The Cat House in Bamfield
This is one of many homes for Bamfield cats in the Cat Housing area along the boardwalk.
The Treehouse Outhouse
It says "New" in small print on the outhouse. I wonder what the old one was like!
The boardwalk in Bamfield.
05/26/2012, Straight of Juan do Fuca
Debbie captured this wonderful image of the flog on the stern of our boat as the sun came up to the East.
Race Rocks Lighthouse
The view of Race Rocks Lighthouse was stupendous this morning as we could see across the Straight to Washington and the Olympic Peninsula. Those are the Olympic Mountains with snow on them.
Out the Straight of Juan de Fuca
DON/Cloudy and cool (54 degrees)
05/26/2012, Bamfield, BC
After nearly ending up in jail from shore leave and a day of liberty in Victoria, the rugged crew of Δ Latitude rose at 4:30 am this morning to catch the outgoing tide and gentle winds of early morning. We wanted to take advantage of the extra knot or two of outgoing tide to speed us out to the Pacific through the Straight of Juan de Fuca. The straight was named after a Greek navigator, in the employ of Spain, who reported sighting the entrance to the fabled Northwest Passage, a shortcut through the North American continent. Juan de Fuca (Ioánnis Fokás) reported the entrance a degree south of the actual location but the English gave him credit for the discovery. Vancouver, seeking the Northwest Passage for England, used his report to locate and find this entrance to Puget Sound and the inland route to Alaska. OK, enough of the history!
We excited the narrow harbor entrance to Victoria in the early morning and cruised past the Race Rocks lighthouse, taking photos with the Olympic Mountains of Washington, across the border, in the background. It made for a beautiful sight in the early morning. Then, we turned to starboard and began the long slog out the Straight with three foot swells on our nose. Winds were light, about 3 knots and shifting direction, from the remnants of the high-pressure system we were enjoying. I took the first 2-hour watch at the helm, then Debbie took over and then Dave.
At the entrance to the Straight, there was a fog bank and visibility drop to less than .25 miles, so we entered with radar on and AIS on our chart plotter, showing us the other boats we were travelling with on this trip.
AIS (Automatic Identification System) is required by every commercial boat over 40 feet. We have send and receive AIS on our so e can both send our location to others and receive their signal and see them on our chart plotter. We try to have back ups for every important piece of equipment on our boat. So, in fog, we can see boats both on radar and on AIS on our chart plotter. If one system goes out, we still have the other one to use.
The swells increased to about 6-9 feet but there was only a little wind so waves on the swells were not too bad. When we got the smells of summer sausage, for lunch, in the boat, that made a few of our tummies a little queasy. The problem was the fog and the lack of a horizon. When you can not see a horizon, it increases the tendency to seasickness. We managed fine, though. It was a little bouncy and rolly with glasses shifting in the cupboards but nothing serious.
Eventually, we reached Cape Beale lighthouse and turned to starboard to enter Barkley Sound and head for the marine village of Bamfield. We tied up at the public doc in Bamfield and went to explore the village.
Bamfield is like many coastal marine villages, populated by people who seek to get away from typical life and lead a life of distinctiveness. The community has built a wonderful boardwalk the goes from one end to the other, about .75 mile. Along the walk, are delightfully distinctive elements: a tree house out house for people on a walk, and a hootchie hollow where you can take any hootchie (a fishing lure) but must leave two. It is all very cute. There is also a special cat village with homes to the cats of the town. Some time ago, a village resident had a home for all the cats in the village. When she died, the village took all the cats of the village, had them neutered, and then built a cat village near the boardwalk with homes for them all. They take donations for feeding them from visitors and the village supports them, too. I will attach photos.
We hiked the boardwalk on hearing that, at the end, was a store that had ice cream. We found it and brought back a half gallon of vanilla. We shared it with Brian and Rich and then fixed brats on the back grill for dinner. It is always good to have desert before dinner on vacation!
I collapsed at 7:30 from a long day while Dave and Deb stayed up a bit talking and reading. A great day for the memory book!
TECHNO TIP OF THE DAY
My brother Dave, aboard Leu Cat, is off the Great Barrier Reef right now. His blog is the best!!! One thing he does is to include a techno tip of the day. He has encouraged me to do the same. I know not nearly as much as he does but will try my best.
We do not depart, each day, until we have checked the engines and fuel in the engine room carefully. Here is what we do:
1. check coolant overflow tanks to make sure they are at filled to the "cool" mark and look clean.
