At the January Boatshow, PYS had a special on Panels and MTTP Controllers, so we discussed things a little more deeply w/Jeff, looking at the best options to realistically meet our needs. We opted for 2 x 95w flexible panels to be mounted on the Dodger top. Jeff spoke with us about how he dealt with mounting new panels on several year old canvas (Sunbrella). He also recommended running each panel to its own controller to maximize potential output. I came in with rough Dodger top measurements, but took a tape measure with me the next day when I went down to check on the boat -just to be sure.
Part of the deal for us was, knowing we wouldn't be up in Canadian waters until just before departure, that PYS would be able to ensure they could indeed complete our relatively tiny job when we needed it. On his assurances we ordered the parts, knowing there was also a bit of prep to be done on our end as well. We looked a few different install methods, but I think Lisa knocked it out of the park on her canvas work (some pics included below).
Lisa was working the Monday, but we'd need a car down a PRM upon our return anyways, so I singlehanded up -non- eventful, only able to motorsail after the turn at Sandheads. She met me up at Jericho to drive me back home. Wednesday's install was confirmed, and Thurs. night Lisa would drive me out to the boat (along with all the provisions) for a Fri. morning departure. Lisa, Lori (Cicerone), and their son's girlfriend would be joining us up in Lund, after driving up beginning Saturday morning.
Fri., July 20 -RVYC Jericho to Pender Harbour
Unexpected vehicle issues with Lisa's car created all kinds of chaos in what were pretty good plans for our Thurs. plans for provisioning and dropping me off for Friday's early departure. Bottom line -our neighbours saved the day, which included him dropping me off on the steps of Jericho Fri. morning at 6:00am! We would end up car-less in Pt.Bob upon our return, but my car would be in Tswwassen for us to collect.
All the weather forecasts were divided; either 5-7 or 20-25 NW. Prudence led me to pre-reef, as I was single-handing this leg, although it started out looking like the lighter forecast was what we were getting. That changed quickly, as winds and seas began increasing as we exited past the last of the anchored English Bay freighters. It became a long, drawn out leg to Sechelt, with winds 22-30kts. for most of the leg. I elected to motor-sail for much of this. A lot of pounding and somewhat wet, with an opposing tide for the first half of the trip. There were a couple times the Radar unit got splashed and at one point I looked up and the windex (wind vane on top of the mast) was gone. Things settled down (somewhat) past Sechelt and got to do some sailing for a while as winds dropped to 15-20 from Sechelt to Welcome Pass. From WP to Francis Isl. sailed some/motored some, as winds ranged from 3-15kts. By the time I got in to John Henrys' at Pender Harbour, it had felt like a long day.
Sat. July 21 -Pender Harbour to Lund
After being the last boat in (by a long-shot) yesterday, as well as the last to depart today, I wanted to ensure I kept to schedule for the 1500 pick-up at Lund for Lisa & Lori. Thinking I was leaving 1½ hrs behind Cicerone, Opted to motor w/head-sail; the angle was right to ensure better VMG. It was tempting to join in on the SCYC cruiser race that was forming off Quarry Bay Point (Nelson Island), but I kept to the plan. Just below NE Point on Texada Isl., the anchor pin let loose I had to blow the jib sheet quickly and retrieve about 110' of anchor and chain. Once underway and having made NE Point, Cicerone called for for assistance re: a dead engine. It took a few minutes to figure out their position, as I was still looking ahead for them, but had actually gotten ahead of them without realizing it. Once spotted, we met and I brought my dinghy along side Cicerone and we transferred Brian into it and brought him aboard Volti Subito; Dave & Jeff would continue sailing & working on the motor (eventually got it running), but Brian was on a schedule for a water taxi charter to Savery Island. Originally planning to meet the girls at our destination (his departure point as well) in Lund, we got the car to meet us in Powell River. The wives came aboard the boats, while Brian & his girl-friend continued with the vehicle up to Lund.
