Desolation Sound Sailing Trip – Log 7

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20 June 2013

Leaving Comox
Leaving Comox

The weatherman is spot-on with his predictions – by the time we leave the marine the skies are gray and heavy, threatening to dump their contents any time soon. Mount Washington and surrounding mountains in the distance, a popular winter ski-resort inland of Comox, is only vaguely visible through a blanket of mist. As we exit the Comox harbour the rain pelts down.

Viewing Comox in the distance
Viewing Comox in the distance



We keep the two sides of the Bimini down for shelter from the fresh 15kt Northerly winds, and to keep dry in the cockpit. The temperature is considerably cooler than yesterday. I had commented to Wolf on how warm I was on Wednesday, considering the mountain peaks are still capped with snow. I had heard that in this region, these warm breezes are called the ‘Qualicum Wind’ and are similar to the ‘Berg Winds’ we are familiar with in Durban, South Africa. I suppose that should have been a hint of a pending change in weather. A low pressure over the Mainland of BC has caused the winds to change from Southerlies (which were great for us) to Northerlies (meaning we now have to  sail into the wind).

Choppy sea's
Choppy sea’s

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As we enter the Straits of Georgia we are immediately confronted with the wind blowing against a strong turbulent current causing the sea to be choppy and the swells to come head on. The Straits of Georgia is a big deep body of water between Vancouver Island and the BC Mainland (we registered 360 meters [depth] on the chart-plotter – but is considerably deeper in places).  It is 110 miles long and between 15 to 20 miles wide. The ‘typical’ summer-time fair-weather wind pattern is usually calm in the mornings followed by northwesterly in the early afternoons and becoming 20 – 25kts in the late afternoons. Because of this, we decided to cross as early as possible but Mr. Murphy is one up on us and has interrupted the ‘typical’ pattern just to irritate us. The current running from south to north push against the 20kt wind causing the sea to become confused and as we say down south “stand on its head,” like the effect of an agitator in a washing machine. “It’s not fair!” I say out loud, but no-one listens.

Karibu is bullied and bashed about, rising on the crest of one swell only to be knocked down and slapped by the next. These conditions are not new to us having sailed along the South Africa Coast; however, we aren’t expecting a repeat performance here in British Columbia, Canada. I am convinced that ‘the master’ which is the sea just likes to remind us, any time we become too complacent, just who is BOSS.

The original plan is to move up to Cortes Island and find a protected anchorage but we bow in obedience to ‘the master’, who has an entirely different plan, and we take the easiest most comfortable route possible setting a course for Westview Harbour, Powell River.  I am grateful and say a quick thank you when the wind strengthens to 25kts and suddenly Karibu moves effortlessly at 6.4kts over ground – almost as if she too is eager to escape the washing machine.

Low tide at Powell River
Low tide at Powell River

At 11:35pm we glide past the breakwater and tie up on a jetty. It is low tide and we are flanked to port by a marina of boats and to starboard by a wharf towering above us. We look directly under it to the pylons which support it and hear the gently cooing of the pigeons that have taken up residence in the cross-beams.

2:45pm – after a rest and a light lunch I catch up on this blog and then we go out to see the sights of Powell River-

I have a very low signal, so I am going to publish this blog  ‘as is’ and add to it later.

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