[I'll leave this post in, but only with the explanation that it was just a quick update that has since be superseded by more detailed entries.]
Forgive me Father, for I have sinned. It's been almost a week since my last confession. Here's the trouble I've been getting into:
The gale warnings took a break on September 30th, so I headed out of Lund Harbour intending to get south of Powell River to Pender Harbor or Secret Cove. The wind started to pick up again from the southeast as I approached Grief Point, though, so I decided to put off bucking the notoriously bad head seas down Malaspina Strait and got a slip in Westview for the night.
I was greeted on the morning of my 60th birthday by rain, but was getting anxious to be back home, so headed out early in the morning. The wind was still high, probably 15 to 20 knots, and that raised a pretty good chop, but Mabrouka rode the 2 to 3 foot seas fairly comfortably, even with water coming over the bow about every 10th wave or so. It was slow going and I didn't clear the southern end of Texada Island until after 3pm, so Nanaimo before dark was a no-go and I anchored in Deep Bay, a hidey-hole on Jedediah Island just around the southern tip of Texada.
The next morning I connected with a nature hike group from an adventure cruise boat and had a good time exploring Jedediah Island with them. Jedediah has a lot of flora and fauna to see, including wild goats and sheep, plus some interesting history, so it's on my list for a return visit.
Still anxious to head towards home, I weighed anchor a little before noon and made my way south through Bullock Passage. The wind and waves didn't seem to have abated from the previous day, but Mabrouka was game for it, so off we went. Actually, the waves were WORSE just south of the island, with one washing completely over the bow and sending saltwater down both side decks and into the footwell in the cockpit! Still, I was in an area where I expected the waves to be confused and I thought it would be better another mile out. The winds were predicted to lessen and a crossing did not seem out of the question.
Then my engine quit. With 20 miles of rough ocean upwind and big, rocky islands downwind, it was no time to fiddle around. Without too much of a panic, I got the genny up and managed to get Mabrouka headed back to safety without broaching. It was much more comfortable heading in, but the waves crashing on the rocks a quarter mile away were a little scary. Anyway, I got back through Bullock Passage into calmer water where I hoped to be able to fix my engine problem.
Perhaps it's something one should practice, but I'd never anchored Mabrouka under sail before. What's more, there wasn't a bay I could sail into and then head UP wind to drop the hook. Every available anchorage would have me drifting towards rocky shores hoping the anchor would catch, so I just chose the one with the most working room.
Even with the genny furled, Mabrouka drifted at about 2 knots, but with about 75 feet of chain out in 50 ft of water, the hook caught enough to turn the bow into the wind and I let out a total of 225 ft of chain. Mabrouka was soon well secure in about 50 ft of water and a hundred yards from shore. Whew!
It turns out Mabrouka's problem was MY neglect. I hadn't changed the fuel filter in a coon's age and it was clogged up. That's an easy fix, though, so it wasn't long before I had the engine running. After feeding myself some lunch, I was under way again around 4 pm.
The seas had abated quite a bit and I found myself with only minor chop as I headed back out Bullock Passage south across the Straits. I wasn't happy to be arriving after dark, but I made it in through the busy commercial harbor and got tied up at Nanaimo Yacht club again a little after 9 pm.
Thursday was a rest, recuperation, and errands day, but I got underway on the 4th, motoring through Dodds Narrows, down Trincomali Channel, through Pendrell Sound, and across Boundary Pass to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. BACK IN THE US! My first time bringing a boat in through US Customs was a bit of a learning experience, but with only a little condescension from the officer, I was set and moved over to the reciprocal slip for the night.
After a latte and a fueling stop the next morning, I set off to motor all the way to Gig Harbor, but I couldn't resist hoisting the gennaker and sailing down Admiralty Inlet for a while and only ended up making it to Kingston. That's okay, I was well rested for a late morning departure on the 6th and made it down to anchor in Gig Harbor by around 5 pm.
It's monday, October 7th and here I am in the Kitsap Public library writing this post. I plan to go to Lawrence and Anne Yeadon-Jones' official launch of their Puget Sound edition of the Dreamspeaker Cruising guides
tonight at the Tides Tavern. It should be fun.
There's more to tell, so hang in there for back-dated entries covering the last week.