Monday, September 7, 2009

Starting To Head S

Saturday, July 18. Day 14.
We had now reached the "zenith" of our 2009 trip and it was time to slowly start heading back.

Woke to clear blue skies and a brisk NW wind. For most of the night it was very peaceful. We had another very lazy morning. I made a 'scramble' of potatoes, already cooked/left-over weisswurst sausages, peppers, and eggs. It was good. After breakfast we went over to check the prawn traps in Sidney Bay. In one prawn trap - the larger one - we had 19 very large Spot prawns. Not as many as we hoped, but still better than 13. In the other prawn trap - the smaller one - we had 24 smaller prawns - a mix of Spot prawns and Coon Stripes. How strange. The large trap had large prawns, the small trap had small prawns. We got large prawns in the small trap just a few days ago so it wasn't a matter of size. The other thing was that they were set only about 100 yards apart. Oh well, prawns are prawns and at least we got more than 13.

Next we went to check the crab pots and we got a crab! Kim felt sorry for it and wanted to let it go, but I said, "No way! I'm keeping him. Besides that he's a nice sized crab." The other pot was empty. One crab is better than none, and it erased the goose egg on my crab fishing this year.

We returned to the Independence, stowed all the pots, and weighed anchor at 1123. We came out of Beaver Inlet and Loughborough Inlet into Chancellor Channel and rode the last of the flood into our anchorage just off of Greene Point Rapids, or what I call Greene Point Cove. We're anchored in 37' of water at high neap tide. There's a sailboat anchored about 50 yds E of us. We dropped anchor at 1315.

At 1430 we Zipper'd over to Blind Channel Marina to get Zipper gas, liquor, ice and a few other things. It was a short trip over and back.

For dinner we enjoyed a shrimp Pad Thai along with some fresh basil from our "garden." The wind is very brisk from the W, with a few gusts that must be over 15 kts, maybe even 20 kts. Skies are sunny with a few clouds.

Nm: 10.3 Avg. speed: 5.6 kts. Time: 1:52 Hours: 2.0 Ending hours: 5897.1

Seafood Greed

Friday, July 17. Day 13.
A lazy, foggy morning. The fog didn't lift until 1000. Kim made her famous crab-cheese-muffins which we enjoyed very, very much. After breakfast we Zipper'd over to Jackson Bay to check the crab pots we set there yesterday. Once again - NOTHING! Not even the carcasses that I had put in the crab pots yesterday remained. I begain to suspect that our crab pots were raided by the logging camp crew after we left yesterday. Oh well, I had enough. I put the crab pots in the Zipper, and motored over to the shrimp pots in Bessborough Bay. Once again we only got 13 prawns! What the heck! I had enough! I said, "Let's pull up and go." So we weighed anchor at 1310 and left for Beaver Inlet just off of Loughborough Inlet.

The wind blew brisk from the S/SW and later the SE but when we reached Beaver Inlet it was calm when we dropped anchor at 1600. We anchored in 38' of water at a near low neap tide. We then quickly set the crab pots down farther Beaver Inlet, and the shrimp pots over in Sidney Bay. We had to set them because those stinky fish carcasses were attracting hordes of nasty horse flies. It was very, very hot and sultry out.

Kim was tired of the Asian marinade I had been using for the chicken so I quickly worked this marinade up. It turned out very well.
  • 3 T sweet-hot prepared mustard
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1/4 C ginger ale
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 1 t Cajun seasoning
  • 1 T Bick's red pepper relish
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t granulated garlic

Mix all of the above together in a sealable plastic bag, pour out about 1/2 C for basting the chicken while grilling. Put chicken in plastic bag, seal and marinade for about 1 hour. About every 15 or so minutes, give the bag a toss to turn the chicken and marinade. Pour remaining marinade over chicken while grilling.

We had a nice 1/2 crab each cocktail, a prawn appetizer, and a nice grilled chicken dinner all accommpanied by a nice cold Caesar. Then as the evening progress we understood why it was so sultry a nice thunderstorm moved through - missing us with the rain - but cooled us off. It provided for a wonderful sunset.

