British Columbia Central Coast

They Call It Stormy Monday but Tuesday's Just as Bad

Wednesday, October 26, 2016S.V. CAMBRIA

With Lizette Falls and Fiordland Recreational Area in our wake, it was time to get serious. The days are falling off the calendar at an alarmingly fast rate and we only have two weeks to clear Cape Caution and get back down into the protection of Vancouver Island before our insurance rider expires. Covering 150 miles in two weeks wouldn't normally be a problem but, if the forecast is anything to judge by, the going will be slow.


Before we could think about rounding Cape Caution, we needed to make our way back to Shearwater for fuel, a few provisions and to do laundry. The anchorage itself isn't the best and the forecast didn't give us a good weather window until Monday or Tuesday a three to four day wait. So we took our time, spending leisurely days at anchor and making short runs: James Bay to Rescue Cove to Oliver Cove Marine Park in Port Blackney, the latter in dense fog.


We'd hoped to make Shearwater on Monday, but it was pouring and the forecast was calling for gale-force southeasterlies. The idea of doing laundry in the rain and spending the night at anchor there, didn't appeal to me so we decided to stay one more night in Oliver Cove. But hindsight proved that to be somewhat of a mistake.


The conditions Tuesday were actually worse, but we couldn't spare the time. So, we left Oliver Cove in the fog and rain. We'd hoped to grab a spot at the dock to make doing our chores easier, but it was full so we went out to anchor, put the outboard on the dinghy, and rode into shore with a full boat 3 propane tanks, four bags of garbage, three bags of recyclables and two loads of laundry. I felt a bit like the Beverly Hillbillies coming to town . . . all we were missing was a rocking chair and a granny. 

Because of the extra day in Oliver Cove, we found ourselves in a situation. The forecast called for gale-force southwesterly winds and there wasn't an anchorage with better protection within 10 miles of us. The holding in Shearwater is fair to good in rock and it does offers protection from the SW, so we decided to wait it out and move on Thursday when there would be a brief respite before the weather really turned bad.


The wind started to pick up around 5 o'clock and woke me up. I finally dragged myself out of be an hour later to keep an eye on things, but it was relatively calm until mid-morning when the wind really started to blow . . . from the southeast. We were lee-shored through most of it, seeing considerable gusts, one or two healing us over, and there were white caps all over the bay. We only registered 26+ knots on the wind instruments, but I'm confident it was more like 30+. Things settled down late afternoon and we had a semi-quiet night. But ask anyone who lives-aboard and/or cruises and I'm confident they will tell you the same thing: The wind is exhausting and it will wear you down, little by little.


As promised, Thursday was a quiet day, weather-wise. But it was forecasted to be short-lived with stronger winds predicted for Friday. So we pulled the outboard, warmed the engine, and went to fill the tanks with diesel and water. From Shearwater, we rode the tide down to Sea Otter Inlet off Fitz Hugh Sound to wait for the next round of weather to move through. This time, though, we chose an intimate, all-weather anchorage and should be a lot more comfortable.


At this stage, we've only managed to knock off 84 miles in seven days which brings me back to my original point the days are falling off the calendar at an alarming rate. But this time of year, weather dictates movement more than ever and there's no rounding Cape Caution until this final barrage of lows, troughs and fronts passes through and the sea state settles. Will we make it before our rider expires? We think so. But it'll be close.


Note: This blog entry was written Thursday, 08 September 2016

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  1. You'll make it. But if anyone thinks that this lifestyle is less stressful than land life, they should read this post. I'm stressing for you.

  2. Sea life is relaxing but yes always a lot of work to stay afloat

  3. Having a time limit to get somewhere, whether for insurance, to meet guests, catch a plane or beat the weather is so stressful! The weather is king, especially this time of the year, it seems like. I hope you made it "around" the corner in time and are comfortable enough these days! Fog, rain, and wind. No fun. Glad all went fine when you were anchored on a lee shore during the storm. Crazy stuff.

  4. It's never dull! I want to know what I did with my time before I had to plan trips and weather....although it's almost pointless since the forecast is often different from reality!

  5. My husband was so happy and relieved not to have to check the weather religiously anymore once we got off the boat. But, it felt weird in the beginning not to be doing it anymore. Truth is, whenever you create more time not doing something particular, it is filled with other things. I was busy on the boat, all day long, thinking at night "What the hell did I do all day?" Guess what? I am going through that same cycle on shore!