Barkley Sound Trip Wrap up…

We’re home of course, and the boat came home separately.  On the morning of our last day in Barkley Sound, we spent about two hours getting dressed, finalizing the packing, loading the car and getting on the road. The road from Ucluelet to Port Alberni is about 90km of tight twisty narrow mountain roads. Both girls got car sick and we had to stop at one point when we flew right by a bathroom just about 30 seconds too late. We banned iPads and opened the windows, hoping the kids would sleep for the rest of the way to Port Alberni. About 5 minutes after the bathroom stop both girls fell asleep (Awesome!!).

That road is tailor-made for a sports car which the Mazda CX-9, while better than many other SUVs, is not, but it was still a bit fun. It’s also a beautiful drive overall, and the river water running along side some parts of the road was a beautiful sort of aqua-blue color and amazingly clear. In Port Alberni we stopped at McDonalds and got breakfast meals, but somehow McDonalds forgot straws and I’m too lazy to go back to get them. About 10 miles later I stopped at a gas station to snag Slurpee straws but felt bad so I bought a soda there. Then we headed out on the road to Nanaimo which was still a bit narrow for a while until we got to HWY-19 which is a proper highway.

We got to the ferry terminal early (which after being late last year was a welcome relief), the girls played in the playground for a bit then we got on the ferry. The 2 hour ferry ride was uneventful as expected with the exception of finding several Pokemon in various parts of the ship.

The rest of the drive from Vancouver through the border to home was streamlined as best as it could have been.  We stopped at McDonald’s again on the way back for Internet, food, and some time for the girls to play in the structure.

Meanwhile I started tracking Mobert via AIS on as the new crew prepped to bring her back from Barkley over the next week or so.

Overall thoughts on this years’ trip…

Barkley Sound is pretty spectacular, and the long day up and out of Juan de Fuca Strait was not nearly the big event that it previously sounded like, or I’m sure could have been. Barkley Sound does have far more rocks and things to watch out for when compared with the Salish Sea, but the charts are quite good. There are far fewer boats in Barkley Sound compared to our normal cruising grounds and we never worried about fighting for anchorage space in any of the best bays, coves, and passages.  For comparison sake, last year in “Desolation” sound, there were probably several hundred cruising boats in 400 square miles (-ish).  In Barkley Sound’s 300+ square miles, there were may be 10 cruising boats.

I had assumed we wouldn’t find water warm enough for swimming like we had in some parts of Desolation Sound, but I was wrong. Pipestem Inlet was like a fantastical dream of warm water and Disney-style Jungle Cruise capped off by Hana-like cascading waterfalls and pools–so good we went there twice on this trip. This was also the first time we’ve spent this much time on anchor, with no shore support, sources of water or power, and no marina’s. Devon remarked she was worried about not liking to be on anchor so much, but in the end it was so much nicer than managing dock lines and fenders.

In fact when we got to Ucluelet on our last day I was actually annoyed with all the work I had to do (which isn’t really that much) to get the fenders out and set, ready dock lines, and eventually uncoil and connect power cords. While anchoring has a level of stress that is different (not necessarily higher or lower) compared to docking, it’s far less work. It was great to get a feel for the boat over the course of a couple of weeks, managing all aspects of cruising including route planning, weather forecasting, navigating, resource management, etc. I really wasn’t ready to leave the boat today but it’s all part of the plan. One step closer to the big trip next year.

What we broke:

  • The Prop – we found another slightly awash log by feel rather than by sight, which the prop jammed against and stopped the engine.  All three blades of the prop were severely bent, but nearly the same as each other.  We were able to motor at reasonable speeds without too much vibration after this event which was lucky.
    • I had the prop rebuilt by PYI in August and it’s all fixed now.
  • Cockpit shower nozzle cover – The lazarette hatch caught the cover and tore it off.
    • Someday I’ll figure out how to repair this.
  • Cockpit canvas enclosure zipper –  (technically already broken, but was partially usable before, now it’s fully unusable)
    • I got some thread, new zipper, and used my 1952 Singer 66 sewing machine to fix this completely.
  • My simple dinette table leg screw fix from last year failed on one of the legs
    • Something I need to fix again I guess
  • Jib Car line cam-cleat – I stupidly decided to try adjusting the jib sheet car under load using the powered winch.  I knew this was a mistake but tried it anyway.
    • I’ve already replaced the cam-cleat with a new one, and rebuilt the one on the opposite side.
  • My shorts (tore the leg over my knee because I couldn’t find a belt to keep them up all the way)

Projects completed:

  • Spent one day replacing both shore power connections with SmartPlugs and retrofitted two shore cords to match.
  • Recommissioned the watermaker from the winterizing I did last year.  It works much better with the particle filter in place (as opposed to last year when the “filter” I thought was in there turned out to be the pickling cartridge).
  • Disassembled the cross-bar on the davits and shifted all the mounts so that the crossbar would sit correctly and all of the securing screws and pins would secure cleanly.  The davits are now much more rigid.
  • Completed the SSB installation, though I’m not sure it’s properly receiving and it needs more testing
  • Replace the rubber base valve and joker valve in the aft toilet
  • Fixed the dinghy bridle for better towing

Things that worked great:

  • The stove/oven – our Eno 4-burner stove is very versatile and we use the oven for a variety of things as well.
  • The BBQ – our Magma Catalina propane BBQ is super useful, and keeps from heating up the inside of the boat while cooking as well.
  • The watermaker – our simple little 12V DC powered Village Marine Little Wonder watermaker produced 160 gallons of water during the 10 days on anchor
  • The generator – The performance of our Northern Lights 5kw generator combined with the two on-board battery chargers has shifted my thinking about a number of energy projects I had planned.  I’ll write-up more on this in a future post. (edit: Read about this here…)
  • The engine – the Yanmar 4JH3-TE is a great engine with lots of power and we’ve had no issues with it.
  • Electronics – No issues with our Raymarine electronics.  In fact pretty much all of our electrical and electronics systems worked well.  I would like to add the rate gyro option to the autopilot to smooth its operations out in waves and swell.

What we learned:

  • The second gas tank is smaller than expected, and it seems to need time to level out the two sides after filling. 20 gallons in, but only 3/4 full?
  • Can’t count on cellular service without a booster of some kind
  • Need web compression for browsing and a firewall to block all the crap our computers try to do when they find Internet.


  • Genset 624.4 to 651.4 = 27 hours over 16 days (1.7hrs/day average)
    • This equates to about 0.5 gallons of diesel per day
  • Engine 1411.2 to 1447.4 = 36.2 hours over 16 days (2.26hrs/day average)
    • This equates to about 2.3 gallons of diesel per day
    • Most of this consuption was transiting the Ship Canal and Juan de Fuca Strait
  • Water Consumed = 262 gallons / 5 people / 16 days = 16 gallons/day
    • Comes out to about 3.2gallons/person/day
  • Water Desalinated = 228 gallons over 12 days = 19 gallons per day
  • Consecutive Days without shore power = 12
  • Consecutive Days without shore water = 9

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