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The year started off a bit anxious. We were away for the winter at our RV park in Yuma, Arizona when we got word that the North end of Vancouver Island had received some hurricane force winds and that there was lots of damage to boats in Campbell River. We were in immediate telephone contact with our dock friends who assured us that BeeJay was okay. She did have some minor life line and canopy damage but she fared very well considering the verocity of the winds. We did have her nice and snug to the dock with an overkill of fenders before we left in October so were relieved to hear that we did not have to face a big damage bill upon our return in April.
We arrived home April 2 and spent the better part of April getting our income taxes completed, getting the house and yard caught up, setting up Doctor and dentist appointments up as well as making a few trips to Campbell River to check on BeeJay and to re-provision her for the up and coming season. We also did a one week trip up to Kamloops to do the spring clean up on our home up there and re-connect with long time friends. We sure crammed a lot of activity into April but managed to get everything done that needed to be done. We managed to juggle doctor appointments so that we would have at least 10 days to go boating from May 11 to May 20. After her haul in in early May, she sure looked nice and spiffy after the hull paint job and upper deck detailing. Before our departure date we did a big shopping at Costco. We also purchased a 12volt cooler. We were finding that we just did not have enough frig space. We purchased a good supply of veggies to take along. Larry took them up in the new cooler on Thursday...May 10. Well, that was a mistake. When we got to the boat on the next day (May 11), the cooler worked well.....too well....the veggies were nearly frozen. The long red peppers and cucumbers had to be thrown out BUT....the big problem that Larry discovered....his battery charger was malfunctioning and our bank of batteries were all nearly dead!!.....he was a bit annoyed....as he had to go back home to bring back his portable battery charger. The good news is he managed to get the batteries up and running.
And now here we are with all our chores behind us and on our first sailing trip of the year. We left Campbell River on the morning flood last Saturday morning (May 12). It was a beautiful sunny morning. Not a cloud in the sky. Our destination was the Copeland Islands....a group of islands just around the corner from Lund, BC. It only took us a couple of hours to reach our destination. We were told that there were good oysters there. As soon as we were stern-lined anchored, Larry unhooked WeeJay and went oyster hunting. He came back with a good sized bucket full. We managed to freeze three bags and have a good feed of battered fried oysters for dinner. We were the only boat anchored in the area.
On Mother's Day we got up early and headed for Desolation Sound. Another glorious day. It took us a couple hours and were soon anchored in Melanie Cove. The scenery is so beautiful in that area. Lots of snow capped mountains, with beautiful and calm bays. So peaceful. It continued to be a sunny day. We took WeeJay on a little exploration trip before dinner. This area is a great spot for kayaks with lots of tiny bays and islands protected from the main channels. There were a couple other boats anchored in the sound. Nothing compared to the busy summer months when there is very little swing room. We are finding that this is the best time of year to do the southern island groups...away from busy summer crowds.
On Monday we headed north to Waddington Channel which separates East and West Redonda Islands. We anchored in a bay just north of an oyster farm. In fact there were loads of Oysters along the bay so Larry was able to harvest more to freeze. We were the only boat in the area.
On Tuesday we had hoped to head up to the Quatam River in Ramsay Arm to do some more oyster hunting but the weather started to turn on us. The seas were getting too choppy to go into the inlet as I would have had to keep BeeJay under control while Larry took WeeJay to shore so we scrapped that idea and headed into the safety of our favourite anchorage spot, Von Donop Inlet on Cortez Island. We spent a relatively calm night but woke up to choppy seas. We decided to pull up the anchor and head out anyway...at least to the open water to see what was happening. It appears to be a bit calmer so decided to make a run for Hole in the Wall (just south from Big Bay and Dent Rapids) Our plan was to do some rock fishing along the rocks before Hole in the Wall. We managed to catch two nice rock cods and a ling cod before the wind got too bothersome. We had planned on anchoring inside Hole in the Wall but Larry felt uncomfortable with the winds that were getting higher and higher so we made a run for the Octopus Islands on the north end of Quadra Island.
