Logbook: Rebecca Spit Marine Park


P1020013 (960x1280) Rebecca Spit Marine Park was an unexpected stop.

For those that know Desolation Sound, we left Roscoe Bay intending to go through Hole In The Wall to the Octopus Islands and ended up at Rebecca Spit. Why? Because we wanted to sail, and we hate motoring into headwinds to make a specific time (slack) when we have plenty of wind to sail. So, instead of motoring, we turned our back to the wind and sailed to Rebecca Spit.

It was a great day of sailing in the sun. We sailed so slowly that our fishing line kept catching up to us…but it was sunny and bobbing around on the water in the sun, as long as the current is moving you toward your goal and away from the crunchies, is a great way to spend a day.

This “alternate anchorage” method of cruising is becoming normal for us.

Rebecca Spit is long rocky strip of land protuding out and sheltering a large bay – similar to Sidney Spit in BC or Port Angeles, WA for those that have seen either of those.

It turns out that Rebecca Spit is beautiful *and* had Skype-able internet. With a little help from our long range antenna and an unlocked signal, we were able to video-Skype with our families.

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We BBQd on deck and rowed the dinghy to shore to walk around the well maintained and well used community path. Lovely.

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We only spent one night at Rebecca Spit Marine Park as we were excited to get to Octopus Islands and to our friends aboard SV Bella Star who were already anchored there.

Pinhole leak


In addition to “what is that smell? where is that smell?” sometimes boater get to play “what kind of water is that (salt or fresh)? where is the water coming from?”. We played that game in the Copeland Islands swinging at anchor.

The game is complicated when it is raining, the boat is humid and cold and thus condensation is running rampant and the water is pooling near a thru hull (one of the big holes in the hull of the boat). After the initial panic where you establish that the water is fresh (not saltwater) and coming from somewhere above the thru hull, you get to play “where is the water coming from?”.

P1010842 (1280x960)After ripping apart the port bench and all of the goodies stored on and around it, we established that the water was coming from somewhere behind our water tank and didn’t appear to be coming from the condensation on the hull. Bummer – all signs pointed toward a leak in the port freshwater tank.

P1010844 (1280x960)For the second time on our boat, Kool-Aid to the rescue! We put Kool-Aid (without sugar) into the port tank to verify the tank was leaking before we tried to remove it and fix the leak.

A few moments later as we watched the drip on a clean paper towel, we had confirmation. The drip on the right is a test drip and the drip on the left was from the tank.

After some wrestling, we removed the tank. Thankfully this is a fairly easy job on a Pretorien. Pretorien owners – if you remove a small piece of wood in the port locker at foot level just forward of the tank, you can undo the two forward bolts. With those removed, you can jiggle the tank off the aft bolts (to which we couldn’t find access to the heads, only the nuts) and pull the tank into the salon.

I (Livia) put my head on the floor and Carol lowered the tank over me until it dripped. After a few tries I was able to make smaller and smaller circles until we found a pinhole. Strangely to me, a pinhole leak looks exactly like someone jammed a pin through the tank. Weird, huh?  We repaired it with some MarineTex we had aboard (thank you PO!).

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The leak occurred where the steel touched the wooden ribs underneath it. An idea installation would have the tank suspended so no water could pool. In one of his books, Nigel Calder recommended putting something nonabsorbent at that location if the installation had surface contact. We cut some ready-for-the-bin neoprene gloves and glued them to the ribs.
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This will hopefully prevent future pinhole leaks…at least in the port tank. Thankfully it was sunny that afternoon because we had to wait hours for the MarineTex to cure with the entire boat piled with stuff including a 33 gallong water tank. Picnic on the deck anyone?

Victoria, BC – Cruising heritage

I’ve already mentioned the article I wrote for Three Sheets NW about Victoria. I was meaning to write something for this blog on the cruising history of Victoria. In particular, I wanted to go through the plaques that are on the waterfront right in front of the Empress but I ran out of time to do the research. You will recognize many of these names and perhaps can add your own stories?

