Walter’s Cove to Tahsis

From Walter’s Cove, we wanted to go to Hot Springs Cove on the way to Tofino, but because we’d done so much motoring, we weren’t sure we’d have enough fuel to get to there. The closest fuel was in Tahsis Inlet at a fishing lodge and marina. It was out of the way, but because we didn’t trust the winds, we figured that was the safest bet.

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As it turned out, we were able to sail virtually all the way to Tahsis with winds of 10-20 knots from the NW. We flew the gennaker for a grand total of eight minutes before the tack line broke. The line was cut right at the exit from the bowsprit, so I surmised that the line had jumped the sheave on the block and cut itself on the side of the block. Rather than trying to fix it while the winds were blowing, we sailed with a reefed main and the full jib. That combination worked pretty well. We were sailing through some relatively narrow passages, but the winds were favorable and we didn’t have to do too much gybing. We did get pretty close to shore at times, and we did manage to follow an adolescent bear as he was foraging for food along the shore.

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When we finally got to the marina, the fuel dock was a bit crowded, but it looked like there was room for Rinpoche. Because there were boats ahead and behind the area I wanted to fit into, I couldn’t come in at a shallow angle, but instead had to come in at something approaching 70-80°. And I had a 20 knot wind that was blowing parallel to the dock. This called for a modified Captain Ron maneuver. As the bow of the boat approached the dock, I had a moment of panic (as did the dock attendants) that Rinpoche wouldn’t fit, and that death and destruction, or at least bent fiberglass would result. But I was past the point of no return. I went into reverse, and the prop walk sucked the stern in the dock while the wind kept blowing me forward. I nestled sideways into the dock. I heaved a huge sigh of relief while everyone on the dock marveled at my expertise. They assumed I had a bow thruster, and were even more impressed when I told them I didn’t. It took a few hours to get the kinks out of my arm from patting myself on the back. And for those of you unfamiliar with Captain Ron, here he is in action.

After replenishing our fuel supplies, the next item was to replenish our beer supplies. They told us at the dock that there was a liquor store about a mile down the road, so after we got our slip assignment, we went for a walk. After we’d walked for a while, I was wondering if we were walking the right way, so I flagged down a vehicle going the other way. I asked the lady driving if we were on the right track to the liquor store, and she said, “Yes indeed. Do you want a ride?” Being the lazy old man that I am, I instantly agreed. She turned around and took us to the store, and then waited for us to come out with our cases of beer. She then offered us a ride back to the marina. Cool! We got to chatting a bit, and I mentioned that I was from Saskatoon. She said she was from Rosthern, a town north of Saskatoon in the middle of what’s affectionately called Mennonite Alley. And yes indeed, she was a Siemens, a good Mennonite name. And get this, she had an Uncle Walter Friesen! We couldn’t find any common relatives, but inbred as the Mennonites are, I’m sure we shared some genes.

It was a pleasant evening at the dock, with a full tank of fuel and a fridge full of beer. And we did have some company.

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I thought this was some exotic species of raptor, but it turned out to be an adolescent bald eagle. A lovely bird in any case. At least lovely to look at. Anyone who has observed bald eagles knows that far from being majestic noble birds, they are lazy baby-killing scavengers. As a member of the Heron Habitat Helpers in Magnolia, I am well aware that bald eagles snatch something like 20% of the heron chicks before they’re able to defend themselves. And when they can’t find a baby-something to prey on, they eat half-rotted fish guts or any other carrion they can find. I think Ben Franklin was right. We should have chosen the turkey as the national bird. And given the state of the current presidential race, the turkey might be more appropriate.

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