It’s hard to believe the good weather we’ve been having given it’s only April. This week it hit 74 F north of Nanaimo, and we’ve had a steady run of sunny days for a while now. It’s shorts, t-shirts, and no shoes kind of weather, and I’ve been paddleboarding every day. Yet there’s also been good wind most days, so we’ve been able to sail 100% of the way to most of our destinations.
[This post covers 4/22-4/26. We’re now westbound in Johnstone Strait.]
It doesn’t get much better than this, but we know not to take it for granted – we certainly have some more rainy and cold weather ahead on our travel route to Haida Gwaii. For now we’re taking advantage of the sunshine and heat to the fullest, and can’t believe how lucky we are to have this weather. The decision to start cruising early – at the end of March – is proving to be a very good one.
Lasqueti Island, Graveyard Bay (aka “Old House Bay” on some charts)
We came to Lasqueti in 2016, to this same bay, and were super impressed with it, calling it a gunkholer’s paradise. It was just as good the second time around, and we were lucky to have continued sunny, warm weather, with crystal clear views of the mountains peeking over the rocky promontories surrounding our anchorage. There’s always a lot of wildlife here, and we were greeted by an eagle soaring overhead, 4 seals checking us out, and a few seabirds.
Natalie and I went out on the paddleboard together (seated for stability with two people) and explored the shallows around the rocks. Great visibility – we were able to see about 20 feet down.
Lasqueti Island, False Bay
We sailed to the north end of Lasqueti on a morning breeze under warm sunny skies. False Bay is the most major port on Lasqueti, because it’s where the passenger ferry docks, but it’s still a very quiet, empty bay in comparison to most other places. Lasqueti has a population of only about 400, and minimal services (no grocery store, few roads).
We dinghied to the town dock and had a pint at the one pub on the island. It was a pretty cool feeling to sit on their patio facing a picturesque view of the bay and mountains, amongst a unique community where we were strangers. One Lasquetian (as they call themselves) started chatting with us and gave us some great local info on the island.
I asked about the vertical pod style mooring balls I had seen here, which I haven’t seen anywhere else. He said they’re designed and built by a local Lasquetian. The floating pod is easier to pick up than a regular mooring ball.
Tribune Bay, Hornby Island
Given the forecast of hotter days and more sun coming, we were very excited about heading over to Tribune Bay. It’s renowned for having one of the best beaches in lower BC. A long crescent shaped white sandy beach facing south to a large harbor where dozens of boats anchor in the summer.
We anchored in 20 feet and dinghied to the beach. It’s a very long, wide beach because of the gradual slope of the seabed – between high tide and low tide the tide line of the beach moves probably 100 feet or more. We started hiking along the road to the provincial park at the southeast tip of the island, but realized it would be a much longer hike than we thought. We’ll have to do that another day.
Blubber Bay, North Texada Island
Blubber Bay at the north end of Texada Island got its name from being the site of former whaling operations long ago. Now it’s mainly a quarry site and ferry port. It isn’t mentioned in one of our preferred anchorage guides, and Waggoner’s just had a short entry, calling it “uninviting” (presumably not scenic enough due to the quarry site). Waggoners hardly ever says anything bad about anything, so the word “uninviting” had us thinking the worst – that this would be the ugliest, most inhospitable anchorage we’d ever seen.
Much to our surprise we found Blubber Bay to be not bad at all – there are plenty of trees on the southeast side, and the ferry doesn’t produce any swell because it goes slow on entering the bay. It’s a convenient location for when the wind dies and you don’t want to motor around to Sturt Bay or further to Lund or the Copeland Islands.
We had another hot day so I paddleboarded around, checking out an old abandoned quarry dock on the east side of the bay, and spotted cormorants, seals, and eagles.
A Broken Alternator Belt
On the way to Blubber Bay we had our first boat issue – the alternator belt broke. We were motoring the last hour after the wind died, and I noticed the alternator wasn’t feeding any current. This was odd but I figured perhaps our solar panels had caused the regulator to acquiesce to the solar charge. I also noticed the engine room seemed a bit hot, but we were rounding the point and entering the bay at that time so I didn’t investigate further.
Thinking the belt was slipping, I checked it at anchor and found it was broken clean off and no longer on the engine! It was a fairly old belt, so not too surprising. But our coolant circuit pulley runs on the alternator belt too, so that means our coolant hadn’t been circulating for 20 minutes or so. The engine overheat alarm hadn’t come on, but I’m glad we hadn’t been motoring further.
It’s a good lesson to consider replacing belts pre-emptively, on a recurring schedule. The alternator belt had no visible deterioration previously so I figured I could just keep using it until it looked worn.
The weather has been so unseasonably hot this past week that at times I can’t believe it. We had expected to spend our first month running the cabin heater most of the time and taking shelter from rain and southerly wind storms. In the 2nd half of April though, we’ve had no southerly wind and the weather has been classic summer – a big high pressure system establishing itself, bringing warmth, sunny days, and northwest wind varying from moderate to non-existent.
To us it really seems like summer came early this year, and looking at the 10-day forecast we’re getting a bit worried the south wind won’t come back anytime soon. But, weather changes quickly and we know this sunny hot weather won’t last forever. We had better enjoy it while we can.