Log #59v To Vancouver

April 24, 2016 in Log Series 50-59, Logs by Series, Series 59, The Logs

Log #59v To Vancouver

Rusty’s RV Ranch, New Mexico

April 24, 2016


Hi Folks,

This log gets us from Esquimalt back to Vancouver on the mainland, nearing the end of our summer cruising. While in False Creek we experienced a severe wind storm that I describe in the log.

Here at Rusty’s Judy is enjoying bird watching, and I am trying to get caught up on my logs and hopefully make a few photo albums od desert camping for my website to be entitled Desert Flora and Fauna, A Walk through a Desert Wash, and A walk in Cave Creek Canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains. Let me know if you would like any of them sent directly to you, otherwise they will just be put on my website at www.veledaiv.ca .  Below are a few pictures from those albums. We have really enjoyed “camping” in our trailer down here in the deserts of southern Arizona and New Mexico. Log #59v Desert Foliage 1 Saguaro

 Desert Foliage
  A Walk through a WashLog #59v Walk through a Wash

 Log #59v Trailer at Superstition Mountain Log #59v Cave Creek Canyon 1
       Trailer Camping at Superstition Mountain                 Craggy Canyon Walls in Cave Creek Canyon
We have been impressed by the birding, and scenery here in the Coronado National Forest. For those who might be interested, Cave Creek Ranch is a rustic lodge with several cottages at economical prices from $120.00 to $175.00 a night in scenic Cave Creek Canyon with fantastic hiking and birding available. Check it out at www.cavecreekranch.com.

 We are getting ready to put the Yukon and the trailer away here at Rusty’s for a year or more as in August, we will be sailing Veleda down to the Mexican Baja where we can live comfortably aboard all year round if we wish to.

Please let me know if there are any problems with the pictures coming through.


All the best,



Log #59v To Vancouver

Rusty’s RV Ranch, New Mexico, USA

April 17, 2016

As noted in my last log, Victoria represented the completion of our travels down the enjoyable west coast of Vancouver Island. The 493 nautical mile trip took us 17 leisurely days from Calvert Island north of Vancouver Island to Esquimalt. We could have spent much more time coming down to enjoy the many sounds and their scenic islands and inlets. Even though the west coast was open to the Pacific swells and weather, we had no problems rounding the exposed sections and capes to duck into the sounds and their protected waters. The longest legs were the first one from Calvert Island around Cape Scott to Winter Harbour for a 76 mile passage, and the last one from Port Renfrew to Esquimalt, a 52 mile passage.

West Coast of Vancouver Island to Vancouver

We were now, Aug. 22nd, at the Canadian Forces Sailing Association in the naval dockyards in Esquimalt where we stayed for three days doing some maintenance and resupplying. Membership in the CFSA provides a convenient stopover in the Victoria area, plus reciprocal privileges with over 25 other yacht clubs in B.C. and Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands of Washington state.

On leaving Esquimalt we motored past Victoria and timed the tides right for rounding Trial Island at 9.5 knots assisted by the tidal currents. We were headed for Vancouver, but stopped at Diver Bay (48 49.487N, 123 21.868W) on Prevost Island after a 37 mile passage, ready to go through Active Pass next day. One needs to time the entrance into Active Pass carefully, especially in a sailboat, as the tidal currents and the ferry traffic can make the passage “interesting”. Incidentally the name Active Pass does not refer to the turbulent currents but to USCS Active which surveyed the area in the mid 1800’s in response to “The Pig War” in the San Juan Islands (see Log #57c). Once through Active Pass we emerged into the Strait of Georgia for a 30 mile straight run across over to False Creek in downtown Vancouver. (see chartlet above)

Our reciprocal privileges would have entitled us to a free night at the False Creek Yacht Club, but there was no room at the inn. However, we took out an anchoring permit which would allow us to anchor free of charge in False Creek for two weeks. We anchored in the small bay just down from the yacht club (49 16.258N, 123 07.729W) in about 20 feet of water. Anchoring in False Creek is very convenient as a dinghy ride, tying up behind one of the many False Creek ferry docks, gives us access to many areas of downtown Vancouver, including its bus and light rail transit system and is also close to the well-known Granville Market. At Granville Market there are several docks for dinghies and boats to tie up for short periods to shop at the market. However a classic wooden boat festival was on and the docks were reserved for participating boats. Again, there was no room at the inn. All the docks were full, but we found a convenient spot way inside under the bridge where we could tie up the dinghy.

