Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Calm before the Storm – literally

We have been in Pender Harbor for a few days now and it is time to move on.  Largely due to a strong low making its way into Northern Canada that will drag its cold front over our area late Monday with rain and “25-30kt” winds. Time to find a hiding place.  We will be motoring out in calm / flat waters today to Green Bay (not THAT one, the small one on Nelson Island BC).  But be quiet about this, OK?  As I don't want EVERYONE to get the same idea, there is room only for about 2-3 boats in that well protected notch.

After the front passes we will start exploring more of Jervis and Sechelt Inlets, then start working our way back South (likely to Friday Harbor) for the winter.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sad Happenings

It started as a beautiful morning!  The sun was shining, and there appeared to be a sailboat race setting up.  Boats were milling about, and Viking Star was right in the middle of all the action.

One went by and I noticed its pretty sails.  They were kind of translucent and shimmery.  Then the boat turned around, and headed straight for us!  I was standing at the sink doing the dishes and they were headed straight for ME!  Even though I knew they couldn't hear me I said aloud 'Pick a side.  You can't go THROUGH us.  Pick a side.'

They did, and in plenty of time.  It was a white-haired man at the helm, and a few younger people as crew.  The blond pretty woman looked up, smiled, and waved.  I raised a sudsy hand and waved and smiled back.

Then the horn blew and the race was off!

Not long later, we heard sirens.  I looked towards the public dock and noticed a fire truck at the head of the ramp.  I saw a sailboat at the end of the dock, in the space reserved for seaplanes.  Oh no.  It's the particular sailboat we had noticed.  And there was a crew of people in yellow pants with red suspenders -- were they firemen, or just sailors?  I couldn't tell.

We wanted to make a garbage run and pick up a few last fresh groceries.  It looked like the scene had calmed down  -- an ambulance left, with no lights on -- so we made our way to shore.  We noticed police on the dock as well, and determined that the yellow pants were indeed firefighters.

We struck up a conversation with a man at the top of the dock and learned that the helmsman of that sailboat -- he joins the races most every Saturday -- had apparently had a heart attack and had perhaps not even survived the trip to the dock for help.  It was the pretty young woman I saw and waved to who had run up the dock for help.

For a sailor, you probably couldn't ask for a better way to go -- quickly, on a beautiful morning, doing what you love.

But I think of that poor crew and what THEY went through.  This afternoon Al and I took a dinghy tour of some of the harbor, and passed this same sailboat again, now moored at a private dock.  Several people were sitting in the cockpit, heads together.  I hope they know people are praying for them -- even strangers like us.

Away to Pender!

On our last day at Jedediah, we were all alone in our anchorage.  Al had some projects to work on, and I put on a bikini and soaked up some rays.  Then -- what's this? -- two sail boats approach to do a rafted stern tie.  We watch for a while, of course.  And when it appears the man ashore / in the dinghy is having some trouble with his line tangling around the branch, Al offers to go to shore and assist.

THAT'S when the woman on the boat becomes more visible and vocal.  Hey.  She looks and sounds familiar.  I want to shout across 'Were you a pirate on Sucia last year?' but I figure I should wait until they are secure.  Then SHE says of Al, 'You look familiar!'  Yes, they HAD been pirates on Sucia, and I had given her the prize for best woman's costume.  Later, another couple came over from their boat in Deep Bay, and she said 'You gave ME a prize too!'  Her husband had won the best man's prize, and she had been his parrot.

We met the first couple last fall on Blake Island too.  VERY small world!

Thursday we crossed over to the mainland and Pender Harbour.

This view had me singing 'I Can See For Miles'.  And miles and miles and miles and miles!  When looking this direction, the Strait is open for 60-80 miles before landfall.  Al tells me that, based on height of eye and curvature of the earth, the ACTUAL number of miles I can see is only four.

Past the tip of Texada Island and toward Pender Harbour.  I don't know what that peak is really called, yet, but for now I will call it 'Sharp Tooth'.

Yesterday, we 'went to town' for coffee at Java Docks (it was okay) and to grocery shop.  We also walked up the hill to Rona, the hardware store, to buy velcro dots to mount the carving we bought from Gil on Penelakut.

On the way, we saw an interesting sign:

And a few more:

We didn't see any turtles though.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Jedediah Hike

This hike took place three days ago -- we are already across the Strait at Pender Harbour.  I am behind partly due to having no internet while at Jedediah.  Here we go.  LOTS of photos, so I'll just caption with short commentary.

