Desolation Sound Sailing Trip – Log 14

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27 June 2013

Early morning start through the mist
Early morning start through the mist

We are wakened by a downpour of rain at 5:30am. No point getting up now we might as well wait until the rain stops, so we turn over and sleep another 2 hours. It turns out this was a bad decision as will become apparent as I write.

Releasing the lines which tie us to ‘Miss Brenda’, our big sturdy fishing boat hostess, we move off on a glassy smooth sea through the foggy channel. The weatherman was lying about the NW expected in the mid-morning. He gave us false hope.

Chrome Island Lighthouse
Chrome Island Lighthouse

As we see the calm condition we believe that it is a sign that the SE has ended and await eagerly the NW that will allow us to sail in comfort, southwards. The first hour is calm and we reach 5.5kts but that soon changes as we pass Chrome Island with its lighthouse and charming light-keepers houses.

Instead when we listen to the updated weather forecast the weatherman has changed the prediction and now gives the disappointing news of a continuing SE – light in the morning and increasing to strong later in the day – swells 3ft  – seas rippled… Rippled! My description would be unsettled … choppy… confused! Anything but rippled! That is why I wrote that it was a bad decision to sleep an extra 2 hours. Had we left at 5:30am we could possibly have had another 2 hours of calm sea.

Fresh Blueberry Loaf
Fresh Blueberry Loaf

I try to cheer us by serving fresh Blueberry Loaf and a pot of tea.
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It is another day of being shaken, knocked about, and pummelled by this moody ocean. A securité over the VHS radio warns of strong gale force winds in the Qualicum area… yes, you guessed it! We are in the Qualicum area. A bit late I think – thanks for nothing! Try as he may, Wolf is not able to find a comfortable course and we agree to give up fighting and move in towards French Creek Harbour. I call the Harbour Authority and am told that they don’t allocate moorings so just come in and find a space, if you don’t find one, you can raft up to another boat.

Karibu Rafted 3 deep
Karibu Rafted 3 deep

The harbour is home to several different marinas. One is a separate float used by the Canadian Navy boats; one is the ferry float which carries passengers to and from Lasqueti Island. There is a private jetty and the government jetty for transient and fishing vessels. The wind is gusting in the harbour and at low speeds Karibu is susceptible to drifting but Wolf is a star and manages to get us alongside and we tie up to a huge fishing boat that is already rafted to an even bigger fishing trawler. Once Wolf is happy that we are securely tied, we head ashore clambering over the huge vessels.

I have hurt my shoulder, I am not sure how or where it happened but my right arm aches. I think it is from continually pulling myself up and over all these obstacles, or from bracing myself as we slam into the swells. We make our appearance at the Harbour Office and pay for our stay, then head out to see what French Creek has on offer. We find a closed café/coffee shop, a general store, a Post Office, and a restaurant. A mile up the road and along the main road we see a bakery and stop to buy fresh baked rye bread and a beef pie.

My head is still reeling from the sound of the wind and my body still feels the motion of the swells.

Back at the marina we are approached by a few guys who suggest we move Karibu back and raft up alongside a sadly neglected sailboat, saying that we will have better access to the jetty and be more sheltered. I am relieved as I won’t have to climb across the high sides of the fishing boats.
I tell Wolf that I am going to lie down and fall asleep before he has stopped the clanging of the halliards against our mast.

The sun is desperately trying to peak through the bank of cloud covering the harbour but the wind has not abated and continues to drone incessantly overhead.  One blessing to be thankful for is that we covered another 20nm today and are well over half way home. In these conditions I can think of nothing better than soaking in a hot soapy tub, and being in my comfortable home.

As I said before… sailing has its up and its downs –  fighting against wind, rain and current are some of the downs!

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