Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 16 - Ford Cove to Nanaimo

Friday,  July 29, 2011.
Chrome Is. Lightstation
I got the crew up at 0630 in prep for the second half of the Georgia Strait crossing. We left the “washing machine” at Ford Cove at 0704.  I doubt I’ll ever stay here again.  In fact I doubt I’ll ever come down this side of the Strait again. Options are just too limited. 

Passing Chrome Island the seas were rippled with light winds but as we traveled E (down the Strait) the winds and waves picked up.  There was a 2’ chop on top of a low NW swell which made for a few 3-4’ waves here and there.  The weather was clear and sunny and we were making good time.  We had the wind, the waves, and a good ebb pushing us along at over 6 knots and at times even 7+ knots.  I plotted a course to go to Cottam Reef, skirt by Schooner Cove, and go E of Maud Is to give us a periodic relief of the following seas and that was achieved.  It also broke up the monotony of cruising down the Strait. I typically use this route just for getting out of the NW wind and waves and it works just great.
Click on chart to enlarge

Just past Maud Is I laid down and let the crew take the helm until I awoke as we were just nearing Clarke Rock.  By now the seas were almost a 3’ moderate and the MV Independence was easily surfing down the NW waves and swell.  As we got into Nanaimo it was nice to get out of the slop. 

View from Newcastle Hbr. looking N
We pulled into Newcastle Harbor and found a mooring buoy well E of where we normally anchor, in fact its in a spot we’ve never been before.  We have an excellent view between Newcastle and Protection Is.  We tied up at 1314.  We had a leisurely afternoon and went for a short walk to the east side of Newcastle Island.  All of us, including the dogs, were happy to be across the Georgia Strait.

The new mooring buoys in Newcastle Harbor cost $12 a night.  You can pay in advance or the ranger will visit your boat each evening.  You can use a credit card if you pay at the small Newcastle Island snack shop.  Most buoys are for boats 30' and less and there's about 14 buoys for boats over 30'.  The downside is that you'll have to look at each buoy to determine if it's right for your boat.  Also, each mooring buoy has a warning which states they're only rated for winds less than 30 knots.  We chose to stay at a buoy because the forecast for tomorrow - Saturday - is for SE winds 15-20 knots.  This way I don't have worry about dragging - although I never have dragged at anchor in Newcastle Harbor.  When you go to shore BC Parks has signs that explains why the mooring buoys were placed there because the bottom was getting ruined by so many boats anchoring there all the time.  I can understand that. There's still plenty of room to anchor if there's no buoy available.  And, there's still plenty of boaters who permanently moor their boats in Newcastle Harbor.

Stats: Ending engine hours: 6164.5, elapsed engine hours: 6.5, 37.9 nm, average speed 6.1 knots, 6:14 hrs motoring.

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