Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Surviving Dodd Narrows - 6/15 Noon/2015

It is time to say Goodbye to the Purple Martins and wonderful times at Ladysmith and move on up the way to Nanaimo, where we hope to get moorage on the Nanaimo Yacht Club's reciprocal dock.  They have two long piers for visitors.  

Skies are sunny and it is a comfortable temp of 66 degrees.  With Dodd Narrows slack at 8:48A, we leave around 7:30A to allow delays for any unexpected problems along the way.  There are several crab traps dotting the surface of the water as we approach Sibell Bay and Evening Cove on the south of the peninsula.  Water is flat calm and no appreciable wind.

Someone had said if you see starfish, there won't be any crab.  Others say this is not true, and last night a young father brought his two year and four year old children to fish with their small rods and reels across from our boat.  They caught a few crab that way, but were not able to keep them on the hook. 

We turn north into Stuart Channel with Thetis Island on our starboard, then pass Yellow Point to enter Trincomali Channel and position for a straight shot to go through Dodd Narrows.  We watch a sailboat ahead, trying to determine if she is anchored or waiting for the time to scoot through the narrows, but she is not broadcasting AIS.  Doesn't appear to be moving.

As we get near, she moves ahead and then over nearer the shore on our starboard.

Always watching for logs, we see a stream of them moving quickly across our bow, one passes and we see the opportunity to go safely between the second and third ones.  Water is still flat calm.

Mudge Island forms the east bank of the narrows.

We hear a boat identify as being on the south side of Dodd Narrows and calls to a vessel on the north side.  But there is no response.  We hear the call again with no response.  This is strange and we are alerted for any boat coming south. The third time we hear the call, a response comes back that the ship on the north side is a ferry and not heading for Dodd Narrows.  

For several minutes we also watch a power boat come from far behind to overtake us at 8 knots.  She will be at Dodd Narrows quite early, but apparently plans to speed on through.

AIS shows there are three boats lining up to go through northbound, but no one calls Securite yet.

Now the southbound boats come through and I especially like the lovely shade of green of the sailboat.

There is less than one foot chop as we all fall in line to go northbound.  Our position is Vancouver Island on the west and Nanaimo to the north. We anticipate one knot of current on the nose and 13 minutes until slack.

We see a motoring sailboat and a power boat that have cleared the narrows and the sailboat appears to have lost control of her steerage, as she points first one direction and then another.  At first she seems to want to pass us starboard to starboard, but then suddenly turns back to our port.  Watching her carefully for her intentions, we see her head directly at our bow.  Herb takes evasive action, but she turns into us yet again, yelling "Port to port."  

This is one of the scariest moments of my life as I truly hope she will go to our port.  There is no collision, and as they pass us, I see four people on board all wearing life jackets.  Good for them.

We breathe.  And we are thankful we are OK.  We are on the north side of Dodd Narrows now, in Northumberland Channel with Gabriola Island on the east and are heading for Nanaimo a short distance ahead.

Another thing we carefully watch is any BC Ferry, and we see one at the Nanaimo landing.  Traffic still loading; she doesn't move and we safely cross her route. 

What does get our attention is the tide rips and terrific rolls to welcome us to a very busy boating area.  A few things in the galley rattle and one item lands on the floor, but we are soon out into calmer water.

The lovely city of Nanaimo comes into view.

Herb takes Willie's Tug to the Nanaimo Yacht Club marina and we find a nice starboard tie on the Reciprocal east dock.

NYC Clubhouse

Find Willie's Tug....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Monday, June 15, 2015

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