trails and beaches for walking. I expect to have internet there also as Tellis has a tower there so I'm told. You'll know if it's true if you're reading this post.

The tides tell us that it's best to leave about 1000 to catch the flooding tide as it enters Fitz Hugh to add some speed to our trip. If we're really lucky, the winds will be with us and we can sail. I'll let you know how that turns out.

Day 392 Past Cape Caution!!

We made it past Cape Caution!!! We've learned that proper planning is the key to getting past all the "hard" spots. Charts are checked. Computer programs are booted up and cruising books--several--are read. Note the tide and current flow on the path you have chosen and go for it when all seems right. What's the worst that can happen--you sink your boat or you turn back to the harbour you just left.

Yesterday started with overcast and slowly worked it's way to sunshine. It took till middle afternoon but I'm not about to complain. We pulled off all the cushions and checked all the batteries to make sure they had enough water and were fully charged. I did all six 6 volt "house" batteries and the two 12 volt "start" batteries. They were all in fine condition. I was amazed that the two "start" batteries were in such good shape as they are almost 5 years old. We put Puff in the water and stuck on Dragon in the morning and took off around the cove. We had it to ourselves as the other two boat left early in the day for Cape Caution(we think). We explored the cut on shore almost due South from where Zephyr was anchored for those of you that have been following us on Google Earth. When we pulled in, we thought that the cut was due West but after we anchored and I took compass bearing so we would know if the anchor dragged(always wise to do), we found out it was South of us. The forecasts we had were for some decent winds and building seas so we stayed put for the extra day. As it turns out, there wasn't a breath of wind till late afternoon and the seas were calm. It was the perfect time to go. Oh well, we erred on the side of caution and left this morning.

We set out at 0445 to take advantage of the ebb tide to take us out faster and it obliged. Believe me, neither Tracy nor I enjoyed getting up at 0415. We hit 9.8 knots as we flew through Richards Channel. It slowed down later but we were still over 8 knots for most of the trip. That is what planning is all about. The earlier we left, the more of the ebb tide we got to use to our advantage. The current thought for getting past Cape Caution is that you need to check the information broadcast of VHF radio for the "West Otter Buoy". If the report is for less than 1 meter and little wind, off you go. This morning, it was at 1.5 meters and 5 to 10 knot winds. We took off anyway.

All in all, the journey was fine. We had seas of about 1.5 meters and not really much winds. We were hit by rolling swells from the port side late in the trip and that was when it got a bit uncomfortable. Snowshoe slept in the cockpit the entire time. Shadow tucked himself under some cushions on the settee and Blue just paced and drooled a lot. She hasn't learned to just tuck herself in and sleep for the trip. She was on the table, on the settee-port and starboard, in the bow and out in the cockpit showing us her distaste for what we were forcing her though. Boy can she drool. YUCK!

We passed Wentworth Rock and Allan Rock on our port side as we passed the three places that you can escape from the weather if it turns bad--Shelter Bay, Allison Harbour and Miles Inlet. At the speed we were going, we were past the last one, Miles Inlet, before we knew it. With the seas still relatively calm, we went for it.

We were passed by three cruise ships--Norwegian "Sun"(same ship we took to Mexico a few years ago), Celebrity "Mercury" and a ship from the Holland America line(forgot her name). We had our AIS going in the cockpit so we could keep track of other boats around us. We were also passed by two other cruising power boats. It's not too crowded out there. We found it interesting that the Holland ship took on a "pilot" to guide them through where they were going. We watched on the AIS as the "pilot" boat came alongside the ship and then took off. Another "Pilot" went on the Celebrity ship but none went onto the Norwegian ship and she was going the fastest. All three were headed for Ketchikan at the same time! The chaos(and money) that it must cause to that small town. I hope we miss it when we get there. I'd like to see the town under normal circumstances, not while the circus is in town. The Norwegian "Pearl" came up later from the West side of Vancouver Island and headed North to Juneau.

We passed Cape Caution by 0830 and took Egg Island on the port side and over to Millbrook about two hours later. All in all, an easy trip. We pulled into Millbrook Cove(51 19.682N 127 44.203W) a lot earlier than we expected. We covered 49.5 miles in just under 6 hours!! That's over 8 knots per hour. A fast trip.

It started raining(in the forecast) just after we got here and weather is supposed to be bad tomorrow so we won't probably leave here till Wednesday at the earliest. By the time you read this(since I don't have internet here)we will be long gone for the next cove. Not yet sure where but we will know after consulting the charts and books. We expect to be in Shearwater/Bella Bella in a few days--civilization!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 390 Into Blunden Harbour just in time.

Up at 0500 and off the dock by 0600 for the trip to Blunden Harbour if the weather agreed.  Blunden is out in the Queen Charlotte Strait and can be a bad place to be if the wind and waves kick up which they do regularly.  We left early so that we could get to the strait early in the day when the winds were to be at their lightest.

We were going against the current as it had turned to a flood tide about an hour after we left Shawl Bay.  It slowed us down to just over 5 knots in some places but we did about 6 the majority of the time.  We run the engine at about 1750 which is supposed to be the "sweet spot" to get the most milage and speed out of her using the least amount of diesel fuel.  Any faster and yeah, you will go faster but the fuel consumption jumps off the charts.  It's not worth it unless we are really pressed or the weather is really nasty and we need to get out of it in a hurry.  

Out the Kingcome Inlet to the Sutlej Channel and then on to Wells Passage and into Labouchere Passage which is part of Queen Charlotte Strait.  Let me tell you, you can't find your way up here without a chart of some kind.  I'm glad we bought all the ones we did though $600.00 was tough to choke at the time.  We are in them all the time even though we have an electronic chart plotter right in front of us at the wheel.  They give us a better perspective of the overall view of where we are going plus if your boat blows it's power supply, you better have another way of figuring out where you are or you are up the creek and not even know it's name.

We pulled in to Blunden Harbor(50 54.412N  127 17.628W) about 1115 hours and dropped the hook.  A total of 32,7 miles today.  There was a crab fisherman already at anchor in the harbour collecting his catch in a smaller dingy.  We could have gone further to Allison Harbour but that was another 14 or so miles and the wind was already honking at 14 knots and the waves were beginning to build.  We'd only faced winds of about 10  and waves of less than 2 feet while out in the strait but they were building fast.  Once the anchor was set, the winds increased to 15 to 20 knots from the West.  I put up the DuoGen and she is cranking out the amps as I type this.  I don't know what the waves are outside the harbour, I'm just glad we decided to stop here.  There was no reason to push it to Allison Harbour.  Blunden is more protected from what I have seen on the charts.