Hours: 3.0 Ending hours: 5895.1


Thursday, July 16. Day 12.
Woke to clouds and the possibility of rain showers. We had a very peaceful night, there wasn't a breath of wind all night. We had a very lazy morning just chatting about the past couple of days and what we were going to do today. Finally, at around 1200 we went to check the shrimp pots we set over in Bessborough Bay yesterday. Once again one pot had floated. The pot that had floated only had 2 prawns in it. Not worth the effort to pull it up. The other pot did not drift but once again there were only 13 prawns in it. Of course once again they were all very, very large Spot prawns, but not what we wanted. We were used to pulling up prawn catches of 50-100 prawns, not 13. We reset the prawn traps trying to make sure we put them in a place were they would not drift and where the bottom looked like it would be "prawny."

Once again, we had no crabs from our traps that we set in Bessborough Bay. Was it our bait, or was Bessborough Bay fished out of crab? So we decided to motor over to Topaz Harbor. Topaz Harbor is a very large bay that is very shallow and has lots of streams pouring into it. This should be good crab country. We initially set the crab pots in the outer reaches of Jackson Bay but pulled up nothing. We sat and chatted and wondered about the logging camp on shore. The logging camp consisted of a 100' freighter that was beached on shore. The generator ran continously and belched black smoke. There were quite a few crab pots farther in Jackson Bay so we tried there. While we waited we enjoyed drifting along and looking at the bottom - we saw lots of fish, but no crabs. We then decided to let them soak longer and went to explore the head of Topaz Harbor. For 19 years I had motored right by Topaz Harbor but never ever ventured in. As we motored farther in to Topaz Harbor we noticed commercial crab pots everywhere. Finally we came to the crabber just finishing cleaning up after setting all his pots. We chatted with him and he gave us a few very smelly fish carcasses for use in our crab pots. We motored back to our crab pots in Jackson Bay and set them with the carcasses that we were given. We then motored back to the Independence. As we cruised back to the Independence, our desire for crab grew so great that we decided to ask the crabber if we could purchase some crab from him as he passed our anchorage.

I grabbed my wallet and a couple of cold beers and motored out to the crabber as he motored down Wellbore Channel. He sold me 5 large Dungeness crab - all 9" across the back of the shell - for $20 Canadian. He appreciated the cold beers too. I returned back to the Independence with fresh crab! We were finally going to have fresh crab for dinner.

Today was a day of successes. While we were over in Topaz Harbor and Jackson Bay I left the generator running to keep the batteries charging and the refrigerator cold. That morning the generator started up fine. All I did was add 1/2 pint of oil to the generator motor. Maybe that's all it took?

We enjoyed a nice crab dinner, cold Cesar drinks and a beautiful calm evening.

Never Give Up!

Wednesday, July 15. Day 11.
I was still pissed off that I lost a crab pot yesterday. All night I thought and thought how could I possibly recover it. My idea was to tie a heavily weighted gaff hook to the end of a line and troll the bottom for it. So just after breakfast I began constructing my recovery tool. We motored over to Bessborough Bay and I started "trolling" for the crab pot. I used the GPS with the tracking feature on to set up grid pattern so I could see where I trolled. It was a long-shot but I had to try. Well after an hour of trolling I finally gave up. The sea kept the crab pot.

Next I noticed that where we set one of our shrimp pots was no longer there - it had moved or drifted. Bessborough Bay gets a lot of current since it is just down from Whirlpool Rapids. We finally found it about 1/2 mile away. I was concerned because it was foggy out and I didn't want to lose a shrimp pot. We pulled it up and found 12 very large Spot prawns. I wanted more, but these prawns were big. So there were prawns in Bessborough Bay. I had never prawned here before. After re-setting the prawn traps we returned to the boat. I had to stop though, it was beautiful - there were a pair of Bald Eagles flying around, and the fog and water made some beautiful views.

I then returned to my original project the generator. Again, I worked tirelessly to almost no avail. My solution was not to use the generator fuel tank but the portable outboard tank. I would keep the generator fuel tank with the generator since it was part of the case, but would plumb it so it got fuel from a portable tank. I cut off the end of the outboard fuel tank and directly connected it to the generator carburetor. Unfortunately it would not start. I rebuilt the carburetor again and again, each time to no avail. It would run for a moment or two then stop. I took a break and wracked my brains on what might be the problem. Finally I got it to start and ran the generator for about 3 hours. It ran pretty good and gave the batteries a good charge so we could run the boat refrigerator.

