THE GALIANDER JOURNEY
Return to BC
© 1997-1998 by John and Eleanor Coulthard
Permission to copy for non-commercial purposes is granted provided the source is acknowledged
April 30, 1998 - Preparations in Fort Lauderdale
May 4, 1998 - Fort Lauderdale - fun and preparation
May 7, 1998 - Fort Lauderdale - Trucking
May 9, 1998 - Fort Lauderdale - Naples
May 29, 1998 - Naples to Vancouver
June 9, 1998 - Spending time in Vancouver
June 15, 1998 - Vancouver to Whaler Bay, Galiano Island
July 14, 1998 - Whaler Bay to Pender Harbour
July 23, 1998 - Pender Harbour to Desolation Sound
August 5, 1998 - Desolation Sound to Whaler Bay - End
When one enters the US it is mandatory to check in with Customs and Immigration. Eleanor took on this chore. Customs was easy. She called an 800 number after we arrived on Sunday, answered a few questions and it was done. They reminded her that we must also call Immigration but would have to wait until Monday when the office would be open. Monday afternoon Eleanor called Immigration and they said they wanted to see us in person at their office. The inspector said that one should report to immigration within 24 hours of arrival. They would be open until midnight, they said. So down we went - it was a fair distance. The office was closed. We chatted to an Immigration officer as he was leaving the building. "Everyone has gone to the airport", he said. The office would be open at 6:45 that evening. At 7pm Eleanor phoned and made sure the office would be open. Yes - a Mr. Cooper would be expecting us. Late in the afternoon a Quebec boat showed up who also needed to check into Immigration so we shared a cab. But when we got there we couldn't get into the office building (they are on the 4th floor). The taxi waited impatiently while we scouted about. Then somebody walked out and we slipped in while the door was open. Up to the fourth floor we went. Finally we got into the office. He wrote down our boat name, number of people on board and stamped our passports. It all took about two minutes. Strange, very strange...
Tuesday we dinghied up the New River to the Summerfield Boatyard to check them out as a place to truck Galiander from. The New River is a gorgeous little bit of waterway. The homes along its banks are all magnificent. At times the homes were dwarfed by the huge yachts going up and down the river. One gigantic one was being towed by two towboats. One at the front was towing it forward. Another at the back was pulling it backwards in order to keep it oriented in the narrow river properly. I think this one was 5 stories high at least. We liked the Summerfield Boatyard and have decided to leave Galiander there for trucking to Vancouver. The people were friendly and knowledgeable.
In the afternoon we went for a walk down to the market. The heat was exhausting. When we returned I drank about 5 glasses of ice water. It is pretty clear we will have to plan to do the bulk of our physical work in the morning and evening. Tuesday evening Al and Barb Farrington, friends of Brian and Kathy that we met in Baltimore last fall, had us over for a lovely supper at their house. They had videos of the Georgetown Cruiser's Regatta from the early 90's and we enjoyed rehashing the Georgetown experience.
Wednesday it rained all day. I'm not quite sure what is generating all this moisture. We are luxuriating in not listening to any weather broadcasts for a while.
Thursday dawned cloudy and breezy. I and another fellow went up the New River to the Riverbend Marina (which is just beside the Summerfield Marina) to help a fellow bring a 50 foot sailboat down to the Cooley Landing Marina. It was a big heavy full keel boat. The owner brought it out of its tight slot in the Riverbend Marina as daintily as a feather. The approach to the Cooley Landing sight was different. We had to go through a bascule bridge and turn a hard left. The Jungle Queen, a tourist boat, was right on our tail. The turn was beautifully executed. Eleanor and another boater were waiting for us on the dock. Everything is looking good. OK - put it in reverse.... Oppps... he left it in forward. I was up on the bow as the boat continued to pick up speed and swung towards a piling. Everyone was hollering - REVERSE! REVERSE! I braced myself! The piling creaked, then groaned ... then with a "CRUNCH", broke off deep down in the water and fell over. By then the owner got the boat in reverse and we were saved further trauma as it came to a stop before running into the dock. Afterwards I relaxed with a sandwich and beer in our cockpit. I told Eleanor, "I definitely need a vacation!"
