Five, count them, FIVE trips across the Strait in August!! We are back doing what we love!! The Skipper is back in fine form, and Sideways Sally is cheering him on in every way. This kinda explains why I haven’t been on here lately.
OMOO has never been happier. She has taken us on some of the best sails of this decade, she knew we needed it!! Now take a look at this!!!
Sideways Sally did her homework and got OMOO and Hershey geared up early to leave Vancouver and catch the flood out of the Fraser River and get pushed across to Active Pass. It was Sunday morning and Vancouver was asleep so we had False Creek and English Bay to ourselves, well except for some crazy fishermen bouncing around in the swells. 0600 Hours and we are off the dock at Fisherman’s Wharf. Forecast is for 15 – 25 NW winds and away we go, YIPPEE. SS couldn’t wait to get out there.
The bay was pretty rough as the swells had built overnight with the low pressure system moving over South Coast and we were in for a rodeo!! English Bay is shallow, with depths of 40 – 60 feet till you get past the buoys marking Sand Heads. The standing waves which are tidal current against wind were building to 3-4′ and OMOO slammed through it. “That should knock some dirt off.” says Hershey as we hit hard and spilled his coffee. “HOW RUDE!!” We were just happy we didn’t have extra guests aboard as it tends to scare them.
We’ve experienced these conditions before at Haida Gwaii so we know OMOO can handle it. The Skipper on the other hand, gets sea sick so takes 1/4 gravol to keep it under control without going to sleep at the wheel. Our breakfast for this type of ride is boiled eggs made early and then egg salad sandwiches while under way. It’s a feat of it’s own to get food prepared in these conditions so the simpler the better.
We reefed the main to 2/3 sail once the swells started to calm down and set the course. To control how much sail comes out of the mast I hold the furling line on one winch while pulling out the main sail on the other winch. Winds kicked up to 25 -28 KN with some 30 KN gusts and we were smokin’ along with just the main sail with a broad reach at 7 – 9 KNOTS. That’s kinda fun!!
Half way across the Strait winds calmed down and we pulled out the jib. We were two hours early for slack tide at Active Pass so we dawdled abit before entering, brought the sails in and watched and waited for some ferry traffic.
We only had to dodge one ferry just coming into Active Pass as we were going out, so we hung out in a corner out of the way. SS had a little panic attack when the Skipper picked a spot right beside the reef with a danger marker on it. As always we had a debrief about it when things calmed down. I always know I’m in safe hands with the Skipper at the wheel, I just haven’t had all the experience he has in all different situations. Have a look at the chart of Active Pass, and pics of the ferries passing eachother.
The next crossing was a little smoother with steady SE winds heading back to Vancouver from Nanaimo. The skies told us we’d have a great day for a sail and we did. Red sky tonight, sailor’s delight!!
Next morning was bright and sunny with SE winds steady at 15 KN. We lolly gagged the morning away and got off the dock at noon.
OMOO is amazing at 30 degrees close hauled, she skims across the water at 6-7 KNOTS. We can’t believe our luck with the wind again. We were steamin’ our way and 5 hours later we’re pulling into the dock at Fisherman’s Wharf.
Tea time and Vancouver is in sight. All of the five trips back and forth from Maple Bay to Vancouver were done with 37 engine hours and one tank of fuel, averaging 6 nautical miles to a liter of diesel. Our green energy uses the engine power for generating the electric pressure cooker while powering into anchorages, while the auxiliary heat ex-changer dries and warms the boat for extra comfort. The solar panels keep the batteries charged so everything keeps ticking (since replacing our starter battery that fried itself the batteries have never worked better)!!
Not only are we the happiest sailors on earth to get a bit of summer weather near the end of August, we are still recovering from a life threatening medical crisis which kept the Skipper in hospital mid-June to mid-July. We have to pinch ourselves.