Saturday, July 4, 2009

At dock

Safely at home dock. Interesting navigating in the dark with fireworks all about - and recalcitrant electronics due to low voltage. Rob did a great job in trying circumstances.


Toasted charging wire from the alternator to the house bank. House bank charges the start battery. We are motoring for home and will likely arrive at our marina just after the Fourth of July fireworks over the bay.

This has not been an easy trip.

image 226

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thetis Island

At Thetis Island. Limited internet. Saw First Promise heading north through Dodd as we headed south. Bummer we couldn't share an anchorage in Nanaimo. More southing tomorrow. Engine troubles are fixed, it's sunny and very little wind.


We are in Nanaimo after a rough day yesterday. Had cooling system troubles with the engine that reoccurred at an extremely inconvenienc time. Rob is working on the engine now and thinks he has the problem solved. Will update later.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Geek Minute: Sailing By Computer

Ok, I know a number of sailing purists will scoff at this (STILL after all these years of marine electronics), but increasingly, I find it VERY handy to plot courses and steer electronically. Especially on those hot windless days in the PNW. When you are intent on getting someplace in particular, who wants to sit there and manage the tiller whilst smelling diesel coming up over the transom? On these sorts of the days the typical method of navigating is:

1. Consult navigation software, plot a route to destination
2. Upload route to GPS
3. Connect GPS to autopilot and activate route
4. Turn on autopilot
5. Sit back and relax (but keep an eye on things!)

The truth is, in calm water on a windless day, the GPS and autopilot can pilot better than any human. The GPS will detect and send any cross track error information (say, due to cross currents) and the autopilot will correct for it. Thus keeping the boat on the shortest course to your destination better than a human.

Now when the wind is blowing, it is a different story. With the short chop that builds in the PNW, the autopilot has trouble keeping the boat pointed in any consistent manner. But, with sails up, that is when it is fun to be at the helm.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Blind Bay

Blind Bay

Originally uploaded by s/v Learning Curve

TIME: 2009/07/01 20:19
LATITUDE: 49-43.66N
LONGITUDE: 124-12.84W
COMMENT: Anchored in Blind Bay

Arrived in Blind Bay Marine Park last night after a pleasant motorsail south down Malaspina Strait with NW winds behind us. About an hour out from Blind Bay, the forecasted winds of 15-20 knots arrived, which made the approach to Blind Bay a little nerve-racking. And, to top it off, it took a couple tries to set the anchor in the rocky bottom once inside the park. Janet says we have been here before, but I don't remember. I had to take the dinghy around the anchorage til I noticed something that jogged my memory.

Today, we had somewhat of a plan to head to Lasqueti/Jedediah Islands across the strait on the other side of Texada, if the winds in the forecast did not materialize. Well, they did. I took the dinghy out and poked my head around the corner to see some nasty whitecaps in the strait. We have been in whitecaps more than once in the Malaspina Strait and it can be quite bumpy. So, we are staying in Blind Bay for another night.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Boat Gremlins: Ghosts in the Machine

This is somewhat of a rant. A couple months before this trip we noticed that the knot meter wasn't working. This is the thing that measures the speed of the boat through water. Not really a big deal I thought. I figured the paddle wheel transducer on the underside of the boat is probably fouled with growth such that the paddle wheel would not turn. So, a week before departure, we had our diver clean the bottom of the boat and clean around the paddle wheel to make sure it could spin. He verified with us that yes there was some growth and that is was all clean now and can spin freely.

Well, when we got underway, it still was not working. The knot meter read zero when we were clearly doing five knots according to the GPS. Still not a big deal, as I know that with the engine running at 2500 rpm, we do about 5 knots through water, and we can switch the display to show SOG (speed over ground) as measured by the GPS, which is better than nothing. The difficulty with no speed through water is that it will be harder to evaluate the strength of any currents we may be in (lots on this trip).

Besides the knot meter, the masthead wind instruments have NEVER read accurately, despite many attempts to manually calibrate the system. So, all for the first week I am grumbling about the sailboat electronics and how I DONT want to spend more money on new electronics, despite how nifty the new ones are. It seems like we installed these electronics yesterday, but it has been almost fifteen years.