The remainder of the run up to Lund was un-eventful, and we tied up 2 abreast (to different vessels) and had a great dinner at the boardwalk restaurant (good self-accompanied singer/guitarist entertaining). Next morning, breakfast from Nancy's Bakery (w/cinnamon buns to go!). We had a late departure, as Jeff needed dropping off back in Powell River for his return flight home.
Heading for Tenedos Bay and proceeded -after not being able to raise Spitfire- to set anchor in 3 Fathom Cove. As I was about to jump into the dinghy to set the stern line, Drew informed us they were already set a couple coves down, so we raised anchor and headed over to join the raft. Once secured, I needed a quick dip to cool off!
Day 2 here was spent exploring; a trail on the S side of Unwin Lake, and some exploring by kayak before everyone headed over for a swim on the N side of the Lake. On the way back from the swimming hole, Jeannine & Drew introduced us to a great little spot in the rapids of the tributary into the Bay. A great exclamation point on this stop.
The summer stillness of Desolation Sound continues, and we motored over to Melanie Cove, stern tying to a cliff on the N side. With the very hot temperatures the water toys quickly became a necessity, as everyone took to the water for extended periods. Many challenges were overcome with this -a tether for us all to clip on too when we didn't want to drift too far; a weighted (add rock) bag to take the beer to deeper, cooler water; and a SUP re-purposed to serve as a table for apples and snacks- we are creative when solutions are called for!
There was a lot of early morning plane and chopper activity, as a fire broke out at a cabin on the easterly point of E Redonda Island, just across the channel. Lisa and I kayaked out of Prideaux to take a look (at the rising smoke), and on the way back through the islets, noticed another PRYC boat, Diversion, in one one of the outer Prideaux nooks, so we stopped over and had a visit before returning to Melanie. After lunch we went into the head of Melanie Cove to see about hiking the trail over to Laura Cove, but it was looking unused and somewhat over-grown. Wearing scratches all over arms & legs for the rest of the trip was not in our plans, so no hike today... back to the floaties. Another club boat, Avalanche had been delayed in Pender Harbour, but appeared this second afternoon to find a bunch of brightly covered 'menaces to navigation' (all of us out on our brightly coloured water toys). Once tied on to the raft, they quickly got into Desolation mode.
Okay, not the straightest line, but not being able to enter Roscoe until after 1630, and needing to do some provisioning, we set off for Refuge Cove in a leisurely manner. A bustling place! we ended up tying on the courtesy float 3 abreast. After the requisite ice-cream cone and dropping by the garbage scow, we were on our way.
We entered RB around 1645 on 13' of tide, with 10' 8" being the shallowest we saw crossing the bar. We tied VS and Cicerone on Lakmia's starboard, Spitfire and Avalanche to her port. Shortly after Prime arrived, tying on to Avalanche. The next day we rowed over to the bar and figured it to be 0 water at 2' of tide depths; would want a min. of 12' chart datum below for safe transit. Spitfire had family on another boat coming in and Avalanche had been go go go, so they both opted to remain at Roscoe for another night. We'd been here a couple times before so were ready to move on, as was Cicerone -who were wanting to get one more spot in before they had to begin their trek back down to Powell River. We departed at 1700 for Pendrell Sound w/Cicerone. They stopped outside Roscoe (in deep water) to fully deploy their ground tackle to remove rode twist, while we continued heading north. It looked like a full house at the head of Pendrell, so we began scoping out alternate anchorages between Oyster Bay and the Sound Head -but we did end up with a spot at the head, but it did take 3 tries to get a good bite. By then, Cicerone had caught up so we tied them on our starboard. We had an enjoyable evening with them, but they needed to get going the next morning to return the boat to Powell River for Sally. We barely pushed them off and Lameka appeared, so seeing as how the spot was just vacated, we tied them on to starboard. The next days were incredibly hot, with no breeze. Anan (measured the water at 84.2*c. Lots of time spent in the water! Our sailboat 'neighbour' ran his diesel at 0630 each morning! Not impressed. As expected, Spitfire joined us that evening, after leaving Roscoe on the late afternoon rising tide.
