Log #61o Gulf Islands and departure fiasco

October 25, 2016 in Log Series 60-69, Logs by Series, Series 61, The Logs

Log #61o Gulf Islands and departure fiasco

Morro Bay, California

Oct. 26, 2016


Hi Folks,


We are enjoying being weathered in in this protected estuary for a few days to wait out southerly winds. We left San Francisco Oct. 19, 204 miles away with three stops en route at Pillar Point Harbor, Santa Cruz, and near Carmel at Pebble Beach before our last overnight leg of 96 miles to here in Morro Bay arriving on Oct. 23.

There is much sea and bird life in this estuary, and sometimes we are kept awake by the barking of the sea lions on a raft 100 yards away. The picture below shows Morro Rock which dominates the entrance and the raft of barking sea lions.

This is a good resupply and rest stop, with several dinghy docks along the harbour giving easy access to this touristy town.

We have had some heavy weather, but fortunately the NW winds are in our favour as we head SW, although the following seas can make it uncomfortable, as Judy will testify. We are half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and will be down there in a couple of weeks. We are in no hurry, as we don’t want to leave San Diego until late November when hopefully the hurricane season will be over.

This log gets us from Vancouver to Esquimalt ready to leave for Port Angeles in Washington State until the fiasco the day before we were to leave.

All the best,



Log #61o Gulf Islands and departure fiasco

Morro Bay, California

Oct. 25, 2016


August 19 we left Vancouver for a 38 mile passage, headed across the Strait of Georgia through Active Pass to anchor in Selby Cove on Prevost Island, back in the Gulf Islands. We had been here before in this quiet sheltered inlet with a pasture at the end and a couple of lovely homes on the surrounding high hills. This trip was a bit nostalgic, as it would be the last time sailing in these B.C. waters. The scenery in B.C. is spectacular, the best we have encountered, including the B.C. ferries that ply the waters of the mainland and Vancouver Island.

B.C. ferry with Mount Baker in the background


We are on a “Go Home” run now, back to Esquimalt, ending our time on the B.C. coast, getting ready for our passage down the west coast to Mexico. We plan on leaving for Port Angeles in Washington State by the end of the month, and are leisurely making our way through the now familiar Gulf Islands to Esquimalt to resupply, and say goodby to a few friends.


From Selby Cove we went over to Ganges on Salt Spring Island. We anchored out and dinghied into town to enjoy their Saturday farmers’ market. Rather than stay at anchor we motored across the bay to spend the night at Salt Spring Island Yacht Club, a free reciprocal club. No one was around, but we had a quiet night alongside Next day we motored 8 miles over to have lunch at anchor in Otter Bay on North Pender Island, then another 8 miles to anchor in Fulford Harbour back on Salt Spring Island. We had been to Fulford Harbour before by bus, but this was the first time at anchor. It is a pleasant laid back ferry terminal town, with a couple of eateries, boutique shops, and B&Bs in a “back to earth” ambience.


Next we motored 9 miles across to Sidney Spit, to enjoy wandering along this sandy, mile-long (at low tide) spit.

Sidney Spit

There we met Gord and Anne Bryce, friends we made at the Ontario 32 Rendezvous. We enjoyed sundowners on their Ontario 32. We won’t be able to attend the Ontario 32 Rendezvous this September as we hope to be off to Mexico by then.


We then went 12 miles to anchor in Mill Bay on Vancouver Island, where we met for lunch with Barb Lohrman to get a batch of mail we had sent to her address in Cobble Hill just south of Duncan. We said our goodbys to her as we do not expect to be back in this part of the world after we leave for Mexico. She has been a good friend to us over our four years on this coast. We left our trailer in her front yard for two summers as we sailed the coast and the winter we house sat in the Okanagan Valley. Last fall we left Veleda on Thetis Island and took our trailer south to Arizona and New Mexico. The trailer and our Yukon are presently stored at Rusty’s RV Ranch in New Mexico until whenever we return to it in another year or so.


