Another lesson on being flexible.
We left Comox this morning around 7:30am. The wind was supposed to pick up but it was not yet blowing much so we figured we'd go south a bit and see how it was once we got out from the protection of Denman Island, about 17 miles from Comox.
We started getting into some swells behind the island, and they weren't too bad until we got out near the Chrome Island lighthouse. The waves were a steep 4-5 ft and pretty close together. Between there and Nanaimo there aren't a lot of good duck out options, so after a few minutes of discussion (and a few "whoa"s), we opted to turn around and go back to Deep Bay and wait out the weather.
Here's us turning around. (Waves never look big in photos unless you're surfing while taking the photo):
It's nice and calm here in Deep Bay though:
We chatted with another couple of boaters about the conditions (they were on their way to Nanaimo from Comox as well, in a sailboat)…they had the same feeling. We all felt like we could have continued, but decided we didn't want to and didn't need to in those conditions. Sometimes it's just not worth all the jostling and banging around. It can be stressful, and with no great duck out options, you end up captive in whatever the wind and water deals up for you, and that can be unpleasant.
Here's our track today (19.5 miles total, including the turn around):
We learned about a fun new weather website though: Big Wave Dave! (www.bigwavedave.ca). The "Forecasts — Wind Predictions No. 1" is a great page to watch. We're looking at Comox, Columbia Beach, and Piper's Lagoon (north to south as listed…Piper's Lagoon is near/in Nanaimo). White is great, aqua is okay, yellow is less okay (today was yellow) and the varying shades of red are all bad.
We went up and had some halibut and chips for lunch at the cafe nearby and now we're just working for the afternoon here at the boat. We were psyched at first, thinking we were close to Fanny Bay Oysters, but it's about 6 miles up the road (or up the coast via dinghy). If we'd have known we were going to stop here for the night we could have tied up at the little dock nearby and walked over to shop before continuing on. They don't deliver — I checked, so next time that's what we'll do. Last time we were through this area (just over a year ago when we started thinking about buying a boat) we picked up some local oysters and local scallops there and they were so good!
How funny that we'll be returning from this trip to Alaska exactly a year from when we closed on our Nordic Tug. We've stayed over 250 nights in it (253 as of today) so that's over 8 months out of the last year that we've spent on board. (Not tired of it yet. Not one bit!) 🙂