Tribune Channel treats us to the most spectacular waterfalls, pods of dolphins, snow capped mountain peaks, slate colored cliffs, and the list goes on and on. We headed off the dock at Lagoon Cove early in the day. This means 1:00 pm for us, lazy days suit us very well. It’s approximately a four hour trip and we took our time, stopping to watch the pods of dolphins popping up off the bow, and gazing lovingly at Lacey Falls.
We rounded the turn that opens up the view for Lacey Falls and found “Squirt” hanging out at the base of the falls. After a few moments of jaw dropping gazing at the falls, we backed away to give them room and take some extra photos.
Every time we’ve been to Lacey Falls it’s completely different. The water tap gets turned on full, or half way, or not at all. We’ve been very lucky to visit when it’s gushing and disappointed when there’s nothing. It’s always worth the trip to check it out.
Squirt hailed us on the VHF after we left the falls and asked if they could send us pics they’d taken of OMOO. “Of course, we’d like that!!” we answered. And this is what boating is all about, awesome people in awesome places. We’ll swap photos and hopefully meet up with Squirt again somewhere.
A short distance later we spot a blow just off the Burwood Group, near Echo Bay. The illusive humpback teased us, sounding forever, no where to be seen. Just as we gave up I spotted the blow again waaaay off in the opposite side of the channel. Sigh… A few more dolphins entertained us as we powered up and headed to Echo Bay.
OMOO AT ECHO BAY
THINGS ARE QUIET AT ECHO BAY TODAY
We checked in with the staff that Pierre had working there for the last few years. It’s not gonna be the same, but everything changes and we’re happy Pierre and Tove have found a happy home to retire too. The First Nations of Gilford Island have purchased the marina and we wish them the best in the future years, Covid-19 year being a tough start.
OF NOTE!! Billy had a valve replacement last year after he was rushed to hospital in Victoria. Some children had gone for a walk to visit Billy and saw him take a fall. So they ran back to Pierre’s and alerted the staff. Sam whipped over in his boat, then called the Coast Guard. This summer Billy is taking a break from his museum and visitors. He doesn’t want to invite the virus!! He is 85 after all… Hope to see you next year Billy!!
When Sideways Sally drives to town to buy groceries she doesn’t think twice about parking when she gets to the store. When she decides to get to a store with OMOO, the Skipper thinks more than twice about parking.
Wind on the mast, current taking the keel, water under the keel, other boats to navigate around, and dock space. Since Lund, we have stopped a few places, some at anchor with LOTS of room. When we got through Yuculta and Dent Rapids we were looking forward to pulling into Shoal Bay. It’s a slow year in these parts with no American boats. Soooo, we thought there would be lots of space on the dock.
SURPRISE!! As we got close enough to assess the space available a gentleman from “Mango Mama” called out to us, there’s room on the inside of the dock. This meant taking OMOO into shallow water around the end of the dock closest to land and backing into a narrow space between the dock and the pilings. There were some little run-abouts tied up there so we had to mind them.
Everyone that was tied up, which were about six other boats, came out to guide, catch lines and pull us in. It’s always interesting when Sideways Sally prepares the fenders and lines and waits for the Skipper to do his job. The fun part is getting tied up once close enough, and what people do that show up to help.
We NEVER refuse help, it’s very reassuring to have people catch your lines. BUT we’re never quite sure what they’ll do with our lines. SS was ready to throw the mid-line as the Skipper maneuvered around the shallow end of the dock and lined up the stern to back into our spot. One of the lovely ladies who was ready to help called “don’t throw that line yet, you’re not close enough.” Our mid-line is super long, and meant to be tossed across the gap between the boat and the dock for anyone to help pull us over. SS thought, “hmmm, this is the only way we’re getting in here” and threw the line, lassoing the lady. She quickly handed it over to her hubby who had come out of their boat and he stood there for a moment with the line in his hand. “Could you PLEEEEZ give us a wrap and pull us in?” SS pleaded. If they didn’t pull us in right away we’d be up against the small boats doing whatever damage we could.
