Tuesday, September 27, 2005

September Big Update

Hello Rikki fans! This is your editor here :) It's very hard for Rikki and crew to locate a place to send an email off but Nina and Clark are doing a great job composing them as they adventure along. However this means you might get a month's worth of updates all at once... like this month. Blogger's format is 'most recent at topmost' so these updates may be confusing, so here is the order in which you should read them: Volume I: Nanaimo to French Creek Volume II: French Creek to Rebecca Spit Volume III: Rebecca Spit Onward Volume IV: Roscoe Bay to Squirrel Cove Volume V: Tenedos Bay to Melanie Cove Volume VI: Pendrell Sound and Isabel Bay If you're a Rikki fan, leave a comment! They enjoy reading well wishes and fan mail!

Pendrell Sound and Isabel Bay

Cruising British Columbia Volume VI: Pendrell Sound and Isabel Bay The spectacular mountainous inlet that almost cuts East Redonda Island in two is also very deep. The peaks jut up from the smooth water leaving little or no shallow areas to catch an anchor. Nearly at its head is a bight behind a small island where a good-sized lagoon can be entered by kayak or dinghy on high tide. Predictably, it's called Lagoon Cove, and it's a place known for its oyster culture. When we got close to the cove, we drove parallel to the shore, very close in. The depths were still 80 to 100 feet at low tide! There was one other boat, shore-tied to the rocky slope under the trees. We put the anchor into 72 feet with a long loop to shore. Just off our starboard ama, very large schools of fish circled in a 100-plus hole. The other sailboat's crew returned to their boat and departed. We thought we'd have the place to ourselves! It was so quiet and stunningly lovely, we sat back to enjoy the peace. Darzee transported us into the lagoon where an old wooden barge languished, trees growing out of its deck. The entrance was piled with large net bags of oyster shells. We wondered what these were for. A sign hidden by branches partially read, "Oyster storage ---- Do not walk below 8-foot tide line." There was a well-trodden path, utilized by those who walked into the lagoon when the tide was out. As we enjoyed our afternoon coffee at the settee, a flotilla of boats was zeroing in the cove. Led by a diminutive cabin cruiser, there was a Nordic Tug and three sailboats. We should have videotaped their anchoring antics! The first mate on the cruiser called out the depths as the captain dropped chain straight down. He got out to tie a too-short line to shore. We knew he was in only seven feet of water over the "beach" and that the tide would be dropping eleven. Captain went down to assist the Nordic Tug, which was backing in and out between his anchor and shoreline– so vigorously that we were sure his crew hanging onto the shoreline was getting rope burns! Clark even rowed over to advise the first mate of the tide. They stayed put even so, pulling in some chain to correct his position. Peevishly, we looked forward to the entertainment provided when they discovered themselves aground. The biggest sailboat, a Fisher 37 pilothouse, anchored and the other two sailboats tied along each side, facing the opposite direction. All boats were travelling together, of course, and they called back and forth to one another, collected forbidden oysters, went swimming, and zoomed around in their dinghies. Our peace and quiet was short-lived. Another large sailboat arrived, a lovely green-hulled sloop, from the same marina as the others, but they were strangers. This boat dropped anchor mid-cove in very deep water. A lot of chain clattered over the bow! Then he rowed the longest shoreline we've seen to the island, pretty much taking up all the remaining space. Shortly after sunrise, we went out in Darzee to have a look at the oyster shell bags. We learned that the flotilla would be leaving and were grateful when only the sloop and Rikki-tikki remained. Clark put on his drysuit and snorkeled under our stern to replace the FrigoBoat keel cooler zincs, which had prematurely disintegrated. The water was sixty-six degrees! A little scrubbing of Rikki's burgeoning beard of algae was also in order. That evening, the golden light of sunset caught the peaks across the inlet for a moment, then faded away. We lazed around the next morning, leaving for Isabel Bay after lunch. Slowly motoring there, enjoying the scenery and calm seas, we entered Malaspina Inlet to wind on the nose and followed a classic wooden boat through. We were hoping Isabel would be uncrowded. Isabel Bay holds fond memories for me. My family visited here on my grandparent's boat, Serendipity, forty-odd years ago. We were the only boat then and, now, we also were one. I begged my grandfather to take me salmon fishing out in the dinghy, which he reluctantly did. He threw his trout net into the boat, sure I wouldn't catch anything. Soon after we rounded the island out of view, a big one took off with my lure! I shrieked and hollered, which caused concern to those left aboard. I muscled that salmon back to the boat, having tightened the drag on my borrowed reel. It was too big for the trout net, so Grandpa flipped the fish sideways over the gunwale, using it like a pancake-turner. Whew! I was so excited. We BBQ'd salmon over a fire on the little rocky island, though it wasn't the one I caught, but rather one that offered itself to us. Dad and Grandpa were shooting at paper plates with a 22 rifle (you could do that back then!) and it just came to the surface, stunned. We enjoyed mine, which measured 22-inches, a day later at another memorable anchorage– the best BBQ'd salmon I'll ever taste!

