Ship's Log
Saturday, July 15, 2000
Ganges Harbour to Silva Bay

Cruzin North Through the Gulf Islands

    I woke at 5 am with the sun, showered then casted off by 6. What weather I'm having! The sailor's rule ganges_09.jpg (40434 bytes)of thumb is that the weather pattern will change about every three days. It has been sunny and windy every day since I left home. When the sun is out, I can take hard wind and waves. The boat is sailing very well. We took some waves today as the wind gusted through Porlier Pass as I sailed by.

Looking out at the Strait of Georgia I felt like a little boy peering through the curtains at the forbidden sea that only experienced sailors may enter. The anxiety of tomorrow’s crossing filled my head. The giant body of water looked gray-green with streaks of white.
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ganges_10.jpg (43721 bytes)I decided, for now, to stay behind the protection of the outer Gulf Islands while I could and continue north to Gabriola Passage. I calculated the best time to "ride the rapids" through these passes was at about 5:40 pm. Just as the current was changing directions and still manageable. –the currents around these islands are incredible. 

There are these huge bodies of water connected with deep narrow passages. So when the tide moves in and out the millions of gallons of water twice each day—all that water gets shot through these passes. 

Tomorrow is the full moon which means a "spring" tide. The tides and current atlas warns that the amount of water being pulled here by the moons’ gravity could be 26% more than normal.

So, after a long day of beating up wind, I entered Gabriola Pass a half hour early. But better early than late for this one because the tides were slowly moving out. On a boat you have to be moving through water to be able to steer. It’s the water moving past the rudder that steers the boat. 20000716_02.jpg (61038 bytes)

As I approached the entrance I could see the water moving in the same direction as me. There were rock walls on either side. It was a strange feeling to be that close to shore even though my depth sounder said I had plenty of water under me. At one point, in the middle of the pass, the boat got turned almost sideways. I felt like a piece of driftwood riding the rapids. And in about a minute it was over and I was dipping my toe in the big pond. 

The mountains were amazing. I didn’t know how well I would be able to see across the Straits, but I could see the city of Vancouver and even Mount Baker. The mountain seemed like an old friend. It is one of my favorite places in the Cascade Range to hike and ski. I have a lot of great memories from that mountain. Plus, I can see it when I sail at home in Port Townsend Bay. 


20000716_04.jpg (46839 bytes)I motored northwest merely dipping my big toe in the straits before entering Silva Bay.

I was careful to keep the marker to my port side and not be "among the thousands of skippers that have hit the reef or among the hundreds that have spent the night there waiting for high tide." 

This little harbor is a holding ground for vessels waiting for good weather to cross the straits. I decided I didn’t really need to go into town, so I’d save the moorage fee and set anchor in the harbor. The wind is howling with gusts to 20 miles per hour. I didn’t want to drag anchor in the middle of the night in a blow, so I set two anchors—each off the bow at about 60 degrees apart.

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There are a lot of boats swinging around their hooks.
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My anchors seem to be holding their ground. I will plot a coarse and listen to the weather forecasts.

Once I figure out the weather, tides and currents, I will determine the best time to set sail in the morning. I am supposed to meet Betsy in a town neither of us can pronounce. I can't see how it will work out, but I know it will.

As the full moon rises over the trees, the wind gusts through the rigging. The bow creaks as my little boat turns with the wind around the anchor rode. I will try and get some sleep.





It's a small world after all. It's a small small world.

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