It is hot, real hot. I was chatting to a fellow launching a boat. "Hot!", I said. "Yes", he replied, "summer has arrived". "Is this a typical summer temperature?", I asked. "No - it is hotter in the summer", he said, "but the light winds and clear skies are typical for summer".
We have spent the past few days preparing Galiander for the truck and taking in a few entertainments. Galiander is looking pretty bare now. The sails are off and stowed. The boom is tied on the side of the boat. Many of the sheets (ropes for handling sails) are coiled, labeled and stored. The solar panels are removed and stored. The big arch has been loosened and is ready for removal and laying down on the deck. Final removal will wait until the very end as the arch supports the bimini, which provides us with shade in the cockpit. And we need that shade!
The weather has continued to be mostly hot. It is difficult to work outside in the afternoon. The sweat runs off my face and drips down onto whatever I am unfastening, or runs into my eyes as I peer up at the underside of the fastenings for the solar panels. It is difficult to get a good nights sleep. But we do get occasional breaks. Friday evening a cold front went through. It brought temperatures down for the evening and night. We had a great sleep.
Cooley Landing is close to all sorts of attractions. Thursday afternoon we took a break and went into the air conditioned IMAX theatre about three blocks away to watch the show on Everest. We really enjoyed it, especially the memories it brought back of our travels in Nepal four years ago.
We keep meeting old cruising friends and meeting new ones. We met Ron and Julie on Bluebird as we left Nassau. They were with us at Chub Cay and left there about a half day later then we did and took a different route to Fort Lauderdale (They went north via Bimini without taking a break - an overnighter, whereas we went more southerly via Gun Cay and slept there before continuing). Interestingly we arrived at Fort Lauderdale within two hours of each other and ended up next to each other here in the Cooley Landing Marina. It was with some sadness we watched them depart north on Friday. But who should take their place in the slip but Good Company with Marvin and Nancy on board. We first met Good Company way back in January when we were anchored in Key West near the Channel Five bridge. They introduced us to Lloyd and Yolanta on True Heaven and Kelly and Bill on Seaduction who are in the next two slips. Lloyd and Yolanta had us over for pasta Saturday night.
Fort Lauderdale was host to the annual Air and Sea show this weekend. On Saturday Kelly and Bill invited us to go out with them on Seaduction to watch the event. Marvin, Nancy, Lloyd and Yolanta were along as well. The sheer magnitude of the number of boats and people was astounding. Boats were being launched beside us shortly after 4am. We joined a small river of boats heading out at approximately 10:30. We anchored off the Fort Lauderdale beach on the edge of a huge pack of boats. One person told me there were 4 to 5 thousand of them. I would believe it. I hope the pictures turn out. I understand a million people were out watching the show. I was more fascinated by the huge number of boats and people then the air show.
There is a wonderful River Walk just down river from Cooley Landing. It winds its way past the IMAX theatre, an Art Museum, the Broward Theatre for the Arts and other cultural attractions. On the first Sunday of each month the River Walk hosts four bands and numerous food stalls from 11am to 2pm. The idea is to walk over and have brunch, while listening to the music, mainly jazz. It is a tough life. Then in the afternoon Eleanor went off on Seaduction again. I elected to stay back, read, relax and do a little more work on the boat.
(Eleanor) The trip out Sunday was a repeat of the trip on Saturday but we got much closer to the action. Saw the Blue Angels, an English Harrier jet, and fantastic aeriel feats. All in the luxury of a Gulfstar 45. Before leaving we dived and swam once more in the Blue Atlantic. Our captain turned up the opera as we cruised in and around the naval aircraft carriers in the harbour and slipped under tha last bridge just at sunset. We ended a perfect day winding past the luxurious homes and boats along the New River.
Our trucking date seems to be firming up maybe late this week or early next week which means that Galiander could be back as early as the 14th.
