Posted by: yachtanomaly | August 24, 2016

Sketches- Winter Harbour


Winter Harbour

Art, plein air

Plein air sketch of Winter Harbour

Posted by: yachtanomaly | August 24, 2016

Sketches- Sucia


View from Echo Bay, Sucia

Art, plein air

Plein air sketch, Echo Bay


Echo Bay at twilight

Posted by: yachtanomaly | August 24, 2016

August 22-23, Anacortes

We’ve spent a nice couple of days enjoying our favorite spots in Anacortes while we pack up the boat for the season. Cap Sante Marina is well situated near grocery and restaurants, and you can’t avoid Anothonys and the smell of fish and chips floating over the harbour.

Jon takes several trips up and down the masts to remove and stow the sails and rigging. My toughest job is to haul him up the mizzen, but fortunately, we can use the power winch to get him up the 65′ main mast.


Posted by: yachtanomaly | August 24, 2016

August 21st- Wind

From the captain

We had motored and sailed when possible up the inside to the tip of Vancouver Island without seeing anything over 15 knots of wind, usually much less. This despite numerous Strong Wind Warnings and Gale Warnings from Environment Canada. We motored and sailed around the notorious Cape Scott with winds 6 – 10 knots. We sailed around Cape Cook on the notorious Brooks Peninsula with 14 knots peak. At the same time our anemometer read 14 knots, abreast and only 1/2 mile off of the Solander Island weather station, it was reporting 23 knots. But they have built it high up on a cone shaped island, ridge effects are known to accelerate the wind field by 50 or even 100%. The peak gust we experienced on the West Coast was 18 knots.

Back through the Juan De Fuca straits, after a quiet night at Echo Bay on Sucia Island (well, as quiet as one might hope with 80+ boats in the anchorage) the dawn brought tapping halyards and a bit of rocking. Waves were working up the bay and some unfortunate power boats were rolling badly. Predict Wind had said light from the north shifting to east, Environment Canada has said light increasing to the usual Strong Wind Warnings from the NW. (But)The wind appeared to be from the south, and rising.

We were at the head of the bay, after the morning lattes (mochas- I don’t drink lattes!) we upped anchor and set sail, dodging the anchored boats on the way out in very shifty winds between about 5 and 15 knots. The Rosario Straits looked uniformly whitcapped, and when we got into open water I took a reef in the main (This is disputed by the editor who is fairly sure there was at least one reef in the sail from the outset). We were close reaching south east in a building south wind. Only a few minutes later I took the second reef, wind was above 20 knots true and 28 apparent, the GPS indicating a ground speed of 9.5 knots assisted by the ebb. The waves were only perhaps 3 or 4 feet, but very shortly spaced, no doubt due to the 3 knot current running against the wind. It continued to build to about 28-30 with gusts to the high 30’s, we were taking quite a bit of spray over the bow and slamming on some of the waves. I headed up towards the north east shore of Orcas Island, thinking that being a windward shore, it would be a bit calmer there – but the wind seemed to descend down that steep slope and slam the water, turning it gusty and shifty but not much less. In the gusts spray was picked up and driven across the water like smoke, suggesting they were 40 knots or so.

This would have been a great time for the 3rd reef: on Anomaly, there is no jib to strike to reduce sail, so the reefs on the main are quite deep, the 3rd would reduce the area to a mere 300 sq ft. I did not have the lines rigged for the 3rd reef though, we have rarely needed it and the system to do it is not well refined. A couple of power boats turned back, a sailboat was motoring back and forth in the lee of Orcas with an overturned dinghy in tow. Another sailboat approached with a roller furling jib half unrolled and shredded. We were overpowered and starting to get wet and decided to tack for the lee of the island as well.

The wind descending the hill left a very narrow strip of calm water, it is deep right to the shore and there was relatively flat water only four or five boat lengths from the shore. I pulled the main down, and put two reefs in the mizzen (which had been at full hoist) and we hove to for a little while. In the process of striking the main, I had started the engine and in just a few minutes got an “Engine Temperature High “ warning, and so had shut it down again. Now hove to in the relative calm, I investigated this and found that some time during the wet sail, the flapper on the exhaust had become stuck, preventing the exhaust and cooling water from exiting freely. I had been idling the engine when it overheated and there wasn’t enough exhaust flow to unstick it. I revved the engine a bit and it opened, fixing that problem.