The wharfinger arrived right about then and took our stern line, had it tied down in two seconds, and secured the mid-line so SS could step off the boat and grab the bow line just in time to stop OMOO from heading off sideways. (No this is not where the name Sideways Sally comes from)
There have been times that that the Skipper has suggested, “Just throw a line that’s not attached to anything” and let him bring OMOO in by ourselves. This is not something anyone should try at home, it’s a crazy idea.
After OMOO was all settled in, everyone came over to the Skipper to give him accolades for his fine parking job. The lady who told me not to throw the mid-line commented on the size of OMOO, “is there enough room in there for just the two of you?” To which the Skipper said “Not always!!” She was having boat envy.
The inside dock at Shoal Bay
Misty morning view from Shoal Bay
The morning tide was starting to ebb about the time we were ready to leave, so we had to scurry around a bit to get going. This happened at approximately 10:30 am. We are NOT morning people. There was only Mango Mama left on the dock as we let the lines go and they weren’t paying any attention to us. As we rounded the end of the dock in a tight space for water under us, the Skipper called out, 7′, 6′, 5′ OOPS. Kerplunk, keel is in the mud. “We don’t want to stay here” SS called back. DUH!!
The Skipper is always calm, cool and collected. He sat looking at his chart for a minute, then backed up a bit and gave the engine a thrust to propel us through the track he made backing up and was able to gain some momentum to plow through the soft silt. The gentleman from Mango Mama looked up at this point, hearing the motor work. With only a small audience to cheer him on, the Skipper gave a wave as we slid past the dock.
“WHEW, we’ve done this a few times but don’t tell anyone” I called out to Mango Mama, and they called back, “We hope to see you again somewhere.”
Later the Skipper says to SS, “That was really stupid, I’m NEVER going to do that again.”
He meant that he’s never going to go inside of that dock in Shoal Bay, but SS knows he really means he’s never going in the mud again, and she doesn’t believe him. Hehehehe.
I can’t help myself. It’s 0600 and “GiderdunII” is loaded up and leaving the harbor and the kingfisher is busy diving off the spreader. Sideways Sally is sipping coffee in the cockpit with a wee bit of internet and a wee bit of delightful sun peeking over her shoulder.
Last night was a spectacular mix of visual and audio!! The bagpiper of Lund graced us for an evening concert from the shore. Draped in her long kilt with the setting sun reflecting off the greenery she was simply splendid.
Then the eagles started fishing off the dock next to us, all with the evening sun changing the light every single second. Sideways Sally had to pinch herself.
Look at those tallons!! SS wished the evening could last forever. She never wants to leave Lund!!
The shimmering silver diamonds reaching across the water are mesmerizing.
For those who have never been, it’s a must on the Sunshine Coast. It is a destination we can’t wait to get to every time we head north. There’s Nancy’s bakery, Historic Lund Hotel, and a brand new store fully stocked with Native art and clothing and the largest wine selection since Nanaimo.
The view from Nancy’s Bakery
Merman watches over the harbor
Historic Lund Hotel
Historic Lund Hotel
Merman watches over the harbor
The view from Nancy’s Bakery
SS is feeling so grateful and so lucky to be in this place. There is a calm sense of normalcy about being somewhere so familiar. There are more than a few characters that hang out here and we’ve gotten to know them. There’s Charlie, whose long white beard and smiling eyes are welcoming. Everyone knows him and greets him when he arrives in his skiff from across the water.
There’s an “Ode to Joe” on the bulletin board. It says “A sailor cannot learn to sail on calm water.” When OMOO first arrived to Lund almost 10 years ago, Joe caught our lines and said “OMOO, I have that book.” The Skipper was astonished, no one he’d ever met had heard of OMOO. Joe told us all about Herman Melville’s second book called OMOO, about a wandering whale. The first book is “Moby Dick” whom most are familiar with. “I think I still have the book at home, I’ll look for it for you.” He also mentioned how much he liked our heavy dock lines, “not like the dental floss some boaters use.” We got to know Joe that stop over, he spoke 6 or 7 languages and was a jack of all trades. On subsequent visits he was not around, but the locals told us he’d gone fishing, or was driving the water taxi.
