Log #61a Back on the water again

June 24, 2016 in Log Series 60-69, Logs by Series, Series 61, The Logs

Queen City, Haida Gwaii, B.C.

June 24, 2016

Hi Folks,

This is the first of Log #61 folio of our voyages this year. We have been aboard for a month, since May 20. This Log #61a gets us back on the water again, and heading north towards the Queen Charlotte Islands, now known as Haida Gwaii. It is good to be back on Veleda, as we regard her as home. In the log I talk about some of the maintenance and repairs we did and our initial passages from Thetis Island where she was stored for seven months, down to Ganges on Salt spring Island, over to Vancouver and up the coast to Lund and Campbell River.

The winds and currents continue to be fluky and we have had our genoa up only a few hours and have yet to hoist the main sail in the 570 nautical miles we have travelled so far. We are about to sail the final leg From McCauley Island on the mainland archipelago 75 miles across Hecate Strait to Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii from where I hope to send this.

Even though no good winds, we have seen sea life of whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, and cute otters lounging on their backs watching the world go by.

Log #61a Covering letter Whale[5]                                         DSC_0029- cropped[3]

Whale blowing on the surface                                                                                      Sea Otter swimming on its back

t is quite cool at night and we have used our new diesel heater many times. The scenery up here is spectacular, although several days of clouds and rain have marred the vistas.

Log #61a B.C. Vista Covering letter[3]        Spectacular B.C. coast

I am still getting used to the new Windows 10 and hope the text and pictures come through OK. Let me know if they don’t.

All the best,



Log #61a Back on the water again

Johnson Strait, B.C.

June 14, 2016


Log Series #61 BC to Mexico


This is the first log of our 2016 sailing season. This season will be open ended as we hope to be continuously aboard for more than a year; we plan to sail down the west coast in August to the Mexican Baja and the Sea of Cortez. There we can live aboard through the winter. When we will next use our Yukon and the trailer which are stored in New Mexico is uncertain, as our plans do not extend beyond this coming winter.


I designate this as Log #61 series from the Log #59 series as Log #60 has been started for cruise ship series which I have not completed. In fact I have only two logs in that folio: Log #60a on Cruise ship sailing on the Statendam across the Pacific to Hawaii and Log #60b on the visits to Saipan and Guam. We have taken several cruise ship trips, but I have not made logs of such. Perhaps I should.


Back to Veleda


We returned to Veleda the long way. After leaving our Yukon and trailer in storage in New Mexico on April 20, we flew from Tucson to Fort Lauderdale where we boarded the Amsterdam for a repositioning cruise. It went to Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, Cartagena in Columbia, through the Panama Canal, up Central America to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. We stopped at San Diego and San Francisco and disembarked in Victoria at noon on May 20. We caught a bus up to Chemainus, and a ferry across to Thetis Island where we were met by Tara, who drove us to Telegraph Harbour Marina where Veleda had been stored since last September.


We boarded Veleda that night (May 20) and after a bit of cleaning up and launching the dinghy we took off by 1130 next morning, as the marina had a full occupancy for the Victoria Day long weekend. Veleda was in good shape after eight months of in-water storage. The batteries were up thanks to our solar panels, the engine started up right away, and all systems were operational. We have to clean up bird droppings, accumulated dirt, and some mildew down below. Our first anchorage was Ganges Harbour on Saltspring Island.


Return to Ontario for a Funeral


Unfortunately I left Judy at anchor in Ganges to fly back to Toronto as I had an E-mail from my brother Ray that my older sister Betty was dying. I saw her in the hospital in Brantford the day before she died. She was semi-comatose, but she could open and move her eyes. I hope she recognized me. She passed away next day. My older brother Ray took care of all the arrangements. He and I gave eulogies at Betty’s service. There were six of us (two boys and four girls) in my family. My parents and now three of my older sisters have passed away. Funerals are a stark reminder of one’s mortality.


