June 21, 2019–Epic Solstice Cruise

DSCF2151We get another extra early start again this morning, our third in a row.  However, this time our early start really pays off.  We leave the Schooner Cove dock at 4am and head once again out ontoIMG_4271 the waters of the Strait of Georgia.  This time, however, we venture forth with confidence instead of trepidation.  The wind has fallen to a light breeze, and whitecaps are nowhere to be seen.  Seas are just 2 feet to begin with.  They increase to 3 or 4 by the time we reach the Ballenas Islands.  The wind gives us just enough of an angle to unfurl the jib, which gives us some welcome stability.  A few miles past Ballenas the wind begins to ease and clock.  This ends our motor sailing, but with the drop in wind speed, we enjoy a welcome lessening of wave height.  As we near Lasqueti Island, conditions are becoming outright pleasant.  We’re making good speed, and can begin to use the autopilot for the first time on the trip.  We reach the south end of Texada Island after a couple of hours of cruising, and we begin our 20 mile run up Malespina Strait.  It’s clear and sunny, the air brisk but warming.  At Northeast Point, about 2/3’s of the way up Texada’s eastern shore we alter course, heading  on a long diagonal for  the mainland side of Malespina Strait.  We pass Powell River, and then set a waypoint for Thulin Passage, which separates the Copeland Islands from mainland.  The north end of Thulin Passage leaves us just a few miles to go before reaching Sarah Point, which represents the gateway to the renown Desolation Sound.  The wind has by now clocked from northwest first thing in the morning, all the way around to southeast, just as forecast.  We fly the jib and motor sail past the entrance to Desolation.  The scenery is stunning, and Greg enjoys the view while standing on the bow. 

On the far side of Desolation entrance we set course for Refuge Cove.  We tie up at the fuel dock and fill our tanks with gas, and then motor over to the guest moorage dock.  We tie up on the inside, which isn’t quite so bouncy.  AfterDSCF2154 checking in, we treat ourselves to ice cream cones, grab a few grocery items, and then return to the boat for a dinner of grilled sausages on buns, accompanied by potato salad, and washed down with cold beer.  Just the thing for today, tasty yet quick and easy to fix.  We have a couple of Washington State sailboats tied up nearby, and I expect we’ll get together this evening to swap stories while sipping an appropriate beverage.  I grab my ship’s log book to enter data on the day’s run.  We were underway for 13 hours, and averaged an amazing 6 knots for the day, covering 80 miles in total.  At first I find that hard to believe.  It’s the second longest run I’ve ever made in the boat (we made 82 miles across the Great Bahama Banks in 2011).  Fuel consumption was just under 6 miles per gallon, which I regard as excellent performance, especially considering we were running at 6 knots or better, at 3000 rpm, most of the time.  Fuel consumption for the previous day, when we pounded heavy seas before retreating, we got only 3.2 miles per gallon. 

It’s been a long day, both figuratively and in reality.  June 21 is summer solstice, longest day of daylight in the year, and we will have seen all of it.  We are finally across the Strait of Georgia, and poised to work our way up through the tidal rapids zone, on our way to Johnstone Strait and the Broughton Islands.  The scenery will only get better from here.


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