Port Browning

Wai Whare sailed to Port Browning on North Pender Island on the weekend of May 6-7, 2006.

Port Browning Marina

As the voyage is a somewhat short 18 nautical miles, Wai Whare set off after noon. The forecast had promised 25kn south east, easing to 10kn and then building to 20-30kn south west. While the winds were southerly they did not average even 10kn, gusting to 20 at most. We sailed mostly broad reach, occasionally wing-on-wing, south of Moresby island in light chop. Fishing season was open and we saw 20 fishing boats north of little group and another two dozen on the west side of Moresby. We continued to sail broad reach, making perhaps 3kn past pender and up into Plumper Sound. Luckily we had a dozen porpoise sightings to help pass the time.

The triumph of the modern era

Port Browning is a long harbour, over 1 km long and perhaps 200m wide. It has a flat pebble bottom consistently 50 feet in depth. The shores of the harbour rise fairly steeply, giving the site the appearance of a partially submerged glacial U-valley. The marina at the end has room for two dozen 40+ foot vessels and perhaps another dozen smaller vessels. They are so quiet that they still charge a flat $10/night winter rate even in May. Presumably their summer rate, C$0.75/foot, starts on Victoria Day. Their docks are in good condition and the anchorage is picturesque. There is a 150m long, gently-rising pebble beach along one side of the marina with views down the harbour. The Marina has a large lawn, perhaps 1 acre, with a firepit. Finally the marina building has a cafe, store, and pub. We had a very nice dinner in the pub overlooking the lawn, docks, and harbour as the eagles and falcons circled overhead.

Charmer

A storm passed overnight, but Wai Whare was stable in the well sheltered marina. We departed when the rain ended, about 10am. Initially we found variable winds in the harbour, but in Plumper sound we encountered 20kn from the south, with 2 foot waves. Thus began a long day tacking to windward, fighting gusts, waves, and current. We tacked back in forth until about 3pm, when we decided to motor home, having covered 20 nm but made perhaps 3 nm good towards home. Wai Whare motored for three hours, constantly tossed by the 1 m waves and 30kn winds from the west. The waves settled when we left Boundry Pass, but the wind in Tsehum Harbour was strong enough that Wai Whare heeled in the gusts even with no sail up.

Wai Whare returned home with no more damage than sunburned faces on the crew.

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