Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 15 - Back to Squirrel Cove

Thursday, July 22, 2010
We weighed anchor from Von Donop Inlet at 0930. We had a very peaceful night's sleep despite the winds that blew all around us. Never did I hear any waves lapping against the hull, but I could here the wind blowing through the nearby trees. The skies are partly cloudy and the wind is blowing briskly from the NW at 15-20 knots with a few higher gusts.

We made our way out of Von Donop Inlet and around Bullock Bluff and once again into Lewis Channel as we headed our way S. Seas were a 2' chop. We made good speed (7+ knots) with the wind behind us and a flood current pushing us. We got into Squirrel Cove and dropped the hook at 1235. We're anchored in 19' of water at half-tide in the N part of the cove between shore and middle of "Dog Poo" island. I call it Dog Poo island because every boater that has a dog lets the dog off on the small (about 1 acre) island to do their business. Hank has many times left his mark there too. There's more boats anchored here at Squirrel than when we were here just a few days ago. Even the bakery is now opened, whereas a week ago it wasn't.

I had anchored the Independence almost perfectly between this large powerboat and sailboat rafted together E of us and another sailboat W of us. I was quite proud of my position. Just as I was about to settle down this sailboat comes in and drops the hook between me and the powerboat-sailboat raft. I wasn't too happy because he was pretty close to us. When we would swing we would get to about 30' close. While this is acceptable I still wasn't too happy.

I wanted to change the shackle that held the tow line to the Zipper and the bow ring. I saw that perhaps during our early pounding up the Strait of Georgia that it was pulled apart a bit. The shackle was quite rusty and I didn't want it snapping during a critical time. So we motored the Zipper over to the beach, Kim and I got out on a rock and proceeded to hack saw the old shackle off. It was quite a chore and took some time but we did it. I put on a new anchor shackle that seemed a bit more sturdy and would allow me to easily take on/off the tow line.

With that chore done I now investigated why it seemed that the solar panel was not charging the batteries as I was expecting. The solar panel was in very bright sunlight but the battery level meter was not quite showing 100%. So I spent about an hour investigating the issue. I found that the solar panel was indeed putting out the required voltage (~20 V) and all the connections were good. I did discover that the ground to battery #2 was loose and I tightened this. I finally gave up since I could not find any issue. All I could gather was that after so many days of running the refrigerator the batteries were low and they needed some charging. So I pulled out the portable generator and let it run for a few hours to charge the batteries.

This is a new Generac portable generator which I purchased at Cabelas prior to the trip. Remember last year I spent almost my whole trip working on the portable generator. This one works great but unlike the previous Yamaha I had it does not run at a constant speed but has this annoying revs way up then goes down almost to an idle. I checked into this and this is called "economy mode" on the generator. If you turn off economy mode the generator runs consistently at a higher RPM. I let it run on economy mode. This little generator is much quieter than the Yamaha we used to have. While the generator ran we also did some charging of cell phones and other electronic devices. We also played the CD player and read some books.

Later we went over to Squirrel Cove to get some groceries. Like before everyone else it seemed in the anchorage went too. The store was packed and the fresh meat shelves were almost empty. We wanted some pork chops but had to settle for some Bavarian smokies. I picked up some more liquor - another bottle of Gibsons and more beer. We also got some ice. We then came back and enjoyed some drinks on the flying bridge and enjoyed the rest of the day. You could hear the closeby sailboat's skipper, crew and guests talking and telling stories of Bayliners and other close encounters with powerboats - that was entertaining. A couple of times I wanted to comment but decided to bite my tongue. The wind kept on blowing - although not as hard.
For supper I cooked up Bavarian Smokies and some home-fried potatoes - a regular Deutsches supper. It was mighty fine especially with a nice Canuck beer - Kokanee.

Stats: 16.7 nm, average speed 5.6 knots, running time 2:58, ending engine hours 6024.8.

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