All our team worked hard to make sure the True Love was ready to go for our big cruising adventure north to where we have never gone before: The Great Bear Rain Forest. Everything on the boat was working beautifully, even the satelite TV system. Our plan was to start in early June, a month earlier than usual, and head north past The Broughtons Islands and Port Hardy at the north tip of Vancouver Island and then cross the open ocean to the fjords of the Great Bear Rain Forest.
Armed with our new anti-roll, side-fin “stabilizers” we finally have the equipment to tackle this adventure comfortably.
Crossing the Strait of Juan de Fuca between the USA and Canada was easy. After topping off our fuel at Roche Harbor on San Juan Island (and grabbing an ice cream cone) we continued a long day of cruising into Canada where we anchored in one of our favorite spots: Montague Harbour on the SW side of Gabriola Island. From there we were perfectly positioned to pick up our “Camp Oahu” friends (Debbie & Tom Magson) at the BC Ferries terminal at Sturdies Bay on the SE side of Gabriola. They grabbed the ferry at Towassen to meet us for a long weekend of fun on the True Love. The pick up was easy.
It was so great to see Tom & Debbie and we had so much fun! First, we cruised to Chaimaneus. With an extremely low tide the Captain was concerned about docking in the spot the harbor master gave us. But Jim was masterful and we had just enough clearance above the bottom of the harbor.
We love Chamainous! It’s a great little town with artsy murals, several bakeries and two ice cream shops! We feasted on the the delicious baked goods, beautiful murals and tasty ice cream. The weather was lovely. Then we headed out for our evening anchorage and after exploring a couple of new spots, we ended up back on the north side of Montague Harbour. We enjoyed a nice dinner with salmon (purchased not caught) and watched the lovely sunset.
Our second day together (after sleeping in surprisingly late) Debbie and Tom played around on the tender and Jim and I did a long kayak. We had a super special interaction with an eagle 🦅 on the shore and a yummy lunch at the restaurant int the Harbour. It’s a fairly new restaurant with a big outside deck and the food was yummy. We spent the late afternoon singing and dancing while listening to Neil Diamond’d “Hot August Night” album (Tom’s favorite) playing on our new stereo speakers. Although sunset was a bit of a bust, the company was wonderful and everyone had a great time.
Our final day together we had to set the alarm to wake up early to ride the tide up to Nanaimo where Debbie and Tom were taking afternoon ferry home to White Rock, BC, which is just north of the USA border. We stopped to start some laundries, before walking into town in time to see parts of the local Pride Parade before we headed to lunch at a new spot: Rita’s Pink House. I found the article about it before we left and it was a sweet stop for a simple lunch. Then we said our goodbyes to our very special friends, did our grocery shopping, finished our laundry, put things away and went to bed very early excited to get up early and head across the Strait of Georgia to Pender Harbour on the mainland coast.
But then, the problems arose.
While crossing the Strait of Georgia a problem occurred with our new stabilizers. They were working but we we kept getting alarms for various things. After we docked at one of our favorite places, The Painted Boat Resort and Spa, I was on the phone with Tyler and Troy, our tech guys at S3 Marine, and they asked me to go into the engine room to look at a relay they installed to let the stabilizers know when the boat was in neutral. In a freak thing the little bolt that holds the relay in place had broke in half. This looked like an easy fix (and it was) but while down in the engine room I noticed a lot of black soot coming out of the exhaust pipe for the port engine. This was potentially a very big problem, but fortunately we discovered it early. In a way we were very lucky that the stabilizer relay screw broke which led us to to see this new problem before it got a lot worse.
Our original plan was to stop at the Painted Boat, enjoy the spa, and then head out to “super natural” Princess Louisa Inlet the next day. However, we were a little uncomfortable going into the wilderness where there’s no cell phone or text or email service before understanding our new exhaust problem. We we sent out a lot of texts with pictures and called our Seattle boat mechanic and boat manager for advice. We also contacted the local boat repair service to see what they could do and whether anyone local could come out and take a look. We also reached out to Tom (who is a master mechanic) and asked for his advice. And in the middle of all these calls for help, I went and got a great massage and Jim enjoyed the hot tub at the spa.
After getting lots of advice from Tom and Ben and Irvin we decided to call it a night and start fresh in the morning.
We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning Tuesday and got back on the phone. The local “mobile mechanic” (Dave Laird) also stopped by the boat, adjusted the pipe with a special tool he had just bought recently, tightened the clamps with another special tool and tested the exhaust system with the engines at full. No leaks!
Still, we agreed it was best to get a more permanent fix before heading into the wild north BC coast so we called a big boat repair shop Philbrooks in Sydney (just north of Victoria, BC’s capitol city) and they’ve reserved a spot on the work schedule for us for tomorrow (Wednesday).
So today we are cruising south back to Montague Harbour and tomorrow we’ll leave early in the morning to arrive in Sydney by 10am. Hopefully, the permanent fix for our exhaust problem will be completed by Friday and we’ll turn around and head north again. Until then, we plan to explore the Sydney area and maybe visit beautiful Butchart Gardens.
Stay tuned! The summer voyage of the True Love is just beginning!
The Captain and The First Mate of the True Love