Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A little fuel miscalculation excitement

We spent another lazy day in quiet False Harbor, Lasqueti Is.
Saw the latest in brick boat design in the bay while on an evening row about.

We headed out for a close hauled sail to Hornby Island. Took us past Sisters Island Lighthouse that stands on a couple of lone rocks in the middle of the Straits of Georgia. It doesn't look it from this photo, but we had a nice little blow, about 15 knots on a close hauled tack.

Bull Passage


Tribune Bay on Hornby has a gorgeous 1/2 mile long beach and was packed with locals enjoying the sunshine when we arrived. The water temperature had not made my mandated minimum temperature of 70*, so I didn't go swimming with the locals. (It was only up to 67*.) After a night in Hornby we dead on reach sail back across the Straits of Georgia, over the top of Laasqueti Is and down Bull Passage on the back side of the island then across the straits to Pender Harbor on the mainland.

Pender is a completely enclosed group of bays with a small town and a lot of high end housing.We went into the town of Pender Harbor to pick up some of that delicious cider they make here, while there we did some car shopping on Pender for our friends Di & Ken. We found the Vanagon you've been looking for (that's Canadian $)
BC is pretty liberal in a lot of ways. Take a look at this boat anchored in Pender Harbor. Looks like they updated the Canadian maple leaf flag!

Passing the Merry Island Lighthouse
We hit 19knot winds on the nose coming out of Pender the next day and scurried into Secret Cove. The next day however we had a nice all-day downwind sail to Howe Sound. Were we anchored in the unfortunately named Plumper Cove.
Sunset over Plumper Sound, with smoke from the BC wildfires

Next day our sailing luck ran out. No wind. We motored for about an hour through Howe Sound and under Bowen Is. The night before I'd checked our fuel gauge and saw 1/4 tank. As we sounded the bottom of Bowen Is going up toward the busy ferry lane into Horseshoe Bay the engine did a short, mournful stagger and quit. We quickly set the main and drifted. I went below, lifted the engine cover and looked. Looked god to me. I checked the fuel gauge. This time I got a flash light and looked a little closer. It was on E. We had listened derisively on the VHF to so many calls to the Coast Guard on this trip declaring emergencies from power boats that had run out of fuel, there was no way we were going not get ourselves out of this predicament.

First plan was to use the really light wins to sail into Snug Harbor on Bowen Is, anchor under sail and take the dink in for fuel. A quick call to Snug Haarbor harbormaster determined there's no diesel there. The closest fuel stop is Horseshoe Bay. This is a medium sized bay that is a major stop for BC Ferries (big ones) and has a small marina. Three years ago a giant BC Ferry lost control and drove the boat through the marina to slow it down. Took awhile to actually slow down.     

This incident was on our minds... Next plan was to go into Horseshoe Bay under sail, pull on the north side of the marina and drop the hook. As we got close to the steep land near the harbor the light winds got really fluky. It seemed a little unwise to be sailing at 0.2 knots in front of ferries. We turned and slowly sailed back out of the harbor mouth. Finally, the ultimate plan was hatched. We put the outboard on the dinghy. Tied the dink fore and aft to the side of the boat. This way we can use the dink as power but steer with the boat's rudder. The only rub to this plan was that the dink engine only wanted to run close full on. It would stall anytime we slowed  it own. After getting a head of steam on Jeorgia was moving at close to 3 knots.
Here's the errand boy in Horseshoe Bay bringing back the vital, life giving nectar for our engine.
We headed into the harbor and found out that the anchorage area didn't exist anymore, being covered with mooring chains for very large, sail boat eating barges. We spotted an open outside dock behind the seaplane dock. It looked pretty straight forward t get into. The only issue was controlling the boat speed. We were moving to fast, so at some point we'll need to kill the dinghy engine ad drift.  On the approach Chris jumped into the dinghy and killed the engine. Then she leaped out to grab dock lines.  I swung the rudder back and forth to burn off speed. In the end, we landed a little on the fast side and some hard pull ups on the dock lines to avoid ending up half way down the dock and harming innocent boats, a la BC ferry style.

Apollo Ono entering the harbor (see him skating on the side of the ferry?)
We used our magic $4 automatic siphon to empty the jerry jug into our tank.

Then it was a motor into Vancouver city.   

Paul

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