Showing posts from October 11, 2015

(Em)Bed-Well Harbour: Too Much of a Good Thing

May 13, 2015

I have entered Canadian waters at Bedwell Harbour twice, and I have nothing but nice things to say about Canadian Customs.  Polite, considerate, and effective service, and if you arrive after hours, you can get clearance over the phone (as is true for all marine Canadian points of entry as far as I know).  We got in about 1800 hours, and I did the phone check-in.

On a previous occasion, I'd stayed at the marina there, which is quite nice, and affords access to showers and even a swimming pool.  But we wanted to leave early, and the guide books say that the holding in Bedwell is very good (sticky mud), so we dropped the hook, had gin and tonics, made dinner, and went to bed after a 55 mile day.

This was my first use of my shiny new Rocna 9 kg Vulcan anchor.  I elucidated my motivation for buying this anchor in a previous post, and everything I said about it there, I still believe.  It is a great anchor. It is such a good anchor that in the morning we could not get it …

Provenance and Providence

May 13, 2015

Mathias and I got away from Port Townsend early in the morning, the ambitious target of Bedwell Harbour in our heads.  It is a stretch for a slow boat (55 nM), but we were motivated.  The tides were favorable for slipping between San Juan Island and Lopez Island (a pretty fast tidal gate) and by doing this interior route, we had a pretty clear shot north in protected waters towards Friday Harbor, and on up to Bedwell Harbour, our most convenient place to clear customs into Canada.  We decided to stop at Friday Harbor for something or other from a drug store, and I thought I might as well top off the fuel tanks while there. At a liter an hour, we had used less than half of our usable fuel.  But never pass up a bathroom (or fuel stop)... thats what my mom says.

I topped off the tank, switched the key on, and hit the starter button. Nothing.  OK, OK... its a loose panel connection... a problem I'd had before.  Take it off, wiggle everything, check every connection. Clic…

Don't leave home without a Marine

May 12, 2015

When I started planning The Trip, I hoped that Mathias would join me for some segment of the voyage.  He is on a walk-about year after a long stint in the Marine Corps as a helicopter pilot, and I had it in mind to reserve the trip home from Sitka for him. Weather patterns and prevailing winds suggest it would probably be the best segment of the trip, and with the most sailing.  His other plans mitigated in favor of his joining me for the start of the trip instead.  This turned out to be a fateful adjustment in plans that probably made the whole thing work.

Ripple's regular home is on Lake Union, which means that the Fremont Bridge and the locks stand between us and Puget Sound.  The bridge is less than a half mile from my marina, and is the only bridge in the area that I need a lift to get under.  The night before departure, I took care of that by staging the boat on the Sound-side of the bridge so we wouldn't have to worry about the morning bridge traffic embar…

Recruiting the Crew

All of my notable achievements as a parent revolve around expeditions to wild places. A ski cabin in the Gross Vente mountains, the canyons of Zion National Park and Canyonlands, the Escalante Wilderness, the Grand Canyon: anywhere challenging enough to keep casual hikers off the trails.  My children learned of their father's passions and fondness for Scotch around campfires, on desert trails, and in twisty slot canyons. These trips were shared with other close friends as well. Decades later, phrases and punchlines from those early trips elicit cascades of smiles and memories among the participants.

As I planned this latest venture into the wild,  I hoped that some of those same people would sign on for a part of my voyage, though I fully expected to do significant chunks of the trip solo. I invited both my sons (Mathias and Brendan), as well as Wes, Pete, and Sam, each of whom I have known for 30 years or so, and each of whom had participated in memorable past excursions.  Unlik…