Larry and Trinda Littlefield have been living aboard the Katie Lee, their 81 Passport 45 ketch since June 97. They had a couple of Catalina sailboats before that, a 22' and a 25'. After getting aquatinted with the larger boat and refitting a few of the necessities, they planned a shakedown cruise up the Inside Passage during the summer of 98. This was to be the first long cruise for them both together. Larry had crewed with a 35 Rifiki down the Baja Coast and together they had trailered the 22 down to San Carlos, Mexico for a week in the Gulf of Baja. They arranged for time off work from June 26 till Sept 1. Without a definite itinerary they headed north to see what would shake down first.

• Part 1 - Finding the Bottom

• Part 2 - Fuel Stops

• Part 3 - Fast Water

• Part 4 - Cold Water

 

 

The first morning of our trip, I carefully plotted the day's course on the computer. It would take us north past La Conner to Deception Pass. I had the NavTrek computer navigation software newly installed. This was our first real trip with it. We had a number of other new systems aboard, NavTrek was connected to a GPS and a new fish finder/depth finder was installed in the forward bulkhead of the cockpit.

As we motored along with a light breeze, I saw another sailboat, named the “Integrity”. She had her sails up and was making a few knots. Just like any other time two boats can see each other in the water, I decided that I must be sailing too. I rushed to get the sails out before the wind died. It always dies as soon as I pull up the main! We ‘raced’ along at three to four knots up Saratoga Passage. As soon as we rounded Strawberry Point, into Skaget Bay the wind did quit. I began messing with the sails. Trinda had been steering and was now playing with the fish finder. She was trying to get the pictures of the fish to show. We were just SW of Goat Island and the entrance to La Conner, when suddenly, the boat just stopped! It lurcheed so hard that I thought she had hit a submerged rope or cable in the water, or even a fishing net. I couldn’t believe it! I checked the depth/ fish finder and it showed 74 feet. I couldn't imagine what had happened. I was getting a little scared. The NavTrek was too new to be my first thought, so I didn’t look at it yet. I grabbed a boat hook and went along side about where the keel is. I thought that if it was something in the water I might find it with the boathook. As I leaned over the side to swing the boat hook through the water, it hit the bottom! We had simply run aground on one of the many little mud humps alongside the narrow channel that I had so carefully plotted the course through earlier that morning. Looking back to the fish finder, which was still showing 74 feet and lots of fish symbols, I realized that Trinda had gotten it into SIMULATION mode! At least she saw lots of fish! The area there is very deceptive, there is water everywhere for miles and miles. Too bad it’s only a few feet deep most of the time!

Very ominous second day of a 60 day trip! I hoped that this was not a sign of things to come!

I immediately tried to motor off the mud bank. I tried reverse first. We seemed to have very little power, especially in reverse. The Integrity offered to take a line and try to tow us off. With their limited auxiliary engine in their small sailboat there wasn’t much hope, but I started getting ready. Before I could get the line rigged, a much more powerful motorboat came along. He was doing about 16 knots up the channel. I don’t think he even noticed we were aground. He raced up and ask directions to La Conner. I traded directions for a tow. We were both happy.

The second time we found the bottom it was a little more exciting. It was the second week of our trip. Everyone had explained that because the water is soooo deep and the bottom sooo steep in Canada, that the proper way to anchor is to stern tie, “ This is to drop the anchor a few boat lengths from shore in 100 feet of water and back up to the shore. Then tie a line from the stern to a tree or rock on the beach. The anchor and the stern line are then adjusted for the effect of the tide and a safe nights sleep can be expected!”

It was about 7:00 in the morning. I had just woken up. I heard a light banging. I suppose that is what woke me, because we had been sleeping till 8:00 or so. I looked out the companion way and thought that the trees were a little closer than I remembered. I climbed on up and sure enough we were right up on the beach! I ran back and looked over the aft rail and could see the rudder an inch or so off the bottom, banging against a boulder.

I guess I panicked. I thought back and the first thing “you are supposed to do” is pull on the anchor. This is supposed to pull you off the beach. Well we were here because the anchor obviously wasn’t stuck to the bottom anyway. I pulled it all the way in. We were still on the beach.

