Lindisfarne – Forgus 37 – 7,5t (more than 9t equipped)
New Zeeland, Tahiti, Hawaii, Alaska and Canada BC
Part 7 of 7
Port Hardy to Ganges on Salt Spring Island, Canada
20 October – 26 November
After a completely quiet night, in spite we were in a fishing harbor, we left Port Hardy and motored south into the fog. The sun managed to clear the fog by noon and we got a nice clear sky the rest of the day.
Today we planned to finally meet our Swedish friends Jan and Gunilla on their boat Liva. They have been travelling in Alaska and BC since July last year when they arrived from Japan. We have had e-mail contact almost weekly the last year. By e-mail we knew approximately where they were supposed to have anchored, and just as Jan called us over VHF we saw their AIS signal on the chart plotter. Not a chance to make any mistakes!
Three hours later we were anchored close to Liva in a cove on Harbledown Island, east of Queen Charlotte Strait. It was ten years since our boats were this close in Faeroe Islands in northern Atlantic. Of course we have met in Gothenburg in the mean time, but even that was some three years ago.
Really nice to finally meet and soon we were seated around the table in Liva for dinner.
Friday was rainy and wet and we stayed at anchor, having dinner in Lindisfarne together with Jan and Gunilla. There was also some “computer things” for Annika to take care of in Liva…
Saturday the 22 of October we moved together east through the narrow and tidal passages to Burial Cove on East Croft Island, in the vicinity of Havannah Channel, where we decided to eat our crabs we had caught the day before.
Sunday morning and it was time for us to move on. Liva had some later appointments and stayed in Burial Cove for another night.
We tried to weigh anchor, but no – not a chance! As soon as the bridle for the snubber line was on deck, the chain was stuck into something on the bottom. We used the securing chain hook on deck and released the windlass, then using the engine to loosen the chain. Yes we moved the boat, but the chain remained tangled. Because we managed to move something on the bottom we engaged the windlass again and slowly a big “parcel” wrapped in chain become visible in the dark water. It was a big stump with the chain several turns around. With the stump almost above water we secured it with a rope, and then it was possible to release the strain on the chain and unwind the stump, releasing the chain and finally let the stump go.
After this experience we believe that our buoyed chain technique we use in coral waters probably is the solution for safe anchoring in coves with logging activities.
With the anchor secured to the bow we were soon on our way down Havannah Channel towards Johnstone Strait. No wind and clear sky, a perfect weather for motoring! We have not used our sails since we left Alaska.
The tide was favorable and we gained more than a knot. In the more narrow passages of Johnstone Strait we gained up to five knots, so we had a quick run towards Chatham Point where we planned to anchor in Otter Cove, just south of Chatham Point. Otter Cove was completely full of deadheads, tall logs standing up from the bottom, leaving us no room for anchoring. Especially with our experiences from the morning, we were reluctant to take any chances with stumps and deadheads!
We continued another hour into Discovery Passage and found an excellent anchorage in Small Inlet on the east side of Discovery Passage. Well before dark we were settled in an “Alpine lake” just as Douglas describes it in their, most of the time, excellent cruising guide. No trees in the water and an even sand bottom with perfect holding.
The next morning we again had a new experience when we were to weigh anchor.
This time it was three wolfs walking along the shore that “delayed” us.
Really a fantastic event, especially since this anchorage was our last anchoring in the wild woodland for this season, and our last chance to see animals like these. We were happy to wait at anchor and study them, using our cameras though the morning light was poor.
Retrieving the chain and anchor was this time, as more or less always, no problem at all.
Now it was time for another challenge, Seymour Narrows, the famous narrow in Discovery Passage that have caused the death of several people before 1958 when they blasted the most shallow parts away to minimize the eddies in the Narrows.
We had a lot of salmon fishing boats with their floating nets in front of us out in the Passage, but with sharp outlook we managed to pass them on the side without a net.
The closer we came to Seymour Narrows, the faster the current pushed us forward. In the narrows we had a ground speed of 13 knots, normally we do around 6 knots, and managed to avoid the strongest eddies, but of course there was a lot of “course changes” without us taking part of them…
The next difficult part of Discovery Passage was the transition to Strait of Georgia.