SS soon learned from the current wharfinger that Joe passed away last year from cancer. It brought tears to her eyes and a lump in her throat. Joe was as large as life, friendly as the day is long, and full of energy. SS remarked to the Skipper, “why does cancer get the good guys?”
The truly beautiful life we lead is precious, and tender. While we have this day, we may not have tomorrow and that is the message from Lund on this stunning morning.
Vananda and Texada Boat Club are in the shelter of Stuart Bay on the Northeast end of Texada Island. There are floats secured by anchor out into the small bay for local boaters and visitors. After having a look at the head of the bay for possible anchorage we decided the SE gusts blowing in would not make for a very restful night. We hailed Bob the wharfinger on 66A as we approached the docks and he directed us to help ourselves to the last space at the end of B dock. The visitor dock was already full.
In the times we’ve spent on the dock in years gone by there was always a lively gathering at the picnic tables under the canopy, flower boxes lining the dock, and a book trading box. This time there was no gathering of the sailors that sought shelter from the snotty weather in Malaspina Strait, social distancing was recommended, and Bob, the harbor master came to the dock wearing a mask. We were impressed since we’ve been running from the virus since March. The canopy did provide shelter during a downpour, and a lovely view of the rainbow over the marina.
The large limestone breakwater looms into the bay, a tidal grid on the low low tide was utilized by our friendly neighbor Darren whom we heard leaving the dock at 5:30 am. He had her half painted by the time I was up and on the dock at 10 am. The little harbor is busier than most at this hour, a trailer pulled by a John Deere tractor put two boats from the hard in the water, three sailboats have left the dock and locals are up and down the ramp with supplies for the weekend, their dogs in tow.
There are signs everywhere that this has been a well utilized harbor for many decades. The cement pilings emerge along the rock wall behind the docks, my favorite part of this quaint bay. Across the water the lime kiln stands against the backdrop of trees, it’s weathered bricks tell a story of industries including mining of iron ore, copper and for the last century, limestone. A floating hospital was moored in Vananda, and the harbor was also the shipping point for illegal alcohol to the United States during prohibition. The remains of a “hooch boiler” can be seen on the beach.
If you talk to the locals, which we do, you find hardworking folks who have made Texada home. A walk up to the village shows the care given to their homes and gardens. Everywhere are blooming rhododendrons, alongside palm trees and roses.
A lady I met on my walk was on two cellphones at the corner and was still there on my return half an hour later. “So this is where you have cell phone service?” I asked. She replied, “No, I’m playing pokemon.” She then invited me to stop off at her pottery shop!?
People who work here get off the rock on their fishing boats, and others come here by sailboats as they pass up and down to and from Desolation Sound and beyond. In the two nights we were on the dock we met an immigrant from Holland, a Doctor from South Africa who worked at the Cancer Clinic in Vancouver, a Coast Guard staff from Victoria who was British, travelling with her companion who was in the navy, and a good ol’ guy from New Brunswick. The Skipper tracked down the connections to this man’s brother-in-law, whom Hershey worked with in the window business in New Brunswick in the 80’s.
The evening ended with the softest light on the boats and the rock wall.
Before we left I took one more walk up the ramp to admire the harbor, the large tide and the limestone breakwater.
Outrunning the virus… From the East Coast to the West Coast this Skipper is experienced in dealing with many medical issues. This summer we’re isolating on OMOO, which is an idyllic way to deal with the pandemic. It is also not all that different than what we normally love to do.
