Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 5 - Nanaimo & Newcastle Harbor

Monday,  July 18, 2011.
Left beautiful Montague Harbor at 0740 under cloudy skies and calm waters – breezes are light and variable.  We time leaving Montague Harbor to meet the slack current at Dodd Narrows about 22 nm away.  That's just about three hours away for the MV Independence at normal cruising speed of about 6.5 knots.

GPS Way Points
Our first GPS way point is just north of Walker Rock in Trincomali Passage.  Then once we pass Walker Rock to our port, we continue up Trincomali Passage to our next GPS way point at Read Island just opposite of Porlier Pass to the north.  On this route we will pass closely to the Galiano Island shore which is steep to with sandstone cliffs.  From the Read Island GPS way point we will make for Round Island which is about 1.5 nm SE of Dodd Narrows.  Once we make Round Island we will get a good idea of all the traffic that we will have to contend with at busy Dodd Narrows.  Everything is running good and we made each way point as expected without any time delays to meet the slack at Dodd Narrows.  As it was we would be going through Dodd Narrows about 30 minutes before slack, so we would be fighting some current.  It's curious we've been traveling up the coast and through Dodd Narrows for over 20 years and only within the last few years have we encountered the odd custom of calling "Securitay" on the VHF radio announcing your passage through Dodd Narrows.  Most boaters call "Securitay" but don't actually listen if another boat is going through the narrows.  This year, a large yacht was going through northbound, called "Securitay" and announced their intention of going northbound through Dodd Narrows.  Next thing you hear on the radio is an angry skipper yell into the radio "What are you doing? I've got Securitay.  You can't be in here.  I've got Securitay." as another boat was traveling southbound through the narrows.  "Securitay" does not guarantee you or secure you rights, it is simply stating that other boats need to pay attention.  The southbound boat stopped, turned around, apologized on the radio, and re-entered the narrows a few minutes later.  In actuality the southbound boat had the right of way since he was traveling with the current and the northbound boat was traveling against the current. In all actuality Dodd Narrows is wide enough for two boats.  I simply laughed at the exchange.  We motored through Dodd Narrows at 1140 without calling "Securitay.".  I upped the speed to 1850 RPM to fight the bit of current and cruised right on through without any issue. 

Boats moored in Newcastle Harbor, Nanaimo.
Once north of Dodd Narrows we were now in Northumberland Channel cruising with several other boats towards Jack Point and Nanaimo.  I kept the RPM at 1850 because I could see that the 1245 BC Ferry from Duke Point to Tsawwassen was just getting ready to leave.  We just beat the BC Ferry at Duke Pt as we motored to Nanaimo.  We motored into Nanaimo Harbor and noticed that there weren't too many boats anchored in Newcastle Harbor.  Last winter they just placed a bunch of brand new mooring buoys in Newcastle Harbor - most are for boats less than 30' with only about 15 buoys for boats less than 40' but bigger than 30'.  We chose not to take a buoy and dropped the hook in 27’ of water at near low tide at around 1248.  I noticed that not too many of the new mooring buoys were being used as most boats were still anchoring. And of course the collection of permanently moored boats has not decreased too much. The anchorage is not too crowded with visiting boats.

Hank & Rocky at Newcastle Island
We took the dogs to the beach, walked them about, played Frisbee and generally wore them out.  This was because we were going to leave them in the boat while we headed to town.  We hoped that tired dogs would not be as mischievous as un-tired dogs - we were correct. We went to the Chandlery to get stove fuel, then Thrifty Foods, the BC Liquor Store, and to London Drugs.  We were now fully restocked with victuals for the next portion of our trip.  We came back, unloaded and then I went to get ice and spare Zipper fuel just in case.  I slipped and fell at the fuel dock. No problem just my ego was hurt.  It turned out to be a beautiful evening.  We’re enjoying a light dinner of drinks, snacks, and samosas.  The wind dropped and it is perfectly calm out.  I'm now listening to the VHF weather radio to plan our trip across the Georgia Strait.  It sounds like tomorrow is going to be a great day for crossing the Strait - light NW winds 5 to 15 knots.

Stats: Ending engine hours: 6121.5, elapsed engine hours: 5.5, 27.9 nm, average speed 5.5 kts., 5:05 hrs motoring.

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