JUNE 26-JULY 1 – HOME TO MAPLE BAY

Getting close to civilization and we’re NOT READY FOR IT!!  Into Victoria Harbor for a fuel stop and then decided to head for Pender Island.

Sideways Sally went a bit sideways on the wheel trying to avoid Kelp Reefs and got a bit too far into the shipping lane at Boundary Pass.  In her own defence the new chart plotter does not show the shipping lanes as clearly as the old one did, but that didn’t help when the container ship rounded Turn Point.  It was a scramble to get back over to the Canadian side of the shipping lane and out of harm’s way.  YIKES, a few tense moments, “WE’RE GONNA DIE!!”

https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Turn+Point,+Washington+98250,+USA/@48.6884322,-123.2371371,11z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x548f610fcc199243:0xc9bd84

Hershey takes the wheel, and gets the boat going into the wake, I’m hanging on for dear life, the coffee cups are smashing up in the cockpit and he’s saying “GET THE GO PRO, GET THE GO PRO.”  The wake had to be about 4 meters and that’s the biggest seas of the whole trip.  OH, and we had a little hatch open below because it was so hot out.  Guess what?  ALOT OF WATER CAN GET IN A LITTLE HATCH!!  So almost died AND gave the cabin a saltwater bath.

A little debriefing over the glass of wine that evening, and alot of wishing we were back up north where there’s no other boats.  However, a great sleep and meeting up with friends the next day cured all our sorrows.

HOME IN MAPLE BAY, THANK YOU SKIPPER FOR AN AMAZING TRIP!!

JUNE 24 – THE HOME STRETCH

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OMOO’s Vancouver Island Circumnavigation is on the home stretch!!  Juan de Fuca and the route back through the Gulf Islands was an exciting part of the trip, thanks to BIG cargo ships, submarines, and racing sailboats.

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Off the dock at 0600 from Bamfield heading SE in cloudy rainy weather, seas calm.  By noon the sun came out, the wind picked up to 10-15KN and we sailed with a push (going with the tidal current) to Sooke.

1800 hours – anchored behind Sidney Spit. The 12 hr run had treated us well, followed by a calm eve once the sports fishing boats settled down for the night.  We sat in the cockpit discussing the next stop and the attractions of the Inner Harbor in Victoria which we both know well from land.

1st question – Is there a slip available?  Turns out the new Harbour Authority monitors all the marinas so one call makes getting information easy.  Yes, there are slips available

2nd question – How much will it cost?  Turns out it’s triple what we like to pay, knowing it would be more because of the spectacular location.

3rd question – What are the options?  Nearest  harbor is Esquimalt.  Guide books say the anchorage is spacious with good holding, and free!  As soon as the skipper heard that I heard, “LET’S GO!!  Besides it will be interesting going past the naval base.”

What I love about the skipper is his sense of adventure and his love of seeing new places and things.  We never carry a set schedule or detailed itinerary, just a rough plan of where we’re going and the time frame we have available.  We love how this invites opportunities to experience things we could never plan on our own.  We feel very lucky, we’re so happy that we’re both free spirits and it works!!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMCS_Oriole

TROUBLE ON OMOO – JUNE 23

This was our last day in Barkley Sound and WE DIDN’T WANT TO LEAVE!!  We left the Port Alberni Yacht Club Outpost and headed out to Trevor Channel from Robbers Pass on our way to Bamfield, which was our last stop to fuel and provision before the Juan de Fuca Strait.  Very quickly we were surrounded by a maze of fishing vessels with nets out, OOPS!!  The purse seiners watched us closely and although we’d been around fishing boats before we always managed to find a safe way past them.  NOT SO TODAY!!

The floats on the nets were difficult to see so I had the binoculars out and was giving the skipper signals on which way to turn and avoid them.  “STOP, GO TO PORT HARD!”  We made it around a couple of nets then got a blast from one of the captains on a nearby vessel.  “STOP STOP, NETS NETS.”  It’s impossible to stop a sailboat on the water very quickly and it got confusing very fast.  SS  IS STARTING TO GET PISSED OFF THAT THE SKIPPER ISN’T LISTENING TO HER!!  The skipper is trying an old trick by trying to get around the nets by taking a route close to shore.  The nets were even closing off that route by being directly attached to the shore. The crew on the DFO Zodiac were waving wildly to us by now to follow them.   As they led Omoo through the floats and fishing vessels we discussed how we had never heard  the fishing report for the opening in Trevor Channel that day, or if we had somehow missed it.  We were used to announcements on VHF 16 to indicate areas of openings for fishing so pleasure craft could avoid fishing vessels.

Later we decided to call in to the Coast Guard to see if we had missed the report, but were given a number to call the Department of Fisheries on the phone to check on the details.  That didn’t help because we did not have cell phone service. So on our learning curve we chalked it up to lessons learned on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  Maybe they don’t announce fishing openings as often as in the Gulf Islands cause there aren’t as many pleasure boaters out and about? Well, we do know there were at least one other sailboat in the area besides us.

We pulled into Bamfield Inlet, docked and debriefed over a glass of wine.  “Well, we didn’t run into any nets, whew!  I wonder how much that would cost in fines, damages and repairs” ruminates the skipper.  SS imagined what the response on the radio would be to “PAN PAN PAN, OMOO OMOO OMOO, THE SKIPPER WON’T LISTEN TO ME!!”  “OMOO, OMOO, OMOO this is COAST GUARD, COAST GUARD, COAST GUARD… long pause…. RODGER DODGER THAT, OVER AND OUT!!”

