Log #59p Calvert Island to the west coast of Vancouver Island

October 22, 2015 in Logs by Series, Series 59, The Logs

Log #59p Calvert Island to the west coast of Vancouver Island

Quartzsite, Arizona

Jan. 31, 2016

Hi Folks,

We are still here in Quartzsite, an RV Mecca with thousands of acres of cheap or free BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land, hundreds of RVs, the whole town being filled with RV parks and the largest flea market and Dollar Store-type vendors I have ever seen. For example we are paying $80.00 for 28 days of dry camping, with access to water and a dump station. We could have found free BLM land further afield. It is located in southwest Arizona about 30 miles from the California border, and 80 miles from the Mexican border in flat desert country fringed by mountains. ATVs are the toys of choice around here. They are to the desert what snowmobiles are to the winters up north.

We are being killed by the low Canadian dollar, and so have to economize as much as possible. One dollar US costs us about $1.40 Canadian. However we enjoy the spectacular mountain scenery,

intro-1

View from our trailer in Lost Dutchman State Park

 the vast open desert, and have taken in a couple of interesting events such as a hot air balloon festival in Phoenix

intro-2 intro-3 intro-4    

   Propane burners provide hot air

and a rodeo in Lake Havasu City (the one with the London Bridge).

intro-5

We have made a couple of major investments.  We are currently having the roof recoated with an Armor Roof System; we were advised by a Canadian RV dealer when we had the trailer checked over before leaving Vancouver Island that the roof was aging and in danger of leaking. We also bought double 85 watt solar panels and a battery monitor system for the trailer. The solar panels are working well and allow us to dry camp for prolonged periods of time, keeping the batteries fully charged.

intro-6

Trailer roof being coated and the solar panels charging.

We are suckers for gadgets and new items, and have bought many small items impulse shopping in this vast flea market. (such as barbecue grill mats, flapper stoppers for the awning, microfiber cleaning cloths, LED lights to replace all the incandescent lights in the trailer, an LED penlight for my slide presentations, tennis balls for cushioning the trailer cover from sharp points when we put the trailer away in April, some jellied heat pads activated by a click button which can be reactivated in boiling water, a TENS unit for my sciatica [which is now under control], and muffin fans to distribute heat from our oil stove in Veleda, as well as other miscellaneous purchases) With each one I wish Judy a Happy Birthday which is Feb. 1st. Aren’t I the romantic!

We have a couple of other major purchases yet to make: a new cover for the trailer, and one or possibly two new laptops as ours are on their last legs, and not worth repairing. We will be glad to get back on Veleda as cruising in a sailboat is far more economical, as I have mentioned in the attached article I have written for a couple of RV magazines.

I have also attached my Log #59p Calvert Island and the west coast of Vancouver Island which takes us across a stretch of the Pacific Ocean to round the treacherous Cape Scott on Vancouver Island

Rather than writing separate logs of our trailer travels, I am including a few more details and pictures of our current locations and activities in my covering letters. I hope you enjoy them.

All the best,

Aubrey

PS – If there is too much data in the covering letter or attachments for your system, or you do not want to get the regular logs as I periodically send them out, please let me know. All my logs eventually are put on my website at www.veledaiv.ca and you can see them there.

 


 

Log #59p Calvert Island to the west coast of Vancouver Island

Quartzsite, AZ

Jan. 27, 2016

Aug. 2nd we anchored in Pruth Bay (51 39.288N, 128 07.631W) on the north part of Calvert Island.

My brother’s grandson Ben was working as a researcher at the Hakai Beach Institute on Calvert Island, and we met him on the docks as he returned from an outing in one of the research boats.

.Aubrey and Judy with Ben

It was great to see him for the first time in over eight years. We had him out to Veleda at anchor for a meal and he had us over to the Institute for a supper and to meet several of his research friends. The Institute is housed in what was to be a luxury resort, which fortunately did not succeed beyond the first phase. It is now used to house researchers and host scientific conferences.

Hakai Beach Institute

The next phase would have had the resort expand to occupy the pristine West Beach on the ocean side of the island, now preserved for all to enjoy.

We hiked over to the beach for a day, following a rustic boardwalk through the forest to the ocean side of the island, to emerge on a wide sandy beach at low tide. I hiked along the beach, wandering along a roughly marked trail over to a few more stretches of beach, some decorated with large swaths of driftwood logs blown ashore by the Pacific winds, others bordered by colourful rock ledges or gigantic boulders.

