After two days of motoring from Blaine, WA toward Bella Bella, BC we had an exhilarating day of sailing today from Comox to Campbell River (the name of a city).
We left the marina in Comox in absolutely glassy conditions well aware that the forecast was for gale force winds in the Strait of Georgia. Ivan (E’von) Getting’s J/42 draws 7-1/2 feet so our first obstacle was crossing the shallows between Denman Island and the peninsula of Comox; low water is only 6.5 feet here.
All went well and beyond the shallows we entered the Strait of Georgia and headed northwest to Discovery Passage and Campbell River. By the time we were in the Strait it was blowing 18 kts and it continued to build to 25 kts as we sailed. The winds were out of the southeast so we were on a dead-run the entire way. It’s approximately 35 miles from Comox to Campbell River. It took us 5 hours.
Kittewake performed great in 20 plus kts of wind and 4-foot seas. For most of the distance we were averaging 8 kts with peak speeds of more than 10 kts. It was an outstanding sail. Oh, I should mention that we were sailing with only the jib. This boat is fast.
Ivan assumed 5 kts when planning this leg. Our higher speed meant that we were nearing the southeast entrance to Discovery Passage ahead of schedule. All we could see looking ahead toward the Passage was white. The turbulence at this point was caused by flooding to the southeast combined with the wind from the southeast.
It was a wild ride through the turbulence with waves now of 6 feet and a short period because they are wind generated. Once through the entrance area the seas calmed, but it started to rain. But as a person living in the northwest would say, “it could be raining harder.”
We’re now secure in a marina at Campbell River. The city is not much different than my home in Livermore, but one nice thing here is that there is a very large shopping center 100 feet from the marina. Tonight we’ll probably go to Joey’s for their special; it’s fish and chips for $6.95.
This is my third cruise that I have done with skippers who I have found on the internet. Clara, my wife says, it’s like a blind date. There is one difference; you can’t go say good-bye and go home if you find the dinner table conversation not to your liking.
On the positive side, you can do a lot of cruising for little money since all you pay is transportation and your share of food, fuel and marina fees. I’ve already signed up for two more cruises through September.
I have offered to do a seminar at the club in July in which I will explain the ins-and-outs of crewing for others. Look for it if you are interested in this kind of sailing. There are opportunities all over the world.
My next internet access will be in about 4 days when we reach Port McNeil. In the meantime here are two photos. One is glassy waters between Nanaimo and Comox. The other is the southeast entrance into Discovery Passage. What a difference a day can make.