Tuesday, April 12, was another on-again-off-again day for precipitation of various kinds (snow on the hilltops) with a few minutes of sunshine sprinkled here and there. After lunch, Walt and I walked down the dock to admire a large, venerable wooden work boat, the Hecate Ranger, that was built in 1962 for the BC Forest Service as part of their survey and patrol fleet. The present owners, a couple who’ve been cruising in many areas over many years, and who have put a huge amount of time, energy, and money into renovating the classic craft, were most gracious and friendly, and gave us a fine tour of the boat that was built to house a crew of eight and is now home to them and their two dogs and two cats. Walt helped to get their boiler working, and we spent quite some time sharing cruising stories and having a delightful visit!
We then took a walk up the ramp to the mainland of Thetis Island and visited the Howling Wolf Farm Market and Pot of Gold Coffee Roasting (about to be sold), and found both of them closed for the season. We did get some exercise strolling about the harbor’s lovely grounds, but found it so sad to remember that Thetis and neighboring Penelakut islands were once joined by a drying flat and were home to Indigenous communities until they were separated by a channel dredged between them to keep the Natives away from the White settlers. It was even more heartbreaking to think about the “steps to hell” that can still be seen next to the Thetis Island ferry dock; they were climbed by the First Nations children who were forcibly removed from their families and taken by ferry to the residential school where many were abused and 160 died and were buried in unmarked graves. What can ever be done to even begin to make things right?
We rose early on Wednesday morning and were on our way to Porlier Pass by 8:30 am, cruising beneath snow-sifted hilltops and past driftwood-decorated “pocket beaches” surrounded by huge rocks in varying shades of rusty brown, charcoal gray, ivory, and black. We motored through the pass near slack tide to take advantage of minimal current strength, entered the Strait of Georgia, crossed it at a good speed of around 7 kts. under mostly sunny skies (winds were erratic and too weak to make for decent sailing, as is so often the case), ran our new desalinator (usually called a “watermaker,” but it does not MAKE water–it desalinates sea water) to produce about 25 gallons of potable water over the course of some three hours, and were treated to wonderful views of the BC Coastal Mountains near Vancouver.
By 2 pm we were tied to the dock at the Burrard Yacht Club and were settled before a rain squall gave Braesail a good rinsing. Thursday should see weather sufficiently dry to allow for some errand-running.