Saturday, December 26, 2009

SV Giri at anchor Bowen Island

Angel and I are exhausted. She's on my lap right now and more than ready for bed. I've just had fried pork chops and potatoes and brussel spouts. A late night meal after a very long day on the water.

This morning I awoke to fog. I tried phoning Fisherman's Cove Fuel Dock but it turns out Esso has closed that fuel dock as well. There's none in False Creek now either. I called up Coal Harbour Chevron and they had diesel but not gas.

I weighed anchor and headed back across English Bay under power in the fog, thankful to have my radar. The currents weren't too bad under Lion's Gate but when I got to the fuel dock I was told there'd be a couple hour wait while the boat before me loaded.

Finally, the very big boat left leaving me a little diesel for the Giri. I only filled 17 gallons having much more fuel than I realized. I'll have to look up what the Dickinson Stove takes but it burns a lot less than I remembered.

When I got on my way I couldn't see 50 feet in front of me. The fog was really coming in thick. By the time I out and headed for Lions Gate I couldn't see 20 feet ahead. Talk about soup, this was stew. I never did see the Bridge just the lighthouse at the base. I followed the shore with the radar finally getting out to English Bay.

I'd planned to cross to Nanaimo or Silva Bay but misjudged my distance into English Bay and almost came aground on Spanish Banks. I saw my depth dropping to 20 feet when I put it in reverse only to find myself at 3 feet of water below the keel. I was lost and doubting my compass. I could see a few lights and thought I was looking at west Vancouver. North didn't seem north. I had radar and still couldn't make sense of where I was. For some reason it looked like I was south of Point Atkinson. I was that turned around.

Thank God for GPS. Mine needed new batteries of course. Then it takes forever for the capturing of satellites. Finally, I had a fix and plotted my position on the map surprised at where I was. Was I off! The fog lifted some then and I saw all the big boats mid harbor and made for them. A fellow had called the Coast Guard because he had an electrical failure and lost his GPS. I was feeling a little superior till I got into thick of it myself. I'd travelled a lot of fog on the West Coast and down to San Francisco in the winter but I think I simply trusted the instruments then. In English Bay I was cocky and wasn't plotting my position.

That's when I figured Bowen Island would be just fine. I had to enter another fog bank to get there to and passed Point Atkinson a quarter kilometer off and couldn't see it. At that point it was dark already and I was travelling along completely dependent on GPS and Radar. Thankfully I had Point Atkinson's Lat and Long. I was so turned around and still doubting myself in the fog.

I came out of the fog bank in Howe Sound. It was great to see all the lights around and head for the flashing green light at the entrance to Bowen off Mannion Bay.

Anchor down. And the work began. The diesel heater wasn't working because the inline fuel filter was clogged. I had to empty a whole bin to find another Tempo Universal Fuel filter. Then I took the filter apart , put a new one in, and was gratified to see fresh clean diesel running in the glass filter housing.

I'd had a Coleman Propane catalytic heater in the cockpit. That took the chill off but with the fog I had to keep putting my head outside the dodger in an attempt to see. That was cold. Working on the hose I was glad to have that heater warming the cabin below while I worked.

Then the diesel was pumping through to the stove and I had it lit. The flames were dancing as more heat warmed the cabin. The wet heat of the propane had condensation on all the windows too.

While I was working on the fuel filter I saw water dripping from the engine. I thought I was marvelous taking off the water impeller and tightening the hoses. Unfortunately when I put the whole assembly back together and turned the engine over the water impeller still worked just fine but there was still water leaking down below. I 'd noticed the bilge pump light come on and wondered where the water was coming from or if the bilge pump was sticking open. This leak explained the bilge pump but sthe continued leak suggested the seal had gone on the impeller itself. I've another gasket and may take apart the water impeller in the morning.

I got carried away and took out the non automatic bilge pump. I'd had two automatic bilge pumps and one manual. I replaced the manual one with another automatic one. That required joining hoses, then stripping wires and joining them with the blue connectors and shrink wrapping each of the three. Naturally I wired one wrong and had to rewire that one.

Then it was 9:30 pm before I had dinner. I'd started the day with peanut butter and banana sandwich, had an apple and protein bar waiting at the fuel dock. Now I was thankful for a hot meal. It was plain wholesome looking and made me think of my father who used to love his meat and potatoes.

Now it's sweatshirt weather in the cabin despite the heater chirping merrily away. In the past I've closed the V Berth and just used the salon but it's not cold enough yet for that. I'm glad for the duvet. The cat cuddles up for body heat too.

We had our day of fog and I have only admiration for all the old time sailors. What a nightmare it must have been navigating blind. I needed all the help I could get andd I only was in English Bay. I certainly forgot how disconcerting fog can be. Night and fog isn't particularly pleasant. Travelling in sickly cotton candy.

Now bed. Glorious Bed! Angel is all for that too.


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