Well our spring 2018 cruise is done. We went a bit later this year due to time commitments but since we were headed north to the Broughtons, it was still a pretty uncrowded affair. We only had three and a half weeks, but we were determined to make the sojourn north again. In retrospect it was a bit rushed (especially as we had a timetable involving picking my brother up in Port McNeill) and I am not sure I would do it again with that little time — then again, I am such a fan of the Broughtons I probably would. It just a different kind of cruising than we’ve become used to.
Day 1: 24.5 nm (Lasqueti Island*)
Day 2: 58.5 nm (Gowlland Harbour*)
Day 3 : 27.5 nm (Blind Channel)
Day 4: 38.25 nm (Port Harvey)
Day 5: 23.5 nm (Mound Island*)
Day 6: 0 nm (Mound Island*)
Day 7: 6.25 nm (Spout Island*)
Day 8: 14 nm (Port McNeill)
Day 9: 0 nm (Alert Bay)
Day 10: 26.25 nm (Echo Bay)
Day 11: 15.5 nm (Kwatsi Bay)
Day 12: 25.5 nm (Lagoon Cove)
Day 13: 15 nm (Goat Island*)
Day 14: 0 nm (Goat Island*)
Day 15: 21 nm (Port McNeill)
Day 16: 35 nm (Port Harvey)
Day 17: 42.5 nm (Shoal Bay*)
Day 18: 26 nm (Von Donop)
Day 19: 0 nm (Von Donop)
Day 20: 43 nm (Van Anda)
Day 21: 28 nm (Secret Cove)
Day 22: 24 nm (Nanaimo Harbour)
Day 23: 1.5 nm (Stones Marina)
Day 25: 0 nm (Stones Marina)
Day 26: 0 nm (Stones Marina)
Day 27: 0 nm (Off the boat)
Total nautical miles travelled: 495.75 nm (918.12 km)
Time travelling: 92 hrs 50 minutes
New places visited (see asterisks): 6
As you can see we only spent more than one night at an anchorage on 3 occasions — quite the contrast to last year where only twice did we not stay more than one night.
Humpback whales: 12
Pacific White-sided Dolphins: ~100
Sea cucumbers: a bunch and 2 different species
Bald Eagles: uncountable
Barn swallows: a passel
Purple Martins: some?
Spotted for the First Time
Dall’s Porpoises: ~5
Minke whales: 2
Sea urchins: tons, both green & red
Violet Green Swallows: 4 or 5
This years trip featured more than our usual share of boat-related issues.
- Electrical weirdness — We raised the sails almost immediately after leaving Nanaimo Harbour and a few hours later the chartplotter was so dim it was almost unreadable. After we started the engine it brightened back up again. This continued throughout the whole trip. I checked all the connections but didn’t find a solution. (After we returned to dock and properly cleaned all the battery terminals the problem seemed to clear up.)
- Webasto heater— it ran just fine the first few times we used it but on the morning it hit 11° C, we just couldn’t get it to fire. It gave us a 3 blink error code for the first half dozen attempts but then it became a 6 blink. After we had access to the web again, I discovered that 3 blinks was a low/high voltage error (see point above) and that 6 was a Temperature Sensor Interrupt (which necessitated ordering a new part).
- Jib Furling — after sailing downwind in 30+ knots, when I rolled the jib in, it didn’t wrap around the stay properly and left a little flap of sail that caught the wind. After entering Discovery Passage the winds picked up, caught the flap and started unfurling my sail. This became so bad we had to turn back into the wind and unfurl it and wrestle the sail back in again. What seemed like a straightforward procedure took about half an hour and had me on the foredeck getting pummelled by the jib sheets.
- Main burner thermocouple — the main burner started cutting out halfway through the morning hot water boiling procedure (much to the dismay of the caffeine starved crew). I cleaned the thermocouple and dismantled the burner to give it a scrub but it was all to no avail. So for the rest of the trip we had to rely on the two small burners which meant cooking was a very time consuming affair. I opted not to have the new thermocouple shipped to me and that turned out to be a good thing because getting the old one out eventually necessitated drilling out old screws and retapping the holes.
- Lost oar — we lost the bottom part of one of the oars somewhere on Johnstone Straight. It was odd because the conditions weren’t half as rough as they had been on days previously. I called ahead to Port Mc Neill to see if they could order me a new oar and they said they would try. But upon arrival it turns out that oars are such a specialized thing that they couldn’t find one that would fit. So we bought a paddle as a backup and resigned ourselves to more motoring that we usually do.
- Overturned dinghy — after surviving the 25+ knot winds in Knight Inlet we breathed a sigh of relief and turned up Clio Channel. Unfortunately the winds funnel down Clio even more and soon were gusting in the mid 30s. When they hit 39 knots the dingy became air born and then flipped and landed upside down. I managed to pull it in and right it, but our new paddle, the seat and the fuel tank were gone. A few MOB turns later we had recovered the seat and the fuel tank but the paddle was long gone.
As I mentioned my brother joined us for a week (Port McNeill –> Broughtons –> Port McNeill). North Island Marina let us use their van to pick him up and drop him off at the Port Hardy Airport which is a great service. He hadn’t been on the water since he was a kid so it was a new experience for him. I asked early in the trip if he wanted to be crew or passenger and he opted for passenger. Still, he managed to spend his share of time at the helm and was a great help.
We saw tons of wildlife, hit the high spots of the Broughtons and generally had a great adventure.
It was a great trip and over much too soon. We managed to meet up with some old friends, connect with some internet acquaintances and make some new friends as well. And we are still eager to do it all over again.
We managed to get back to a few spots we wanted to see again (including Alert Bay) and were blessed once again with a whole pod of dolphins traveling with us for a few miles. The only thing missing was some orca, but given that we saw a mother and calf pair of humpbacks, I think we can let that slide.