If you are looking for material for a cruising article, I think this would be an excellent topic (email and I would be happy to send you the original photos when I have solid internet if you want to write one).

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Mt Llanover Hike

At Roscoe Bay there is a trail to the top of Mt Llanover where you can get a nice overlook of Desolation Sound. It is about 6k and at this time of year most of the trail is submerged in what appeared to be a seasonal creek. Slippery, a fair amount of altitude, beautiful with a great summit view and a cache at the top to leave a note. Thank you SV Pelagia for the recommendation!

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P1010941 (1280x960)Many of you know our engagement story (and why our boat is named Estrellita 5.10b) – I decided to recreate Carol’s engagement with the note we left in the cache at Mt Llewyn. Let us know if you see it on your hike.

Thankfully he said yes – whew!

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Diesel & Propane

Time for a NUMBERS post…

Timeframe: 10 months (2.5 months at a dock) with 260 engine hours. No idea how many nautical miles – from Tofino until now our instruments show about 900nm (currently at 3466nm) so maybe 1500nm from Victoria around Van Isle, winter trips and now half-way back up the inside? Vancouver Island is only 250nm long…hard to guess.

Context: Travel in British Columbia. Diesel furnace used when at anchor in winter continuously, spring/fall most nights and some days, summer some nights and sporadically at dock to supplement electric heater (.2L an hour or 4.8L/day – 1.3 gallons/day). No diesel used for purposeful battery charging (charging while underway with motor but not at anchor). Cooking includes regular baking and meat roasting and no special conservation (no pressure cooker, no hot water thermos/pump). Gas used in outboard and Honda 2000 portable generator – neither used frequently.

Diesel consumed: 925L (93L/mo) or 245 gallons (25g/mo)

Propane consumed: 83L (8L/mo)

Gas consumed: 7 - 10 gallons. This is a ballpark figure from memory. We kept careful track of the other two numbers but we use so little gas, and bought it so infrequently, that we didn’t record it. We both remembered getting our jerry can out twice to top off and neither time was it empty. We paddle/row most of the time unless Carol is going far for fishing and with our solar panels we only need the generator when we have a number of overcast/rainy days in a row. I would guess we’ve used the generator less than a dozen times.

Logbook: Roscoe Bay

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For the most part it rained while we were at Roscoe Bay. We decided that because we had a waterfall, a hike, a lake and a completely protected bay, we weren’t going to leave while it was crappy and rainy. If we had to be in the rain, we might as well have our own perfect spot. We stayed 5 nights, 3 of those all to ourselves.

We had enough sun to hike Mt Llewyn (separate post), to hike to the lake (but not swim) and to have a camp fire and roast some chorizo over the flames. We also met up with Peter and Dave aboard SV Blue Horizon who fed us a mass of freshly caught prawns. We cleaned, made some shelves, took care of daily tasks and waited for sun breaks to run outside and explore.

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Sensory awareness

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Skills that are useful in boating - situational and sensory awareness. These fine skills were included in pilot training but missing from professor training and so Carol is much more on the ball than I am when it comes to noticing unusual sounds and smells.

A friend told us that a favorite game aboard their boat was “what’s that smell?-where’s that smell?” and Carol instigates that game aboard Estrellita 5.10b and consistently wins.

Case in point: Carol says “do you smell burning plastic?”. I smell nothing. Carols says “over here, by the stove.”. I smell…maybe…something. Carol finds an avant garde, dripping clear green plastic installation in the back of our stove and upon further investigation we find out that a metal fork and a plastic spoon had fallen off the stovetop (where we often dry dishes) to an area behind the stove that conveniently ends right over the burner of the oven. Every time we baked we were slowly reducing the plastic spoon to what you see above.

Poor design on the part of Force10 and now we are careful to not put anything small on the stovetop to dry.

Sail repairs

P1010725 (1280x960)HAUL OUT MONDAY!

One of the things I wanted to do while the mast was off (and the sails were off as a result) was to examine all of sails.