We fished off of Althorp Pt but caught nothing. I was getting disappointed - generator, crab pots, and now no fish. So we thought we would take a side trip over to Murray Island. It is reported that there is a decent anchorage behind Murray Island. The wind blowing down Sunderland Channel from Johnstone Strait was fierce - over 25 kts. The wind made for 3-4' waves and a rough ride in the Zipper over to Murray Island. I was getting tired of the wind and the waves and my mood was turning sour - generator, lost crab pot, no fish, and now wind and waves. When getting off the Zipper my sunglasses went overboard. WTF! Fortunately we were able to fish them out from the sea. By now I was totally exasperated. The dog enjoyed Murray Is. by taking a big dump and then running around happily barking. This started to lighten my mood. Yup, Murray Island would be a nice anchorage - good protection, good bottom, not too deep, and scenic. We set a couple of crab pots out from the island - no crab. We returned to the the Independence and had a nice evening. I enjoyed a very stiff drink and tried to relax.

Althorp Cove

Tuesday, July 14. Day 10.
We left Blind Channel Marina at 0930 to continue our trip. My on-going disappointment with Blind Channel Marina continues... the marina charged us over $70 for moorage. They must have counted the length of the Independence as well as the length of the Zipper tied up behind us, so we were a 53' boat?! Oh well, the freezer/fridge is cold and the batteries are well charged.

We rode the ebb current through Greene Point Rapids and down Chancellor Channel. At times there was a 10 knot W wind blowing against us. Once again it made for a cool morning cruise because the wind blowing over the water made it very cold. The seawater temperature was only 43F. Fortunately the sun came out and started to warm things up. We rounded D'Arcy Point and into Wellbore Channel and through Whirlpool Rapids. We made it into our Althorp Pt. Cove anchorage at 1200. I was very happy that we were the only boat here. We're anchored in 27' of water at 1/2 falling. There's a light W wind.

Althorp Pt. is a favorite anchorage of mine. For many years we used this anchorage as a rest-stop on our trips going N or when returning. The boys remember Althorp Pt. because we would always have a "fishing derby." One year there was a storm out on Johnstone Strait and we waited out the blow anchored here. We spent two days fishing, playing on the beach, and relaxing. The "flag pole" we erected with an old net float on top was still standing after all these years.

We started preparing the crab pots for setting over in Bessborough Bay. We initially set 3 crab pots but got no crab. We would set the pots, then drift around and explore the shore for an hour. The last time we set crab pots in Bessborough Bay in 2006 we got 5-6 nice Dungeness crab. Then we lost one crab pot because the line parted from the trap. Oh how I was disappointed and angry with myself. I should have checked the lines better. We then set the shrimp pots farther out in Bessborough Bay and headed back to the boat. I set the remaining two crab pots out around the anchorage for that night. I was disappointed that we were not going to have fresh crab for dinner tonight.

Nm: 14.9 Avg. speed: 6.1 kts. Time: 2:27 Hours: 2.5 Ending hours: 5892.1

Blind Channel

Monday, July 8. Day 9.
Woke to cloudy skies. We pulled up anchor at 0550 so we could make slack at the Yuculta's. There was a brisk 10-15 kt. NW breeze blowing down Lewis Channel and through most of Calm Channel. Most of the time we were pounding into a 1-2' chop. A few times a wave would break on the bow and throw a bit of spray on to the windshield. The breeze made for a very cool morning, so the hot coffee was definitely appreciated.