A couple of other sailboats came by motoring with sails furled and headed into the straits, it appeared to be calming some and they continued on. So we motored out too, with no main and two reefs in the mizzen. The wind had calmed to the mid twenties, and perhaps the tide had slowed a little as well, by half way across towards Sinclair Island I was thinking the second reef in the main would be fine, by the time we got to Sinclair it was down to the mid teens and I set the main with one reef. Looking back towards Orcas there were hardly any whitecaps. Towards the south, it still looked windy and the sea still white.

The wind remained in the SSE, so we tacked down Padilla Bay and around the east side of Guemes Island, right to Cap Sante. A number of boats were anchored in Fidalgo Bay, one was unattended and had dragged right into the marina channel, a 100 yards off the rocks.

Jon, captain, Bamfiled

Captain Jon on the boardwalk at Bamfield

Posted by: yachtanomaly | August 22, 2016

August 21st- A Wild Ride Home

Partly cloudy, Windy, nasty wind shifts up to 45 knots

The boat was rocking early on and I was ready to blame inconsiderate neighbors until Jon said an East wind was up considerably. Further inspection revealed that many of the motor yachts were rolling from gunnel* to gunnel. Many had moved to the more sheltered side of the harbour. It turned into our roughest anchorage of the trip.

Of course, wind is welcomed by a true sailor like Jon. He had the sails up at anchor, 2 reefs in, and we were sailing as soon as the anchor was stowed. Weighing anchor, it was my job to alternate between idle and forward which I really dread, not being able to tell which “clicks” put us in which gear, but we got away safely.

Then the gusts started to hit.

The wind gusts were incredibly strong. They were also from all different directions, not entirely surprising inside an anchorage with cliffs on all sides, but the wide variation continued as we crossed the open area between Sucia and Orcas Island. Also, contrary to the forecast, we were running with the tide but against the wind which resulted in bashing waves that threw spray over the dodger.

One second we were sailing slightly healed, the next I was hanging on standing on the opposite bench and staring down at the water. The wind whipped the foam up into the air and carried it across the water in moving walls. The VHF radio crackled with calls from distressed kayakers in the water. A helicopter circled just off Sucia. It was really scary for awhile.

I kept yelling that we had too much sail and Jon finally conceded as we ran for cover and dropped the mainsail in the lee of Orcas. There were already two distressed sailboats there- one with a capsized dinghy, another with a ripped jib tangled and flapping. We motored briefly but a HIGH ENGINE TEMPERATURE warning sounded almost right away. He had to shut the engine down, fortunately still having the mizzen to maneuver with.

Thankfully, the engine problem was just due to a stuck exhaust flapper blocking the cooling water, so Jon was able to get that working again. After a few more checks, we continued on motor sailing with the mizzen to steady us. But the experience gave us new respect for the dreaded “wind against tide” conditions. We could not put the mainsail up again because Jon has not solved the 3rd reef arrangement.

Later approaching Guimes Island, we were able to raise the double reefed main again and had a nice sail back to Cap Sante in Anacortes. I even took the helm for a short time. We just had a few uneasy moments as a sailboat had dragged and partially blocked the narrow channel in. Too windy to rig outside, it was difficult to maneuver with several other boats in the narrow marina, but finally we got the lines and fenders on and were safely docked by 2:20PM.

The last leg of our circumnavigation of Vancouver Island is complete.
*1. gunnel – wale at the top of the side of boat; topmost planking of a wooden vessel.

Posted by: yachtanomaly | August 22, 2016

August 20th- Sucia

Warm, Shirt-sleeved sailing

We were undecided on where to spend our last night, Lopez Island’s Spencer Spit or Sucia, both marine parks, but had several recommendations for Sucia, so by 1:30 we were sailing by Disney point off unheralded Waldron Island and on to the 11 island group making up the horseshoe shaped Sucia, anchoring in Echo Bay by 3:30.

The guide book couldn’t have been more wrong in claiming this northern boundary island to be the more secluded destination. Jon counted 78 boats in the spacious bay and there were many more in the smaller Fossil, Shallow and Elwin Bays. We went onshore to enjoy the spacious hiking trail and noticed the campsites were booked solid for August.

I spent the afternoon trying to paint the scene with Mt. Baker in the distance.

Sailing, Sucia

Echo Bay, Sucia


Nice hiking trails on Sucia

Sailing, Sucia

Anomaly close to shore, Sucia

Posted by: yachtanomaly | August 22, 2016

August 20th- Roche Harbour

August 20th- Roche Harbour to Sucia
Sunny and Calm

I wasn’t sure I wanted to visit the crowded resord, but I didn’t think we should miss it after coming all this way, so we dinghied in. The first thing Jon noticed was the DONUTS sign. We finally found the dinghy dock at headed up to the Limekiln cafe.