Next, still stuck on the idea of this mystical “kedgeing off” that I had read about in all the books. I pulled the inflatable dingy up under the outboard. We kept the 9.9 Susuki on a block on the pushpit rail. Trinda lowered it down to me in the dingy. We had not practiced this much yet, but got the motor on to the dingy without much trouble this time. I just pulled myself around to the bow by hand. There were only small waves, 6” to a foot maybe. I tried to lift the 60 pound CQR anchor down into the dingy without puncturing it. A wave caught the dingy, pushing it up and under the bow of the Katie Lee. A bolt on the bow ripped a hole in the side of the dingy! The tube went flat almost immediately!

What to do now? Oh S..., everything always goes to pot so quickly! I yelled to Trinda to help me get the outboard back off the dingy before it sunk. I was more worried about it, than the Katie Lee! I lifted the anchor back up on the bow roller and pulled myself back around to the stern. I hooked the hoist to the motor, and Trinda pulled the it back up on to the bracket on the rail.

I was still obsessed with carrying out the anchor and trying to winch ourselves off the beach! I climbed back up on deck and let the hard dingy down from the davits. I noticed that by then that the rudder was touching the bottom. It didn’t seem stuck yet though. The hard dingy is a Perrywinkle, more sailing dingy than anything else, so there is no place to put the outboard on it. I began rowing around to the bow, when I realized that now we were probably in trouble. I jumped back into the cockpit. I started the motor and put it in forward.

All that I accomplished was to discover a new way to dig clams. Lots of clams. The thrust of the prop washed a trench two feet deep and six or eight feet behind the stern, but the rudder was already hard aground.

Next, as I panicked more, I saw a fishing trawler passing the mouth of our cove. I grabbed the air horn and blasted away. Not a sound came back. I grabbed the VHF Marine Radio. I called to him to no avail. I was really getting excited now. I knew I wasn’t suppose to use the MAYDAY word, but nothing else seemed to work. No one would answer me. So I did call MAYDAY. Immediately, the Canadian Coast Guard answered. I explained my predicament. They agreed that I should NOT call MAYDAY! but they did relay my call to a tow boat.

Trinda and I were shocked at the reply, “Katie Lee, this is the C-TOW Integrity.”

They promised to be at our assistance within 20 minutes. “We are only six inches short of water now, we might make it,” I thought. But, as they got there, and ask for a line, we both realized that it was too late. All 33,0000 pounds of the Katie Lee were firmly on the bottom. We were stuck! The only possibility now was to wait for the tide to go out and come in again.

For a small fee, the C-TOW Integrity offered to hang around and make sure we survived! They assured me that they had watched many other boats, small and large, spend a tide change on the beach without damage. The tide was going out faster, and the boat started leaning over more and more. Muffy, our poodle, could no longer keep her footing on the deck. Trinda was having difficulty too! She gathered her sewing and headed for the highest point on the rail.

The boat was still only heeled about 45 degrees so we had a ways to go yet. I had closed all the through hull valves and thought that all I had to do was wait. I took Muffy for a walk on the beach, retied the stern line and was just piddling around when Trinda screamed! She heard water gurgling down below. I raced back to the boat, climbed aboard and ran below. As soon as I entered the salon, I recognized the sound. Water was entering the clothes washer drain from the forgotten through hull and running over into the cabinets. I closed the valve, got a hand pump and pumped it out.

The boat tipped on over to about 60 degrees before the tide started coming back in. The captain of the Integrity had the gall to ask if we had had the boat heeled over that far while sailing. To my and Trinda’s amazement as the tide cam in, it did just float right back up, right side up.

Ya know how in Canada everybody stern ties all the time. Well,...it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

 

 

Fuel Stops

We only ran out of fuel three times, well not really, quite. We have three fuel tanks. They’re not really connected together. I bought most of the stuff to re-plumb it with cross overs and such, I just never quite decided how I wanted to hook it up. So its all still there in the seattee locker. All the other things I’ve bought but not installed yet are in there too. Pretty full locker. Even the backup bilge pump., but that’s another story.

It only happens in the best places! Like, at the mouth of Departure Bay north of Nanaimo, BC. That’s were the ferries come out. You know the really BIG ferries they have in Canada. Well, we had just motored across the Strait of Georgia. Almost no wind. It was a quiet day, but long. We were tired. We had left Pender Harbor early. Anyway, after watching these two giant ferries and trying to count the decks and windows on the sides from the distance. We motor on up closer to Departure Bay. Just as we start to cross the main channel, the diesel coughs and dies. I look up and There’s one more of the ferries just coming around the point, out of Departure, right at us. Trinda starts to yell. I didn’t know what to do for a minute. I needed time to think. I pulled out the jenny hoping there would be enough wind to at least get us out of the main channel.

