Friday, May 8, 2015

Ketchikan to La Conner 2015: A delivery home

Cortes Island to Ladysmith    88-miles

The last couple days of the trip is the run home from the Desolation Sound area.  The choice is which way to go; down the Vancouver Island side or along the mainland side.  Normally there are some great stops along the way.  The east side has the Copelands, Lund, walking the beaches of Savory Island, the Harmony Islands, Pender, etc..  The west side has Comox, Hornby, Lasqueti and Newcastle Island, etc.. Everyone has their favorite spots and they are all worth more time.  We, of course, are going to blow past all of them and keep moving south.

The weather report looks nice with a 5-10 knot north westerly breeze and flat sea state.  We will be on the ebb tide until about 1pm then a big flood will come, remember that we are now south of Cortes and the ebb flows southerly.  The flood tide will oppose the likely growing afternoon northerly wind and stand the seas up a bit more than the smooth morning seas.  The ebb is favorable to our trip south and then as we get towards Nanaimo we will be bucking the current, when we are trying to enter the Gulf Islands it will be near max-flood at Dodd Narrows, Gabriola or Porlier Pass.  The large flood means that all of the passes & narrows into the Gulf's will be flowing between 5-7 knots against us which will be prohibitive.

Whiskey Golf is closed on this day, this should always be checked as the test area WG will need to be navigated around should the Canadian Forces be active.  Listen to the VHF weather and listen for this detail.

6:40 AM: Checked the engine and genset, added 1-quart of oil to the main, it has been running great.

7 AM: Fired up the engine and departed Cortes Bay.

Looking west into Desolation Sound
7:15 AM: Gerry and I talked about which way to go, choosing between the east and west sides as we head south to the Gulf Islands.  We chose to go along the east shore mostly because we were considering a stop at Lund to hit the bakery and since WG was closed we could beeline across the Straits of Georgia.  Mileage either way is basically the same.

Lund

8:15 AM: We passed Lund, but had forgotten about visiting the bakery.

9:45 AM:  Passed Powell River

2 PM:  Crossing over from south end of Texada towards Nanaimo, wind has built to 15-knots and the seas are stacking 1-2 feet with the new flood tide, still very nice.

Dodd Narrows - watch out for very strong currents - we waited for calmer water

4:10 PM:  Arrived at Dodd Narrows, max flood at 4:14pm running 6.9-knots northerly (against us).  This is not something to mess with.

4:30 PM:  Anchor down in False Narrows, 30-feet of water.  Nap time.

Dodd Narrows - better conditions transiting

6:45 PM: We head through Dodd on the dying flood.  Smooth passage.

8:13 PM:  Tied up at Dunsmuir Island near Ladysmith.

A really nice one-day passage from the Desolation area to the Gulf Islands.


Ladysmith  to La Conner    69.5-miles

I am wrapping up this series on our delivery of La Rose to La Conner.   You know how to work your way home from the Gulf Islands and I don't want this to get boring.

Sunrise over the Gulf Islands

In short we got up early, checked the boat over and fired up the engine.  Then left as early as possible so that we could clear customs in Anacortes before 2:30 PM when the Border Protection Agents close the shop in mid-afternoon and clear the Ferry from Sydney.   We then made our way down the Swinomish to La Conner and my dock along Trawler Row.  We tied up at 3:30 in the afternoon.

My crew - Scott & Gerry

Our entire delivery from Ketchikan to La Conner was a joy.  The boat performed very well, we ate good food and told a lot of jokes.  A fun week!

The trip was 664.7 miles.  We added 91-hours to the Lehman 135.  7-1/2 days on the water very well spent.

Thanks for reading,

Steve