We lay at anchor in Security Cove through my birthday (I’m 55 👀). Wendi made me my favourite – Black Forest Cake – and it was a very nice day. Later in the evening we got a weather forecast from the InReach Sat Phone and made plans to leave on the morning high tide of the fifteenth.
The fifteenth came and we tried to leave but the seas were still up pretty good with a pretty stiff breeze blowing so we headed back to the anchorage to wait for calmer weather.
We downloaded a fresh weather forecast on the 17th and were almost going to go when during deliberations, at 09:30 I began to nod off so we went back to bed. Two hours later we awoke to forty knot winds blowing us over at anchor. We looked at each other and said, “Glad we went back to bed!”.
We had finally started receiving the marine weather broadcasts over VHF and as staticky as they were, we were able to get the gist of what to expect and comparing the forecasts downloaded from the sat phone, we pretty much resigned to staying until Monday or Tuesday.
Later in the day, I dug out the cable I had bought back in Richmond to connect the VHF radio to the wifi router, hoping that I could use the more reliable GPS receiver in the radio for navigation and also to start seeing AIS targets on my charting software. I finished, but with no real way of knowing if it was successful or not. We didn’t really expect to encounter any AIS targets between here and Port Louis and I found no way of seeing which of the two possible GPS signals were being used by the system – only that there was no change.
While fidgeting about on the morning of the eighteenth and staring at our chart, our anchor alarm and our planned route to Port Louis, I turned on the radio to see if there were any nearby life forms. An AIS target appeared on the radio display! I flipped back to the chart on my computer and there it was, displayed on the chart – SUCCESS!
I tried to call him on the radio but got no response. Funny, I knew it was a fishing vessel, its name was EJ Safrit, it was 20 metres long, 8 metres wide, with a 3-metre draft and had a course of 120°, but I couldn’t talk to him.
At the end of the day Wendi pronounced Barney (the immortal) officially dead, so we made plans to run off a batch of the Spirit of the Infidel the next day. We held a wake in his honour and tipped a few beers in his memory. Wendi had started this wash on July the thirteenth, a week before we left Richmond. We knew it was risky but did it anyway. The rough ride up Johnstone Strait definitely had an impact. We have never had a wash live so long as this one.
The next morning, as Wendi was preparing the pot, Barney raised his ugly head and let yet another foul belch – He was back from the dead!
I still had to re-install the circulating fan anyway, so we decided that we’d give him one more day and run him off whether he was ready or not on Sunday. I got busy and installed the circulating fan.
Wondering about the condition of the hull below the waterline was killing me and the water had been too choppy to dive, so after finishing with the fan, I taped the Gopro and a waterproof flashlight to the boat hook and recorded some video of the lipstick marks we got from kissing “Morrison Rocks” the other night. It worked, despite the murky, brown water, we definitely saw some damage. Probably not as bad as I’d feared but bad enough that when the water is flat enough to dive, a dive is in order.
We had a late supper and as Wendi started the dishes, she realized that Archie was not working. You may be wondering why we have pet names for some of the components aboard Cosmic Debris. Well, this little instance is a pretty good example of why. This boat is alive, there is no doubt about that.
You see, we call the fresh water pump “Archie” because of the sound it makes when it comes on. It sounds kind of like one of Archie Bunker’s raspberries. While I was installing the circulating fan, near Archie, and on the same circuit, Archie spoke up with a brief little raspberry. I said, “Yes Archie, you’re getting a new neighbour. Not to worry though, he’s white.”, and a few short hours later, Archie stopped working. Coincidence? That’s a pretty big coincidence. Then there’s Aaron, that’s a whole other story.
The problem with Archie turned out to be the pressure switch. When I installed Archie, only three months ago, I saved the old pump for parts and it just so happens that the only difference between the old one and Archie is that the old one had a better quality switch, so I put the old switch on the new pump and Archie was back to his old (young) self again. I guess that better switch is what you get for an extra hundred bucks – the price difference between the chandlery model and the Amazon.ca model.
When I installed the circulating fan, I did not have an appropriate switch to install with it so I found an old switch that had five settings on it. Two of them worked, giving us a Hi and a Low setting – perfect! That lasted an entire day before the switch totally malfunctioned and then I had to find another old switch to wire in. This old girl – Cosmic Debris – sure does keep me hopping.