Tenedos and Melanie

Cruising British Columbia Volume V: Tenedos Bay to Melanie Cove Tenedos Bay is a large, deep area with an island and many choices for anchorage, depending on what kind of view, privacy, or protection from weather that you want. We chose a spot against a rock wall and, having lashed a wood dowel across the windgenerator support to hold our spool of poly rope, I rolled out the line as Clark rowed Darzee to shore. Before we got the engine shut down and things put away, two kayakers hovered at our stern asking questions about our trimaran. They were from San Francisco on a Nordhaven anchored nearby. One owned an F-27 in Alameda, the other had built a Piver back in the sixties and sailed it to the South Pacific. We gave them a tour and then went over to look at their well-equipped powerboat. The walk to the lake was indeed short but the shore was piled with jams of huge logs left over from the days of logging, so we couldn't get near the water. The trail around the right side peetered to a slashing fest through the branches, so we turned back. Days later we found out from other cruisers that we should've crossed the creek and gone around the left side, where there were rocks for a swim platform. Oh well, next time. The moss was thick and lovely, one of the only photos I took. We tootled around the bay looking for interesting spots to anchor in future visits– the hideaway spot known as the "3-fathom hole" looked very protected and private– there was only one boat but room for a few more. We dawdled the next morning (I refreshed my haircolor) then left after lunch to meet Valhalla in Melanie Cove. As we turned around the point, we saw whitecaps out in Homfray Channel. The wind was blowing 20 knots so we ducked between islands to get out of the chop. Rikki-tikki entered Melanie, waving as we passed Valhalla, to set the Northill in the head of the cove. We were going to stern-tie again but the wind was funneling into the anchorage, boats were putting out second anchors and tying additional shorelines, so we felt that swinging with the wind would be preferable. We launched Darzee and joined Valhalla's crew for cocktails. The subject of conversation was the entertainment being provided by all the other boaters as they reinforced their positions against the increasing wind, which was now gusting heartily. Some boats, especially powerboats, seem to dance wildly from one side of their anchor chain to the other. Others lie sedately into the wind. Rikki-tikki, contrary to the reported multihull characteristic of "sailing" around their rode, behaves well. He responds to the wind but doesn't pull madly at his leash. The boats shore-tied were beam to the wind, which is not desirable. Suddenly a huge gust whipped into Melanie Cove. Valhalla heeled over and our drinks went airborne and flew downhill. Bev ended up being on the receiving side of the table. Clark and I decided quickly that we didn't want to lie awake all night aboard Rikki wondering who would be dragging anchor. Rikki-tikki was downwind of every other boat there and would be THE target. We wished Wes and Patti a happy anniversary, thanked Johnie and Bev for their hospitality, jumped into Darzee and sped back to Rikki. We never hoisted the outboard or lifted Darzee onto the deck quicker! We were out'a there! We wove between veering boats on our way out, heading for the niche we'd used during our previous visit. It would be quieter there, we knew. Tucked in close to shore, shielded from the SW winds, we could get a good night's rest. Out in the larger anchorage, boats were also doing the "wind dance". Our spot was open (who would anchor there anyway?); it took two tries to get positioned properly but once out of the gusts, rowing to shore to loop the stern line around a tree was no problem. A short while later, two boats who had been attempting to find good holding out in the middle, saw that "our" location was wind-protected. They came in behind along the shore, a good distance away, one anchored, the other tied alongside. Clark prepared dinner as I watched the wind speed top out at ten and calculated that the eight-foot tide would still leave us with enough water. We were fine! The two boats behind us were having a party– hard rock blaring for the entire bay to endure. I told Clark that if the "music" didn't stop at ten PM, out would come our million-candlepower spotlight! We went to bed, noticing that every other boat around, except the party-boats, displayed no lights other than little anchor lights. Everyone had retired. Ten o'clock. No reduction of the intrusion. Ten fifteen, still blaring. I got up, put on my fleece, went out into the cockpit with the searchlight. I blasted them! Had to wiggle it a bit to get their attention. A guy with a beer can appeared. I yelled, "It's after ten. Please turn it off!" I am sure he could not hear me, but the blinding white light in his eyes made its point. He disappeared, the noise ceased. "Thank you!" I truly expected to hear a cheer raised from the other boats, but all was silent. Thank you. It rained at midnight, but the wind calmed and we slept well. We have nearly tired of taking photos of Rikki-tikki in each place he visits but, as Marcia told us, his colors blend so well into the greens of the lichens and mosses on shore, we couldn't help this one. This is our rocky bight in Prideaux Haven. We call it, "Find RTT." Valhalla hailed us on their way south the next morning, saying good-bye. We wished them well and asked them to call us on the VHF when they got to Sarah Point– we wanted to know whether to go north or south, depending on the wind. They said it was choppy and very windy; they decided to tuck into Grace Harbor instead of bashing to the Copeland Islands. Our choice, then, was to go north up Waddington Channel where the water was placid. We would explore Pendrell Sound, where the water is said to be the warmest in British Columbia!

