Monday, June 18, 2012

Into Canada

Into Canada

After leaving Lopez Island we sailed the short distance to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, a place we have been to before a few times. FH is the largest town in the San Juan Islands and has a reasonable supermarket and DIY store for the repair supplies required. The sail to FH was glorious. Steve and Sandy shared the helm and we sailed up the San Juan channel in glorious sunshine and about 15knots of wind and enjoyed the scenery.

Once docked in FH we headed to the local pub for a meal and a some much needed liquid refreshment. 

The next day, sorry for my vagueness I have lost track of time, we did some chores - cleaning the boat, food shopping, replenishing propane etc and prepared for our trip into Canada. Destination Bedwell harbor on Pender Island.

We left the dock at 9am on Friday, fueled up and headed off to Pender Island, about a 5 hour sail through the islands. On arrival we checked into customs and immigration. Not a painful experience compared to checking in and out of US customs. Once done we picked up a mooring buoy and took Luda ashore for a walk etc. The dingy motor is still playing up so I had to take off the carburetor to strip it down to clean. (it did have a lot of dirt in it – which will probably mean the fuel tank needs cleaning)

Jude and I then went exploring in the Kayaks. The weather has been warm and sunny with the occasional overcast day but I have still managed to get sunburned. No rain yet but I am sure that will come!

The girls cooked up a feast for the evening and we lounged around on deck reading, relaxing and generally mucking about.

More systems failures – the forward shower drain pump became blocked. Steve and I spent an hour tracking down the culprit – a blocked strainer – pulled it off and cleaned it. Sounds easier than it actually was. We are getting to know this boat very well.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early for our trip to Ganges harbor on Saltspring Island where we have heard that there is a great Saturday market. The winds were brisk but on the nose so we motor-sailed most of the 15 miles.

Docking was an interesting experience as the winds had picked up to 20 plus knots and we were moving along at 2 knots without power or sail with the wind pushing us onto the dock. We decided to stay but I requested an inside berth so we had to move to a rather tight inside berth that would present a challenge to get out of. First we had to get of the dock we were being blown onto which tested our crew skills. It was not easy and the tender suffered a squash but is OK.

Ganges is a pretty town and seems to have a strong artist community – Birkenstocks were commonplace. More food shopping at the market.

Katya has been drawing madly and the cabin has been decorated with her pictures. She has also been spending time shrimping and collecting these amazing purple starfish (and returning them).

We stayed overnight in Ganges and left early in the morning destination Nanaimo on the east coast of Vancouver Island, 35 miles away. When we left there was no wind so we motored for about 45 mins. The wind then started to pick up, 5 knots, 2 knots 10 knots, 5 knots and then 20knots. We were soon ripping along at 8 knots with a decent heal on the boat and reefed sails. Now we were making good time, too good as a matter of fact as we had to time our approach to Dodd narrows and near slack water as the current rushes through this narrow channel at up to 9 knots with strong whirlpools. We therefore reduced sail to slow us down to 3 knots, and made lunch and enjoyed the sunshine.

We arrived at the Dodd Narrows when the tide was still flooding at 5 knots. Having seen another sailboat go through we decided to take the plunge and go for it. All looked benign as we entered. Very little current. Then as we looked at the exit point we could see the strong currents and whirlpools. Full throttle and we were through fine. Our first of many transits of narrows to come. Now onward to Nanaimo which was another 5 miles.
Nanaimo will be our last major provisioning stop before we head up to Desolation sound.

More photos have been loaded onto the photos page.      

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