Plan B

 


 

We have been in Bamfield for a while. We set the day to head out offshore on the 1st of July which is on Canada day. Unfortunately we had to return back to Bamfield the next day in the morning. This was because I, Steve, who had dreamed of this adventure for 45 years, planned it for 10 and worked to get the boat ready for another 3 became almost completely incapacitated by the worst sea sickness of my life. More on that fun day later, but first:

Cape Horn fixed

…My on again off again love affair with my “Cap Horn”. is back on again. After it failed us twice in Juan de Fuca, I was very perplexed. However my 20c fix worked lie a dream and after a couple of trial runs it performed very well in winds up to 25 knots. I did not take any photos of the fix as I did the repair at anchor and I was too concerned about giving the sea gods bits I could not replace.

Bamfield West

Bamfield Inlet

The West Coast of Southern Vancouver Island is  warm, has a fresh sea breeze and green. With community of about 200 people who have adapted their lifestyle to their piece of heaven.

Bamfield inlet divides the community into two and you can cross by taxi boat or small boat. There are only small 2 groceries store in Bamfield. The supply will arrived with the antique ship name Frances Barkley on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for the fresh products. One Marine University called BCIS is on the bank the entrance to inlet. The location of Bamfield is spectacular and is connected to the open Pacific Ocean and you can cross to the USA Continent not too far.

Monday 1st July 2014

Pacific Northwest Coast to The Marqueses

Sunny day with NW wind and the wind will change to SW in the evening. Half day in the morning Stephen tried to do sail mail. Then after midday we will water and did small shopping at a grocery store.

14.10 hrs Leave Bamfield, Roger and Jawna did a surprised shown up while our boat is leaving the inlet.

We set main sail and head sail head out to Barkley Sound to set course with speed 6-7 knots, good to sail so we can stop the engine.

We did not have any food but only coffee in the morning and excite about sailing offshore. We did not see any sailboats while we were out but a several big ships and some heading toward our boat while it’s very windy. The Cape Horn is working like one crew and is steering but the problem is that the wind keep changing the direction so Stephen must adjust the wind vane.

Late in the evening a group of big clouds told us that the bad weather is coming. Stephen’s face turn concerned. During the sunset the wind start to blow stronger and from SW. We make headsail shorter and keep caution on steering as the wind becoming stronger and stronger.

We have a beautiful  view of faraway off  Olympic mountains with their snows shinning in the late sun.  A big ship heading to our boat and GPS beeping. Wind never slow down and we start to tense while the boat is pounding with waves.

P.S. We lost our new replace windex {place by Luksana} top of the mast that it shown loose and shaking before finally blow by the wind into the ocean before dark.

I made a few errors on this start.

1) The forecast was for bad weather from the South.  Although the American forecast said we would be OK.  Within 3 hours of leaving the sky told everything. Old saying never leave into bad weather. I let the pressure of “need to go” override what I knew to be right.

2) I was still using my coastal sailors brain. The boat was humming along 5, then 6, then 7 then 8 knots. I knew I should reef. I did not want to slow down, thought we could move far enough South to get from under the low pressure system. Wrong! Left it too late to reef, it was dark and frigging rough.

3) I was worried that my SSB weather communication was not going to work. 2 tropical depressions had spawned off Mexico and where heading North West.  I had spent hours trying to get it too work the last 2 days and it was still iffy.

4) Because Luksana did not have her USA Visa we could not use the shelter of the various American Ports if need be. Although it is much longer to go down the coast and then across from Mexico to French Poly, It would have allowed us to gradually work into the rigours of sailing Offshore. This was more than a mistake it was a real blunder.  I am not an experienced offshore Sailor, I am lucky I got a chance to make up for my stupidity.

Before dark

 Completely dark and windy from SW wind. Stephen told that we have to take down mainsail. As the main Sail furling had a problem. Before do that we started the engine and I head the bow to the wind and let the bow pound against the waves. At that time he started to vomit from the deck. It is very strange to see him vomit this much where as we are in this bad weather…It is scary because I am just a beginner on sailing. Stephen made a decision that we should go back to Bamfield cause he did not feel that great. He did not look good at all and must be assorted and he keep drinking water but still vomit unbelievable.

{Really! that we must go back to Bamfield and how about to turn off the engine and go to sleep in the cabin until morning and sail further south to the Marquesis but he is real sick}

So why head back? The weather forecast was solid South West for the next few days. We could only beat into the wind. Towards the East was the USA which was closed for us, but also has large shallow areas a considerable way off its shore, which mean rough seas. Our other tack would take us West and further into the low. As to heaving to? We where in the middle of one of the busiest shipping lanes in North America. I could function, but I did not know for how long and as brave and keen as Luksana is she still has a lot to learn.

As sick as I was, and I was very sick, it was not scary, for a few short hours I felt like we had done it. To look South and think that there is no land until Antarctica is well amazing feeling. Also I must admit that all the bits I had struggled with and tied together where working well. The only failures where, the one bit Luksana had tied on, the windex which is was by now long gone, and the SSB which had been tuned by an expert.

Their was one other failure. Me. I did then and do now feel gutted. Lost, dream gone, maybe.

In the dark, windy and cold and also sea splash to our face sometimes. As our boat came as far as 42.8 NM { or 79.2 km} | 9,000 feet deep | Position N48 14 053 W125 44 265

Tense each minutes make you feel assorted and also half sleep and awake. We found Beautiful Swimmer circle in the same spot for a while. Only the stars we can see. Don’t know which way to US side or Vancouver. The GPS seems not work as our brain we reset it again. With no point of reference, and the confused sea state, swell from the NW, waves from the SW and running under a reefed headsail the boat had a natural pull to one side. Trying to steer to the GPS in those conditions was less than perfect.

Hour and hour went slowly while I cannot stop thinking about what other people on land doing while we are the crazy people ran away from the safe land while most other on land celebrate the Canada day at home. It should be nice to be at home and cuddle with the golden retriever.

We can only hear the waves crashing the boat. Half sleep and awake after midnight.

Luksana was great she steered her watches and eventually went below at about 1.30am  I then had time to enjoy the hell I had created. Very surreal experience. You can hear the storm feel the wind every now and then you get a wave splash in the face, but all you can see is the wave illuminated in the running lights. Dawn was dismal, felt like a North Atlantic convoy run. Just to keep the sense alert, all night bloody big things would lumber up ,quickly from all parts of the compass, even with AIS and the electronic aids still tense to figure out how close they are going to pass. Often eyes and electronics do not agree, especially at night.

Morning arrived still not see the land. The sea look like a round big pool of NM and the edge of sky is close by eye sight, very special indeed. The boat keep pounding until she brought us back to Barkley sound again.

Dawn watch

 

09.30 a.m. on Tuesday 2nd July 2014  We anchored in Bamfield Inlet

Plan B : Vancouver Island to the US Coast until Mexico then sail to The Marqueses this year or next year.

The next day we started the application for a Thai to have the privilege to enter the USA. Us Western types forget how easy life is for us! Still form filled money paid now another 15 wait for the interview and hopefully they will OK her a permit. SO do we take the Boat to Vancouver  or Ship her to Vancouver? Stay tuned folks.