We wandered along the docks admiring the classical wooden boats (yachts actually) and saw a wooden yacht we had seen before, the Thelonius. We first met it at anchor off Grenville Channel in Lowe Inlet on our way north last June, and again a month later up in Juneau Alaska.

Thelonius in Lowe Inlet

E-Books and Visas

The main reason for us going to Vancouver was to arrange our Chinese visa for our trip there this fall (2015). It was a long walk from Granville Market uptown to the Chinese visa office only to find out it was closed for visa applications, even though its hours of operation indicated it was open for another hour. Oh well, we did some shopping as I needed a new E-book and bought a Kobo, as my Sony had just died. As with most electronics, it is cheaper to buy new than to try to repair old. Sony is now getting out of the E-book market, thus the Kobo.

Electronic books are very useful on a small boat as they can store hundreds of books, eliminating the need for bookshelf space aboard. Both Judy and I have our own E-readers. There are many sources for downloading E-books from the web. Book companies have their own websites from which books can be bought and downloaded. One of Judy’s favourites is Baen Books, a sci-fi publisher. We can order books from the Kobo book store on line. We could use Amazon, but they are Kindle format and will not load on our Kobos, but they can be read on our laptops. Another great value of E-books is that they can access one’s home library with one’s library card. So even in small towns of the B.C. coast, when we can get on line in a marina, Starbucks, McDonalds, or small town libraries, we can access our Toronto Library system and download any of their E-books for up to a three week period. After the loan expires the download vanishes. If I have a good book, I can read it in a few days to a week. Judy is a voracious reader, and can go through two to three books a day!

A few years ago, Judy fell into the water while climbing a ladder to the dock. No problem other than she had her E-reader in her bag and it was totaled. However since it was a relatively new book, less than four months old, she was able to claim the insurance provided by VISA and eventually got her money back to buy a new one. This was the only time we have claimed on the VISA guarantee, and after getting the original bill of sale from the vendor, VISA refunded the money of the original purchase.

Most E-readers will automatically save your place when you shut them off or when they turn off automatically after not having been used for several minutes. The libraries contained on the E-readers can be accessed by author, genre, or title. The library keeps track of what books you have read and the percentage read if not finished. The E-readers can go online directly or can be hooked up to a computer to access books and magazines. There are fancy covers that can be obtained for some models. My Sony had a leather cover that would close to protect the screen, had a stylus that could be used for writing or drawing, and had a small battery powered lamp for reading in the dark. The E-readers can be charged by USB cables to a computer or to cigarette lighter sockets, or by direct connections to 110 wall plugs. Neither Judy nor I are sophisticated enough to use fancy mobile phones, palm pilots, I-Pads or other electronic devices for reading books, let alone any other of the millions of apps available. We just use our cell phones to talk to people, and sometimes we (Judy) even text. We have enough problems with our laptops sending E-mail. However we are happy with our E-readers.

Next day Judy hiked back to the Chinese Visa agency with our passports, thinking she could find a shorter route by going from a different ferry landing closer to the office. However she had a longer walk as unknown to her a set of train tracks ran parallel to the shoreline, and she had to walk several hundred metres farther to get across them. The visas would be back in a couple of days. On her return to the office she found a slightly shorter route to cross the tracks.

An Unfortunate Incident

While Judy was going for the visas, I, unfortunately, went for a bicycle ride. The are several rental shops around False Creek as there is a paved pedestrian/bicycle path that goes from The Vancouver Maritime Museum on side of the inlet around the basin by the Science Centre and BC Place Stadium and up to the beaches of English Bay beyond the Burrard Bridge. This path intrigued me and I had wanted to cycle it each time we were in False Creek. By the Science Centre there is a counter strip which registers the number of bicycles that have ridden around False Creek, numbering into the hundreds each day.

I rented a bike from a store near the Grenville Street Bridge, and headed up the path towards the Maritime Museum. While cycling I was getting a bit winded, and so undid my pants belt to reduce the constriction on my stomach. Just before the Burrard Bridge there was an attractive waterside park that I turned into and cycled around. As I entered I felt a brush on my right leg as I passed a small bush, but thought nothing of it. I enjoyed a brief rest on a bench overlooking the creek by the bridge, then set off again for the Maritime Museum.

