Thursday, February 09, 2006

Volume XVI: November 2005

This is a screenshot of our electronic charting and navigation program (GPSNavX for Mac) showing a section of the Southern Gulf Islands– mainly the part of Galiano Island where Rikki-tikki-tavi spent the months of November 2005 through January 21, 2006. The green dashed lines show the actual tracks of Rikki's travels (minus the few days when we didn't capture our track; we'd been there so many times!) from the day we entered Canada on August 4th through the end of October. The area with all the overlapping tracks is the harbor to/from the village of Ganges on Saltspring Island, where we did a lot of provisioning and email.
We settled Rikki-tikki onto the outside dock at Montague Harbour Marina near the end of October. The night before, while we were still in Glenthorne on Prevost Island after saying farewell to Dave and Marcia on Juniata, the blower fan on our diesel heater gave out. This meant that we'd have no way to warm the boat during the chilly nights ahead, so we steered for the marina with its supply of electricity. Once there, we used the payphone to find there was a repair facility on Granville Island in Vancouver who had the part. All we needed to do was to get the heater to them!
We called Aunt Betty to tell her we'd arrived at Galiano and learned that my cousin, Ken, would be coming over on the ferry with two friends to spend the weekend and bring us the key to the house. Ken lives a stone's throw from Granville Island and, when they returned to the mainland, he could take our broken heater to the repair shop. Wonderful!
We invited Ken, Gabryel, and Andréa to go "sailing" on Rikki-tikki when they arrived on the island a couple of days later. The sky was showing signs of impending rain as we motored out to circumnavigate Prevost Island. Soon it was drizzling and we all huddled beneath the dodger. Bald eagles had returned to the Gulf Islands and we spotted several near Prevost. We rolled out the jib to catch a breeze in Trincomali and soon reached ten knots! That evening we all enjoyed a brew and burger at Galiano's landmark Hummingbird Pub. It was a memorable day and Ken kept of it all on his new little digital camera.
Rikki-tikki-tavi's rainy spot at the end of the fuel dock at Montague Harbour Marina. Photo courtesy of Brian. The view from the deck of the house on Galiano with Trincomali Channel, hills of Saltspring Island, and mountains of Vancouver Island. Sunday dawned cold and crisp– a snow had frosted the mountains on Vancouver Island, which we could see beyond the lower hills of Saltspring Island. Clark fixed a great breakfast and we decided to take a run up to Wallace Island in Rikki-tikki. Becky and Brian had never been aboard when Rikki was moving! It was cold but the sun cheered us and Brian tried out his new photo gear. We tied up to the park dock in Conover Cove and hiked a bit of trail. Brian enjoying his new camera gear by taking super zoom photos of eagles and a far-off tug pulling a log boom. Rikki-tikki-tavi at the Conover Cove dock, Wallace Island Marine Park.
Clark and Nina with Nina's sister Becky at the base of a large arbutus tree.
Monday was gorgeous, calm and sunny, so we took a drive as far north on Galiano as the road would take us. The island is only about 23 miles long and, at its widest, four miles. We stopped at most of the shoreline access points along the west side just to enjoy the sun and the view of Trincomali Channel. We discovered there were other places that would accommodate Rikki-tikki– perhaps we'd stop on our way north in the spring. We rescued a bicyclist whose bike had a mechanical problem, though we had no room in the car for the bike. Hitchhiking is an accepted form of island transportation. Later in our island stay we met a young man who had lived for five years at the far north end without a car. He hitchhiked everywhere. We ended the day with a brew at the Hummingbird Pub.
The government dock at Retreat Cove, which is "up island" from the house. Becky's watching hooded mergansers through the binoculars.
The four of us were up at oh-dark-hundred on Tuesday to catch the early ferry to Swartz Bay, Vancouver Island, where Becky and Brian would take the Washington State Ferry to Anacortes. It was windy and rainy– we could see our Honda down on the car deck through the rain-streaked windows. More cars were loaded at the terminal in Village Bay, Mayne Island on this soggy morning.
Through rain-streaked windows, we could see our Honda on the Swartz Bay ferry car deck. The terminal at Mayne Island, Village Bay, in the early (soggy) morning light.
There were actually five ferries converging upon the terminal at Swartz Bay as we approached. We remember crossing this area in the fog in Rikki-tikki-tavi on October 18th. Luckily we avoided this kind of crush then.
We enjoyed a big breakfast at a Sidney restaurant and then dropped our car-deliverers off at the US Customs entry to the Washington Ferry. Big hugs and thanks to Becky and Brian! Clark and I aimed the car toward Victoria where we hoped to find a Home Depot and a Costco. A local told us we had to stop at Capital Iron. It was a must-see! So we did, and of course bought a few doodads. What a variety of merchandise, indeed it is a required stop.
We spotted the Home Depot right off the freeway (culture shock!) in Langford and practically next door was the Costco. The car loaded up with food and some insulation for Rikki-tikki, we caught the afternoon ferry back to Galiano, where we began our wonderful stay in auntie's home for the remainder of our Galiano Island winter odyssey.
The interior of the house on a day brightened by rare (and we mean rare!) winter sun. We started unloading stuff off the boat and moving it to the house, this only possible with a car! Nice hot showers were first on our agenda... ahhhh. May the sun warm your winter days, Clark & Nina s/v Rikki-tikki-tavi (Rikki-tikki's motto, and that of all mongooses, is "Run and find out.")


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