THE LAST LEG

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Dick and Van Kedisi at Scott Pt, Saltspring Island on Canada Day

Dick, Maurie and Dean arrived at home just over a week ago. Suzanne and Elaine came over on the ferry Tuesday morning and Dean’s wife Marie flew in that afternoon from Wisconsin. By that time we were in self contact via Dean’s cell phone even though they were still far from Victoria. We four women went to RVYC Victoria to scout out the visitors birth that was the intended check-in spot as it has a CBSA dedicated phone booth needed for border clearance. As time went by it became clear that they would arrive in the dark so we commenced partying with Andy, Steven, Heidi and Mark a Kiwi friend staying with us. As the evening wore on and we had frequent self conversations, just before dark we actually saw Van Kedisi just off Race Rocks as they’re about to take the sails down. From then on we did see the running lights from time to time. Near midnight Skipper Dick made the command decision to abandon RVYC with its rocky entrance to Cadboro Bay, also littered with crab traps. Instead they headed into the Inner Harbour and tied up to the fuel dock while calling CBSA. They were welcomed on the phone by a gentleman in Hamilton Ontario who told them that they were free to go. We all headed to bed and at 12:30 a.m. Dick called me to say they were safe at the dock celebrating with gin and tonics.

Next morning Andy headed down to the inner Harbour to bring the crew home for a welcome brunch. The next few days were filled with sailing stories and partying. Saturday a.m. Dick and I headed off on VK in the rain for a Canada Day weekend celebration on Saltpring Island. Prior to our departure, Dick got Maurie downtown to the bus for the ferry for Vancouver where he would spend the weekend with Roydon Heays, another old engineering buddy from New Zealand and his wife Iris. I had seen Dean and Marie off in the wee hours as they headed to the airport for their 0530 flight to Seattle in route home. The following messages are from Dick as well as Maury’s last blog post

DICK’S LAST EPISTLE

Honolulu, Hawaii

6 June 2018

Hawaiians are proud of the ferocity of the wind in the channels between the islands. And rightly so. We left The Big Island in the evening for a night passage to Maui. We had an idea to sail to the north of Kahoolawe and visit the dive crater Molokini, but there was just too much north in the 35 knot wind for that to happen.

We had pre-arranged a mooring buoy off Lahaina and that worked out OK. There is a tiny small boat harbour in Lahaina but it is completely full of local boats aimed at the vibrant tourist trade. Parasailors, fishing, diving and dinner cruises. The highlight for me was the Lahaina Yacht Club, co-sponsor with the RVYC of the Victoria to Maui race every 2 years. There is a photo of the skippers of the first race in 1965, including RVYC luminaries Lol Killam and Jim Innes. In the background of the photo is Jim’s winning boat, “Long Gone”, later renamed “Puffin II”. Yes, the same boat I owned in Vancouver for 13 years.

Lahaina has a huge Banyan tree that plants new roots to support the acreage it covers. It is probably visible from space. We rented a Mustang convertible and drove up to the crater of Haleakela. There is an option to rent bicycles to ride back down the mountain, but that was a sensible thing to avoid – no shoulders and all the traffic is rental cars driven by left hand drive Asian drivers.

The chart of Molokai shows an abandoned harbour at the western end. This conveniently broke up the down wind trip from Lahaina to Honolulu into 2 day sails. Again, the Hawaiian channel served up 35 knot winds, but this time on the stern quarter which made for a great ride – especially after we furled the main and stopped doing donuts. There was one local Hawaiian boat, “Demasiada” in the anchorage, a venerable Canadian C&C 40. They recorded 35 knots in the anchorage during the night.

Leaving Molokai the next morning, we brought up Diamond Head, the distinctive landmark at the east end of Waikiki Beach in the early afternoon. Fabulous. Bright sunny day, beach cats out with tourists, surfers, beach goers, a busy Sunday afternoon for everybody. The reason why so many Americans holiday in Hawaii – perfect climate. We cruised into the Ala Wai small boat harbour in downtown Honolulu and found our pre-arranged berth.

We welcomed new crew Dean and bid farewell to Steven and Heidi. We celebrated at the Waikiki Yacht Club next door. Maureen asked Maurie to stop sending her photos of yacht club bars.

12 days north of Hawaii – heading for Victoria, B.C. –  Passage – 2,770 n.m.

18 June 2018

Leaving Honolulu, we refueled at Keehi on our way to the south-west tip of Oahu. With the trade wind still from the east, we beam-reached on starboard tack up the west coast of Oahu. The conventional wisdom is to sail north from Hawaii and make the right turn to Juan de Fuca Strait when the westerlies are met around 40 to 45 degrees north.

