Sunday, October 18, 2009

Packaged for winter

A week after the Random Island trip I decided it was time to put My Pikake away for the winter. I removed all the rigging, rudder and cleaned off the leaves that had collected in the past little while. I picked up a 16ft length of 2x6 and built a brace for the back end and another for the front. the front one was mounted on the mast step and used the pivot pin. I read from some post online that someone used plastic water pipe for their roof and I did the same. I screwed the middle to the top of my 2x6 ridge beam and held the ends down with bungee cords. I then covered the whole boat with a heavy duty tarp. I opened the hatches to air out the inside and removed the drain plug just incase. I tilted the forward end up so any water getting inside would run out the back.
Now I just have to wait for spring... in 6 months... Ah well I have other projects to keep me busy.

Random Island scouting trip

With the sailing season quickly coming to an end, I just had to get out one more time and put Pikake through her paces. I Wanted to try and get to Random Island near my brothers place in Clarenville. It's supposed to be a great spot for fishing and sailing. I called Travor once again and he was definitely up for a Saturday trip. The weather was supposed to be fair at best Saturday and Sunday called for a steady rain and high winds, so what else is new. This was to be just a scouting mission for a good slipway and to check out the area for sailing and camping. A day trip.

It's an hour and a half drive to Clarenville from my place and to get the most from the day we left early, around 7 am. The drive was a nice way to wake up and We found a public slip just north of my brothers place near Shoal Harbor.
While unloading and setting up the skies grew dark and threatened of rain, but we expected this and had our rain gear just in case.
The spot we had found on the map was to the south east and was directly down wind. This was inland waters so even if the conditions deteriorated it would not pose too much trouble for The Pathfinder.
Though its October, the trees are still holding onto their leaves. The beaches are all accessible and there are even a few brooks and waterfalls to get fresh water from if need be. It was a short trip to one of the possible camping areas, but it was shallow, very shallow and choked with sea grass to the point where we had to paddle through it. My first time encountering this in Newfoundland waters. We figured we would be marooned for a full tide turn if we stayed here long, so we made note of the spot and its possibilities and then moved on. It was a great spot for Kayaks however and Travor having a pair would do well to visit this place next year. We pushed along the shore line and found the triangular point that had a nice cove and sand/pebble beach. It was full of dead sea grass from the batch of fall storms that battered this coast in past weeks but still a nice spot. I can see this being an ideal spot for a base camp next year. Apparently just on the other side of the bay is some fine fishing grounds that would only be a short hike in the pathfinder. We put ashore and loosely tide her to a rock and set up for a lunch.
Getting a fire going without the aid of large amounts of gasoline was not easy today. But A small fire was lit and kept the sand flies at bay while we cooked up a small lunch of Beans with wieners chopped up and added. basic fair but fills the hole. Chased with Travors home brewed coffee... sweet nectar. The beach was easily accessible and posed no real threat to the hull even with no rub strip yet installed. The direction of the wind made this cove particularly sheltered today and in our spot there was hardly a draft of wind.
We finished our meal, and relaxed a while before cleaning up and packed the boat for the trip back. There is a small brook only a hundred feet or so from this spot and made for a convenient place to clean the dishes (no chemical added)Travor and I had one last look at the beach before we left and promised to come back here next season. By then a half a hundred storms will have scoured this beach clean again and make for a great camping spot.The motor was started up and we headed out into the bay and homeward bound. The fishermen that were out on the bay in force had all gone home by now and I knew why. We were not going to be fishing this afternoon. Dark clouds now dominated the skyline and the wind was up quite a bit. In the cove it was still quite peaceful though.

The waters were now choppy but nothing serious. Just right in our face as we headed back.

The winds had picked up fast so the waves were as yet still small and with a narrow bay, not able to build to any size. yet.Our progress back was hampered by the fact that we wanted to hit the slipway where the car was parked before dark, and tacking back and forth the bay would not do it. So no sails. Motor only. The wind speeds were about 40 kph sustained with 50 kph gusts. Windy but still quite comfortable. I have had the Pathfinder in this wind before. Wind speeds increased, and bands of rain could be seen on the other side of the bay, We were going to get wet today it seemed.About 20 minutes into the trip back then wind was now quite gusty and putting a 4ft swell on the waves with breakers. I knew this would be about as bad as this bay would get being inland some so I wasn't worried. Pikake rose and fell with the waves and cut through more sending spray flying, but not in the boat. We were comfortable and as yet still dry. If we were not Travor would hardly be using his wife's camera to take these pictures. She'd kill him for certain. As strange as it may seem, it was actually kind of fun riding the surf and all the sea crashing about. Hardly ocean cruising but fun all the same. The sails down, centerboard partially down and motor chugging along, we were in no danger of capsizing. or even taking on water.Those rain bands were surely to nail us eventually though. Wet skins on, and gear pushed forward out of the coming rains, we were ready. But it was not to be, the rain bands split and we motored up the middle and hardly a drop fell on us. It was very cool to watch all around the rain and wind yet be dry as we neared the slipway. Back do dry land and ready to load up, the wind and rain in the far off distance. Even a rainbow capped off our trip. What a way to end the season. We are definitely coming back here next year. I even told my neighbour Peter about this area. Him and his wife are avid kayaker's and this inland waterway would be the perfect spot for a kayak camping trip. Random island I figure would take 2 days to navigate in a kayak and plenty of places to stop for a night.I made a note of the ramp conditions and taking a picture helps me remember. Low tide actually works best here for launching Pikake. But high is good too. We headed home and discussed next years many trips we'll take and the other new places we'll explore. but that's for next year.

I have to unload the boat and prepare it for the oncoming winter. We will be getting snow soon.