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Moving BeeJay to our new marina from Ladysmith to Campbell River

Larry's Story:
We now had two mooring spots and were paying double moorage so we needed to get BeeJay to our new location in Campbell River and cancel our moorage in Ladysmith. It is now early Spring, in the month of April and of course, weather is an issue. We were looking at a 3 day trip if the weather held, more if we had to wait out storms. We were hoping for sun, well, at least not pouring rain and winds that were not against us and not too violent. This is a new boat to us and she may have unknown issues or faults. Another issue was our sailing ability, it had been quite a few years since we last skippered a boat and I guess both Betty and I were a bit nervous.

Several weather windows looked promising only to fall apart shortly before departure and then one day the weather held, we arrived at the boat the afternoon of April 18. We were finally going to go.

Tuesday morning April 19, the day of our departure from Ladysmith, I was pouring water into a cup of instant coffee and my right lens of my glasses fogged up. I finished stirring my coffee and pushed my glasses down my nose a bit to clear the fog. It didn't clear so I took them off to wipe them and low and behold my right eye was still foggy, it was not the glasses. Something happened to my eye just then. Betty was still in bed and I didn't say anything to her, nothing was going to stop my taking our boat out and moving up to Campbell River. Besides, it probably will clear up soon anyways. I walked around the dock looking here and there and checking things to get ready to leave. I had determined that I could see about 50% out of my right eye and full vision out of the other. I tried my vision with the binoculars, it worked, not like before but good enough. I looked around at various points of land and objects, I could see them but my right eye was like I was looking through glasses with rain on them. It was good enough, it was a go!

MovingB|J1 The first leg was from Ladysmith to Nanaimo. We started off about 8 A.M. Still haven't told Betty about my eye. It was cool but no rain and sunny periods. We had a window to be at Dodd Narrows around 11 A.M. to meet the slack water through the pass.

Our boat has a holding tank for the toilet so one does not flush overboard in marinas or other restricted areas. The holding tank can be pumped out at special sanitary stations (few and far between) or overboard through a macerator pump when out in open water. We have been on the boat previously for several days and the indicator gauge was showing nearly full. Just before reaching Dodd Narrows, I decided to try dumping our black water. We turned on the macerator pump. It worked for a few minutes and then seemed to pack it in. Oh no. Now we do not have a way to pump out our black water. Hey, no problem all boats carry a bucket don't they? Ours did. Betty was not too happy with the thought of using a bucket. But what else could we do?

MovingB|J1 Other than the problem with the macerator pump, it was a nice trip to the narrows; some sun, some cloud. We got to the narrows with a 2 knot head current (no problem we can do 6.5 knots, 7 in a pinch) and then picked up a bunch of hail from some clouds hanging around the pass as we went through. The hail moved away. It did not take us much longer to reach Newcastle Island where we were able to tie up to a mooring buoy for the night. Photo shows Nanaimo City in the distance.

A local native came by on a small boat to collect the mooring fee of $12.00. We had supper while we listened to the Stanley Cup playoff game on our Sirius Satellite radio. My eye had not changed. I am starting to get a bit worried. Betty was suspicious of something because she kept asking me if I was alright as I did not seem to be very cheerful or excited about the boat. You know you can't hide anything from your wife. I ended up telling her. She thought I had a detached retina.

We decided I had better go to emergency since we were in Nanaimo, so I unhooked our moorage and left for the harbour where there were lots of docks. It was around 7 pm but none of the wharf managers were answering their phones on the docks, the docks all were packed like sardines but we kept going past them until we came to a closed Gas and Go fuel dock where we could temporarily tie up. I saw a sign with a phone number on the ramp so I phoned. A fellow answered and I told him my story. He said that we could stay the night on the fuel dock but mentioned we would have to leave very early in the morning when they opened for business. He gave me another slip that was at the end of the slip and around the corner. We quickly took the boat around to the other side, tied up the boat and walked up the ramp to the street level. The marina was below what appeared to be a boarded up strip mall. There was also a pub and restaurant to one side and a large parking lot. We hailed a cab and headed for the hospital.

After sitting an hour or so in the waiting room in emergency, my eye was checked over. They also did an ultra sound. The doctor could not see anything out of the ordinary, no detached retina, so an appointment was made for me the next day at an eye specialist in Nanaimo. At 11:30 P.M. we were done at emergency and took a taxi back to the marina. Betty was sure pleased that the hospital did not keep me in overnight. She was panicking about having to go back to the boat late at night, and having to climb onto the boat on her own. She told me later that she thought about just going to a motel.

