Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There's Goats on the Roof

Sandra was clearly rooting for number 440 with her wolf whistles at  he warm up forthe Bath Tub races. Not being a local, I put my money on 440 too. The start was right in Nanaimo Harbor and it was already blowing hard. Note the big blue and yellow Bath Tub on right is the official start line committee. 
It was so rough when the Tubs got into the Strait  of Georgia that at least half dropped out or had to be rescued by their chase boat. 440 didn't win, so I lost interest fast. Here's the first place winner approaching the beach. These guys have to hit the beach, then run up the beach 50 yards and ring a bell. Their legs are so beat up from the trip that lots of them jump out of the tub and do a face plant.

Next we were off to Coombs. The big attraction in Coombs is the country store with goats on the roof. Leave it to the  Canadians to develop a ploy like this to make you a successful entrepreneur! 
Note the goat on the right eating ice cream.        
Goats trimming the store roof.

Next day we sailed off toward Tribune Bay on Hornby Is. It got late and it looked lke it would be blowing stright down into the achorage there so we headed into False Bay on Laqueti Is. Lasqueti is known for its hippy, back to the earth,counter culture and export/import businesses. We're real estate shopping now...
Mural on the Lasqueti pier.
B.C. couldn't be better than on this trip-- we've had bright sunshine, blue skies, golden grasses on the hillsides and warm breezes since we arrived and we've appreciated every day of it. Add to that the good friends and million beautiful anchorages here and we begins to wonder why we would ever head south.
Oh, Canada!
Chris & Paul

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Waiting for the Bath Tub Races to begin

We headed up slowly through the Canadian Gulf Islands with a few nice light air sails. Anchored in Pirates Cove Park, DeCourcy Island. We went ashore to look for the bare chested lady with the whip who used to run the place when it was a cult commune. No luck. It was pretty sunset with light winds.
About 11:30pm the wind decided to pick up. A couple of power boats started to drag anchor. The smaller one got themselves reset pretty quickly. The bigger one with baby blue Christmas lights around the cabin spent about 45 minutes using their noisy bow thruster to try and hold their position. Then they spent about another hour re-anchoring, ending up with them right on top of us. I finally went back down to get some sleep about 1am.  About 45 minutes later I heard their engines roaring again. Not a lot of sleep that night for me; Chris, on the other hand kept true to form and slept like a baby.

The next day we headed up to Naniamo via Dodd's Narrows. The Narrows has some wicked currents through out, maxing out at about 9kts. We headed through a little early, just before absolute slack tide.The currents were still pretty strong. Here's the middle ground on entry followed by the swirls on the exit.
We visited our friends Don and Sandra in their new house in Nanainamo. Great view from the deck and kitchen. They treated us to some hot showers and good BBQ. Chris and Sandra have been friends for about 150 years, since their California hippy beach girls days.

The anchorage in Nanaimo is pretty packed now. Sunday is the start of the International Bath Tub races. Contestants come from all over the world to compete in racing a bath tub (yes, a real bath tub) glued to a small surfboard hull with an 8hp outboard stuck on the back. Should be interesting since the start is right behind the anchorage. Here's the anchorage from New Castle Island. We are somewhere about mid-pack.
 The seaplanes take off from the anchorage too.

The anchorage is created by a bite in New Castle Is sitting in front of Nanaimo. We circumnavigated New Castle Is. on the hiking trail. Here's Chris examining the world's largest Madrona tree on the west side of the island..

The night before the Bath Tub races the city puts on a great fireworks show. No cheaping out on the explosives.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stuart Island Black Mamba

We had a nice sail along the international border between Canadastan and the USA. It was a light air day, but we wanted to see how well our third crew member works. Her name is Matt. Kinda strange for girl. Matt is a Sailomat 601 windvane. Windvanes appear like Rube Goldberg machines at first glance. In actuality they are graceful self-steering  machines that drive your boat day in and day out without using any electricity or fossil fuel. (see mechanical Hands free sailing is the way to go, especially on some of the long passages we have to look forward to. Here's Matt earning her rum ration on Jeorgia on the way to Stuart Is., with a piece of kelp in tow:

Stuart Island is at the NW section of the San Juan Islands. It has two great anchorages, Reid Harbor and Provost Harbor. We anchored in Provost. In the morning Chris got me up early to start the death march out to Turn Point Chris's favorite place in the San Juan's. Turn Point is an 1890's era light station that marks where the international border 'turns' to the south.. On a lucky day you can stand on the cliffs and look directly down on the Orcas as they pass by. No Orcas this time. Here's the view from the porch of the light keepers house.
    Stuart has a great one-room school house that is still in use. I had never noticed the totems on the side of the school before.

On the hike back to Provost Harbor we came across this Black Mamba just off the main trail. These are the deadliest snakes in Africa. Chris saw a dead one earlier this year when she was working in Malawi. Can't imagine what they are doing on Stuart Is. The North American ones have coloring similar to garter snakes.