This passage divides into 2 parts. The division occurring at 36 degrees north latitude, the same latitude as San Fransisco and Auckland.

South of 36N we were catching mahimahi and tuna in shorts and bare feet. Cool showers on deck were looked forward to. Laundry was fun and everything dried quickly. The trade wind veered south, got lighter, and we had an exceedingly nice week, perfect conditions, not trying to go too fast.

North of 36N, we were suddenly and rudely greeted by a grey sea, grey, overcast sky with drizzle and much cooler temperatures, like 12C. Welcome to the PNW (Pacific North West). More clothes, foul weather gear, boots even. Grrr. Showers and laundry may have to wait until we arrive. A short period of 45 knot southerly winds had us running north before the wind and large seas with just a scrap of genoa heading for Kodiak, Alaska. Somewhere along the way, probably rattling down a large wave leaving a white foamy trail we hit 19.3 knots according to Dean’s inReach. The sort of wind and wave condition that makes you hope nothing goes wrong. Marian, Russell and Jane told us there is a 34C heat wave in Victoria. We are all still cold even with the wind from the south – should be warm, right??!!

We made the right hand turn on a course of 070T to Juan de Fuca Strait. Just over 1,000 n.m. to go. Wind from the south, which is good for us, but still looking for those westerlies. 

Eventually, with a few days to go, the westerly filled in. A day out we were welcomed by a small school of black dolphins with white fins and a whale spouting, the only guys we saw all the way from Hawaii. We arrived at Vancouver Island and Cape Flattery in the morning of the 20th day. We had the trade wind rig up – twin genoas – and a magic run down the Strait of Juan de Fuca with 20 knots of westerly behind us and sunny skies. Fabulous. We had a foredeck g&t party. All my previous trips in the Strait had been with no wind.

At 0030, just an hour and a half short of our usual arrival time of 0200, we tied up at the convenient Canada Customs dock in the Inner Harbour, Victoria BC.

Welcoming brunch the next morning with Marian, Marie, Jan, Elaine, Suzanne, Steven, Heidi, Andy, Mark, Jana and Edie. Thank-you all.

Dick

202 Denison Road

Victoria BC, Canada

250 598 7474

28 June, 2018

Quotes from “A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson

“Good-bye” (Seems fitting)

A great deal of extinction hasn’t been cruel or wanton, but just kind of majestically foolish. In 1894 when a lighthouse was built on a lonely rock called Stephens Island, in the tempestuous strait between the North and South Islands of new Zealand, the lighthouse keeper’s cat kept bringing him strange little birds that it had caught. The keeper dutifully sent some specimens to the museum in Wellington. There a curator grew very excited because the bird was a relic species of flightless wrens – the only example of a flightless perching bird ever found anywhere. He set off at once for the island, but by the time he got there the cat had killed them all. Twelve stuffed museum specimens of the Stephens Island flightless wren are all that now exist.

In 1907 when a well known collector named Alanson Bryan realized that he had shot the last three specimens of black mamos, a species of forest bird that had only been discovered the previous decade, he noted that the news filled him with joy.

Distance sailed from Bodrum, Turkey to Victoria, Canada: 22,744 n.m (July 2013 to June 2018)

Distance around the world at the equator: 21,600 n.m.    (360 x 60)

Highlights:

  • Corinth Canal
  • Atlantic Crossing
  • 3 day spinnaker run to Bonaire
  • Panama Canal
  • South Pacific Crossing
  • Phosphorescent humpback whale in Niue
  • Francis Blair Leighton memorial circumnavigation of Waiheke Island
  • North Pacific Crossing

Blog maintained by Marian:    https://sailvankedisi.wordpress.com

Boat location by inReach:      https://share.garmin.com/VanKedisi

MAURIE’S LAST BLOG POST

Tuesday 26th June

Late yesterday afternoon we saw a whale spume, three times, not too far away but couldn’t see the whale.   The it moved away.  The wind stayed with us until morning, then died.  During the night Percy had run out of diesel, meaning there was now air in the fuel line.  Dick spent some time after breakfast pouring five 20-litre containers of fuel into Percy’s tank and bleeding the lines.

Today at 10am we have done 131 miles and we can see land all around us.  Vancouver Island to port and Cape Flattery ahead.  There are many different birds flying around, coastal species we haven’t seen before.  The sea  has taken on a browner colour, there are many rivers flowing into the Juan de Fuca Strait and although we are still 20 miles from the Strait the sea is less than 200 metres deep.

