Galiander Travels 2008

Jun 29: Comox - Change in Course

Taking advantage of a dying southeast wind we took the outside route from Whaler Bay to Nanaimo. Nanaimo is one of our favourite provisioning ports. "Glacier Bill" showed up on schedule a day later and recharged our fridge. Unfortunately he was unable to find the leak despite injecting flourescent dye into the system in an attempt to track it down. So we are hoping the leak is so slow our fridge will continue working for several years - we will see. As always - it was a pleasant productive stay.

We were a few hours out of Naniamo heading for Jedediah Island when we got a call from our daughter Kathy. Her father-in-law had a bad fall down the stairs and was in critical care in the Vancouver General hospital (fractured skull - very serious). So we changed course and after a long 12 hour day of powering in mostly calm conditions we arrived in Comox and took up grandkid sitting so Kathy could join her husband Doug in Vancouver. We will be here as long as it takes.

This is the first time we have stayed on the public docks in Comox (normally we anchor in Henry Bay at the North end of Denman Island on the way up). The Comox public docks are quite pleasant. I haven't had a chance to get a feel for how close to food stores the docks are but there is a very nice pub right at the head of the causeway that serves excellent seafood chowder. The Blackfin Pub has it's own webcam looking out over the public docks. It is available at . Believe it or not you can actually see Galiander, well the mast anyhow. I think we are the first mast in from the left side of the dock as I write this (Sun, 9am).

Blue SteelWhile in Naniamo, our attention was drawn to check out "Blue Steel" which had been unloaded from a barge a day before. It may look rather ordinary because the picture doesn't do justice to the scale of the thing. It is eighty feet long (that's right 80). It is powered by three 2000 HP engines (6000HP total) and will do 48 knots.

I asked the crew if they were going to Desolation Sound and he said no, it was too cold up there. The owner wanted to go to Vancouver. (well that won't take long :-) ). He said the main problem was logs because the visibility isn't very good from the wheel and it takes 100 metres to come to a stop. I suppose it is a good thing it has three props! Blue Steel was gone the next day.

All is not well, but Eleanor and I are fine.

John & Eleanor.

July 15: Onward to Desolation Sound

My son-in-law's (Doug's) father continues to recover in the Vancouver General Hospital. He suffered severe brain damage and recovery will take a long time. Doug has returned to Vancouver and our daughter Kathy will follow with our two grandchildren to join him Tuesday or Wednesday. We expect/hope to make a move up to Desolation Sound early Wednesday or Thursday morning.

The Comox public docks are very nice. Friendly staff. In the summer time they clear out two docks for visitor moorage. The washrooms and showers are superb! Recommended! As you approach the breakwater the entrance is on the far right. Shopping is a short walk away. Several restaurants are easy walking distance. The picture on the right shows the dock where they place the commercial vessels. Now and then there are fresh fish and/or crab sales at the dock.

MusicfestMusicfest was fun. John especially enjoyed the instructional workshops and smaller presentations. John found the large concert settings in the evenings for the big name groups to be a bit loud, crowded and dusty (see picture left). Eleanor especially enjoyed listening to the "Higgens" harmonizing in one of our instructional workshops. Valdy was excellent in the instructional workshops as well.

The woodland and farm setting is wonderful. There is a lovely little river to swim in.

We elected to stay home on Sunday and look after the grandchildren. Kathy and Doug enjoyed some time on their own at Musicfest.  Michaela and Maile joined them late in the day.

 John & Eleanor.

July 21, Heriot Bay, Quadra Island

I am sorry to report that my son-in-law's father passed away on Friday, July 18. We are now tied up at the Heriot Bay Inn Marina on Quadra Island (That is right across from Campbell River about half way up Vancouver Island) and will be going to Vancouver for the funeral. Galiander will be here for about a week.

Crossing.We left Comox early in the morning on Wednesday, July 16th hoping to take advantage of a lull in the persistent North West winds we have been getting. (The North West wind is the typical nice weather summer time wind here). The route we like to take when the wind is NW is to tack all the way across the Strait of Georgia passing under Savary Island and then power up the side of the Malaspina Peninsula to Desolation Sound. Well it turned out to be a more boistrous crossing of the Strait then we prefer, but it was a fast crossing!

The wind was not so strong on the other side as we powered through the Copeland Islands around the corner and into Malaspina Inlet to the beautiful Grace Harbour anchorage; about as protected a little anchorage as you could ever ask for. There we met "Sarah K" with Len and Karen  from Pender Island Cocktail timeon board and their friends Roger and Marie on "Lucy May". We arrived about 2pm but were exhausted after our 6am start and crashed before happy hour. On Thursday "Sarah K" headed south and we had a nice hike into a local lake with Roger and Marie.
LeavingAll told we had four idyllic days in Grace before picking up a weather window and moving over to Heriot Bay. A weak frontal condition brought a prediction of South East winds (perfect!). As it turns out the South East winds only lasted a couple of hours and we otherwise powered over glassy seas. (which is a lot better then beating into a North Wester).