The system is made by SIMRAD and is the IS11 line of sailboat electronics. Both of us were grumbling due to the fact that SIMRAD discontinued this line 6 months after we bought it and introduced the new IS15 line. We have a feeling the retailer knew this, but didn't tell us, and was trying to unload the IS11s before the new IS15s arrived. All this, plus the fact that SIMRAD no longer services the IS11s and they no longer have SPARE PARTS available! Aaargh! Well, the IS11s were still better than the old Coastal Navigator knot meter and Signet Marine depth sounder they replaced.

Then, suddenly, two days ago, the knot meter starts working! Who knows why or how. Guess something exorcised the ghost in that machine. The masthead wind instruments are still as screwy as they ever were. That ghost is still there.

Rough Day At The Lake

TIME: 2009/06/30 01:16
LATITUDE: 50-07.49N
LONGITUDE: 124-42.52W
COMMENT: Tenedos Bay, Desolation Marine Park

Took the dinghy ashore, with the dogs, to hike the trail to Unwin Lake. Crusing guides said there were trails to waterfalls and bathing pools. Well, the first trail we followed, along the south side of the lake, did not lead to anything. Now, we keep forgetting that when they say "trails" they mean something that still may have some overgrowth. They are not nicely groomed and obvious. So we back tracked and discovered the trails branches we missed on the way up. Found the bathing "sun rock" and let the dogs swim around a bit. Nice sunny day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Arrived: Tenedos Bay, Desolation Marine Park Part 1

TIME: 2009/06/29 15:47
LATITUDE: 50-07.50N
LONGITUDE: 124-42.53W
COMMENT: Tenedos Bay, Desolation Marine Park

Arrived last night. The attached picture is our view from the back door (stern). Sheer rock cliffs and a rocky island on either side of the boat. While we have been to this area before (Prideaux Haven anchorage is just the other side of the hill) this is the first time we have been to this anchorage. We are one of only four boats. As with Prideaux Haven, this place is quite popular in the high season. We will be staying another night to take advantage of the small "boat population". This afternoon, when it gets warmer (hopefully) we will take the dogs and hike up to a lake that supposedly has bathing pools and waterfalls. We kind of wish we had this weather when we were in the Broughton Islands last week.

Communications Testing: HF Email While Motoring

Just a test to see how well TX over HF will work with engine systems running. Will be trying a local PBO land station (VE7RAH, Sooke, BC). If this picture comes through, the red arrow indicated the relative magnitude of the current AGAINST us right now, which is about 4 knots. Which means we are barely crawling though the engine is running at normal speed.

TIME: 2009/06/27 20:37
LATITUDE: 50-12.07N
LONGITUDE: 125-22.18W
SPEED: 2.8
COMMENT: Seymour Narrows

Airmail info:
sys: WinXP/656/991MB/12.49
modem: PTC-IIex/COM9/57600/USB/1500/3.8
radio: dCOM/Icom-CIV/COM5/1200/A/00/nml

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Campbell River

We're back in Campbell River. Left Small Inlet noonish in the rain. Seymour Narrows was a little more exciting this time, with tugs towing barges as part of the increased traffic. Don't have a plan for tomorrow yet, but we need groceries so won't be making an early exit.

We're off to have a restaurant dinner. I've warned the cross dock neighbors about the howling, I hope the dogs stick to their normal short performance as we leave the boat...

Communications Update

This is a test of something new. While Wordpress (the blog hosting site) will not recognize pictures sent as attachments via Airmail (sent with HF radio), this is being sent to the Flickr account (that hosts the trips pictures) which should then forward the pictures and text to Wordpress as a new blog post. We will see how this works.

Now, as to the pictures attached. One shows the front face of the Pactor modem which handles the digital communications via HF radio. Normally, it has two connections, one to the radio, and the other to the computer. The radio connection handles the RX/TX modulation between the modem and radio. The computer connection (serial) handles the data to encode/decode to and from the modem, which subsequently gets sent to the radio as modulated tones, which is what actually goes over the air.

A big problem with computers and radios is the radio frequency interference (RFI) generated by the computer. The radio energy emitted by the CPU often reduces the radios capability to pick up signals. One way to combat this is to reduce the amount of physical connections to the computer as a wire between the two is a prime path for RFI to travel.