I made it through the main, the jib and the genoa which, considering the path of the haulout, I’ll take as a success. Other than one known issue (below), the sail slides that I changed out, and some sunbrella stitching that needed touching up, everything looked great. All of the between panel stitching was intact, the head, tack and clew of the sails were in good shape and the “edges” (luff, foot and leech) were solid. In essence, what I did was to look at the general state of the Dacron (good) and then walk through every line of stitching looking for broken stitches (from chafe, UV or both). Our sails are double and triple stitched everywhere so a single broken stitch or a small patch in one line of stitching isn’t a big problem – although you have to ask yourself why it was failing in one area and see if there is chafe that should be attended to.

Speaking of chafe (*snort*), the leather chafe gear that I added to the jib 10 months ago looks good with only minor signs of wear – the wear meaning that it is doing its job.

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We had two fairleads on the mainsail for our Dutchman system that had popped off. There are two halves, one on each side of the sail that snap onto each other through the sail, but ours are old and apparently too warped to stay snapped on. One departed when the monofilament line broke and one just popped off and sat flapping on the filament. We’ve had a number of people try to scare us about our Dutchman system – saying that if a fairlead failed the monofilament would saw a hole through our sail. I can see how that could happen but because we loosen our Dutchman when the main is up, it seems like that wouldn’t happen for quite a while and one would have a chance to notice it and fix it. We have no idea. However, our old main still has a lot of life in it. The Dutchman system is already cut into the sail and makes dropping and reefing the sail a cinch…so we’re keeping it. Someday, when we get a new main, we’ll have a decision to make.

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The fairleads are ridiculously expensive and thankfully our cool local sail shop (Leitch & McBride in Sidney, BC – they’ve done several jobs for us including installing a third reef) had some used ones. Because the Dutchman system will be on our main until we replace it, I used some flexible, fast drying white 5200 and glued those puppies back together making sure that there was 5200 between the little snaps that connect the two pieces. With a little weight to make sure everything stayed aligned, it dried as designed.

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5200 is a dangerous toy because it should only be used on something that will “never” need to come apart…for that reason this seemed like the perfect use. We want the fairleads to *never* come apart again.

Logbook: Cassel Lake Falls

P1010927 (960x1280)This is one of those anchorages that aren’t protected from the wind, are somewhat sketchy in terms of where you have to drop the hook, and which you go to anyways in (hopefully) settled weather with one eye on the sky.

Beautiful. Double falls at this time of year: the main falls and a lacey side falls. Crystal clear water filled with oysters, starfish, sea cucumbers, mussels and fish. A hiking trail to a lake with perfect rocks for jumping in. So far we’ve been to two lakes in Desolation Sound and I’ve swam in both. Weather be damned.

We took a bunch of video which I’ll put up separately as borrowed wifi allows.

Weather is still 50-50 but one night at Cassel Lake Falls was warm enough that we didn’t need the heater at night. Summer approaches.

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Truth in advertising

VIDEO Friday

We usually take pictures when we are out and about. We usually go out and about when it is sunny or at least dry which might give the false impression on this blog that the weather has been nice so far.

Here is some video from Deep Cove on Jedediah Island to show the other side of shoulder-season cruising:

Logbook: Squirrel Cove

P1010913 (1280x960)We went to Squirrel Cove on two separate occasions and stayed one night each time and this is the only picture I took. There is a public wharf and a small dinghy dock which dries out at low tides. The dinghy dock is much closer to the store and gas station and so we rowed our cans back and forth rather than using our folding rolling cart.

The first (planned) stop to Squirrel Cove was a provisioning stop and we filled two jerry cans with diesel (yellow jugs) and took 20 gallons of water in two separate trips with our two 5 gallon jugs (clear with red handles). We took two bags of dried goods and one of fresh. The people at the store were very nice.

The second planned stop was during a sail from Cassel Lake Falls to Refuge Cove. Our planned beating into moderate headwinds was interrupted by winds stronger than forecast, still on our nose. So, we turned tail and ran into Squirrel Cove for the night. This is a sign of our increasing intelligence ;)

We didn’t go ashore while at the anchorage which is a few miles from the town. There is a lagoon to row to if you can get through the rapids at the channel or time the tides right and there is a path to Von Donop inlet – neither of which we did.

