Friday, April 23–Friday, April 30
So it goes that the true definition of “cruising” is “working on your boat in exotic places”, the following day, I was eager to install the barometric damper in our flue. As that goes, it also follows that the simplest five-minute boat job will be a full-blown project involving several side jobs, take an inestimable amount of time, unplanned expenses, wasted money, and often times, spilled blood. This would be different, though—this would be a very simple install, and of course, I had everything I needed.
When we installed Toklat back in Prince Rupert, we thought it was pretty much done. However, a small leak developed at the elbow into the top of the hot water tank. The reason for the leak was that one of the fittings was not the right type. This was my chance to also fix that leak. I have a bunch of the right type of fittings, so this would be simple enough. All I had to do was disconnect the copper tubing from the hot water tank and replace that fitting with the correct one. Before reconnecting, I would need to lift the coil out of the way of the securing screw at the bottom of the flue, lift the stove pipe up and slide the two sections of pipe apart, and then put the small damper section in.
You know how sometimes when you try to save money by either omitting a superfluous part or step or maybe buying a less expensive substitute, it ends up being a waste of money because ultimately you have to go back and buy the other one anyway? Well, over the years, I’ve wasted a fair bit of money trying to save money. This time, I was determined not to do that.
When I ordered the Cubic Mini wood stove (the Grizzly), I ordered the recommended double-walled stainless steel flue sections, and then when I sold our old diesel heater, I let the single-wall pipe go with it. Both are three-inch flues. When I ordered the three-inch damper from Dickenson, I assumed that it would fit the inner wall of my flue. It did not; it is the exact same diameter.
Returning the damper was really not an option because we need a damper in the system. So in the longer term, for us, I figure that going back to a single-wall flue is the best option. So I decided to modify our flue to fit the damper as best I could. Using a dremel, I cut about an inch and a half off of the inner wall at one end of both sections of pipe. Then I flipped both sections upside down and clamped them to the damper. I also had to cut a few inches off the top of the outer wall of the top section above the deck in order to accommodate the stack and cap. When we get to the next town, we’ll pick up a couple of sections of Dickenson single-wall pipe and redo it. It’s a real case of “you’re damned if you do, and you’re damned if you don’t”. What the hell, eh? It’s only money.
Oh, and the plumbing? Well, as it turned out, I did not have the correct fitting, so I had to put it back the way it was until we get back to town. On top of all that, the reason I was so eager to get the damper installed was because the weather was changing, the temperature was coming down, and Windy.com was forecasting up to 20 knots from the southeast, so I wanted to be prepared for that, or more, and didn’t want the smokey belches from Toklat. As it turned out, we did get 20 knots, but it didn’t last long. Most of it was over by the time I got a fire going.
The next day, Captain Ev popped by and took us at gunpoint for a tour of Cortes Island in his van. By the time he was done with us, we were both so twisted around that I was starting to wonder if his agenda was to get us lost and kick us out of his van. I joke, of course; we very much enjoyed and appreciated the tour and the company. For Wendi and me, it was the longest period of time spent with any one person other than each other since the summer of 2020.
As we walked along the beach near the docks at Mansons Landing, I noticed the arbutus trees. It feels really good to be back in the land of the arbutus. For me, much of the essence of Haida Gwaii is in the forests and, in particular, the old-growth hemlock that dominated the area we were in, but the first sight of an arbutus tree in nearly two years seemed to fill a void that I never knew was there.
All in all, our visit to Gorge Harbour was more about relaxation with a side dish of puttering about on small maintenance and repair items. We were there long enough to get a pretty good sense of the community at the docks and found that it’s a pretty neat place, indeed. Captain Ev, of course, knows everyone there and introduced us to several of the other off-season liveaboards. There were some pretty interesting characters, to be sure.
As the end of the month approached, everyone was busy preparing themselves to vacate the marina, just as Bill and his staff prepared for their opening.
On Friday, the 30th of April, we untied and pointed our bow out the gorge, bound for home—Campbell River.
SAILING INFIDEL: Def. An unbeliever, heathen, pagan, heretic, agnostic, atheist, non-theist, freethinker, libertine, dissenter, or nonconformist of the sailing variety