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Old 24-09-2007, 18:48   #1
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Sydney, BC to Astoria, OR

Been back from my trip for over a week and my nose is finally far enough above the water so that I can breath.

Flew from Reno to Seattle with the family. Got to Seattle very early and then called Enterprise to pick us up. Boy was that a mistake. An hour and a half and four phone calls later (they were all of ten blocks away) they came to get us. At that point we had missed the Anacortes Ferry to Sydney BC. So we made the best of it and had lunch in downtown Seattle with my daughters Godmother and then drove to Anacortes. Found a room with a pool and the kids enjoyed themselves swimming. We called for a taxi the night before and met them the next day at Enterprise at 0600 to catch the 0730 Ferry. Get on the Ferry and after about twenty minutes there was a medical emergency that required the Ferry to return to Anacortes and offload the patient.

Finally got to the boat about 24 hours later than expected. Rigged everything up and took the dink with the 4hp engine the 2 nm trip to Sydney proper for provisions. I can see that a bigger engine would be nice. After a romp around Sydney and putting away the provisions we took off for Saltspring Island. Part way there the admiral said we should go to Roche Harbor instead. Off we went. When we got most of the way to Roche there was another change of plan – Friday Harbor.

We got the last slip.

While there we ran into a friend that I had met in the South Pacific and Mexico. He is friends with Jim Correman (of Sail Mail fame) and they were going up to Desolation sound for a Cruising Club of America event. Well the kids love being in Friday Harbor and I took the time to purchase and install a new radio so that we could listen to books on tape (CD). Next morn we were all set to leave, tanks are filled, deck is washed, off for Sucia Island. Start the engine slip it into gear and . . . the gear shift lever won’t move. Take the binnacle apart and see that the linkage cables are bent to high heaven. (please remember that I had replaced the engine at the beginning of the year to avoid this type of problem) I could see that the steering chain had been rubbing on the linkage cable. I got it all taken apart and studied it and realized that I could get it back together but that the same problem would occur. I take a rest for the evening and then get a call that my Aunt had died. Nice B-Day present. I called in a mechanic and between him and I we get most everything back in place, went to shift, and same problem. After studying it for awhile the mechanic suggested that we bend the gear shift arm a little. After doing that everything works fine. So a day late again we head for Sucia. We actually get to sail for an hour or two and then the wind dies. Back to the engine. We are headed for Echo Bay on Sucia and the admiral suggests (ordrs) that we go to Shallow Bay instead. Just as we make the turn to go toward Shallow Bay a huge seal pops its head up out of the water. It goes back down and then comes back up and in its mouth is a two foot long shark. It was pretty cool to watch the seal eat its supper.

In Shallow Bay we spot another Sceptre 41. The area is pretty crowded. We let the anchor down let out about 100’ of rode with the intention of pulling 25’ back in after the anchor was set and the flippin’ windlass motor stops working. Well we weren’t going to hit anyone so I left the rode out. You can never have too much scope. Or can you? Well the next morning we’re sitting in 5’9” of water. Not bad. Unless you draw 6’0.” The wind was howling and it was a nice Fetch over to Pender Island in 15 to 20 knots. Just the kind of breeze that my boat likes. Fortunatley the other Sceptre had a hand crank for the windlass and was willing to lend it to us. . Well from there we decide that we need to check out Sucia and the family takes a nice long hike. Its great we love it. Its on our list of places to come back. Well by the time we pull anchor the wind is gone. 5 or 6 knots are left and an adverse current. We sailed for awhile but ended up having to motor the last 10 miles as there was no breeze.

Ok well things haven’t been going according to plan but lets make the best of it. The Sceptre rally at Bedwell Harbout is good fun. The kids enjoy themselves I get to talk boats. Admiral splits her time between looking at boats and entertaining the kids. Kids ferret out every adult who likes children. I contact a friend and ask her to set up a flight for me so that I can attend my Aunts funeral. It meant missing a gam in Port Townsend with Skpr John and Amgine but . . .

Anyway Port T was the switch point where the delivery crew was to meet us and the family was to go home. I ended up going to Seattle airport with the family then going to SF instead of Reno. The funeral well . . . same church we buried my father in in January and my drug addict brother, who was Jonesing for a fix, files assault charges against me because I tried to grab the car keys from him because I didn’t want an addict driving my mothers car. . . In the meantime the delivery crew has a nice time in Port Townsend except for the fact that while anchored a boat weighs anchor drifts down and takes out my port /starboard bowlights. The guys get the replacement part, file a hit and run report with the sheriff, catch the wooden boat show at Port T and then head up to Port Angeles.