Now we wait for the next weather window to open.  We need relative calm to make it past Cape Caution.  It has earned its name by being a nasty place to be at the wrong time.  We will be monitoring the VHF weather channels to see what is coming, but from what we have heard so far, we could be here till Wednesday before the winds let up.  We have to listen for the "West Otter Buoy" to see what it is.  If the waves are less than 1 meter and the winds are light, you get out there as soon as possible.  It's about 20 more miles to Cape Caution so we will be pushing the engine to her max if we have to.  Once past there, it is a much easier trip North.  It is one of the last stepping stones on the trip.

The prop shaft didn't leak today so either I fixed it by tightening it or it just took pity on us.  As long as it doesn't leak, that is all I care about. 

Well, it's currently sunny and Tracy is dozing in the cockpit with Snoeshoe catching up on the sleep she lost last night by being up so early.  I figure I will be taking a nap soon too as with the cockpit enclosure(thanks Bill & Susan) it's nice and warm even in the 15 to 20 knot winds that are howling outside.

Dave, as to your question about having a back up solenoid for the starter to replace the one that caused us problems a few days ago(loose wire),  no, I don't have a back up for it.  A whole new starter had been on my list of things to buy before we left but I just never got around to it but I will have one on board before we leave Port Townsend in August along with a good bit of other equipment.  In the seminars I have attended by the likes of John & Amanda Neal, Nigel Calder as well as Jimmy Cornell, they all say not to bother with lots of back up parts as they can be ordered just about every where you travel to and UPS or FedEx will have them there in a few days.  That may be fine, but you still have to get to the place to place the order.  I think I will get a new one anyway.

Since I have internet, I will continue to post with what ever comes along.  A big power boat has now anchored behind us.  Not sure what his plans are but if he is here tomorrow, I'll dingy over and see.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Our first waterfall

OK, turn your computer on it's side and you can watch our first waterfall along with a narrative by some kind of idiot that doesn't even know where he is!

Day 389 Part two

Ok, the first was to show you what I talked about in yesterdays post.  A place that left it's mark on me.  

Today, we left that heavenly place for Shawl Bay Marina(50 50.895N  126 33.582W) just around the corner.  It is only 200 yards from where we had been anchored across an isthmus yet it was 9.1 miles by boat!!  We were so close but worlds apart in the feel of the two places.  There are floating houses all around Shawl Bay.  The coast is too rocky for any construction.

I radioed in as we approached the marina but got no response.  It looked closed as there were no boats at any of their docks.  As we got closer, a young man came out to greet us.  He hadn't been listening to the radio.  While they are technically open, you would never know it.  Just about everything here either is in repair or doesn't work.  There is no power to the docks(I used our generator for power).  The water has been cited by the province as unsafe for drinking without boiling.  There is no hot water for showers let alone doing the laundry and only one of two washers sort of worked.  It was having a hard time dissolving the detergent.  Tracy changed over to a liquid on the second load.  Oh, they were $5.00 per load!!  Apparently, their season doesn't really start till July 1 and ends in mid August.  Six weeks total is what they plan for.  We are just really early.  

The ad for the marina reads:  "The meeting place". Lorne & Shawn Brown welcome yachters to their famous daily pancake breakfasts.  Their small store features fresh baked bread & cinnamon buns.  Pure spring water, ice laundry make Shawl Bay a "must visit" marina.

Now that is what the ad reads.  Sorry, no pancake breakfasts.  The store is closed.  No fresh baked bread let alone cinnamon buns and the pure spring water has been deemed unsafe for humans with out boiling and I already told you about the laundry.  All I can say is I hope it gets better by July 1st when their season actually opens.  Lagoon Cove Marina was way ahead of the curve if this is their competition.

Tracy did get the laundry done.  At least sort of.  It was done in stone cold water in a machine that didn't really agitate the clothes or dissolve the detergent.  I stayed on board and changed the oil as well as the transmission fluid.  Both had to be sucked out of their dip stick holes as there is no way to pull the drain plugs.  It take a long time to suck out 8 quarts of oil and two more of transmission fluid but it needed to be done.  I poured it back into the containers that had held the new oil as there is no place to dispose of it here.  We'll store it till we find a place that takes used oil.  The current theory is that oil should be changed every 100 hours and the transmission every 200 or once a season.  My owners manual says to change the oil every 200 hours.  I think I'll err on the side of caution and do it every 100 hours or so.  Better safe than having to replace an engine.

The propeller shaft seal started throwing out water again this morning as we were leaving Simoom Sound.  We slipped it into neutral and killed the engine.  Once the prop stopped, I checked it out(after draining the bilge) and all appeared to be fine.  We started up the engine and started off again.  No problems but I stayed in the stern cabin for about 30 minutes just incase.  There were no more leaks the rest of the way to Shawl Bay Marina.  I read and reread the owners manual off the internet and it advised pushing the metal ring that seals the fitting just a bit down the shaft to tighten the seal.  I unscrewed the ring and slid it down about 1/8".  We'll see if that makes a difference tomorrow.  We can't have this problem down the road as we are about to enter some nasty waters over the next few days and that is the last thing we want to be worried about.  Mother Nature will keep us busy enough.

We're off again tomorrow early in the morning.  I expect by 0600 to try and beat the weather and the winds that are expected.  If you don't get a blog for a few days, don't be surprised.  We are pretty much off the beaten track.  I'm using the marinas wifi($5.00/day).  It's got some decent speed to it where as mine won't connect at all.

Look for more of our continuing adventure when wifi returns to a neighborhood near me.

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 389 Some photos

Here are some of our photos of Simoom Sound.  The falls are Lacy Falls along Tribune Channel that we passed on our way to Simoom Sound.  

This is what this trip is all about!!
(don't forget that if you click on a photo, it gets bigger.)

Day 388 What it is all about.

As we sat on shore yesterday, it finally came to me that this is what this adventure is all about. As we sat on shore, there in front of us was the vast Canadian Rockies stretching as far as the eye could see and not another soul had crossed our paths for over a day nor would I expect one for as long as we stayed where we were. We had the peace and solitude we had been looking for for so long. We were alone in the majesty of nature. It took me back a few steps. This is what I have been waiting for for so long. Just the two of us and the world!

