Reflections by Kirk 9-15-13
15 September 2013
Reflections by Kirk 09-15-2013
Making the trip from Barkley Sound to Victoria is a long one and we needed to finish it during daylight hours. Entering Victoria Harbour after dark was something that we were unwilling to do. Almost all waters that can be navigated by vessels larger than small runabouts have aids to navigation. By day, these aids have visual clues to identify them such as coloring, shape and size. By night, lights identify these aids. Different colors and different flashing sequences are used so that one aid, which identifies a specific spot or hazard location, can be distinguished from all the other aids within the same general area. With nautical charts and the official List of Lights publication, you have the ability to positively identify each individual aid to navigation that you see. Boats are also required to display lights at night in very precise configurations. The different lights on a boat allow you to determine which way it is going, what classification of boat it is (power, sail, tug, very large vessel, etc.), and if it is engaged in some activity that would affect your navigation near it (commercial fishing, minesweeping, tugs with barges, etc.). This works very nicely most of the time, but in a place with thousands of background lights, like a big city, these navigation lights can be really hard to distinguish. Victoria Harbour is a very busy place with lots of boat traffic, has a winding route into it and very specific, not wide, lanes of travel for incoming and outgoing vessels as well as specific lanes for seaplanes. We simply were not going in there after dark; and, as we approached Becher Bay, about 12 miles from the entrance to Victoria Harbour, we decided to anchor there for the night. This was not the best anchorage of our trip, but we could see all the way across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the City of Port Angeles and the Olympic Mountains in Washington. We also saw another spectacular display of light.
Late in the day we heard on the VHF radio of a major storm cell that would be moving north through Puget Sound. It must have been a real whopper. As we got settled into the anchorage and the sun set with some very nice colors, we noticed a few flashes far in the distance and figured the weather service got this one right. The flashes would have been in the right direction to be Puget Sound. By the time we finished dinner and went back up on deck, the lightning flashes had moved north quite a ways and appeared to be much closer to us and we could hear some rumblings. I tried to do the counting thing to determine how far away the storm was but just could not match up flashes with rumblings and figured that the storm must be at least thirty or more miles away. Even at that distance some of the thunderclaps still had the power to be felt as well as heard and very bright flashes lit up major portions of the eastern sky down to the horizon. We had not been too worried as the forecast did not indicate T-storms in our area, but took the precaution of putting all of our portable electronic gear in the microwave and in the oven. Seems weird, but the ovens act as a Faraday Cage, which should protect electronics from being fried in the event of a close strike. New Jersey, where I grew up, has lots of thunderstorms and I have been fascinated by these events since I was little. We seldom get these kinds of storms in the northwest and rarely storms of the magnitude that we were witnessing from a safe distance. So we stayed outside for a while to watch and listen to a very large and powerful thunderstorm well to the east of us. At one point in time something caught my peripheral vision to the south so I looked over there for a bit. Suddenly the whole southern sky lit up with a yellowish glow. This happened several times and it was truly amazing at how far away this separate but obviously related storm must be. The reason that I knew this storm was far away was that with each flash the yellowish light silhouetted the entire range of the Olympic Mountains so the storm had to be on the opposite side of the mountains from our location. Another really special light show courtesy of Mother Nature.
The next day we moved on into Victoria and moored at the marina that we wanted to check out as a place to spend this upcoming winter. We have never lived in a major city, except for the brief time living on our boat at Shilshole Marina in Seattle. But Shilshole is a bit isolated from the city life and the Causeway Marina in Victoria offered an opportunity to live in the heart of downtown. We also figured that it might be an easy way to figure out how to deal with some of the complexities of living in a foreign country as it really is not that foreign. As Kris has explained in our blog, we have since moved on for a while and will be back in Victoria in a few weeks. We will probably have more to say about living in a beautiful, vibrant and culturally interesting city once we get settled in there.
Since we left Victoria, one thing has been a bit of a surprise for us. We really thought that the number of boats out cruising would seriously diminish after Labor Day, which is celebrated on the same day in both countries. We were wrong. This has been our third passage through BC’s Gulf Islands, once before in June and once during early September. The past week has been a bit shocking as there have been at least twice the number of boats everywhere we have stopped as there have been on previous visits to the same places. We dearly hope that this pattern changes by the time we get up to Princess Louisa Inlet and we may have the luxury once again of small or even no crowds of other boats and people.
Have to go now. The Seahawks are going to play the San Francisco Forty Niners during the nationally televised Sunday Night Football Game. In addition to being a heated divisional rivalry, the Seahawks first home game of the season and being televised nationally, I have been advised that the people from the Guinness Book of Records will be on hand to monitor the game for being potentially the loudest sporting event in recorded history. Seattle fans have always been proud of the vocal support for their teams and they will now have a chance to be proven the most vocal ever. A few years ago, Kris and I had the good fortune to attend an exciting playoff victory for the Seahawks. The crowd noise was so deafening during an eighty plus yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch that the local seismometers started bobbing about. People wondered if maybe Seattle had suffered another earthquake. This promises to be an even bigger crowd event that we will watch from the only licensed floating pub in Canada, appropriately named The Dingy Dock Pub.
We’ll leave a light on for you.