Leaving Nanaimo via Departure Bay we pulled out the main before heading out between Snake Island and Five Finger Islets. Winds were forecast at 20 Knots NW so we unfurled the main half way. On a beam reach, heeling over to starboard we pulled out the jib, also reefed half way. OMOO flew across the Salish Sea at 6 – 7 knots. We learned a long time ago that this Jeanneau 43 sails faster upright, so we tend to set the sails conservatively in strong wind, besides nothing goes flying below decks either!! Well, only one thing went flying… a hand held vacuum that needs to find a home. (thanks Vic, it works great!)
Sideways Sally was in her happy place, propped up with feet on the center cockpit table, watching for logs and chatting with the skipper.
One tack took us right to Merry Island under sunshine and spray over the bow in just under 4 1/2 hours. What a great ride for our first long sail of the summer. Another hour to motor through Welcome Passage and round Grant Island, past Smuggler Cove and into Secret Cove.
Tide was low low low as we crept through the entrance and took a right into the south arm of the Cove lined with boat houses and steep stairways to opulent homes on the cliffs overlooking the water.
Sideways Sally was sure there was at least three inches to spare under the keel and along the hull. Careful maneuvering by the Skipper got us through and into the sheltered, shallow bay we now call our 4th home, after Maple Bay, Clam Bay, and Nanaimo Harbor.
Living aboard a boat means we never actually leave home, we take it with us, and these are becoming out most favorite spots to drop the hook. That is a feeling that is comforting, cozy and exhilarating all at the same time.
The Skipper was very excited to get settled in. He was orienting himself to the best spot to drop the anchor while SS was on the bow opening the anchor locker and getting the gear ready. We had 13 feet of water below so only needed to drop 45 feet of chain. The anchor set as we back up and SS put out our spring line which consists of a hook on a climbing rope. This was an idea that has worked very well over the years, as the rope can stretch, taking the load off the anchor winch. The boat started to turn with the current taking us further into the south end of the bay.
It all looked good until SS went back to the cockpit. Looking over the gunnel there were really pretty shells visible in the mud beside the boat. Then the boat stopped moving. “Come out here and have a look.” called SS to the Skipper. As he crawled out of the cockpit he brought the boat hook out, extended it and SS put it in the water to measure the depth. Bringing it back up she measured the wet boat hook against herself. SS is 5’4″, the boat hook was wet up to 4’5″. OMOO draws 6’5″.
SS has had a re-occuring nightmare ever since she started sailing that she wakes up in an anchorage that has completely drained of water, with the boat lying on it’s side. This nightmare was about to come true!!
“How about when the tide comes we pull the anchor up and move deeper?”
Before we got completely settled into the mud the Skipper says, “Let’s move NOW!!” The keel and rudder are both sitting on the mud but we hadn’t sunk in yet. Up came the chain, pulling us out to deeper water where we dropped anchor. Off to deeper water we went. OMOO was much happier swinging in 13 feet of water.
Now the story gets really interesting. After a silent, blissful night’s sleep we woke to rain with forecast NW winds, kinda yucky weather for a sail. “We’re staying put.” decides SS. Following breaky and more coffee we hear the sound of big engines coming into the bay.
We look out towards the RVYC docks, it’s full of big power yachts, with more arriving. PARTY TIME!! It’s low low low tide again. There’s a converted fishing trawler anchored ahead of us, one boat has run aground ahead of her. It revs and revs it’s engines, not moving. Finally it’s twisted it’s way off the mud and comes back toward us. It’s holding it’s place in the water beside us and calls over, “We’re just waiting for the boat at the end of the dock to leave, then we’re heading over there.” SS calls back, “We’re not worried, just entertained, besides, we did the same thing yesterday!”
No sooner than SS could get settled back into the cabin, more big engines were revving up. A huge yacht had left the dock and ran aground in the same spot as we did and the second guy did. What’s going on?? The Captain of the trawler jumped in his dingy and went over to offer to pull them off.
“How’s that gonna work?” SS remarked. Obviously there was a change of plans. The yacht twisted it way around, revving the powerful engines until it shot off the mud, straight toward the trawler. “Watch out for my boat.” yelled the Captain, drowned out by the sound of the motor as the yacht straightened out and crept past our anchored boats.
Down below the Skipper states, “Now this is boating!”
NEVER MIND BEING RESCUED IN BIG SEAS, WE LIKE BEING RESCUED FROM FOUR FEET OF WATER OFF THE MUD!!
(Click on images for headings)