We made it through the Yuculta's on time - right at slack for each of them (Yuculta, Gillard, and Dent). We were the last of the few boats going through the rapids this morning. I timed the trip to coincide that we would take advantage of the ebb tide and get pulled after we passed through the Yuculta's. As we cruised up Cordero Channel the morning clouds started to burn away to a beautiful day. We were unsure of where we were going to anchor for the day and we decided to go into Blind Channel Marina for the night. I'm not fond of Blind Channel but this would enable us to get a good freeze on the refrigerator and charge up the batteries. I radioed ahead, got a reservation, and spot on the main dock out front. I wanted to stay out front because typically Blind Channel likes to tie me up on the inside of the dock. I don't like to because it's a tight squeeze between the shallows on shore and everyone walks by your boat. We got into Blind Channel and tied up at 1200.

We had lunch then went on a long 5 mile hike around the "Forest Trail." At the top end of the "Forest Trail" they've done some logging which makes portions of the trail confusing. We had to do some back-tracking. It was a very hot day. After the hike we were pooped and took a long shower. Then with plenty of ice I made a Cesar and enjoyed the afternoon. We enjoyed a simple potato soup for dinner.

Nm: 39.7 Avg. speed: 6.3 Time: 6:18 Hours: 6.5 Ending hours: 5889.6

@#&$! Generator

Sunday, July 12. Day 8.
We decided to take a day off from motoring and spend the day at Squirrel Cove. A SE wind started up early and at times it blew very brisk - 15-20 knots. This helped keep things cool.

I spent almost the whole day working on the portable generator. I discovered that the bottom of the gas tank had rusted through. First, I removed the gas tank, sanded it down, and put a good coat of epoxy all over the bottom of the tank. After the epoxy cured, I spent a good time trying to get the rust bits out of the tank. I also had to rebuild the carburetor because it was full of "rust dust." I then reassembled the generator. It would start right up, but then die quickly because the valve inside of the gas tank would continuously plug. After a couple of hours of taking the generator apart and then re-assembling it I finally gave up. It had beat me. My back was sore, I was covered with rust dust, smelled of gasoline, and I felt defeated.

We motored via Zipper into the town of Squirrel Cove to get some wonderful Squirrel Cove coffee, some ice cream, some ice and any other groceries that we might need. That was a refreshing break from my battles with the generator earlier in the day. We came back and I made a refreshing Cesar drink - Clamato juice, A1 steak sauce, vodka, and Tabasco sauce over ice. This was a real treat. The wind finally died down in the evening.

Squirrel Cove

Saturday, July 11. Day 7.
We left Boho Bay early, weighing anchor at 0525. Skies were clear and winds were calm. The marine weather report was for NW winds to build to strong in the afternoon. We motored out of Bull Passage and into Sabine Channel for the trip up the Strait of Georgia. Seas were relatively calm although they were "rolly" from the left over wind-waves farther W in the Strait. Wind reports at Sisters Is. far to the W of us were W winds at 18 knots, but there were no winds here. These "calm rolly" conditions existed to just S of Favada Pt. on Texada Island where we finally met a NW wind of about 10-12 knots and a 2' chop. However, these didn't last long as they were gone by the time we made Vivian Is. Just past Mystery Reef I laid down for a nap for about an hour while Kim piloted the boat. I awoke about an hour later and we were just approaching the Thulin Is. waypoint. I was completely out for this time. Seas were calm as we made for the final leg to Squirrel Cove.

We're anchored in Squirrel Cove in the NE corner in 20' of water a 1/2 low tide still falling. We finished anchoring and shut off the engine at 1315. A long day, but we're finally here. There's a light S/SE breeze blowing to cool us off. I think I will relax with a nice whiskey on the rocks.

Nm: 49.8 Avg. speed: 6.1 Time: 8:13 Hours: 8.3 Ending hours: 5883.1

Stress and Confusion

Friday, July 10. Day 6.
Dropping Josef off to meet up with the Hockey Prep Camp people was a bit of a fiasco. It was unclear as to what seaplane dock to drop Josef off at. There's a seaplane terminal just across from Newcastle Harbor and we assumed it was that. We pulled up anchor at 1000. So, off we go to that Seaplane terminal. I didn't want to stay another day in busy Nanaimo and so after we dropped Josef off we were going to continue on our boating trip N. The first stress and confusion was I started to go into the wrong place, evidentally one channel is only for seaplanes and the other entrance for boats. The Nanaimo Harbor Patrol cleared that up for me as a float plane was taxiing just astern of me. Next, there were several boats trying to get in and out of the harbor while we were loading the Zipper. Third stress, the Zipper wouldn't start immediately. Finally, the Zipper started and Kim and Josef were off to the seaplane dock. I meanwhile started slowly cruising down Newcastle Channel. Unfortunately, Kim didn't follow so quick and next thing I noticed was Kim and Josef back in the Zipper. I radioed them and they said they were at the wrong seaplane dock. Oh, it must have been the one at the North end of town where the international flights come in. Unfortunately now Josef was completely stressed and angry. Kim dropped Josef off Josef off and met up with me in Departure Bay. We finally got underway in earnest just past 1100.

