July 30, 2020. Kendrick Island Anchorage to Townsite Marina, Nanaimo. 23 NM.
It’s done. I have crossed my outbound track, and made it all the way around Vancouver Island. My best guess is that is about 1200 to 1300 kilometres over 50 days. It has been an eventful and remarkable trip. I’m left with impressions of cold and isolation. That is being contrasted with the heat that has finally arrived, and the population that really exists on just the lower half of the island. I’ve learned a lot about the boat, and some things about myself. I’ve enjoyed the time alone, and I’ve enjoyed the time with Sara even more. My Mom asked me if it has cured me of wanting to go sailing. Sorry, Mom. I’m happy to be in port, and looking forward to getting the boat sorted out. But if I could go again tomorrow, I would. (Although I’d rather wait a few days).
Thoughts of freedom in Nanaimo
It was warm overnight in Kendrick Bay, but a sea breeze blew through, and I slept well. A small fishing boat came and anchored about 25 feet of my port side last night. He was close enough that I could speak in a normal voice to him, when I suggested he was a bit close. It was about 2130, and there were huge empty spaces in the bay. Not sure why he felt the need to be right next to me, but he pulled in some rode, and ended up about 60 feet away. He was gone this morning, with most of the other small powerboats that were in the anchorage. I assume they were just waiting for the early slack at Galiano Passage, and had all gone through at 0630. Only the sailboats were left when I got up at 0700.
The wind had already started to pick up a bit in the anchorage, so I raised the anchor as soon as I was done breakfast. The grease I put into the winch last night seemed to help, and it didn’t make any funny noises as I raised the chain.
Sailing on the last leg!
I headed out into the Strait of Georgia, and once I was clear of the Gabriola Reefs, I raised the main and pulled out the jib in 12 to 15 knots of wind. I shut down the engine, and tacked out into the Strait. It was an upwind beat back around Entrance Island to Nanaimo Harbour, but I was in no hurry, and was enjoying the wind. It was pretty steady, and despite pointing as high as I could, I managed to keep speeds of between 4 and 5 knots the whole way. I had to dodge a ferry and a large barge. I know I technically had the right of way, being under sail, but with boats that big, it’s prudent not to assert your rights as a sailboat.
Watching the ferries go by in the Strait of Georgia
Coming into the Nanaimo Harbour, I turned onto a broad reach, and my speed increased to about 7 knots. I was moving along nicely, and steering a course to clear the northernmost point of Galiano. My heading had me pointed directly at the huge freighters that are always anchored in Nanaimo Harbour, but at this point, I tend to think of them as part of the scenery. As I was watching them, though, I noticed a bit of white froth in front of one, and realized it was a bow wave. At some point while I was sailing right at it, the freighter had started to move, and was now coming right at me! I turned deeper into the wind, heading back towards Galiano Island, but putting some welcome distance between the massive ship and me. Again, with these working vessels, might makes right, and I have no problem getting out of their way.
I’m glad I realized he was moving before I got much closer
As I came to the head of the bay, it was still blowing about 15 knots when I dropped the sails. I turned into the wind, and ran the engine at a low RPM, just to maintain a course as I put out the dock lines and fenders. I called my parents, who had kindly agreed to come and catch lines for me, then headed into the Newcastle Island Passage. The anchorage behind Protection Island was full of boats. I could also hear the usual scrum of boats using the VHF as they came through Dodd Narrows at slack. It is almost the August long weekend, and it looks like most people are heading out on their boats, just as I am coming in.
Docking the boat went without a hitch, even though there was about 10 knots pushing me into my slip. Having someone to catch my lines and tie me off certainly made things easier. Mom and Dad climbed aboard, and we chatted for about half an hour before they headed off, and I started to clean up lines and sails. I had managed to make quite a mess as I sailed all day, and it was good to get things put away.
It was about 1500 before I had lunch, so I cooked up my intended dinner of noodles and Spicy Thai Chicken from the deli in Sidney. After lunch, I did some more boat clean up. I needed lots of breaks to rehydrate in the 32 degree heat!
Summer has finally arrived! Almost 33 degrees outside, despite the breeze.
This evening, I went for a walk along the Nanaimo waterfront to get some steps in, and enjoy being back on land. Dinner was a Pear Gorgonzola salad, with yogurt and canned peaches for dessert.
Lots of anchored boats behind Protection Island
And that, as they say, is that. I’ve made it around Vancouver Island. I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have been able to do this trip. To have the time, the support, and the means to make this happen is truly a blessing, and I am grateful to be in this position. I’ve tried to be disciplined with the journaling, and have written every day since I left. Many days, knowing that I needed to write something provided me with the motivation to get out and explore, on a paddleboard, by dinghy, or on foot.
I think I’ll take a bit of a break now, as I work on getting caught up on boat maintenance, work, and the rest of my life. I’ve enjoyed the writing, and I don’t think I’ll stop. If I write something that I think has some value, it may even end up in the blog, but don’t look for daily postings, at least for a while. I’m not done sailing, or adventuring though, so there will be more to come.
Soundtrack – I Lived, One Republic