There was, just barely. I told Trinda to just sail in circles till I made sure what was wrong. I jumped below, guessing that it was the fuel, I pulled up the floor boards over the tanks and dipped the main.

No, I don’t have any kind of fuel gauges. Its not like the fuel tank plumbing in the locker, it s that I haven’t decided on the kind of gauge I want yet. Any way, I pull the plug from the inspection port and dip in the stick. Sure enough the main tank was dry.

Well, I did have that little electric flow through fuel pump in that same locker and all that hose. Good thing I hadn’t installed it yet huh! or maybe I wouldn’t be writing this. O well! I disconnected the line from the auxiliary tank and hooked an extension cord to the fuel pump and the cigarette lighter plug. It only took about 15 minutes to transfer enough fuel into the main tank to get o into Nanaimo.

That was just the second time. The third time it seemed old hat. It was just off Sidney Spit, back down near this end of the Island. It was just after we ran over the prawn trap and bent the prop. We were just piddling around the Sidney area ‘cause we had an appointment Tuesday, to get hauled out in Canoe Cove. (We could only do about 3 knots, then the prop vibrated like crazy.)

We had just discovered that someone had stolen Our 3 prawn traps and we were motoring in around to the inside of Sidney Spit. I had hoped to pick up a buoy for the night. We were only half way down too where the buoys are in the Marine Park and the motor just dies again. “Damn!”, I say. “Out of gas again!”

We’re in 25 to 30 feet of water with a good sand and mud bottom, so I walk up to the bow and drop the anchor. There is about 2 knots of current, so it sets OK. Back to the bilge! I pull up the floor boards and take out the inspection plug to dip the tank again, but its a geyser! I fumble and squirt diesel all over the floor, but I get it back. Well, you see, That ain’t right. If your out of fuel, the tanks not supposed to squirt you when you open it! I immediately dipped the other two tanks. The heater/second tank was a little fuller that I remembered it too. The auxiliary in the seatee was bone dry! That’s strange, as the line to it was pinched off by the previous owner. It was supposed to have an air leak that caused the motor to have trouble.

Any way, I was really stumped! Five and a half hours later, I finally had it working again! This time it wasn’t so simple. ,I dismantled the fuel system from the engine back. Each piece was NOT plugged up as I thought it would be. Finally I was back to the top of the main tank. The one that was FULL! The pickup tube seemed to be stopped up!

I thought that if only I could see the end of the pickup tube, I might be able to see what was gong on. The first thing I had to do was to get the fuel out of the tank so I could open the 8” square inspection port. I got out the trusty fuel pump and put it to work. Again I thought about how glad I was to have it in the locker. er, I should have installed it!

I pumped the fuel into the heater tank and the auxiliary till they were full. Darn, it still left about 6” of fuel in the main tank. I got a mirror. Ya know how clear diesel looks in a glass gar? Well in a black iron tank, it looks black! So much for the mirror. I rolled up my sleeves ( yea, right. sleeves on a summer, two month cruise! Ha, no body will believe that!) and reached in. As may hand got close to where I though the pickup tube was, something FURRY hit my fingers! FURRY??? No, couldn’t be. I felt again. I was like a piece of cotton or paper towel. It was sucked up into the pickup tube. I had found the problem!

Just before we left, last May I had had the fuel tanks cleaned and the fuel polished. I was sure that this wasn’t in there then. It must have been sold to me by one of those friendly marinas during the last few weeks.

Well, I got it out, put the works back together again, and had a frozen vodka for supper!

The Fast Water

I saw a big log, maybe 2 feet in diameter and 10 feet long just ahead. I turned to port just a little to miss it and continue following the trawler ahead. He then spun violently to port then eased forward, having made a 90 degree turn. I realized too late, he had crossed right through the middle of a whirlpool. I had no choice, I was already there too. The boat lurched and made a 45 degree turn to port, healing bout 35 degrees to starboard. I heard a crash from below. That would be the drawer that we couldn't keep closed. The trawler just ahead seemed to just stop, directly in front of us. I steered hard to starboard, but just like the trawler, we seemed to almost stop. then we both started moving again slowly away form the turbulent water, toward Nanamio. We were through. Then the shakes hit me. I looked at Trinda for the first time since entering the narrows. She was much paler than her recent sunburn normally allowed!

