April was a busy month for us for us. We had great intentions of keeping up with regular posting, but it seems that time just got away from us! I’ve decided to break up our adventures into multiple posts, just to keep it from being overwhelming!
After leaving Vancouver on April 1st, we sailed across Georgia Strait to the Southern Gulf Islands. We spent one night in Montague Harbour on Galiano Island, and then headed over to Portland Island to hide out from a passing storm. As sailors, it’s essential that we keep tabs on the wind and weather forecasts, and plan our trips accordingly. We may want to be at a certain place for a certain day, but if the winds aren’t with us, its often better to just stay put for a day or two and wait for a better weather window. In this case, we had southwest and southeast winds predicted, so we sought harbour in the anchorage on the north side of Portland Island. Royal Cove get a fair bit of swell from the passing ferries, but overall it’s a pretty nice spot – especially in the off season when we have the whole place to ourselves! On the following morning, the sun came out long enough for us to go ashore and take a (muddy!) walk around the island.
Our route through the islands was technically dictated by the need to be in Sidney for April 5th to have some boat work done. We spent a few days at our mechanic’s dock while they worked on our heater, and then headed over to Van Isle Marina for a haul out in their Yacht Park. Van Isle uses a trailer to lift the boats out of the water, and drive them across the street to the yard. I used to think that the travel lifts were scary to watch – seeing Innisfree bounce up and down on the trailer was terrifying!
While our main purpose for the haul out was to have our propeller shaft and engine coupling checked out (and ultimately replaced, as it turned out), we planned to do a few other jobs so we could make the most of our time out of the water. During our week in the yard, we replaced two through-hulls (a leaky bathroom sink drain and a questionable raw water engine coolant intake ), polished and waxed the hull, touched up a bit of the bottom paint, and replaced the decals with our boat’s name and home port. Doesn’t sound like much as I type it, but it definitely used up all of our time! Fortunately, we had splurged and rented an AirB&B for the week, so we wouldn’t have to sleep amidst the chaos of the boat work. This was especially helpful on the morning that it started snowing, as it allowed us to stay dry and warm while waiting for the sun to return!
We accomplished all the necessary jobs, and only had to add two days to our originally planned time in the yard – which in boating terms is really quite successful. We launched the boat on the afternoon of the 14th, and then scooted back to Montague Harbour. This marine park has mooring buoys, which are an advantage when you’re arriving late in the day. Assuming there’s space available (which there usually is in the off-season), it is much faster and easier to pick up a mooring ball than to drop and set the anchor in an otherwise unfamiliar area. It turned out that some friends of ours (fellow Gozzard owners) were also moored in Montague, so we spent the evening catching up with them over drinks.
Stay tuned for the next installment…