Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 7 - On to Newcastle Island and Nanaimo

Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Woke to clear skies and calm waters. We untied from the mooring buoy at 0803 and continued our trip N to Nanaimo. It was an easy cruise up Trincomali Passage. I would set the wheel and then not touch it until I noticed that the current was pushing us off course. I would then make a slight correction and again let go of the wheel until it needed it. The waters were calm or only rippled all the way up to Dodd Narrows. Unfortunately we were fighting an ebb and our speed was less around 5+ knots.

When we approached Dodd Narrows at 12:00 there was a real "gaggle" of boats on both sides. The VHF radio was almost continously abuzz with "Securitay - securitay - securitay. A xx foot (sail or power) boat approaching Dodd Narrows from the (North or South) any concerned traffic call on channel 16." The current was ebbing and running S and slack was scheduled for 12:57 or so. Boats would motor up and back off, or motor back-and-forth across the entrance looking for an opportunity to traverse the narrow pass. There must have been over 30 boats on the S side and about a dozen boats on the N side. Dodd Narrows is a real boating bottleneck. I never changed my speed, but just kept on motoring determinedly for the narrows. I decided that other boats would have to move out of the way or follow in behind me. And I never hail on the radio that I'm going through Dodd Narrows. There were two boats in front of me - a sailboat, a 32' Fisher and a powerboat, a 32' Sea Ray. The Fisher was working hard against the current and I heard on the radio the powerboat behind the Fisher say, "Now's the time you gotta push the throttle. Go, go, go." I generally approach the narrows more to the N side (if the current is ebbing), the Mudge Island side and ride the back eddy until I get right into the narrows. When I hit the narrows, the current slowed us down to 3.5 knots and I increased the RPM to 1850 from 1750 and we powered right on through.

After passing through Dodd Narrows the wind wasn't too bad coming into Nanaimo Harbor. Sometimes you'll feel the full force of NW wind, waves and swell of the Strait of Georgia coming headlong right into you. There were a few rollers about 2-3 feet in size, but we managed just fine. We got into Newcastle Harbor at about 1305 and dropped the hook in 19' of water at near low tide. The harbor doesn't seem too crowded and we found a nice anchorage - it was pretty much to our choosing.

I gave the engine a thorough checking over - alternator belt, cooling system, oil, transmission oil, as well as a scanning around the engine. I also cleaned the raw water strainer and removed the hose to the oil cooler and cleaned it too. I believe we're ready for the "monster" - that is crossing the Strait of Georgia. Josef called Jim Knight and arranged a time to be picked up (10:00 AM) tomorrow.

We had a lazy afternoon until around 1600 when we went into town to do some shopping. We first went to the marine chandlery to pick up some stove alcohol - its so cheap here. Only $10 per gallon. I checked at the West Marine store in Olympia and they wanted over $30 for a gallon - same brand. Rediculous mark up. So we picked up 2 gallons - enough for this year and next. We also bought a new crab pot since we lost one last year. Next, we went to do some grocery shopping. Finally, I went to the liquor store to get enough liquor provisions for the rest of the trip. I got more Gibsons (Canadian whiskey) and beer. I timed it just right being the last one in and out of the store - whew. When we got back to the boat we unloaded the supplies and then went to get some Zipper fuel and some ice at the gas dock. Once that was done we came back and had a great supper of potatoes and grilled pork chops.

I moistened each pork chop lightly with some olive oil then sprinkled on some Montreal Steak Seasoning, some curry powder, a bit of red chili powder and dash of soy sauce. I let this marinade on the pork chop for about an hour. I also thoroughly perforated the pork chop with a fork to ensure the spices and marinade would penetrate the meat. When at the grocery store I saw a bottle of Indian Vindaloo sauce. Vindaloo is a puree of onions with a bunch of spices. I grilled each pork chop and then finished it with a glaze of the Vindaloo sauce. It was excellent. A definite hit. I finished the day with a caesar drink filled with lots of ice.

Stats: 27.8 nm, average speed 5.4 knots, running time 5:09, ending engine hours 5990.8.

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