Log #61b To Port McNeill and life aboard

July 15, 2016 in Log Series 60-69, Logs by Series, Series 61, The Logs

Lewis Cove, the Broughtons, B.C.

July 15, 2016

Hi Folks,

Attached is Log #61b to Port McNeill and Life aboard. I lost this log in my new Windows 10 but have since retrieved it. So far I have not had anyone notice that I sent Log #61a, then Log #61c without this intervening Log #61b. In addition to our travels, I have commented on our life aboard regarding the simple things we take for granted in domestic life ashore.

On another issue, on this date, July 15, as I write this, there are two things in the news which we received through our Sirius satellite radio. I regret the horrible attack in Nice, France which has killed so far at least 70 people.

The other is the coup which is taking place in Turkey. As I write this the outcome is still uncertain. The military has claimed it is now in power. Frankly, I hope it succeeds!

I was in Turkey in 2002 when Erdogan came to power, democratically elected, and has stayed in power since, giving reasonably good government. He had been excluded from running earlier because of a conviction for Islamist related issues. When I expressed concern about his candidacy at that time, locals indicated if he went too much Islamist in government, the army would take care of it. He has since decapitated the military, removing those generals who were loyal to the ideals of Kemal Ataturk and the Constitution which declared that Turkey is a secular Moslem state and the military is responsible for protecting such.

After WW I Turkey was a defeated relic of the corrupt Ottoman Empire. It was salvaged by Kemal Ataturk who overthrew the occupying powers, especially Greece which wanted to annex the Izmir area of Turkey. By 1923 he established the new Turkey with a democratic constitution, declaring it a secular state, banning the headscarf and the fez, giving the vote to women, changing the script from Arabic to the Latin alphabet, and changing the capital of Turkey to Ankara to get out from under the Moslem Caliphate in Istanbul.

I think that Erdogan has undone the secular nature of Turkey and has instituted more Islamist policies contrary to the constitution and western approaches advocated by Kemal Ataturk. I hope the army succeeds and lays the groundwork for the democratic secular state their constitution advocates.

Personally I am of mixed mind as to whether Turkey should be part of the EU. It would bring their gentle Muslim population into the crass western lifestyles. Turks are our favourite people and Turkey our favourite country in all our travels!

It will be interesting to see what has developed by the time I am able to send this off.

All the best,


July 18/16

PS – From all reports so far, it seems as if Erdogan has put down the attempted coup, and has arrested over 6000 opponents. I cry for Turkey! I fear Erdogan will use this attempted coup as a way of eliminating any opposition, a charge he has been exposed to for quite a while. He will eliminate any senior officers who do not give him unquestioned loyalty, and is prepared to re-institute the death penalty to deal with opponents. It remains to be seen how Islamist he will go.


July 21/16

PPS – Erdogan is using this abortive coup to consolidate his dictatorial power, and to silence any opposition to his regime. The statistics of his revenge and consolidation of power for his dictatorship are shown in his decapitation of the military and also the elimination of the intelligentsia in that he has not only arrested over 9,000 individuals, 85 generals and admirals, but he has fired 24,000 teachers, 1,577 deans of universities, and 2,400 judges. It is thought he had these lists of names before the attempted coup. University professors are prohibited from travel abroad. In some circles in Turkey the thought is he fomented the attempt, knowing it would be put down and he could consolidate his power. Turkey is in for a very bad time.


Log #61b To Port McNeill and life aboard

Haida Gwaii, B.C.

June 30, 2016


On June 10th we motored 15 miles over to Cortes Island to John and Kirstie’s home just outside of Mansons Landing.

John and Kirstie

We were there a couple of times last year and enjoyed their company. They have a lovely home that John built using lumber from trees on the property, and is currently building a large work shed and office for his various enterprises. Kirstie is a physician who serves several remote clinics along the coast. Next week she is off to Bella Coola for a period of time up there. Kirstie is the sister of Judy’s cousin Allen’s partner Heidi.

John and I have had some interesting conversations on a wide range of topics from philosophy, states of consciousness, hallucinations, to fishing for halibut. Hopefully when we come down later in July to see them again, John and I can go out fishing. I have never done any fishing with another seasoned fisherman, and look forward to some success at catching halibut or salmon, and learning the right techniques and rigs. The only salmon I have caught was one that actually jumped into the dinghy one night in a spawning frenzy. It was a good catch and provided a meal for four of us.

almon in the dinghy


Judy with the salmon

A good meal for four of us.


Other than that, the only fish I have caught on the B.C. Coast have been a few dogfish.


Judy and I dinghied over to Mansons Landing to wander around that part of Cortes Island. The island has about 1000 full time residents and more than double that in the summer season. It is located behind Quadra Island which is across the channel from Campbell River, and is a stopping off point before entering the Desolation Sound area. Cortes is a quiet rustic setting with several paved roads, ferry service, and a few communities with a variety of small stores, boutiques, artists’ workshops and galleries, a post office and a few fishing resorts. Judy and I found a nice bed of sea asparagus, and picked a few handfuls for our meals. The notice boards at the general store were cluttered with the usual notices of events, festivals, B&Bs, services and stuff for sale. Government and municipal advisories, shellfish warnings, yoga classes,

church services and real estate ads festooned the boards as well.