Trinda had talked me into going through Dodd Narrows a little early. It was still nearly two and a half hours before slack water. The guide book said not to go even 30 minutes before slack water, but ...

Earlier, when we had Tweety, a Catalina 25 with a 7.5 HP out board motor, we had motored under the Tacoma Narrows bridge at maximum current. I remembered that aside from the fact that we couldn't make much progress, not much else happened. There were a few stray currents that made steering a little unpredictable. But Tacoma Narrows is quite wide, and has a maximum current of around 4 knots. Tweety could motor at 4.5 knots, so it was just a slow trip.

Our first experience with the real "fast water", or rapids, was gentle. Deception Pass regularly has currents above 7 knots. It is only about 350 feet wide, but has a shoal reaching almost half way across. That makes it only about 150 feet, or 3 boat lengths wide that we can use. We reached the area of Deception Pass in the early evening, so we elected to spend the night in Cornet Bay and save the pass for morning. I figured that it might take 20 minutes to reach the pass from the dock in Cornet Bay, so we left about 30 minutes before high slack tide. It only took 10 minutes to motor around the point, missing all the sand bars this time. I had been reading the cruising guides and they all had said to only attempt the narrow channels at slack water, when there is no current.

Deception Pass is much narrower than Tacoma Narrows and has much stronger currents, according to the guide books. As we approached the inter bay, I could see in the early morning light, ripples on the water, indicating a current coming in still. The ripples were 6 or 8 inches high. Being a little nervous about how the Katie Lee might react to the current, I chickened out. We decided to motored in a circle and watch another boat go through first. Along came the trawler we had notice in Cornet bay the night before, about 50 feet long. It would give me an idea of what would happen. As I motored in the circle, I watched our boat speed on the GPS. The current in the inter bay seemed to be a couple of knots still. The trawler didn't seem to have any trouble with the current. So, at about 15 minutes before slack water, we motored through. I set the throttle a about 3/4 so I would have a little reserve in case I needed it. The steering was a little more sensitive that I remembered, but no other noticeable effect.

So, it was a couple of weeks and other excitement later that we reached Dodd Narrows about 5 hours early. It was a flood tide, so we would be going with the current, not against it. We looked in Boat Harbor, hoping to find a public dock with a store or gift shop to spend some time. The docks and beaches had "Private" signs up all around. We piddled around motoring along the shore looking at the beautiful homes and yards. We still reached the narrows way too early. I searched the narrow pass with my binoculars. Looking for any sign of fast water, rapids or such to no avail. We were too far to see any thing useful. I could see several large barges through the pass. I decided that they were waiting to come through the pass against the current. I had read about barges lining up and taking so long to go through passes, that the entire slack water time was consumed. So much time that slow sailboats, going the opposite direction, missed the safe time and had to wait another 6 hours for the next slack water at the next tide change.

Along came a large, racing rigged sailboat, maybe a 60 footer, and he motored right on through the narrows. I noticed he disappeared to the starboard somewhere in the narrows. I couldn't quite relate the terrain I saw to the chart. I wasn't sure how wide or long the narrows really were. The trees on the narrows' shore blended with the trees on the far shore through the pass.

Trinda grew more and more impatient. Several other power boats came, and went right on through the narrows. What did they know that the folks that wrote the guide books didn't? We motored in large circles. I couldn't make up my mind about what I thought about the current. I was afraid that if the current were too fast, the channel too narrow, I might not be able to steer the boat around any obstacles that might appear in the channel at the last second. More power boats came along. Trinda grew more impatient, maybe more with my indecision than with the waiting. I talk to myself some when I can't decide the course of action to take. I worry and pace, a good trick on a 45 foot boat! Maybe that's what was eating her. The power boats were of the type that can usually make up to 15 knots if need be. We can only do 6.5 to 7 knots. So they have more maneuvering capability than we do. Dodd Narrows is only 160 feet wide so that means only about 3 and a half boat lengths. No turning back!

A 35 foot sailboat and another trawler came. Still two and a half hours early. The Tide and Current book said the current was about 4 knots, maybe. I wasn't sure I had done the daylight savings time adjustment right. If not, then it was still 6 knots! We decided to follow them through.

