Cruise 15!

15 August 2015 | Gig Harbor, WA
14 August 2015 | Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge Island
12 August 2015 | Prevost Harbor, Stewart Island
10 August 2015 | Nanaimo, BC
04 August 2015 | Port Harvey, E. Cracroft Island
03 August 2015 | Jennis Bay, Drury Inlet
31 July 2015 | Sutherland Bay, Drury Inlet
29 July 2015 | Shawl Bay, BC Mainland
26 July 2015 | Claydon Bay, BC Mainland
23 July 2015 | Shawl Bay, BC Mainland
20 July 2015 | Pierre's Echo Bay, Gilford Island
18 July 2015 | Laura Cove, Broughton Island
16 July 2015 | Cullen Harbour, Broughton Island
13 July 2015 | Port McNiell, Vancouver Island
12 July 2015 | Port McNiell, Vancouver Island
11 July 2015 | Pierre's Echo Bay, Gilford Island
09 July 2015 | Laura Cove, Broughton Island
04 July 2015 | Waddington Bay, Bonwick Island
02 July 2015 | Lagoon Cove, E. Cracroft Island


15 August 2015 | Gig Harbor, WA
We arrived home at about noon. Since diane has already posted it to Facebook and gotten 20+ "Likes," there's little more to say.

Almost Home

14 August 2015 | Eagle Harbor, Bainbridge Island
WX: rain, thunder/lightning, temp 65, wind S 15-20
Our final LDR* of the trip began at 0645 Friday morning at the TYC Cornet Bay outstation. The weather had totally gone to hell, the forecast promising rain, possible thunderstorms, and 15-20 knot southerly winds. Lovely. But absolutely in keeping with our cruising history. It was more noticeable back when we had sailboats. Invariably, the wind would come roaring out of the north the day we left and we bashed and crashed into it all the way to the Islands. Equally invariably, the day we started south, the wind would switch around and blow out of the south so we got to bash and crash all the way home.

Actually, the wind gods suffered us to get from Prevost Harbor to Cornet Bay without bashing or crashing. Instead, they handed off to the tide gods so we got to fight current all the way through the San Juans and across Rosario Strait. Deception Pass was still flooding mightily when we got there so we got a hell of a slingshot under the bridge, our groundspeed topping 13 knots at one point.

After a quiet night at our outstation dock, we left Cornet Bay, fighting a little ebb current flowing out toward Deception Pass. The current subsided quickly as we got farther from the Pass and we made out way down between Whidbey and Camano Islands at groundspeeds that touched nine knots at times. By noon, we were off Edmonds, punching into that 15-20 knot southerly, and preparing to cut across to the west side of the VTS lanes for the final few miles into Eagle Harbor. That’s when we observed the first lightning flashes to the south.

We exchanged text messages with Brother John, who was helping run a sailboat race in the Tacoma area. Was he seeing lightning down there? Oh, yeah. “Big time!” was the response. Wonderful. It doesn’t take the proverbial rocket scientist to know that being the tallest thing around on a large, flat surface is not a particularly good thing in a lightning storm. And that is exactly what we were. Not to mention that we were heading TOWARD the storm.

The last hour into Eagle Harbor was tense, to say the least. By the time we turned the Wing Point buoy at the harbor entrance, the lightning bolts were strobing down all around us and the rain was pouring down in buckets. We slid into our club’s outstation docks, finding our friends Cliff and Bentley, on Merry Yacht, already there. They’d been trying to make it all the way home but the lightning had convinced them to abort at Eagle Harbor.

The storm really got cranked up after we were secured. Now, those of you who live outside the Pacific Northwest are probably thinking, “What’s the big deal? We have thunderstorms almost every DAY in the summer!” Well, we don’t. And the fact that they are a common occurrence doesn’t make them any less dangerous. So yeah, it was unusual to have one that went on as long as this one did. We sat on Merry Yacht for an hour watching the lightnng flash and listening to the thunder boom and rumble.

The main event of the evening was the Seahawks’ first pre-season game. Fortunately, we’d been invited to dinner by our friend Kathy. Fortunate, in this case, because the rain and lightning had played havoc with our satellite dome reception and we couldn’t have watched the game on the boat. As it turned out, the ‘Hawks’ rookie wanna-be’s lost a close one to the Denver rookie wanna-be’s. And before Charlie’s cousin Ann in Denver gets to gloating too much, we would point out that the exact same thing happened last year. And which team eventually made it to the Super Bowl?

