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Course Advanced Coastal Cruising; Canadian Gulf Islands
Date August 9-16, 2003
Students: Rick & Andrew Tripplet and Ron & Brennan Sullivan
Captain: Bill McClure

August 8
Crewmembers Rick & Andrew Tripplet and Ron & Brennan Sullivan arrived late in the evening aboard FULL MOON, our Island Packet 40 foot sailing yacht at Skyline Marina in Anacortes, WA. After loading luggage aboard and getting to know each other briefly, we called it a day and hit the sack looking forward to our sailing adventure. 

August 9
After an early rising, showers and breakfast at the Deli, we got busy learning the boat. We began by inspecting all the through hulls and the location of all the safety equipment. The crew then did a quick survey of the boat, noting very few problems. The small wear holes in the headsail where I had previously applied sail tape to prevent any further chafing were not any worse for wear although the sun cover on the genoa was coming loose due to UV rot. We left Skyline and sailed to Anacortes to provision. After provisioning and lunch ashore, we motorsailed for three hours to anchor for the night in Shoal Bay on Lopez Island. Dinner lessons and some sea stories and it was time for a good nights rest. 

August 10
We began the day with breakfast followed by lessons. Safety issues were discussed and watches assigned. A course was laid out by the students from Shoal Bay to Sidney BC, Canada. Once underway we had our first man overboard drill. While the crew practiced reefing and further familiarized themselves with the boat, we made our way past of San Juan Island to the sound. 

We spent an hour off the southern tip of Goose Island Orca Whale watching and were treated to a spectacular display by a very large pod. After the whales left we motorsailed until the wind picked up and then we sailed the last two hours into Sidney Harbor and the Canadian Customs dock. After a dinner ashore and sight seeing, we turned in for the night. 

August 11
Another beautiful morning; after a quick trip to the market, we got our lessons started. We started at the front of the boat and named every component we came to, what it was and how to use it. We did classroom studies until noon, getting ready for our overnight sail. We sailed out of Sidney Harbor north to Montague Harbor. It was a delightful sail with snow covered Mt. Baker in the background. Arriving at Montague we practiced short turns and controlled stops and discussed anchoring techniques. Under an altostratus sky we proceeded through Active Pass and into the Straits of Georgia. The wind held until about 2130 while we worked our way up the Straits using compass navigation and DR staying close to but not in the commercial ship traffic lanes. By midnight we were well north of the Traffic Separation zones and sailing again. 

August 12
By 0530 the winds were gone. We were south of Texada Island and realized we would never make it all the way around in time, so we made our turn. We were now headed back and by 0730 the winds were blowing again and we were headed to Silva Bay on Gabriola Island. We tied up at Pages Marina at noon. We were disappointed to find out that Sarah the lady that makes the fresh pies was on a year's sabbatical. We then headed for the pub for a lunch of Salmon and Cod and a pitcher of beer. After lunch we had to forego lessons as everyone was ready for a long nap. 

August 13
The barometer was up and the sun bright as we left Gabriola Island at 0830. The wind was light so we motored sailed down the coast past islands covered with seals basking in the sun. Three times we spotted porpoise but were not able to get near enough to actually see them, Then as we came around the south comer of Susha Island we saw otters playing near the shore. Our plan had originally been to bypass Susha Island, go directly to Roche Harbor and spend the night in Garrison Bay but the young men were anxious to get to Friday Harbor and "civilization". So we decided to anchor at Susha and get an early start in the AM. More seals came to visit the boat as we were anchored overnight inside the harbor on Susha Island. The young men dove off the boat for a swim in what was very cold water (53 F). We had a fine spaghetti dinner with garlic bread and a great salad, followed by lessons and a quiet nights sleep, 

August 14
We upped anchor and made for the customs dock at Roche Harbor. The customs inspector came aboard to ask questions in a very friendly way but with more interest than I had seen previously in what we had purchased and what we had aboard the boat. We moved the boat down the dock and went in search of fresh seafood to cook for dinner. We had lunch ashore but were out of luck on the seafood. We left for Friday Harbor where the crew had heard that the local Fair had just opened. Another man overboard drill showed that we had improved our time considerably. We tied up to the dock in Friday Harbor. Thee young men took off for the fair and the rest of us headed for the showers and our seafood dinner. 

August 15
From Friday Harbor to Flounder Bay in Skyline took several hours. We discussed what we had learned about navigation during the week and arrived about 1730. The class walked to the Ferry Landing for dinner. Back at the boat we took our tests, and did a final review. 

August 16
We refueled, packed our gear and cleaned the boat. We were finished by noon, good-byes said and everyone was headed home. All agreed it was a great week spent on the water.

Captain Bill McClure
Skyline Marina, Anacortes, WA
August 17, 2003

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