I used the opportunity back in Toronto to visit friends and family as well as to get dental and medical check ups and renew my prescriptions. I am still covered by my Ontario health insurance. Prescription medicines are also covered for those over the age of 65 (I will be 78 in July). I also picked up mail sent to our Toronto address which happens to be a box in Judy’s cousin’s condo.


Upon my return to Veleda, I found Judy had abandoned our outboard motor to the local marina as it was no longer functional and had been rowing ashore for supplies and to pick me up. Good Exercise! She had also done some cleanup, arranged for a diver to clean the boat bottom and replace the zinc on the propellor shaft, checked the battery water level, and serviced all the winches.


Off to Vancouver


June 1st we set off for Vancouver. On going through Active Pass, for the first time we did not encounter any ferries going through at the same time. It was a motor trip all the way except for an hour when we motor sailed with the genoa out in light breezes. After an uneventful 56 mile passage, we refuelled at False Creek in downtown Vancouver before heading down to anchor in the basin in front of the Science Centre.


It rained that evening, however it did not deter the intrepid dragon boats paddlers from racing up and down False Creek preparing for the dragon boat races this weekend. I counted at least ten dragon boats with up to twenty paddlers in each, slogging past Veleda through the downpour. It is a good testimony to Vancouver for developing such a recreational activity in the centre of the city to engage so many athletes. I wish Toronto would get its act together in developing its waterfront and the Don River for aquatic activities and people.

Dragon boat practice

As the races were to take place in the basin in a couple of days, we re-anchored over to the far side of the basin to be out of the way of the practising boats. At anchor in False Creek, we are right in the middle of downtown Vancouver, with fantastic views of the Vancouver skyline, and the towering condos. I did a quick count of the condos I could see from the basin and counted over forty buildings twenty stories or more in the vicinity. The views from the basin of False Creek in the evening are spectacular.


Views of the Science Centre and B.C. Place at night



Rather than staying at anchor for two more nights until the birthday party, next day we set off 13 miles over to Bowen Island to visit with George Langford, a navy friend whom we have visited a few times in the past years. We went alongside the outer section of the public wharf, planning to spend a couple of days on Bowen before returning to False Creek to attend a 70th birthday party for one of our Vancouver friends. We enjoyed a meal and fantastic view from George’s lovely home on the mountain side of Bowen Island overlooking Horseshoe Bay with its ferry traffic


View from George’s home overlooking Horseshoe Bay


and English Bay around Atkinson Point with several merchant ships at anchor.


View towards English Bay


We returned to Veleda for the night, planning to continue our visit next evening. However around midnight the boat started rocking, and I thought it was just the ferry entering or leaving the adjacent dock. The motion then kept up all night, causing me to lose sleep and check our lines and fenders several times to avoid being pounded into the dock from the onshore wave action. At sunrise I had enough and we left, heading back to Vancouver. It wasn’t windy, but just sloppy seas. We couldn’t even hoist a sail to stabilize the boat.


Oh well, we went alongside the docks at Granville Market for breakfast, and had a delicious croissant loaded with bacon and egg, cheese and mayonnaise for me and a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese for Judy. Mmmm! After doing a bit of shopping we returned to Veleda ready to leave when we saw a familiar motor yacht, the Corona.


Veleda and Corona


We encountered them in Telegraph Harbour Marina where they stored their boat for a winter. We met them again up in Alaska and at Hartley Bay, a First Nations’ port south of Prince Rupert. They were just leaving so we didn’t have a chance to talk much with them as they departed.


Rather than going down to anchor in the Basin, we anchored above Cambie Street Bridge to be out of the way of the dragon boat races that day. We rowed our dinghy over to Stamps Landing where we were able to get an anchoring permit, free of charge, that would allow us to legitimately anchor in False Creek for up to two weeks. Many boats do not bother with the permit if they are there for only a few days.