If there are any south winds at all in Strait of Georgia, the waves will become standing waves meeting a southerly tide in Discover Passage, making this part a very dangerous place to pass.
We had no wind at all. The completely flat water made us pass this part in full speed and no waves at all. The tide was with us all the way out into Strait of Georgia, to just north of Oyster River where the tide meets. Shortly after that we where at the outer end of the channel into Pacific Playground Marina, which was a “piece of cake” in this calm condition and still rising tide. We got a nice slip and soon Betty and Dave, the reason for us being there, came.
Betty had found us on the Internet via Mahina Tiare’s web, when she was searching for information about making yoghurt. Amanda had referred to a meeting with Lindisfarne in Fiji, where Annika had showed her our yoghurt culture. Sometimes the roads are difficult to predict!!!
Now we had two days with pleasant walks in the woods, meals together, using their lovely sauna and of course a lot of our in common interest – talking about cruising the world.
The third day, after being transported both ways to the local supermarket, and after the morning southerly gale, we left the marina for Comox.
The sea was still very lumpy and steep from the south easterly wind this morning, but we managed to get to Comox and get a mooring just after sunset.
After a day of rest and some boat work, mainly trying to adjust the regulator to our Refleks stow, we made contact with Mary and Bruce, living in Comox. A friend of us in Gothenburg crewed on their boat along the US west coast, on their trip to New Zeeland long time ago.
Friday we moved into Comox Marina and visited Mary and Bruce. Shower, laundry, dinner and of course a lot of talking about Pacific and New Zeeland where they lived for several years.
Saturday morning started with absolutely no wind. The forecast predicted 25 knots from southeast by noon. A walk and some shopping and then back to our mooring. No use pay unnecessary marina fee only waiting for weather!
Monday 31, the last day of our long trip to our winter quarter, became a really nice downwind sailing day. Actually the only sailing day so far in Canada!
We had an early start before sunrise to manage the 55 Nm to Nanaimo. Motoring south east between Denman Island and Vancouver Island in no wind at all. When we got Strait of Georgia undisturbed by islands north of us, we got a nice north westerly wind all the way down to Nanaimo. Sunshine and downwind with full sails, no reef!! Most of the time full hull speed, and the last two hours added with one knot current.
Just before four we moored at Newcastle Islands floats. Closed the boat and had a long walk around on the islands nice trails. Although it was winter and no boats, they still charged us $20 to stay at the pontoon.
After a morning walk we motored across into Nanaimo Harbour to check out our winter quarter, but first some diesel AGAIN. We have almost lost track of how many times we have filled our tanks since Hawaii. We have done a lot of motoring and since Aleutians a lot of heating as well.
After having got full tanks we moved to the floats and walked to the Marina Office to see if everything was in order with our winter slip.
Except for the lack of WiFi in the boat, everything seamed just perfect. We spent some hours in the neighbourhood to learn where we could find supplies, and even that turned out ok.
When everything was done, the hour had become too late to start south. Our plans were to sail a week among the islands south of Nanaimo to meet Ali and Ian on Loon III. We sailed together with them from NZ to Tahiti.
Now we only had day light enough to go across and anchor between Newcastle Island and Protection Island over night.
Next morning, as Annika was adjusting the Wifi antenna out in the cockpit, an Aluminium workboat came up to Lindisfarne and welcomed us to Nanaimo. It was Rob, a “former cruiser” living on Protection Island, and had been to Nanaimo in the early morning, bringing his wife to work. After some chat he invited us for tea in his newly build house.
We had already decided to tow the dinghy going south between the islands, so an hour later we launched the dinghy and put on the outboard. We had a little hard time to get the outboard running. We thought that the submerging in Taz Basin finally got to it, but probably the main reason was the cold weather. Finally warm, it could even run on idle!
Robs house was amazing. The right size for two people and very well build with all the smart features and solutions that save energy and make life easy and self sufficient. It was a house we could have designed and build ourselves, so close to our thoughts about a low energy house without being tough to live in. It’s not very often you meet people with approaches to life and ideas so close to your owns!