Our first Jedediah sunset.  I love how the sun gilds the edges of the clouds sometimes.  An added highlight -- someone across the passage at Boho Bay is playing bagpipes!

Next morning, low tide.  We are surprised to see a huge rock in the bay (not on the charts).  Al takes a tour around Viking Star to see if one might be popping out below US!

A Parade!  Three identical boats, even to the dinghy.  Al called them PDQ Cats.

A lovely lavender lady

It's low tide, and we plan to be away for hours.  We need to haul the boat further up shore for the line to reach to something to secure it too.  Yes, the dinghy was floating when we returned. 

Someone built a 'shelter' complete with benches.  Al is standing in the firepit.

Deep Cove from another perspective.  The 'cats' are arriving, No. 2 is on the upper left.

This guy reminds me of the talking trees in The Wizard of Oz.

This map confused us for a moment, until we realized North was to the BOTTOM.  Odd, but it matched OUR orientation as we faced the sign.

A 'snake' log

Into the meadow

Most of the trees in the orchard -- pear, apple, walnut -- had sparse fruit.  The pears were most prolific.

Home Bay dries at low tide.  This is the view from the house.  There are several tents across the bay, and a couple of boats anchored behind the rock outcropping on the right.

Sad to see the house and other buildings decaying.

We cannot escape airplane noise.

Home again.  You can see that big rock has been covered with water now, and there is about 8 feet to go before high tide.

Shields Up!

Well you can blame it on "suki lee", as today I placed this blog's comments on moderator approval needed due to multiple SPAM postings from this user. does not have good filtering, ala there was no way I could block a user.  So, rather then block all comments - I will simply pre-approve them before they get posted.

Now, because at times we are out of range for a week or so, do not be alarmed if it takes awhile to get through and approve them.

And as to Suke Lee, I am sure he will get on with life just fine.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tied to Jedediah

From Spring Bay we were hoping to go to Scottie Bay, but one of our guide books said boats over 40 feet were not recommended to go in there.  We peeked, and pretty much agreed, so went on to Jedediah Island.

I remember when I told my Dad that we were going to Canada this summer he said, 'What's there to see up there?!'  On days like this....EVERYthing!  Jervis Island on the left, Paul Island on the right, Texada Island in the distance.

Deep Cove was deep, but narrow.  Viking Star seems HUGE up here...

We end up tied to Jedediah Island at White Rock Bay.

Clowns to the left of me ...

... jokers to the right.  Here I am, stuck in the middle with you!

In all the excitement of another stern-tie, I must have kicked something!  It looks a LOT worse than it feels.  My poor, dry, salty toes!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Spring Bay Sunset

The 'greens' we bought at the Saturday Market had a nice splash of other colors too!

We had been headed for Scottie Bay, but it looked a little bumpy around the point, so we stopped at Spring Bay, site of the Spanish Caves.  It was a calm afternoon, and we enjoyed our books on the aft deck.  

An Alaska-bound cruise ship

And now, the 'building' of a sunset!  Al was anticipating a great one, based on our location.  This is a 'pre' shot.

And  a bit of a close-up on that magenta, please.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our 1st Qualicum Wind!

Kristi and I have enjoyed our stay here on Lasqueti Island and will be moving on to explore other anchorages around it.  The folks are all friendly (well, never use absolutes . . .), we had so much fun Dancing in the Rain  (Yes, that video was me dancing, at least how I get into it these days..).  And the Saturday Market, though small, was very very nice - crafts, food, produce - even a lady with a basket of kittens!  We will be back no question about it.

We also picked up a bit of 'local knowledge' in the few short days we were here.  For example, the cove we are anchored at (in the North of False Bay) is named Orchard Bay but known to the locals as 'Cocktail Cove'..  (Hum, wonder why :-)  ).  We were also told the story behind the False in False bay - I had wondered because it seems like a proper bay to me, protected from most sides, with appropriately depths for anchorages.  And it is a bay, what is false about it?

Well, the story goes the False is the way it lulls one into believing it is a good bay.  Lulled until the Qualicum's come that is!  

Port Alberni on the west coast of Vancouver Island is at the end of a long and step cut that all but bi-sects the island.  Open to the Pacific Ocean, this cut acts as a great funnel, and concentrator of almost any wind with even a hint of a 'westerly' component to it.  Shaped, intensified, and given direction, this concentrated wind blasts over the rest of Vancouver Island, over Qualicum Beach, and straight into False Harbor.