The next day was Wednesday, April 20. We took a taxi to the specialist Dr. Piemontesi, he took a bunch of tests and said it was very difficult to see but he figured the bad eye was paler that the good one indicating it was not getting as much blood and he figured it was a blocked vessel in the eye(stroke). The Dr. then sent me to a lab for blood tests. I was also scheduled for an ultra sound at St. Joseph's hospital in Comox for April 26 so I did not have to do that in Nanaimo. The Dr. did not think I would do myself any further damage if we were to continue our trip to Campbell River.

MovingB|J1 Betty and I took a taxi back to the marina. The forecast for Wednesday had changed from light winds to NW 20-25, right into our teeth. I did not think we should be going anywhere until the weather improved. We went for lunch at a restaurant above the marina. As we finished our lunch Betty was looking out the window at the marina below us saying, "Just think one of those boats down there is ours". I turned around to look at it and said "holy shit" and jumped up. All the other boats had their masts in the vertical position and ours was angled at about 20 degrees. I rushed down to the boat to see that the tide had gone out and our boat was high and dry, leaning on the dock against the fenders! I draw 6 feet and the water had gone down to 5 feet. The spring tides were quite large and I had not thought to check the depth below our keel when I tied up to the dock. There were other sail boats in front of us on the dock so I just did not think. They probably draw 3-4 feet. Anyways, we were not going anywhere for 3 hours, thank God the tide was at its lowest and already on the way up.

People were standing on the wharf overlooking the dock. They were taking pictures of our boat. Betty told me not to go near the boat because she did not want them to know it was our boat that was high and dry! We went for a walk and then over to the pub for a beer. Not much else we could do but wait for high tide.

Three hours later we were free and clear. We went to pay our mooring fees. Wow, they charged $1.00 per foot plus $10.00 for power. That was almost $50.00 with tax! We headed back out to the mooring buoy. We were uncertain about our anchor system and didn't want to use it so either we had to use a mooring buoy or pay the high price to dock at a marina.

On the way back to Newcastle Island we discovered a black water dumping station near where the float planes flew into Nanaimo Harbour so we stopped in there to dump our septic tank before going over to Newcastle Island. Checking our guide book we also discovered that Campbell River also had a dumping station at Fisherman's marina. Betty was happy that she did not have to use the bucket!

Waiting at mooring buoy, NewCastle Island in the background.
We had no power once we were tied to the mooring buoy. I did not fully trust the condition of the batteries so I carefully monitored it. At that time I had three 12V batteries for house use. These batteries came with the boat and were suspect. While fully charged, with a bit of load, the voltage dropped quite fast. The freezer draws about 4.5 amps, the heater 1.5. As a precaution, I turned off the freezer for the night and lowered the heater to save demand on the batteries.

The weather the next morning was not the best so we decided to stay put for one more day. I checked the battery voltage in the morning. It was 12.2V. The motor started up okay. I ran it to charge the batteries. After about 1/2 hour we hear a warning alarm from the steering console. There are 3 warning lights, one is marked with an oil can (oil pressure) and the others have no markings what so ever. It was an unmarked light that was flashing. I figure the others must be voltage and temperatures, but which one? I checked all my manuals but could not find anything that said what it was.

The weather the next morning was not the best so we decided to stay put for one more day. I checked the battery voltage in the morning. It was 12.2V. The motor started up okay. I ran it to charge the batteries. After about 1/2 hour we hear a warning alarm from the steering console. There are 3 warning lights, one is marked with an oil can (oil pressure) and the others have no markings what so ever. It was an unmarked light that was flashing. I figure the others must be voltage and temperatures, but which one? I checked all my manuals but could not find anything that said what it was.

My new power meter was reading that the alternator was changing 5 or 6 amps and that the voltage was fine, so it must be temperature. The water level on the fresh water cooling was fine and the hot water tank gets heated up when the engine was running. Was it a faulty sending unit or was it overheating? I checked the intake water filter, nothing in it. Took apart the water pump and the impeller seemed fine. Maybe something was plugging the salt water intake. The through hull fitting valve runs vertical about 4-5 inches, then through a 90 degree elbow to the filter. I shut off the valve, took off the hose on the filter side then opened the water. Well, okay, maybe the elbow is above the water line. I blow in the hose and nothing happens. If I really grunt, turn red and pop my ears, I can hear a few bubbles happening. How much pressure does it take to blow down a column of water 5 inches, I don't know. I figure if I take off the elbow and something is plugging the valve intake, I can push a coat hanger down and clear it. The elbow comes off easily and I have reduced the water column by about 1.5 inches, open the valve and the water gushes in, no problem. Now I am stumped! I put everything back together. Betty starts the motor, I check the filter...water comes in but very slowly....hmmm. Is it because there is no water in the pump and it takes a while to prime???? Probably, but it eventually fills up then in 10 minutes the alarm goes off again. We shut it down... no topping up the batteries... motor is a bit hard to start cold. I was worried about the condition of the batteries.... I decide to turn off the refrigerator, what the heck, we have no frozen stuff and the ice box will keep cold over night. Tomorrow is Good Friday (off course a long weekend) but I don't trust the batteries and we can't stay on the buoy in case the batteries can't start the motor.