From the landing we walked down the shoreside promenade to catch the Sky Train at the Science Centre and a bus out to Port Coquitlam where we went to our friend Judy Johnson’s 70th birthday party. Judy has sailed with us several times, and we enjoyed having her along.


Judy Johnson on Veleda last year


It was billed as a “kitchen party”, very informal in nature, with several friends singing songs, playing instruments and making gag gifts from an assortment of objects purposely left on each table.


One of the more interesting acts was a woman friend from China who played a Chinese stringed instrument with some oriental melodies from Mongolia.

Outboard replacement


We spent time on our cell phone and our laptops on Craigslist to find a used outboard we could purchase. Initially I wanted a cheap one that we could sell next fall when we will be down in Mexico, as I lusted after a new two stroke 15 horsepower Yamaha which could be purchased in Mexico. Two stroke outboards are no longer permitted to be produced in Canada or the U.S. I hate the more “environmentally friendly” four stroke engines as they are heavier and far more sensitive to any moisture, often clogging the carburetors, especially on smaller outboards. We had a new Mercury 9.9 hp which gave us constant problems. It was heavy and could not get the two of us up on a plane under full power. We had the carburetor replaced twice and cleaned out several times. I was happy to get rid of it. However the old two stroke we bought in Honduras four years ago died this year, and thus we were looking desperately for a temporary replacement before starting this season’s voyaging.


One chap came down with a two stroke 9.9, but the gas connection was different. A trip to Canadian Tire got us the appropriate connector. OK, let’s try the motor out. It wouldn’t start! The chap pulled and pulled with no success, and finally gave up and took the motor home. Too bad, as it looked in good shape.


Then we started phoning around. No dealership in the Vancouver area had used outboards. As we were heading up to Cortes Island and needed to go to Campbell River to resupply, we phoned Ocean Pacific chandlery in Campbell River to see if they had any used outboards. No, but they gave us the name of Seaworthy Marine Recyclers whom we then phoned. Hurrah! They had a 2000 15 hp two stroke Johnson available. Exactly what we wanted. We said we would be up there in three days to look at it.


We left that morning, refuelling at the fuel dock at the entrance to False Creek, and motored 55 miles up to anchor in Secret Cove just outside of Pender Harbour. However, when we came to weigh anchor the next morning, the electric windlass would not work. We had been noting it was slower in its operation, but now it gave up the ghost and stopped. I had to raise 90 feet of chain by hand.


Next stop another 43 miles up the coast was Lund, but there we went alongside. Lund is the northern end of the Highway of the Americas, which comes from its southern end from Chili in South America. Crossing over to the Vancouver Island side we passed Alert Bay, with its First Nations history and the totem pole park. The anguished memory of the residential school building has finally been torn down. There was a debate as to whether to leave it there as a memorial of that unfortunate era of their history or to remove it altogether, which they have now done.

Totem park in Alert Bay

Residential School now torn down


We arrived in Campbell River after a short 21 mile run from Lund, by 11:00 am, and I immediately caught a taxi out to Seaworthy to look at the outboard while Judy went to Ocean Pacific Marine to see what could be done with our anchor windlass. To make a long story short, I bought the outboard and we had to get a reconditioned motor for our windlass, both reasonably expensive purchases, but necessary.


We were moored at Discovery Marina which is convenient to a large shopping mall and Ocean Pacific Marine. However it is an expensive marina at $1.50 a foot, for us $50.00 a night. It was convenient, the showers were free and we had WiFi for a modest price of $3.00 a day. We like Ocean Pacific Marine and thank them for their service. The windlass works well, and we are pleased with the 15 hp Johnson as it starts easily, works well and has lots of power to get us up on a plane with a loaded dinghy. We may not have to buy a new one when we get to Mexico, as this is working quite well. We are now set for the season.


Our next destination was a 15 mile trip across to Cortes Island to visit some interesting friends there, a topic of my next log.