Last night was a bit bumpy, the bragger gauge showed only 22kt peek - but it was directly into the mouth of our bay.  Looking back at Wind-on-the-water, Sisters showed sustained SW winds 25MPH.  Again, pointing right into False Bay.

Now, the really odd thing (and I sooo wish I can taken a screen shot last night) was what was going on around us at that time.  Go 10 miles south, 10 miles north, in fact go anywhere around and you got the same:  SE winds around 5-6kts...

And THAT is the Qualicum Wind:

"There is one more wind that occurs within this range of pressure-slopes and that is southwesterlies. This could be said to be the key, or signature wind, of these pressure slopes. Southwest winds occur in two different weather patterns. The most well known southwest wind is called the “Qualicum” for it pours out through Port Alberni Inlet and over the community of Qualicum, then into the Strait of Georgia. A true Qualicum wind occurs when a ridge of high pressure develops along the west side of Vancouver Island. Typically this occurs just ahead of a front that is approaching northern Vancouver Island. Southwest winds may also occur with pressure rises behind the front, but in this
situation the southwest winds are not limited to the valley near Qualicum, but can occur  over much of southern Strait of Georgia. The strength of a true Qualicum is typically near 25 knots while the southwest winds that occur behind a front will vary with the strength of the rising pressure behind the front. The strongest southwest winds occur with the strong pressure rises that can occur just behind a low that passes directly over southern Vancouver Island."

ref:   Wind patterns in the Georgia Basin – the Salish Sea.
        Owen Lange*, Environment Canada

Though 'typically' near 25kts, it can get to be much more in the right conditions.  

And THAT is why this is called a False Bay!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Art Picnic

 On summer Thursdays there are Art Picnics on Lasqueti Island.  Tables and canopies are set up, and people of all ages can work on whatever their muse dictates.


Painting is a favorite station

Learn more about 'cob' houses at
Wood chunks and wine bottle windows

The gallery was open.  Shoes off, please.

Interesting!  We will look for them on our next visit to Vancouver...

Burgers and beer enhance the view from our log bench at the pub

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dancing in the Rain

For once, serendipity was on our side.  Most often we hear 'You should have been here yesterday!'...or last week, or last year.  

Or,  'There USED to be a donut lady'...or bakery boat ... or music festival.  But today?  We were in the right place at the right time.

We arrived at Lasqueti Island on Tuesday afternoon and set our anchor in False Bay.  We always hesitate to leave the boat immediately after anchoring, preferring to wait and observe and see how we move with the changing tide.  While we were waiting and observing, Al took the opportunity to give the dinghy and the cabin house a freshwater scrub.  I dusted and vacuumed and changed the bed sheets.  And then it was dinner time.

So we didn't leave the boat until the next day, afternoon, and after the morning rain showers had dispersed. We learned a lot about what to find on Lasqueti from Colette, who heard us asking questions of each other as we climbed up from the dock.  Following her directions, we had pie and coffee at MaryJane's.  Travelling up the hill, we found the site for Thursday's Art Picnic.  Even further, we found Joy in her gift shop, Crystals and Chamomile.  Joy told us of a living maze that some Swiss basket-weavers had created behind the elementary school (where we also frightened some feral sheep), and the 'Free Store' that was presently closed but many things were on the porch.  We found a couple of books, and peeked in the window.  We may visit again.

But the BEST thing to happen yesterday was the marimba concert on the dock.  We had seen the signs around 'town', and heard that 'if it's not raining, you should go!'

We returned to the boat for a quick dinner, and could see rain approaching across the Strait.  So we were setting up to watch a movie instead, but just as we were about to press the 'Play' button, we heard music!  So we gathered the dinghy lights, turned on the anchor light, donned our coats and set out!  The closer we got the harder it rained.  

But truthfully?  I think the rain added so much to the evening!  We were just a bunch of human beings, moving to the beat, and enjoying the WHOLE experience.  The raindrops ran down our faces like tears, past wide smiles.

I loved this guy on the bass.  He made us move to the beat, AND made the rain dance too!  

Most of the rest of the group, Makeke.

There was singing too!

Colette and Paul.  Colette was the friendly lady we first met on Lasqueti.

Al noticed this very direct sign at the top of the dock ramp!

"No place like home. . . "

A few people swam off the dock, and the Sisters Islets are in the distance.
Made us think of our friend Sharon.

Al found a girlfriend.  Or she found him!  She had 'left her stick, somewhere up the hill' and he helped to hold her steady while she visited.

Later, someone must have found it and brought it to her.

Sunset turned the sea a deep red/purple.  I wish the colors were more true.

They played until last light.

A video!!