Mariner Melding

Day 0: Market Madness

Ocean Reef Yacht Club mariners arrive at Port Sidney Marina where they are introduced to their charter vessels by captains and technicians from NW Explorations.

The fleet in the embrace of the rock wall arms of Port Sidney Marina.

Shopping and stocking begins as crews source vessel stores and supplies. Luggage, bags and boxes are pushed along the docks in borrowed dock carts and supermarket trollies. There is an uptick in the exchange rate for the Canadian Dollar.

Provisions and stores are stowed on shelves, in lockers, packed tight into fridges and freezers until every viable void is filled.

NWE hosts a Captains’ Meeting for eight crews where we learn not to put body parts between a boat and any fixed surface, and many protocols involved in a Mother Goose flotilla where several vessels mostly follow a lead vessel.

Our Flotilla’s lead vessel is staffed with a captain, marine technician, naturalist, and a “swab” and his spouse who own NWE. Ross and Evie are good friends who have previously traveled aboard Jupiter in Winter.

Shae, Flotilla Naturalist, prepares for the journey.

A pre-departure meal for thirty five is served at The Surly Mermaid, a favorite portside pub where abundant victuals are washed down by an outpouring of refreshments, where no one is surly, and the lead boat team attempts to identify latent troublemakers.

Day 1: Casting Off

Nine pairs of engines fire up. Lines are cast off. Boats slip out from their slips to pass between the narrow rock walls that define the harbour entrance. All boats congregate at a predetermined area offshore, and a roll call by marine radio on channel 88A confirms communications between vessels.

Stella Luna departs her slip.

We make way through John’s Pass, past Burial Island. Jupiter takes up the rear.

Humpback whales are soon sighted, and the group slows to admire the massive finned backs breaking the sea surface. Several veteran freighters on the move and at anchor are avoided, including one which employs the overt nautical axiom “stay out of my way”.

Coal freighter awaiting loading at Tsawwassen Terminal near Vancouver.

We transit Gabriola Passage at low slack tide in early afternoon and turn into our tranquil anchorage, an ample slot between Kendrick and Valdes Islands.

Our lead boat, Stella Luna, expertly deploys a stern tie to a tree ashore, and three of the fleet raft up alongside. The remainder anchor in a loose knit jumble, lowering tenders to explore and socialize. The ORYC Commodores, Don and Denise, host drinks and snacks aboard Blue Pearl, after which galleys are tested aboard the remaining fleet, and suppers, sunsets and bunks are enjoyed in order.


The Cruise: Two or more days spent continuously on a boat that is underway, with stops for the night.

The Rules: What one must comply with aboard ship to avert interpersonal capsize.”

Roland Sawyer Barth ~ Cruising Rules: Relationships at Sea
Sunset at Kendrick Island Anchorage

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