Day 116: Nice Sail Down the Coast to Tofino
Today we had a great spinnaker run down the west coast of Vancouver island.
Departure: Hot Springs Cove GPS 49 21.6450 N 126 16.8804 W
Destination: Tofino GPS 49 08.7591 N 125 53.0161 W
Hour meter: 1618 (Klemtu)
Todays Distance: 29 miles
Total mile: 3036
This morning I woke up at 0630 from the light coming in my windows. I rolled over grabbed my computer and updated my journal for yesterday. Not only that but since I had an internet connections I also published my blog for yesterday.
It looks like today will be a nice sunny day. I hope there will be some wind to sail down to Tofino. Eventually Rod got up and hat a cup of coffee, followed by Frank a while later. This morning I made hash browns and a small omelet for everyone. As I was cooking breakfast the hot tub bathers started to arrive.
Actually the first bathers were from the Innchanter. They canoed in about 0645. A little while later we could hear the humming of a seaplane come over the hill. It landed out in front and the taxied over to the dock. Two bathers got out of the seaplane and walked by the boat on their way to the hot springs. It wasn’t too long before another seaplane came in. This time they went over to the Band dock.
Once breakfast was finished Frank and I went for a walk up to the campground to see how many campers were here. We saw two tents, and a bunch of back packs in the little cooking open shack they had. One of the tents was a Cabela’s tent with a smoke stack coming out of the top. Found out later that this was the park rangers tent, and he was taking a couple days off. The camp has changed a little. They have taken down the sleeping shack and two pit toilets. I’m sure the campers our going to miss one of those, that would be the pit toilet that had a view. That potti had those doors were you could close the bottom and open the top, so you could see into the cove sitting on the pot. Not to worry there are still toilets near the campground. About 10 years ago the Canadian government put in composting toilet complex, with three stalls. It is my understanding this high tech dumping/ composting sanitation station cost the government close to 1 million bucks. Of course I got this information second hand so it might be inaccurate.
We eventually decided to leave and pulled out at 0915. While we were leaving another seaplane came in, followed closely behind by the first tour shuttle boat. This boat must have had ½ a dozen bathers on it. We motored slowly out contemplating which way to go to Tofino.
You know there are two ways to get to Tofino, the outside route, or the inside route. The inside route keeps you out of the ocean and swell of the sea. The outside route, well is the out side route, it has swell and an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean for thirteen miles (As far as you can see because of the curve of the earth). The wind was also up and was coming from the perfect direction, Northwest. We had to make a decision. Which way should we go? We could motor up the inside, and possibly sail. Or we could go back out into the Pacific Ocean and possibly have a sleigh ride down the coast. Which way do you think we went? Hope you guessed down the coast because that is the direction we headed.
We had no sooner left the cove when we rolled out the jib and turned off the motor. We were doing 6 knots with just the jib up on a beam reach. We eventually pulled up the main. Might has well use all the sails to help speed us along our way down the coast. There were three sports fisherman out here already. I’m guessing the Coho’s and King’s are still running.
It wasn’t too long before the wind abated a little and we are doing just 4 knots. It was then that we decided to put up the spinnaker. In came the jib, and up and out goes the spinnaker. Sure do like the asymmetrical spinnaker in a sleeve. Just raise the spinnaker in the sleeve all the way to the top of the mast, pull on the sheet, raise the sleeve, and poof the spinnaker is full and pulling you along. As we sailed toward Point XXX the wind keeps dropping at one point we were doing about 3 knots. It was then that I told Rod “We should be fishing at this speed”. Rod went back and rigged up the poles and put them in the water.
The wind keeps dropping. Before too long we are doing 2 knots, and then 1. There was wind, but the swell was rolling the boat so much the sails where flopping back and forth, throwing all the wind out of the sails. The spinnaker would pop and snap as the mast head rolled 20 degrees to port and then 20 degrees to starboard. The boom would swing back and forth. When it came from one side to another the blocks on the main would rattle and there would be bang on the traveler. We decided to put a preventer on the main. That quieted down the main, but the battens on the main still popped back and forth shaking the wind right out of the sail. Our boat speed when down to 1.5, and then 1. We contemplated motoring, but we were moving in the right direction under sail, and we were in no hurry.
The boat rolled back and forth as we moving through the water at snails pass being steered but autopilot That meant I could just lounge around behind wheel and just rest my head against the dodge and watch the mesmerizing waves roll by. The rolling of the boat and the warm morning sun was making me sleepy. Before too long I was closing my eyes, for a few seconds, then a few minutes. At the speeds we were going if we hit a log or something it wouldn’t cause much damage. I only needed to open my eyes every couple of minutes to see that all was well. Plus Rod was in the back watching the fishing poles and watching scenery go by at snails pass, and I expected him to alert me if we were to get in any danger.
It wasn’t too long before the wind started filling in, maybe 15 or 20 minutes. Before we knew it we were going 4 knots, then 5 knots. We could see the wind was coming in. The next thing we know we are doing 6 knots and I hear Rod’s fishing reel letting out line. Of course it would be when Rod went down below to get something. I yelled down the companionway “Rod your line is going out”.
