Barkley Sound British Columbia

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Monday, September 02, 2013S.V. CAMBRIA

The week started off with a bang . . . or a blow, rather . . . and 55 knot southeasterlies with 3 to 4 metre seas off Cape Scott and the bad weather continued from there.  We were more fortunate south of Brooks Peninsula and only saw winds in the 30 to 40 knot range, but it was a long week spent under the influence of a lingering offshore low pressure system that spawned strong to gale force winds, high seas and considerable rainfall throughout the area.  At times it was a little choppy and uncomfortable inside the anchorage, but the holding is good in mud and we didn’t have much to worry about. 

The start of the Wild Pacific Trail.

Amphitrite Lighthouse

Monday, as the system was moving in, we decided to complete the Wild Pacific Trail by doing the Lighthouse Loop.  While a far cry from the winter storms that pound the coast, the conditions were much livelier than they had been the previous day:  The sea state had already risen to more than two metres and waves were crashing along the offshore rocks and reefs making it easy to see why they call this area “The Graveyard of thePacific”.  Cold and wet after our walk, we did the only sensible thing and stopped by the pub to warm up with a hot meal and cold beers.  It wasn’t surprising to see most of the fishing fleets doing the same – nobody in their right mind was going anywhere. 

The rest of the days of the week blended together with more of the same – wind and rain – and we only ventured outside to take Sally to shore or run the generator.  The boat has been cold and damp, with humidity in the 80% range, and it’s been next to impossible to keep things dry (including ourselves).  But the end is finally in sight.  The low pressure system that’s been causing so many problems is beginning to move eastward and weaken while a ridge of high pressure builds over Vancouver Island.  If all goes well, we should see a return to settled weather and normal conditions for this time of year that will last for the next week or so. 

The weather started to improve on Friday so I took the opportunity to do the laundry, which is no easy task.  The laundromat, like the grocery store and most other amenities in Ucluelet, is close to a mile away and up a steep hill – even with the help of a collapsable dolly, it took a couple of trips into town to complete the job.  When I got back tothe boat, our friends on S.V. Sarita were anchored next to us.  We met Richard, Jude and Katya last year in Desolation Sound and have been anxiously waiting to cross paths this season as we both made our way down theWest Coast – us from Central BC and them from Alaska. 

The weather was even better on Saturday which meant more laundry and provisioning before having dinner aboard Sarita that night.  When we left Cambria at 6:00 pm, the batteries were fully charged and still looked good when we got home at 1:30 am after a great night of catching up.  Sometime before dawn I woke up to the sound of a motor.  It took me a while to figure out what it was:  The fish processing plant?  A fishing boat heading out to sea?  No such luck.  David had started the generator because the house batteries fell well below 12 volts.  Now we’re starting to get really concerned.  Our best estimate is that we have less than 60 usable amp hours remaining, down from more than ten times that amount when the batteries were new . . . fifteen years ago.  

Sarita left for Effingham Bay in the Broken Group this morning around noon.  We’d hoped to go as well but, after Saturday night, decided to stick around to see about buying a battery to get us through to the end of the season.  Because Ucluelet is such a busy fishing port, we’re optimistic about our chances of finding something in the local chandlery.  But today’s a holiday so the chandlery is closed and we'll have to stick around one more day before we can finally up anchor and finish our West Coast Adventure in the crown jewel of Vancouver Island – Barkley Sound.

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