There’s nothing like sitting in the cockpit watching the world go by. Mother Nature provides the backdrop for the marina as it plays an orchestra of sounds.
Halyards tinkling in the breeze, docks creaking as they ride the tide. The shrill of the kingfisher diving for breakfast in a flash of feathers. A raucous screech of the heron as it glides downward to the shore at low tide. The chirp of young eagles, answered by the long trilling call from the parents is like a well timed chime, ringing the dinner bell.
Raindrops pelting on the bimini while the wind builds and mooring lines tighten. Flags stiffen and flap. Otters scuffle and plop, scurrying along in their hunt for food and a special spot to poop. The soft swoosh of a seal surfacing, blowing bubbles and taking a breath.
The docks comes to life with people going to and from their boats with wheelbarrows stacked precariously. Boat cushions, life jackets and beer.
Children skipping excitedly, squealing with delight when peering into the shadows under the dock, spotting a purple starfish clinging to a piling, anemones swaying in the current, or a herring ball dazzling in the shadow of a boat.
The best part is, in any weather, friends pop in to say hello.
This a perfectly shitty timing… Guest blog from Mexico is making me very jealous. You know that tank is gonna have some extra kick! Please enjoy Sue Peck on S/V Cariba in Canada or S/V Calidras in Mexico. The adventures never end!
Sideways Sally returned to OMOO on a stormy weekend to help the Skipper unplug one of my holding tanks. It’s been plugged for awhile now and it’s getting pretty smelly. Being this constipated is not recommended. The Skipper isn’t bothered too much, he’s migrated to the V-berth and is working on plugging up that holding tank. His main gig is to research how to solve a problem, then let his brain contemplate it. The answer usually comes to him at 3 am.
They were in and out of the cockpit hauling up the pressure washer onto the top deck. Man, they were noisy.
Things had been pretty quiet as they usually are until she gets here. The music starts up while the coffee is brewing. Then comes the news and all the yapping about what’s going on in the world. I don’t care to hear it cause I’m in my bubble just floating up and down with the tides. They’re talking about the water flooding this and that, and how will people get to places they wanna go. Seriously??? I’m built for travelling on all this water they’re talking about.
I feel this great sploosh when she puts the pressure washer down the top of the tank…. then it starts gushing out the air vent. That’s a problem!! It’s supposed to gush out the bottom valve. Hmmmm….
Next she pours some goopy stuff in the top and they leave. They’re always going here and there to meet their tribe. It’s a strange thing to watch. They talk about all their people when they come back. It’s always entertaining to hear who did what, and what’s happening next. She’s a social butterfly, and he goes along, happy as if they are normal.
The next day she’s back on the deck sticking that long black thing back into the stinky tank and spraying shit everywhere… it’s still not going out the bottom. There’s alot of cursing and ‘f-bombs and she’s outta there.
In a couple of hours she’s back, this time pouring something powdery into the hole. She closes up the stinky hole and gets back inside. Soon enough, off they go again, party party party. The next day the whole rigamaroll repeats itself. I’m getting a little bored with this but she’s stubborn and never gives up. Once she sets her mind to something it’s a no win situation for anyone else. In this case it’s a good thing, cause I’m enjoying the shitty tank as much as everyone else.
When she sprays the next day, viola!!!
(The meaning of voilà is —used to call attention, to express satisfaction or approval, or to suggest an appearance as if by magic.)
The ending of the story is better than expected. Thank you “Go-Flex” for the bubbly party inside my holding tank. You are amazing and I feel so much better getting rid of the icky sticky stuff.
SS found NOFLEX at Lake’s Marine in Duncan, BC. It is AMAZING!!
This is the summer that wasn’t. An unscheduled stop. A colosal disruption. 2021 is the year of the known unknowns, then there are the unknown unknowns.
OMOO and crew started unplanning the yearly voyage while patiently waiting for Covid vaccines and restrictions to lift. One thing led to another in the breakdown department. Undoing the doing we’ve done every summer for the last ten years came with some painful adjustments.
OMOO turned out to be requiring some maintenance and the Skipper was holding things together and doing the fixing, a constant happy occupation for his engineer’s brain.
After taking four new crew to Tent Island on a day sail, the Skipper headed back out with old crew to chase some wind and enjoy an overnight anchorage in Princess Cove on Wallace Island. After a delightful sail, the crew secured the boat with a hook and a stern-tie. A pleasant evening of chit-chat ensued and all was right with the world again. OMOO was thrilled to be doing all the things she normally does. It started to look like the post pandemic world was opening up again.
Nope, not happening… The next morning with the stern-tie released, the engine purring and the crew in place to haul up the anchor, the windlass called it quits, caputs, nada. The bolts holding the motor in place sheared off and it separated from the capstan. It fell onto the panel above the V-berth and went into a deep slumber. It almost died.