What is your limiting factor?


What consumable or need drives you out of the beautiful anchorage into the nearest town?

Every boat has a different limiter, based on the vessel and the crew. Of course, some people like to spend more time in population centers and I expect that as our travel becomes more exotic that towns will hold more interest to us. Right now, the towns around Vancouver Island are not huge draws for us. So, what causes us to stop in one?

Last year, as we went around Vancouver Island we found out that our limiting factor was WATER. We carry 66 gallons of water in our main tanks. We carried 10 gallons in collapsible containers that were annoying to store but useful and quickly consumed and stowed away.

We had delayed our decision on whether to buy and install a watermaker until we had some more experience with extended time on the hook. This winter we decided to buy a watermaker which we half-installed in the Copeland Islands and are currently running. We bought the smallest unit on the market (Powersurvivor 40E) and we’ll write more about that when the installation is complete.

Now that water isn’t our limiting factor, what is?

At this point in cruising, our limiting factor is social interaction. Strange, huh? People talk about cruising being super social but if you are off-season, or shoulder-season cruising, in remote areas, and if you are cruising in an area where most boats around you are weekend or work-vacation warriors*, we don’t meet that many boats. When we’ve been isolated for a few weeks, we want WIFI so we can interact with friends and family. If we have occasional wifi we can go a lot longer between towns.

Assuming our social calendar will get more busy as we head South, our next limiting factor is probably a tie between fresh fruit and vegetables and trash. We can go without fresh fruit and veggies for a while but life is better when you have them and eventually our limited trash storage capacity runs out.

In warmer weather diesel is a far 3rd, but in the winter, because of our heater use, it is probably ahead of fruit/veg & trash. We carry 25 gallons in a main tank and 15 gallons in jerry cans.

*In our limited experience, people who are out for a brief period of time are trying to get away from people, or to hang out with people they already know, not necessarily seek out new people. We have met a lot of nice, cool people but most were people out for 3-4 months…and so were in a similar situation to us in terms of wanting more social interaction.

Logbook: Tenedos Bay


P1010883 (960x1280)<----Oysters galore.

As we first entered Tenedos we were not terribly impressed. We motored over to the anchorage closest to the trail and it was pretty “bleh”. Of course, first impressions are often misleading and as we entered “3 fathom cove” we changed our minds. It was a beautiful small cove with an oyster encrusted lagoon connecting the North end back to the main bay. We shared the cove the first night with one other boat and then had it to ourselves.

We kayaked a bit over a mile to the trailhead. Rather than going directly to the trail we followed the Northern coastline. Spectacular black and white streaked cliffs that drop straight into the water. Crystal clear water at this time of year and lots of critters laying on the rock shelves just below the surface. The entire bay has a beard of oysters which are covered in small black dot like critters (no idea what they are) and there were a large number of starfish and orange and red sea cucumbers.

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After reaching the main trail/camping area, we walked the pretty trail on the North side of Unwin Lake to some rocks which would have been perfect for loud, screaming jumps into the water if it hadn’t been so cold out.

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As it is, I (Livia) still had a short-lived polar bear plunge because I couldn’t leave without doing it. We scoped out the South trail as well which looked similar but without the perfect rock entry. Blow-left lunch on the lake and below-right are the jumping cliffs.

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Shiny mast toys


One of the reasons replacing your standing rigging (the wires) can cost so much money is that while the mast is down it makes a lot of sense to make a bunch of other changes at the same time.

Here are a few more toys we had Blackline install and some masthead work that Carol did.

Two clutches on the mast for the main halyard (starboard) and the jib halyard (port) so we can get them off the main winches when we want:

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A new crane for our spinnaker halyard with a new wrap preventer on our jib halyard:

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A new LED masthead light with tri-color, anchor and strobe by Orca Green Marine and a new VHF antenna (Metz):

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Click on the dollar and buy Livia and Carol a cold frosty one:


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