*Long Damned Run

Back to the You Ess of Ay

12 August 2015 | Prevost Harbor, Stewart Island
WX: some high clouds, temp 80, wind L/V
When we finally escaped from Powell River, Malaspina Strait was glass-calm for the most part and we got to Point Upwood, at the south end of Texada Island, at 3:45. There was maybe 10 knots of breeze out on The Monster and the Whiskey Golf torpedo range was “not active and clear to transit.” That made it a no-brainer to continue on across despite the fact that it would put us into Nanaimo after 6 p.m. Moorage could be a problem.

As it turned out, there was 45 feet of space on a dock populated by logging tugs and other commercial craft. Didn’t matter to us. We weren’t worried about aesthetics and lovely views, just a place to hang for the night. Slack water at Dodd Narrows was at 0815 in the morning, dictating departure about an hour earlier.

We were underway again the next morning at 0700. Dodd Narrows attracted a crowd that seemed to consist largely of timid souls who were afraid to venture through the Narrows until exactly slack water, which was still half an hour away when we arrived. We made our way through the crowd and went ahead. There was 2-3 knots of current going our way—certainly nothing the least bit frightening or intimidating—and we were soon through and mushing on to the south over glass-calm waters.

Now we began to calculate where we might end up at the end of the day. It became clear that we could get back into the U. S. of A and the San Juan Islands. We knew our friends Gary and Deva, on Sidetrack, were somewhere in the San Juans so we sent them a “Where are you and do you want to meet up somewhere?” text. Before long, we had a plan to rendezvous at Prevost Harbor on Stewart Island.

We pulled into Prevost about 12:30, the Customs People having decided we presented no immediate threat to National Security and allowing us to return to the country of which we are, supposedly, patriotic and law-abiding citizens. But you can never be too careful. Just ask such defenders of public morality and decency as Rush Limbaugh.

Anyway, we got ourselves anchored and Gary and Deva arrived just a short time later. Once again, we commented that, although we live less than an hour’s drive apart, we always seem to have to travel a hundred miles or more on our boats to get together. It was nice to have company again after a long and somewhat stressful period of being on our own. Unlike us, Gary and Deva routinely catch actual salmon and they offered to provide same for dinner.

We normally avoid the San Juans like the plague during High Season. The photo above illustrates why. But we were willing to put up with the crowds in order to have one last relaxing layday with friends before the final sprint for home.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

10 August 2015 | Nanaimo, BC
WX: CAVU, temp 75, wind NW 8-10
We had the perfect "weather window:" four to five days where the forecast was for light winds pretty much everywhere and especially on The Monster, Georgia Strait. We just needed three days to get to Nanaimo.

Day One was no problem. We left Port Harvey in the pouring rain and emerged into Johnstone Strait in pea-soup fog. We were on instruments for maybe half an hour, then the fog dissipated and left us with overcast skies and calm seas. We got to Whirlpool Rapids, punched through against what was left of the ebb, and made it to Greene Point Rapids right at slack water. Ducked around the corner into Blind Channel Resort. Easy peasy.

Day Two. Left Blind Channel at 0730 and got to Dent Rapids about an hour before slack. On the spring tides, you'd wait for slack, but we are into the neaps so we went ahead. What was left of the ebb was flowing with us and, other than some whirlpools and eddies here and there, we had an uneventful transit of the last of the tidal rapids. On to the south,a long and monotonous run down Lewis Channel, across Desolation Sound, past Lund. Our destination was Powell River/Westview. We were about five miles out when it happened.

A slight whiff of "overheating." (Anyone who has spent any time around engines knows that smell.) Huh? Everything had been fine a couple of minutes earlier. Check the gauges. Shit. Starboard engine temperature gauge pegged. Throttle back, tear up the floorboards. Too late. Up out of the engine room came a roaring cloud of superheated steam and antifreeze. It filled the cabin. We shut down both engines, opened the doors and bailed out. There was nothing we could do but let it vent, which process went on for what seemed like hours. When the noise and steam finally subsided, everything in the cabin was covered with a thin coating of slimy, stinking engine coolant. Later, it took hours to clean up the unimaginable mess.

