S/V Hello World's Travel Log

boat maintenance

We left Shilshole with only a handheld VHF that worked. We have a shiny new VHF mounted at the nav desk but the reception has never worked. We've narrowed the problem down to the coax cable running through the mast (worst possible scenario) or the masthead antenna (not a terrible problem but still a trip up the mast). So we hauled Christy up to the top of the mast and determined without a shred of doubt that the coax cable running inside the mast was shorted out somewhere and needed to be replaced. Of course.

We brought along 70' of RG213 just in case we needed to replace the internal coax. We made several frustrating attempts to run the coax down the existing conduits but no joy. After several hours up at the masthead, Christy was getting pretty pooped. So we lowered her and I went up to the top. I pretty much knew I was going to get anywhere with the problem but I figured I'd go take a look and install our new LED anchor light/tri-color while I was up there.


Let's just say this: I didn't get the VHF antenna run. I pulled the old anchor light off, dropping a crucial piece in the water. I got the new light half installed only to strip one of the bolts and drop the screwdriver into the water. The only phillips head screwdriver big enough to install the bolts being used for the LED light. Awesome.

Decided to spend the rest of the day drinking beer and kayaking around the anchorage. Christy took some great photos while up at the masthead so we burned them on several CDs and dropped them off at other boats in the anchorage so they could have cool pictures of their boat in Smuggler's Cove. We had wine, appetizers and some great conversation with Ian and Hanna aboard s/v Yonder before running over to m/v Nor Epi and having dinner with Greg and Leslie and their friends from South Africa.

It's amazing how being in a place like this around people like that can turn a day around.

49°30.88'N 123°57.81'W

smuggler's cove

We chose to cross the Strait of Georgia. The guidebooks are filled with wide eyed tales of steep eight foot seas and bashing and wind and general uncomfort. We also noted a high wind warning in effect for the afternoon. Rather than wait around for that we chose to scoot early. Plus, we'd had plenty of the crowded confines of Newcastle Island bay. We decided to put the dinghy up on the foredeck rather than leave it hanging on the davits off the back of the boat to get swept away by the monster seas we were about to face.

We pulled out of Nanaimo but directly in our path is this little obstacle called "Whiskey Golf". WG is a torpedo range used by the Canadian and US navies and it was active today. We decided not to participate in torpedo testing so we motored around it and out into the Strait of Georgia. The wind was howling not at all. The seas were not steep nor eight feet nor bashing. It was a nice quiet motor (as quiet as motoring can be anyways) across. Christy napped for most of it.

Our destination was a spot called Smuggler's Cove. Apparently, this cove has a history of use by smugglers (who'd thunk it?) such as Larry "Pig-Iron" Kelly and served as a hooch storage area during Prohibition. When I mentioned before that Dodd "Narrows" was narrow, it turns out I was wrong. Dodd Narrows is a veritable Lake Michigan compared to the entrance of Smuggler's Cove. Christy and I estimated the narrowest point in the opening at around 30 feet wide. Which means less than 10 feet of water on either side of the boat lay between our delicate fiberglass hull and bedrock. But the water depth at the entrance was just fine. We laid off for an hour or so outside waiting for a low tide to pass so we could at least run aground on a rising tide but once again, never hit anything.

This was also our first attempt at a stern tie. For those not familiar, this anchoring technique involves setting the anchor and backing the boat close to shore where one person rows the dinghy to shore with a line to tie off on something. This prevents the boat from swinging and allows more boats to be stacked in a tight area. It sounds easy in theory. Reality is a tad different. I bought 200' of MFP which is a nice polypropolene based line that floats so it won't get caught in the prop. We then bought another 200' of cheap polypro in case we didn't have enough. That was a mistake. Cheap polypro sucks. It kinks, hockles, doesn't coil for shit and can't hold a knot. After making a train wreck of all that line, I finally decided to shitcan the polypro and just use the MFP. Much happier.

