Putting the boat to good use.

The summer in Port Alberni is hot. Shockingly hot. Which is all the more reason to take the boat out to the Pacific and spend some time anchored out. So far we have taken two trips out the Alberni Inlet and to the Pacific Rim National Park (Broken Group Islands). I do not exaggerate when I say this is some of the most rugged and awe inspiring landscape I have ever seen. 

On the first trip we motored the four hour trip out the inlet and anchored in a small bay on Tzartus island. The anchorage was less than comfortable but we were rewarded the next day with enjoying one of the most beautiful beaches I've been on in the Stud Islets. We passed some time catching crabs and rummaging around at low tide for seafood. Finding and shucking an oyster straight from the ocean is quite a different experience than sitting in an oyster bar. We then motored across the Imperial Eagle Channel which is about an hour trip and anchored in the bay at Nettle Island. The Broken Group islands are part of an archipelago that boarders several large inlets and the Pacific Ocean. The islands are a protected park and a place you can truly enjoy nature in its pure form. The weather was pleasant and even sunny at times and the boat performed beautifully. Though it is quite agonizing to not be able to sail. 

The second trip was a little less lucky concerning the weather. It rained the entire time. My long time best friend Brian came out for the trip and I dare say he got quite the sea going adventure. The route emulated the first trip with a slight change in that we went further out to Effingham Island in the Broken Group. Within half an hour of anchoring in the bay at Effingham a lone wolf went walking along the shore not a hundred yards from the boat. Between downpours we took all the advantage we could. We knew there were several trails on the island so despite the wolves and rain we took a hike straight across. Up, down, over and between all sorts of obstacles we trekked through a prodigious rain forest. To our surprise we ended up (dirty wet and somewhat exhausted) on the most amazing beach on the far side of the island. I hate to say I didn't end up with many pictures given the permeating wet. This beach was the epitome of my vision of the Pacific Northwest. White sand, huge logs everywhere, seaweed and the most beautiful smell of the sea with swells crashing on the rock. We left Effingham to spend one additional night on Turret Island prior to heading back home. We ate our fill of oysters on Turret and the next day we started the eight hour trip back to Port Alberni. A trip that was not very pleasant given the nonstop heavy rain and three meter cross swells in the Imperial Eagle Channel. Brian left and I began the process of airing out the boat which smelled quite foul. I can only hope he enjoyed his trip, gained a new respect for the sea and an appreciation for the landscape in the PNW. I know I sure enjoyed the company.

Side Note: My blog posts have been few and far between lately due to the internet situation or lack thereof in the marina. I am hastily writing this in the small diner next door. I do have very good news to share however, I have found a place to take the boat in Tacoma, Wa. I hope to begin the trip around Vancouver Island and back into the states in the coming three weeks. It will be a long trip and broken up into stages. If anyone is interested in coming to act as crew for any leg of the trip we would be very happy to have you!



Just kidding. But, in my last post I forgot to mention we did have a minor mishap while out on our little sailing excursion. I lost my favorite Tigers hat to the wind in the Alberni Inlet. Though the circumstances weren't life or death, it did give an opportunity to practice a man overboard situation. Unfortunately, by the time Blue Starr was turned around the poor old Tigs hat had sunk. I believe that is the second I've lost in the last year. The first on a hiking trip in Huron National forest. I'll have to lash the next one to my head. Time to go hat shopping. 

The engine doesn't work but, the grill sure does!

There is something very significant about this particular post. It is the first I have written and posted from the boat. I have a wifi signal!!! 

I picked up an Alfa wifi antenna and extender. The antenna catches distant signals and the extender works almost like a router and allows multiple devices to connect to the signals from the antenna in the new location. I haven't received the extender yet but, the antenna works well on its own plugged into my computer via USB. Works well considering the signal is coming from the marina office some 300 yards away. Lets just say I won't be streaming the Game of Thrones episodes I've missed down on the boat anytime soon.

That's the good news. The bad is that the engine won't start on the boat. She has a Detroit Diesel 3-53 that started right up in January when I was here. Not so much now. I've diagnosed the issue to air in the fuel system. Figuring out how to purge that air is the tricky part for me now. GM decided to omit any handy features like a purge pump so fixing the issue consists of me bleeding each filter and pressurizing the tank over and over again. We'll get her started i'm not too worried. The positive is that I've learned a bit about the engine and fuel system with all of this fiddling. 

It has been rainy and somewhat cold here the last couple of days so outdoor work on the boat is somewhat at a stand still. The rain has revealed a few leaks. One minor from a dorade box that happens to drip right into galley sink. One much more unfortunate that leaks through the foremast boot and directly into my bed in the V berth. I messed around with waterproofing spray on the boot but it didn't seem to solve the issue as Otto and I found out with quite damp blankets in the middle of the night. He didn't appreciate me thinking he might have wet the bed. 

As some of you may know, the Blue Starr needs a new mainmast and probably a new foremast as well. This is partly why I was able to afford her. I have decided that i'd like to shape the masts myself for two reasons. One, the cost. To have a mast built in one of the shops around here is roughly $12,000 US which is way out of my budget. Two, any woodworking experience I can gain is a major plus since I think that is important when living on a wooden boat. So I am happy to report that I have received a few quotes for two Douglas Fir utility poles (untreated) in the $1200 range. We may be sailing this year yet! 

The engine woes lead me to take a little break this week and do some grilling for dinner. The dinner was great but, also left me with a longing to be doing the same after a long days sail to a remote island in the San Juans or Broken Group in BC. One day we will be there.