My Dad and I took Plumper up the west coast of Vancouver Island this past week. We left Esquimalt on Tuesday morning and sailed up to Sooke, where we anchored for the night. We left Sooke at 0500, hoping for an easterly wind working with the long ebb tide to take us out as far as Cape Beale. Unfortunately, the wind was on the nose. We beat against the NW wind until the speed we needed to get to Cape Beale before dark was excessive, and then we flashed the iron genny for the rest of the day. We approached Cape Beale at about 2100 and the tide had changed. It was ebbing (out of Barkley Sound) and hitting the NW wind off the Cape and created a very confused and nasty chop. Plumper was rolling on her beam ends as we avoided the myriad shoals and entered Trevor Channel. We saw many Humpback wahles in that last hour or so before we anchored in Dodger Channel (dodging the swell).
After a good night's sleep in we set sail up Trevor Channel exploring the Sound. We dragged either a bucktail or a diver and flasher all day but had no luck catching fish. We pulled into the Port Alberni Yacht Club for the night. It is basically a fish camp that the thirty members welcome visitors at. There are no reciprocals because they need the moorage fees to keep the place running. It was worth the buck a foot mootage. They have created some wonderful hiking trails on their island with spectacular views. The shower there is the finest anywhere. One of the club members (a ceramic tiler) built it. The on-demand hot water is endless and the shower itself is huge. I pulled up a lawn chair and basked in the clean hot creek water being piped in. Best $2 I ever spent.
From the PAYC we sailed out looking for salmon but again had no luck. The sailing was fine with steady winds off the Pacific. We pulled into Effingham Bay for the night. There were three other boats there. One was flying the Red Duster and hailed from Southampton, England. On Effingham Island there was a rugged hike across to the other side of the island where an old native village used to exist. The hike was really fun, if a bit tortuous. The village is almost non-existant. There was a boat from Oregon there, and the guy came over and gave us a couple of Greenling for dinner. They were delicious.
The next morning we sailed out of Effingham and wandered over to Bamfield where we tied up for an hour or so at the grocery store. We stayed just long enough to buy some bread and beer and have an ice cream cone.
From there we went back to Dodger Channel to be in position for the run back down Juan de Fuca Strait the next day. We rowed ashore and watched three humpback whales in the small lagoon eating and frolicking. It was very cool.
We left Barkley Sound early the next morning and started sailing SE hoping to get to Sooke. Unfortunately we were again becalmed for a while. Eventually the winds piped up and were forecast to hit 35 so we decided to seek shelter in Port San Juan. The bay at Port San Juan is open to the SW with almost no shelter, and the wind was blowing about 25 and building from the SW when we got there. Fortunately, a fisherman in a boat called K-Roby let us tie up alongside him and we spent the night bouncing around at the dock secured to him. He was very friendly and we learned a lot about the black art of salmon fishing from him.
The next day was an all day flood and 20 knots of NW winds forecast. We left Port San Juan at 0820 and hoisted sail. It was a banner day in Plumper. We sailed all the way back to Esquimalt (about 72 miles) in 8 hours. The wind was cooperating as was the tide. We pulled into CFSA at 1620 (exactly) after a boisterous sail home.
It was a great week!
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217