We finally got a weekend when my 25 year old son was able to join the admiral and I for a night on the boat. We live in Comox (quite close to Desolation) and thought we would show him some of the highlights, overnight in Gorge, and do some fishing on Sunday am on the way home. We had a fairly aggressive schedule for the time we had. Weather and Tides were favorable, though we knew we'd be bucking a SSE 15-20 knot wind later in the day on Saturday. We were full with water, and fuel, and probably had way to much stuff on board for the three of us for an overnight trip. We had planned to be in Gorge mid afternoon. We got away in good time on Saturday am into a 10 knot NNE wind. That's kind of our comfortable max for a wind, though the wind was just off our 1/4 beam port with an ebb tide so the crossing to Lund was actually pretty good. We stopped at Nancy's Bakery for breakfast, coffee and a walk about, before heading north into Desolation. As we rounded Sarah's point, I noted that the wind was shifting to the west.
All good and we motored up into Prideaux Haven. No matter how many times we poke our noses into that little piece of paradise, we are always in awe of the natural beauty. Our son more so, and given the great day we were having, he wanted to have a swim in the warm water. I've been into Prideaux a number of times and I couldn't recall the boat ever being blown around like that in there, even in the middle of the day. The wind was now right out of the west.
All satisfied with that look, we motored out of Prideaux and decided to get up into Teakerne Arm, where there is a fantastic little waterfalls. There is also a little pier there which is the beginning of a small hike which leads to Cassel Lake. You simply don't go up into Teakerne without doing that little hike and a swim in Cassel. The lake is fresh, clear and warm. Back to the boat again and the wind is now swinging south (SW) and hitting 15, right on the bow getting out of Teakerne.
Coming out of Teakerne, its essentially a 50/50 proposition to get over to Gorge (on the west side of Cortez Island) from where we were - you really have a choice to go up over the north end of the island or go down around the south side. We were starting to get later in the day and I was more familiar with the route through the south side, so elected that direction. In retrospect, we should have gone the north route. We received good protection from the wind by staying close to the east side of Cortez until rounding the south side of the island and the wind now was 15-20 and SSW. That was a crappy 6-7 nautical miles with 3+ footers on the port beam of our little 265! The Patrevan heeled over several times with the wind and wave action and us making our way north. We arrived at Gorge at about 6 pm and unbeknownst to us, they cancelled our reservation at 3 pm, not having heard from us (lesson learned there!) . Nevertheless, they were able to squeeze us in. We enjoyed a fantastic evening in Gorge BBQing, listening to the live band, hot tubing and getting to know some folks.
That trip is app. 80 NM and I arrived with much less fuel than planned. Though I normally cruise the 265 at 27-28 mph, I did back off on that for periods to get relief from the heavy seas and realize there is a heavy price to be paid on fuel for such strategies. The 265 handled the day like a trooper, though the admiral was less than happy with some of the trip! Surprisingly our son was sleeping like a baby in the 'cave' during the worst of the trip. When I was enjoying a bevvy discussing the days events with my dock neighbor, running a pretty little 36' Grand Banks, he told me he was amazed I pulled off that distance in that time on the wind conditions. He and his crew had been waiting for 3 days for the wind to die down.
The next morning another dock neighbor , operating some kind of 50ish' 'bluewater' sailing boat was similarly waiting out the wind! To be clear, we don't normally choose to enjoy our boating when winds get north of 10 knots, nor do we advocate attempting to 'do Deolation in an afternoon' but nor will we stay home if everything else is good and we can tuck into a little cove protected from the wind. I gained a new found respect and love for our 265 and Bayliners in general from this trip, despite having owned her for 8 years. I'll be paying a bit more attention to fuel usage in difficult conditions in the future as well. We caught a nice little 14 lb spring on our way home on Sunday and our son thoroughly enjoyed himself.