Prideaux Haven to Squirrel Cove

Cruising British Columbia Volume IV: Roscoe Bay to Squirrel Cove Even though Roscoe Bay had enough going for it to keep us occupied for weeks, we followed Juniata and Millennium Dragon out into Waddington Channel, across Homfray Channel, and into Prideaux Haven, another very popular anchorage in Desolation Sound. It was a very short hop. We rolled out the jib briefly to catch a breeze and shot photos of the spectacular clouds clinging to the peaks up Homfray. The view is memorable. While Juniata and Milly D established their base mid-harbor, Rikki-tikki headed for digs closer to the south shore of Prideaux anchorage. The depths remained at fifty feet and our anchor just didn't seem to grab, so we circled around to the other side. Choosing a niche in a rocky bight, albeit one without the preferred view of the mountains, our Northill dug in and we tied to a tree ashore off the stern. Confident that we were settled for the night, Darzee took us to cocktails and dinner on Juniata, who had "the view". We bought along our Silent Sam vodka. Mmmmm... it is too smooth! It began to rain as we returned to Rikki-tikki, with distant lightning and thunder. When we awoke next morning, it was low tide and the wind was blowing us toward the shore. Clark is asking, "Is this too close, dear?" We let out some shore line and pulled in on the anchor rode to keep the ama off the rocks. (Isn't it cool how we can tie Darzee under Rikki's wing so he doesn't fill with rainwater?) Our trusty Porta-Bote dinghy, allows us to get to farther-away places for investigation. Dave and Clark went fishing after breakfast but didn't catch anything. Later, we explored nearby Melanie and Laura Coves, and went around Eveleigh Island. The morning after the thunderstorm, the carcass of a tree accented this scene looking across Homfray Channel. The second morning, when the weather was back to wonderful, and before the wakes of dozens of vessels disturb the glassy water, the reflections are amazing. The two masts just to left of center are Juniata and Milly D. We discovered a remote, tiny cove where a huge school of silver fish circled as they fed. We watched, mesmerized. Valhalla, with Wes and Patti aboard, were to meet us in Squirrel Cove, Cortes Island. Juniata and Milly D left after breakfast. Rikki-tikki, heeding his own clock, followed later on but nearly caught up to Milly D as she left the little town of Squirrel Cove, having stopped for provisions at the little store. Inside the cove, we anchored and enjoyed another evening aboard the twins. As we sipped wine, a Nordic Tug came in and dropped anchor practically on top of Juniata's chain. Dave, not happy, let out another twenty feet to back away. That night, as the wind clocked around, that insensitive powerboater ended up looking directly into our aft settee– too close! We put down the shade! On top of invading our space, at eight a.m., he started his genset. We raised our anchor and moved away into the small, shallow area just in front of the lagoon. As we finished relocating, we just happened to notice that the tide was perfect for gaining access into the lagoon. Entrance is only possible at a slack tide with enough water to cover its rocky channel. At other times, water cascades