I decided to start up a cold motor in the morning and quickly travel to the fuel dock before the alarm goes off. The next morning the voltage reads 12.2 (not too bad)... the motor starts up fine (phew) goes our rope to the buoy and we are on our way to the dock. We are about 3 minutes to the dock when the alarm goes off. I let it run until we are docked. We were lucky that there was an opening for us on the dock. Well, we're here... for the duration of the weekend because there is no way any mechanics are going to be working on Good Friday. We were both starting to feel depressed. Nothing seems to be going right for us. Is this a bad omen?

As I sat on the cockpit, I looked over to shore at a boat yard. I could see someone lifting boats out of the water with a lift. I wandered over there to see if they knew anyone who could look at our motor. I was told that none of the mechanics would be working until Tuesday. But, if I wanted to wait, the owner used to do some mechanical work on Yanmar engines and might able to help out.

About a half hour later Ian, the owner, comes over. I tell him my story. He says that the light is the temperature light and that something must be plugging the intake or the impeller is shot. I told him the impeller seemed fine and that water came out of the valve. He checked the filter, undid the hose like I did and blew in the pipe.... It seemed awfully hard to blow he said and yes, they usually have a vertical pipe long enough to be above the water line which does make a bit of a column of water to blow down. So... he takes off the elbow like I did, turns on the vaIve and yes.... water does come in, just like I did it. He shuts off the valve and then...he looks in the elbow. Something I did not do. It is plugged solid! That cotton picking elbow which I set down and did not look in was plugged with something, something hard which my awl did not do much good at cleaning. Ian took the elbow up to his shop to bore it out. When he came back he said it was a barnacle that had grown in the elbow that was blocking 90 percent of the water flow. All it took was a little weed to finish off the rest. He said he broke the hose fitting (bronze) that screwed into the elbow and replaced it with a white plastic fitting that he said was better. He said the old fitting was ruined by electrolysis and needed replacement anyways. ($1.45). He said the valve looked fine but next time the boat was out of the water to check all the bronze valves by hitting them with a rubber hammer to make sure they were solid. Tons of cooling water now flows through the motor and it runs fine. It is now 10 A.M. on Good Friday, April 22. If we leave now we still can make it to Comox for the night and be back on schedule. We paid a $60.00 repair bill and we were off for Comox before 10 A.M.

The trip to Comox was un-eventful, nice weather with smooth seas. I decided to give the motor a good workout. I read where it is better to run the motor hard then baby it and fill it up with carbon. We were a bit short of time so I ran it at 2800 rpm (high speed cruise), pushing 7 knots or so, all the way to Comox. It purred like a kitten. I did notice that at 2400 rpm I got 6 knots and it took 2800 rpm to get 1 knot more and twice the fuel. That seemed to tie in with the specs of a cruise speed of 6 - 6.5 knots.

I had previously phoned Comox to reserve a spot for the night. The fuel dock said they were full, but if we came in late (after 5) we could tie to the fuel dock but had to leave before 8 A.M. when they opened. This was just fine with us. I phoned them back 2 hours out to confirm everything. They said they now had a spot in a slip with power if I wanted it. Yes! I would take it. We arrived between 6:30 and 7 P.M., tied up and went to the Black Fin pub for dinner and a bottle of wine!

That night I decided that since we had power, I would turn off the battery charger and just use the batteries as normal overnight. If the batteries were down in the morning I could just charge them up to start the motor. In the morning the voltage read 12.2 again (not bad) but when I went to start the motor it turned over a couple of times and then nothing....dead. Well, as I suspected, the cells were sulfated and would hold very little power. We were thankful that the motor started after charging the battery for one half hour. I have new golf cart batteries on order and will be putting them in very soon.