People have asked me what I wanted out of this trip ever since we started talking about it and my answer had always been "To be in a cove all by ourselves with no one around enjoying the peace and quiet and seeing the stars at night without any city lights". Yesterday, I think we finally arrived. Being in a small bay that can only be reached by traversing a Sound, and with the write ups for it not that great(they don't know what they are talking about)in the cruising guides, I think we could stay here another week and not see another person. There aren't even that many birds in here. We saw our first eagle of the area yesterday afternoon. Not even any sea gulls so far. The sad thing is that we will be moving on today to continue our journey but the experience of this little bay will stick with me for quite a while.

Yesterday started out cloudy and then broke into a magnificent day with bright sunshine and a few little clouds around the hills. It was so bright, we had to wear sun glasses and sun screen for the first time in quite a while. After lunch, we took off in Puff to tour our little edge of the world. In and out of little coves looking at streams slowly pouring into the bay. Trees, rocks and fish, both big and little, as they swam past our little dingy. We made our way slowly around the edge pulling up on shore at a rock out cropping and taking a short hike around the shore. You couldn't go inland because the land is so densely forested you couldn't penetrate it. Plus there was always the threat of bears in the area. We've been told to watch ourselves when we go ashore. We tend to make as much noise as possible when we pull in to scare any away that might be in the area. We traversed from side to side taking it all in. From the beauty of the forest to the stretches of forest that had been clear cut for the timber. That just made us sick to see some beautiful areas cut down to dirt and then left to mar the view. Some have regrown and covered and some are still just sticks and dirt. So sad.

Once we returned to Zephyr, I set about polishing some of the bronze on deck. The two dorade vents on the stern deck are now covered with bronze caps until we get South. I have been working on them on and off trying to get them nice and shiny. No real reason, just something to do. I've tried several commercial cleaners--Flitz and Prism Polish as well as several "home brews"-lemon juice mixed with baking soda. Salt mixed with vinegar and flour to make a paste to rub on. I even poured ketchup on them and let them soak over night since that was recommended at the Wooden Boat Festival by a local foundry in Port Townsend. Yesterday, I did the lemon and baking soda. That was rated as "very good" by Practical Sailor. I'd give it a fair at best. I rinsed off the deck and then tried "Miracle Cloth". It cut through a lot of the tarnish and really did a great job. It had been rated is "excellent" by Practical Sailor and they are right. The bronze looks great. Now some of the deck rings on the dorade vents for the other cowl vents farther forward don't look as good as the ones on the stern, but give me time and I'll get them there. Flitz, Prism Polish, and Miracle Cloth all promise that using their product will prevent them from tarnishing for a longer time. I've found that once shiny, coat them with Penetrol and they will stay pretty for much longer. I did our bow rollers months ago and they still look pretty darn good considering what they go through with salt water hitting them everyday.

All the cats came up on deck and enjoyed the day. Even Shadow, our 17 year old boy came up and strolled the deck--at least until Blue herded him back inside. He came out later and worked on his tan. It's not that easy for him to get up the stairs but he does alright. Snowshoe strolled but sat in the shade of whatever he could find. Blue just looked for something or someone to mess with. It was a beautiful day for all of us.

We're off for Shawl Bay Marina to get the laundry done and prepare for going around Cape Caution in a few days. From what I have heard, it is quite a trip.

Day 387 Into O'Brien Bay

We're off the grid again so no pictures. Sorry. With luck we'll be back on the grid tomorrow.

We left Lagoon Cove about 1010 and motored--of course wind in the wrong direction--North to Knight Inlet through the "Blow Hole"-a short cut from the Marina to Knight--that we had passed the day earlier thinking it was too shallow, and over to Tribune Channel to head farther North off the beaten path. We looked into Watson Cove at the North end of Tribune as a possible stop but it already had a sailboat in there so we left them alone and headed West.

We are getting far enough not only off the path and North that we don't see too many other boats other than crab and prawn fishermen. There were only two other boats in Lagoon Cove the night we were there. The cruising boats that we do see, we have normally seen before as we head North. One of the boats we saw (Important Business) at the Dent Rapids was also in Lagoon Cove several days later. Each of us is heading North, some just farther than others.

We passed by water falls as we made our way West down Tribune Channel trying to decide wether we would stop for the night at Shawl Bay Marina(time to wash clothes) or stop for a day or so at O'Brien Bay in Simoom Sound. We finally opted for O'Brien(50 51.343N 126 32.881W) and we're glad we did. It's lovely and there isn't another boat in sight. We figure that they all opted for Shawl Bay Marina. We had the place to ourselves!!

High forested mountains all around and so quiet that you can hear your voice echo off the hills as you talk. The water so clear that you can just about see the anchor on the bottom and that is 40 feet down. We dropped anchor and set it well. The wind was shifting in the opposite direction of our anchorage(pushing the stern out away from land) so we decided to do a stern tie to shore.

Puff was put in the water and Dragon attached to make it easier. We'd already decided to spend an extra day here it is so pretty and with the motor on Puff, we can explore the area. We put the spool of stern line on Zephyrs stern and rolled out a bunch. I tried pulling Zephyrs stern around toward the head of the cove using Dragon at full speed while pulling the line attached to her stern. She was having none of this and instead of her swinging, that was all I did in Puff. OK, next we'll try using Puff as a tug boat and physically put Puff's bow against Zephyr's stern and push her around. That worked better and she finally started to swing back toward the head of the cove. Luckily, what wind there was had just about quit.

I took the stern line and headed to shore as quick as I could and found a tree to tie up to. The wind came back up--not much but some, and Zephyr started to swing back away from the cove. With the line attached to shore, Tracy put the line to one of the winches and ground and ground and slowly brought Zephyr around again toward the cove. It was becoming almost comical at this point. Neither of us could help but laugh at all the work we were going through just for a stern tie. We're just glad there was no one else to see us work so hard to get such a small job done. We'd have been laughed out of the Sound.

OK, the line is now to the shore and Zephyr is tied up. The object is to get the end of the line back to Zephyr so when we are ready, all we have to do is untied it from Zephyr's stern and reel it back onto the spool without having to go ashore. So I had to get more line off Zephyr and around the tree so I could get back. We pulled off a bunch and I took off in Puff. Got about half way and ran out of line. Back to shore and reel off more line. Back to Puff and now I made it 3/4 of the way. Back to Shore for more line. This time 90% of the way. Back to shore. Zephyr was beginning to drift away from the cove and that was why I hadn't made it. Reel in the line to bring Zephyr's stern back where it belonged and back into Puff and I finally made it back to Zephyr. Lines were made tight and the job was finally done. We'd gotten into the bay by 1600 and it was now 1840. A long time for such and simple job. Again, we're glad no one was around to see us.