The next day Alan talked to a purple Nordic Tug when he was checking for the trailhead to go over to the Hepburn Pt. viewpoint and they were about to do the same, so we joined them. As we met face to face, and introducing ourselves on the shore, it was Alan's cousin! The trail was a 1 km., moderately difficult hike to a small viewpoint looking towards Toba Inlet. Once returned to the boat, , we opted to do some dinghy exploring over to Oyster Bay, followed later by kayaking on the other side of the Sound, over by the Oyster farm on the East side.
Mon., July 30 -Pendrell Sound to Squirrel Cove
Breaking anchor for departure was the toughest yet. It took us 20 min. to get break free. We arrived at Squirrel to find Spitfire already tied to Diversity (Mike & Jill), so set anchor on the end, gathered dirty laundry and garbage, and headed towards the General Store over in the Community, Had a Salmon Burger, cold water shower, and headed back. Spotting four Sceptre 41/43's as we returned back to the anchorage made me think rendezvous, but it was just by chance. The next day we hiked the trail over to Von Donan and relaxed. Starting to look at the return back down to Pt. Bob.
Wed., Aug. 1 -Squirrel Cove to Powell River, via Lund
Looking ahead at the forecasts for our returning back down to Point Roberts, the wind has flipped to a SE (of course it has), but other than that, it looked like a long day down to Pender Harbour in 5-10kts today, followed by a short, early morning jump down to Secret Cove before the big 20-25kt winds showed up, would set us up well for either a run down them mainland side, or across and through the Gulf Islands beginning of Friday. Or so we thought.
We started a little earlier than Spitfire & Diversion, as we were stopping @ Lund for fuel (and cinnamon buns). Too long of line ups prevented the buns, but we did get fuel. Both the wind forecast, and the current atlas got it wrong today!. We got 15-20s on the nose, and struggled against the building wind and current. Had to put up about 80% of our furled headsail to make a little headway approaching Powell River. Spitfire was long gone, Diversion radioed to say she was turning in to shelter (I thought they were already at Grief Pt. and were talking about the marina just south of that). We had also already decided to put in to Westside Wharf. Turned out that's where Diversion put in as well!. It was a crazy busy place, as just about every boater out there were ducking into the same place for cover. Assigned a stern in, north side of finger (wind blowing us off), all the way back, did not sound like fun and I was not looking forward to it, but inside the breakwater was calm and the docking was uneventful.
Sally & Denny were aboard Cicerone, dealing with the holding tank leak. Went up to the chandlery and bought a shorter shackle for the headsail tack. Went back shortly thereafter, as I dropped the first one as the tack 'flipped' in a wind gust just as I tried to install it :^( On Sally's recommendation went to the ThaiHouse for dinner -very good. Spitfire texted that they made Pender after 10hrs! Tomorrow's forecast showed light winds for morning so prepared for next day's departure.
Thurs., Aug. 2 -Powell River to Pender Harbour.
On multiple reports, we made an early departure. Nice start, but on a building flood (trying to use back eddies) and again, much greater than predicted winds, we bashed from NE Point (Texada Island) down. The last 6 miles (abeam the Pwr Station north of Pender) were the worst. Again, many boats ducking for shelter, combined with pre-booked reservations meant that most moorage was spoken for. Got a spot at Pender Harbour Resort & Marina -new docks, nice spot, reasonably priced. After fixing my botched repair from Powell River, we dinghied over for dinner at John Henry's. Stopped & spoke w/Bosson's (Emerald Sea) briefly, as they were moored at JH on the outside linear moorage. Met up w/Drew & Jeannine at JH. A nice dinner, also joined by Pete & Kirsten(?) -Spitfires neighbour at RV Jericho. Her Grandparents were the original owners of the General Store.