We have eliminated one connection between the computer and modem by using a Bluetooth serial port adapter (shown in the picture with a blue light). This takes the place of the otherwise physical serial cable between the computer and modem. This dramatically reduces RFI produced by the computer. Another advantage of this setup is that it does not require a physical COM port on the computer. Our little mini-ITX only has one on the mother board, and four on an expansion card. Three are already taken up by the masthead GPS, the navigation electronics, and the CI-V interface (used to control the ICOM HF radio). The Bluetooth COM port is defined in software, not hardware, so there are not physical hardware requirements of the computer (save for the USB Bluetooth dongle which we already have for other things).

Day Something: Small Inlet,Quadra Island

I guess this is getting into cruising mode - I don't know what day this is. Well, I know it's Friday June 26 but is it day 13 or day 14 or?

We are at Small Inlet, Kanish Bay, Quadra Island. We left Echo Bay yesterday in unpredictable weather and water conditions, tired of dockside life amidst big power boats (although it was good to be there when it was blowing 30+ outside the bay). It turned out to be not so bad, a little bumpy and rain, rain, and cold rain. We retraced our steps down Retreat Passage and turned east at Knight Inlet, heading back towards Chatham Channel. I went into what I now call 'Guidebook Gridlock', overwhelming myself with weather and anchorage information searching for a great place to stop and a great (preferably warm and sunny) weather forecast for our passage east on Johnstone Strait. Neither was to be had and I got myself completely stressed out. Not so fun to be around, I'm sure.

With the end of Havannah Channel in sight, and Johnstone Strait looming with forecasted 30 knot westerlies, I chose to stop at Port Harvey. A BCBN ham had been mentioning a new marina there. By the time we wound our way into the bay, and I had stopped obsessing over guidebook recommendations, we dropped the hook to settle in. Some folks from an adjacent boat "Osprey" came over to say hi, and I bought a copy of her book. That's a story for another time.

Today we left Port Harvey around 8:45 heading east on Johnstone with forecasted 15-20 knot northwesterlies. Conditions were good although we had a bit of opposing current. Rob has routed us through Race Passage, a section of Johnstone Strait that the guidebooks were all doom and gloom about. I tried to relax and we had a good transit all the way here. Tomorrow we are going back through Seymour Narrows to Campbell River to re-provision and get a restaurant meal. Note to self: do not rely on Broughtons area marine resorts for much in terms of groceries.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Leaving Echo Bay

Weather forecast is still iffy. Lots of unknowns and choices to make. I'm particularly stressed in this sort of forecast in unknown waters. Don't know where we'll be tonight yet.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Echo Bay

Raining even more this morning. Jake escaped early for a walkabout. Gales are forecast for midday today, so we're probably not heading out for awhile. The rain may be interfering with the marina's WiFi, or they've cut us off for overuse!

Update: the weather is only getting windier (if that's a word) so we are staying here again tonight. We've heard that Knight Inlet is nasty and it was blowing 35 knots in Spring Passage.  It was also said that five sailboats in Waddington Bay had trouble getting out this morning.  The wind is certainly gusting through the marina and some of the larger boats are struggling to dock even with bow and stern thrusters.  Not surprising as we are getting occasional gusts of over 25 knots.

With the rain easing and a reset of our masthead WiFi bridge, we're back online.  Today's a good day to reach either of us via email.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 11: Echo Bay, Gilford Island

Woke up to light rain that didn't let up all day. The weather forecast keeps calling for high winds, but I'm figuring out that, while it might be blowing in Johnstone Strait, that doesn't mean it's blowing here in the Broughtons. We motored over to Pierre's at Echo Bay for the evening, thinking it might be windy. Not so much, but we haven't let their WiFi connection cool off since we arrived.

Jake has been leaping off the boat onto the dock and going exploring. Up to this point, he's been good about staying on the boat, but he's jumped off three times this afternoon.  Bad humans! Thankfully it is a 'dog friendly' place that's essentially an island.  In my pre-trip planning,  the guidebooks talked over and over about how busy marinas like this one are during the season. I assumed that the season included June. Turns out the season up here is really July and August, so we're early enough to get in at the more popular places whether it be marinas or anchorages. Of course, now that I've said it, we'll find crowds the rest of the trip!