We enjoyed a wonderful meal on the deck at the Heriot Bay Inn - ahh civilization. It also gives John an opportunity to try and deal with an engine problem that has been plaguing us.

John & Eleanor

Aug 2: Heading Home For Repairs

Our engine problems are bad enough that we are heading home for repairs. Canoe Cove, who did extensive work on the engine this winter, wants us to bring it back to them. We have exhaust gas (probably) getting into the fresh water coolant system. It is probably a bad or blown gasket. It has probably been with us at least since we left Naniamo so we are expecting that if we take it easy it should be good for a bit longer. Fortunately the engine is not overheating.

We plan to ride the forecast Northwest winds south over the next few days. Originally we planned to leave today but we only arrived back yesterday and we simply didn't have enough time for such a quick turnaround. So today we are re-supplying and resting. The forecast looks excellent. If the winds are kind to us we will be back in Whaler Bay  by Tuesday to unload.

Fuel pricesThe Heriot Bay Marina was almost empty when we left for Vancouver. When we returned it was full. The Heriot Bay Marina is an excellent place to visit during rainy weather. It is now emptying out again as the boaters head out to their favourite anchorages.

All in all there are a lot fewer boats this year. Fuel prices undoubtedly have something to do with it. Yes that says $1.827 per litre  for diesel fuel.

SupperWe caught a ride back from Vancouver after the funeral with our daughter Kathy, the grandchildren and Kathy's niece. We arrived back on Galiander Aug. 1st. after  we spent one night at the Poetker home in Comox en route. Everyone came over to check out the Marina yesterday, including our son's mother in law and favorite real estate agent, Poppy. Then we all celebrated with a lovely meal out at the Heriot Bay Inn.

John & Eleanor.

Aug 4 Back Home Again

JohnWe are back home! We did an overnighter and made the whole trip from the Heriot Bay Marina on Quadra Island to Whaler Bay on Galiano Island in a little under 26 hours. Our trip back started uneventfully as we powered out of the Heriot Bay Marina on Sunday morning at 7am to catch a lovely Northwest wind south. This lasted until about noon then it died and the middle of the Strait of Georgia remained as placid as a millpond until about 10 pm in the evening, this despite the continued consistent forecast of 10-15 NW. We could only use the engine at a very low speed and were  not making good time and this left us in a quandary. If we overnighted near Comox the long range wind forecast suggested we might end up facing more light winds and even a South East wind in a few days. But the forecast for the night was "Strong Wind Warning late in the evening - Winds NorthWest 15-25". Now that was more like it so we decided to go for an overnighter and get it over with.

Cruise ShipAs darkness fell we were entertained by the passage of three cruise ships which seemed to be moving at a glacial speed but generated a gigantic wake we really had to watch out for.  

I figured with the forecaster predicting 10-15 earlier in the day and us actually getting zero the prediction of 15-25 that evening would be a lot less anyhow. Actually the forecaster was dead on. Late evening turned out to be about midnight but from then on all the way to Galiano the wind seldom dropped below 20 knots - what a ride! We tied up at the Whaler Bay Dock at about 8:30 Monday morning. Broken BatonOne baton in the mainsail will need to be replaced. We arrived dead tired but triumphant and elated. An hour's sleep and two stiff cups of coffee over at Peter and Dorothy's place have got us going again.

Tomorrow I will make an appointment to take Galiander over to Canoe Cove for repairs.

Oct 28: Repaired and Back Home Again.

Galiander at Service DockWhen I last sent a report way back in August we had just finished our 26 hour overnight run from Desolation Sound to Whaler Bay (our home port), nursing an engine with a leaking head gasket. A couple of weeks later John and extremely capable helper Tom Bennett took Galiander over to Canoe Cove to have things put right, again never getting the engine much above an idle. Power sailing all the way we arrived in a mere 4 hours, which is about normal for that trip. The weather conditions were uncertain. At times we were in fog. The wind was generally against us. On the left you see Galiander sitting at the Service Dock.

I told Canoe Cove to take their time as we had commitments (and I really did want it to be done right this time). Then Eleanor and I headed off to Edmonton for my sister's 70th birthday party (a surprise) and an opportunity to see my old home town, Jasper and Banff.

Today we retrieved Galiander and I think they really did do it right. My impression is that they really did go the extra mile (there was no charge). Canoe Cove has a very good reputation and have every motivation to want to keep it. My initial impressions are good. The engine has never run so smoothly. It is very satisfying to watch the engine temperature rise smoothly to 160 and then stay there rock solid under different powering conditions. Galiander wing on wing.

Not that I got much opportunity to test it. Starting out it was so calm I thought we would be powering all the way. But mother nature was having nothing of that. It was a beautiful day and a nice breeze built up from the stern. Reluctantly (?) we shut down the iron genoa and put up the sails. In the end we only managed to put a mere two hours on the engine. But what a wonderful day!
Galiander back home
Galiander is back home now. Over the next week we will be putting her down for the winter. The sails will be coming off. She will be plugged in and a little heat will be applied.

Eleanor and I are busy now with choir and other island life.

We are looking forward to a more normal cruising summer next year.

John & Eleanor.

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