Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 13 Jun 2015 05:33

Position: 49 40.161 N 124 55.560 W
Alongside Public Dock, Comox Harbour
Wind: North West, F5 fresh breeze
Weather: sunny, mild
Day's run: 35 nm

I moved Sylph around to Whaletown late yesterday afternoon and attempted to anchor in the space that had been recommended to me, but after letting out what I thought was an adequate length of cable for the depth of water Sylph swung around to within meters of the wharf. Not only was I concerned about the possibility of hitting the wharf, I was also worried that we were obstructing access to the public dock. Consequently, rather than worry all night, I weighed anchor and moved Sylph alongside the dock outboard a fishing vessel, as the small dock had no free space available. It is a very common practice in British Columbia to berth outboard of other vessels at public docks, as there are so many vessels, commercial and private, and only limited dock space.

Later in the evening the crew of the fishing vessel turned up and advised me that they would be sailing at 5.30 in the morning. No problem, I told them, I would be on board and asked them to just give me a shout when they were ready to go. This morning all went smoothly and after their departure, with Sylph now tied up directly alongside the dock, I had breakfast and awaited my dental appointment. With the dentist and his wife/office manager being fellow sailors we had much to talk about, at least up until that moment when one finds oneself with a mouthful of cotton and dental implements, and the conversation becomes decidedly one sided. I am pleased to say that all I needed was a repair to a filling, and I have been given a clean bill of health for the next year or so.

We departed Whaletown Bay at 9.20, setting a reefed main and the jib partly furled due to the strong winds. Initially we had to close reach to get around the northern end of Marina Island, but once we were clear of its northern point we were able to bear away, pole out the jib and run wing on wing for twenty five miles, a distance we covered in four hours, for an average of just over six knots. Once abeam Cape Lazo I dropped the pole and altered course to the south-west to pass over the Comox Bar, which has a minimum charted depth of 2.4 meters. We had three meters of tide at the time of our crossing so I felt pretty comfortable that we would have no problems getting across. Three buoys guided our path and at 2.20 pm we tightened sheets to alter course to the north-west, putting the fresh breeze on our starboard bow, and necessitating a bit of punch to windward. I was glad that I had left the reef in the mainsail for our run down the coast for now that we were going into the wind it was surprising just how much stronger it felt. One tack brought us up to the marina entrance and at 2.50 I started the motor and handed sail.

I had originally intended to anchor off the marina to save a little money, but it was so windy in the bay that I decided it would be very difficult and possibly dangerous to attempt to row ashore in Sylph's small tender, so I opted to go alongside instead. The main purpose of this stop, in addition to resting for the night, is to top up provisions. That has been done. Tomorrow I will top up the water tanks and then we will head for our next stop, probably Boho Bay on the eastern side of Lasqueti Island.

All is well.