Port Browning, North Pender Island
08 May 2007 | Gulf Islands, Canada
It was a pleasant night on the hook last night. Another sailboat joined us later in the evening. And after our showers, we went to bed early. This morning we awoke to fog horns, but by 1000 it had pretty much cleared, and it looks like it will be a beautiful day.
We weighed anchor about 1100 and put the sails up pretty much right away. We had a nice breeze of about 10 knots behind us as we headed up the San Juan Channel toward Boundary Pass and Canada. At one point while sailing wing-on-wing, we got over 7 knots! As we edged into the pass, the wind died, so we motorsailed across.
On the other side, the wind was in our face, so I rolled up the jib. Good thing too! As we started up the west side of South Pender Island, a huge gust (22+ knots) hit us on the beam. With the main up, it knocked us over enough to send things flying in the cabin. We found a calm spot to head up and drop the main and made our way to the customs dock. It was our first attempt at docking in the wind this year, but we handled it fine.
As John was gathering our documents for customs, we heard a may-day on channel 16. A sailboat was in trouble in the channel on the far west side of Pender Island. No sooner had that been acknowledged, than we heard another boat calling for help. It was a motor cruiser that had run aground. And all this time, the wind was gusting up to 25 knots. (We do remember sailing happily in the Bay in winds that big, but we're out of practice.)
I was afraid we wouldn't be able to get off the dock in the wind, but it died down, and we were able to back up and off the dock. Good thing there weren't a bunch of other boats around. The sailboat that had been in trouble canceled their mayday, and we think we saw them coming into Bedwell Harbour as we were leaving.
We're anchored in Port Browning on the other side of Pender from Bedwell and were surprised to find free WiFi available. It works better for John than for me, though.