We had a 4 hour trip ahead of us to meet the current window around 2 - 3 pm in Discovery Passage. It would be pushing us in as it slowed to slack tide. We also needed to pump out our holding tank for the replacement of the macerator. I found that the pump out station was in the Fishermen's Marina. I phoned them and the guy said they were open and told me where it was located. We arrived at low tide (of course)...spring low tides too. My GPS showed me it was quite shallow in there and it was tight as hell with not much room. I crept in, my depth alarm went off saying I had 2 feet under my keel.... shit I hate this. I could not see the damn pump out station, a big fishing boat was getting ready to leave and so I carefully backed out to let him get away. I phoned up again and he said he would come down to the docks and show me where it was. So, he finally came down, and I talked to him. He said some damned fishing boat was tied up to the spot. That was why I could not see it. He said to just raft up and he would give me a hand. It did not take long to dump and we were on our way to get fuel at the Discovery Marina before we headed on the tie up to our own spot.

There were no more problems, we fuelled up at our fuel dock at Discovery Marina and found our spot. Our neighbours were working on their boat and helped us tie up and we were welcomed to the marina. We have about 3 feet between our boat and our neighbour's boat. I can see we will need extra fenders to protect our boat from hitting our neighbour, the "Miss T Ocean".

Oh, by the way, on the way up to Campbell River I had lots of free time. I read through a bunch of manuals for the various stuff on the boat. I saw the macerator manual and read that. It mentioned that sometimes the impeller can get jammed with something hard in the tank and if that was to happen there was a shaft on the rear of the motor with a screw driver slot. Turn the shaft left and right to un-jamb the blades. Yes!! There was the slot, I turned it left and right and it seemed to be free so I turned the pump on and VOILA it worked just fine. We were both happy that it did not need any repairs and no bucket!!

We sure were pleased to see our friend, Bill Mallett waiting for us at the top of the ramp. He had driven us down to Ladysmith at the beginning of the week and had brought our car up to Campbell River to return us home. We went out for dinner with Bill before we headed home for a good night's sleep.

The "BeeJay" is at home in her home berth at Campbell River. And now the fun begins.

Follow up to our moving BeeJay experience

BaldLarry I had an Ultra Sound on April 26. My right carotid artery is 100% blocked. I had an appointment with a vascular surgeon in Victoria, he said it was too late to operate. The artery was plugged and the artery behind the plug was collapsed. Nothing can be done for that one, the other artery on the same side is okay and the thing to do was to have regular ultra sounds to monitor both sides and make sure no more plug up. I don't know why this was not checked when I had my previous heart problems. I continue to have regular appointments with the eye specialist in Nanaimo to monitor my right eye.

In the meantime we needed to go up to Kamloops to do some work on our property up there. We went up there the last week end in April. Only spent three nights there but did get a lot accomplished while we were there. Thank you to John and Dawne Jamieson for the use of their guest room. It was nice to see you guys. Betty also had a nice visit with our former neighbour, Cheryl Booth and a long time friend, Janice Achilles. They have a new White Spot on the North Shore. The three girls met there for a nice lunch and a long chat.

On the way home from Kamloops we stopped in at the Steveston Marina in Richmond. We bought 4 more life jackets for the boat as well as picking up a nice barbeque for the boat. We also ordered a 9.5 foot dinghy. Our friend, Terry Smith was able to get us a good deal on some golf cart batteries as well as a nice hurricane lantern. We have that hanging over the dinette. It not only provides a good light, it also puts out enough heat to keep the salon nice and cozy on a chilly day. Thank you, Terry for your help and also for the spare fenders which are now put to good use as there is not that much space between our boat and our neighbour's.

On our way down to Ladysmith in April we were able to buy a second hand motor for the dinghy. The old bank account is starting to go down pretty quickly, but what the heck, we are having fun outfitting the boat to our standards and want things to be in good order. We had already picked up a few things while we were down in the states such as a GPS plotter which works like a hot damn. We also picked up a couple nice sleeping bags...I won that dispute with Betty. She wanted to go fancy and have nice sheets and linen on the beds....the three nights on the boat in November made her change her mind and agree to the sleeping bags....a whole lot easier to move around in and easier to make up the beds.

I have since spent many weeks putting things together on the boat. I installed a whole new battery system, a battery monitoring system, a great main anchoring system, a stern anchoring system, the hurricane lantern, the gps chart plotter, a radar reflector, an engine temperature gauge, a new marine toilet, weaver davits to hold the new dingy, the new dingy and it goes on and on and on. I love every minute of it!

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