We get thunderstorm activity most evenings now. The radio issues a hazardous weather warning to communities directly in the path of a thunderstorm - heavy wind, torrential rain, lightening - but it only lasts about 15 minutes. We picked up some heavy rain and a good lightening show on Monday night. On Tuesday we were fortunate to be invited to Al and Barb Farrington's for supper again. A thunderstorm went directly over their house. The rainfall was stupendous. Al said that this weather pattern was typical for July, but not very normal for this time of the year. The thunderstorms only bring a brief respite from the heat.
Wednesday (yesterday), we took Galiander up the New River to the Summerfield Boatyard to have the mast removed. Eleanor and I did as much preparatory work as we could, and as a result the mast was out of the boat and on the ground in about 10 minutes. Then we returned to Cooley Landing. Summerfield has bubble wrapped the mast and shrink wrapped the rigging. Friday (tomorrow) we will motor back up the New River to Summerfield to load Galiander and the mast onto the truck. Then we will hop into a rental car and drive leisurely up the ICW to our starting point, Baltimore.
Galiander will go to the trucking company storage yard for about a week, and then be joined by a brand new Catalina that is also going to Vancouver. It will arrive shortly after we arrive on May 19th.
People on boats down here use air conditioning like we use on board heaters in Vancouver. Bluebird, for example, had air conditioning but no refrigeration. Now you might think that a bit strange but consider that Galiander, as we purchased it, had a diesel forced air heater for the cabin but no refrigeration (we added that when we purchased it). Even Eleanor has trouble sleeping at night in this heat. During the day we sometimes go up to the Laundromat/Shower building to read in air-conditioned luxury. We are going through drinking water at a prodigious rate. We are looking forward to heading up north in an air-conditioned car.
This is not the end of the Galiander journey. This spring and summer we intend to go North of Vancouver to Desolation Sound. September will bring the end, temporarily, to our travels.
Friday morning, boat shipping day, came quickly; we had packed and stowed our gear steadily for several days in the heat. Our friends lent us a fan so we could sleep comfortably the last night. Our Cooley Landing friends were all out to see us off at 7:30am. Two boats were heading north up the intracoastal waterway this weekend and another boat was returning to Denmark. We wound our way up the New River for the last time with morning birds chirping and a manatee wallowing in the channel. It was fun cruising under the bridge without a mast.
Loading Galiander onto the Truck took much longer than we expected (we were not present when Galiander was loaded for the trip east). We, and the trucker, were there and ready to go at 8am. It was 2pm by the time we followed Galiander out of the boat yard.
Nothing was rushed. We were impressed by the care everyone took with the loading operation. Every detail was double checked. The boat was lifted out of the water with a travel-lift and then positioned over the flatbed of the truck. Supports were placed under the boat at the bow, under the wing keel, and near the back. As the boat was lowered the height and position of these weight bearing points were adjusted so the load was distributed properly. The team could tell how the operation was proceeding by noting how much weight the travel-lift was still taking as the boat as lowered. They performed the lowering operation very carefully. After the flatbed was taking all the weight, supports from the side were strapped into position and heavy straps from the bow and stern of the boat were put in place to prevent any forward or backward motion. Then the travel-lift was removed. Finally the mast was put in place on a special cradle. That operation was also carried out carefully as the mast, no longer strengthened by any rigging, could be bent quite easily.
At 2pm we followed the trucker out of the yard and onto the freeway. Even that was a slow operation as the road leading from the boatyard had some low hanging trees and phone wires, which had to be avoided. At one point I walked beside the truck keeping an eye on the obstructions as John, the driver, weaved through the foliage. We followed Galiander out to "Alligator Alley" (the name of a freeway) and all the way across Florida to Naples. At Naples the trucker turned North towards Sarasota, where Galiander will sit while it waits for a second boat to be added to the load. So with Galiander safely on her way we relaxed and continued on into Naples and took a room at the Holiday Inn.
We were exhausted and immersed in air conditioned luxury. I fell into bed at 7pm and slept until 6am. This is the first time we have slept off the boat since we left Vancouver way back at the beginning of last October.
