The wind continues its relentless Northwest assault with it seventh day of High Wind Warnings in the Strait of Georgia and Gale Warnings up ahead at Johnstone Straight. After several days of weather holds, I started feeling anxious to bump out of the Nanaimo wind vortex surrounding me. The scene was almost laughable, attempting my escape through a narrow channel with wind so fierce that I was ultimately reduced to walking the boat beside me as the quicker option. 30 knot gusts whistled through all the rigging in the adjacent harbor.
This was the 3rd attempt at an escape, each time getting blown back to the comforts of Protection island and my newly adopted family who had lived there 41 years. Like seemingly everyone in Canada, they were anxious to put me up, feed me amazing meals, and be generally supportive and helpful. Unbelievably fun people- thanks Jim and Irene!
Although almost certain I would fail, hoist the sails, and scurry straight back to the island, I punched through after a good 14 hours of hard, slow, and wet paddling. I found a 10x10 floating dock in the dark on an Indian reservation that was marked as a harbor. The wind whistled and persistent swell and spray blew over the top of the floating dock onto my sleeping bag. I got up (or never really slept) before the sun and finished off the morning slugging off the rest of the beat upwind to Schooner Cove Marina. I was met at the dock by a gentleman who had seen me paddling and put together a care package for me with an assortment of different nuts and Power bars. Such a generous act of kindness in a pretty tough moment. I rested flat on my back on the front lawn of the marina, badly blistered, beaten up.
After a few hours I noticed a slight break in the weather. Earlier in the week I had decided to completely alter course and cross the Strait of Georgia to avoid wind behind a set of Islands 12 miles away. The straight gets notorious stinky, and although there was a high wind warning in effect for the crossing I cautiously made my way, under sail, out into the middle. The wind continued to be unusually light, and allowed me to peacefully transit the strait to Jedidiah Island. Landed in a perfect cove amongst granite cliffs in the dark exhausted, but feeling refreshed from the long traverse and a land of ‘new opportunity’
I’m now trucking along up the east side of Texada Island, en route to Powell River, to procure some much needed boat supplies. Lee board, stove, hull, and steering have all been taking a beating and the bow is going to need some sort of plastic chaps to keep it from leaking so much. Otherwise, good shape!
Body and mind feel good, too. Even in the most challenging times thus far, I’ve been quick to realize the sheer and spectacular beauty of this place. Amazing sunsets, full moons rising to my aid at night. bald eagles soaring, incredible coastal scenes, amazing people. Pure beauty, tons of gratitude.