Sailing–YES!– on the way to Nanaimo

Walt and I did enjoy a restful night, and by about 9:30 am on Thursday, September 29, we were leaving Deep Bay and motoring between the majestic, solemn cliffs of Little Bull Passage, and then starting out across the Strait of Georgia to Nanaimo. The wind rose as predicted, and we were able to sail for some two hours at 6-8 kts.–hooray!

At one point, the wind dropped from about 13-15 kts. to 5-6 kts., and Walt decided that conditions were right for the raising of our huge, light spinnaker sail so that it could dry out after being stored in its specially-constructed “turtle bag” on Braesail’s port-side deck and being soaked by the rains we’ve experienced since we last used it (a long while ago!). The sail had gotten twisted as it was being taken down (“doused”) after its last use, and so Walt had some challenges as he tried to straighten out the sail with the wind speeds increasing again to 11-13 kts. While Walt struggled out on the deck, I stayed in the cockpit, helping with the lines and handling the helm, and I was frightened a few times as Walt wrestled with the wildly-whipping folds of fabric and I saw him slip and grab the mast for stability. What a relief it was when the spinnaker was back in its long, tubular covering “sock” and the sock was folded into the turtle bag and Walt was back in the cockpit! We still need to raise the sail in calmer conditions so that it can dry properly.

With good wind still blowing, we sailed for another hour and enjoyed it very much. The wind, however, tried to blow Braesail away from the dock as we were landing in Nanaimo, and I was thankful to have help with the lines from a woman from the boat behind which we were mooring.

Looking at Nanaimo’s skyline, with its three tall buildings, from Braesail’s deck

After the boat was secure and we were registered at the Nanaimo Yacht Club office, and after Walt had filled Braesail’s water tanks, we’d taken nice hot showers, and we’d had a rest and a small snack, we were ready to motor across the harbor in Coracle to the Dinghy Dock floating pub off the shore of nearby Protection Island.

On the way to the pub, we passed the sailboat, Gingerlady, that had been in Campbell River, in False Bay, and in Deep Bay when we also were in those places. Gingerlady had come very close to grazing Braesail’s bow in Deep Bay as her skipper was trying to turn her around and find a better anchoring spot farther inside the bay in case winds rose during Tuesday night, and Walt had helped fend her off. Now I thought about the sizeable chartered sailboat, whose name we didn’t see, whose crew Walt had coached successfully from Braesail’s deck on Wednesday as they tried to anchor and stern-tie in the close quarters of Deep Bay, and I hoped that they were doing well.

Shortly after we’d been seated, the couple from Gingerlady arrived at the pub and came by to greet us and to ask us what had happened with our spinnaker–they had seen Walt struggling with it as we and they were on the way to Nanaimo. We invited them to share our table, and we had a delightful time getting acquainted with them and sharing cruising stories over our tasty meals. They live in Whitehorse in the Yukon, keep their sailboat in Skagway, have been sailing for a great many years, and over this past month have been sailing south from Skagway to these milder parts of the B.C. coast.

As the fingernail moon began to scrape the last light from the skies above the city, Walt and I motored back to Braesail, and I thought that it’s always such fun to meet and talk with fellow boaters! Perhaps we’ll encounter Gingerlady and her crew again somewhere.

[NOTE: Since we are back in areas where connectivity is generally good, we’ve discontinued our use of the Iridium GO! satellite phone and email. From now on, you should use our old GMail addresses: LMerylK@xxxxx.cxm and wrknowles@xxxxx.cxm. You can call us at 42n-nnn-3417 (Lorelette) and 42n-nnn-6703 (Walt). (bits are obscured to make scamming a little less easy. But you can figure it out.) Because of our ongoing problems with our AIS/GPS system, you are still unable to track us. You can always look up the places we are visiting on your map or on the Web.]

[Also, look back at the posts I made a few days ago (“Deep peace” and “Over the water” to see new pictures.]

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