This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Five Weeks On A Boat!

I know, big deal, five weeks on a boat. It may seem like no big deal at all for some of my boating friends who have spent months or even years cruising the Intercoastal Waterway of the eastern U.S., the exotic coastlines of Mexico or the Mediterranean, trans-Pacific or trans-Atlantic or even around the world. And, of course, they are right. But considering that we have owned our boat, the Key of Sea for only five years and never taken it beyond a handful of 4 or 5 day cruises through the San Juan Islands all of which are within a days cruise of home, this cruise was a BIG deal!                           

The story, as I recall it, and you are most welcome to talk to the other participants for their perspectives, really began a year ago on the occasion of Camp Sucia 2013, an annual weekend rendezvous the Bellingham Sail and Power Squaron takes each year in August. Folks were sitting around at one of our docktail parties when Mike McEvoy says something like, “wouldn’t it be fun for us to take a cruise up into Canada next summer?” He went on to make a few possible destination suggestions like Princess Louisa Inlet and Desolation Sound. There was probably much more to that first conversation but, honestly, that’s really all I needed to hear. I was in! I had only a small idea of what was needed to plan or prepare for this cruise across the Canadian border. That was an adventure all its own.

It was decided that we’d hold a series of planning meetings to start around October or November 2013. Mike and Sarah would host all those who were seriously considering the possibility of doing this.

Five weeks were mentioned early on as the likely length of time needed to see the areas we were planning to cover. By the second or third meeting the itinerary was becoming more solid. The departure date was settled on and then we started in seriously discussing everything anyone should know before attempting a trip like this. I won’t bore you with the list but it was lengthy and detailed and I have mentioned much of it in earlier blog entries.

The number of those initially planning to go dwindled in early spring--from a high of maybe 30 folks down to 8-10.  Then a few others dropped out until it became just Star Dancer and the Key of Sea for the entire trip. The good news was that three other boats would join us for shorter segments of the trip and then veer off as they needed to head home for a variety of reasons.

The cruise was a success when considering that Princess Louisa Inlet was a destination in and of itself. The squadron had five boats and 14 people tied up there for 3 days. Not a bad turn out considering the distances and time involved in getting there. The entire cruise was a success for us personally. We went places we will probably never go to again and couldn’t get to without our boat, the help and friendship of Mike and Sarah McEvoy and the many others who contributed to our local knowledge wherever we traveled.

The Complete Itinerary--    
Sunday, July 6—Cruise to Prevost Harbor on Stuart Island
Monday, July 7—Cruise to Ganges Harbor, Canada—Stay at Salt Springs Sailing Club
Tuesday, July 8—Cruise through Dodd Narrows on the way to Nanaimo Yacht Club
Wednesday, July 9—Another night in Nanaimo due to weather
Thursday, July 10—Cross the Strait of Georgia to Pender Harbor, Hospital Bay, Fisherman’s Resort
Friday, July 11—Cruise to Egmont and Backeddy Resort
Saturday, July 12—Cruise up Princess Louisa Inlet
Sunday, July 13—Princess Louisa
Monday, July 14—Princessa Louisa--Cruise to Blind Bay and “Mosquito Cove”
Tuesday, July 15—Another night in Blind Bay
Wednesday, July 16—Cruise to Lund
Thursday, July 17—Cruise to Grace Harbor in Malaspina Inlet
Friday, July 18—Cruise to Prideaux Harbor, Melanie Cove
Saturday, July 19—Another night in Melanie Cove
Sunday, July 20—Cruise to West Redondo Island and Refuge Cove, then on to Squirrel Cove
Monday, July 21—Another night in Squirrel Cove
Tuesday, July 22—Hole in the Wall to the Octopus Islands
Wednesday, July 23—Octopus Islands
Thursday, July 24—Octopus Islands
Friday, July 25—Back through Hole in the Wall and to Von Donop Inlet, 2-Meter Cove
Saturday, July 26—Von Donop, 2-Meter Cove
Sunday, July 27—Hariot Bay
Monday, July 28—Hariot Bay/Rebecca Spit
Tuesday, July 29—Gorge Harbor on the hook
Wednesday, July 30—Gorge Harbor on the dock
Thursday, July 31—West View on the dock
Friday, August 1—Smuggler Cove
Saturday, August 2—Smuggler Cove
Sunday, August 3—Pirates Cove and cross the Strait of Georgia
Monday, August 4—Pirates Cove
Tuesday, August 5—Montague Harbor
Wednesday, August 6—Winter Cove
Thursday, August 7—Cruise to Sucia Island/Fossil Bay for Camp Sucia
Friday, August 8—Camp Sucia
Saturday, August 9—Camp Sucia
Sunday, August 10—Camp Sucia and Cruise home to Bellingham