I barbecued some steaks for dinner with a nice bottle of wine. It was so calm, we could actually put out our DirectTV dish and see some television. We held rock steady for over three hours in our little cove. It was a clear night so we went out and watched stars for a short time--it's cold out there. I'm still surprised that I can't see the Milky Way when I look up. Not sure where it went to but I'm not seeing it. Anyone have a clue as to why? I don't. I could see it all the time in Port Townsend even in their parking lot.

Well, we're taking a day off from traveling. It's nice to take a breather.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 386 Into Lagoon Cove Marina

We left Boughey Bay about 1240 and made for the next set of rapids at the North end of the channel. Slack water was to be about 1400 but we got there about 1330 and went right on through. This one was so narrow that they put range makers on either end of the channel. Tracy stood behind me and looked at the one off the stern while I watched the one ahead. Got right through with no problems.

Up around Minstrel Island and into Lagoon Cove(50 35.882N 126 18.845 W). A great place to stop with very nice people to help out. We filled the tanks with water and tied up for the night. They have a get together every evening at 1700 where everyone in the marina brings some food and BIll, the owner brings in the daily catch of prawns for everyone to pork out on. He catches them everyday. We met up with several other couples plus the rest of the staff and had a great evening telling each other about ourselves and what each of us has done and where we are planning to go. It was a special evening as it has been quite q while since we have attending any kind of gathering like this. Most marinas just tie you up and take your money. Not here. They make the stop very enjoyable. Horseshoe pits and an exercise area(chop wood) are provided as well as a burn barrel to get rid of paper trash. Lots of trails for hiking and we even topped off the propane tanks while we were here.

Well, we are off North again today. Not sure where but we will find a place to drop the hook.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 385 Part two. Dead in the water again!!

We were up by 0445 to try and be underway by 0500.  Yeah, I know--that's darn early!!!  There was a reason for this madness.  It was not that we had that far to go today, it was the weather conditions along Johnstone Strait were to be the best in the morning with winds in the low teens--from the Northwest of course-the same way we needed to go and getting much worse 20 to 30 knots in the afternoon and we wanted to be where we wanted to be by that time.  So up we got and put on extra layers of clothes.   For being mid-May, it is still quite chilly up here.  If you add in the wind, it's cold.  Tracy had at least three layers of shirts and was smart enough to put on a second pair of pants as well as her Winter coat.  I had on two shirts and my Winter coat and a "Watch Cap" on my head plus insulated gloves.

I turned on the battery at the master switch for the "start" bank of batteries that are used to start the engine and pushed the button.  Just a bunch of clicks!!!  No starter!!!  Uh Oh!!  Down I came and into the engine compartment.  We'd had a few problems in the past with it being just a bit fussy to start, but I'd already taken the wires off the central hub of the solenoid and brushed with a wire brush and it had started the engine right up.  Not this time!!   Rats!!  Ok, out with the wrench and off with the nut again and pull the wires.   I'd already turned off the master switch for the "start" battery bank.  The last time I did this, I mistakenly touched the wires I was cleaning to the block of the engine and had sparks all over the place and it wasn't the Fourth of July.  There was some dirt and a bit of corrosion but nothing that could cause this failure.  I'd already checked to make sure that there was plenty of battery power.  Being the CEO of "Zephyr Power and Light"(not to mention Water and Sewage), I check the battery system many times during the day.  There is nothing wrong with being a bit paranoid about your systems on a boat while out cruising.  I got out my wire brush and cleaned them again and tightened them down again.   Back to the "start" switch(yes, I turned the batteries back on)and turned the key.  Just the rhythmic click of the starter again.  Off with the ground wires(yes, I turned off the batteries again).  Cleaned and re tightened.  Back to the "start" switch(yes I turned them back on again).  Again, just that annoying click- click- click of a starter that just doesn't want to engage.  There was only one wire left and it was the ground for the starter solenoid.  It looked alright(sort of dark but not bad) but I took it off--only a male to female type of attachment and slid it back on the male prong.  I turned on the key and Tracy pushed the start button on deck.  The starter turned but sparks flew from the grounding wire on the solenoid I had just re attached.  It was fried!!!

Finally an answer!!!  We were getting a bit concerned that here with no engine, it was going to be a long haul sailing back to a town that could get a good starter for poor Zephyr.  We typically have wind going the opposite direction from where we want to go.

Out with the rest of my electrical tools and wire fasteners.  This wire was at least 10 gauge which is good size but it has to handle quite a bit of power when it's in use.  I looked in my box of goodies and found ONE female fastener that would solve the problem.  Out with my new ratchet crimpers.  I snipped off the bad fastener and stripped the wire and slid on the new female fastener.  With only one, I made sure that before I started the crimping, the wire was securely in the hole in the fastener.  I would have hated to do the crimp just to have the wire fall out(I've done that before).  Not good form.  All the other fasteners I had were for much smaller gauge wires.   I engaged the crimper--really a cool new tool I picked up back in Seattle.  It makes a uniform crimp every time.

Bingo, it was on and tight.  You can see the new yellow fastener where it attaches to the solenoid with the red wire.   I turned on the key and Tracy pushed the start button on deck and vroom, Zephyr started right up!!  No sparks just a sweet purring engine.  Problem solved!!!  We were back in business and ready to go.  Thirty minutes late and with a bit of high blood pressure, but up came the anchor and we were off.

The two trawlers that had joined our anchorage last night had already left so only one sailboat was left as we pulled out.  With the engine pushing us at 6.5 knots we took off.  Of course the wind was straight at us as normal.  Down Sunderland Channel and into Johnstone strait.  Again, winds right at us.  While we had an ebb tide to help move us along, the wind slowed us down to the mid 5 knot range for the last part of the trip.  At least the waves were manageable--only about 1 foot for most of the trip.  Down the strait we went and pulled into Port Harvey on the North side and up Havannah Channel.  We finally dropped anchor in Boughey Bay(50 31.139N 126 11.125W)way down on the South side of the bay.  We were set by 1010.  A distance of 28 miles in just 4 hours 40 minutes.  Not bad.  

We got settled in and started going over charts for tomorrows trip.  We have another set of rapids up North to go through and needed to calculate the proper time(1340hours) to go into them.  We've gone through quite the learning curve on tides and currents since we started this trip.  You can't just set off any time you want--well you can, but it could make your trip a lot more scary and a whole lot longer fighting currents and tides as you try and go down some of the channels up here.