into or out of the large body of water behind this barracade. Darzee was gently floated over staghorn seaweed, purple sea stars, orange cushion stars, large burgundy and smaller white mitridium anemones, and pushed past the ledge at the inside of the channel. At this meeting of moving water, there were large schools of juvenile fishes of different kinds, some long and eel-like, others flashing open gills as they fed. We saw shield-backed crab and hundreds of wine-colored stichopus, sponges in bright oranges and pinks, big sea stars with long legs, and many colors and sizes of sunflower stars. We gazed over the sides of our little boat, entranced. Knowing time was short, we tried to absorb all the detail we were seeing, but in just a few minutes, the tide turned and took Darzee back into the channel, over the fascinating tidal environment. We were flushed back into the harbor, back into deeper water. There, the ubiquitous moon jellies slowly glided by as we rowed back to Rikki-tikki for breakfast. What a wonderful ride! We felt it was time to celebrate, now that Valhalla had joined us again, so we invited the entire flotilla aboard for appetizers. We laid out a cheese and meat tray, got out the wine, connected the JBL onTour speakers to the iPod, set it to "shuffle"– we were ready for the crowd. Clark fetched four of RTT's guests in a dinghy-train (quack-quack!). Barry, Gerta's crew, contributed a bottle of champagne for the toast– to friendship, to cruising, and to Rikki-tikki. Somehow, appetizers expanded to all ten people for dinner! Thankfully, the evening was balmy and everyone else went back to their boats to fetch the food. All we had to do was mix up Gerta's salad, heat Marcia's zucchini lasagna, provide some plates, and clean up. What a great party! RTT was properly broken in– christened, as Bev said. We waved good-bye to Juniata and Milly D the next morning and promptly headed back to the lagoon for another go at viewing the wonders there. This time we had the motor on, so we went all the way around the lagoon looking at sea creatures and exploring. There were several small, picturesque islands. We advised the crew of Valhalla that they had just enough time to get into the lagoon to see the rich and varied sealife, but they hadn't eaten breakfast yet. When they attempted entry just a short while later, the door had closed. Water rushed over the rocks from the lagoon like a waterfall. They were content with a walk along the edges. Rikki-tikki was left alone again as Valhalla went across to the dock at Refuge Cove. We decided to go to Tenedos Bay, where reportedly another lake is within easy hiking distance. Before we weighed anchor, we zoomed over to the town in Darzee for a little shopping. The store had wonderful produce in the walk-in cold box, a very good selection of groceries, a hardware section in the basement, and a liquor store. There is also a nice restaurant nearby, a crafts shop, showers and laundromat, but no diesel. We bought some California wine, eggs, cream, and produce, and made a few phone calls from the booth. The photo shows the government float at Squirrel Cove viewed from the small dinghy dock. Refuge Cove is just across the water. Great view, terrific weather! Now, we're off to Tenedos Bay!

