Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 18 - Surfing

Sunday, July 25, 2010
Left Boho Bay at 1000 for the final crossing of Georgia Strait to Nanaimo. Its forecast to be windy and it is. I was quite nervous. My hope was that by leaving at 10 AM the wind would die around noon and we'd have a nice easy crossing. The wind is blowing at 15+ knots out of the NW. From Bull Passage we set a course to Clarke Rock just out of Nanaimo. Fortunately "Area WG" is not active so we can cut directly across. Once we cleared the lee of Lasqueti Island the waves and swell got bad. The wind was over 15 knots and seas were at least 3' moderate with a few 4' seas thrown in. We quartered the waves and swell, or should I say we surfed with the waves and swell. At least we were not pounding into them. We were doing 6+ knots but every now and then we'd catch a wave which would catch the stern and thrust us forward to the point we would be doing over 8 knots. I kept watch and would notice that the big waves came in sets. I would say, "Okay, here come a few bad ones." Then I would make sure to point the bow more to the S so we would not get too beam to which would cause us to rock too much side-to-side. Again, I was glad we were riding with the seas and not pounding into them.
As we approached Clarke Rock we saw that there was a "Bathtub Race" going on. Each bathtub was powered by an outboard and had a chase boat with it. We must have seen at least 8-10 bathtubs racing. The bathtup racers were moving NW against the wind and waves. The bathtup racers would soar into the air as they hit a wave. The chase boat would stick close to the bathtub racer but they too were getting tossed about. There was a huge "bathtub" boat just past Clarke Rock that would greet each racer. As we approached Clarke Rock the wind freshened to 20+ knots. As I listened to weather radio the report at Entrance Island (about 2 nm away) was wind at 25 knots and seas were 4' moderate. The seas were definitely a 4' moderate. It was a relief to pull into Nanaimo Harbor. As we pulled into Nanaimo we saw the huge finish line celebration for the bathtub racers. The beach was packed and there were so many boats.

At the N entrance to Newcastle Channel the RCMP were handing out speeding tickets to any boats that were exceeding the 5 knot speed limit. (Never saw that before!) I made sure I was just under 5 knots. The channel was packed with boats coming and going. We finally pulled into Newcastle Harbor at just before 2:00 PM and set the hook in 23' of water right at 2:00 PM. We found a spot to anchor near an existing mooring buoy. If a boat decided to tie up to the buoy we'd be close. So I decided to move a bit more to get more space. Fortunately no boat ever tied up to the mooring buoy.

After getting settled, we went to the beach and took a walk. After surfing down the Strait, I'm sure Hank enjoyed the walk on dry land. Then we went to town and got some more groceries. We came back and enjoyed the evening. For supper we had pan fried potatoes and grilled pork chops finished with the Vindaloo glaze. I had a nice big caesar with lots of ice. Then a Gibsons on the rocks too.

Stats: 24.3 nm, average speed 6.2 knots, running time 3:52, ending engine time 6037.9.

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