We figure on spending tomorrow night at Lagoon Cove off the Northwest shore of West Cracroft Island.  It sounds like a great place for the night.  Once that was setup, we both sort of crashed and took naps on and off through the afternoon.  It was cloudy and rained off and on so the best place to be was inside nice and warm.

Our "furr people" are settling in alright.  They have learned to no longer fear the engine when it starts but they still don't like it much.  Most of the time they sleep while we are moving.  Of course, they sleep once we stop also.  The thing they ALL hate is being thrown around by the waves we sometimes face as we move down the channels and straits.  We have made it a habit of closing off the door to the stern cabin where we sleep just to make sure they don't leave us little gift showing their dissatisfaction for what we are putting them through.  Many times while we are moving along--sailing or motoring, Snowshoe will come up into the cockpit.   Blue has just started doing the same thing.  Once we drop anchor, they are much better, coming up and out on deck for a stroll.  Snowshoe has taken over beneath the dingy as his personal "clubhouse".  He spends a great deal of his day out there just snoozing away.  Blue is always on the hunt for something else to get in trouble with--bug, bird or her brothers, she doesn't care but she is of the firm belief that this is her boat and the rest of us are all just her guests.  We have tried to arrange our day trips to put them through the least turmoil and waves and reassure them.  We are normally only on the move for 5 to 7 hours a day and with proper planning, it isn't to bad for them.  Yeah, we feel a good bit guilty about what we are putting them through but we can't imagine not having them here with us.  We've been told that life would be much more  simple for us once we left the United States if we left them home but we can't imagine life with out them on board.  

We don't know how long poor Shadow will be with us.  He's now 17 and gets thinner every day.  He can still get up the stairs and on deck for a tour when he wants but he mainly stays below.  He's happy and purrs all the time and that is what matters.   We know he is on borrowed time but it's great having him here with us.  Of all the three, he has gone through the biggest transformation since we moved on board.  Where he was once stand offish and would only let you pet him under his rules and timing, he now craves it all the time and we can't sit down without him joining one of us for more affection.  He has become quite the sweety.

Well, it's dinner time so I'll close for now.  More to come as we press northward toward Alaska.  We finally moved past the chart books and are now onto individual charts that we bought in Nanaimo a few weeks ago.

Have a great week everyone.

Day 385 Photos?

We'll see if I can actually upload some photos of recent stops we have made. 

 The first one is on our way up the Prince Of Wales Inlet on the way to Princess Louisa Inlet.  High mountains towered over us all the way up the channel.
The water
falls are the famous Chatterbox Falls at the head of the inlet.  You are surrounded by high rock walls and dozens of falls, some small and some huge.  Being there during the run off season, we were treated to many incredible falls.  The valley scene is looking out from the falls as the clouds settle into the inlet and stayed for the entire time we were there. 

The two pictures with sailboats were taken at Musket Cove where we stopped after leaving Princess Louisa Inlet.  We did a stern tie to shore(run lines from your stern to the shore and tie to a tree).  It kept us from swinging around the little cove.

The last two are of last night in Douglas Bay in Forward Harbour.  A delightful place with forested mountains all around us.  Many places we stop have had the sides of the mountains deforested by lumber companies.  Some have replanted, most have not leaving a large scar on the hill sides.  A disappointing  sight as we cruise through the islands.

And now you are caught up on some of the pictures of the places we have been so far.  We're still heading North though today was more West but tomorrow will be North.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 384 More rapids today.

We left Bickley Bay this morning at 0945 to make the Greene Point Rapids by 1100.  We were there by 1030 and just powered through.  There wasn't much current by that time so it was easy.  The bigger problem was the winds that bucked us the whole way down the channel.  Up to 20 knots right at us.  There was no way we could take advantage of the ebb current to speed us along facing that kind of wind.  We still made it to Whirlpool Rapids by 1245 and with a 2 knot current pushing us through, we made it just fine.  Tracy stood out on the side rail and gave me directions on where the whirlpools and eddies were so I could avoid them.

The day started out with sprinkles and just went to cloudy till we got to Douglas Bay(50 28.93N  125 45.29W) in Forward Harbour.  The Sun slowly came out to play and it got sort of warm at least for about an hour and then the clouds came back with the chilly temps.  Oh well, you can't win them all.

We had our anchorage all to our selves for almost 30 minutes before another sailboat followed us in.  They had been in front of  us through the first rapids but we passed them on the way to the second.  Two trawlers came in later in the afternoon.  We finally had our first anchorage to ourselves last night but not tonight.  Forward Harbour is a gorgeous place with tall tree covered mountains all around us.  There is a pebble beach on shore.  One of the first we have seen so far.  I'd love to show you some pictures but my internet connection is really bad tonight.

Once anchored, I went about some tasks I had been putting off.   First, I washed down the deck. Anchoring just about every night can bring on deck a mess of mud, shells and gunk.  Last nights anchorage brought on some really dirty mud.  I'd scrubbed the chain as it came up but you can't get it all so out with the bucket and brush and off with the dirt.  

 The oil in the diesel injector pump needed changing. This is the gizmo that pumps the diesel fuel into the injectors that makes the engine run.  If you have been following my blog for a while, you will remember that this is a piece of equipment on the engine that had gotten missed during regular service for several years.  It still functions just fine and I was advised that since the engine runs just fine, just leave it alone and change the oil regularly.  Some say every 50 hours, some say to do it when you change oil--every 100 hours.  I changed it out today at 83 hours.  The tank normally holds 12 ounces and I got about 16 out when I changed it.  That means some diesel fuel is blowing past the seals in to.  I can get it rebuilt for about $750.00 or just leave it alone and continue to change the oil at regular intervals.  I think I'll save the bucks and do the service.  The engine seems to be just fine the way it is.  As we will hit the 100 hours on the engine tomorrow, I'll probably change the oil once we get to where ever we end up.  Our destination depends on the winds and weather.  If it is blowing to much in the Johnstone Strait, we will take a side channel and go around it if we can.  If it is not too bad, we will end up in either Port Neville or Port Harvey.  The weather will tell the story and the destination.

Since I was in the engine room, I tightened up several hose clamps and wire brushed some corrosion off some pipes that didn't look good.  Salt water will eat away an any metal given the chance.  I flushed the fitting with fresh water once done and will keep an eye on them.

Next, I pulled off the air filters.  On cars, they are made of paper and sit inside a can on the engine.  On Zephyr, they are a foam material.  One had a good bit of oil in it as one of the hoses on the crankcase cover hooks onto the top of the filter and blows exhaust gas and oil onto it(yuck).  Into soapy water and on to a towel to dry over night and they will be just fine for tomorrow.

