Beetle on the Canada Customs dock in Bedwell Harbour. The folks up in the Pacific Northwest don’t go in much for metal cleats on their docks, and instead utilize 4×4’s running the length of the dock. As a result, I find the ‘normal’ dock lines don’t see much use and intsead almost always go for the much longer 45′ dock lines – you need a lot of line to make the loop (or double loop) around the x4 follwed up with half-hitches to tie on.
The Customs shack at Bedwell Harbour – you walk up the ramp and the phones are outside the building. If the Customs folks are here, you’d see a black hulled boat tied up on the inside of the dock – but there’s no boat here so perhaps they are out checking up on the visitors to their country.
Well, I was up bright and early, I had put the boat to rights the night before what with stowing the dinghy, the outboard motor, mainsail cover off, all set to go, and the Pacific High came in strong and now there’s plenty of wind out in the Strait of Georgia (23 knots from the NW according to Environment Canada report coming in over the VHF radio, based on the readings at Entrance Island which is more or less precisely where I will be going by), and that wind blowing from where I want to go (NW towards the south end of Texada Island). Combining the breeze with the significant flood of water pouring northwards into Desolation Sound makes for a wicked chop and 25 knots of wind on the nose. Going to the Farallones might be more pleasant, but strong chop with a headwind is not much fun… so I’m going to hang out here in Montague for today and tomorrow. Environment Canada marine waters forecast for Strait of Georgia north of Nanaimo calls for the wind to drop off to light on Saturday/Sunday/Monday; I suspect there will be a bunch of boats heading northwards Saturday morning, and I am looking forward to being one of them.
Sunset at Montague – lots of fun clouds, it’s warm, and you can see one set of the power transmission lines that span the north entrance to the harbor. The float planes fly in UNDER these power lines, and they’re not that high above the water; I think you have to be a little crazy to be a float plane pilot.
Beetle at anchor in Montague – it’s sunset, and Beetle does have haunches when viewed from stern-on. The pole poking out to port is what I use for raising and lowering the dinghy – the control lines and pole make it easy to manage the relatively heavy dinghy when moving the dinghy onto the foredeck, which I do most nights up here (and every night in Mexico).
In the meantime I’m putting fuel back into the tanks from my jerry jugs (11 gallons into port tank, 5.5 gallons into starboard tank, day tank is full up again), the sun shower is heating up some water on the side deck in the superb sun we’re having, and the water is so flat that last night it felt like Beetle was resting on concrete – absolutely no movement of the boat. That changed abruptly this morning when the first float plane landed astern of Beetle and taxied by at high speed. The float planes seem to use a technique to make up not going very fast through the water but do go very fast through air: bring the plane in for a landing and at 15 feet altitude line up to go through the anchored boats but keep the plane in the air so you go fast, as you approach your final landing point power up th engine and pitch the nose up so the rear of the pontoons touch the water but power on so the aircraft is on plane, and at the last moment drop the nose down and come to a very slow ‘motoring’ speed and drive in to the airplane dock. The fellow this morning went by the transom of Beetle in the nose-up-revved-engine-dragging-pontoons mode making all kinds of noise. However, I was already up and busily listening to the Canadian weather report & forecast for the area.so he didn’t actually wake me up.
Got to put fuel back into the tanks, there are four jerry jugs, and the siphon makes for a very clean way to transfer the diesel to the tanks.
The total luxury electric air pump that does the job of inflating the dinghy (and fenders when I need them) to a consistent pressure (should be 2.8 PSI, according to Achilles) without a lot of foot pumping. As I partially deflate the dinghy when it’s on deck, the little pump gets a fair workout.
As the VHF weather forecast suggested it was not a great day to depart, I instead re-inflated the dinghy, put the mainsail cover back on, then motored over to the fuel dock/marina to see if they would make available their WiFi signal for me to use. And for $5 Canadian I can use it all day long, though the password does change. I was given the current and future passwords, and now can post this via WiFi rather than going through SailMail. The SSB radio is definitely having fits with the overhead power lines, and oddly enough it easier for me to connect on 13mHz to San Diego than on 5 mHz to Friday Harbor. San Diego is a lot further away than Friday Harbor, 21 miles to Friday Harbor as compared to 1007 miles to San Diego, but I suspect the radio noise coming off the power transmission lines kills ground-wave reception on the lower frequencies. Something to check out later on.
Today was my first issue with the NIssan 9.9 4 stroke outboard motor, fortunatly a simple that was easy to fix: I pulled the starter cord to turn over and start the motor and while it did start it also made a nasty rattling sound and the pull cord didn’t retract. There is a flying set of pawls that allow the pull cord to disengage after the motor starts, and it sounded like that was somehow stuck (imagine starting your car and the starter motor pinion gear doesn’t retract from the flywheel – my outboard sounded like that). I shut off the motor as fast as I could and went below to fetch the handy metric socket set, extracted the three bolts attaching the pull cord housing to motor’s the flywheel, and discovered it is indeed possible for a loop of the pull cord to get lodged beneath the wheel that the cord normally winds back onto. Easy enough to fix, though I was extra careful to not drop anything in the water; working on the outboard while it is attached to the dinghy transom is a recipe for losing parts, I’ve done that before so I’ve learned to be extra careful when holding metal parts over the water (metals almost always fail the float test).
Dinghy read to go to the fuel dock, after fixing the motor. Often it’s easier to run back and forth with the jerry jugs and dinghy, rather than up-anchor and run Beetle over. Kristen and I are considering naming the dinghy ‘Flea’. Haven’t committed to this yet, I’m kind of liking Lady Bug, though one could certainly flee in flea.
With the now-operational outboard it was easy to run over to the marina and fill up the diesel jugs with new fuel and had another issue with my Schwab VISA card, as it was declined at the fuel dock. I then spent some time on the telephone with Schwab and hopefully they can sort out issues with VISA that will allow my card to be usable on this trip. Never had a problem before, but this time VISA is certainly being stingy about letting me use it! Trying to make phone calls over VOIP back to the USA is not the best way to go, as VOIP uses a fair bit of bandwidth and the connection will fuzz in and out depending on what other people are doing over the wireless network your voice traffic is trying to also use. Took a couple of calls, and finally held the connection long enough to have a meaningful conversation, and was then able to pay for my fuel – which makes everybody happy.
All-in-all a most pleasant day, did some reading, dinghied about the place, and read notices posted on the bulletin board outside the marina office. I like to think that notices on bulletin boards are a way to gauge what’s going on in the area, particularly the ‘for let’ notices should you need an apartment/house/room in a house, and the ‘for sale’ items should you need a guitar, small fish boat, part of a radar antenna, that sort of thing. I learned that we’re not supposed to eat the shellfish in the area, as paralytic shellfish poisoning can be a problem. I’m not a big filter-feeder fan, so no issues thre for me.
Now it is evening, the anti-panga light is on over the cockpit and the masthead anchor light is on, the neighbors on their large 85 foot power boat are watching a movie on their big screen tv inside their main cabin; if I got out the binoculars I could probably watch along with them as they have a huge screen!
Enjoy the evening.