Where Next?
Bob Williams
Wed 2 Sep 2015 22:57

Position: At anchor Tsehum Harbour, Vancouver Island
Wind: South-east to south-west, F1-4 light air to fresh breeze
Weather: rain.

Today's mission was going to be to collect the satellite phone from the repair shop. To that end, this morning I rowed over to a nearby sail boat that was, like us, clearly at anchor and, from the tell tale sign of the dinghy hanging from its transom, clearly had someone aboard, there to obtain some information from its occupant. As I touched alongside I was greeted by a well built man with a trim salt and pepper beard, and I would guess of a similar age to myself, that is he appeared to be in his late fifties. He offered me a firm friendly handshake, introduced himself as Guy, and invited me on board.

As a fellow single-handed live-aboard sailor, though of the local short range variety, we soon ended up in a lengthy conversation about boats, sailing, and the pros and cons of sailing alone. In amongst these staples of single-handed gamming, I established that there was in fact a place to tie the dinghy ashore, along with public showers and a laundromat, and that there was a public dock where the daily fees were likely to be a lot cheaper than the private marinas hereabouts, but, because of its reasonable fees, the public dock was crowded, with boats tied up three abreast, and, Guy told me, was largely occupied by floating squatters rather than genuine boaters. Well, after all this time of sailing solo on a limited income, I have mostly come to terms with my place at the lower end of the capitalist hierarchy, so the latter factor was no deterrent. Rather, my main interest in getting alongside was to make it easier for Sylvia to get ashore, as, with an extra person sitting on the after thwart, Sylph’s dinghy becomes cumbersome to row, and the dinghy dock was a long way from where we were anchored.

As I was about to return to Sylph I discovered Sylvia standing on Sylph's bow, a black umbrella over her head against the rain, pointing to the anchor chain, then to the shore and gesticulating rather frantically. I gathered that she was trying to tell me that we were dragging anchor. I was pretty sure that we were not, but that what had gotten her concerned was the anchor drag alarm on the GPS going off as Sylph swung to the changing tide. I had not intended to be away so long, so I hurried back to assuage her fears.

Once the anchor drag alarm was reset and I had established that we were in fact still securely attached to the harbour bottom, Sylvia and I discussed what next. As we did so the rain outside settled into a near continuous downpour. All our options seemed to be rather complicated. We decided upon the simplest, namely that I should row ashore, check out the public dock to find out the prices and to see if there was room to tie Sylph up there. If there was room then I could return to Sylph and then we would move alongside. If there was not, then I would continue into Victoria to collect the satellite phone, leaving Sylvia on board to fen for herself. Meanwhile, out on deck the rain continued to pour.

We stood on the companionway steps looking out at the water, close by the sea's surface was splattered and broken, but further off the splatters merged turning to a thick shimmering silver sheen.  It really did not look like a good day to be going out of doors. A quick rethink. Guy had told me that he was planning on catching a bus into a wooden boat festival in Victoria on Friday. Friday's forecast is for sunshine, so a new plan has been arrived at, namely to remain at anchor today, tomorrow check out the public dock and go alongside if it looks OK, and then, on Friday, go into Victoria for the boat festival and pick up the satellite phone on the way.

And this is why, being boat bound with a rainy day to fill up, I have applied such a thick coat of varnish to the day’s blog.

All is well.