I wanted to see Billy Proctor's museum while we are here.  He's a 'Raincoast' native, now in his 70s, who has a self-constructed museum of artifacts and cool stuff he's collected in his years living and fishing in this area. He's written a couple of books on his life and the area, and when I asked him if as a child he ever expected to be an author, he just chuckled and said "I didn't go to school". You wouldn't know it from his museum, he's collected everything from 8000 year old Native Peoples stone tools to 1910-era ocean floor telegraph cable.  And seems to know the story of each of the hundreds of items.  I think both our Dads would have a ball here.

Current plan for tomorrow is to move on, destination unknown.  But the lure of  internet access is strong, so it probably won't be an early departure. I still have three or four hours of computer time due, Rob's been uploading photos like mad since we arrived.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Day 10: Waddington Bay, Bonwick Island

Left Potts Lagoon this morning around 9 AM. Overcast skies and cool, but no rain. Worked our way across Clio Channel to the entrance to Beware Passage, a section of water notorious for concealed hazards. I am amazed that Cook and Vancouver brought sailing vessels through here over 200 years ago, under sail alone with no charts whatsoever. We came through at low water, just a bit after slack, so we could see some of the normally hidden rocks. Electronic charts with WAAS-enabled GPS makes it easy, but I still want to be up in the bow watching for anomalies.

We had several knots of current against us so it was slow going. Still, anchorages up here seem close together compared to our mileage days last week. Passed two abandoned First Nations villages, both with the characteristic white shell beaches that are ancient middens. I read today that the pH of the shells preserves artifacts, which is why middens are such an archeological treasure. During our transit, the skies cleared and temps rose, even Knight Inlet was barely rippled. Forecasters are predicting a big weather change Tuesday and Wednesday, so we may not keep our sun. The peek at Queen Charlotte Strait we saw around Seabreeze Island looked good, but it can be a nasty stretch of water in the wrong conditions.

Turned northeast into Retreat Passage while debating our destination. We're low on provisions (AKA lunchmeat and beer), and have heard that Echo Bay has a good store (and internet!). Rob turned us into Waddington Bay to have a look, and we decided to toss out the hook, finagle stern tie and settle in. It's only about 10 miles to Echo Bay, and we can't decide if we want to stay at the marina there or provision/shower/laundry/email and move on to another anchorage. That's a decision for tomorrow now. It's very pretty here and an eagle was perched in a tree just a few yards off our stern most of the afternoon.

Rob went fishing with Sucia out among the islets outside the bay while I straightened out a knitting project in the sun in the cockpit. As they came back a few hours later, Sucia fell off the dinghy as they approached LC. She chose to swim to the sailboat, rather than to Rob in the dinghy. So much for her recall training! Since she was in her canine PFD, I could just barely reach the 'suitcase handle' on her back and pluck her aboard. And was rewarded with a saltwater shower as she shook herself off. Later Jake got some land time on a little islet where he found something glorious to roll in. Dogs sure know how to enjoy the moment!

Day 9: Potts Lagoon, Cracroft Island

TIME: 2009/06/22 13:37
LATITUDE: 50-33.64N
LONGITUDE: 126-27.23W
COMMENT: Potts Lagoon, Cracroft Island

Stayed in Potts Lagoon for another night. Yesterday, we were hoping to get a bit north to Waddington Bay. This requires navigating Beware Passage which is a narrow channel strewn with a number of submerged rocks, some uncharted. The wind really started blowing yesterday morning so we decided to stay put as we did not want to deal with the wind AND dodging rocks at the same time. As it turns out, a number of boaters on the radio nets aborted their plans to move due to high winds, so maybe we made the right decision.

Spent most of the day relaxing and taking the dogs ashore to one of the little islands in the lagoon. Janet took the dogs in the dinghy and explored an arm of the lagoon. Spotted a bear along the shore (looks to be a black bear from the pictures). Apparently the dogs did not even notice.