For all of you that are new to our blog, (which by the way made 437 views in 10 countries last week so THANK YOU!!) the Skipper had spent most of last summer in the hospital with a hole in his upper intestine. It took 6 weeks to find it, repair it, and stabilize him. Due to having Marfans he lives with significant medical issues and he’s like a cat with 9 lives, he’s using his 5th life now. See post “The Day That Changed my Life.”
Therefore, with COVID-19 we’re super cautious. His immune system is wrecked, and Sideways Sally is a Psych Nurse who works in Vancouver. She took 6 months off work to run away from the virus. This spring he had pneumonia which was not Covid related, and recovered after two rounds of antibiotics. This explains why we are beyond ecstatic to be back out summer sailing 2020!!
We’re anchored in Garden Bay today which is in Pender Harbor on the Sunshine Coast.
For those of you reading this from far away lands, it is the West Coast of Canada. We are on our way to some of the most beautiful cruising sites in the world. With deep fiords between majestic mountains, plentiful sea life, whales and dolphins, it is paradise.
For this prairie girl, the gardens of Garden Bay and Pender Harbor are exquisite. I pinch myself every time I’m near a palm tree!!
When you see Mount Denman you know you’re close to Desolation Sound
Entrance to Pender Harbor
Palm trees and roses, LUV LUV LUV!!
It looks like we’re in for a treat with boat gawking today, which is an amazing activity with front row seats, and we’re almost on the stage!! The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club outstation is getting ready for Canada Day Shenanigans. So here’s a toast to the most amazing boat that’s pulled in yet, Lazee Gal.
The working boats of Pender Harbor are intriguing with their fishing, crabbing and prawning gear. The hard working men and women on these boats come up the ramp, soiled clothes with sweat and saltwater. leaving their vessels for the ravens to invade.
Stay tuned for the CANADA DAY CELEBRATIONS. We feel honored to sail under this great flag.
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.
Merry Island Light Station
Passing by in Welcome Passage
Looking North on Malispina Strait
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.
Trawler anchored behind us.
Sunset in Secret Cove
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!!
Remember the sound of sleeping in a tent in the rain? Ahhhh, the fresh smell, the drops come slowly at first, then faster with little rivers running down the side of the tent. Then waking up to birds chirping and stepping out into the morning sun. If you were lucky you had a good tent with a fly, pitched on a small hill, if you weren’t it was a dreadful night in a soggy sleeping bag.
Sideways Sally and the Skipper luv lounging in the cockpit and listening to the sound of the rain on the bimini, especially in an anchorage. Then falling asleep with the rain hitting the cabin while we’re warm and cozy in our berths. It puts us right to sleep.
OMOO traveled north to Nanaimo on a rainy day last week, anchored in the harbor close to Mark Bay. We tucked in beside the marine park, south of the reef adjacent to Newcastle Island and just east of a couple of little sailing dingys on moorings. No other boats could drop anchor close to us, it was perfect. We had back row seats to the whole harbor and entertaining it was.
Boats came and went to Newcastle, busy busy!!
Just as SS remarked to the Skipper, nothing can come behind us, we’re too close to the rocks, when SMACK, a Beneteau 50, so big and beautiful ran aground. I heard it before I saw it, looked up and saw the crew at the bow pointing to the rocks they could see just below the water. The helmsman must have panicked, he turned the wheel, revved it, and hit again. Someone came over in a dingy and encouraged them to just sit and wait for the tide to lift the boat. Very shortly the wind turned the boat around enough that they were able to back off the rock and wind their way backwards through the boats on moorings in the marine park.
SS felt so bad for the Skipper and crew, and even worse for the boat. What a way to ruin your day, and with the whole bay watching. UGGG. She only hopes they did not suffer extensive damage to the keel and hull.
So OMOO is off to Desolation and beyond. We’re very excited. If you haven’t bought the June issue of Pacific Yachting yet, borrow one or pick it up to see a bunch of G-Dockers at one of our pot-lucks back in the day when we had no social distancing to worry about.
Luv you all and miss those days. Stay safe and well. See you on the flipside!!