I fly into Seattle and one of the crew rents a car and we drive back to Port A. The next morning we provision and head out for Callam Bay in a flat calm. There’s a problem with having a schedule. At about 1530 the wind picks up so we put up some sail. After calculating time and not wanting to enter port at night we decide that Motor sailing would be the best thing to do. By 1700 we need to put a reef in and resecure the dink on deck. Well here we are in 20 to 30 knots breeze 15 miles out of a new port and a fog drops on top of us. We could see the sun above us but couldn’t see the ship that showed up on the radar a mile away or the fishing boats that were a half mile away. Between the GPS and the radar we managed to get into port. As we got to shore the fog lifted and the wind died. Oh yeah I forgot . . . one of my crew was deathly seasick as the wind picked up. Got to shore tied up to a dock and he still wasn’t moving. As luck would have it his niece lived in Tacoma (a three hour drive away) and she came and picked him up at midnight.

The next day we took off around 0830 trying to time our arrival at the Columbia River Bar for 0930 the next day. No wind. Had to motor the whole way. At dusk the motor gurgled and then stopped before I could get the guys to turn off the engine. Checked the primary filter, it was clogged, and it was a 2 Micron. Replaced it with a 10 Micron primed the engine, ran for about two minutes and it died again. You can never tighten a hose clamp too tight right? Well seems like you can. The engine had lost its prime so I started checking hose fittings and while tracing my finger around a clamp I found a scar in the hose. I took it off and cut the end off and examined a piece of hose that had been worried into a split by an overtightened hose clamp. Reprimed and it ran fine. Just as night fell while on deck by myself I saw an animal breech. There within 30’ of the boat were two small Orcas. I wasn’t positive that they were Orcas b/c they were so small but after studying all the field guides I couldn’t find anything else they could be. Other than an errant fishing boat we had no more problems. Columbia Bar, luckily, was a cake walk. Managed to have the boat hauled and set on the hard. Found a man to look after her, enjoyed Astoria, and then drove home in the van that my seasick crew had brought down from Tacoma.

I had my share of problems on this trip. But I’ll tell you I enjoyed fixing the boat problems way more than I did the problems that I am now fixing on land. And if I believed in fate I would have proof it exists. Instead of anchoring in Roche Harbor we moored in Friday Harbor and were able to see a friend and get the parts and the help we needed. When the Admiral said to go to Shallow Harbor it worked out well b/c there was another Sceptre there and I could get the handle I needed to bring the anchor up w/o breaking my back. Although I had a sick crew member in a desolate location a means of getting him off the boat was available. The engine problems were par for the course. And when I got home my Mom seeing how my brother had behaved at the funeral got the courage to kick my 42 year old brother out of the house and told him to get in to a drug program. Something I have been telling her to do for ages.
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Old 24-09-2007, 19:23   #2
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Congratulations Charlie!

Sounds like a challenging trip handled with aplomb and grace. I guess I'm more impressed with the engine problems, because I've rarely had those so I don't know how well I'll respond to 'em. (The funerals, freaky brothers, and ill crew I've dealt with - maybe not gracefully, but successfully.)
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Old 24-09-2007, 22:32   #3
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Aloha Charlie,

Wow!! You had some experiences. You missed a great Wooden Boat Festival but lived life more fully doing what you were doing. You might have seen Dahl's Porpoise. They are much smaller but have the same coloring as Orcas. I saw them when entering the Straits once and snapped their portrait.

JohnL

"There within 30’ of the boat were two small Orcas. I wasn’t positive that they were Orcas b/c they were so small but after studying all the field guides I couldn’t find anything else they could be."
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Old 25-09-2007, 09:50   #4
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Skpr John:

They were too big for the Dahl porpoises that I've seen in the past and the coloring was exactly like an Orca. I'll study the field guide again b/c I'm no expert but the things I remeber were: 1) they had a curved fluke on the top of their body, 2) The fluke was solid black, and 3) there were white patches on its body. I know that lighting at different times of the day can throw you off for both size and color but everything else that I looked at looked to be Orca except for the size.

Amgine:
I tried to handle it gracefully but almost getting in a fight at your Aunt's funeral was less than graceful. Thanks for the compliment though.


I sure would like to get the boat back in the water and headed south. I've got a year and a month to get the boat to San Diego and alot of loose ends to tie up between now and then. Wish me luck.
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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 25-09-2007, 12:31   #5
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Aloha Charlie,

You've discovered a new species of mini-Orcas!! Congratulations. You can name them "Chrarlieorcanis"

Good luck on your cruise. My friends who just left the bar at Astoria and headed South ran into some weather and pulled into Eureka after 3 days. They are due in SF tomorrow and if I get the blow by blow I can let folks know what happened.

Kind Regards,

JohnL
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Old 25-09-2007, 15:22   #6
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Hello Charlie, Thanks for the Blow by Blow. I have had similar issues and can relate as I have not sceen my brother in 5 year and wonder if he is living.

I liked that you pointed out the hose clamp as this is educational and common. Perhaps we should have a "Stupid reasons my engine stopped" thread. I am sure we can fill a few pages.

Let us know how the trip south works out.

Will Heyer
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