Monday, December 28, 2009

Porlier Pass

The 2009 Tide and Current tables listed the maximum ebb tide being about an hour before. My overland speed by GPS was 9.5 knots whereas my over water speed was 4.5. The ebb tide was listed as 4.7 at maximum. The whirlpools were fierce. I could have gunned it to 5.5 knots maximum but had the concern about the water cooling leak. I had to watch the depth meter to ensure I was in the channel. I stayed in 60 feet depth at least throughout. The first whirlpool caught the bow and literally yanked it almost 45 degrees starboard. I wrestled control heeling 3o to 40 degrees in the process, then it was easier with only 30 degree variations as different whirlpools tried to siphon the boat down. All the while I could see the shore passing and stupidly tried to get a bit of it on film when two hands on the steering wheel were essential to happy progress. Not the best camera 'holding' form. And very little clip as the last of the whirlpools had their way. Fog had rolled in and night was soon falling so I was really thankful to be through the pass and heading south in the Trinicomalli Channel to Ganges Harbour, Saltspring Island.

Because of the fog and night I was wholly dependent on the radar and the autopilot had failed just outside Porlier so was hand steering, stopping the boat to pee and get snacks and check the number of flashes on the lights against the chart. I had two propane catalytic heaters going in the cockpit and the cat insisted on sitting on my lap while I was hand steering. Eventually the fog cleared intermittently and the stars and moon came out. It was haunting gliding up the channel. I could see the lights of the ferry exiting Active Pass ahead. I almost decided to turn left and anchor in Montague Harbour but thought if I needed a part or something to fix the autopilot I could get it in Ganges Town. In the fog it was a bit of a challenge finding the channel to the town. I was glad for a large fishing boat already at anchor off the wharf. I anchored in next to him.

Finally below and settled in for the night I chow down on hot venison stew from the deer I shot and canned in the Queen Charlotte Islands, not last Christmas, but the Christmas before. Mmm good.

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