It was a bit of an uphill stretch, and as I came into view of the Museum, I reached to my belt to remove my Olympus digital camera, and realized it was gone! When I undid my belt, it slipped off, and that was the brush I felt as I went into the small park by the Burrard Bridge ten minutes earlier. I immediately turned around and raced back to the park. It was not there! I searched the grasses and beneath the bushes, but it was gone. I felt sick, and exhausted from the race back. I was so exhausted that I did not finish the ride around False Creek, but simply returned the bike and went back to Veleda. Cycling around False Creek will have to wait for another time.

The only positive aspect was that I had downloaded all the pictures on the Olympus the day before, so I didn’t lose any pictures. Another trip over town, to buy a Fuji digital camera this time, which I am now using.

Wind Storm

We were had been securely anchored for three days in the shallow bight just beyond the FCYC when a wind started to barrel down the inlet mid-morning. By noon hour it was blowing at least force 8 (40 mph), and the tide was still falling. Our anchor rode was stretched out as Veleda was blown towards the sea wall curving behind us. I wasn’t sure that the anchor was dragging, but the anchor chain was so stretched that we were coming close to the rocky inclined shore line exposed by the low tide. It was time to re-anchor, hopefully in a more protected spot, but where? As we hauled the anchor in we were having trouble raising it. As it broke the surface we saw a heavy rope had snagged it. In the howling wind I went up to help Judy dislodge the rope, and then headed out to midchannel. Fortunately we did not touch, but were perilously close to the shore at low tide. As we headed up the channel we were heading into the wind, and none of the anchorages alongside the channel looked safe, especially as they were filled with other boats at anchor, some of which were also re-anchoring. The safest area seemed to be the basin at the end of False Creek in front of Science World. The complication was, to get there we had to go beneath the Cambie Bridge, beneath which which at half tide or higher we did not have enough air draft due to our mast height. But since we were at low tide, we could get through, and worry about getting out later.

Down in the basin, there was adequate room, and only a few boats. The wind still howled and since it was blowing over the adjacent buildings, the winds would change directions frequently, sometimes as much as 180 degrees. That made calculating where to drop the anchor to clear other boats anchored in the area difficult to assess. By 1230 we had our anchor (49 16.258N, 123 07.729W) and carefully watched the swing of other boats and the anchoring attempts of others similarly coming down to re-anchor. We watched one large yacht attempt to anchor a half dozen times only to drag and hoist anchor to try again. It finally left the basin and went up the channel, possibly to go into a marina or anchor outside of the inlet. Two other boats re-anchored and unfortunately another one was blown ashore as there was no one aboard.

Anchoring Procedure

We are confident in our anchoring procedures, and our 45 pound claw anchor holds well. Our approach is up wind or up current with our anchor at cockbill (hanging overboard ready to be released). We calculate in advance the amount of scope needed for a 5:1 ratio (5 feet of rode for each foot of depth, including height above the waterline). We drop the anchor when the boat has lost way, and allow the boat to drift back, paying out the anchor chain as we go. When sufficient chain is out, Judy stops the anchor chain, and watches as the chain slowly streams forward to its full extent, and the boat might surge forward a bit. Then I will put the engine in reverse and give it half power, up to 1500 rpm, to dig the anchor in, while Judy watches the shoreline to make sure the anchor is not dragging. She will then give me a “thumbs up” signal to indicate we have our anchor. I put the engine into neutral while she attaches a snubber rope to the anchor chain and feeds out another ten feet or so of chain, so the stress is taken by the snubber. The snubber provides a bit of stretch or shock absorber for the anchor chain, and also eliminates any rattle of the chain as the boat swings at anchor. Thus we have a secure anchor.

The wind storm kept up all afternoon, and much damage was done in Vancouver. Trees were blown over, and branches falling across power lines created several electrical blackouts around town. It was a tense time for us, but we carefully watched the other boats to make sure that none swung over to us. We stayed for three more days enjoying the sights and convenience of the basin anchorage, in sight of the Science World and BC Place Stadium, and watching the dragon boat crews practice each evening.

Dragon boat practice

Science World BC Place Stadium

We left mid-afternoon on Sept. 1st in order to get out beneath the Cambie Bridge at low water and anchored out in English Bay (49 16.785N, 123 09.239W) ready to set out next day to cross Georgia Strait for an Ontario 32 Rendezvous and put Veleda away for the winter. More about our final sailings in my next log.