The evening offered a lovely walk around town, a friendly chat with the locals and a restful sleep so we could hit the trail again in the morning (weather permitting).

 Wikipedia – Purse seine[edit]

Fish swimming near the surface are surrounded by a wall of netting supported by floats.
The net is drawn or “pursed” so it is closed at the bottom as well.

A common type of seine is a purse seine, named such because along the bottom are a number of rings. A line (referred to as a purse-line) passes through all the rings, and when pulled, draws the rings close to one another, preventing the fish from “sounding”, or swimming down to escape the net. This operation is similar to a traditional style purse, which has a drawstring. The purse seine is a preferred technique for capturing fish species which school, or aggregate, close to the surface: such as sardines, mackerel, anchovies,herring, certain species of tuna (schooling); and salmon soon before they swim up rivers and streams to spawn (aggregation). Boats equipped with purse seines are called purse seiners.

Purse seine fishing can be a relatively sustainable way of fishing, as it can result in smaller amounts of by-catch (unintentionally caught fish), especially when used to catch large species of fish (like herring or mackerel) that shoal tightly together.[6] When used to catch fish that shoal together with other species, or when used in parallel with Fish aggregating devices, the percentage of by-catch greatly increases.[6]

Use of Purse seines are regulated by many countries. In Sri Lanka, using this type of nets within a radius of 7 kilometers offshore is illegal.[7] However it can be used in deep sea after obtaining permission from authorities. Purse seine fishing can have negative impacts on fish stocks because it can involve the bycatch of non-target species and it can put too much pressure on fish stocks.[8]

Purse seine boat encircling a school of fish
A school of about 400 tons of jack mackerel encircled by a Chilean purse seiner

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BARKLEY SOUND – JUNE 19 TO JUNE 23

Every day out here just seems to get better!  Broken Islands are very different, with hundreds of tiny islet it is ideal for kayakers, fishing and lazy days at anchor.  Hershey says they remind him of Kouchibouguac (say that 5 time) in New Brunswick at the north end of Northumberland Strait.  It reminds me of the Lake of the Woods at the Manitoba/Ontario border.

The first night at Joe’s Bay we endured a hummingbird attack.  They just wanted some company, or some food.  We could hear them dive bombing the boat and then finding their way in.  We made a make-shift feeder of an orange dangling on a string but they weren’t interested.  Put that hummingbird feeder on the list to buy!!

Next day we hung out around Turret Island and Sideways Sally foraged for food.  What a morning putsing about in the dingy, out to Swale Rock with all the serious sports fishing boats, about 12 trolling up and down the channel.  Four hours later and 5 rockfish I returned to Omoo and we sailed all afternoon to Vernon Bay and entered Eagle Nook Cove.  POSH!! This luxurious fishing resort was for the rich and famous, at $3/ft for moorage we said we’d push off and anchor out.  The friendly folks there offered us their mooring buoy in the bay and we spent another lovely night floating in paradise.

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Heading back out of Barkley Sound we motored into Port Alberni Yacht Club, which welcomed transient boaters.  It was a delightful place and we had it all to ourselves.  SS’s gone fishing again and caught a very tasty rock cod.

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TOFINO – UKLUELET, JUNE 17-19.

Skipper says, “If not for Anna, Tofino’s a bust”.  It was difficult getting into Tofino in big wind, strong current and shallow water.  There are sandbars that keep shifting and we got stuck.  This was after attempting several times to get to the fuel dock against the current and wind.  Then a paddleboarder just about ran over us and scared the sh** out of Hershey.  It was kind of exhausting and frustrating so Tofino Harbor is on the short list of places never to go again.

HOWEVER…. Anna is a delight to spend time with and she drove us everywhere we wanted to go.  She’s Hershey’s niece from the east coast and is working for the DFO (Dep of Fisheries and Oceans) for the summer.

The harbor at Ukluelet is deep, spacious and convenient to stores so we provisioned here for the last leg of our trip.  We took advantage of the lovely accomodations of the Canadian Princess for leisurely breakfasts and access to the internet.

http://www.canadianprincess.com/the-lodge/eat-drink.htm

SYDNEY INLET – SHELTER INLET

The routine in brutal.  Floating between majestic mountains in fiords of blue and green.  Surrounded by beauty I struggle to wake each morning after an absolutely uninterrupted peaceful slumber (only ten hours though).  It’s a chore to make my Columbian brew and sip the steamy stuff while the morning sun shines in my eyes.

Ugh, the job of choosing the next destination with only three comprehensive guide books to learn from.  How I am supposed to figure it out?  Then there’s that pesky business of the Environment Canada Technical Marine Forecast.  Blah, blah, blah.

Off we go, skimming across the glassy water, if only those birds and seals weren’t in the way.  We’re lucky to get to the next anchorage before noon, whew, this is hard work. We need sustanance, so lunch is on.  Then I’m exhausted and it’s hard to hold my book up so I nap.  Barely two hours later it’s beer time.  Oh, the effort to retrieve it from the bilge!  Now, do I go fishing or watch for fish?  Chatting to the skipper requires my attention so I pretend to get my rod and reel ready.  Three hours go by and it’s martini hour.  Heating up some chili for our bellies is my main job and it’s a hard one.

The sun dips too quickly and it makes me sleepy.  It’s been another hard day out here.  Can’t wait for tomorrow!

https://www.google.ca/maps/place/Sydney+Inlet+Provincial+Park/@49.4315184,-126.2535844,12z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0xb28695d9dd64a3c7