I’m writing this in advance since Sideways Sally plans to be “gone with the wind and wifi” by Wednesday. OMOO has been back on G-Dock for a few nights and a few errands. YEAH for a couple of small G-dock happy hours. It’s starting to feel a teeny tiny bit normal. The Skipper has been happily dragged around to visit friends and make a trip or two to town.
The weird part came to mind as Sideways Sally packed in some provisions, and thought about being back on the dock. Everywhere we went there are three main topics of discussion: the pandemic, the presidency, and the economy.
Being Canadian, Sideways Sally is politically polite when participating in these conversations. Inside she’s puzzling over the lack of investment she’s willing to put into contributing to the discussions, either online or verbally on the dock. Now, come to some crazy jokes, and she’s all in.
Our Dutch neighbors were telling us about “a saying” which does not translate all that well into English, and it started out with comments about when SS would be able to travel by air again to see her much missed kids and grans. Our other sweet, sweet neighbor chimed in, “Sure hope they aren’t gonna check your temperature while you’re having a hotflash.” (Meaning the airport screening process) So “the box and the envelope” were mentioned, the “loose” translation of the Dutch description of the lady parts. Sideways Sally didn’t think before speaking, “Just lick it, oh no, wait, we’re not allowed to lick it anymore,” Covid restrictions!! Nothing like a good belly laugh!!
SS listens, she really listens to people. There’s so much anxiety out there, about what’s gonna happen next, how much will our taxes rise to pay for government’s pandemic response? How many neighbors to the south will sneak across the border, possibly neglecting the quarantine rules? How long will it take to find a vaccine? How much will we be set back if there’s another spike and we have to self isolate this winter?
We all wake up to these questions everyday, bombarded by the news and social media with unpleasant images of the protests and violence to the south. It’s too much, too overwhelming. It’s taking a huge toll on our mental health, thinking about all these things, talking about big problems, now that we are allowed to get together.
It’s the unknown that is the most stressful for people. We are planners, we get to “figure it out” most of the time. Not now though, it’s all a big “WAIT AND SEE.” SS sees you and hears you, she knows it’s impossible, cause it is. So here’s a little secret that works. It’s called “CHUNK IT DOWN.”
It’s too big to think of all these things going on around us. A friend we visited who overcame life threatening cancer this last year, is putting his heart and soul into creating a garden. A year ago he never would have thought he’d be doing what he’s doing today. Not something he’s ever done before, he proudly showed off his raised boxes of lettuce, impossible for the rabbits to get at, and his bucket of worms buried in the ground with holes in it for the worms to crawl through his garden to increase the amount of air and water that gets into the soil, breaking down organic matter, like leaves and grass into things that plants can use.
It’s amazing, and admirable, and awesome. Life became more precious, more real and more peaceful, all due to a major health crisis. I’ve watched the Skipper live like this and it’s pure pleasure to be in his company. There’s not much to get upset about if you may not be alive for long…
This is what we have to look forward to. This is our job now, to get through this weird, weird time. We get to do this, we get to learn, we get to love our lives, we get to sort out our priorities. This is chunking it down. Before you let yourself get bombarded with the impossible, be gentle on your soul, be gentle to each other, be gracious and grateful. This weird weird Wednesday, choose one thing to do for someone you love, and do it well.
Grab a cuppa (as they say in Oz) or a drink of something yummy and come along for a sail AND a G-Dock Happy Hour!!
There is a place we call home, and it’s not a fixed latitude or longitude. OMOO floats with the wind and currents in this unsettled time. She’s safe and warm, where ever we drop the hook. We are waiting and watching, what will the world look like in a month, and year, a decade.
Trouble is brewing all around. The pandemic, civil unrest, crashing markets. The news is ever changing, and we are a small speck in the big picture.
