•    August Long Weekend Blow-out   

    So, our planned weekend at Newcastle Island literally got blown to shreds. High winds over the last few days created big lumpy seas rolling all the way into English Bay. Hale Pau Hana and White Feather bravely motored into the big seas and winds, bouncing along and barely making 2 or 3 knots at times.

    Farther ahead, Zelda III had passed the bell buoy, and was giving condition reports. Usually there’s a patch of lumpy seas off Point Grey, but it settles down as one gets farther into the Strait. Not so, this time. After making a brave attempt to carry on, Zelda III reported being heeled way over on just a scrap of sail, and taking water over that big dodger. Skipper David suggested bearing off and making for Snug Cove instead. Being somewhat less than Zelda III‘s 39 foot length, Hale Pau Hana and White Feather opted to follow his lead. Even so, it was still a long and bouncy ride, crashing along towards Bowen Island.

    A call to the marina there revealed that there was no room at the inn. Skipper David suggested carrying on to Port Graves. About this time, Drift Away came along from Coal Harbour, and agreed with the suggestion. Alas, our troubles were not yet over. Zelda III reported problems getting the engine going, and after contacting C-Tow, said they were going to sail back to False Creek, where C-Tow would meet them and tow them back into the dock. The other three ships carried on. After Passage Island, the seas became thankfully calmer.

    Drift Away was first into Port Graves, and dropped anchor. Hale Pau Hana arrived next, followed by White Feather, all finding suitable places to anchor. Things were blessedly calm. G&Ts were mixed, and snack plates prepared. Free Spirit II arrived the next day, along with Irish Cream.

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    Drift away and Irish Cream

    Some shore expeditions followed, but at times the wind would pick up, and come blowing into the bay, whipping up some sizeable waves and causing the boats to strain at anchor. At one point, Free Spirit II started to slowly drag, while the crew was on shore. Keith and myself considered mounting a rescue attempt, but then Jean & Richard showed up in time and re-positioned the boat in better holding ground.

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    Re-setting the anchor

    Despite the occasional winds piping up, we managed to enjoy some trail explorations, including a trip to a beautiful bay on the east side of the island, and Jennifer and I made a hike up to the aptly named Lost Lake, a beautifully serene little spot. Back on board, we made trips to visit each other’s boats, and shared some drinks and appies.┬áSaturday evening we enjoyed a campfire on shore, courtesy of the church camp there.

    Brigade Bay

    Brigade Bay

    Finally on Sunday the winds died down, allowing some of us to pull up anchor and leave Port Graves. A couple of us made for Gibsons, to replenish the ice and beer supplies. Note to self – never assume one can just leave things to the last minute and just re-stock at the next port of call!

    All in all, not at all the long weekend we had planned, but still an enjoyable, if accidental, adventure in Port Graves.

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