Sailing, sailing, sailing That’s why we live the life we do, so that we can untie the lines and explore the world in our own backyard. From Sept 2015-October 2016 we sailed with a 2 year old and a baby from Vancouver to Mexico, across to Hawaii, across to Alaska and then down, Read More
Well it’s May long weekend again. We have been madly finishing up some of our boat chores and are ready for a vacation.
The forecast is windy, the Straight of Georgia has a wind warning for the entire weekend, with winds from predominately the southeast. The tides are strong, with the full moon falling on the Sunday, and flooding in the afternoon. Pretty much the worst combination for heading north. But, or course, always seeking seclusion, north we go.
We left the dock on Friday around 6:30 and plotted a course for Plumper Cove on Keats. Kolby has our autopilot connected to the chart plotter so it will follow a track. Very nice! However, Kristine was so anxious to get into the bay before nightfall she repeatedly took over to cut corners and ‘save time’.
Anchoring at dusk: double the fun on a long weekend in a popular anchorage.
Kolby: ‘Kristine go up front and watch for boats or floats’
Kristine: ‘Head for the Bayliner, I think we can anchor over there’
Kolby (angry): ‘I can’t see or hear you.’
Kristine: mumbles something sarcastic and opens the front panel on the dodger
Kolby: ‘Brilliant. You’re a genius!’ (ed note: conversation may not be recorded verbatim)
Anyway that’s the just of it. We anchored nestled between a mammoth yacht and a log boom. Cozy. Good thing it wasn’t windy.
Saturday and Sunday morning we spent in our favorite bay. Alone. Not another boat on the horizon. We often wonder why we are the only boat in this anchorage- however it is fully exposed to the straight. We have decided not to name this place properly, but for the sake of a name we will call it Favorite Bay. It’s that’s special.
We spent Sunday night in the protection of Taylor Bay on Gabriola Island, where we met up with Kolby’s parents on the Tuggernaut (a Ranger 25). For once they had the weekend of misadventures, as ours had gone smoothly. They regaled us with tales of drifting dinghies, catapulting from kayaks and the general mayhem of small boats in big waves.
Sailing in 20-26 knots of wind: yep it was a windy crossing. And never one to pass up a ‘good sail’ we crossed the straight twice!s
Kolby; ‘are we crazy?’
Kristine: ‘probably, but why now?’
Kolby:’we are sailing a 50′ boat, with no formal sailing training, in winds gusting 26 knots.’
Kristine: ‘does that make us crazy or confident? Plus I’ve sailed lots.’
Kolby: ‘you were 10′
Kolby: ‘I’m sticking with crazy’ (note: this was after the Incidence with the Hand)
The Incidence with the Hand: on the first crossing of the straight, Kristine’s right hand learnt a painful, but important lesson. The genoa furling is under A Lot of stress. Initially we had the main out and the genoa reefed, but our boat speed was low and we couldn’t head much higher than 40 degrees to the wind without heeling far more than was comfortable. So we decided to switch the sails, reef the main and unfurl the genoa. All went well until Kristine uncleated the genoa furling line and BAM the sail was out.
Kolby: ‘are you ok?’
Kristine: ‘yes, but I’ve hurt my hand.’
Kolby finishes winching in the sail
Kristine: ‘I will need the first aid kit- do you know where it is?’
Kolby: (from below decks) ‘where’s the first aid kit?’
Kolby emerges victorious with the first aid kit and stumbles his way through a patch job, with copious instruction from Kristine, such as ‘you will need to open the box marked Wound Management to find gauze’.
Kolby: ‘I need to take a first aid course.’
As they say, all’s well that ends well, and Kolby ended it with a beautiful docking job. Home safe for another adventure.
We were lucky to have six weeks sailing the islands of Fiji on Kristine’s parent’s 50′ Benneteau Paikea Mist. Most of our non-sailing time was spent in the water; we did one or two scuba dives almost everyday.
Interestingly, we were one of the last boats to sail Fiji’s outer islands, the Lua Group, on the old permit system. In this system, boats had to apply for a permit to visit the outer islands. The permit was expensive and the paperwork was tricky to fill out and get to the proper officials for approval. The result is very few boats sail these islands, preserving the native Fijian way of life (and making the locals of some of the more remote islands incredibly excited to see you!). We were just leaving the last island when we were told boats no longer need a permit. Instead they will pay the local village a fee to anchor in their bay (in Fiji the village chief owns both the land and the water surrounding his village). This change will certainly create many new opportunities for the islanders.
The sailing itself was fantastic experience for us. We did night shifts, sailed in big seas and big winds, navigated through coral reefs and anchored on various surfaces. Six weeks was also long enough for us to get a taste of the cruising lifestyle; we learned a bit about provisioning (their are no real stores in the Lau group, so we had to stock up for about 4 weeks), we caught fish, Kristine practiced cooking from cans, and we traded nicknacks for fresh food from the locals.