Tuesday, June 16, 2009

And We're Off! (But Just Barely...)

Well, an adventurous day it was! Last night, we prayed for 1) safe weather, 2) not hitting any logs or rocks, 3) that everything would work properly, 4) that we would all get along. Well, tonight, we're all safe and sound tucked into a Discovery Harbor Marina in Campbell River, BC but not without a fun-filled and adventurous 24 hours. Last night, the last thing on my punch list was to replace the fuel filters. This was a first for me. I probably should have done it earlier but I wanted to burn through the fuel that sat in the tank over the winter and then start with fresh fuel and fresh filters. I bled the engine to get rid of any air bubbles but the pump bleeder thingymabob (technical term) didn't seem to be working right. I worked on it for about a couple hours and ended up going to bed frustrated and with an engine that wouldn't run! I always wonder what would happen if I was completely in the middle of nowhere and something like this happened. I can usually get things up and running but this one baffled me. So, first thing this morning, I called the mechanic. He told me that on new engines, you've got to beat the check valve loose (kinda like getting the paint ball marble loose when you buy a new paint can.) Sure enough....3 minutes later, the diesel engine was purring like a kitten. Whew! So, did God answer our prayer...yes, we didn't get stranded. Thankfully, it happened at our dock and I could get a hold of the mechanic. So, at 10AM, we loaded the boat and set sail about an hour later. We made the 60 mile run through the gulf islands of BC and cleared customs at Nanaimo. At about 1:30 we sat down for a late lunch of clam chowder, fish, and chips! Life at sea is good. Can't wait to catch our own. We messed around in Nanaimo and didn't head out until about 3:30. We were well aware of a military practice zone called Whiskey Golf north of Nanaimo so we checked the radio to see if it was active. Both Val and I heard that it was active until 200. So, we take the shortcut through it. At the very moment Val asked why there were no other boats in sight, I commented that there was a war ship coming at us and a small boat rapidly approaching! Lights flashing, we pulled over realizing something was wrong and it was probably our fault! I think the 200 we heard on the radio was not 2 o'clock but was 2000 military time or 8PM. Yikes. The folks at Winchelsea Control guided me out of the warship's path pronto and out of the zone! What a stupid mistake on my part! I guess, I need to pray not only that we won't hit anything but that nothing would hit (or fire upon) us!! We all had a good laugh except Cody, who slept through the whole thing! (See the war ship below and it's ranger chase boat.) Yesterday, we saw our first real clouds since we got to WA. Today, at lunch, it started to rain and it's been raining ever since. The locals said they haven't seen rain in many weeks. Oh well, let's get it over with now and pray for sunshine! So, here we are in Campbell River, 137 nautical miles from Orcas Island....a good day and ahead of schedule. If anyone knows of a kind of "mapquest" picture to show you our progress, send me a link or something. I've tried taking pictures of a map but that doesn't work very well. Seymor Rapids is quite an interesting passage. We'll time our passing at slack tomorrow morning. Then, it's Johnstone Strait, a notoriously windy passage. We'll go as far as we can...the winds are supposed to kick up early in the afternoon. So, we'll see.
Thanks for all the notes back. Some of you have said that you haven't been able to comment on the blog. I'll try to get that figured out but for now, it's bed time. Send me an e-mail, though!
Blessings, friends!