The water was high on the banks, but flat all through the narrows. I decided that this was a piece of cake. The walls of the pass were really flying by. There were a couple of ladies and several children sitting on the rocks on the port shore waving and watching the boats pass. Then I saw the turbulent water ahead. The water was smooth in the narrows, but where it opened up to the bay on the other side, there were whirlpools, rip-tides and rapids every where! The sailboat was far enough ahead of the trawler that I didn't notice his tactics. He had hugged the starboard shore through the narrows. He turned sharp around the point and missed all the fast water. I followed the trawler. It must have been his first time through too. After the whirlpool, and the water settled, we passed them. I could see an older couple in the pilot house. They seemed pretty shook! I suppose we were too.

Well, that was the introduction to the "fast water". A week later, in Desolation Sound, we hadn't decided what our itinerary held. While visiting with a young guy alone on his boat, he told Trinda about the whales that frequented the inside of the north end of Vancouver Island. There's a beach at the north end of Johnstone Strait where the Orcas rubbed their bellies on the sandy beaches. Trinda decided we had to go. That night I planned all the different routes we could take north from Desolation Sound. All the routes include several narrows. The next day another neighbor in the anchorage told us about the wind in Johnstone Strait. "It blows up to 60 miles an hour most days.", he said. I wasn't so sure about the wind, but Trinda insisted. Then I told her about all the rapids. She was a little nervous, but insisted we head that way anyway.

After a week or so of exploring Desolation Sound, we headed north for Cordero Channel and Dent Rapids. The first rapids, a set of three in fact. Trinda insisted that we do them exactly according to "Charlie’s Charts" guide book. We arrived about two hours early for Yuculta Rapids. The plan is to start through Yuculta Rapids one hour before the current stops. Then into Gillard Passage 20 minutes early so that we can make it to Dent Rapids before the whirlpool called Devil's Hole develops on the down stream side. We wait patiently this time, fishing a little, cleaning the deck and ensuring everything is put away.

As we start into Yuculta Rapids, we are going against the current. We've had more experience with the boat so we are more comfortable, but the water swirls around and looks ominous. It seems we'll get to Gillard Passage to quick so I idle back some. The other sailboats that waited with us outside, move ahead. We are the last in the line through the first rapids. Big Bay is a resort in between the rapids. A small catamaran came out to join the line just ahead of us, as we enter Gillard Passage. There are some higher rapids right in the channel, a standing wave about 2 1/2 feet high. The catamaran went right over the wave! It bounced and swerved, but seemed OK. We all motored along as fast as we could I think, toward Dent Rapids. It came out just right. We couldn't even guess where the "Devil's Hole" was supposed to appear! Trinda thought that this was just fine! She had no interest in seeing Devil's Hole open up and swallow us here. She still remembered Dodd Narrows vividly!

We later visited with the folks on the catamaran. They were at least as nervous as Trinda and I, about the rapids. They did NOT intend to go right over that wave, but that's the way boats are!

The next rapids were several hours away. There was no chance of making it on to them at the right time to go through. We motored on up close and anchored in a small cove off to the side of the channel. We spent that night and next morning enjoying the solitude and serenity of the small cove named Tallac Bay. Greene Point Rapids are milder that the first three in the area, but the charts still show those curious little circular arrows indicating exciting water.

We started off just about noon. I had decided that Whirlpool rapids, 2 1/2 hours away, had better be entered at the right time than worrying about Greene Point. We came around the bend so that we could see the restriction in the channel that made Greene Point. The channel was wide and the current swift but smooth to the port side. I stayed far over to the port side. To starboard, as we approach the rock, I calmly pointed sand ask Trinda if see wanted to see the whirlpool. She jumped up and screamed at me! It seemed really big! I wasn't supposed to got through any more like this. But, I easily stayed to port and passed the whirlpool. It was 2 or 3 feet deep in the center and about 20 feet in diameter! She was right, I had promised not to, but it seemed so calm, and Whirlpool Rapids sounded so ominous! I didn't want to be late to them.

We weren’t late for Whirlpool Rapids. In fact they were no fun at all. There was a little foam floating around the area as a hint that there may have been excitement before, but not now. Trinda was VERY thankful this time. On the rest of the trip we had very good luck with timing. We hit all the rest at calm, slack water!