West Beach at low tide

Gigantic boulders at low tide

 

One of the days we went out with Ben and a few other researchers to do a fish count in a few bays on the north part of Calvert Island. These counts are to keep track of the fish populations over the years to identify changes in the fish populations. Three or four researchers would hop out of the boat in shallow waters (about three to four feet deep) in hip waders to stream and drag a net across the small bay, hauling it on shore to then pick the trapped fish into large plastic pails which they brought to the boat. On board the fish were individually taken out and measured in a plastic tray with a metric rule along the bottom of the tray. A tally was made of each species of fish and their numbers and sizes. This information would then be put into a large data bank for evaluation and comparison to previous years’ data. The fish were then returned to the water.

Dragging the net ashore

It was wet and cold in the boat and colder still as we motored 30 minutes back to the Institute. Even though it was still summer, it was cold, but we were well dressed for it.

Ben, Aubrey & Judy in full foul weather gear

There were about a dozen boats anchored in Pruth Bay, as the Institute allows dinghies to come alongside their docks, and welcomes people to explore the trails and beach areas. One of the boats was Graysal, an Ontario 32 whom we have met a few times at the Ontario 32 rendezvous and along the way up the B.C. coast and into Alaska. This is the same boat that was sailed across the Pacific from Vancouver Island to Australia and New Zealand. (However they had it shipped back across to the west coast later.) The Ontario 32 is a good sea boat!

 

The entire northern half of Calvert Island is part of the Luxvbalis Conservancy Area. The Hakai Beach Institute is under new management of the Tula Foundation which has as its mission fisheries research, environmental stewardship, and provides nursing for isolated communities of the central coast. Pruth Bay is a popular destination and is friendly to boaters, but has no facilities for water, fuel or repair facilities.

We left late afternoon three days later heading for Cape Scott and the west coast of Vancouver Island. It was a 72 mile passage down the west coast of Calvert Island and across open ocean to Cape Scott at the northwestern tip of Vancouver Island. Thus a late afternoon departure and a night passage to arrive off Cape Scott in daylight hours.

It was cloudy when we left, heading north out of Pruth Bay, then west and south down the coast. We had light northerly winds which assisted as we motor sailed south, averaging over six knots most of the way. We had good weather and wanted to make good time in case the weather turned foul. We had heard stories of the storms and treacherous weather and currents around this major cape. One of the writers in our Waggoner Cruising Guide had this to say about the cape.

Cape Scott is exposed to weather and current and to seas that could have begun thousands of miles away. It is the most significant landmark in the circumnavigation of Vancouver Island – one of the events that marks a compleat Northwestern boatman.

At their worst Cape Scott’s seas have capsized and sunk substantial vessels. Even quiet days can be uncomfortable, the result of swells that sweep in from the Pacific to meet colliding currents. ”

It was good to be on a quiet night passage again. We double reefed the main just before sunset at 2117 as a safety precaution. We used our normal watch system whereby Judy goes to bed shortly after supper from about 1900 to 2400, or when I get tired. She then takes to middle watch from midnight to 0400 or 0500 or when I get up to take over. As a result, I had the watch at the darkest of a starry night and the glory of a sunrise. The night was clear and I was entranced looking at the stars as Veleda made her way south through the quiet seas. The night sky on a sailboat provides a spectral black canopy illuminated with millions of stars, as we sail cocooned in Veleda across the vast expanse of the ocean. Night sailing is one of the many natural highs I enjoy, especially when conditions are settled.

The wind eased off and I furled the genoa at 0453, and continued motoring with the main still up. As we approached Cape Scott at 0607, the seas were calm, with a few wispy clouds in the brightening sky. The sun, still below the horizon, illuminated the underside of the clouds with a pale pink wash reflecting on the placid “wine dark” sea. The cape was in sight as we continued to motor sail beneath this colourful panorama of sea and sky. As we got closer I saw a sea lion breaking the surface of the tranquil water.

Cape Scott in sight

Sunrise was at 0607, but the sun was not above the mountains of Vancouver Island yet, illuminating the base of the few clouds with a pink wash. I say pink as I did not want the nautical aphorism to manifest itself. The one I was thinking of was;

Red sky at night; – Sailors delight,

Red sky in the morning; – Sailors take warning!

It’s not really a red sky is it?

We didn’t want to risk the weather deteriorating, and so anchored in the closest suitable anchorage below Cape Scott, at Sea Otter Cove (50 40.697N, 128 21.048W), as the clouds thickened and started to rain. We were pleasantly tired after the 13 hour passage across the open Pacific, having enjoyed a relatively calm voyage under a starry night and a glorious sunrise.

We were safe, in a well sheltered anchorage, having transited the treacherous Cape Scott, and were now ready to head down the exposed west coast of Vancouver Island.