Rebecca Spit Onward

Cruising British Columbia Volume III: Rebecca Spit Onward While Rikki-tikki was three nights at Rebecca Spit, we invited Johnie & Bev over for dinner. As we were sitting around the table, this teeny-weeny, odd-looking boat motored into the harbor. Basically, in a plywood box with a mast, this couple was out there doing it (cruising that is)! Over the fifteen years we were building, we often heard questions like, "How much does it cost to build a boat? How much does it cost to cruise? How can you afford to retire and go cruising?" Looking at little Teeweni here, not much! Then there were those, somewhat wiser folks, who asked, "Wouldn't you have more time on the water if you didn't make it so fancy?" Yes! Turns out the man who built this boat is a naval architect?! His dinghy was another plywood box tipped up and attached to Teeweni's port side. The boarding ladder on the bow was something we'd never seen. One has to admire their adventurousness. He did admit that the boat doesn't go to weather very well. In BC, who cares? The fleet had reservations at the Heriot Bay Marina around the corner and weighed anchor. We took Darzee over and joined them for dinner on Juniata the last night, getting back to Rikki-tikki just as it began to rain again. Earlier in the day, we'd dinghied into the marina for groceries at the nice store up the hill (always a hill!), and got a load of laundry done at the cute Heriot Bay Inn. An artistic proprietor has painted nearly everything in sight. Even their large propane tanks have bracken fern decoration applied using sagey green spray paints over the fronds as stencils. We asked about internet access and, surprisingly, they had free wireless! As we waited for our laundry, we picked up some email. Gerta, Clark and I strolled along the roadside picking fresh blackberries before we went back to our boats. Next morning, Rikki-tikki himself was brought into the tiny fuel dock behind the ferry landing, where he backed into place. While Clark filled the tanks, I logged onto the wireless again and was able to accomplish a few things online during that short timespan. Dave was amazed that access was free and we didn't have to have a subscription of some kind. I think we'll be going back on our way south just for the very nice grocery store and the free internet! Valhalla returned to Campbell River to pick up Wes and Patti, and would meet up with us in a few days. So with Juniata leading the way, Millennium Dragon and Rikki-tikki tagging along, we made our way through a silvery seascape up Sutil Channel toward Von Donop Inlet. The Heriot Bay ferry passing was the only break in the glistening, monochromatic scene. Clark and I had never seen water this placid since installing our autopilot and so had been unable to calibrate the unit. We steered Rikki-tikki-tavi by hand all the way here from San Francisco! We decided to take advantage of the flat calm and drive the required 400-degree circles– two of them in succession. The computer in the autopilot compares the data it collects while you are executing the maneuvers. If everything matches up, it sets the compass and you are ready to steer by just pushing little buttons on its remote. Wow. It worked the first time! We let it steer for a half-mile, then took to dodging flotsam by hand again. Von Donop was overcast, but quiet and scenic. Millions of moon jellies wafted by, pulsating through the water. We all hopped into our respective dinghies and "beached" them at the head of three trails leading to Squirrel Cove on the other side of Cortes Island. We took the short one in the middle to the head of the drying lagoon. The group assembled once again for evening cocktails and potluck dinner. Marcia said this was what they did each evening all summer long! It rained overnight, leaving great piles of cumulus clouds and sun for our trip around the northern tip of Cortes