Before those chores, I suited up and went down to check out the damage from Morrison Rocks. There was one little gouge into the glass and the rest was just missing paint. They looked a lot bigger in the Gopro videos. I got Wendi to mix up a batch of epoxy that is able to be applied under water and I smeared it all over the wounds, so she should be okay for the duration of our stay at The Outpost. We’ll have to haul out again next summer and fix it right, I suppose.
With Barney in the stew pot and a couple of more days of shitty weather in the forecast, I started preparing for our escape from Security Cove on Wednesday or Thursday. In the week and a half that we were in Security Cove, I had spent many hours pouring over the settings in OpenCPN, trying to figure out why I was not getting a course over ground from the NMEA 2000 GPS.
I managed to get connected to the old NGT-1, NMEA 2000 gateway and found that the Garmin GPS is, in fact, transmitting the HDG, HDM and HDT sentences but for some reason, OpenCPN is not getting them. That “some reason” would appear to be my VYacht Wifi router. The kicker is that I have four computers on board and two gateways to my instrument network and no way to actually see all the data that is being transmitted. It’s really driving me nuts.
Good-Bye Security Cove
After ten days of frustration with trying to get a weather report that we can actually trust, we figured that we had better take the small opportunity that was presenting itself on the 23rd of August.
The forecast for the area offshore of Englefield Bay, for that afternoon and evening, was southeast winds at 10-15 knots and one to two metres seas. The wind was to change to northwest by morning and become light.
We weighed anchor at 16:00 and motored south-west out the inlet with ten to fifteen knots of wind on our bow and emerged into Englefield Bay with southwest winds gusting to twenty-five and two to three metre swells breaking in the bay.
The EJ Safrit was there on the AIS again so before emerging from the inlet I tried to get a report on the sea state out there but he was too broken up to understand – other than “six or seven-foot seas” – so we pressed on. We raised the mains’l and yankee and sailed westward out of Engelfield. It was fairly uncomfortable but we persisted for about an hour before turning to a WNW heading for a little comfort and to keep putting distance between ourselves and shore.
By midnight, it was getting pretty uncomfortable again, the winds were up and so were the seas and it was starting to feel an awful lot like the night we pulled into Security Cove. At the time, we were about fifteen miles south-west of Givenchy inlet and we discussed whether or not to head into Givenchy to anchor for the night. It was fifteen miles to the entrance though so by the time we’d have gotten in and set the anchor, it would have been four in the morning, so what would be the point? – We pressed on.
Conditions were not as bad as back on the twelfth though, and I was able to get a few minutes here and there of relief thanks to Otto. He could handle the seas for maybe five minutes and then I would have to find the course again. I think I did that a couple of times but that was it.
The sun seemed to take a really long time to come up. It was about two hours from when the sky began to lighten until we actually saw the sun.
It was an absolutely beautiful sunrise, the mountains in the distance, the big – and now gentle – swells and (unfortunately light) northwest wind combined into absolute splendour.
We motor-sailed for as long as we could in the light air but with no need to go any further off-shore, I ended up simply sheeting the sails in tight and motoring into the wind, directly toward Port Louis for the last couple of hours. I was desperately hoping for a change in winds as we got closer to shore, to facilitate a grand entrance into The Outpost under full sail but as we got closer and closer, it became obvious that that was just not going to happen, so we dropped the canvas and motored in.
We were unable to raise anyone on the radio to find out if there were any planes or helicopters coming in that day, so decided to play it safe and drop the hook over in Kiokathli Inlet, right next door. As soon as the hook was set, a fish boat came in to also anchor and we proceeded to have a beer, (or a bunch), to celebrate the end of this long journey – a major milestone for us.
The next day – the 25th – as we were launching the dinghy, Jordan and some of the crew showed up in a boat. They were on their way out for a season ending “fun day”. We had a brief conversation before they left and then we took the dinghy over to the lodge and went to have a shower.
On the 26th, we had a briefing from Jordan on the state of the lodge as we would receive it and first thing in the morning, most of them left in boats, headed for Masset and then home. The remaining girls sat around watching TV and waiting for their helijet to come for them. It didn’t look too good as we were socked right in with fog.
Thankfully, before noon the fog lifted and the chopper came in for them.
We were very happy to be alone and have our lodge back to ourselves.
Total Mileage (Security Cove – Pt Louis): 70 Nm
Total Hrs: 18.5 Hr
Avg Spd: 3.78 Kn
Total Mileage from Richmond: 625.3 Nm
Total Hrs: 129.4 Hr
Avg Spd: 4.83 Kn
Next time on Sailing Infidels we deal with critters big and small! A deadly break-in at The Outpost!
© 2017 Ron Morrison