Uphill both ways

Its been a long rainy-season on the coast. Wai Whare has been out a few times, but we haven’t had an overnight trip in six months!

We had planned to travel to Maple Bay on the weekend of March 18/19. That didn’t work out, so we postponed a week. Instead of sailing with the current/tides we sailed against them, both to and from Maple Bay. Not only that, but a low pressure system passed overnight, ensuring headwinds both ways. This made for a difficult trip.

We started just before 10am on Saturday. We brought up the sails in Schwartz bay, within sight of several ferries. As predicted, the wind was coming down the channel, forcing us to tack from side to side, slowly working our way up the channel. We had some trouble passing the buoys at the north end of Colburn Passage, but once we were clear we sailed to Saltspring on a single tack.

Once in the shaddow of Saltspring the wind died, so we motored briefly into Satelite channel. Then we sailed up satelite channel, still tacking from side to side fighting the wind and current.

Sansum Narrows are at the north end of Satelite channel. In the narrows the current can be quite strong, so once again we motored. There was no wind in the narrows and the water was glassy-flat, except for the whirlpools and upwellings caused by the current. At one point we passed between two whirl pools, about 5 meters to either side. There was no danger as the whirlpools were less that a meter across, and perhaps a meter deep. We also saw a sealion, a 3 meter long animal about a half meter in diameter with a few dozen whiskers perhaps 20cm long.

The return trip was far more exciting. Setting sail around 9:30am Sunday, we brought up our Genoa while still in Maple Bay. Once in the channel, we found that we had too much sail. We furled up to a small foresail, and tacked back and forth accross the channel at good speed while heeled over 15 degrees. Unfortunately with the tide against us, we made little progress and eventually gave up at noon, having traveled less than kilometer down the channel. So we motored through Samsun narrows.

Sattelite channel was a challenge on the return leg. Again, 25 knots of wind from the wrong direction, 1-2 knots of current from the wrong direction, and 1m waves from the wrong direction. And it was raining. We motored almost an hour with Wai Whare bouncing around like a toy. Eventually the wind, wave, and current lessened and we tacked down the channel. Again, the winds died near the south end of Saltspring. Somewhat tired, we motored from Saltspring, through Schwartz bay, John’s Passage and into our berth in Tsehum harbour.

The sun came out just after we tied off at our berth.

Leave a Reply