Island, down Lewis Channel, under the south end of West Redonda, to Roscoe Bay. Marcia had timed our arrival to make sure there was enough water over the drying bar midway down the entrance. Rikki-tikki was left to lead as Juniata put down a prawn trap outside in Waddington Channel. We decided on a shore-tie, Juniata and Milly D anchored, tied together, in the middle of the lovely, protected bay. Dave was at Rikki-tikki before we finished breakfast, anxious to check his prawn trap and show Clark how to catch fish. He wanted to take Darzee with his more powerful outboard. I wanted to go along– photo-op and all (and I like fishing!). Saying, "There's really not room for three in the boat", Dave relented. I enjoyed taking photos as Dave set up his fishfinder, baited his hook, had Clark set Darzee over the correct depth, and dropped the line. As soon as it reached the bottom, he had a fish! It was a bright orange red snapper, and since you can only keep one, the fishing was over in five minutes flat. Clark motored over to the trap float and Dave hauled up 300 feet of poly rope. That took some time! We were excited to see the net box, baited with a punctured can of cat food, when it reached the surface carrying a respectable number of prawns and some little crustaceans Dave called squat lobsters. The had short bodies and two long, skinny arms with pincers. We threw the little squats back, but kept the forty prawns. Here is a close-up of one of the squat lobsters. Cute, aren't they? Dave baited the trap again and dropped it overboard. Upon returning to Rikki-tikki, he showed us how to clean the fish, which he gave to us for lunch, and the prawns, which Marcia would cook for appetizers later. The water in Roscoe Bay is quite warm and filled even more thickly than Von Donop with moon jellies. We installed an Offshore Marine Labs watermaker on Rikki-tikki-tavi while he was still under construction. Up until now, the water he'd been sitting in had not been ideal for the initial flush and start-up procedure. Now, we had some time and clean water. While Clark worked on getting it started for the first time, I hung out in Darzee under the wing, watching for water output and trying to photograph jellyfish. The result is fairly pathetic, but perhaps you get some idea of how prolific they were. Here is our first taste of reverse-osmosis water from the watermaker! I took the photo with this background because there is a very free-flowing freshwater spring just at the point to the right of the glass. Someone has attached a hose far above at the source and you can even drive your "big boat" right up to it at the right tide and fill your tanks! The water is clear, cold and delicious. The next morning, on a men-only excursion out to the channel, Dave caught another red snapper– fatter than the first! He knows how to catch fish and loves every minute of the hunt. Later, we took the short, well-worn trail to large Black Lake where the swimming is very accessible off nice flat rocks, though rather slippery ones. The water is comfortably tolerable and we all had a nice rinse. Barry spent the afternoon snorkelling under Milly D to replace zincs and checking damage to Juniata's keel where Dave and Marcia tangled with a rock earlier in the summer. That evening, it was our turn to host cocktails and dinner aboard Rikki-tikki. Roscoe Bay has pretty much everything one could want; a secure anchorage protected from all weather, scenic surroundings, fishing out in the channel, a swimming lake nearby, and fresh water from a hose! We heard of folks who spend all summer here and of one fellow who spends four months here, four months in Opua, New Zealand– his two favorite places in the world! It takes months for his Pacific Ocean crossings though. We wouldn't mind paying Roscoe Bay an extended visit, but the Fleet is headed for Prideaux Haven, so untie that shoreline! (Rikki-tikki will be back.)