Next, the raw water strainer(metal tube) got pulled and inspected.  It filters and keeps out the stray floating stuff in the water that might get sucked into the engine through the through hull fitting.  It needs to be inspected every so often depending on the quality of the water you float through.  We've been through some dirty water over the past few weeks.  Once cleaned and rinsed, back in she went. All done till the next time.  You don't want stray stuff getting into the engine cooling system.

After dinner, I read one of the books I bought on engine servicing and trouble shooting.  I learned a bit more of what to watch out for and what to do if some thing goes wrong.  It also went into what you should have on hand as a backup incase some thing fails.  I'll be ordering some more parts once we get back to civilization.  I have a good bit already but not all that I need.  There is always room for more parts!!

Well, it's off to bed as we are out of here at 0500 to try and beat the winds and the bad weather that is forecast for tomorrow afternoon.  We could be at our next destination by noon or earlier if it turns bad sooner that we hope.

More to come.  We're almost to the North end of Vancouver Island.  We've traveled 522 miles so far in the last 6 weeks.

Day 3 somethng. I don't remember.

I'm off line writing this and can't remember what number day we are. Oh well. Heck anymore, it's hard to remember what day it is of the week.

We're in Bickley Bay(50 26.708N 125 23.705W) after traversing the rapids at Yuculta, Gillard Passage and Dent Island.

We left Squirrel Cove at 0630 with the plan of reaching the rapids just as they went to slack water--no current running. Not being sure exactly how long it would take us we made sure to give ourselves plenty of time. It was 18 miles and we would be heading up against the incoming tide. We got there about 0945 with about 30 minutes before it was to go to perfect slack water. We were still facing about a 1 knot current flow. We'd been passed by a large crab fishing boat and had 4 more boats behind us. The crabber headed in as the water was just about still and this gave us the shot at making it to Dent Rapids and "Devils Hole" which is a really bad place in the middle of Dent Rapids that has a big reputation of throwing boats around, just as the water started its ebb flow. We breezed right through. Perfect timing. Both of us had been concerned about going through these rapids but timing is everything. Get there at slack water or don't go through.

It was cloudy and sprinkling just about the entire way to the rapids so we had to keep going out and getting the water off the dodger windows so we could see clearly. We flipped up the center window(plastic) as we were about to enter so we would have a really clear view. Tracy stood just outside the cockpit and told me what was coming as we went through. Eddies and whirlpools as well as dead heads(floating logs). It helps to have a lookout during a passage like this.

We were lucky enough to have been advised of what to expect by Randi and Sharon on Blue Heron. They're the couple we met in Port Of Brownsville back in January. They've been going through these rapids for years and really know the ins and outs of passing them by. Our thanks go out to them. It was a big help since we are just about rapid "virgins". We'd been over a few-Dodd and Malibu, but these have a big reputation as being bad. We'll face them again on the way back but at least be better prepared since we have already gone through.

We were in Bickley Bay by noon and started going over charts as to which way to make our way out to Johnstone Stait so we can continue North. We still will be going over two more rapids today--Greene Point Rapids in the Cordero Channel and then Whirlpool Rapids in Wellbore Channel. Again timing is everything. We'll be leaving here about 1000 to make Greene Point by 1100 which is slack water. We'll then ride the outgoing current over to Whirlpool and drop anchor in Forward Bay just North of it. The winds in Johnstone Strait are supposed to be not only bad--15 to 30 knots over the next few days but also exactly from the direction we need to be heading. We may spend a day or two in Forward Harbour. I guess time will tell. I'll write more once we get in where ever that is.

Sorry about the lack of pictures but since I can't connect to the internet I can't add them till I am. With luck, I will be able to post some shortly.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day 382 Into Squirrel Cove

We took off early this morning --0730 from Musket Island for Squirrel Cove on our way to the Yaculta and Dent Rapids.  Two of the worst rapids along our route but it's impossible to get North with out going through some kind of rapids.  They may not be these but there are others that are worse and can run a current of over 16 knots if you hit them at the wrong time.

We made a stop at Westview next to Powell River on the trip North to fuel up and get more water(showers tonight!!) as well as a few groceries--fresh veggies mostly(plus some wine of course).  We also had lunch at a Thai restaurant that we happened upon while walking back to Zephyr.  Nice and spicy.

Coming into the harbor was fine.  Just a small breeze that didn't affect our arrival.  While getting fuel, it shifted and increased so that it would blow us off any dock we tried to get to.  I though Nanaimo was a tight marina.  This place squeezes them in like sardines.  It was darn near impossible getting Zephyr in without the help of the Harbormaster handling the dock lines.  There was no way we could have done it without him.  The winds that came up were going to make for great sailing after we got back.  Yeah right!!  As soon as I got the sail cover off and we left the dock the wind shifted to the Northwest--where we were headed to and later dropped to zero.  The poor engine had to take us the entire way again.  

After we left Westview while doing the after engine startup checks that I do every time we get under way, I found the coupling joint at the propeller that keeps water out as it turns was leaking like a sieve.  Water was flowing in at an alarming rate and filling the bilge quick.  I had Tracy slow the engine so I could get a better look and get the bilge pumped out.   While I had already bought a replacement emergency pump switch for the bilge pump, I haven't gotten around to installing it.  If I hadn't checked, it could have gotten really bad.  With the engine slowed and the transmission in neutral, I moved the fittings around some and dried it off .  The water seemed to have stopped.  I had Tracy put it in gear and off we went nice and dry.  I stayed in the aft compartment with the boards off in stared at it for the next hour or more just to make sure it was alright.  The last thing we needed was a flood.  It pays to do checks on equipment as you go along.  you never know what you might find.  The only thing I can figure out is that all the gear shifting I had to do in the marina-- and there was a lot of it--had jared the fitting just enough with the forward, reverse, forward, reverse until it move just enough to allow it to leak.  It's a magnetic fitting that keeps the water out.  There is a rubber bellows(full of water for cooling) around the through hull fitting that has a magnet on it and then another magnet that attaches to the shaft.  The magnetics hold the water out by making a seal between the two.  Many boats use a box stuffed full of waxed thread that wraps around the shaft and it keeps the water out.  This is supposed to be much better.  It's the first time I've seen it do this.  I'll be checking it regularly--as I already have been.

We got into Squirrel Cove(50 08.412 N 124 55.220W) about 1750 after a 41 mile trip today and dropped the hook along with lots of other boats.  There are 12 in the cove now and there will probably be another one or two still show up later.