Our future plans are uncertain. In Mexico we can live aboard 12 months a year, and do not know when we will next use the trailer. Our current thinking is that we may spend a year or so in Mexico then go down Central America and through the Panama Canal to spend time in the Caribbean. We would then leave Veleda in a marina, probably in Grenada, on the hard for hurricane season which goes from June to November, and return to the trailer to take it back to Ontario for the summers in Canada. This could be our routine for the next few years, on Veleda in the Caribbean during the winter and in the trailer in Ontario for the summers. Rough Life!


From Mill Bay we returned to Sidney Spit, anchoring on the outside of the anchorage area for the night before motoring 26 miles down around Victoria back to the CFSA in the navy dockyard of Esquimalt by August 25.


Gun emplacements and Lighthouse entering Esquimalt Harbour

From Vancouver through the Gulf Islands to Esquimalt


We were located on the outer visitors dock through a narrow opening between the dockyard and some large barges in front of the club. This location is crucial for a major incident next day.


While at the club we had access to WiFi, showers, and shore power. We walked

the 3/4 mile trip to the mall to do laundry, for Judy to get a hair cut, and to grocery shop. Back aboard we did some maintenance tasks including an oil change, radiator flush, fuel filter change and checked the alternator and water pump belts in preparation for our crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Port Angeles in a couple of days, Aug. 27.


A Major Fiasco


We contacted my niece who lives in Victoria and had her and her husband Mike down to the boat next day, planning to take them for a short sail up Esquimalt Harbour for lunch at anchor. As we prepared to leave, I noticed a small log and some other debris behind at the narrow entrance to the docks, and thought I might have to fend it off when we departed. However after we started the engine and cast off the lines, the stern was clear, and I pushed our stern out and put the engine in reverse to back out through the opening. THUNK! The engine stopped!


I wasn’t immediately sure of what happened and started the engine again, and it again stalled. We were drifting towards a boat ahead of us, and were ten feet from the dock. I realized it must be that log I saw earlier, and it had lodged with the flood current under the overhang at our stern out of sight, and fouled the prop as soon as it was put into reverse gear. I had to free the prop up to avoid drifting into the boat ahead. I started up again but put it in forward gear. Thunk again. Another start up and in reverse it freed the prop and we motored out astern between the barges and the dockyard into open water. However when I put the engine in forward and increased revolutions to motor up the harbour, there was a heavy vibration at any speed above 1000 rpm idle speed. OH OH, something is wrong ! We may have bent a blade on the prop or worse.


The vibration did not ease up, and I did not want to damage anything further, and so set the genoa to sail a few hundred yards up to anchor in the next bay for lunch.

Marcia with Judy and Aubrey

I took Marcia and Mike for a dinghy ride up around Cole Island and the remains of an old British Royal Navy munitions depot while Judy made lunch.

Marcia and Mike as we approach Cole Island

After lunch I was eager to return to the CFSA docks to assess what happened. We motored back to the dock at idle speed.


I initially thought of engaging a diver to go down to see what the problem was. However a local club member suggested that a diver could not do much and that it would be best to take it to a boat yard and have it hauled to properly assess any damage. He called Willy, a prop specialist up in Sidney, as there are no boat yards in Esquimalt or Victoria. After a few more phone calls we were told we could haul out on Monday (today was a Friday) at Vector Yachts Boat Yard in Sidney, and we could moor alongside their docks for the weekend.


We were visited by Patrick and Deborah friends from Victoria whom we met in Northern B.C last year. They brought a bottle of Champagne to celebrate our departure. We drank it anyways, even though we do not know when we will finally be off to Port Angeles. Thanks Deborah and Patrick.


Well, so much for our plans to leave next day for Port Angeles. Murphy’s Law! No good deed goes unpunished. After four years on this coast dodging logs, ice bergs and bergy bits we had to hit a log on the last day before we were to leave for Mexico.


More about towing Veleda 27 miles up to the Boat Yard in Sidney with our dinghy in my next log.