Hello World is currently tucked into an unbelievably beautiful cove, anchored from the bow and tied to shore from the stern. A seal just cruised by checking things out and a couple geese are sitting on the shore. We're surrounded by little granite islets and coves waiting to be explored by kayak. It's places like this that make we wish we had our friends and family with us so they could understand just how great these places are. If this is any taste of what's to come in this trip, the Inside Passage will wildly exceed our expectations.

49°30.88'N 123°57.81'W


The Canadians must have borrowed powers of understatement from the British. When navigating a passage referred to as a "Narrows", best rub down the hull with Crisco just to be on the safe side. Dodd Narrows just south of Nanaimo is one such "navigable" pass (I'm doing that air quotes thing with my fingers around the word navigable). We hit it at just a skosh before slack and fought a knot or two of uphill current to get through. It would have been less stressful had another boat not been going through at the same time, pushing us closer to the rocks than I'd ever like to be. An engine failure at that point would be ... crunchy and smashy and altogether exciting.

Dodd Narrows was at the end of another long day of motoring. We miss our sails dearly and hope to see them again soon. We left Montague Harbor around 0700 to make sure we caught the slack at Dodd Narrows. It was a mostly uneventful motor. After passing through the narrows, we entered Northumberland Channel which is notable only in the massive amount of logs that are freely bobbing around. Nanaimo is at the other end of Northumberland Channel and where we were headed. We had ordered a carb rebuild kit for our outboard engine and needed to pick it up in Nanaimo. We entered the Port of Nanaimo Marina and found the only transient spot was to raft up against a rusting steel sailboat in a narrow channel in a healthy beam wind. We decided - and by "we decided" I mean I chickened out and Christy rolled her eyes at me - to head across the harbor and anchor at Newcastle Island rather than tempt that fate.

Once snuggly at anchor, we caught a ferry across to Nanaimo to take care of some city business. Mostly internet and shopping for some fishing gear. It's mildly intimidating to walk into a chandlery in Canada where at 18 months old, every toddler already knows how catch halibut and admit that you haven't clue one about how to make delicious fish come out of the water and into our frying pan. But we got some great assistance and walked away with a bunch of stuff we have no idea how to use. Keep an eye out for an upcoming blog entry on how useful our first aid kit is to retrieve fish hooks out of my arm.

We spent the night in the bay at Newcastle Island. The island itself is a great park but the harbor is way too busy for our tastes. We have decided after our experiences in Sidney and Nanaimo that we don't like anchorages full of other boats. We're sure that the people on them are nice enough but other boats is not what we came to see. We're looking forward to crossing the Strait of Georgia and getting over to more remote anchorages.

49°10.5'N 123°55.7'W

montague harbor

We were sitting in the cockpit having dinner and listening to Damien Rice on the stereo. Christy cooked an outrageous concoction of mangoes, chicken, onions and tortillas. Hello World was lying to anchor in 40' of water in Montague Harbor as the sun was going down. Not a breath of wind and about 70° as we looked around at shoreside forest of Galiano Island. Most of the time on this adventure so far, I'm fairly focused on something. What is that other boat doing? How is our anchor holding? Where is the wind moving to? What's the weather doing? Where did Christy stow the jelly beans?

But at this point in Montague Harbor, I had a moment where I realized just how cool this is what we're doing. Turns out, this little adventure of ours is pretty cool so far. Montague Harbor is very protected harbor comprised of a marine park to the north (with scads of mooring balls) and a great big roomy anchorage to the south. We first picked up a mooring ball and rowed into shore (outboard motor still not working, sigh) and walked the trail around the provincial park. Beautiful trail linking up white sandy beaches and beaches made of crushed shells.

After exploring a bit, we moved off the mooring ball before we had to pay for it (they start charging you at 6:00PM) and headed over to the south side of the anchorage to set the hook in 40' of water. After dropping anchor, it was a relaxing evening of watching reflections in the water. Also, I was instructed to do some website work. We're working on a way that y'all can track our blog entries on a map but the code isn't quite done. What can I say? I've been busy...