Finding the Bottom

The second time we found the bottom it was a little more exciting. It was the second week of our trip. Everyone had explained that because the water is soooo deep and the bottom sooo steep in Canada, that the proper way to anchor is to stern tie, “ This is to drop the anchor a few boat lengths from shore in 100 feet of water and back up to the shore. Then tie a line from the stern to a tree or rock on the beach. The anchor and the stern line are then adjusted for the effect of the tide and a safe nights sleep can be expected!”

It was about 7:00 in the morning. I had just woken up. I heard a light banging. I suppose that is what woke me, because we had been sleeping till 8:00 or so. I looked out the companion way and thought that the trees were a little closer than I remembered. I climbed on up and sure enough we were right up on the beach! I ran back and looked over the aft rail and could see the rudder an inch or so off the bottom, banging against a boulder.

I guess I panicked. I thought back and the first thing “you are supposed to do” is pull on the anchor. This is supposed to pull you off the beach. Well we were here because the anchor obviously wasn’t stuck to the bottom anyway. I pulled it all the way in. We were still on the beach.

Next, still stuck on the idea of this mystical “kedgeing off” that I had read about in all the books. I pulled the inflatable dingy up under the outboard. We kept the 9.9 Susuki on a block on the pushpit rail. Trinda lowered it down to me in the dingy. We had not practiced this much yet, but got the motor on to the dingy without much trouble this time. I just pulled myself around to the bow by hand. There were only small waves, 6” to a foot maybe. I tried to lift the 60 pound CQR anchor down into the dingy without puncturing it. A wave caught the dingy, pushing it up and under the bow of the Katie Lee. A bolt on the bow ripped a hole in the side of the dingy! The tube went flat almost immediately!

What to do now? Oh S..., everything always goes to pot so quickly! I yelled to Trinda to help me get the outboard back off the dingy before it sunk. I was more worried about it, than the Katie Lee! I lifted the anchor back up on the bow roller and pulled myself back around to the stern. I hooked the hoist to the motor, and Trinda pulled the it back up on to the bracket on the rail.

I was still obsessed with carrying out the anchor and trying to winch ourselves off the beach! I climbed back up on deck and let the hard dingy down from the davits. I noticed that by then that the rudder was touching the bottom. It didn’t seem stuck yet though. The hard dingy is a Perrywinkle, more sailing dingy than anything else, so there is no place to put the outboard on it. I began rowing around to the bow, when I realized that now we were probably in trouble. I jumped back into the cockpit. I started the motor and put it in forward.

All that I accomplished was to discover a new way to dig clams. Lots of clams. The thrust of the prop washed a trench two feet deep and six or eight feet behind the stern, but the rudder was already hard aground.

Next, as I panicked more, I saw a fishing trawler passing the mouth of our cove. I grabbed the air horn and blasted away. Not a sound came back. I grabbed the VHF Marine Radio. I called to him to no avail. I was really getting excited now. I knew

I wasn’t suppose to use the MAYDAY word, but nothing else seemed to work. No one would answer me. So I did call MAYDAY. Immediately, the Canadian Coast Guard answered. I explained my predicament. They agreed that I should NOT call MAYDAY! but they did relay my call to a tow boat.

Trinda and I were shocked at the reply, “Katie Lee, this is the C-TOW Integrity.”

They promised to be at our assistance within 20 minutes. “We are only six inches short of water now, we might make it,” I thought. But, as they got there, and ask for a line, we both realized that it was too late. All 33,0000 pounds of the Katie Lee were firmly on the bottom. We were stuck! The only possibility now was to wait for the tide to go out and come in again.

For a small fee, the C-TOW Integrity offered to hang around and make sure we survived! They assured me that they had watched many other boats, small and large, spend a tide change on the beach without damage. The tide was going out faster, and the boat started leaning over more and more. Muffy, our poodle, could no longer keep her footing on the deck. Trinda was having difficulty too! She gathered her sewing and headed for the highest point on the rail.

The boat was still only heeled about 45 degrees so we had a ways to go yet. I had closed all the through hull valves and thought that all I had to do was wait. I took Muffy for a walk on the beach, retied the stern line and was just piddling around when Trinda screamed! She heard water gurgling down below. I raced back to the boat, climbed aboard and ran below. As soon as I entered the salon, I recognized the sound. Water was entering the clothes washer drain from the forgotten through hull and running over into the cabinets. I closed the valve, got a hand pump and pumped it out.

