August 30, 2017: Lots of (unusable) wind

Skies were gloomy when we left Grace Harbour on a cool Wednesday morning a little after 8 am. There was no evidence of overnight rain and the wind was calm as we motored out of the anchorage, but we could see areas in the distance over which inky clouds hung dark and low. Once we were out in open water, the winds rose to 10, then 15, and then nearly 20 kts. against us, the sea became quite choppy with white foamy wave caps appearing here and there, and our ride in Braesail became rather bouncy-bumpy. We considered raising sails, but we were traveling at about 5.5 kts. against a current of about 1.5 kts. with the motor recharging our ship’s batteries, and sailing, at probably around 7 kts., would have saved us some diesel fuel but fighting the current would have reduced our speed to about 5.5 kts., so we decided to keep motoring as large fans of lacy salt spray sprang up on either side of the bow and splattered the decks and windscreens. We radioed the small marina at the town of Lund, where we’d stopped on our way north on July 4, to see if they had any space in which we could moor for an hour or two, but, because of the scattered rain showers and high winds, a number of boats had stayed in port, and room for our 46-ft. boat at the dock was not available, so we decided to continue our journey south. No blackberry-cinnamon sticky rolls for us this time, unfortunately!

As we approached the timber town of Powell River and the marina at Westview under increasingly clear skies, the wind speeds fell to around 8 kts., and we rounded the breakwater, stopped at the fuel dock (where an elderly former Coast Guard engineer, who was pumping diesel, showed me a kind of slip knot to use for attaching fenders to life lines in a more easily adjustable fashion), and were directed to the end of a nearby dock where two young men helped us moor and told us where various information sources and facilities were. I took a bag of garbage up to a dumpster near an office building and also read the schedule on the notice board for the shuttle bus’ travels to Westview’s shopping area. When I returned to the boat, Walt was chatting with Greg, a man living near the marina who expressed interest in buying a boat similar to ours as a live-aboard vessel for his wife and himself. Walt gave him a tour of Braesail and described our experiences with her, and Greg very kindly offered to drive Walt and me into town to shop. He dropped us off near a shopping mall and restaurant where I enjoyed a bowl of clam chowder and a green salad and Walt ordered fish and chips. We purchased the groceries we needed and then decided to walk the two miles down the hill to the marina with our supplies, thus getting some exercise and a marvelous view over the marina and the sea to Texada Island. We stopped at the local Tim Horton’s (a cross between a doughnut shop and a fast food outlet) to buy a selection of “TimBits” (doughnut holes), and to try their “Nanaimo bar” doughnut, a chocolate doughnut filled with buttercream and coated with coconut and chocolate sprinkles; it was interesting, but I LOVE real Nanaimo bars! (The very rich bar consists of a chocolate and coconut crumb base layer and one of custard flavored butter icing, all covered with melted chocolate; one is plenty!)

From the marina entrance to the top of the docks we walked along “The Sea Walk,” a path bordered by blackberry vines (I ate a number of berries–yum!) and various seaside plants, including one that bears daisy-like blue blossoms; some interpretive placards describe the restoration of the area. We unloaded and stored our purchases, Walt napped, and I caught up on some reading and writing and did more scraping of the toe rail, which looked a good bit better after being washed with sea water. I was also treated to a wonderful sunset as I worked! Supper was a very tasty falafel salad, but as I was cleaning the galley my intestinal system started to complain about something (the Nanaimo bar doughnut, perhaps?), and I had to spend too much time in the aft cabin’s head. While Walt showered, I crawled into bed, trusted that I’d feel better in the morning, and soon fell asleep.

Sunset at Westview Marina

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