Right now (following morning) things are pretty calm and overcast skies. Will try and get underway before 9am.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 8: Potts Lagoon, Cracroft Island

TIME: 2009/06/21 15:50
LATITUDE: 50-33.64N
LONGITUDE: 126-27.23W
COMMENT: Potts Lagoon, Cracroft Island

Got a late start from Lagoon Cove yesterday, so we just went up the channel to Potts Lagoon. According to the people on Ocean Mist, the small islets across the channel here have indian cave paintings and a portion of an otherwise buried indian war canoe can be found. It is a bit far for our dinghy, especially if the wind picks up, so I dont think we will be able to explore over there.

Potts Lagoon is well protected and has a few floating homes anchored along the shore line.

Today, we will be trying for Waddington Bay.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Day 7: Lagoon Cove, East Cracroft Island

TIME: Saturday, 2009/06/20 15:45
LATITUDE: 50-35.89N
LONGITUDE: 126-18.84W
COMMENT: Lagoon Cove, East Cracroft Island

Made our way to Lagoon Cove from Maltilpi Indian Islands yesterday afternoon during slack water through Chatham Channel. The transit looks more difficult on the chart than it really is. Toughest part is keeping the range markers aligned from the south, but that wasn't too bad. Made a left through "The Blow Hole" into Lagoon Cove Marina.

Lagoon Cove Marina is owned by Bill and Jean Barber. We tied up in time for "Happy Hour" at 5 pm when the boaters get together and hang out for a bit. Caught up with Pat VE7GZZ whom we met back in 2002 in Maple Bay (south Vancouver Island). She used to be one of the net controllers for the BC Boaters net back then and is now helping out this season at the Lagoon Cove Resort. Also here is Bob and Marilyn Hale, publishers of the annual (and locally legendary) "Waggoner Cruising Guide", aboard their Tollycraft "Surprise".

Nice little place here. Showers, rest rooms, fuel dock and a small store with fishing gear and apparel swag. When visiting during happy hour, be sure and ask Bill for a "bear story", you will be in stitches by the end of it.

We are done "pushing north" as we are now in the Broughton Islands. Throughout the next week we will be taking it easy before we need to consider turning south. After showers and a fuel top up, we may shove off for Waddington Bay, not too far away.

Maltilpi Indian Islands

TIME: 2009/06/19 18:41
LATITUDE: 50-33.55N
LONGITUDE: 126-11.26W
COMMENT: Maltilpi Indian Islands

Anchored at Maltilpi Indian Islands while we wait for slack water at Chatham Channel (around 3 pm). We departed Douglas Bay early this morning at about 5:30 am in order to beat the current and strong winds forecasted in Johnstone Strait. Current was with us most of the way and the strong winds had not appeared. It was mostly calm, cloudy and drizzly. We turned out of the strait at about 10 am just as the winds began to fill.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Douglas Bay, Forward Harbour

So we woke up in Thurston Bay Marine Park after a relatively pleasant overnight anchorage. We decided to get underway somewhat early so we could make Green Point rapids at slack water and Whirlpool rapids on the ebb. This morning, when I posted the earlier blog post, the radio blew a fuse. I was quite irritated as I just rewired the radio the week before departure to fix problems with low voltage that caused the radio to shutoff during transmit (I had been designing and planning that fix for a year lol). I wasn't irritated that the wiring didn't work, actually it worked fine. What irritated me was that I "under fused" the radio with a 10 amp instead of a 20 amp fuse. And, I didn't have a replacement 20 amp fuse, anywhere on board (or another 10 amp for that matter).

So we left a little earlier hoping to make a diversion to Blind Bay along the way, hoping their little store would have replacement fuses. Nevermind that we were buzzed at the anchorage by a Canadian F/A-18. So much for quiet anchorages. Well, Blind Bay didn't have the fuses. So with some creative rewiring, the radios are running with an 8 amp fuse. Which is ok as long as I watch the power levels on the radio.

So here we are at Douglas Bay in Forward Harbor after transiting Green Point and Whirlpool Rapids. We will need to get underway early-ish (by 5:30 am) and hurry up to beat the current in the small portion of Johnstone Strait that we must traverse. Then we need to slow down and anchor somewhere to wait for slack in Chatham Channel to make way for Knight Passage. We should be somewhere off Knight Passage tomorrow night. Just to the west will be the Broughtons (Broughton Islands), the ultimate goal of this trip.