French Creek to Rebecca Spit

Cruising in BC Volume II: French Creek to Rebecca Spit Rikki-tikki-tavi was away from French Creek Harbor at 0930, motoring under fantastic cumulus clouds and sun, his stern lifted by long south swells, remnants of the strong winds of the previous day. The day would be a long one, a distance of over fifty-six nautical miles– a little over eight hours. We were exited to hear Valhalla and Juniata talking on the VHF when we were still south of Hornby Island– they were at Rebecca Spit, a Provincial Marine Park on Quadra Island, east of Campbell River. They didn't expect us for two more days! Our arrival would be a surprise. The weather forecast said the low front that brought all the wind was on its way south of Nanaimo. We were headed north, most of the weather heads south, so we thought any of the nasty stuff had already passed. We enjoyed watching the fantastic cloud formations as they passed southward. Then we noticed it was raining over in Baynes Sound. We felt smug that we had chosen to pass Hornby on the Strait side instead of up that channel! Shortly after we'd passed Hornby, the skies closer to us began to grow dark and ugly. A glance behind shocked us– an ominous ragged edge of stormclouds was moving very fast toward Rikki-tikki. Doesn't that look like the beginnings of a funnel cloud? We weren't anxious to experience a waterspout, but we were helpless in the path of the thunderstorm. Heavy rain was obscuring the coast of Vancouver Island and the sea was getting bumpy. We had been running with the jib out, motorsailing with a breeze from our stern starboard quarter. But this thing looked so frightening, we quickly rolled in the sail. We also unplugged our GPS and our computer just in case of lightning, and put on our rain gear. The wind picked up very fast and within five minutes, the storm was upon us. A heavy pelting rain enclosed Rikki-tikki-tavi and the surface wind veered rapidly from southeast to northwest, though the storm above was moving in the opposite direction. The drenched flag was whipped around the backstay bridle and water gushed down the mast into the cockpit. We stood huddled beneath the dodger as lightning flashed and thunder sounded simultaneously– that sure made me jump! Clark reached backwards briefly to touch the metal wheel to steer only as necessary. Earlier, we'd encountered two large tugs, each pulling a huge barge, one with a crane atop. They were crossing Georgia Strait at an angle, headed for Discovery Passage– on a collision course with us, not a very big gap between. Tugs pulling barges always have the right-of-way and we needed to adjust our course or speed to avoid them. First I tried sailing toward them which increased our speed to over eight knots with the jib out. On this course we would've had to run the gauntlet between them and that was too scary. So we chose to slow down just enough that they would pass in front of us. Problem solved. When the storm overtook us, we were following them. We soon lost sight of them in the downpour. It was a fast-moving storm, and we were grateful for it to be over. The sun broke through and Rikki-tikki-tavi began to dry out as we turned our attention back to our goal of surprising Juniata and Valhalla. We neared our quarry parked at Rebecca Spit, which is a long, narrow arm of peninsula opening to the north with an anchorage area protected from the Strait. A small gap in the trees gave Clark a chance to spot, with our binoculars, Valhalla's roller-furling jib with its "band-aid", a patch sewn to protect the suncover. We knew what we were looking for– they were there, unsuspecting. Just then channel 16 on the VHF radio crackled with a familiar and obviously gleeful voice, "RIKKI. TIKKI. TAVI., RIKKI. TIKKI. TAVI. This is Juniata." What?! How could they have seen us! We looked at each other and said, "I guess we'd better answer. We've been found out!" Once we acknowledged the call and switched to a "working channel", Dave told us he'd been sitting in the cockpit sipping a glass of wine when he just happened to look up as we passed that gap in the trees and saw a distinctive masthead. He grabbed his binocs to get a better look and, sure enough, recognized the top of Rikki-tikki-tavi's mast. He said, "It looked like something I did!" I chuckled because he did spend a lot of time helping us rig the mast, and said, "Well, we were trying to play stealth trimaran, but I guess that didn't work! Who would've thought that you would look up to gaze through the gap in the trees at at the very few seconds we passed?" Everyone was so excited as we rounded the end of the Spit into view. They sounded an airhorn and we answered with ours. We quickly chose a spot nearby to set Rikki-tikki-tavi's anchor, throw together some food to take over for our contribution to the dinner held for our last-minute arrival, launched Darzee, and rowed over to Juniata. We made short work of Marcia's porkchops, Gerta's wine, and our greenbean sauté– after all the joyful greetings and hugs, of course. Bev and Johnie joined us and we drank even more wine, talking and laughing until ten. It was a wonderful evening, better than we had hoped. After so many years of waiting for us to arrive in British Columbia, I think Dave's elation when he spied Rikki-tikki through the trees made his day! His voice over the VHF calling "RIKKI. TIKKI. TAVI." sure made ours.

