Saturday, July 15, 2000
Ganges Harbour to Silva Bay
North Through the Gulf Islands
woke at 5 am with the sun, showered then casted off by 6. What weather I'm having! The
sailor's rule 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 tomorrows crossing filled my head. The giant body of water looked
gray-green with streaks of white.
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
dayall 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.
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. Its the water moving past the rudder that
steers the boat.
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 didnt 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.
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 didnt really need
to go into town, so Id save the moorage fee and set anchor in the harbor. The wind
is howling with gusts to 20 miles per hour. I didnt want to drag anchor in the
middle of the night in a blow, so I set two anchorseach off the bow at about 60
There are a lot of boats swinging around their hooks.
My anchors seem to be holding their ground. I will plot a coarse and listen to the weather
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.