Tuesday, September 29, 2015

British Columbia by Boat Day 5: Westview

True to our word, we got up at 6:00am, had a quick breakfast and coffee, and then left the dock, leaving Bowen island. It took us the better part of 60 minutes to actually leave the tip of Bowen island, illustrating again to us how giant Bowen island was.

The morning was beautiful, but there was next to no wind. Whenever we saw a boat with sails up, it would inevitably turn out that they would be motoring with the sails up for show. We passed several candidates for stopping for the night as we got to them too early: Smugglers Cove, Pender Harbor, We discovered that the starboard head wasn't working. The same owner who thought eliminating a V-berth was a good idea no doubt thought that an electric head would be just the thing to impress the folks. Unfortunately, those things are much less reliable than manual heads, and us charter people are the people to find out about that.

A call back to Aubrey gave us a bunch of trouble-shooting tips that weren't actually helpful, but since we were near the Powell River base, I thought we'd find out if their local mechanic could help us. The prospect of a working head therefore, drew us into Westview harbor under the direction of the harbormaster for both fuel and a slip for the night.

As we pulled into the harbor, we were told to back off and wait a bit while a giant motorboat "The Majestik" was leaving the fuel dock and making her way to her slip. I held off and saw this huge boat coming off the dock, with the skipper chattering with the harbor master asking questions. The harbor master seemed a little flustered but he managed to maneuver around the large piling in the middle of the harbor despite her misdirections.

We soon pulled into the fuel dock and filled up with both water and fuel. We then hosed down the head so it wouldn't stink from all our attempts to fix the head, and then headed over to the slip. I parked the boat gingerly while an audience of fellow yachtsmen watched to see if I was an incompetent who would destroy both my boat and theirs. The skipper of the Majestik impressed me by coming over and saying, "Want some help?" I said I'd never turn it down, and he quickly said, "Well, sometimes the help makes things worse."
After parking the boat to my satisfaction, everyone got off the boat while I waited for Larry, Cooper's Powell River manager to come by and see if he could fix our problem. My heart sank when I saw that the only tool he carried was a plunger! No amount of plunging helped, and I soon realized I was going to be stuck with one head for the rest of the trip. I did discover another idiotic thing the electric head did, however, which was to flush the toilet with fresh water, rather than salt water. Whatever it was that went on in the head of the owner of the Stray Cat, it wasn't one that concerned itself with long term cruising.

Since we didn't have an oven, we decided to figure out if the BBQ could bake frozen pizza. It turned out that it did, and did a fairly good (if slow) job at it. We made more friends with the owner of the Majestik, and he showed us aboard his luxury motor-yacht. With twin engines producing horsepower into the 4 figures, he could cruise at 20 knots and had a maximum speed of 30 knots. Throughout the rest of the trip, I would kick myself for not realizing that the Pacific Northwest wasn't a sailing destination, but was really a motorboat destination: one best served by motor-yachts such as Michael's.

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