Georgia Strait wasn't too bad, there were winds of 10-15 knots with a NW chop of about 1-2'. We made it fine over to Bull Passage area without any further stress. We decided to anchor in Boho Bay just off of Lasqueti Island. We're anchored in 25' of water just S of where it narrows along the W side of the anchorage. There's one other boat anchored with a stern tie to shore just S of us.

We had a lazy afternoon - we took the dog to the beach and then explored around Bull Is. with the Zipper. We saw a rock with several Black Oyster Catchers on it. These birds are completely black with bright orange legs and bill. We came back and made a delightful chicken-vegetable stew/soup.

While supper was cooking I decided to disconnect battery #3 - the starter battery, since it seems to drain the other two batteries when we are not motoring. I also checked the transmission fluid and viola! no more leaks - problem solved.

Nm: 25.5 Avg. speed: 4.0 Time: 6:23 Hours: 5.8 Ending hours: 5874.8

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Solving the Transmission Fluid Leak

Thursday, July 9. Day 5.
We left Montague Harbor at 0701 along with three other boats - 2 sailboats and a small trawler - all US boats headed for Dodd Narrows. We ever so slowly passed the trawler, then one sailboat and finally just outside of Round Island the second sailboat. We arrived at Dodd Narrows at just past 1100. We had just missed slack and now the current was running strong to the S. I stayed close to the SE shore riding a back eddy and then darting out into the current. I pushed the throttle up and motored through the Narrows. Of couse as always when going through Dodd there was a parade of boats going through. I got in line and went on through.

We got into Newcastle Harbor around 1200 and dropped the anchor in 17.7' of water.

I checked the transmission fluid and again noticed that it was down. I thoroughly checked the transmission cooler and noticed it wet with transmission fluid. So I decided to swap it out. I remembered that my problems with experiencing a transmission fluid leak didn't start until I swapped out the transmission cooler last year. Changing the transmission cooler was a real chore, but I did it. I checked it as best as I could since we were at anchor by putting the boat in forward then reverse a few times. I think that did the trick - at least I hope so.

The Prep Camp people called and said they're going to pick up Josef at 1015 at the sea plane dock tomorrow.

Kim and Josef took Hank to the beach while I rested after my repair ordeal with a nice cold beer. After they returned from walking the dog, we went into town to get some steaks for tonight's dinner and groceries for the trip that Kim and I would continue on.

We grilled steaks and shrimps on the "barbie" on the aft deck and had a great time. It was a great calm evening.

Nm: 28.0 Avg. speed: 5.4 Time: 5:10 Hours: 5.4 Ending hours: 5869.0

Canada & Montague Harbor

Wednesday, July 8. Day 4.
It started steadily raining about 0430-0500. Skies are completely overcast and gray. Last night, Kim dropped some tweezers down the forward head sink and that took some time to try to get. We tried flushing them out and blowing them out, but to no avail - the tweezers are there to stay.

We left Prevost Harbor at 1000 by then the rain had stopped. Winds were calm. We crossed Haro Strait and entered into Canada at about 1035 and then into Bedwell and Canada Customs at 1100. I called CANPASS while crossing and got the following entry permit #20091890243. Unfortunately when I called Canada Customs Josef's CANPASS permit had expired by just a couple of weeks. We will need to renew his permit. Fortunately they let us pass without any delay. We docked at the Bedwell Customs dock, waited our obligatory 15 minutes and then went on our way at 1115.

