Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Easter: Sunshine and Sailing (to the Gulf Islands)

Easter in Canada is a 4-day weekend for many (Good Friday to Easter Monday). As a kid I loved it because it was a really long weekend (i.e., a long break from school...) and the weather here in southwestern BC is often pretty good.This Easter weekend (April 6-9) gave us 4 days of sunshine.

We planned for a group of 4 boats to meet up over at Clam Bay in the Gulf Islands for Saturday dinner. As it turned out, all of us arrived Friday late afternoon.

Pelagia's Easter route
Pelagia headed out from the VRC docks Friday morning, hoping to be able sail from Point Grey over to Porlier Pass. The currents in Porlier Pass were flooding to a max of 8.6 knots -- way too much for Pelagia -- with slack at about 5pm; we had all day to get across the straits.

We met up with SV Sapphire and SV Brer Terrapin off of Point Grey, where the winds were 6-8 knots NW, so up went the sails and we started sailing. This lasted about 2 hours, until the wind was down to only a few knots. After giving it another hour or so, we gave up and turned on the motor.

Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island mountains from Georgia Strait
We arrived too early at Porlier -- tide program indicated perhaps 4-5 knots against us -- so we explored anchorages near Dionisio Point (OK only as long as no north/west winds forecast) while we waited for the pass. The others soon went through Porlier and indicated perhaps 2-3 knots against. Pelagia waited a little longer (I don't like pushing against too much current in Porlier -- the upwellings/rips can be really strong) and went through 30 minutes before slack, with about 1-2 knots against. No problem (except for the sudden appearance of a tug towing a huge log barge coming through the pass with the flood).


Pelagia in Clam Bay
Pelagia/Brer Terrapin/Sapphire

As usual, lots of room in Clam Bay.

SV Berkana joined us later.

We spent two nights in Clam Bay, enjoying the Spring sunshine, walks and runs on Thetis Island, and drinks/dinner with friends. (Perhaps too many drinks....)

Looking back (south east) to Clam Bay
Sunday, we (Pelagia and Sapphire) motored up to Silva Bay (Gabriola Island), arriving just before slack at Gabriola Passage.  The hope was to get some winds for a good sail back Monday. We tied Pelagia up at the VRC Outstation, and went for a walk over to Drumbeg Provincial Park (Sapphire anchored out).

Monday was another sunny day, with winds forecasted to be NW 10-15 kn. Perfect! 

Sapphire trying to pass us...
Drat! They passed us!

Pelagia sailing Georgia Strait to Vancouver (Howe Sound and Mt. Garibaldi in background)

A great sail back -- calm seas, with Waggie the autopilot doing most of the work. We sailed all the way across and into English Bay, turning on the engine at the QB Mid-Channel Buoy. So rare to have such a nice comfortable -- almost hands off -- sail across Georgia Strait (usually it is either too little or too much). Back at our VRC berth by 330pm.

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