Destination: Newcastle Marine Park, near Nanaimo

After spending 3 nights in Theshum Harbour in Sidney, we got up very early on Wednesday (August 6, 2014) and headed to Newcastle Marine Park (49 10698N 123 55.932W), our next location. We caught some nice south-easterly winds as we were heading north for the first few hours and were able to get the boat going up to 6.9 knots.

Coaxing wind out of the foresail

Coaxing wind out of the foresail

After about 3 hours of sailing and slowing to the point of trying to coach the sails to catch the last little bit of wind, we had to turn the motor on and drop the sails as we had to get through Dodd Narrows before the end of the night to get through it at slack time (when the tide turns). Dodd Narrows separates Gabriola Island and Vancouver Island and as mentioned in a previous blog it is a narrow passage with the widest being 60 metres. We arrived about an hour before the tide were to turn from ebb to flood and decided to go for it as the guidebook we were using indicated that it is ok to cross an hour before or after slack but it is better to go with the current (flood in this case as we were going north). As we were crossing through Dodd Narrows, we encountered tidal eddies and some rips caused by the ebb current that was recorded to still be 2 knots on our chartplotter! A bit nerve racking as it felt we were being pushed back at some points and even towards the shore. We were also the only ones crossing at that time. Hmm! I wonder why?

Dodd Narrows

Dodd Narrows

Exiting Dodd Narrows

Exiting Dodd Narrows

Once through, we travelled for another hour or so until reaching Newcastle Marine Park and were able to grab one of the last few mooring buoys for the night. In total, we travelled approximately 44 NM to get to the marine park from Tsehum Harbour for a total of 12 hours. A very, very long day! One thing we learned and what has been told to us before, is never to have a schedule when sailing. Unfortunately in this case, we did have a schedule. One of the main reason we wanted to get to Nanaimo in one day was because we needed someone to look at our radar (which we discovered did not work last week while going through fog) and the marina we’ve used before only had someone available on Thursday or next week. We picked Thursday which was of course the next day!

Furuno radar dome-1

Furuno radar dome-1

On Thursday, we left the mooring buoy at low tide and went to Stones Marina so that Stones Boatyard could have a look at our radar. The marina was a tight area and we almost didn’t make it into the dock (the marina said the berth was 14 feet wide but it felt like 12feet and our boat is 10 feet wide) but Rob made it in without any incident. Of course once there, Stones Boatyard could not look at the radar until Friday.

Friday morning, I disappeared to get some grocery shopping done while the electrician came over to work on the radar with Rob. When I arrived back, it did not look very good!  The electrician was gone and Rob was on the phone with one of the technicians with Furuno and they basically told us that our dome and unit needed to be sent in for inspection and possible repairs. After packaging up the radar and sending it of to Campbell River, we packed up the boat and left the marina. Again, a very, very tight turn to get out and a few people were on the dock watching closely and of course offering assistance.  I made it out of our berth with no incident but it was still very stressful! We decided to spend one more night at Newcastle Marine Park to relax before making the big crossing over to Georgia Strait to the mainland. ~Sophia & Rob

Furuno Radar Dome

Newcastle Marine Park

 

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