Our first thought was that we'd broken the water pump drive belt. Occam's Razor--the simplest explanation first. But no, the belt was fine. Something more complicated, which meant it wasn't going to get fixed "in the field." The port engine (yes, that's the one that had the problem earlier) was still functional, so we continued on using it. Forty-five minutes later, we limped into the government marina at Powell River, using the inflatable to help get the boat into a mooring.

That was Wednesday. Subsequent investigation revealed the problem to be the sea water pump--there was no cooling water coming out of the exhaust pipe on the stern. Occam's Razor again. Probably the impeller had disintegrated. Fairly easy fix. But again, no. Impeller looked to be intact. And now we were into something too complicated for our limited mechanical expertise. Open checkbook and call mechanic.

Final verdict: worn out shaft on the internal mechanism that drives the pump. Next problem: entire mechanism now obsolete so no replacement available. Next problem: nearest place where any kind of parts might be available would be Vancouver, 50 miles away.

Work the problem. Phone call to our faithful "home team" mechanic, Hugo. First of about a zillion calls on Thursday. Hugo calls back. A new kit is available to deal with the problem. Tacoma Diesel has one in stock--a bargain at $550. But it's in Tacoma and we are in Powell River, BC. Canada. Ship the part to us and it will get intercepted by Customs which, in addition to causing delay, will probably cost several hundred dollars in duty, bribes, whatever. (Isn't it sad that the U.S. and Canada are at war and have to aggressively protect themselves against each other's evil citizenry?) Time to marshall the support of the one organization you can always rely on--your family.

Brother John picked up the part at Tacoma Diesel. Son Justin gave up attending a kids' birthday party (not his own kid's) and, instead, spent the day driving all the way to Canada and back. We rented a car (easier said than done in Powell River) and many, many phone calls went back and forth setting up a rendezvous. The Final Plan: Justin headed north, picking up the part from John on the way. Meanwhile, we drove south in the rental, a trip involving two different ferry rides, eventually arriving at Horseshoe Bay, just north of Vancouver. Justin was waiting with the part. We grabbed the box, gave our son a hug, got right back on the same ferry, and did the whole thing in reverse. We arrived back in Powell River and Justin got back home all at about 7:30 p.m.

We spent Sunday pretty much sitting on our thumbs doing nothing. On Monday, the mechanic returned about 10:30. There were a couple of minor complications, but nothing serious, and the engine was restarted about 11:45. We were underway fifteen minutes later. The forecast was for the winds on The Monster to remain relatively light for the rest of the day so it seemed wise to get going and go as far as possible.

Heading for Home

04 August 2015 | Port Harvey, E. Cracroft Island
Onshore Flo, then mostly sunny, temp 75, wind W 20-25 (afternoons)
Once we left Jennis Bay, we had but one objective: get home without getting bogged down in the High Season crowds. That will become more of a problem the farther south we go. The secret is good planning and making sure we have reservations whenever possible.

From Jennis, we swung by Sullivan Bay to pick up a few groceries, the most important being a bottle of gin. (Hey, we’ve got our priorities straight!). The shelves at Sullivan were pretty sparse. They obviously hadn’t restocked in several weeks. There were three bottles of gin left and we had to settle for Beefeater rather than our usual Bombay Sapphire. Sacrifices must be made.

By the time we got to our destination, Waddington Bay, the Hurricane had arrived. Once again we holed up in the cabin as the wind howled through the anchorage, slewing the boats back and forth on their anchors. Surprisingly, there were only four other boats at anchor. Not many for the height of High Season. Four more came in later, but that’s still not much for Waddington in August.

Tuesday’s run was just a long, boring slog, most of it in Knight Inlet. There was some patchy fog when we first emerged into Knight, and we thought it might make things more interesting, but it quickly dissipated. We and the Hurricane arrived at Port Harvey together about 2:00. The place was pretty busy, but George had saved us a spot. There were a few familiar boats and faces on the dock, including TYC friends Brad and Marsha Baker on Leisure Lee.

