Sailing in British Colombia 2016

July 2 to 15 was spent sailing in British Colombia with captain Ross Cloutier on SS Statia. Crew were Janis, Ruben, Benjamin, Oda and myself. We sailed from Sidney, along the east coast of Vancouver Island, to Desolate Sound, and south again along the mainland back to Sidney.

Here are some few glimpses from our trip.

Sidney Marina. Not quite like the marinas we find along the west coast of Norway:

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Schooner Statia. She is a steel ship, ca 60 feet, 40 tons. Built by retired naval skipper Claude Lacerte, she is only about ten years old, but has a classic rig which drew attention in every harbour we visited. See the ship’s website.

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The young crew climbed the rig:

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Nice sailing in light breeze:

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One week on a sail boat gives you one extra year to live, says captain Ross!

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Where we were:

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First stop was Ganges, Salt Spring Island:

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Sea planes landed and took off right into the harbour:

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Next was Chemainus. This little town was built on logging industry, which declined sharply in the 1980s. Now the town is known for its beautiful murals, which can be seen on most streets in the little community. The murals depict some of the area’s history. Read more about the murals here.

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On our way to Nanaimo we went through the Dodds Narrows. Strong tides combined with many narrow sounds along Vancouver Island creates strong currents, up to ten knots or more. We had to wait until slack (when the sea is at its highest or lowest) before we could go through. By then the current was still a few knots following us, so the passing was quite exiting. We were thrown around quite a bit. 40 tons of boat being tossed about like a toy! (I was steering, so I don’t have any pictures here!)

But here are some old tugs in Nanaimo:

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A bit more wind on the fifth day, from Comox to Hariot Bay, Quadra Island:

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Hariot Bay had quite a mix:

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The sixth day (July 8) we anchored in a bay off the Ha’thayim Marine Park. We had a nice walk in the dense forest on shore.

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Anchored in Secret Cove:

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Shore leave:

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Shores were full of drift wood. Of course, there was also floating timber in the sea. No problem for a heavy steel hull like Statia’s, but speed boats needed to be aware. May be that’s why we didn’t see many small, light speed boats anyway.

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Sailing in the Salish Sea between Vancouver Island and mainland British Colombia, Canada, is in some ways like sailing in Ryfylke, Norway. You are inshore, protected by coastal islands, with open waters to sail in and narrow sounds for anchorage. The winds change, there are nice quiet, sunny days, and nice windful days! There are lots of small communities where you can find supplies, or isolated places where you can be alone. And you have the mainland and the mountains in the east. But British Colombia is so much bigger. We covered a distance of ca 200 nautical miles, and this was just a small part of the coast.

Thanks to captain Ross Cloutier for taking us on this beautiful cruise! And for many ad hoc lectures on nature, culture and history!

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