Statistical Data of the Cruise
1.       Total Days of the Cruise--36
2.       # of Boats Participating in the Cruise—5
3.       # of Souls Participating in the Cruise—14
4.       # of Ports of Call—23
5.       # of Islands Visited—9
6.       # of Nautical Miles Traversed—
7.       # of Scoops of Ice Cream Consumed--6
8.       # of Cinnamon Rolls Consumed—3
9.       Average Gallons of Fuel Consumed—3 gallons per hour of engine operation
1      # of Mosquitoes Swatted—We lost count but a lot
1        Average # of Ooos and Ahhs Per Day—5-6
1       Orca Pods Observed—2

1      # of Rum Drinks Made and Consumed--About 1 per day per person

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Old Man Returns From the Sea and a Broken Fresh Water Pump

Over the next couple of weeks I will be posting my journals along with some photos of our 5-week adventure cruising through the islands of the west coast of British Columbia. It was an amazing journey through pristine waters, lush islands and forests, wild life sightings, wonderfully endless days with choices to do absolutely nothing or to take a hike, swim in the Salish Sea, sleep late, all totally off the grid.

I look forward to sharing my stories, the many lessons I learned about what my boat was capable of doing as well as myself.

We arrived back in our home port of Bellingham, Washington on 10 August 2014 around 1200. Our first stop was the pump out station where we docked on a starboard, bow in tie. Perfect landing in a 5-7 knot wind. Before this adventure I would never have attempted that docking maneuver in anything other than a calm day. The dock is too beat up with water spigots sticking out and the wind always does tricks around that dock that frustrates me. But I've learned a few things about close in maneuvering over the past weeks that I'll share with you in those upcoming blogs.

Today Leslie and I went down to the boat to do a deeper cleaning--especially the inside. I shampooed the outside really well yesterday when we arrived home from Canada. I'd also refilled the fresh water tank. As we began cleaning I turned on a faucet aboard to clean a sink. I noticed that the water pump was making a noise other than the one it normally makes and not a drop of water came out. Strange. It had run flawlessly the entire time we were away for five weeks.

I opened the hatch cover to the tunnel running down the starboard side of the boat and peered in. I could see the water pump. It wasn't leaking or hot or anything else except that it wasn't pushing water through the water lines.

I carefully disconnected the two water lines (intake and outflow) and out of the intake line came a moderate stream of water--steady and making a wet mess in the tunnel. I didn't panic too much since I knew it would all eventually wind up in the bilge and empty overboard, but the flow did need to be stopped so I didn't any waste water. I crimped the hose and wrapped it with tape to stop the flow.

Disconnecting the 12-volt power to the pump, I next unscrewed the four screws holding the rubber vibration suppressors to the floor. Out came the pump. It looked fine from the outside. A little corroded and rusty but not bad for what remarkably turned out to be the original water pump.

I took it over to Tri-County Diesel to have them look it over and bench test it. Their conclusion was that it was shot and all they could do was order a new one.

I took it to Redden Marine up the street and they told me they hadn't seen a pump that old for some 16 years. They were astounded that it had lasted so long. Their conclusion was that replacement parts were not available and I needed a new pump.

The new Jabsco fresh water pump in place.
The new one, a Jabsco Sensor Max 14 Variable Speed Water Pump is sooooo much quieter. Due to its variable speed it doesn't automatically use 5 amps every time it runs. It senses the pressure needs of the water system and responds with only the amps needed to power the pressure the system requires. It also provides a stronger flow. 

$250 minus the 10% Power Squadron discount and I was out the door. Back at the boat I connected the outflow and intake hoses, wired up the 12-volt power supply and powered up the system. The pump hummed quietly down in the tunnel. Leslie turned on the galley sink faucet and out came water! It works and I did it! NO LEAKS!

It was a bit of a rush job but we still have a lot of summer left for boating and that will require we have an operating water system that provides dish washing, showering and cooking water. So it needed to happen. the new pump will provide us with years of service.