Tomorrow, off to the rapids!!!

Day 381 Back on line.

 We've been off line for the past two days so I hope you got caught up on our progress.  We made it to Princess Louisa Inlet and had a nice two days there.  We didn't see the Sun at all, but we sure had some sprinkles and rain.  

We left this morning at 0700 to make the slack tide at 0800.  It worked out just fine.  It's four miles from Chatterbox Falls to the Malibu Rapids and the speed limit is 4 knots so all was fine.  Of course we got passed by a power boat going just as fast as he wanted.  He blew past us and another boat that was ahead of us like we were standing still.  We saw him a few minutes later fishing.  Now there is a sign at the falls that all hook and line fishing is banned in the inlet to allow the resident fish to repopulate.  I guess he didn't care about that either.  It's people like that that give power boaters a bad name.  We ran into another large power boat on his way up the Jervis Inlet going very fast.  I radioed him to try and get him to slow down as he passed but apparently his wasn't listening and through up a wake big enough that we had water splash over the bow of the boat and that takes so power.  Once past us, he slowed down a bit for the two boats behind us but still never answered the call on the VHF radio.

We got through the rapids at the perfect time and motored down the Jervis Inlet to Musket Island (49 43.716N 124 12.789W), a journey of 43.3 miles inside Blind Bay.  We had to pass through Telescope Passage to get there.  It's a narrow passage on the North side of Blind Bay.  There are some rock you also have to worry about.  Just as we entered this narrow passage, we were greeted by a power boat just whizzing along.  After he passed us, along comes a fishing boat loaded with clams on his way out of the bay.  This all happened in the span of just a few minutes and of course it was in the narrowest, rockiest part of the passage.  We didn't see another boat the rest of the way into the inlet.

We dropped anchor about 1500 and lowered Puff into the water so we could do a stern tie just to play it safe.  There were a few other boats(several with stern ties) and we went along with the crowd.  No reason to chance swinging into them in the night-- or day for that matter.

Once secured, we rowed over to Musket Island of a nice walk and a bit of climbing.  It's a very rocky sided island.  We expect to be here just tonight and off for Lund(fuel and water) and Squirrel Cove at Cortes Island for the night.  We will be going through some powerful rapids in the next few days.  One of the bad things about making this passage.  

Look for more when I next get internet.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 380 Rain in Princess Louisa Inlet.

It rained and it sprinkled just about all day today. The clouds settled into the inlet and were almost right down to the water line in the morning. With the rain, more waterfalls appeared around the walls that make up the inlet with some of the peaks reaching 8,000 feet in height.

We launched Puff early in the afternoon during a dry spell for a trip to MacDonald Island about half way from Chatterrbox Falls and Malibu Rapids. There were oysters, clams and mussels in the tens of thousands everywhere you looked. We saw people filling buckets with them right on the shore. One woman was using a garden claw to dig up clams. They stop the harvesting of them at the end of May and none can be taken again till the end of September. If you come during the Summer, they're off limits. Right now, you can pick 30 a day if you wish.

As we headed back to the dock, power boats were coming over the rapids in the inlet. Some big and some small with only one sailboat. The largest power boat powered past all the rest to make sure he got the best space at the dock--right out at the end. All the rest had to come in around him. Most docked on the inside of the dock next to shore. A total of six new boats showed up today. The dock is pretty well full with eleven of us tied up. I was hoping for a nice sunny day but it was not to be. If tomorrow dawns sunny, we will stay, but if it is cloudy again we will take off back to Harmony Islands for the night.

We checked the tides and we will need to be at Malibu Rapids by 0811 to get through at slack tide. That means we will have to leave here at about 0700 since there is a speed limit of 4 knots and it's four miles from here. It will be an early day unless the Sun shines and then we will stay. We pulled Puff back on deck just in case we leave. We don't want her hanging off the stern as we transit the rapids. It's one less thing to worry about.

If we leave tomorrow, we should be at Harmony Islands by lunch time. I guess we will see what tomorrow brings.

Day 379 Princess Louisa Inlet

We left Harmony Island at 0630 just to make sure we would be at The Malibu Rapids by 1450 as that is the time when slack tide happens and if you miss that, we'd have had to wait till today at 0750 to go through. With there being just about no place to anchor any where near the rapids it was critical to get there in time.

As we headed up the channel and as we rounded a turn, suddenly there was a lot of sailboats--12 of them heading out of the channel. It was the group of Canadian we had run into at Boho Bay a few days before. They had all gone up to Princess Louisa Inlet. We found out later that they had taken up the entire dock and partied into the night. Glad we missed it. We knew they had partied hard at Bo Ho Bay.

We'd figured in the outgoing tide thinking that would slow us down. Nope, we sped up. It made no sense to us but we were making 7+ knots and had to slow down once it became evident to us that we would be there almost three hours early. We arrived at Deserted Cove-- the only place where you could even try to anchor and wait for the tide to change by noon. Down went the hook and luckily it caught. We had winds coming up the channel at about 10 knots so we were just fine there. We saw another sailboat heading up the channel several miles behind us. Then along comes two power boats. We wouldn't be alone crossing the rapids.

By 1300 hours, all three of them had vanished. We wondered if the time schedule we had was incorrect so we pulled up the anchor and headed the 6 miles farther up the channel we had left in our journey. As we got closer, we saw all three tied together just off the inlet entrance. So we powered back and SLOWLY drifted up toward the entrance. Behind us comes another sailboat just zipping along under sail. As he got closer, he dropped his sails and zipped past us under power. He just had to be in front of us. It was still an hour before it was set to be safe to go through. He was in a lot bigger hurry to get there than us.

About 1410, the two power boats that had been waiting took off for the rapids even though there was a good 40 minutes before "safe" time. They powered up and pushed through. The current going over the rapids can reach 9 knots. If we had tried, we would have never gotten close. They had a lot more power than we did and made it through. At 1430, the sailboat--a Beneteau 41 decided he just couldn't wait any longer and he took off for the rapids. We could see they were still running outwards but off he went. The other sailboat we had seen earlier--a Bucaneer 32, started up his engine and took off too. Ok, in for a penny in for a pound so we joined the group.

We all radioed that we were coming in just in case another boat was coming out. There is no room in there to pass. I pushed the throttle forward with Tracy keeping watch as we went in. The Beneteau got through fine. Slow but fine. So did the second boat and while our speed was dropping we got through just fine. After we arrived at the docks at Chatterbox Falls, I spoke to the skipper of the Beneteau. The tides tables are based on the tides at Port Atkinson with adding 35 minutes to their low tide and that is when you should cross the rapids. This guy says he disregards the 35 minutes and just goes through. We just got suckered in by another person that thinks they know better. We could have just as well waited the extra 20 minutes and gone in at the perfect time. Lesson learned--you don't have to follow the crowd.