Went over to th RYVC Outstation afterwards -found a 50'+ boat dumping raw sewage right at the main walk. Awkward for everyone, but club had to deal with it/them. Departed in the dark back to VS. Only took 2 tries to find the marina. Going up to use the washrooms, lisa missed the dock edge and tumbled. Was a little sore the next day.
Fri., Aug. 3 -Pender Harbour to Pirates Cove via Dodds Narrows
While getting harder to trust, a favourable forecast had us departing with the plan of transiting Welcome Pass, then deciding either Secret Cove, or, cross towards Nanaimo depending on conditions at that point. Conditions looked good before even reaching WP. Diversion opted to go outside, but with Whiskey Golf still active and closed, we opted to continue down Welcome Pass before committing. Unexpectedly, Whiskey Golf was declared open for passage, so we quickly confirmed our option, and headed outside of the islands. We began with in/out on the headsail, as we were close on the wind. Looking at options of tonight's destination (Nanaimo, or beyond), we hailed Persistence (friends, and LPSS member), who we had heard on VHF 16 earlier, and they were anchored in Pirates Cove along with Solveig, the Henderson's new boat (formerly Trincomallii II). Thinking ahead to where we wanted to be Saturday night, we opted to head to Pirates -Dodds had a better angle to motorsail and make slack tide (we did... with 10 min. to spare). As we approached Dodds, we got a military-like escort, as the T/T both boats past us on either side at full throttle; I was afraid it was going to become the Keystone Cops as they both turned in behind us - and avoided a head on collision- and rounded, zipping out ahead of us.
With it being the BC Day long weekend, we knew that if it wasn't already, Montague Harbour would be chalk full o' boats, so we got away in reasonable time for the run down. There was next to no wind, except for the few miles that we were able to leverage out of crossing Poirier Pass. We watched for park buoys as we came in to the harbour, but weren't surprised to not see any. We were happy however, to see our preferred spot for stern anchoring available. With the extra practise of late, Lisa was feeling more comfortable with backing down as we sterned in closer to shore. Done like dinner. Once settled, we were on a mission for ice-cream. We headed to the park headquarters -they used to sell revells, eskimo bars, etc. there, but alas, no more. So an unexpected walk down to the Marina ensued. The new owners have done some nice updates to the buildings. After supper we went over to watch the sun go down over on the north beach. We had enough time to do a (very) brisk walk around the point and make it in time for a fantastic sun-set. There were more people on the beach, and more boats anchored off the beach than I have ever seen.
Sun., Aug 5 -Montague Harbour to Point Roberts
While we didn't need to be back early, the favoured tide for getting pushed through Active Pass was peaking around 6:20am, so we got away around 7:10, entering closer to 7:45, but still getting about a 2 kt. push along the way. While not many pleasure crafts, 3 ferries transited at the same time as us. Two were the smaller new Coastal class boat, and while they do run a little slower, they also produce next to no wake! It was quiet a sight, actually. Once clear of Georgeson Point, the wind started to fill in a little -enough to put up the headsail and use a little extra helping hand. We got to ride it most of the way to PRM, making for a nice, quick crossing home. It took a little while to get on the fuel dock to top up and pump out, but soon we were back in our slip.
All in all, it was a pretty darn good trip. Before departing, there was a lot of talk about how busy Desolation has become, but other than Squirrel Cove, most spots were similar in numbers that we found our other trips, 6 and 8 years ago. We had a great core group to travel with; having similar ideas, all easy going and great to get along with. Our new Solar install exceeded our expectations. It would have been nice after beating against a NW from Vancouver going up, that we didn't have to fight the current and a SE coming down to Pender, but hey, you can't have it all. Certainly 6 years was too long between visits, and while it likely won't be next year, I did already find myself thinking/planning on a Cortes focused trip next time.