He came up and tried to reel it in. At the speed we where clipping along he couldn’t bring it in. I tired to slow down the boat by coming up into the wind. That of course caused the spinnaker to flutter violently. I was afraid of taking years off the spinnakers life with it flogging about, so I went down and up (steering downwind then upwind) trying to minimize the fluttering. But of course this didn’t slow us enough for Rod to bring in his line. Eventually we snuffed the spinnaker by pulling down the sock.
Rod was tugging on his pole with an upward motion, then he would lower his pole to bring in the line. He was doing this over and over. He had lot of line out, and it was pulling. Eventually he realized he had a fish on. Was it a salmon, or a cod? As it got in about 20 feet behind the boat we could see he had snagged a big black cod. He pulled it aboard. Rod said “Fresh fish for dinner”. The black cod was the biggest that had been pulled on board this year. Clearly enough meat for us to make a good meal out of.
With the fish on board, we pulled the sock on the spinnaker back to the top and sailed down the coast. Before to long we were rolling along at 6 knots, and heading slightly offshore. We put the boat on the autopilot and sat back and enjoyed the sail. Before I know it, it was 1245, and I remembered I was going to make some French Bread from a recipe I found in the TYC yearbook. I turned the helm over to Rod and went down below to make my bread.
I mixed together all the ingredients, and then sat down below and read my book while I let the dough rise. I had to punch it down every ten minutes for the first hour, and then I let it rise for 45 minutes before putting it in the oven at 350 degrees. After a ½ hour I took out my bread. I have to say I think it was the best looking loft of bread I have made so far. And the aroma was to die for. I remember in the old days when my mom used to make bread on the boat. The smell was intoxicating. My brother, sister and I couldn’t wait until it came out of the oven. In those days my mom would slice off a piece of warm bread for us kids. Nothing like a fresh piece of bread with melting butter on to make your taste buds explode. Well today there would not be tasting the bread hot out of the oven, because as soon as the bread came out it was time to take down the spinnaker.
We had made our final jib toward the beach and we were heading for the cut that would take us to Tofino, about the time the bread was ready to come out to the oven. We were reaching toward the beach with the wind 90 degrees off the bow, right on our beam and we were racing through the water at 9.5 knots. The small cut and the rocks that guarded the entrance were coming up fast. The swell of the ocean would rock the boat causing it to try to round up. Rod had to steer down each wave as the boat tried to round up. The forces the water pushing against the rudder was giving Rod a work out, as he steered back and forth. We let out the main to lessen the weather helm, but it really didn’t help all that much. We finally decided the prudent thing to do was take down the spinnaker prior to entering the narrow cut leading toward Tofino harbor.
Once the spinnaker was down we all breathed a sigh of relief, and then rolled out the jib. We were now running through the water at a manageable 6 knots. We weaved around a couple islands, and before we know it we were in Tofino. We had basically sailed all the way port to port from Hot Springs Cove to Tofino. Very little diesel was burned today.
As we pulled into the town of Tofino we were looking for some place to tie up for a hour or so, we where hoping to go up town shopping. We headed down toward the transient dock. It was all full up, except for a spot inside that I would have to back into. It was right at the south end of the transient dock. We motored by the slip and then when far enough past it we put the boat in reverse and slowly started motoring back toward the dock. We were moving at slower than snails pace. Before we know it were where going no where and the depth sounder read 3.9. Keep in mind the draft of Nordic Sun II is 6.5 feet. We were on the bottom. We where going slow we didn’t even fill us hit. The mud here must be soft. We probably cut a nice grove in the mud. The tide was coming in so it was easy to power off. Guess we can’t get into that spot. We needed down toward the Crab Dock, another public wharf further down.
There was a spot on the Crab dock on the inside. Do I dare try to go into the inside of a dock again. We finally figure it is deep enough because we can see a few other sailboats on the inside. We turn the boat around work our way back up to the end of the dock. About this time we that the boat on the transient dock, that was tied on the outside, has decided to move to the inside, into the spot that we unsuccessfully could get into, due to the low water. We would rather tie at the other dock because it is closer to town. We head back and that park our boat in the Red Zone. They guy that just vacated this spot, and moved to the inside, helped us tie up. He said they had let him stay here overnight, so he figured I could stay here.
After docking I went up to find the harbormaster. The office was closed. It appeared there are only open for 1 hour a day, fall hours you know. I got a payment slip and went back to the boat. The cost for moorage was $1 a foot. Frank and Rod where nice and split the cost of moorage with me.
Once docked we headed up town. We picked up some food at the grocery store, and then swung by BC Liqueur, before heading back to boat. By the time we got back to the boat it was 1730, time for dinner. Tonight I fried up some fresh black cod for dinner, served with a couple of slices of French Bread.
We sat around in the cockpit, while enjoying some to the BC Liqueur, while we watch the sunset. The sun went down right over all the fishing boats in front of us. The sky was red and the fishing boats were silhouetted in the setting sun. Isn’t there something about red sky at night that I am supposed to be worrying about? No I don’t think so, I think the saying goes “Red Sky at Night Sailors delight”. After the sun set, and at my beer limit for the night, it was time to settled into my bunk, Tonight I envisioned another delightful day of sailing tomorrow. Hopefully we will have more wind out of the Northwest to push us further down the Vancouver Island, and closer to Victoria.
Sunset in Tofino