Well, OMOO is 20 years old this year so she’s needing some extra lovin’. The Skipper and crew hauled up 60′ of chain bit by bit, using the spring line and hook we have for anchoring. The spring line is actually a climbing rope which stretches and is perfect to take the load off the windlass. The rope is long enough to reach the electric winches in the cockpit. Up came the anchor bit by bit, and home went OMOO to get repaired.
All the unplanning and getting stuck to the dock proved to be fortuitous. Being close to marine stores and repair shops comes in handy when the Skipper can hop in his truck and get what he needs. A few days later with alot of helpful advice from our talented neighbor/boat guru, away it went again, the windlass was revived.
Sideways Sally was having her own existential crisis. In the middle of a staycation her back and legs stopped working. With a little help from a steroid spinal injection things settled down enough to move again. What made the crankiness set in was not being able to do all the things she normally does. This includes sorting and cleaning OMOO and going sailing. NONE OF THE ABOVE WAS HAPPENING!! She got oh so cranky. There was alot of discussion and some tears shed before the partial solution arrived. Her name is Tammy and she’s a housekeeper for boats. She came aboard and accomplished in three hours what it was taking SS to do painstakingly in three days.
On the bumpy road to this final outcome were all the days of fixing and figuring out stuff on the boat, which the Skipper happily plods (his word) along on. SS is safely over yonder on the other side of the pond (in Vancouver) where outta sight outta mind is her motto. When arriving back to the boat after Tammy did her magic, SS felt like she won the lottery. The boat was fixed, AND clean. Miracles do happen!
Then SS won another lottery. A call came in that changed the scheme of things in a hurry. Her spine Doc had a cancellation in the surgery schedule and her awaited laminectomy and spinal fusion (fancy words for fixing an old lady back) was booked in a couple of weeks, instead of a couple of months or more!! Excitement abounded and the hope for some smooth sailing returned.
OMOO, the Skipper and Sideways Sally snuck out for a few days to celebrate, and we were thrilled with life again. Being escorted by a stiff breeze and a pod of Orcas on the way to Clam Bay was so serene we had to pinch ourselves.
Once again we were consumed by the ecstatic loveliness of sailing in the Southern Gulf Islands.
I’m writing this ten days post surgery and I can walk, talk and smile again!! The surgery was a complete success and there’s so many pain free minutes in days that I can almost hop, skip and jump my way back to OMOO.
Summer is showing us her wild side this year with a June storm that felt like January!! The barometer took a dive and OMOO took off, rounding up under reefed sails in 30KNOT GUSTS!! What a ride!!
We left False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf around noon in drizzle and light wind, but by the time we got around Point Atkinson the wind was howling through the rigging. Making the turn we pulled out the main to 2/3 and the jib to 1/3. Turns out we should have reefed down the main a little more. Taking the gusts abeam OMOO was overpowered by the main and ignored the wheel and angle of the rudder. She rounded up and dumped the wind. Getting past Horseshoe Bay in a hurry calmed things down to a dull roar and we headed for Hawlkett Bay on Gambier Island. Great shelter in those winds!!
The sun was kind the next morning and we were off to a rendezvous with Daydream. Getting there was a mix of sun, rain, wind and logs. But it was all worth the trip. We rafted up with JD in the middle of a log sorting operation!! Soooo interesting to see all this machinery close up and dudes hard at work.
JUNE 1 – 3
PORT HARDY – GOLETAS CHANNEL – BULL HARBOR – CAPE SCOTT – WINTER HARBOR
Port Hardy with the working boats and eagles. SO MANY of both. Heading north from Port Hardy in cloudy, rainy conditions we’re cruising along when we saw our first raft of sea otters. Hard to distinguish from a distance they resemble debris in the water. Getting closer they become super curious about us, diving and flopping, popping up again to check on us. Pretty cute to watch. These is a species that was hunted to extinction for the fur trading in the 1800-1900.
” Since 1969 they have been reintroduced from Alaska and are thriving once again. They play an important role in healthy near-shore ecology by feeding on sea urchins, which can devour an entire kelp forest, which in turn provide habitat and nursery areas for many species of fish.” excerpt from Vancouver Islands West Coast by Don Douglas & Reanne-Hemingway Douglas.
Pulling into Bull Harbor to prepare to round Cape Scott, the forecast looks calm and we’re studying the route to take across Nahwitti Bar. It can be a nasty piece of ocean if not transitted at slack tide as the breakers roll on the shallows. However, Anne of Dreamspeaker tell us to take the alternate route between Tatnall Reef and Vancouver Island and avoid the Bar altogether. LOOKS GOOD TO US!! 5AM – Hoisted anchor and away we went on calm seas and the morning sunrise.
1400 – on the dock in Winter Harbor, in our lounge chairs with beer in hand. Kristan Celeste pulls in and we meet Brian and Chris. Sailors make instant friends and we hop-scotched with them for the rest of the week, meeting in other marinas and getting to know them.