New Crew OMOO

Horseshoe Bay + Howe Sound = Happy Sailing

Welcome to Howe Sound sailing and West Bay stories.

It’s mid September and so much summer has happened that I can’t keep up and that’s just perfect. Omoo is back in home port and all is well.

Back to sailing thru the alphabet… Now onto H, Hershey, happiness, and… Horseshoe Bay in Howe Sound.

We made Horseshoe Bay our home for a few days after leaving Fisherman’s Wharf and the last crew. There’s been so many great sailing days in Howe Sound so we keep going back! You can always count on a sail in this wind tunnel.

The crew for this trip jumped aboard in time to make a trip to Gambier before sundown.

The Spencer Force: Oscar the gadget guy and Suzanne the super shopper. They provided us with an amazing supply of yummy food, fun stories and sailing expertise.

We anchored in Center Bay Friday night, snacked on Suzanne’s delightful charcuterie board and slept like the dead. Next morning we’re slow to go but lazed around in the sun waiting for the wind to find us and find us it did!

There’s nothing like the feeling of anticipation when the wind teases you out into the open, all the sails go up and then the wind drops. Ugh… the skipper suggests a cup of tea would be appropriate, with a side of chocolate. A few stories later, the wind builds again, fills the sails and away we go. It’s exhilerating!! This is what it’s all about.

The saying goes, “the power boaters get on the boat to go where they want to go, the sailors get on their boat and they are where they want to be.” It’s so true!!

Dodging ferries is part of the fun! Oscar and OMOO take us on a ride on the wind and waves. We are exactly where we wanna be!!

We, well mostly Sideways Sally wanted to check out West Bay on Gambier. There was another campground to scout out for future reference: Sir Thomas Lipton Park. After our lovely sail we made a tour around the bay. We anchored after some difficulty with the locals who didn’t want us too close to their dock. We found 20 feet of water at high tide near a beach with a shipwreck on shore. This should have been the warning sign we heeded! Our thinking was that when the tide receded, it would take OMOO with it and we would be in deeper water.

The bones of the old ship Sir Thomas Lipton, named after the famous Tea Baron and Yachtsman:

Excerpt from:

In West Bay is the wreck of the Sir Thomas J Lipton of Tea Clipper fame. The name plate was gone, but there was no mistaking the rotting remnants of this piece of nautical history. If you are interested, look at the very end of West Bay.

Remains of the Sir Thomas J, Lipton

The Sir Thomas J. Lipton was built at Brunswick, Georgia in 1919 as a lumber carrier in anticipation of a post World War I building boon in Europe which failed to materialize.  She was 209 feet in length with a breadth of 42 feet and was schooner rigged with four masts.  She had a yard for a large Square sail on the foremast. 

By 1924 the lumber trade had vanished and she was laid up at Astoria, Oregon where she remained until 1940 when she was acquired by Island Tug and Barge Co. of Victoria.  She was then converted to carry hog fuel which was used to heat the boilers in pulp mills.  Most of her deck planking was removed and bulkheads at least ten feet high were built all around the opening. 

In 1941 or 1942 she was beached in West Bay (Gambier Island) to keep the log booms from going aground on the shallow beach where her remains now lie.  Her wreckage can be observed at low tide, with her port side uppermost and her bow pointing North.  The words “Island Tug”, which had been painted on the above mentioned bulkheads, could be seen from far out in Howe Sound. (not visible when we camped there)

Another source lists the Sir Thomas J, Lipton, 1358 tons,schooner, 1918, 217405, LPHM. 

Sideways Sally woke the next morning to a loud thump that reverberated up the keel when it hit rock. She jumped out of bed to find Oscar at the stern looking down at the beach below us. It was creeping up fast as the morning breeze blew us toward shore, not out with the receding tide. Oscar and Sally took in some anchor chain to pull us further out but within minutes the falling tide put us at risk of beaching and damaging the rudder. SS could picture OMOO lying beside the Sir Thomas Lipton and have sooo many photos go viral.

She fired up the motor, Oscar hauled anchor and we got the hell outta there just in time. Suzanne came up the companion way wondering what all the commotion was. Her plans to cook a leisurely breakfast kicked into overdrive as we prepared to be underway. Coffee came soon, but not soon enough. The Skipper was very happy his crew was on top of things and no damage to our rudder was done. We kept going out of the bay into the sun and calm seas of Howe Sound.

Our senses were on alert but our hearts were full. Our minds were filled with all we’d learned about West Bay.

The ocean keeps a sailor humble with all the dangers to be aware of and all the things we learn every time we go sailing.

That is just the way we like it. We love the thrill of exploring these magnificent shores with friends we love to spend time with.

This is where we call home, on the ocean in British Columbia.

One reply on “Horseshoe Bay + Howe Sound = Happy Sailing”

I can just believe things got exciting with the potential grounding… I’m not crazy about the hight lats just because of the crazy tides… I lived in Northern Norway for about a year and watching the rush of water in and out everyday in the Summer was enough to convince… Great story and vids… Fair Winds…

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