July 23, 2019–Suzuki Happy Again, And So Are We

Departure Port:  Ucuelet; Departure Time:  9:30; Destination Jaques-Jarvis Cove, Broken Islands; Arrival Time:  4:30pm; Distance Cruised Today:  25 miles; Total Distance for the Trip:  888 miles; Stop Along the Way:  Joe’s Bay Anchorage, for lunch; Conditions:  mostly overcast, some sun in afternoon; wind building to 20 knots in afternoon; air temp:  67 degrees; water temp:  65 degrees

IMG_4839It hits me in the middle of the night.  I don’t need to buy any new fuel line to make a direct connection between the engine and tank.  One of the lines I already have will be plenty long enough.  All I need to do is disconnect it from the switchover valve, and connect it to the primer bulb, which puts it in direct line with the engine.  This will eliminate several potential sources of trouble, including that switchover valve.  To switch tanks I’ll simply undo the quick coupler from one tank, bring it across, and plug into the other tank.  We have highIMG_4837 hopes that this will solve yesterday’s problem, and we implement it first thing this morning.  All that’s left to do is give it a good test, and today’s run will serve that purpose.

We pull out around 9:30am, and ease our way out of Ucuelet Inlet, dodging sport fishing charter boats and whale watching tour boats along the way.  It’s breezy out on Barkley Sound, but we run down wind, with the jib out.  The engine sounds good, and we motor sail until around 11:30, with a destination of Joe’s Bay Anchorage in view.  It’s quite choppy out in open water, but once we turn into the anchorage we’re in calm, well protected waters.  We pick out a nice spot in the lee of a tall stand of evergreens and drop the anchor.  Perfect timing for a nice hot lunch of cream of potato soup and grilled English muffins.  And, what makes the situation even more perfect:  the engine has performed flawlessly for nearly 3 straight hours, in stark contrast with yesterday’s struggles.  We are gaining confidence that the modifications to the fuel line, done this morning, have solved our problem. 

This enables us to go on a sightseeing excursion for the balance of the afternoon.  I take a scenic, zig zag route through the inner Broken Islands toward an interesting place which Sandy and I cruised through in 2014, called Julia Passage.  The cruising guides describe this route as “not for the faint of heart”, because of it’s narrow entrance and rock hazards.  When the guides say that, I figure it’s perfect MacGregor country.  I want Greg to see this fascinating place, so I steer for it.  We enter via the extremely narrow north entrance.  There DSCF2710can’t be 10 feet between rocks and boat on either side, and cedar limbs arch out from the shore on both sides, creating additional potential hazards for sailboat rigging.  Depth is adequate, and there is just one submerged rock shown on the chart, which we fail to see our touch.  It’s a really fun place to poke into, but the real treat is what we encounter once inside.  For the next 4 miles we pass by a veritable floating community.  Easily 30, maybe more, floating houses are spotted along both shores of the narrow passage.  Some are quite tiny, while others are very substantial.  We see boat houses, green houses, and potted plant gardens, all arrayed on floats. 

We exit Julia Passage and cross Sechart Channel into strong wind and choppy seas.  A narrow, winding passage just west of Nettle Island leads us over to Jaques Island and theDSCF2711 delightful little anchorage known as Jaques-Jarvis Anchorage.  The entrance to this extremely well protected anchorage is narrow and quite shallow, but we’re coming in at close to high tide, and our shallow draft works to advantage getting in to such places.  We find the place deserted, so we have our pick of places to drop our anchor.  Shortly after getting anchored, Greg notices a boat coming in, and he thinks he recognizes the boat.  It’s a Nordic Tub which we’ve previously seen on numerous occasions during this cruise, ever since we’ve begun working down the West Coast.  It’s always been accompanied by a Grand Banks trawler, when they anchor, these two boats always raft up with each other.  Sure enough, about 10 minutes later, the trawler (named Kootenay Rose) arrives and, before long, they are anchored and rafted up.  After dinner Greg and I go on a dinghy explore and, while putting around, stop by to say hello.  They’ve taken note of us during their travels as well, and we exchange notes on our respective trips.  They’ve been within a day of us the whole way, usually with us pulling out just as they’re arriving. 

We’re paying close attention to the weather now, with the last big challenge of the trip, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, looming ahead.  Right now, it looks like we’ll spend the day tomorrow looking at more of the Broken Islands, and staying the night at nearby Bamfield.  Then on Thursday we’ll get up very early and make the jump down to Port Renfrew, which is at the west entrance to the Strait.  On Friday we plan to make the run down the Strait, pulling up at Sooke Bay by noon or so and spending the day there.  This will set us up for the final 18 mile run into Victoria, which will again be done in the very early morning hours, when we have the best chance for light winds.

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