Montague Harbor Provincial Park

The massive mooring ball field at Montague Harbor.

Lying at anchor in the south end of Montague Harbor.

Christy calculating what time we need to leave in order to make slack at Dodd Narrows. And you really want to make slack at Dodd Narrows.

48°53'22"N 123°23'36"W


We left Obstruction Island around 0730 to beat a minus tide. We motored through the San Juan Islands one more time. In no current, we typically motor at around 6.5 knots. Coming through the channel south of Speiden Island, we topped out at 10.5 knots. Nice to be running with a 4 knot current rather fighting against it. We've done that, too.

Coming across Haro Straight towards Sidney, we caught a nice southern breeze on the beam and reached across the strait. It was heaven not listening to the motor. We also pulled the bimini off as the weather has great. As PNW'ers, we need to break this habit of being frightened by the sun. It's not a hole in the sky or an angry god, just a star that warms things up now and again.

As this was our first time checking in to another country on our boat, we didn't really know much about what we should be doing. All the rules we read are very clear about the amount of alcohol you can carry in. Clearly, the Canadians would prefer you buy their booze at their prices. So we sadly had to dump some extra tequila and whiskey we had on board and couldn't get rid of at our going away party. We checked in at the Port of Sidney dock and then headed over to anchor in Tsehum Harbor. Tsehum Harbor is just north of Sidney and it mostly seems like a working harbor. It's not somewhere you would anchor your boat to "get away from it all". Last night, a mullet sporting dude in a dinghy roared through the entire anchorage with a stereo wailing KISS's anthem "LICK IT UP". Awesome.

We came to Sidney to get our headsail adjusted as it's a bit too long. UK/Halsey has a loft in Sidney and the guy we've been working with is there. Tim met up with us and offloaded the headsail, shortened it a hair and then returned it the next day. Since this might be the last place we'll have access to reasonably priced chandleries, we decided to take care of a few items. Tim pointed us to a place called Waypoint Marine. If you're ever in Sidney and ever need anything for your boat, please PLEASE go out of your way to see these guys. They have bent over backwards taking care of finding us a raw water strainer (ours shit the bed), a new starter battery (also shit the bed), another propane tank to BBQ hose (shit the bed after one use), a carberator rebuild kit for the outboard and various little bits of hardware. Mark offered use of his dock to bring our dinghy in to knowing that the local marina would probably tire of us when they realized we weren't spending money with them. Can't say enough about these guys. Awesome.

I can say enough about Tsehum Harbor though. We were happy to be leaving it in our wake. Sidney is great and Tsehum Harbor served it's purpose but there's more interesting places we'd rather be.

48°40'19"N 123°24'28"W

boat show seminars

We love the Seattle Boat Show. We went this year about 5 different days. Every time we go we're always interested in what seminars they offer. The seminars are usually fun, sometimes informative but always designed to part you and your boat bucks. They usually offer up a docket like so:

  • 8:00 - 9:00 Living the Dream - You Too Can Own A Boat!

  • 9:00 - 10:00 Choosing The Right Blue Blazer For YOUR Yacht Club

  • 10:00 - 11:00 Wines, How To Select Them For Your Vessel

  • 11:00 - 12:00 You Need A Bigger Boat

  • 1:00 - 2:00 Mai Tai Recipes

After our short life aboard, we'd like to offer up boat show seminars that would be well and truly useful to those who are going to live aboard.

  • 7:00 - 8:00 Leatherman: Useful Multi-Tool or Satan's Purveyor of Blood Blisters?

  • 8:00 - 9:00 Replace Your Own Batteries I: How To Treat The Ensuing Hernia

  • 9:00 - 10:00 Replace Your Own Batteries II: Turn A Metal Wrench Into Magical Fireworks!