P.S. My fishing license starts tomorrow. Pray to the Atlantis that I will catch something, or whomever the god of fishing is.

Attached a picture, not sure if it will make it to the post.


As we pass Shoal Bay and have a brief WIFI connection. Heading to Forward Bay, but we need to stop at Blind Channel since we need AGC fuses. Oops. Will be hitting Whirlpool Rapids late. Hmmm.

Technical Note: Communications

Having checked things in Campbell River, it is clear that we are out of range for APRS. If you click the "via APRS" link on the right you will get a position report that is fairly dated (before we arrived in Campbell River). This is due to lack of repeater stations in the area. And there are know known station north of here. So APRS will not be having an update position for a while.

The SPOT tracker (click the "via SPOT" link on the right), should be updating as this is using low earth orbit satellites to pick up the tracker. It should be showing us somewhere near LATITUDE: 50-21.07N, LONGITUDE: 125-19.05W. Where we are now, in Thurston Bay, we have no means of checking (we have no cell phone service here).

So, if any readers out there can verify we are tracking via SPOT, please send us email at and let us know. Note, while we can post to the blog (via email) we cannot read any comments posted by readers until we get internet access.


Anchored in Thurston Bay Marine Park

TIME: 2009/06/18 03:17
LATITUDE: 50-21.07N
LONGITUDE: 125-19.05W

Last night we were in Campbell River. As we had to wait till slack water at 2pm to transit Seymor Narrows, that gave us time to go ashore and pick up a few things from the store. At Discovery Marina, there is a large shopping center adjacent to the marina. No big walk. You literally exit the ramp to the docks and there you are. All the typical strip mall businesses like Starbucks. Plus big stores like Zellers and Canadian Tire. So I picked up a cheap wrist watch (forgot mine at home), fishing license (was feeling very optimistic) and some food stuffs.

At about 12:30 pm we left the dock and topped up the fuel tank on the way out. Now Discovery Passage is the place where the two currents "feeding" the inside waters of Vancouver Island meet. The northern current via Johnstone Strait and the southern current from the Strait of Georgia. They both meet in discovery passage. Given that the passage is very narrow, the currents can become very strong and small slow boats, like ours, are best to transit at slack water. And you need to time things just right as you only have about 20-30 minutes to transit the narrows before the currents begin strengthening. Also, this is the route sailed by all the commercial traffic taking the inside passage.

Well, we crossed the narrows without incident. And save for a couple fishing boats, were were pretty much alone. No big deal.

Three more hours north and we anchored at Thurston Bay Marine Park to slow down and figure how to proceed. We are near the northern most point we have traveled in previous trips. Weather in Johnstone Strait can be tricky.

More to come.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Departing Campbell River

Leaving Discovery Harbour Marina heading toward Thurston Bay Marine Park. We need to stop for fuel on the way out, other provisioning is complete. Seymour Narrows slack at approximately 2 PM.

You Meet the Nicest People on the Internet

On our first night out we hooked up with Roger in the Flat Top Islands. I met Roger over the Internet on a sailing forum and later at our home port's yacht club about a year ago. Roger, a Canadian/Kiwi, owns Bath Island, part of the Flat Top Islands, near Silva Bay, BC.  I gave him a heads up that we might be in his area. From his front window, he saw us coming up the strait and hailed us on the VHF to invite us to tie up on his dock for the night. Once docked,  he generously fed us with a wonderful meal and good New Zealand wine. We stayed up till midnight talking about all sorts of things. The dogs had a blast running off leash on his small island and finding all sorts of foreign marine bits on the shore to eat (the mess they left on the deck the following morning was quite something).

Roger operates the workboat  "Gulf Tow One" in the Flat Top Islands. Should you find yourself aground on Shipyard Rock trying to enter Silva Bay, Roger will be the one who pulls you off (for  small fee).

Many thanks for the hospitality Roger!

