Monday, October 05, 2015

British Columbia by boat Day 9: Beach Garden Marina

The predicted calm window showed up and we promptly left, alongside several other motor-boats. We got out of the harbor and deployed the main sail, only to promptly find it flapping in the wind! The main needed to be threaded through a jig in order to retain its tension and be self-furling. After 15 minutes, Arturo and Larry figured out whats what, and began the heroic job of threading the mainsail through the jig and then raising the main. Unfurling the jib then gave us sail power.

It was great to be sailing, but there was one ominous sign that I should have paid far more attention to than I did. Nobody else was sailing. Everyone was heading south at speed, and everyone had their engines on. At the time, I had every reason to believe that the next day would grant us another similar window. But nevertheless, I should probably have abandoned sailing and motor'd south at maximum speed.

As it was, it was thrilling to sail at full power in a 20 knot wind, despite not making much headway since we had to keep tacking. After a couple of hours, we were back near Savary island, but the wind had picked up, forcing us to put in a reef. Xiaoqin's aunt started looking green as the water got choppy. We had expected the tide to work with us, pushing us south at a good speed, but what had happened instead was that the south wind was fighting the receding tide, creating choppy water which didn't help us make any kind of progress.
Recognizing defeat, we furled the sails, started up the engines, and after a half hour of motoring into the wind made our way to Beach Garden marina, lured by the guidebook's promise of a swimming pool, untimed showers that didn't require coins, and safe harbor. We refueled at the marina before putting in on a slip, and then checked in.

The hotel looked pretty run-down and ramshackle, and there weren't very many people about. We made it just before brunch buffett was shut down at the restaurant, and had a filling breakfast. Then we talked to the hotel manager who said that the hotel was $3 for unlimited swimming and showers, but we had to be escorted by an employee who would unlock the pool/shower building for us. To minimize hassle, we went for a walk first, which yielded wild blackberries that were delicious. The walk took us to the local supermarket where we stocked up a bit on supplies before making our way back to the boat and hotel for the swimming pool.

The swimming pool was a tiny 14 foot affair, but was still big enough to do laps on. I did so, and then with Arturo's help, moved Bowen back into the boat as he was quite unhappy about everyone else being able to swim but him.

Arturo and I planned the rest of the trip: we'd use the window to move us into Egmont, which looked reasonably sheltered, spend a day moving up the inlet to Princess Louisa Inlet, and then the next day back. It looked like it would then be a long tough day returning the boat via motor, but the weather was forecasted to be calm by then, so we anticipated no problems. We looked into a day tour that would eliminate all that motoring, but they were all booked up for the days when we would be there, and we had the time, so why not.

We went to bed with full stomachs and strong confidence that we could do this, fully supported by the forecast from the Canadian weather service.

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