Our trip back to Vancouver was interesting. We had excellent weather. After waving goodbye to Galiander at Naples and getting caught up on our sleep, we headed north, visiting the Ringling Art Museum in Sarasota. Then we had a very pleasant but too short visit with Nancy and Richmond from the boat Windsong II at their home in the Florida panhandle. Further north we focussed our trip on the Appalachian mountains, especially enjoying the Blue Ridge Parkway. Following this we had a good visit to Washington, primarily to see the National Art Museum. Finally we got in a short visit to Annapolis and gazed out over the waters we sailed over on Galiander eight months ago.
We caught our plane early in the morning on May 19th and much later that day were gazing out over the beautiful waters of Whaler Bay, out on Galiano Island.
Meanwhile Galiander, a Catalina 34, was joined by a brand new Catalina 38 also heading for Vancouver. That is a big load for one flatbed! Even the bow pulpit was removed to trim off an extra foot. The truck had a wheel bearing overheat in Wyoming. Then Montana would not allow the driver to move during the long Memorial Day weekend.
At 9am Wednesday morning, May 27th, Galiander pulled into the customs holding lot at the border just south of Vancouver. Eleanor and I came back to the Mainland and were there waiting. Galiander was perched on the back of the flatbed facing backwards with a big flashing strobe light on her nose. It reminded Eleanor of Rudolph (in reverse). At the front of the flatbed was perched the brand new Catalina 38, also with a strobe light on her nose. Clearing Galiander through customs was straightforward, although a bit confused and time consuming. Situations like ours are not very common. The customs people we dealt with after our plane trip and during the passage of the boat were friendly and courteous. Finally, about 11am, Galiander was cleared and proceeded to the Truck Scales for weighing, permits and to pick up a pilot car for the last leg of the trip to the Lynwood Marina in North Vancouver.
Later in the afternoon she was safely nestled into a cradle. We had lunch with John, the driver, then waved goodbye as he headed south to Los Angeles to pick up a boat destined for the East Coast.
Galiander is in pretty good shape. There is a scratch and a rub hollow from a carpet below the water line. That is only cosmetic damage. Inside things had jiggled loose. Everything was well packed, however, and the only damage seemed to be a mug with a broken handle. This time we learned that drawers should either be removed or taped shut. Galley drawers that have never opened under sail worked loose and fell out during the trip.
The mast has been secured across the deck of Galiander. Lynwood Marina will repaint the bottom then Galiander will be launched and we will power over to Granville Island for re-rigging, hopefully early next week. While Galiander is up "on the hard" we are tending to a few other chores. We have cleaned up the propeller and shaft and installed new zincs. We have scrubbed the hull. I have repaired the top to the refrigerator (the insulation was coming loose). Now other distractions beckon.
We are attending our son's graduation from the Faculty of Forestry at UBC today (Friday, May 29th). Tomorrow we will be helping our daughter move into her new, and first, house.
The weather was beautiful when we arrived. Then we had several days of continuous rain and cold weather. Now the weather is beautiful again. As we sit on Galiander and look out to the South we can see the south end of the Second Narrows Bridge. This six lane bridge appears to disappear into a solid wall of green forest. It is good to be home.
It has been over a week since my last report and we are still not on our way.
Galiander was launched on June 1st with nice new bottom paint, a waxed hull and a clean propeller. Her mast was lashed across the deck. On a lovely sunny day we powered through Vancouver Harbour to Granville Island where the mast would be installed and we would re-assemble her for the summer cruising. Vancouver Harbour seemed remarkably free of boat traffic. Maybe this impression was just a reflection of the change from the super busy Fort Lauderdale area.
Granville Island is a lovely place to spend time. It is an old industrial island that has been taken over by retail businesses. It is a big tourist attraction. The old warehouses are home to a big covered farmer's market, many restaurants and dozens of small shops. It hosts dozens of boat oriented services; docks, haul out services, boat brokers, repair services, marine stores, etc. It is a wonderful place to be while working on the boat. Almost everything we need is a short walk away. We have been getting fine weather and lots of visitors.
