Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our First “Narrows”, and Nanaimo

OK, it wasn’t really our first; we went through Dodd Narrows 3 years ago when we went to Nanaimo on the way to Princess Louisa Inlet where we traveled through our second tidal narrows at Malibu Rapids. But it was our first tidal narrows of this trip, and the first in our own slow, single engine boat. This trip will soon involve going though a number of “gateways” on the way to Alaska: a set of tidal narrows that includes rapids and currents up to 15 knots at max flood, and which keep many boaters from making the trip at all. But, regardless of these facts, we still regarded going through Dodd Narrows as a “milestone” for this trip. By the time we got close, we were part of a convoy of a dozen boats, all headed north for the same narrow passage at the same slack tide.


We actually arrived an hour early, but proceeded through anyway as the current was only running 1 knot, and in our favor, so we had plenty of  control over our boat’s steering.


While not shown in this photo, we had boats coming southbound as well as our convoy headed north bound. This wouldn’t matter except that in the rip tides produced by the currents, slow single-engine boats like ours have a hard time controlling direction as we get tossed around.


Some of the more powerful boats, like the southbound boat shown above, decided the faster they went, and thus the more wake they produced, the better.  The slow boats, like us, thought their decision-making was flawed.  We heard one boat on the VHF radio talking to this boat, saying “your ignorance is only exceeded by your speed”.


Once through the narrows, we found ourselves coming into Nanaimo Harbor in 3-4 foot seas as we were exposed for the first time to the winds of the Georgia Strait. Above is the Emerald Lady which we’d met the night before at Thetis Island.


Nanaimo is a very attractive and pleasant city with great pedestrian amenities and all the stores you need before heading for parts North: grocery, drug store, chandlery and hardware.


And for those who like crabs (including you, Justin), they have that too!

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