April 30, 2022
In preparation for the upcoming weekend, we wanted to move to the docks. Luckily we spotted an empty finger on the docks and decided it would be a good time to move before everyone else got there. Cue 30 minutes of Mark trying to back the boat into the slip with a small audience. The boat’s a lot of things, but a reliable backer-upper isn’t one of them. Sometimes she pulls to port and them sometimes she just goes starboard for the fun of it. Eventually though we got settled on the docks and Sprocket took full advantage of his new space.
I had built this weekend up to be full of people who knew more than me. Thankfully it was a much smaller group than the 20 boats I imagined. It was 5 or 6 very different boats and a couple of people who didn’t bring theirs. Of course when a bunch of sailors are in the same place, it means unofficial boat tours happen. It was really cool to see, like each owner, how different each boat was and how they were set up.
The plan for the weekend was to get everyone educated on the common things that can happen when out cruising. But first, and most importantly, happy hour. This is what I’d been waiting for – a chance to socialize with people who had the same goals we did. In my mind, I pictured a warm evening, drinks and snacks. In reality we were all huddled under a picnic shelter in the rain. Whatever, it gave me plenty of time to hear from the organizer and all of his sailing adventures from buying a boat that wasn’t finished to circumnavigating the planet twice over the last 20 years.
On the practical learning side of things, we learned how to tow/be towed, different techniques for fishing a man overboard out of the water. The most fun activity was the blind navigation. One person sat in the boat with paper charts and one other person was at the helm without instruments, guessing their speed and giving depth readings to the person with the chart. With this information, we needed to follow contour lines on the charts to navigate our way to a marker (which was a bell buoy) out in the bay. We managed pretty well and were only a couple hundred meters off.
Oh and in the ongoing saga of the Nanaimo Curse, the outboards broke. Both the gas and electric ones stopped working. Mark managed to recreate the broken cotter pin in the electric one with an old piece of screwdriver so we could get around. The gas one is a future problem for now.
Saying goodbye is a part of cruiser life we hadn’t had experienced yet. We met some really cool people this weekend and watched them all leave, boat-by-boat while we hung around in the anchorage for another couple of days wondering if we’d have a chance to meet up with them again this summer before they left or we left for distant shores.