[gallery link="file"]

Plots and Pictures

Added a new section to the blog on the right called "Plots and Pictures". These are plots from the SPOT tracker associated with pictures taken along the way. Some pictures have desciptions, some don't. We may go back and fix that up. Updating this is only realistic if we have access to a broandband WiFi connection (which we do right now in Campbell River). Therefore, it may go a few days before being updated.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

At Discovery Harbor Marina

Arrived around 4:30 PM to Campbell River. "Traveling Mode" is tiring. It's good not to have the wind on our nose as usual, but the swell off the stern quarter doesn't make for a gentle ride. Sucia spent the day in the vberth visible only via the flash of the reflective trim on her doggie PFD. It's raining, but even then I rinsed off the boat. Water water everywhere, and a good supply that's OK to drink.

North of Comox

Heading for Campbell River. Swell from the SE wind is rolling us to and fro.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New destination for tonight

Ford Cove, Hornby Island.

North of Nanaimo

Heading for Comox. Testing data counter for GPRS data. Need to conserve that 20MB data allotment. Enjoyed visit with Roger at Bath Island.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rounding Saturna Island

To Cabbage Island and border ccheckin

image 223

And we're off

Left our slip at 7:40 AM. Overcast skies and cooler temperatures.

image 222

Paper Charts? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Paper Charts!

Our custom built low power mini-itx platform pc. All powered by 12 volt. Has two gps inputs, controls hf radio digital coms, and runs the navigation software. Has bluetooth that can be tethered to the cell phones for internet accdess. We are not too thrilled with the Nobeltec navigation software. Besides being stupidly expensive, the UI is somewhat dated ans can be cumbersome (MFC based for you developers out there). We might eventually switch to Coastal Navigator by Rose Point Software.

More geeky blog entries to come! Oh boy! Stay tuned!

image 021

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Friday, June 12, 2009

Departure delay

We're not leaving tomorrow morning. I've been stymied by

[caption id="attachment_49" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="LPG(?) fitting"]LPG(?) fitting[/caption]

which leaks. Of course that is the only piece I didn't plan on replacing. This

[caption id="attachment_50" align="alignnone" width="300" caption="All new"]All new[/caption]

is fine. No leaks. Argh.

Rob's stuck at work chasing problems.

Bummer. There's a nice breeze out there.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Room with a view

[gallery link="file" columns="2"]

Or perhaps that should be 'climbing harness with a view'.  A halyard has been somewhat jammed at the masthead sheave since last stepping the mast in late 2007.  It hasn't been necessary to repair it, we have other halyards, so we've avoided it.

It wasn't necessary today either, but I've been wanting to check out how rock climbing gear works instead of the traditional bosun's chair, and convinced Rob to assist. Turns out I don't quite have the right rope (yes, rope, not line!) to use the aid climbing gear. Rob ended up winching me to the top of the mast in the traditional way. His plan for the repair was flawless, and the halyard ran freely after adding a few more washers to an interfering mounting screw.

That sounds so easy, but it took a bit of work - the top of a mast is not what you'd call stable, especially with the bit of wind fluttering through the marina.  Movement of the boat that is hardly noticeable on deck is significant up at the masthead. I spent a lot of time just hanging on!

I always have a couple of minutes as I gain altitude where I'm thinking "this is not fun" and feel scared.  (Rob would agree with the 'not fun', he's working hard at the winch).  Once I get up to the top, I'm OK. The payoff is the great view and the different perspective on LC and the other boats nearby.

Before heading down I spray lubricant on clevis pins, swivel blocks and the like. While the climbing harness is working OK, the need for normal circulation in my legs is strong. The mainsail track gets some high tech dry lubricant as Rob lowers me along the mast.

Now back to more mundane pre-trip projects.

Monday, May 25, 2009


Battery maintenance before leaving Echo Bay. The wind shifted last night, creating a rolly anchorage. Not a lot of sleep for either of us.

image 203

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday evening

More boats in Echo Bay tonight. We've moved closer to the head of the bay. Dogs had a short expedition on shore this afternoon.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Fire ... heh, heh

Initiation of new BBQ. Rail mounting to come later.

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Almost to Echo Bay

Dinner will be late tonight. Might not get the new BBQ going. Dogs have eaten enroute.

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Heading out

Test blog post via cell

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Holiday weekend prep

We plan to join the masses heading out on the water for Memorial Day weekend.