We motored up Bedwell Harbor and were going to go through Pender Canal which separates North and South Pender Island. The shallowest it got was 4.4'. I wasn't too concerned since the tide was rising.

We made it around Razor Pt and into Plumper Sound on our way to Montague Harbor. A light S/SE wind pushed us along. We got into Montague Harbor, Saturna Island, at 1345 and grabbed a mooring buoy on the W side of the bay. Weather is still cloudy and overcast with a S/SE wind of about 10 kts.

We motored over to Ganges Harbor on Salt Spring Island in the "Zipper" to get some groceries. Then we came back and had dinner - "Rogan Josh". Traditionally this dish is made with lamb but we made it with chicken instead. Kim dressed it up with carrots, onions, and peppers - it was really good. I enjoyed a good drink of whiskey after dinner.

Nm: 18.4 Avg. speed: 5.3 kts. Time: 3:30 Hours: 3.8 Ending hours: 5863.6

Rain & Prevost Harbor, Stuart Island

Tuesday, July 7. Day 3.
We had a very lazy morning. Weather is overcast and very cool, with few showers. We left Friday Harbor at 1105 for Prevost Harbor, Stuart Island. Winds are light. As we cruised up San Juan Channel we noticed that there were quite a few boats out for a cloudy Tuesday after the 4th of July holiday.

Just before Satellite Is. we started fighting a very strong current. We got to our anchorage - a mooring buoy - at 1330. There were 3 mooring buoys open, but the dock was fully packed with boats. That didn't matter to us, we weren't interested in tying up to the dock. There were quite a few boats anchored too. We took the far E mooring buoy. A few rain showers came through the area. I took a nap in the afternoon. Later in the afternoon we took a very short hike.

I checked the batteries with a hygrometer. The starting battery had a "fair" rating. The two house batteries had a "good" rating. I used the battery switch to isolate the batteries for the evening.

Nm: 13.4 Avg. speed: 5.5 kts. Time: 2:27 Hours: 2.6. Ending hours: 5859.8

Friday Harbor

Monday, July 6. Day 2.
The wind blew all night long out of the SW. I got up and walked Hank up the dock and then got ready to go. We pulled out of Kingston Cove Marina at 0528. Appletree Cove was rough with a 2-3' SW chop. We turned up the sound and started riding the strong ebb. We rounded Pt. No. Pt. then right up Admiralty Inlet. At times we were making 10 kts or more and enjoyed a following sea. We came by Marrowstone Point and set a course for Partridge Point on Whidbey Island. At Point Wilson the seas were very rough, but we made great speed hitting 12 kts at times. After Point Partridge I adjusted the course to go W of Smith Island. It was quite choppy with waves from the S/SW. We made Cattle Pass, the gateway to the San Juan Archipelago at 1130. We then went up San Juan Channel and right into Friday Harbor at just before 1300. We're tied up at slip G25. The marina is not too crowded as there are plenty of empty slips.

We went up to the Front Street Ale House and had dinner. We saw our good friend Mary Delong there. She was there to help her parents.

Nm: 53 nm. Avg. speed: 7.3 kts. Time: 7:16 Hours: 8.0 Ending hours: 5857.2

Late Start

Sunday, July 5. Day 1.
We got a very late boarding last night. We didn't get down to the boat until midnight. Additionally there was plenty of excitement - Hank fell off the dock and had to be rescued. Fortunately Josef got into a moored dinghy, coaxed Hank over, and fished him out of the bay. All is well. However, I wasn't too happy about the late arrival to the boat.

We left the dock at 0558 for our trip N. Waters are calm in Budd Inlet. In Dana Passage there were light and variable winds. These light and variable winds continued all the way up to the Tacoma Narrows. We passed through the Narrows at about 0930 making a good way at 10 knots. We cruised up Colvos Passage where we enjoyed the last of the ebb. Around Blake Island we started fighting the flood current. Just past Blakely Rock I laid down for a short nap.

The waters now are very "rolly" from all the boats returning from the July 4th holiday. We got into Kingston at 1430. Kingston was pretty crowded from the 4th of July.

Nm: 56.4, Avg. speed: 6.7 kts. Time: 8:28. Hours: 8.8 End hours: 5849.2