Hello friends. This is a running description of a trip to the Canadian Gulf Islands in our 45 ft sloop, “Exergy” (means ‘available work’—a Thermodynamic term.)
This is the first extended trip in this boat. I began right after each of us completed a number of fairly stressful, but satisfying milestones. Lori’s practice was busy, she traveled to Bozeman for her Ph.D., and Ian finished school with outstanding grades. Rod completed a number of intense consulting/advise-giving projects, gave the COCC Commencement speech, and received a major award at the OSU-Cascades graduation, with another shorter speech.
Needless to say, it was very good to spend Father’s Day with Ian, Mary, Bailie Jo, CJ, and Keith Hutchinson, then get in the car and head for Anacortes. After 8 hours, we arrived, unloaded all the gear, went shopping, and packed Exergy with the bicycles, kayaks, clothes, and groceries. Dinner with Terry Stoupa—our friend, and boat manager—then to bed.
Next morning, we left our slip in Anacortes at 6:30 am and navigated down the narrow channel to Guemes Channel. As we rounded the point, and headed down Guemes Channel to cross Rosario Strait, it became clear we had a small problem. Dense fog covered the 6 mile wide strait. I made the decision to use rusty IFR flying skills, turned on the radar, and used radar/GPS to navigate across the channel “blind.” At one point, a ferry showed up on radar, crossed to port of us fairly visible ¼ mile away, and went on its way. It was actually a little tense, and a lot like flying in the clouds.
We hit the currents/tides just right, passed through Thatcher Pass, between Shaw and Orcas Islands, past Jones, Speiden, Stuart, and across Haro Strait into Canada. We entered Bedwell Harbor on South Pender Island at about 11:30 am after 30 miles or so. A great passage.
We cleared customs in Bedwell, and only had to give up apples and nectarines. Then back out and around into Plumper Sound and into Port Browning on North Pender Island. This is a great place, with a “just right” bar and restaurant, and very large easy to enter and exit slips. No current, little wind. A beer, dinner, then to bed early.
Next morning, Wednesday, we left Port Browning, went out into Plumper Sound, and found 8 to 9 knots of wind out of the southeast—perfect. .We put up the sails, and had a great sail up Plumper Sound to the north on our way to Montague. You can see boat performance on the photo of the instrument panel. On the way, we called our friend John Cooper to get advice on how to put up our very large new sail, a “Code 0.” We haven’t deployed it yet, but plan to right pronto. More on that later.
We traveled up through Navy Channel, across the mouth of Active Pass, and into Montague Harbor. We tied up without incident, and hiked down to the Marine Park to check it out. There we found a mud flat, which is important because one of my favorite sayings, after making one of my frequent mistakes, is “I should be shot on a mud flat at dawn.”
The final event was boarding the “Hummingbird Cafe” shuttle bus. This is driven by “Tommy Transit” an ex-Vancouver transit bus driver. Tommy hands you a percussion instrument as you board the bus, then plays old rock and roll over very loud speakers—the passengers accompany and Tommy plays the instruments mounted over the driver’s seat. The cafe was great, with Gavin as our waiter—a psychology student University of Victoria. Then bus back to boat.
To bring us up to date then, it’s now the morning of 22 June, and I’m writing this after a run down to the marine park, and readying to leave Montague Marina for Telegraph Harbour.
More to come………