Sunday, September 29, 2013
Montague to Nanaimo
With Aaron's birthday finished, it was time to make a big push north so we left early the next morning for Nanaimo, six hours away. Our goal was to make it to Dodd Narrows during the fifteen minute window of slack tide. At any other time, the water rages through the narrow gap between cliff bands. We had a nice sail and reached Dodd with time to spare. This passage is not something we feel comfortable sailing through so we prepared to reduce sail by rolling in the jib. To our surprise, a rope jammed and we were stuck with a sail that wouldn't roll back up again. Jason had to run up to the foredeck to work on it, but luckily it was an easy fix and we didn't lose much time. We pulled the main sail in tight so it couldn't blow us around too much in the gusty wind and Jason started the engine to motor us through the narrows. Jason and I looked at each other in dismay as I turned white and declared, "that doesn't sound right." Jason immediately shut it down as he realized why it sounded wrong....it was no longer cycling cooling water. Gulp. We turned the boat around and I slowly sailed us downwind as Jason opened up the engine. He found that the raw water impeller had exploded, thus no more cooling water. Very luckily, Jason has a couple of extras on the boat so he quickly replaced it and saved the day. We fired her back up and, voila, we had the comforting sploosh, sploosh noise of water pumping out of the back of boat again. Phew! In spite of both of these delays, we still had time to squeak through the narrows before the tidal currents got too crazy. When we squeezed through the passage, rapids were already forming with the changing of the tide. Water swirled and bubbled below as gusts of wind hit us from above. With all the extra excitement my nerves were shot by the time we made it through and I would have been happy to just motor the rest of the way. Jason was intent on sailing so I suggested sailing under main sail alone given my frazzled state. He insisted that a reefed jib would be fine so he rolled it out. We proceeded to tack upwind in 20 knots through a narrow passage hemmed in by floating log booms and logging equipment on one side and cliffs on the other....not exactly what I was hoping for. I grew more and more unhappy as we heeled over hard this way and that through choppy waves as Jason rushed through each short tack to avoid collisions. Aaron was below in tears because his Helms Deep Lego was in pieces after a crash off of the table. When we finally dropped sail I hurried below to help Aaron rebuild his castle as the boat lurched through the waves. A short while later we emerged with tear-stained cheeks and green with sea-sickness but Helms Deep was intact and safely stowed away. While Jason dropped the sails, Isaac took the helm and maneuvered us through a moving obstacle course of sailboats and seaplanes in the busy Nanaimo Harbor where we squeezed onto the dock between other boats and a floating Mexican restaurant.
After a night in the city where Jason dismantled and dug through the engine to find exploded impeller parts, we moved across the harbor to a mooring ball at the much quieter Newcastle Island, a wonderful marine park. During our stay we had sunny skies and temperatures in the 80's. We were all sweaty and hot when we arrived so we put on our bathing suits for a swim in the 69 degree water. The boys swam between the boat and our uber-stable kayak, Banana. I was unable to swim due my injured wrist so I manned Banana as the boys splashed and swam around her. I really wanted a rinse off too so after everyone was done swimming, I had all three boys take turns dumping buckets of water over my head so I could give my hair a wash. As you can imagine, they took much delight in that. Next, we hopped into the kayaks to paddle over to a floating pub for dinner. We sat on the dock watching a sailboat race as the sun set. As we paddled back to the boat we stopped at Newcastle Island to check it out and give Pika some shore-leave. Fellow chihuahua owners were doing the same with their six-month old puppy named Charlie. As you all know, Pika is not a well-socialized dog. Dogs are one of her least favorite things so as Charlie spastically bounced on all of us in the grass, Pika had a barking/growling fit showing off her best rabies impression. When we all stood up Pika no longer had to protect us, was overcome by her waggy-tail urges and succumbed to playing with Charlie....the first dog she has EVER played with. It was so funny to watch. We were all in hysterics. I'm afraid we may be in danger of becoming two adults, two kids and two chihuahuas though we hope to remain a one chihuahua family as long as humanly possible.
Click here for photos.