Sunday, July 7, 2013

We're Cruising

Rhapsody returned to the water five months and a few days after haulout at the shipyard. Sporting a freshly painted exterior, new teak and holly floors, new carpeting and a handful of upgrades, she looks classy once again. There are SO many great shipyard photos to share, but not today. For now, let the adventures begin.

Port Angeles to Nanaimo
Conditions report - clear blue sky with zero wind and calm seas. How’s that for a perfect start to our daylong run north? Today’s journey followed a preplanned course through familiar territory: Depart Port Angeles, transit the easterly end of the Strait of San Juan de Fuca crossing the border into British Columbia, Canada and run up the east side of Vancouver Island. Heavy wind warnings had been posted for days, but the trip was pleasantly routine until we approached Dodd Narrows, the restricted passage where heavy current tends to limit traffic to periods of slack water.

A sturdy tugboat towing a string of several rafts of bundled logs headed today's lineup of northbound vessels waiting to navigate the narrows on the 4:00 pm slack. A dozen pleasure boats loitered with us at the southerly end of Dodd, while unseen others stacked up on the north end, all waiting for the big tug to pull its long tow through and clear the channel. A smaller tug assisted, guiding the rear of the log raft around the dog-leg bend in the narrows, but things did not go as planned. Oh no! The tow dragged, came apart, and several log bundles floated loose, scattering across the channel. Those two tugs powered back and forth like sheep dogs trying to herd an unruly flock. 

Boats at both ends of Dodd paused, then cautiously maneuvered around and through the mess, aware of the need to run through the passage or wait six hours for the next slack current. We dodged the two busy tugs, three drifting log bundles and a few other boats without incident. Later on a Coast Guard radio broadcast announced nine bundles loose in Dodd Narrows as a new hazard to navigation. Nine?! That must have been some log roundup!

Nanaimo is a happening place in the summer. Friday and Saturday nights featured live music on the esplanade, amplified throughout the harbor. On Saturday morning the Dragon Boat Races drew crowds of supporters and impromptu spectators to the city’s waterfront park. Throughout most days and well into the evenings a small ferry chugs back and forth across Newcastle Channel, delivering people to the Dinghy Dock Pub for burgers and a brew. Dockside chatter reports the best harbor entertainment comes from watching visiting boaters maneuver into their assigned slips in gusting 20-25 knot winds. No comment. 

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