The boat tipped on over to about 60 degrees before the tide started coming back in. The captain of the Integrity had the gall to ask if we had had the boat heeled over that far while sailing. To my and Trinda’s amazement as the tide cam in, it did just float right back up, right side up.

Ya know how in Canada everybody stern ties all the time. Well,...it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

 

Cold Water

 

 

Muffy

The very first evening I began what later turned out to be one of the most (predictable events) of the whole trip. Muffy had to go ashore! She ALWAYS had to go ashore! Every morning, every evening and ever chance in between!

redundant

 

Diary day 3-4

Free of the bottom, we motored on up toward Deception Pass. I had heard there were buoys available around Hope Island. We would need to wait out the current in the pass. Being a little "bottom shy", the buoys all seemed too close to shore, or too shallow to get close to, or were already taken. We went on into Cornet Bay. As we approached toward the outer floats, the bottom started coming up again. I spent several minutes pouring over the charts and the GPS. I began to wish I had sprung for the differential GPS too! The dredged channel into the fuel dock and floats at Cornet Bay is narrower than the +-300 feet of the selective availability of the standard GPS., especially if one has just been towed off a mud bank! I found the channel finally. It was closer to the southern shore than I thought it should be.

Tied up and safe for a while, I was walking the dock looking at the bottom of the boat. I had notice significant growth on the bottom and prop before we left the slip in Shilshole. I had assumed the moss and grass growing on the bottom would wash off in the first day or two of the trip. We have a sloughing bottom paint. I noticed the prop. It had lots of little white spots on the blades now that the moss had washed away. Upon closer examination it turned out to be lots of small barnacles about 1/2" across and 1/2" high. That's why I had no power. It was like having three big fat paddles down there. I got out the duct tape and taped a wire brush to the boat hook. I chipped barnacles and polished the prop from the float for the next hour.

The next morning we were to have our first experience with the "fast water". We slipped the lines from Cornet Bay an hour before slack water in Deception Pass. I was anxious to see what it looked like so I hurried around the point. It only took 15 minutes to get to the entrance to the pass. There were still current lines and ripples in the water, so Trinda and I decided to motor in circles till the water slowed a little more. According to the GPS we could make 8.1 knots one way and 5.3 knots the opposite. That's about 6.7 knots. Cleaning the prop helped a lot, but the bottom must still be dirty because the boat should make about 8kst hull speed. When we finally went through the pass, the water was so calm that we both said "What’s the big deal, there's nothing to this!", but more on that later at Dodd Narrows.

We motor on north up Rosario Strait and into Friday harbor, as again there was no wind. A quiet anchorage south of the ferry terminal. An afternoon of walking the streets of Friday Harbor and groceries and snacks then back to the Katie Lee.

We left Friday Harbor about noon for Roche Harbor. Reputed to be quiet and picturesque. It was very busy. We pumped the head, filled the fuel tanks and decided to head on toward Sidney immediately. Just after entering Haro Strait, I remembered that I was supposed to check the fuel filter bowl immediately after refueling and starting the motor. I went below and saw an inch of ugly brown crude slouching in the bottom of the filter bowl! What to do! Trinda slowed to an idle. I was afraid that if the motor died and I couldn't start it that we would be in trouble. We were in the traffic area of the strait and the fog was just lifting at 3:00 in the afternoon. There was no wind. I decided to use the little NAME pump that I had bought to change the engine and transmission oil. I hooked on the suction tube and connected it to the valve on the bottom of the fuel filter bowl. I just cracked the valve open enough that I could pump the crud out the bottom, but not let in air. It worked. I would check and change the fuel filter later. We motored on into Teshum Harbor, just north of Sidney, BC, with no more excitement.

The only difficulty with clearing customs there was when I phoned the 800 number for the customs agent from the fuel dock, he wanted to know where I was. I said “Tsehum Harbor”. With my west Texas pronouncement of "Tsehum" and his desire to hear the name of the fuel station, Vanisle Marina, they almost came after us! He didn't seem to care about much else. I was nervous about my liqueur cabinet, as my neighbor always moves his to the trunk of his car before he goes to Canada. I told the customs guy that I had a little of this and that and 3 partial bottles of different dinner wines, but he wanted to know about cigarettes and guns.

We were tired so we decided to anchor in Tsehum Harbor that night. There’s not much water there at low tide either! We SLOWLY motored around several small barges and other small craft in 9 to 12 feet of water to find an open place to swing on the hook.