Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ucluelet to Sidney Spit.

2nd September. Ucluelet to Effingham Bay. 12 miles
Summer is now behind us and Autumn is starting to show signs of approaching. The leaves on the trees are starting to turn and we have had a couple of cooler evenings. I do hope we get an Indian summer to help ease us into winter.
 Having said our goodbyes, again, to the Kirk, Kirsten and David and Stephanie we filled up with water and made our way into Barkely sound and the Broken group of islands. We looked forward to exploring this popular area in the kayaks and hiking trails.

Forest trail to the beach

Japanese Tsunami debris

The following morning we took the lovely hiking trail to a beach on the east side of the island that is reputed to have an old Native settlement. We spent pretty much the whole day on the beach. Katya making a structure out of wood which was adorned with flotsam, jetsam and an array of shells collected from the beach.
In the evening we lit a fire on another beach near the anchorage and invited everybody in the anchorage (6 boats) for a bit of a get together. Kirk, Kirsten, David and Stepanie set up the fire with us. We had a great evening chatting to everybody. We lit some more of the Chinese lanterns that Amber had bought over from Scotland, which we all loved. Thanks Amber! We made our way back to the boat in the dark and the phosphorescence was spectacular coming off the outboard motor of the dinghy.
The following day Jude went for a very long kayak trip around the island and Katya and I went for a less strenuous dinghy trip around the island, in search of more beach trinkets. It was an early night for all of us as we would be leaving early in the morning for our long trip down the Strait of San Juan De Fuca.
5th September. Effingham Bay to Murder Bay. 80 miles
We had a night of little sleep: a nearby motor boat were up partying late into the early morning, running their generator and shouting loudly. When awoke at 4:30am and their generator was still going and the crew were belching loudly. (See comment below regarding their sinking) I watched the guys on Linger Longer leave the anchorage whilst I had breakfast under the stars and prepared to get under way.

Sunset in Effingham Bay
We departed about 1 hour before sunset. There was some light and thankfully no fog but instead a beautiful morning with strong phosphorescence in the water from our bow wave.
Had enough sunset photos?
Dawn in the Pacific
The forecast was for 15-20 knot westerlies for the first part of the trip , which did not occur and the 10-15 knot westerlies going down the strait were actually easterlies. No sailing today, although we did motor sail some of the way to help with the fuel economy – I am trying to save fuel until we get back to the US where it is cheaper than in Canada. We pulled into Murder Bay, in Becher Bay and dropped the hook in shallow water for a peaceful night’s sleep after a long day.  

6th September. Murder Bay to Victoria 16 miles

Departing in thick fog at 8:30 am we navigated our way around Race Rocks in strong currents and using Radar. The sounds of fog horns emanated from the greyness all around us. At some points in the journey we were only doing 2.5 Knots over ground.

The fog was very thick and as we approached Victoria Harbour we could hear the fog horn of a ferry and see it on the radar approaching but we could not see it.  As we came within ¼ mile of the harbor entrance the fog lifted thankfully and we made our way to the slip in front of the Empress Hotel.

We spent the next couple of days re-provisioning, meeting Ed and Janis (S/V Cuisine) for a Chinese meal and visiting the wonderful Museum of BC, which had an exhibition on Scott’s race to the Antarctic and an IMAX movie of Shackleton’s ill fated trip to the Antarctic along with it’s excellent permanent First Nations exhibit. We spent pretty much the whole day at the museum.  

First Nations masks. Museum of BC

View of James Bay Victoria from the Museum

8th September. Victoria to Sidney Spit. 25 miles.
The fog was lingering around outside the harbor and the winds were light but as soon as we went around Trial island the fog lifted. We decided that this was the ideal opportunity to raise the spinnaker for this light downwind sail to Sidney spit.
What a zoo Sidney spit is! Having been used to quiet anchorages it was a bit of a shock. Dozens of boats and hundreds of crab pots to weave in and out of.
Kirk sent me an email letting us know that he had read an article in the newspaper mentioning that the motor boat in Effingham bay had sunk off the cost of Vancouver. Apparently swamped by waves? Luckily the crew were rescued within the hour of calling the may day but were found clinging to the beer cooler. I wonder if they were breathalized by the coast guard?

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