It’s been a while hasn’t it? I could share some banal reasons as to why I’ve been so quiet on the blogging front …but quite frankly, who wants to hear them. Let’s just suffice by saying that the reason I haven’t blogged in a while doesn’t involve lions, marauding hordes, lashing waves, hurricane force winds or even a distinct lack of tea.
Let’s catch you up then.
We’ve got a pretty big plan for this summer. We’re planning to circumnavigate Vancouver Island.
If you look at a map of BC, you will see Vancouver island as the tiny blip on the bottom left hand corner. It looks tiny. Thing is, BC is a pretty big place. If it were a country it would rank 31 in size out of 267 countries in the world. That tiny blip on the side is 285 miles in length, and is the biggest island in the North American continent….when you move at about 6 miles an hour, that’s a big deal.
We’ve pretty much sailed the length both ways on the inland (eastern) side of the island, but the westerly side of the island is quite new to us. There can be a lot of fog, pacific weather fronts, ocean waves and according to my Dad ‘meaner rocks’, so it is definitely a different ball game. However, shelter comes in the shape of 4 huge sounds that are virtually untouched wilderness areas with diverse ecosystems, spectacular scenery and some interesting history involving the First Nations lifestyles and a handful of colourful ‘white’ characters that made that area home over the years, one of which is the original ‘Cougar’ Annie famous for the number of cougars she shot and the number of husbands that she had, that seemed to have a habit of dying on her (of natural courses of course). We hope to spend time exploring each sound so there is a lot to do and see.
To make the trip, we are doing some boat upgrades.
I’ve been quite opposed to two of the upgrades for a long time.
Upgrade # 1 – A chart plotter in the cockpit:
I am aware that I am the only person alive that doesn’t like these things. Frankly, I sail boats not computers. I find that the temptation with these things is to get drawn into their friendly glow and slowly you find yourself staring at them for hours instead of looking out of the boat.
However, they do have a handy “Man Over Board” button that you can push if someone goes over board so that you can go back and find them. In general, I’m a proponent of being found if it were to be me that fell over board. Especially if I were to fall overboard 100 miles away from any other help, so for that reason, I have finally caved.
Upgrade #2 – Radar:
I don’t like the big bulky radar towers on the backs of boats. In general, I don’t like anything that is big, bulky and slows me down. It took me 20 years before I finally bought a food processor for home so it was going to take something quite big to get me to agree to a honking great radar tower.
The big thing did indeed turn out to be quite large. About 40′ in fact. We were sailing down Johnstone Straight last summer and flirting with patches of fog. 95% of the time we were either just out of the fog or in thin mist that dissipated within minutes. I was driving alone in the cockpit with the air horn in my hand. I wasn’t doing the regulation fog horn every 30 seconds, that felt like ‘over-kill’. We punched into a small drifting fog bank and I knew we’d be out of it within 5 minutes.
Suddenly, there was a 40′ power boat right off our port bow. I didn’t actually have to alter course, but there he was. Where moments earlier had been nothing, he was within 10 boat lengths of us and until that moment I had no idea he was there. It was now pointless to blow the fog horn, if I could see him, he could see me. He motored past slipping into the mist again before long. A minute later I motored out of the mist, weak kneed and ready to purchase radar.
Prep, prep and more prep…
So, here we are slightly under 2 months to go. J. And I have lists and lists of things that need to be done. the boat is very much a project, under layers of dust & debris with boxes of parts lying around the place. The weather has been so beautiful but so far we are very much dock bound. Hopefully the weather holds a couple more weeks so that we can enjoy some local cruising while getting to know our new boat toys.