And our son graduated in Forestry from the University of British Columbia. And our daughter moved into their first new house.
We had a surprise visitor on Sunday. Frank from Sirena II showed up to say hello. We met Frank and Jolanta way back in Chub Cay while we were getting ready to cross to Florida. They are moving to Victoria on Vancouver Island. Like Galiander, Sirena II is being trucked across the continent and will unload at Lynwood Marina, the same place Galiander was delivered to. Frank will prepare Sirena II at Lynwood and proceed to Victoria to complete the work. We hope to be able to meet them somewhere in the Gulf Islands this summer.
Needless to say, with all those nice distractions, getting Galiander all back together again has not gone quickly. We have been taking the time to perform chores we have been postponing, like installation of a new bow pulpit, finally replacing the one we bent last fall way back in the Chesapeake. As I write this all that is left to do is to install a last few lines and the sails.
Soon we will be on our way to the Gulf Islands.
By Thursday, June 11th Galiander was ready to travel. Alas, mother nature decided to rule against us in the form of Gale Warnings for the Strait of Georgia. Gee... it all has that familiar ring to it. The forecast for Saturday was more promising. On Saturday we decided to go, and with good fortune had a good friend volunteer to come along with us. Saturday morning dawned very breezy. The early morning forecast suggested a very windy morning but moderation and a wind switch in the afternoon. Our crossing to Galiano Island is a seven hour one so we decided that leaving at 10am would give us a decent window.
The day was clear. After beating and powering our way out of English Bay we turned south just before noon in a lovely 15 knot wind and roared towards Galiano Island, at times at over 7 knots. Sea conditions were not kindly. Large swells from the side would occasionally catch us. You would think that after all our months of cruising we would know how to secure everything in the cabin. But I forgot about three tool boxes on a shelf in the forepeak. A gigantic CRASH reminded us of my mistake. I am still straightening out the chaos, but no real damage was done. We saw both Orcas (Killer Whales) and Porpoises. About two hours out of Whaler Bay the winds died then shifted to the south. We powered the last hour and about 4:30pm powered into the quiet and tranquil waters of Whaler Bay.
We tied up at the Government Dock in the sunshine, and with the birds chirping opened up a bottle of Champagne.
We plan to stay here for a week for a little rest and relaxation. Then we will drive to the Okanagan valley for a family re-union. We should be back about July 8th, then will be heading up north to Desolation Sound, probably the last cruise for Galiander before we return to the work world this fall. In a sense our cruising year has ended. We are back in home waters now. I will be sending perhaps two more reports to describe our trip to Desolation Sound.
At 7am, Friday, July 10th, we powered out of Whaler Bay, Galiano Island, out into the Strait of Georgia (the body of water separating Vancouver Island from the mainland) and headed North. We had a light trailing breeze for most of the day. Originally we had planned to go to Nanaimo, about 25 nautical miles travel but the weather was nice, the seas remained calm and the boat traffic was light. The autopilot was doing all the work. This was definitely a low stress trip. About noon we decided to change our plans and make a longer run (50 nautical miles) to what is called the Sunshine Coast, about half way to Desolation Sound. Our destination was a marine park called Jedediah Island. A long run would also allow us to catch up to our friends on the 41 foot Ketch Coprinus. At 4:30 pm we rafted onto Coprinus in a delightful little bay. We swam, feasted on oysters, and sang songs. It was the first official rendezvous of the Whaler Bay Yacht Club and Eleanor and Anami flew their newly designed yacht club flags for the occasion. Eleanor and some guests explored the trails across Jedediah Island in the evening light. It had been a real good day.
Friday dawned somewhat overcast and a little windier. Our destination was Pender Harbour, about two hours travel away. The weather forecast was not threatening, although the wind was picking up from the south east it was not supposed to get strong until late in the afternoon. Our trip would take us around the south end of Texada Island and then back north to Pender Harbour. By the time we got near the end of Texada the wind had picked up to 20 knots on the nose. A sailboat in front of us turned around and headed back, "It is a lot worse out there", he shouted as he whipped by on a reefed jib. It was, indeed, quite rough. The waves were quite large and at one time the wind was up to 27 knots. But it was just a short power around the tip of Texada and we were soon heading downwind towards Pender Harbour and into the lee of the mainland.