John and Kirstie’s home is accessible only by water. They have a large floating dock, and several out buildings, including an outhouse with a beautiful view over the house and scenic cove (the front half is open above the house, looking downhill over the water). They have an internal environmentally friendly toilet facility in the house for use in inclement weather, but otherwise use the scenic outhouse.


Views from the water and from their house


We left early the morning of June 13 in drizzling rain, motoring through Uganda Passage and north of Cortes Island. We wended our way between the islands outside of Desolation Sound, going through two other sets of narrows, Gillard Passage and Greene Point Rapids, to anchor after a 55 mile run in Forward Harbour on Douglas Bay. These narrows must be traversed very near slack water, as they are subject to severe currents and turbulence when the tide runs through them. Forward Harbour is on a peninsula of the mainland near the entry to the Broughtons, which we explored two years ago. We took this inner passage route as we didn’t want to be exposed to Seymour Narrows or much of the Johnson Strait as that stretch can blow up quite nasty, especially if there is a wind against current situation. By winding between the islands we minimized the distance in the open waters of Johnson Strait we had to travel next day to get to Port McNeill on the northern tip of Vancouver Island.

From Campbell River to Port McNeill


After another 53 mile motor passage (a 50 mile passage usually takes 10 hours and makes for a long day) we went alongside the town docks at Port McNeill. This is the last supply stop before rounding Cape Caution and getting into even more remote northern coastal areas. This small town has a good grocery store, chandlery and hardware stores, and the fuel dock has gas diesel, and propane. The town marina charges only $.75 a foot, and provides good showers for a $25.00 deposit with $20.00 refunded when the key is returned. Services for such mundane things such as showers and laundry are greatly appreciated.


Life Aboard


Cruising – What we do not have on board


The cruising life gives one a greater appreciation for simple domestic aspects we do not take for granted such as unlimited running hot water, dish washers, showers, laundry, flush toilets, radio, TV (which we do not miss), cell phone and WiFi access, and larger stoves and ovens, central heating, large refrigerators and freezers, not to mention other aspects such as garbage collection and mail delivery, and a convenient car to drive over town with. A bed with easy access on both sides is a luxury. A table that does not wobble when you lean on it is convenient. Storage and counter space is greatly valued. Garbage disposal is sometimes a problem if we are not in a marina. On board we do not have a shower. We removed it years ago as it got the entire heads area wet.


Cruising – What we do have on board


Our sinks in the heads and the galley have pressurized cold water and hot water if plugged in to shore power or if our engine is running. In addition we have a salt water overboard foot operated pump for rinsing dirty dishes in our galley sink. Our toilet (aka the HEADS) is a hand pumped affair that empties into a holding tank (minimum of 20 strokes each time). We can pump out the holding tank periodically when we get three miles offshore or clear of our anchorage. Pump out facilities are very few on this coast. However we do not put toilet paper down the heads as it can plug up the toilet or the holding tank. It goes into a waste basket that is emptied when we offload garbage ashore. A maintenance rule of thumb is to treat the heads like a salad, with regular applications of oil and vinegar.


We have a Sirius Satellite radio, and a car’s AM/FM and CD player with quadraphonic radio (which works from our Sirius radio, or when we are in range of local radio stations), and can be played in the cabin or out in the cockpit. (I find it most enjoyable to listen to good classical music in the cockpit at night in a secluded anchorage). It also could be hooked up to an I-pod if we had one and knew how to use it. We don’t have or want a TV. I use my laptop computer for watching DVD movies and also for listening to taped or CD music.


Getting into bed in the V-berth (there is no aft cabin in our 32 foot boat) involves a head long gymnastic exercise of climbing in head first then rotating so the feet are at the forward narrow bow end. We have two comfortable thick foam mattresses which can be removed for access to the storage compartments below. Judy has made triangular sheets, blanket, and quilt fitted to them. Getting out involves the reverse gymnastics. Lots of fun!


We have a three burner propane stove with a small oven. Judy complains that we do not have room for a turkey for a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. However it is gimballed so it stays parallel when the boat heals over. Our small refrigerator is a top loading affair, with a sliding shelf and a small freezer unit. It is also our power hog. We have to constantly watch our consumption of water, fuel, and battery power when not plugged in to shore power. We have two 85 watt solar panels, a 1000 watt Honda gas generator, and a heavy duty 100 amp alternator on our engine to keep our four 110 amp (each) golf cart batteries charged when at sea or at anchor. We have limber holes at the forward ends of our bimini connected to hoses for trapping rain water. We don’t buy bottled water, but just use the local municipal water when we fill up at a marina. However, we are getting our reverse osmosis water maker fixed and operational before we head down to Mexico in September.


We have a small 750 watt inverter to produce AC current for charging our laptops, and other battery driven items. It is powerful enough to operate my coffee grinder, or an electrical drill or sander, but not powerful enough to operate a microwave or electric tea kettle.


We each have our own laptop and E-book reader. When in a community with a library, Starbucks, or McDonalds, where we can get on the internet, we can download E- books from some publishers or from the Toronto Library with our East York Library card. Access to the internet and sending and receiving E-mail are some of the most frustrating problems we face. Local marina internet is often unreliable.


I have digressed to present why cruising gives us an opportunity to appreciate the little things in life that we often take for granted and to give our non sailing friends an idea of the little vagaries in life aboard a small 32 foot sailboat.


After we refuelled and topped up our propane tank, we left Port McNeill, heading further north.