Nanaimo to French Creek

Volume I: Nanaimo to French Creek Alone again on Rikki-tikki-tavi, we found enough to keep us busy for three more days! Cruisers spend a lot of time looking for ways to get supplies like water, fuel, propane, food, etc. This can be quite challenging and sometimes arduous, but it can be a fun way to explore a new spot. Some boaters make stops at marinas regularly for laundromats and showers. We shower aboard and don't make a lot of laundry, so mostly we just have to find food and fuel, plus we prefer to anchor rather than pay moorage fees. Nanaimo is a very well-developed city and it has a concentrated marina area with restaurants, a nice chandlery, a grocery and mall nearby. This view is of the downtown municipal marina and high-speed ferry landing, with the Newcastle Island/Protection Island anchorage out in the distance. Rikki-tikki is among the crowd of boats to the left of the group way out there (can you see him?). We motored Darzee across the harbor any time we wanted to come ashore, parking him behind a little floating restaurant called "Penny's Palapa". A small but interesting street fair offers fresh farmer's produce, specialty foods and crafts. With our new friends from the anchorage, Rod and Barb, we enjoyed a sunny morning at the market- I bought some lovely handmade feather and leather earrings from a First Nation woman. A troupe of preschoolers enchanted the crowd as they filed through the fair, each hatted and wearing an oversize green T-shirt emblazoned with the name of their school. A costumed bag-piper played while we did the obligatory tourist pose behind painted plywood figures representing early settlers of Nanaimo at The Bastion. I'm wearing my new feather earrings. We discovered there was a Costco along one of the Nanaimo city bus routes, so an entire day was devoted to getting there, stocking up on protein sources, and getting back! It was a very long day which cost us eight dollars in bus fare. Not inexpensive, but we found a couple of nice waterproof down vests for our winter on Galiano Island. Our little freezer full again, we pointed Rikki-tikki's bow toward the less-supplied islands of Desolation Sound. With the promise getting together with Captain Stan from Noyo, of dinner and laundry, French Creek was our destination. We were told it was very small. There was even some speculation that there would be no room for our trimaran, but Stan said he would come down and help us tie up when we called on VHF. With confidence, we motored Rikki-tikki-tavi out of Nanaimo's north entrance, carefully avoiding the infamous rocks that inhabit her harbor channel– rocks that damage and sink many vessels each year. As we approached French Creek, our VHF hails to the Captain went unanswered. He must've been called away! There would be no help on the dock, but we went in anyway, there being no other harbor or anchorage nearby. And was it tiny! Smaller than small, with every space stacked two and three deep with boats; mostly commercial fishing vessels, but quite a few sailboats, even a couple of trimarans. We inched in, stopped and backed, slowly turning around. Finally choosing a spot aside a small sailboat, we nudged ourselves in, using the boathook to position Rikki-tikki snugly with lots of fenders between us. The photo shows the spot we're headed for... behind the silver crabber, see that little sailboat? Rikki's port ama is pointing straight at it. We are thankful there was absolutely no wind! Despite missing our dinner with the Captain, by a happy chance, we enjoyed visiting with his two crewmembers, Emile and André! Emile and his wife, who dock their boat just two boats away from where we parked Rikki-tikki, drove us to the local market where we bought a few more essentials, like coffee and eggs. Thank you so much! It was wonderful seeing you again. A strong southeasterly wind howled the next day, and whitehorses pranced outside in the Strait of Georgia. We would've made a very fast passage to Rebecca Spit if we hadn't wanted to wait another day, hoping to give Stan time to return. We spent a second night, with its rather pricey dock fee, tied to that little sailboat. We are sorry we missed you, Captain Stan! The gale winds faded with the sunset. Fair weather was in the forecast for our long run to Quadra Island, where we hoped to spring a surprise arrival on our cruising friends on Juniata and Valhalla. Little did we know of what was in store for us...


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