July 3, 2017: Lost laundry tokens and a giant sailboat

My quiet night was interrupted by only one trip to the head, fortunately, and by about 9:30 I was on my way with two bags of laundry to the on-shore facilities while Walt hiked up from the Nanaimo docks to deposit a bag of trash into the dumpster and to buy some bread and milk and Joy “held the fort” and did some reading. I had in my pocket two green plastic tokens, worth somewhat over $2.30 each US, one to wash one load of laundry and the other to dry it. How good it was to observe sea stars off various sizes, some orange and some purple, through the clear water near the ramp to the shore–they have been devastated in recent years by a disease aggravated by warming ocean temperatures. I stopped into the marina office and the attendant let me into the laundromat, and on the way we talked about the green tokens and how they looked like puzzle pieces or bread wrapper twist-its. By the time I was ready to put the tokens into the washing machine’s slot, however, I could NOT find them anywhere. I examined all my pockets several times, took everything out of the washer’s tub and went through the clothes, looked in my carrying bags and all over the floors, checked the counter tops and the wastebasket, all to no avail! I went back to the office to see if I had left the tokens there, and the attendant remembered them being in my hand as we walked to the laundromat and chatting about them, so I had NOT left them on the office counter. I had to go back down to Braesail, get a Canadian $10 bill, and buy more tokens, and then I was finally able to do my laundry–at least the washers and dryers worked well!

While waiting for the wash and dry cycles to be completed, I enjoyed chatting with other boaters engaged in the same tasks. By a little after 11 am I had the laundry folded and stowed on the boat, and we were ready for departure; Joy, however had been unable to find one of her hearing aids for which she and Walt had searched while I was busy with the washing–a much more significant loss than $5 worth of laundry tokens! Braesail was tightly tucked in between two other boats at the dock, and both the sun AND the wind were feeling lively, so we requested some help from the dock hands at the marina and escaped without difficulty (I held a fender over the side at the stern to protect our boat and the one behind us from any harm as we backed away). Next stop was the fuel depot, and then, at about 1 pm, off we motored to the northeast toward Lasquiti Island with plenty of sunshine and wind (blowing against us, of course!) and energetic waves.

We spent the following four hours motoring over the frisky blue waves frolicking between Vancouver Island on the west and various BC coastal islands on the east. By turns we napped, stood watch, fixed lunch and snacks, visited, read, examined the nautical charts and cruising guides, and enjoyed wonderful peeks at the snowy peaks on either side of the sea.

Mountains on Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island’s mountains seen en route from Nanaimo to Lasquiti Island

There was very little “sea traffic” during the afternoon, but at one point, Georgia, a gigantic maroon “super sailing yacht” some 160 ft. long and 33 feet wide with a mast probably over 100 feet tall (Braesail is 46 ft. long and about 15 ft. wide with a 70-ft. mast) passed us doing about 14 mph (we were motoring at about 7 mph)–it was quite a sight! http://www.superyachts.com/sail-yacht-2767/georgia-photos.htm

At about 5 pm we came through the entrance to False Bay on Lasquiti Island, which is thick with patches of rock and small islets and has a few houses scattered along its shores, with Lasquiti Village, featuring a seaplane and ferry dock, on one side. What should we see when we rounded the point but the towering mast of Georgia, anchored a fair ways out from the shore! We experienced some difficulties in anchoring because of current activity, but by 6 pm we were ready to settle in for the evening.

After a tasty chicken dinner, I performed KP duties and Walt took his mom out in Coracle for a swing around Higgins Island and the huge sailboat, and then Walt and I rode around the wider part of the bay near the village. Rocks were piled here and there along the shores of the bay, looking as if children had tried to build forts and castles with huge steel gray blocks that sometimes shone pale orange and lemon in the evening light. Feathery white jellies drifted in the water near the dinghy like lacy parachutes, opening and closing. The water was clear enough to allow me glimpses of sea stars below, with the reflection of the half-moon amongst them–had the sky been poured into the sea?

Before retiring for the night, Joy and I played two rounds of a dice-game-of-chance called “Farkle” while filling our faces with sea salt popcorn; we each won a round. As I was preparing for bed, Joy exclaimed that she’d finally found her missing hearing aid–CHEERS! (I never did locate the missing laundry tokens!). I happened to glance out the aft cabin’s port light and could see Georgia’s mast, lit by soft white lights along its height and sporting the required red light at the top–a skyscraping Christmas tree for the 4th of July!

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