As we entered the inlet, we were greeted by lots of falls and high rocky cliffs. It was just like being back in Colorado only they were higher. An incredible sight to see. I'll have to post the pictures later as I'm using a different program to write this blog and it doesn't allow me to add them.

We thought we might tie up to one of the buoys at MacDonald Island but only saw one of the six that were supposed to be there so we slowly motored over to the dock at Chatterbox Falls and tied up along with about 7 other boats. We later found out that of the 6 buoys, 5 had rotted away and the last one wasn't that safe to hook onto. We're glad we chose the dock.

As we docked, as boaters will, one of them came over to take our dock lines to help us in. We started talking to some people and found out they knew Randy and Sharon from down in Brownsville that are now somewhere up in Alaska. We'd even seen their boat--a trimaran--while we were getting fuel in Roche Harbor. We know we have been out here a while as we are beginning to see the same people as we enter different harbors and coves.

The Beneteau that had gone through the rapids before us pulled up to the dock so we took in their lines. Apparently the skipper was teaching the others on the boat how to sail and handle the boat. Tracy fended the bow away from the dock as they came in a bit close. She was amazed how light it was and how easy it was to push the bow away from the dock. Try that with Zephyr and it is not that easy a job to move her. Not a lot of weight behind the Beneteau.

So we are now at Chatterbox Falls(50 12.275 N 123 46.178W) for the next couple of days. Yesterdays trip of 39.6 miles took some time and we want to take a hike or two while here. Of course it rained over night and is still sprinkling. We'll just wait for the Sun to come out No rush.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 378 Waiting till tomorrow.

Todays forecast had been for rain and for once they got it right.  It was raining when we got up and did so for most of the day.  With that in mind, we put off the journey up to Princess Louisa Inlet till tomorrow.  No big rush.

The timing has to be just right when we reach the infamous Malibu Rapids.  They can have currents of up to 9 knots passing through them.  No an easy journey.  It's not a long pass by any imagination.  Probably only a few hundred yards by the look of them in photos we have seen but impossible to pass if you hit it at the wrong time.  Slack tide-- when there is no current--is set for 1450 tomorrow so we need to be there ready at that time.  The will require us to leave here about 0700 just incase.  We will be heading up the channel as the current is against us so that may slow us down a bit.  We'll see tomorrow as we set out.  We figure we can make at least 5 knots against the current and that should put us there by 1400.  We'll just sit and wait for the appropriate time and then go through.  What is beyond is supposed to be incredible.

Today was just a day of relaxation.  We read and planned more of our trip North.  Since we need to be back in Port Townsend by the end of July at the latest, we now figure to make it as far North as we want, we may just go straight through till we get there and then slowly make our way back South.  This way we will be in better control of our time schedule.  If we get delayed on the return, we may have to bypass some places to make sure we get to PT on time.  We have a bit more equipment to install and a car to take back to Colorado for storage.

I'm amazed that I can still connect to the internet up here in the wilds of Canada.  I can't believe that we will have them in Princess Louisa so it may be a few days before you hear from us again.  I guess we will see tomorrow--weather permitting. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Day 377 Off to Harmony Island

We left Boho Bay by 0900 and took off with several of the other boats that had been at anchor with us right behind us.  Off to the East past the South tip of Texada Island and then up it eastern shore till we could venture across to the Agamemnon Channel.  That's an 8 mile long short cut to get farther up the Jervis Inlet.  It was a lovely day for the trip.  Some Sun and some clouds but not much wind which was fine since we were motoring along.  It didn't get cloudy till later in the afternoon.

We passed a few fishing boats and several crab buoys but other than that the trip was uneventful.  No complaints there!  The shores were rocky and there were lots of trees all over the hills.

Once we got to Harmony Islands(49 51.806N  124 00.920W) a distance of 32 miles, we circled them checking to see the best place to drop our anchor.  There were two poser boats in a protected cove that we checked out as they were just about to leave as we made our first trip around the island.  It was too shallow for Zephyr.  Farther down the channel between the island and shore was another place that was shallow enough for us.  The bad thing was that there was already a boat near there.  We decided to drop our anchor in front of him and drop back but do a stern tie to shore so we wouldn't swing over and hit him if winds came up.  It was the only place we could find with depths of less than 50 feet. 

Since the dingy was still on deck, we went back out into the bay and lowered Puff into the water.  With her tied up to our side, we went back to where we wanted to anchor and dropped the hook.  I let out 120 feet of chain and she bit in just fine.  Down into Puff and a quick row ashore.  Up the hills dragging line with me to put around a tree and back to Puff and back to Zephyr.  We now have a line stretching from the stern starboard side cleat to the shore and back to the port side cleat.  This way, when we are ready to leave, all we have to do is untie the line from one side and pull it in.  No rowing ashore and untying from a tree.  Much simpler.  It was the first time we have done it.  We keep a 600 foot spool of line at the stern just for this.  The spool fits right in the space where the ladder drops so it's perfect.

Once we were set, we lowered Dragon onto Puff and she stated right up--unlike the other day.  There was a huge waterfall that we passed as we neared Harmony Island.  We took off to see it closer.  We could get right to the bottom of the falls.  They were the first falls we've seen this trip.  

It had been quiet and peaceful till 1930 hours and then the winds picked up to almost 20 knots.  Not knowing how secure the anchor was, I sat in the cockpit just incase.  I'd taken a compass bearing at the bow to a specific space on shore.  During the blows, if that heading changed, it might mean that our anchor had dragged.  Even at 20 knots, the anchor held fast.  By 2100, it was over and the winds dropped to just about zero.  With this being our first time with a stern tie. if the anchor had broken loose, I would have had to start the engine and cut the stern line to shore so we could get off the rocky shore.  We didn't want to hit the shore and we certainly didn't want to hit the boat next to us.  
Out thanks to Christopher Carrigan for the information on the tree shown in our post a few days ago.  They were eaten by a Teredo Worm.  Boy, they sure can make a mess of a nice piece of wood.

We're not sure if we are off to Princess Louisa Inlet tomorrow.  It will depend upon the weather.  It's raining now and that is the forecast for the next few days.   We also have to plan the trip around the times of the currents coming and going at the Malibu Rapids that lead to the inlet.  The plans are written sand.