Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Good, The Bad, and the Spectacular!

We have covered some ground in July.  From Barkley Sound we headed to Esquimalt and stayed at the CFSA dock (Canadian Forces Sailing Association) where we got a few chores done, including putting new zincs on the boat.  Now we could have paid a diver $200 to do this, but Tony decided that he had a wetsuit, a pair of goggles, and an allen wrench, so he could just as easily do it himself.  Too bad he didn't have dive tanks 'cause he just about drowned trying to hold his breath while he attached the zincs to the prop shafts.  But it got done and we only lost one $15 zinc to the ocean depths, so all in all it was a boating and a financial success!  GOOD.

We then headed to False Creek to visit our youngest daughter, Lea.  It was sunny and hot for a change (isn't July supposed to be sunny and hot?) and we really enjoyed seeing Lea and providing copious amounts of groceries to the starving student.  We also went kayaking with our friends, Nadine and Alan (way to go with the retirement plans, Nadine!!!).  Definitely GOOD.

Then it was off to Pender Harbour, where we picked up Teresa and Mark for a voyage up to Jervis and Princess Louisa Inlet and the final prize of Chatterbox Falls. We started in brilliant sunshine and could hardly wait to see the sun shining on all the incredible scenery that this area has to offer.  But Mother Nature can be fickle and the clouds and fog set in as soon as we entered Jervis Inlet.  By the time we made it to the dock at Chatterbox Falls it was pouring with rain.  Now, we could call this's the rain forest and there was something cool about seeing it in these conditions.  Mist, rain, and huge volumes of water shooting out of the 90 odd waterfalls that surround the end of Princess Louisa.  And of course, Chatterbox Falls was SPECTACULAR!

Finally, we headed to Jedidiah Island to enjoy some hiking and swimming, since the weatherman promised that sun was on its way.  He was right on, for once, and we enjoyed some beautiful weather and even managed to dry out most of the boat.  A nice little spinnaker run back to Pender Harbour to drop off Teresa and Mark and we are sitting at the Madeira Park Dock getting ready for the next adventure.  Life is truly GOOD!

The Zinc Man commeth

Lea takes a spin in the kayak in False Creek

Apparently there are 90 waterfalls emptying into Princess Louisa Inlet...these are only a few of them

Chatterbox Falls

Teresa, Mark and Kobe enjoying the Falls

Vakasa at Chatterbox dock

Mark and Tony finally get to hang out in the sun at Jedidiah Island

Kathy and Teresa....or a couple of Jedidiah mermaids?

Even the dogs (Rizzo and Kobe) love a nice spinnaker run

Sunday, 8 July 2012

VICE Wasn't Really Nice!

We arrived in Barkley Sound on June 25th, three days before the planned departure of this year's VICE fleet.  VICE (Vancouver Island Cruising Event) is an offshore sailing event put on by the Blue Water Cruising Association and is designed to give those sailors who are headed south to Mexico in Aug/Sept a chance to practise some offshore sailing.  The fleet this year was comprised of 7 boats and their brave crew and we planned to sail to a waypoint 142 nautical miles due west of Ucluelet, out into the blue, blue, Pacific.

Tanner, our extra crew member, arrived at the marina in Ucluelet on the night of the 26th, just in time to join the pre-departure festivities and pot luck dinner, and to help with prepping Vakasa for the voyage.  Then, despite warnings of Gale Force Winds off the West Coast, all 7 boats headed off between the hours of 6 am and 10 am on the morning of the 28th.  Brave?  Or just stupid?

The conditions were exactly as the weatherman told us they would be......for a change.  We had winds of 20-25 knots per hour (about 50 km/hr) and 3 metre seas.  The boat was rocking.  We were averaging about 7 knots/hr, and appeared to be travelling an equal distance vertically for every metre we went horizontally!  An hour or so into the trip our faithful four-legged crew member succumbed to seasickness and tossed her cookies.  Tanner, who had decided to put his faith in holistic anti seasickness drugs, joined Rizzo in her misery an hour or so later.  Fortunately, Tony and Kathy put on Transderm patches the night before and were only a light shade of green compared to the rest of the crew.  As you can imagine, none of the carefully prepared and pre packaged food was eaten!

Of the 7 boats that started the journey, 2 turned back by about noon.  Another lost heart by dinner time.  Vakasa and her crew decided to head back after 13 hours (around 10 pm) of "getting the crap kicked out of them".  3 ultra crazy boats went all the way.  The experience for us was phenomenal.  We coped with heavy weather, successfully practised some storm tactics and realized that both the boat and her crew are made of pretty tough stuff.  We sailed at night, relying strictly on our instruments. We utilized both the Coast Guard and Tofino Traffic when things appeared hairy (think very large Cargo ships on collision courses).   We made good decisions.  We learnt that we will never voluntarily sail in those conditions again!

After Vice, we hooked up with Bryn and spent a blissful 5 days touring around Barkley Sound.  It was so nice to have both her and Tanner on board, especially whent the sun started to shine.  The highlights of the trip were swimming in the falls at Lucky Creek and the Iron Chef Cook Off......Tony and Kathy think that Bryn and Tanner's blueberry/bluecheese burgers beat out their chocolate/chipoltle ribs......

Intrepid VICE 2012 participants

The first crew member to succumb (yes, the salon looks like a train wreck!)

Tanner's in there some where - we know because the puke bucket is always with him

Our brave captain at the helm

Fishing, swimming and glorious sunshine in Pipestem Inlet

Winners of Vakasa's 2012 Iron Chef Cook-off