Suddenly we heard, "Galiander, Galiander this is Coprinus ... our engine has quit". I replied "Can you sail to the entrance of Pender Harbour, then we could tow you in?", Thank heaven the reply was positive. I had no desire to do any towing out where the seas were so rough. Coprinus was fortunate to be around Texada before the engine failed, and had a nice beam reach to finish the trip.
This was an interesting situation. Neither of us had ever been to Pender Harbour. I had never towed a boat before. As Eleanor and I continued onward to reconnoitre at the entrance to Pender Harbour I tried to remember what I knew and had read about towing boats. Outside the harbour the waters were much calmer than they had been further out, but far from placid. The plan was to raft the two boats together so we could power the two boats, as one, into a dock. I judged it would be too dangerous to do this outside the harbour. Although the wind was below 10 knots there was still a fair amount of wave action. So we came along side and threw Coprinus a tow line. Then slowly, carefully, and uneventfully, we towed her into the centre of Pender Harbour. It was very calm inside. It was then quite straight forward to raft the two boats together and power to the Fisherman's Marina. Everything worked just fine. It was a great learning experience.
Then the rains came. And it poured! And the wind blew. And it blew darn hard. Fisherman's Marina was a lovely little spot to pass some time however. And the weather would improve. I had a few chores to do on the boat while we waited. The head needed work. When we left Galiano we discovered that the hand pump on the head had become exceedingly stiff to operate. I took it apart to lubricate it. The result of this was that it operated very easily, but I damanged the seal around the pump handle so it squirted sea water at you as we flushed the toilet. A nuisance, but not a show stopper. There are always chores on a boat.
Coprinus had resolved their fuel problems and this morning (Tuesday) headed south to Nanaimo. We last heard from them on a HAM radio repeater about 9am, only two hours from port. I was relieved. The weather has not been nice. Another front has been moving through, accompanied by wind and rain. Wednesday will bring a break, but probably only from the rain. Thursday another front is coming through. So here we are waiting for the weather. If we don't go tomorrow we will be here for another two nights. We may leave early tomorrow and head north, probably just a short way, possibly all the way to desolation sound. We may stay put.
After all those months cruising the East Coast and the Bahamas we are rapidly adapting to the different conditions here. The local forecasts are accurate with respect to timings of fronts. However local conditions, presumably the way the mountains funnel the wind, can result in a wide variation of wind conditions within the forecast area. The water is deep. We are quite close to shore here at our slip in Fisherman's Marina but the water is still 60 feet deep. Pretty long pilings you might think? In fact the marina is mostly secured by an elaborate anchor system. At Jedediah Island we had our hook down on the opposite side of the cove, close to shore, and it was 50 feet deep there. We (Galiander and Coprinus) were also secured to shore by lines going to both sides of the cove.
Despite the current weather, it is good to be on the boat again.
Thursday, July 16th the rain tapered off and at noon we left Pender Harbour and headed two hours north to Blind Bay. Looked like we had a nice little anchorage behind Fox Island all to ourselves, but then two other boats joined us but there was so much room we hardly noticed. Pretty nice.
By 5:30 am Friday we were on our way north again, heading towards Desolation Sound in lovely sunshine. We heard other boats on the Marine Radio commenting about FOG. We looked behind us and Jervis Inlet, which we had passed only an hour before, was enveloped in FOG. We were lucky we slipped through before the bank developed. The rest of the trip to Desolation Sound was uneventful. The wind was light but generally on the nose. We were only able to motor sail for about an hour.
Our destination was worth the 9 hour trip. Prideaux Haven is one of the most popular Marine Parks in B.C. It is easy to see why. The views of the surrounding mountains, many of them with permanent snow fields, are spectacular. We had heard it can be very crowded. But when we arrived there was lots of room. We suspect the poor weather had deterred new arrivals while people who were ending their holidays had to move despite the conditions.
