Our first ‘this happens to everyone’ moment on Wallace Island

Our first ‘this happens to everyone’ moment on Wallace Island

For our 10th year dating anniversary (April 20, 2017), we canceled our weekend hotel getaway and decided to rush around tossing out dollars like we’re celebrities in Vegas to get ready to set off on our first weekend away on the Neomadic.  Giving in, we bought a row dinghy and a grill and set off a bit later than expected with a very rough plan.  The current was in our favour and we cruised out the Fraser river in record time and after our first fuelling experience, successful but probably broke the record for longest time to fuel a sailboat, we were off.

In crossing the Georgia Straight we became true northwesterns when we saw our first orca whale. Life tiles plus 10! Missed the photo of it jumping out but still got the dorsal fin shot.

Arriving several hours ahead of schedule afforded us the opportunity to float aimlessly waiting for the current to shift before making our way through Porlier Pass.

Cruising through the islands, we made it to Conover Cove mid afternoon.  It sounds like it was a good thing we went in the offseason because it wasn’t too crowded.  At $2 per foot per night, we decided to keep it safe and stay on the dock the first night.

The small island consists of a small unique trail network that takes you to various lookouts.  The trails were pretty mucky from the endless rain but there was no shortage of beauty.

Turns out the “sea-b-que” was worth the investment.

Day two started off mellow, a bit more island exploring..

Blew up the dinghy and decided to cruise over to Princess Cove to learn how to anchor out.  This is the part where the trip takes a bit of a turn from mellow everything is wonderful to oh shit, we actually have no idea what we’re doing. As soon as we left Conover Cove we felt the wind and made a slight, well large, detour upwind so we could get the sails out.  Learned real quick when we tried to raise the jib that sails do not fly well upside down.

After a short practice run for Ben in rigging the sail in wind, we corrected course and with the motor off, cruised well past our destination in a sporty (for us) four knots speed.  after a few tacks and constant fear the dinghy would be lost to Ben’s shotty knot technology and time reminded us it is best to be back on course.  We stowed the sails in false hopes of using them to go generally home on Sunday and made way for Princess Cove.  With Ben at helm and Heather winning the war against flappy sails, anchorage was looking like a breeze.  Two things happened next, Ben said ‘I think we are getting the hang of this’ and the line we had chosen as a stern tie was just short of reaching land.  At this point hindsight suggests the successful anchor and low expectation of crowded coves on this grey-bird cold April night would be fine but wanting to try it out, Ben did what power boat guy had prevented earlier that day with towing the dingy, he got the line stuck in the prop.  Lesson number 5: do not get a line stuck in your prop, it will suck, but you will do it, buy a wet suit.  In all the horrible fate a tugboater had saved Ben from this very fate in his first attempts to tow the dingy with a bow tie that afternoon.   In this injury to insult, some lessons must be learned the hard way, and sometimes lessons come in threes.  Lesson number 6: Do not jump in the water assuming it will be a quick fix.  First, the water is fucking cold, you own a boat to keep you out of it.  Lesson 7: It’s a mess, maybe once you have seen it a few times it becomes easier, but your first time it’s a proper clusterfuck and will take you more than April water temps will allow comfortably and finally, Lesson 8: the diesel heater is impressive but does not compare to a hot shower and hot cocoa next to the campfire.

After hours of scratching our head, talking to our fellow neighbour boater who gracious let us borrow their boat hook and knowledge as well as informed us ‘we’ve all been there’, we decided to test out the ability of the Tupperware bread knife jimmy-rigged to the boat hook to cut our brand new 145′ rope.  Surprisingly it did quite the job after getting the technique down of Heather sitting in the dinghy with both feet on the boat holding the line and Ben sawing as close to the prop as he could.

Holding our breaths, we turned the engine on to see if we could limp home. Of course instant stall when trying to go forward. But after by some miracle being able to reverse, going forward worked and we were off to try to catch the river before the current was too strong to get up and docked.  The winds were not in our favour but we briefly tried to get the sails up only to be proven right that it was just going to send us way off course. So down they went and our slow drag home continued.  This time it took a bit longer to get up the river than previous trips partially due to the current and partially due to the fact we didn’t want to push the motor because we are unsure how much rope is attached, we were just thankful we could cruise at a hot 3.8 knots.  A few hours past our desired time to roll in to our marina, Ben managed to dock the boat like a pro just in the nick of time before the current was too strong.   So grateful we made it back only a couple hours late, grateful we don’t know how to correlate the tides to the current yet so we could dock, and grateful for the knowledge we took away from the weekend. Now it’s time to buy a wetsuit and remember how to swim…