Rob offered us to store sails and stuffs from the boat in his boathouse, and even volunteered to look after Lindisfarne in Nanaimo, checking bilge pump and lines. Nanaimo seamed more and more like the perfect winter spot!
After tea and being invited to join Rob and his wife at the local cruising club two weeks from now, we took the dinghy back to Lindisfarne, this time having no problem with the outboard.
Dodd’s Narrow south of Nanaimo is a short but very narrow stream that one has to pass to get to the Gulf Islands. The tide change to south around one o’clock, so our timing was next to perfect. We got through in four knots current and some whirlpools on the south side. Two hours later we anchored in Pirates Cove, a famous cove in the northern part of Gulf Island. In summertime there are numerous of boats anchored with shorelines to save space, but today, in early November, we had the cove to ourselves. After a quiet night we spent the next morning strolling around on the island under a blue sky. There was almost no wind and with a temperature more like in August.
After lunch we weigh anchor for Trincomali Channel, leading us down and around Salt Spring Island where Ali and Ian was waiting for us in Ganges. We had a nice four hours trip in the sunny and calm weather all the way to Ganges where Ali showed us a spot on the Governmental Float. We moored, closed the boat and were soon, after a short car ride at their house on the south side of Ganges.
Lots of “cruising talks”, having crossed the Pacific and so on…
After a nice dinner Ali drove us back to Lindisfarne and the next morning we got in contact with the Harbour Master. Loon III, Ali and Ian’s boat was moored on the floats close to Lindisfarne and Ian had told us about the fee the night before. Being a third of our offer in Nanaimo it was impossible not to investigate if there was a spot for Lindisfarne for the winter.
The Float was full, but after some thinking and studying of the map, the harbour master decided that there was space enough to get one more boat into the float. It turned out to be one of the most protected spots on the float, although rafted to another boat. Lindisfarne would be tied to the pontoon with bowlines on the leeward side for the prevailing wind.
We sent e-mail to Nanaimo to cancel our slip, and to Rob to tell the news. We moved Lindisfarne around the Floats to our new winter spot. Suddenly we had come to the end of our cruising this year! More than a week earlier than planned, but wintering a boat, catching up with friends is time consuming… So we are not sorry at all for having more time to spend before leaving Canada by the end of November.
We had a nice walk on the mountain above Ali and Ian’s house that second afternoon. After the walk dinner was served in their house. The third day we hade dinner together in Lindisfarne.
Now, settled in Ganges, we could start to work more “normal”, preparing the boat for the winter.
The trip to Europe will start with meeting our friends Scott and Mary in their boat Egret during one week in Florida. Scott has made a lot of planning for an itinerary covering all nice spots with lot of (camera) shooting of animals and birds.
In one of Scott’s e-mails he asked if we new that mutual cruising friend are building a house on Salt Spring Island.
We know that we both know a Canadian couple with a big Nordhaven, but we thought they lived in Calgary. Now it turns out they have sold the boat and the house, and are building a new home just north of Ganges. We sent them an e-mail and the next morning Joan and Rodger came for coffee in Lindisfarne. We first met them and New Paige on Suwarrow in Northern Cook Island 2008 and then in Tonga and New Zealand several times during 2008 and 2009.
The rest of the day we spent talking about cruising, life and especially house building. Before lunch we visited the site and their present home, a little cottage on the premises. The big house will not be ready until earliest next autumn.
Sometimes the saying “it’s a small world” is more than normally true! Really fun to discover that our chosen winter place have at least two families we know from before.
Then we spent a full day together with Ali and Ian taking the ferry to Vancouver Island to go to Victoria by car. Victoria is really a nice little big town. There we found a battery charger for Lindisfarne, finally solving our problem with 110 volt. The new charger can do with anything between 90-270 volt, which solves the difference in voltage between North America and the rest of the world…
We spend most of our time preparing Lindisfarne, but there is still time for walks and social activities, meeting old and new friends.
Liva, our Swedish friends from Gothenburg came and visit us and Ganges for some days, before they continued to their winter quarter on Orcas Island.
We are now ready to leave Lindisfarne for some months flying to Sweden.
Summary for 2011:
10 400 nm – 8 months
Year 1998-2011 = 62 780nm
Annika & Björn