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Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Last in a series of posts by Living Oceans Executive Director Karen Wristen, as she and her husband Jasper sail their 40' Newporter Viajador from Bowen Island to Sointula.

Day 5: Kelsey Bay to Sointula

With the weather forecast promising gale to storm-force winds for the balance of the week and the chart-plotter studiously refusing to work, we elected to cut short our plan to visit several of the smaller marinas in the Broughtons to make presentations on the Enbridge pipeline and tanker project. It seemed a better idea to get ourselves in to Sointula and out of the weather; we can always visit those marinas on short trips from our new home base as the weather permits.

Winds were variable, but the seas relatively calm as we motored our way up Johnstone Strait. All the wind directly on the nose, of course, so no chance of setting sail.

We saw porpoise a couple of times and I caught this fabulous shot on the fly:

No orcas; no seals. Lots of dark-coloured sea-birds on dark-coloured water; on the whole, the boats we saw made the best subjects for today's photos.

Sointula greeted us with a weak display of sunshine, the first we’d seen all day, and a cool wind. Also two very helpful sailors who caught our lines and welcomed us to our new home—very much appreciated as the skipper was a bit ahead of the deckhand on the subject of timing of this particular docking!

After two days spent navigating with paper charts alone, I've decided I prefer it for several reasons.First, when motoring, it gives the person not doing the steering something useful to do. Second, it's more interesting to scan the coastline for features that match your chart than to peer into a small electronic box that removes all the challenge by showing you exactly where you are. I observed our surroundings in far more detail, really noticing more about everything around us, in the process of trying to fix the position of the boat. And I discovered that I have a pretty good sense of the boat's speed when I have to guess rather than checking a readout.

I'm still keen to get the chart plotter fixed; we don't have another display device for the depth sounder and it's good to know your speed with some accuracy when you're trying to decide whether or not you'll make your port of choice before a storm hits. But my plan is to stop looking at it so much!

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