We spent two nights in Prideaux Haven. The weather on Saturday, July 18th was wonderful. We relaxed and explored the area on foot and in the dinghy. For fun Eleanor had made a "Whaler Bay Yacht Club" flag for Galiander. Unfortunately when we put it up it got tangled in the spreader so up she went in the bosun chair to get it down. We collected some wonderful mountain water from a nearby stream for use in our solar showers and for coffee and tea. The wind came up on Saturday evening. Most of the boats here are anchored with a line from the stern of the boat to shore. The wind was hitting us broadside, which puts a lot of strain on the anchor. Two boats dragged anchor in our little cove. Sunday dawned overcast and showery but by 9am it was starting to clear - the front was behind us already.
Over the next many days we leisurely explored this new territory. The weather has been wonderful with sunny, hot days and cool nights. This is the way we like to travel. Power out of the anchorage, put up the sails, turn off the engine, and see where mother nature wants us to go. Of course we typically have some preferences. We like the Marine Parks and we like to travel there on routes we haven't taken before. It has not been very crowded. A Marine Park called Walsh Cove had maybe 20 boats in it but there was still lots of space. We shared a large area in the Von Donnop Inlet with only one other boat. Powerboats seem to outnumber sail boats at least 5 to 1.
We reprovisioned at Heriot Bay on Quadra Island. Decided to stay at the Marina. We fueled up, filled the water tanks and did laundry. We also hosted relatives and friends from Quadra on the boat. John served huckleberry pancakes for breakfast. Eleanor purchased a big bag of prawns from some local fishermen. Yum!
Our communications are working out very well. Our cellphone works most of the time. I suppose that shows how close to civilization we are, despite the "desolation". We have been able to access a HAM repeater on top of Saltspring Island (near Victoria) much of the time. That is quite remarkable as it is well over 100 miles away. And we have our HAM radio shortwave frequencies.
On Friday, July 23rd, we started our return to the Gulf Islands. The weather patterns were stable with light to moderate winds going in our favour. We headed for the middle of the Strait of Georgia. Our goal was to take full advantage of any breezes that materialized. Our strategy worked and we enjoyed a long and pleasant, sail/motorsail/motor to Denman Island, about halfway back. We picked up a mooring buoy right outside the residence of one of our relatives and went in to visit. Their mooring buoy is not well protected but the entire Strait of Georgia was quiet as a mill pond. So we decided to visit longer spend the night on the mooring buoy.
We toured some beautiful gardens on the island returning with bushels of fresh vegetables.Kay and Charlie filled us with family stories and home cooked food including fresh apple pie made with Kay's transparent apples.
We slept well until 3am then a slow swell from the open water started to gently rock Galiander. As the night progressed the gentle rock became less gentle and at 4:30am we got up and prepared to leave. At 5am we powered away from Denman Island and started the long run to the Gulf Islands. We had a wonderful sail. Throughout the day the wind built from behind. Sailing with the main out on one side and the jib on the other we made better and better time. About 3pm we sailed in close to Gabriola Island and dropped the sails. We had a small problem. We had to kill time until 6:30pm when we could pass through Gabriola Passage during slack water. So we powered into Silva Bay, dropped the hook, and fell asleep for two hours.
Saturday we had a good visit with relatives on Gabriola Island and then headed over to Vancouver Island and anchored in a place called Boat Harbour, where we visited friends who live nearby. Monday, July 27th, we slowly sailed over to one of our favourite Marine Parks, Wallace Island. Tuesday we had a gorgeous beat up Trincomali Channel to arrive outside Active Pass just at slack water. We couldn't have planned it better. By 3pm we were tied up back home at the Whaler Bay dock.
Any trips we make in August will be short ones in familiar water. For now, the Galiander adventure has ended. She sits patiently on the dock and is carefully checked from time to time waiting to go out again.
Revised: November 14, 1998