Today is Thursday, May 17.....still anchored in the beautiful Octopus islands. The winds are still causing us some concern so we decided to stay put for the day. Larry took this time to adjust our anchor line and some odd boat jobs. I re-organized the frig and V-berth before we had lunch and a long nap. Neither one of us had a good sleep last night. We are in 25 feet of water in a good holding area but the wind does toss us around a bit. There are three other boats waiting out the wind with us. Tomorrow we hope to head down the east side of Quadra Island to Heriot Bay Marina where we will tie up to the docks and treat ourselves to a dinner out at the pub. We have to time ourselves going through Surge Narrows, we will be okay if we go through around 9:30 in the morning.
Friday, May 18th. Happy Birthday to our grandson, Ronald Klatt. Hope you have a great 22nd birthday! Well, today looks a little promising. The winds have calmed down somewhat and did not whip us around too much last night. We did not put out a stern line. Larry kept mentioning that if I was ever nervous, he would move the boat over to a more protected bay where we could have a stern line. I told him, if he thought we were safe where we are then that was fine with me. Okay, okay, I confess, I felt better where we were because if we were to move the boat in the winds I would have to handle the helm while Larry did the anchoring. I was happy where we were!!!
No worries,s we had a nice motor trip down the channel to Heriot Bay at the south end of Quadra Island. Although it is a holiday weekend, the marina at Heriot Bay is fairly quiet. In fact, we could not reach the marina on the marine radio. The wind had come up so we knew we were going to be pushed off the dock when we tried to come in. Also, the Cortez Island ferry was in. We knew it would give a strong wake when it departed so we wanted an inside finger. I was starting to panic as I am uncomfortable in jumping off the boat with the docking lines. We sounded our horn a few times. No one came. Just at the final moments I spotted two people on their boat on the same finger. I yelled "Please grab our lines" they quickly came and helped. Whew, another safe call for me. As it turned out, this delightful couple...a bit older than us, with strong British accents..were getting under way with their sail boat to head over to the resort in Toba Inlet to babysit the resort for 10 days while the management have a break. As a return favor Larry helped them to shove off.
It was nice to be on terra ferma after 7 days at sea. The old legs were a little wobbly. We took a little walk up to the general store. They were having a small market in front of the store. We purchased a delicious black bean burrito, potato buns, a large slice of carrot cake and two cinnamon buns. We already ate the burrito and carrot cake and will save the rest for lunch tomorrow as we hope to make our way back to Campbell River but they are calling for more wind so we will wait to see what tomorrow brings.
We are treating ourselves to dinner at the pub here. There is a large crowd camped beside the resort. We are told that there is a ball tournament happening this weekend. Hope the pub isn't too busy.
Well, we lucked out...the pub was not all that busy. Guess most people ate in their RV's in the camp ground. We had a pitcher of BC Brewery beer along with our dinner. We have always liked Heriot Bay. A great place to people watch. You have the regular islanders mixed in with the holiday crowd, fishermen coming in with their catch, and us boaters. A lot of delightful conversation filled the air.
After a good night's sleep we pulled away from Heriot Bay shortly after 8 A.M. The predicted high winds did not materialize and we had a quick motor trip over to Campbell River... a short two hour trip. We re-fueled at the fuel dock before heading over to our slip. There was no-one on our dock to help with our lines so we took the plunge and did it ourselves!!!! I had the boat hook at the ready. Did not really need them as Larry was able to hop off the boat and grab out lines....phew!!! So proud of both of us.
At one point we had planned to spend one more night on board but could see that our shutting down chores would not be all that long so were able to head for home around 3 P.M. We managed to unload the car...put frig things away and head down to our local Chinese restaurant for a buffet dinner. It sure tasted good. Our big bed sure made for a comfortable sleep although I nearly fell out of it in the middle of the night when I went for a potty break.....thought I was on the boat and misjudged my escape from the bed!!!
Our next trip is scheduled to depart on June 4th for a Hunter Owner Rendezvous on Thetis Island down island near Ladysmith. We are plannning to take 4 days to get there. Hope the weather holds out.
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