Next morning we crossed over to Canada and cleared in at Bedwell Harbor. We anchored off and spent the night. In the morning we invested two loonies each and had a hot shower at the resort pool.

Tonight we are at Montague Harbor, carefully planning our next leg.

Paul & Chris

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hay, where's that water coming from?

We had a little stream of continuous water in the bilge. We could tell it was more than normal bilge water because the bilge pump was going off regularly. We have a Celectron bilge counter. It monitors how often and how long the bilge pumps run over a number of days. You setup conditions for it to blast out an alarm such as the high water alarm, which is particularly helpful with our shallow bilge.
With the boat recently loaded down with all of our cruising gear the ass end was low in the water and it was pushing up water through the rudder tube. There is a flange at the top that can be used to tighten down the packing. It requires emptying the cockpit locker and crawling back to the rudder. I headed back in
and snugged up the 8 bolts that hold the flange on. It seems to be water tight now.
That's why we do shake down cruises -to see what we can break. We'll see what's next..

We are out at Sucia Island now. It is weekend there are lot of boats out here. The anchorage is huge and could easily hold 100 more boats. It cracks me up when people complain about how crowded Sucia is. We are here on a peak summer weekend, and it is really pleasant to go take a hike on the island trails. We were at a BBQ with my friend's 80-something dad a while ago. He used to sail from the Puget Sound along the Inside Passage to Alaska during the Depression. We were talking about Sucia and the fun trips he used to have here. He said they quit going over to Sucia because it was getting too crowded. His daughter asked him when was the last time he was at Sucia. He said 1952!

While cruising around Echo Bay on the dinghy today we saw this mommy river otter and her pups in training.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Another San Juans trip

Got some great sailing crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This can be an ugly trip when the wind is against the current. Other times it is a mill pond. We had the tides with us and a nice light breeze that let us sail from Port Townsend all the way to Spencer Spit on Lopez Island.  In a couple of weeks we will have to figure out how to head out the Starit and get to Neah Bay. It has been blowing westerlies the last week that would make the trip rough.

Next day we headed to Bellingham to meet up with my daughter Meghan. Spent the night in a free slip at the Bellingam Yacht Club, after impressing the dock crowd by backing down the fairway into the slip.. Meghan and her boyfriend Tyler came by for a pasta dinner and a beer and some good BS'ing. Tyler is just getting into embedded programming, so he likes to hear my horror stories from the field.

Next morning we headed out to Sucia Is. It was blowing pretty good when we left, but it ended up a motorboat trip near the island. After we got anchored in Sucia we spent the afternoon entertaining ourselves by helping this Tartan 34 get off the rocks.

They were headed though a really tight pass that the skipper said he'd been through twice before. Two out of three ain't bad.

This little guy was sunning himself all by his lonesome and seemed a bit perturbed that we wandered by.

Chris and I need to stay in the San Juans till we drink down our wine supply to level that allows us to clear into Canada.Each time we clear in they come down and check our supply. I think we are on some Home Land Security list.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Port Townsnend, the economy still sux

48*06.7N, 122*45.3W  Water temperature is 50*F.
The water in PT is 4 degrees colder than it was when we left Edmonds. I guess we aren't in the tropcs yet.

We took the dink in for a walk around PT. Passed by the locals' bar we used to grab a beer at when we are in town and there was an eviction notice from sheriff on the door.

Here's the schedule for the Water Street Brewery. Maybe the busniess hours contributed to the demise.

We walked down to Point Hudson harbor and saw they had torn down the breakfast joint there.Bad economy or not, PT is a cool town with a lot of local flavor and wooden boat history. The new Northwest Maritime center is really nice. PT is worth the drive up if you are ever in Pacific Northwet


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

One show and Goodbye

We made it out of Edmonds at 8:30 this morning. Here's the empty slip to prove it.
 If you look at the mast head on the boat in the picture above that is mid-right of our empty slip, you can just see the bald eagle who was rushing us out. Here's the close up.

We had a great sail today. Light southerly winds blowing us up to Port Townsend. With the strong current with us and the help of our asymmetric spinnaker we made it in by about 2:30pm.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Here's your hat, What's your hurry?

My sister Liz and old friend Steve put together a little going away party last weekend. Fun to see old friends and have them help us out the door.

Our nephew Kevin went to town in the cooking department. Not much left over.

Now the process is to get the boat packed, get the refrigeration working again and make sure the batteries are batting correctly. Here's the cockpit mess left over after we spent 10 hours organizing and packing the large cockpit locker.

I turned the comments on the Blog on so my Aussie mate Graeme could publicly harass us.

My friend Steve from Caveman Bars dropped by the boat yesterday to give us a couple of boxes of Chris' favorite snack bar.

When are you leaving?
We are still on schedule to leave a few days ago.