2. Check the dipstick for oil in each engine. Make certain they are filled and above the second, low oil, mark.
3. Check the absorb pads we place under the engines, in the catch pan, for any oil leaks.
4. Check the bilge to make sure it is dry.
5. Check the salt water intake filters to make sure they are clean. This water cools the engines.
6. Check the transmission fluid levels (once a week).
7. Check the oil level in the generator.
8. Check the fuel level in both fuel tanks.
9. Check the Racor fuel filters, two for each engine.
10. Look around carefully to see if anything looks different from the day before.
11. Spend some time in the engine room thinking about how lucky you are to have this boat.
Friendly Officers in Victoria
Don/Hopefully nice. Dark out now
05/26/2012, Victoria, BC
I apologize for missing a day or two. I have been focused on completing my article for an edited journal issue that a good friend is editing. I needed to compete it before we went out of Internet range. I also needed to manage a few things for my research team in CT. Both tasks are now complete.
We departed Bellingham and had a very easy cruise to Victoria, BC on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Winds and waves were both light. We saw no ORCAs in Haro Straight. Reports are that they went out the Straights of Juan de Fuca. We tied up at a dock, not the marina in front of the Empress Hotel. Darn! There is a big sailboat race that leaves on Saturday, when we do - The Swiftsure Race. They race out about 90 miles to Swiftsure Banks and return. We expect to depart early on Saturday, the day I write this, before they do. Victoria is a small harbor with a narrow entrance. We do not want to get involved in the logjam so we depart at 5 am, in about 45 minutes.
We provisioned in Victoria or I should say Debbie and Dave provisioned our boat while I worked. A BC police officer stopped them for jaywalking in town. Canadadian police are so polite. They are the best! He greeted them and informed them of their transgression. He then offered to drive them down to the boat with all their groceries! Goodness! Would that that would happen in the US, eh? Debbie took some nice photo walks, too. I will post photos as soon as I am able to do so. We had one minor issue - the trickle charger for the battery in Rubber Ducky, our dinghy, was not working so our batter was dead in the dinghy. It must have stopped working over the winter. We borrowed a charger from Brian and it should be charged this morning. I will check. We will look for a new charger in Tofino in a few days. We should have wifi access there.
My warmest birthday greetings to my brother Dave who is sailing around the world with his wife, Mary, and is in Australia at the Great Barrier Reef! Happy birthday, bro!!!! Fair winds and many more years of cruising the world!
Bellingham to Victoria
05/24/2012, Victoria, BC
This morning we were up early to depart. For at least part of the trip, we journey with 5 other Grand Banks: Deception, Dream Catcher, Alaskan Drem, Grand Adventure, and Patos. To the sound of a loud cannon that Brian Pemberton had to signal our beginning, we departed Bellingham. Debbie took us out of our slip like a pro and took the first two-hour shift. Dave and I handled the lines and then pulled up the fenders and organized them on the stern rail. At 4 bells, Debbie turned the watch over to me as we approached Orcas Island. We had to work our way around a Washington State Ferry and then traveled through Pole Pass, a narrow slip of a pass, without any difficulty. It turned out to be a glorious day with temps in the low 60s and sunny skies.
I should say here, that my brother Dave and his wife Mary are sailing around the world. There is a link to their blog, Leu Cat Adventures, to the left of this post. Dave had been struggling with temps in the low 80s on the Great Barrier Reef and water temps about the same and an occasional rain shower. Here, we are lucky to get days that reach the 60's, it rains nearly every day, and the water temp is about 48 degrees. Brrrrrr. So, Dave --- no complaints! ;-) Dave celebrates his birthday soon. Happy birthday, bro!!! I envy you your cruising adventures.
At 8 bells (noon) I turned the helm over to Dave Gracy, my brother in law, who took us down Haro Strait. I took a bit of a nap and then took us through several narrow passes and then over to Victoria. The traffic in Victoria is controlled, since it is such a small harbour. We followed the markers on the right side to enter and waited our turn at customs. Debbie is always our customs maven and she pulled off another easy entry into Canada. This, even though we were a little over the limit on beer and wine. It is always a bit strange since at most of the docks for Canadian Customs you call a person in Ontario, who checks you in. They have a record of all our trips and know us pretty well -- at least our data shows up on their screen and guides their questions. In 10 minutes, we were pulling off the Customs dock and heading over to the dock where we rafted next to Patos, a 46 foot Grand Banks.
Tonight it is barbecue spare ribs on the back deck and a glass of wine to celebrate our beginning. Tomorrow, Deb and Dave will explore and shop while I finish my article that is so very late. My apologies, Marla!!
A Row of Grand Banks Trawlers
05/23/2012, Squalicum Harbor- Bellingham, WA
These are the Grand Banks in our fleet at NW Explorations.
Breakfast at the Web Locker
05/23/2012, Squalicum Harbor- Bellingham, WA
The Web Locker is right near our dock and a favorite breakfast place.