Tomorrow will be challenging. The wind is forecast to be light in the morning. We have to get down Johnstone Strait ahead of the Hurricane but we can’t leave too early because the first of the tidal rapids, Whirlpool, is running against us until 2:00. We are going to try to punch through half an hour or so before slack. Any earlier and there’s a good chance we’ll end up standing still or even going backwards. Then it’s a couple hours down to the next one, Greene Point. By the time we get there it will be running at strength but the flow is pretty laminar and going with us so it shouldn’t be a big problem.

The Rumor Mill

03 August 2015 | Jennis Bay, Drury Inlet
Mostly sunny after Onshore Flo, temp 75, wind W 15-20 (afternoon)
Throughout this cruise, the #1 FAQ has been, “Do you know what’s happening at Jennis Bay?” All we could do was relate the story of how we’d planned to spend June and July at Jennis Bay, helping Allyson bring it back to life. (For those outside the Loop, Allyson was the one who had the initial vision of Jennis Bay Marina as a destination resort and who made the Hot Ticket in the Broughtons from 2008 until she left after the 2011 season.). Allyson was supposed to return this summer. But that didn’t happen and all our plans went out the proverbial window.

So we couldn’t really answer the #1 FAQ because we hadn’t been there and hadn’t met anyone else who had. Rumors were rampant and we heard them all. For any of our fellow cruisers who might be reading this, here is a list of the most common rumors, along with The Truth.

Rumor: Jennis Bay is completely closed down.
Truth: Jennis Bay is open for business and boaters are welcome.

Rumor: There’s nothing going on there, but they’ll still charge you for moorage.
Truth: Essentially true. Moorage is a buck a foot. No power on the docks (there never has been) but decent water available if you’ve got enough hose. No Happy Hours or any other kind of organized social activity. Hiking trails available ashore.

Rumor: Active logging operation with most of the dock space taken up by logging boats. Moorage available only if the logging boats aren’t using it.
Truth: Totally false. A few logging boats at the log dump some distance away. NO logging boats at the Jennis Bay docks themselves.

Rumor: Entire bay taken up by log booms. No room to anchor.
Truth: Totally false. No booms or floating logs anywhere.

Our visit seemed to be part of a meeting of what we all began calling the Jennis Bay Preservation Society, an eclectic group of boaters, both Canadian and US, who love this place and don’t want to see it revert to just a logging camp. We had a good time. Organized a Happy Hour gathering and Charlie and Allyson entertained—a sample of what might have been if the original plans had worked out. Did we actually accomplish anything? Probably not. We were able to talk with Peter, Allyson’s brother and the legal owner of the property. And yes, Allyson and her three kids did make it. But as for future plans, that’s still a big Question Mark.

Peter appears interested in trying to maintain Jennis Bay as a boating destination, but seems to have concluded that the way to do that is to hire someone outside the family to run it. Certainly there is someone out there with the requisite skills and experience, but finding that someone is not going to be easy, especially since Peter lives and works half a world away in South Africa.

We don’t see Allyson returning. Just our opinion, of course, based solely on “cocktail conversations.” First, she has a life and a pretty responsible job back in Wyoming. Second, she sold her interest in Jennis Bay to Peter back in 2011, which means she would have no real authority. She is understandably uncomfortable with that.

For our part, we now begin the long trek home. The currents in the tidal rapids are all just exactly bass ackwards from what we need so that is going to be a challenge. The Northwesterly Hurricane is still lurking around, though we think we have a window on Wednesday to get past Gate 4/Johnstone Strait. We aren’t going to mess around trying to do anything “fun.” Just pointing the bow east and south and getting home. We’ve got a Plan that doesn’t involve any marathon days, but the weather is always the Great Unknown.
Vessel Name: Dreamtime
Vessel Make/Model: Ocean Alexander 40
Hailing Port: Gig Harbor, WA
Crew: Charlie and Diane Long
We are retired teachers who have been sailing in the Northwest for nearly 40 years. Charlie learned sailing and seamanship aboard his parents' Islander 24 back in the 60's. Diane learned out of self-defense when she realized she was marrying a sailor. [...]
The "Dreamtime" is the period in Australian aboriginal mythology known as the "time before time." It was during the Dreamtime that that ancestor spirits "dreamed" the world into existence. People often ask, "Why do you have a SNAKE as your logo?" The Rainbow Serpent, or Waugal, was the ancestor [...]
Dreamtime's Photos - Main
Photos from "Through (with) the Chairs," our 2014 summer cruise.
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