We hadn’t planned on a sit-down breakfast, and asked the family behind us where they got their coffee. They said it was free at the Haro hotel, failing to mention the huge coffee and pastry tent they must have walked by. The Limekiln turned out ok- we ordered at the counter and they brought us our Marina Light breakfast in the airy dining room. It was fun to see the donut production line boiling and turning out donuts as fast as people could eat them.

I enjoyed walking around the grounds- past the Haro Hotel and the formal gardens, up a forested road past the church Our Lady of the Good Voyage, past the pool and tennis center, an airport, and finally a large variety of terrain hosting the Sculpture Gardens.

Jon was amazed that a pastel artist I spoke to said the crowds were actually lower this year. He had trouble finding a free restroom, until I found the hidden ones on the north side of the Limekiln cafe. We finally departed at 11:30 wondering at why anyone would go on vacation only to congregate with crowds of people at your destination.

Sailing, Roche Harbour

Roche Harbour dinghy dock

Sailing, Roche Harbour

Formal gardens of Hotel de Haro

Sailing, Roche Harbour

The Sculpture Garden

Sailing, Roche Harbour

Anomaly in Roche Harbour


Posted by: yachtanomaly | August 22, 2016

August 19th- Victoria to Roche Harbour

Sunny and warm

We lingered in Victoria enjoying Starbucks and Murchie’s up to the 11 am check-out time. It was a little tricky getting out of our #1 position on the dock, but I manned the boat hook to fend off and the dock hand and another boat owner made sure we didn’t contact anything. Jon made me throw out my carrots to prepare for US entry.

Jon got the sails up in the outer Harbour and we sailed across the Haro straight and US boundary line to San Juan Island. The large cargo ship Venture Luck motored by and then, a first, the captain called to ask and admire Anomaly! The wind started to die around 2:30 and we had to check in to customs, so we motored the rest of the way.

The customs experience was initially confusing, stressful and very hectic. There was room for 5 boats at the Customs dock and another 10 or more needing to check in. Fortunately, the other mariners were mindful of who arrived when, and it was as orderly as possible given the limited maneuverability that some of us have. Jon expertly alternated between drifting in idle and short spurts ahead and reversed for about 3/4 hour to get our chance on the dock and checked in. The customs agent was very friendly saying we are “the kind of people he’s supposed to let in”. He didn’t ask about vegetables, so I could have kept my carrots!

I was relieved to get away from the dock in the shifty winds. Jon was able to find our friends motor yacht and we anchored next to them and enjoyed a nice evening together.

There are maybe 300 yachts in the Harbour or at the Marina and of course you are going to have some bad apples in the lot. One group of boats was blasting rock music as loud as they could until about 3 in the morning. Others raced by with no regard to their wake rocking your boat. Another anchored uncomfortably close, but fortunately didn’t stay the night.

Sailing, Victoria

Fisgard Lighthouse- the oldest in west coast Canada

Sailing, Roche Harbour

Dawn in Roche Harbour

Posted by: yachtanomaly | August 22, 2016

August 18-19th- Enjoying Victoria

sailing, Victoria,

Crowds (from cruise ships?) on the Inner Harbour Causeway

sailing, Victoria,  ice cream

The medium sized dipped cone from Chocolats Flavoris

sailing, Victoria

Victoria at Night

Posted by: yachtanomaly | August 19, 2016

August 18th- Victoria

Mid 70’s , feels HOT!
We got a late start today; Jon has a terrible headache but seemed to perk up after visits to Murchie’s and both nearby Starbucks. He said it was necessary for the WIFI, but this time around the WIFI at the Causeway docks is excellent.

We also had lunch at Murchie’s which makes wonderful sandwiches. We saw a huge crowd at Chocolats Flavoris so we returned later for their incredible chocolate dipped cones- 4 different soft-serve flavors and 15 different dips- I had the small and it was only the 2nd time I’ve been able to say “too much chocolate”.
Chocolats Favoris

We continued on to the Royal BC museum and only had an hour, but it was worth it to see Lyuba, a 40,000 year old perfectly preserved baby wooly mammoth. Lyuba the Wooly Mammatch

Then struggled walking straight into the sun to Fisherman’s wharf just for Barb’s Fish & Chips. Took the cooler Harbour taxi back to the boat. Enjoyed the evening later the still radiating sidewalks and the laughing crowds of people and street performers.


At the Causeway docks


Frazier Harbour Walk

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