  • 10:00 - 11:00 Boat Project Complexity

  • 11:00 - 12:00 What To Do When The Turd Won't Go Down The Bowl

  • 1:00 - 2:00 Seasickness Medications Taken Orally: A Writer's Treatise on Irony

  • 2:00 - 3:00 Avoiding PTSD At The Pumpout Dock

  • 3:00 - 4:00 Easily Repair Your Inverter by Stephen Hawking

oh, canada

We have arrived in Canada, checked into Sidney and happily anchored. Will update y'all tomorrow on our voyages to date.

By the way, if you're ever wandering the country in need of internet access: Safeway. Who knew?

obstruction island

Our friend Alison has been telling me for years about her place on Obstruction Island, just south of Orcas Island. As luck would have it, she was going to be out there this weekend so we arranged to meet up at her island (it's not all hers but I like to think it should be). So we motored back through the interior of the San Juans enroute to Obstruction Island. We grabbed a mooring bouy that belongs to all the property owners on Obstruction Island as there is no great place to anchor.

Obstruction Island has but one road but generally no vehicles. There's no scheduled ferry service, no stores, no services, no Chinese food. It's just woods, ridiculous views, and around 25 to 30 houses. Alison's place sits on a cliff on the western edge of the island looking out over Rosario Strait and directly into the sunset. She has poured a ton of effort into her cabin and it's a stunning place to be. It's remote, quiet and beautiful. She did most of the interior work herself.

Christy and I hung out for the day with Alison and her friend Audrey, mostly soaking in the sun on the balcony. We also availed ourselves of her shower facilities, thankfully. After a great dinner and fresh baked cookies, we walked around the island and back to the boat. While walking down the dock, we watched a family of otters playing in the eddie. Then a seal hanging out in the current. And to top it off, a bald eagle swooped right over our heads and landed in a tree on shore. I cannot get enough of this wildlife. It just never seems to get old.

Hello World lying to a mooring bouy on the south end of Obstruction Island.

Alison's incredible cabin.

The three of us hanging out on the bluff on the edge of Alison's property.

48°35.36'N 122°49.1'W

stuart island

On our docket for the day was possibly picking up our wayward SSB radio (or as our friend, Alison likes to call it: the whoseywhatsit). Apparently, we had some corrosion in our antenna tuner that travelled the length of our antenna lead wire from the backstay to the tuner. Expensive electronics + water = more expense. So we sent the whoseywhatsit and whoseywhatsit tuner back to the manufacturer. Rather than wait at Shilshole for the radio to show up, we took off and had them send the radio general delivery to the post office in Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.

We hopped off the mooring ball early and picked our way through the interior of the San Juan Islands. We motored pretty much the entire way as the wind, currents, and narrow passes were not inclined to help us out. We reached Roche Harbor in the afternoon and landed at their generously sized guest dock (free for a couple hours). We made our way up to the store which was holding our package as the post office closes at 1:30. We stowed the radio back on board and spent an hour or two wandering the interesting little hamlet of Roche Harbor. The most notable find in our wanderings was an immaculate bocce court. We are used to playing bocce amongst downed logs and deer turds, so this impecable court came as a bit of a suprise.

After leaving Roche Harbor, we chose to anchor at Stuart Island. Reid Harbor is well protected from wind in pretty much any direction and it's beautiful inside. The shore is pretty much all tree lined with the exception of some docks to the west. We dropped our big Rocna anchor for the first time and promptly picked it right back up again. Turns out, neither of us measure distance well and we ended up altogether too close to some other boats. So we picked up the anchor and in the process of doing so, killed our starter battery. I suspected it was in its death throes anyways as it never seems to hold a charge well. Since our starter battery powers our windlass and our windlass is what picks up the 330 pounds of anchor chain and 72 pounds of anchor so I don't have to, I think we'll be looking into a new starter battery.

Nature watch for the day: loads and loads of seals/sea lions (we can't differentiate well) and a few porpoises up close and personal.

The bocce courts in Roche Harbor.

