Yesterday was a run in the fog from Montague Harbor across the shipping channel (Boundary Pass, so named as the Canada/USA border runs down the center of the channel) and in to Roche Harbor.
When I woke up in the morning the nice view from my arrival had changed – I was suspended in a white wall of fog, and the boats I had anchored near to were invisible. Hmmm… I thought to myself, I had not considered the issue of zero visibility as a possible impediment to a morning departure. Nobody was moving in the anchorage – had one taken the dinghy and headed to shore you first had to know which direction shore was. Environment Canada indicated the fog would lift by mid-day. I decided to make breakfast instead.
An hour later the first couple of small boats moved through the anchorage, apparently traveling from anchored boat to anchored boat in hopes they were going towards shore. They disappeared into the fog. I hope they made it. I cleaned up the boat some more. And then the fog lifted enough around the island’s heat, clearning a lane to see where the top of the island was but not the shoreline. That was enough to get folks moving, several boats weighed anchor and I followed suite – radar running, AIS running, chart plotter running, boat running slowly into the wall of fog.
Visibiility remained between 1/2 mile and 100 feet for the 18 mile run across to Roche. It was particularly exciting to hear the rumble of large engines fom the ferry boat that went by, and the radio was humming with folks announcing they were crossing Swanson Channel, or Boundary Pass, or anywhere else they were going where they couldn’t see anything. At one point a big boat let off a series of 5 short blasts on the horn (the danger signal) and I stopped with the motor in neutral to try and figure out what was going on. Almost immediately a boat called me on the VHF – “Tiger Beetle, did you just stop?!” I was surprised to be called, so I responded – “Yes – there’s something big out here and I don’t know where it is but I can hear the motors”. They indicated they were 200 yards behind me, following my AIS track, and they were going to be coming up from behind. That was weird, but at least they didn’t hit me.
About Roche Harbor the fog lifted as I entered, it’s a big place with a fancy resort an an airport and a US Customs dock. I asked an anchored Canadian where the Customs dock was, they pointed, and I found a slot on the dock. A short while later I was back in the country (question: what happens to a US boat if the US Customs denies entry? – would one be nowhere at that point?). A quick run over to Westsound to tie the boat up, then dived in and pulled out the fridge compressor.
This morning I’ve been on the phone with Dometic, received
troubleshooting instructions via email, and am back on board armed with jumper wires, volt & ohm meter, and screwdrivers to troubleshoot the unit. Unfortunately Dometic is on the east coast, so there’s no chance of getting the unit shipped out today if it needs servicing, but I hope to at least narrow down what the problem is today, and then sort of what needs to be done. There’s a PC board that can go bad (and be bypassed, I’ve learned), there’s also the electronics module that is a black box that can also go bad, and then there’s the Danfoss BD50 compressor itself – those are supposed to be fairly bomb-proof – so I will find out (hopefully) what’s up.
And it’s stopped drizzling, it’s going to be a fine day for weather. And now it’s back to compressor troubleshooting…