The focus is on the “Black Lives Matter” movement in the States, brewing over the recent murder of a black man on the street, his life snuffed out in minutes by a Police Officer kneeling on his neck. We have all seen the video. One of the many lives lost in a moment of violence over the last years. Breonna Taylor, recently shot in her bed, due to a mistaken address for someone possessing drugs. A loyal EMT who served her community. I would never stop seeking justice for her if I lived in that community, that country. But we are here, in Canada, watching the demise of the greatest democracy in the world.
Numbers of Covid -19, climbing, now compounded by the protests of this tragedy. Over 2 million today in the USA with over 114 thousand deaths.
OMOO, the Skipper and Sideways Sally are lingering near the border, Boundary Pass is withing reach and we watch and feel the waves from the tankers cruising by, as we seek shelter on this stormy day in Poet’s Cove on South Pender Island.
We came over after 3 nights at anchor to recharge our batteries and wait out a storm that was brewing. Warm and cozy, we are hooked up to power with our heaters blasting and the electric blanket warming our bed.
We treat ourselves to a meal on land, we are one of six boats on the docks, who would normally be over run with mega yachts from the USA. On the patio overlooking the pleasant bay we are two of eight people, including the waiters.
How long will it take till people give up? How long can people hold on in an economy that thrives on spending spending spending? Is there a correction happening in the markets? Is there a revolution happening in the streets? Is there a force working that is more than what we can see with our naked eye?
We wait, we watch, we shelter in our bubble, from the world, from the virus, from the unrest to the south, so close but so far away. So many questions, everyone has so much to say, but what what does it all mean, and I hate how it sounds.
We all have questions, no one seems to have the answers, but if I get to heaven, I’ll have a lot of questions.
We left Maple Bay 10 days ago heading south into Samsun Narrows when the radio alarm went off.
MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY. Listening to the details we learned the call was from a boat who had just hit a rock in Samsun Narrows. Another power boat was near by and able to respond to the distress call. They were standing by and reporting back to the coast guard on the status of the boat’s occupants. As we approached a working boat, meaning a fast trawler came whizzing past us, backed up to the boat on the rock and attempted to pull them off the rock. It appeared the occupants were not hurt, thankfully, and damage to the boat is to be determined. It was still floating!!
This incident is reminding me when I did the very same thing in Canoe Cove years ago on my 27′ sailboat called Nomad. I was headed in for a haul out when my engine died. There are heavy currents and numerous rocks in the area. I could see them next to my hull but the keel had not touched bottom yet. I panicked and called MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY. This also brought a working boat to the rescue. He quickly tied me onto his boat with bumpers and lines forward and aft and towed me away with his powerful engines.
Recently we had a near miss with OMOO. Our route from Gabriola Pass to Princess Cove took us near Secretary Islands and the Skipper took a little turn to pass Jackscrew Island when his temperature alarm went off for the engine. This is nothing new, especially when pushing the boat up to 3000 RPM. He backed off on the throttle and the alarm stopped, but he was leaning over and checking his RPMs and when he looked up the chart plotter was showing rocks below us at 5.9 feet. Our keel draws 6.5 feet. The only thing that saved us was high tide.
These experiences happen to all of us at one time or another. It’s a constant source of worry when navigating among the Southern Gulf islands and anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. If it’s not rocks, it’s logs. Extreme vigilance and luck are key elements to avoiding catastrophe. We’ve had many friends whose summer is ruined by some rock sneaking up on them. The saying among boaters is “there’s those that have hit rocks, and those that are going to.”
The captain on the working boat that came to my rescue was very kind. When he had me safely tied to the dock he quietly told me, “Mam, when you called Mayday Mayday Mayday, it was really a Pan Pan Pan.” This means that I was in urgent need of assistance, but not in danger for my life. I think I panicked and it was the first thing that came to mind.
I’m glad the power boat in Samsun Narrows was rescued quickly and that the occupants were safe. This also makes me very grateful for the boating community on the water and how we all help each other. So whoever you are, thanks for the reminder.
The Skipper on OMOO states regularly, “BOATING KEEPS US HUMBLE.”