The Catholic church in Roche Harbor is one of the few privately owned Catholic churches in the US.

Roche Harbor marina. Where the rich folk keep boats.

48°40'11.1"N 123°11'25.4"W

james island state park

(note: we're catching up on blog posts and pictures so this is a little out of order, best to pay attention to the date on the blog entry)

Very cool little island just east of Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands that's entirely a state park. We picked up a mooring ball as the coves on either side are pretty open. We also understand why no other boat spent the night on the west side of the island. About 10 minutes after a ferry would pass (you can hear their propellers from miles aways inside the boat), our boat would roll in their wake like we were under attack.

We took a hike around the island and checked out a great marine trail campsite. Only human powered boats were allowed to camp at that spot. Christy spent what seemed like hours examining a black slug. Once back at the boat, we watched a bald eagle land on the tree and hang out with us. After 10 minutes, I decided to go grab a camera and that was enough to make him leave. But trust us, he was there.

Leaving Port Townsend at the buttcrack of dawn to catch a northbound current.

Sighting the San Juan Islands across the Strait.

Christy doing some driving.

Hello World's busy transom.

Christy rowing me to shore.

Hello World tucked into the east cove of James Island.

48° 30.77'N 122°46.4'W

The Straight of Juan de Fuca

Also known as the straight of wanna puka. Here's Hello World after hitting our first waves just off the Pacific. Fortunately you'll find no puke in the picture... :)

port townsend

We are currently lying in Boat Haven Marina in Port Townsend. Given our plans with Hello World, we decided a rigging survey would be prudent. We received quite a few recommendations and they all overwhelmingly pointed to Port Townsend Rigging. Dan from PT Rigging did a very thorough review of our rig and gave it a thumbs up. He found a few things we should fix and a few pieces we should upgrade. However, nothing he found screamed REPLACE ME.

If you're looking for help with rigging, including a survey, we highly recommend Dan and Lisa at PT Rigging. They are very focused on value for your money. Dan will work with you to do what you need to do at a reasonable cost.

Tomorrow morning (early tomorrow morning), we're going to ride the ebb tide north across the Strait of Juan de Fuca and into the San Juan Islands. We have a couple anchorages in mind somewhere in the neighborhood of Lopez Island. We have a date on Monday with our sailmaker in Sidney, BC so we have the rest of the week and weekend to kill time in the San Juans.

Bummer, huh?

48°06'23.21"N 122°46'37.57"W


We've driven out of the Shilshole Marina breakwater many times. This time is different. We don't have any plans to return.

Hello World is northbound.

sent from my iPhone

raise your hand

... if you thought we'd actually leave on time.

We hooked up our SSB radio today and got a helpful "UNLOCK" message.
Push some buttons, twist some knobs, no joy. After talking with the
folks at SEA, the manufacturer, apparently the radio has to be sent in
for service. Since they are just north of Seattle, we brought it up
there today. They'll know more on Monday or Tuesday.

We may also leave and just have them ship it to us. Time's a wasting
and we ain't getting younger.

sent from my iPhone

radio silence

Apologies for the complete and utter lack of updates. But we have a good reason, I swear. We just got back a few days ago from a 3 week trip whitewater rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. At a later date when we're not up to our corneas in boat projects in order to shove off, we'll put up a post and pictures about the experience. If you're maintaining a bucket list, make sure rafting the Grand Canyon is on it.

We have lots to update y'all on including the massive amount of help we got from our Ohio friends - Casey and Cathy - but we need to spend most of our time either crossing projects off the list or fretting about how many projects are still on the list.

We've lost our internet connection at home so expect posts to be few and infrequent for a spell. We're in a last minute dash to get everything done before leaving. We're still targeting May 14th to cut the dock lines. Let's see, that's how many days... one, two, ....

Oh crap.

(The image above is Christy hunkering down with Lenise while Don expertly rowed through Lava Falls. The photo was graciously taken by Tim O'Dell who photographed all the other boats at Lava before running it himself.)