There are also leaves, small branches, seaweed floating in the water which we haven’t seen at sea.  The weather is fine and sunny and we are again enjoying sitting on deck and looking out as land gets closer.  We are keeping a lookout for logs.  I saw a huge off to starboard with three birds sitting on it.   Serious damage if we had hit it. 

After lunch the wind dies and we motor, using Percy alone, running smoothly with a full fuel tank.  There is still a small wind from directly astern, so we keep the sails filled and gradually the wind increases until we are running downwind in 20 knots with just the twin genoas.  It’s easy sailing and the sun is warm so we take our drinks and have an arrival party on the foredeck.  Dean has a phone connection we can hotspot from so I catch up with some emails without having to use the HF radio.

By 9pm we are rounding The Race Rocks lighthouse, having sailed all the way downwind, a bonus we didn’t expect.  Race Rocks is where there is a strong tide and we meet it going out.  We are doing 6.5 knots through the water and 2 knots over the ground.  However we are soon past the worst of the race and make better way.  As night falls we have a full moon and can see snow on the tops of the Olympic Mountains on the US side of the Strait. 

We decide to berth in Victoria Harbour where there is a customs berth for checking in.  We have our quarantine flag up, we furl the sails, steam into the harbour, dock the boat and ring the Canadian Border Services Agency.  We expect to have to wait for an official to come down to the boat in the morning but it is all done over the phone.  The person Dick is talking to is in Hamilton, Ontario and he has Dick’s and my passport details.  Dick gives him Dean’s over the phone and that’s it, we have cleared into Canada from the US, Hawaii.  After a few celebratory drinks we crash.

Wednesday 27th June

 Because we are still on the customs berth and there is a locked gate halfway along the finger, we cannot go ashore from here. Dick is up first and has scoped out a gap between the finger and the shore where we can sneak Van Kedisi around the corner of the finger and tie up beyond the locked gate, which we do, tying up just at the bottom of the access ramp on the shore side.

Then we get out gear sorted to carry off the boat. Dick’s son, Andy, friend, Suzanne and Dean’s wife, Marie arrive in Suzanne’s car to take us Dick and Marian’s house for brunch, a welcome meal, and showers.  After 21 days on the boat a shower is a magic thing.

Then we take Marie and Jan with us to move the Van Kedisi to Royal Victoria Yacht Club (RVYC) in Cadboro Bay.  They have a complementary two day free berthage for visiting yachts which Van Kedisi is taking advantage of before heading to more permanent mooring at Salt Spring Island. 

As we leave the dock, a harbour traffic official in a rubber duck tells Dick off for not staying in his lane in the harbour.  Then we remember we need fuel so drop into the fuel dock which is right alongside the mooring fingers in the harbour and just ahead of a large fishing trawler berthed there.

 

As we are tying up to the fuel dock a loud fisherman from the fishing trawler calls the two harbour traffic officials over, two rubber ducks and gives them an earful about being so officious with us about staying in our lane when we were obviously turning across the lanes to berth at the dock.  The fuel guys say they know the fisherman and these harbour guys were going to get the worst of it.  When we have finished fuelling and while Dick is in the office one of the harbour guys comes alongside, looks at some fuel sheen on the water and asks us if we had a spill. 

“No,” I say, “we didn’t spill a drop, that was here when we came in.”  

“It could be from your bilges,” he says, “you might have your pumps on.”

“We don’t have bilges.” I tell him.  He looks at me.

“It’s a dry boat”  He can’t think of anything else to accuse us of and motors away.

Later we think they may have been giving us a hard time for sneaking a few hours mooring beyond the customs gate on the customs finger. The fuel guys were great.  They obviously have to put up with this scrutiny every day.

On the way around to Cadboro Bay we try sailing but the wind is light so we motor through the little islets close to the coast, through some tidal races where we are doing 4 knots through the water and 8 knots over the ground.  We pass a seal feeding amongst a flock of screeching seagulls, obviously drawn to the fish bits the seal leaves.

At the RVYC courtesy berth we have a few beers while we tell the Marie and Jan about the trip.  While we are talking in the cockpit a river otter lands on the finger across from us, preens himself, rubs himself on the dock, rolls over like a pussycat, walks along the dock a few paces and turns in a circle.  He then does a poo on the dock and dives back into the water.  We see him swimming away amongst the moored boats.

 

Someone has put bird nesting boxes on the piles to try and help the purple martin, North America’s largest swallow.  We see one of them fussing around the entrance to one of the boxes.

Then Andy arrives in Dick’s car, so we strip the used sheets from the beds, lock up the boat and head back to house.  It’s been a good day and a good trip and we have a barbecue meal with Dick and Marian’s family and friends with many stories and toasts.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

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