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Fall Cruising during COVID


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The Chesapeake is mostly empty, the waters are cool the wind is brisk. The trees are changing colors.

5 boats and 12 men sallied forth onto the bay, heavily laden with cigars, rum and way too much food.  We anchored in a creek that has access to a small picnic area with grills and went ashore for grilled oysters and an insane amount of handmade sage sausages, brats and pork loin. We ran dinghies aground in the dark and more hilarity ensued.

I singlehanded. On the way to our first destination, my boom lift separated into two pieces and streamed aft, irretrievable until I slowed down, which I had no intention of doing.  Then, the stitching of foot and leech tapes of my sails let go and I was streaming both of those as well!  I'm sure the boat looked like a Halloween mummy shedding its bandages.  I managed to get my shit together before arriving at the raft-up.

The sail home today was brisk and soaking wet but only 2 tacks were required the entire weekend.  There is more to tell but save to say that I cannot share all of it and no photos outside of the group, such is the semi-secrecy of our order.  I'm grateful for marino wool and Helly Hansen and Diplomatico and of course for my small circle of friends.

As positivity rates rise pretty much everywhere, I think that's my last gathering of friends for awhile. We had masks made just for the occasion and did not gather in the cabin of any one boat. We cooked and drank and ate outside pretty much the entire time.

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3 minutes ago, Ajax said:

The Chesapeake is mostly empty, the waters are cool the wind is brisk. The trees are changing colors.

5 boats and 12 men sallied forth onto the bay, heavily laden with cigars, rum and way too much food.  We anchored in a creek that has access to a small picnic area with grills and went ashore for grilled oysters and an insane amount of handmade sage sausages, brats and pork loin. We ran dinghies aground in the dark and more hilarity ensued.

I singlehanded. On the way to our first destination, my boom lift separated into two pieces and streamed aft, irretrievable until I slowed down, which I had no intention of doing.  Then, the stitching of foot and leech tapes of my sails let go and I was streaming both of those as well!  I'm sure the boat looked like a Halloween mummy shedding its bandages.  I managed to get my shit together before arriving at the raft-up.

The sail home today was brisk and soaking wet but only 2 tacks were required the entire weekend.  There is more to tell but save to say that I cannot share all of it and no photos outside of the group, such is the semi-secrecy of our order.  I'm grateful for marino wool and Helly Hansen and Diplomatico and of course for my small circle of friends.

As positivity rates rise pretty much everywhere, I think that's my last gathering of friends for awhile. We had masks made just for the occasion and did not gather in the cabin of any one boat. We cooked and drank and ate outside pretty much the entire time.

Wait - those are almost brand new sails!

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8 minutes ago, European Bloke said:

We're just about to lock down again.

Exercise with max one other person.

No nights away outside your primary residence unless for work that can't be done from home.

No non essential travel.

That's pretty much fucked it.

:( Hang in there.

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Life is good on the west coast of Canada...so far this fall.  I suspect it may change, so taking advantage of things now.

Theee large Dungeness crabs this evening as the last rays of the sun were lighting the sky.

(This was a temporary escape today from a chaotic drywall and lighting upgrade renovation I’ve been doing at my house then last month that has turned our living space into a total mess.  An oasis of calm out on the water!)

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1 hour ago, Ajax said:

@Jud - s/v Sputnik is 3 enough for a meal? How do you catch them?

First you find the right boat, usually covered in crab pots and a bunch of people who like to have a good time.  I've found Budweiser to be effective bait but Vodka rum and gin all work fine.  When they come back daily limited out all sorts of dungies appear on your boat....

One big one is a meal, or even half.  They have alot of meat in them.

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34 minutes ago, SASSAFRASS said:

First you find the right boat, usually covered in crab pots and a bunch of people who like to have a good time.  I've found Budweiser to be effective bait but Vodka rum and gin all work fine.  When they come back daily limited out all sorts of dungies appear on your boat....

One big one is a meal, or even half.  They have alot of meat in them.

Ah, so these are much larger than Chesapeake or Gulf blue crabs.  Is the meat flavor and texture similar? I can't ever recall having tried Dungeness.

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It's a small step down from Alaskan king crab, less meat but probably more flavor.  The work to food ratio is much better than the smaller crabs.  Probably a preference thing as I know plenty of people who rave about blue crabs.

For reference since we have been eating way too much lobster lately, it's not even close to dungies for me.

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Just now, SASSAFRASS said:

It's a small step down from Alaskan king crab, less meat but probably more flavor.  The work to food ratio is much better than the smaller crabs.  Probably a preference thing as I know plenty of people who rave about blue crabs.

Blue crabs properly cooked in the right kind of beer and Old Bay or J.O. Spice have a delicious, sweet flavor that is just wonderful. No butter required.  You're right about the food/work ratio though.

I'm thinking it's time to contact @Kris Cringle's lobster people and have them FedEx me a couple more bugs. They were soooooooooo delicious.

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3 hours ago, Ajax said:

@Jud - s/v Sputnik is 3 enough for a meal? How do you catch them?

Oh, yeah, as Sass said, one per person is fine.  Especially if you’ve got a good pot of melted garlic butter for dipping and bread, and you’re drinking a nice cold white wine or a beer!  So rich.  (I remember coming down from Alaska years back and we had so much crab, we just got tired of it - so rich!).

I just use a regular crab trap and standard (bought in a store) stinky crab or prawn pellets for bait.  The key, I’ve now realized, is to go in the so-called off season - tourists and other interlopers are gone :-)

Yeah, I grew up (in D.C.) eating blue crabs - as a 20-ish year old, I couldn’t be bothered:  too much work.  It was only when my gourmand French brother-in-law showed me how he patiently extracted the meat from numerous crabs to get a big pile that I got it!  Delicious. But Dungies are definitely less work.

Now lobster - yeah - a whole ‘nother level!  Special delivery from Maine sounds like a great idea, as lockdown awaits...seriously, seize the day! :-)

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Crab are a bit of work, especially the swimmers, but the meat is so sweet - kind of like shelled vs unshelled sunflower seeds. Steamed in a court bouillon and plunged into an ice bath to keep the texture firm.  A nice mignonette and maybe a tarragon mayo. Maine lobster are the top of the heap for sure, but give me a pile of crab any day. 

Dungeness make a good pepper or chili crab as well. 

 

 

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We've had a consistent small group all summer. Most of us have been working from home and we don't spend much time with anyone else so we're comfortable huddling down in a boat together when things get miserable. Yesterday was my 100th day off the dock in 2020 and 75th day on the move.

We've had a great October cruising around Howe Sound and Indian Arm near Vancouver. Tough to get to the Gulf Islands on weekends but hoping for a trip over Xmas. Starting to turn to outstations/reciprocals more often to run a dehumidifier and an electric heater but the Espar works well when we're on the hook.

The summer has been amazing for seafood. Oysters, Dungeness Crab, and Red Rock Crab have all been open and plentiful up and down the coast. We've also taken up foraging for mushrooms which helps pass the time while the crab traps soak. Found ourselves a giant cluster of Chanterelles Saturday on Bowen Island which went really well with breakfast!

Despite COVID this has been an amazing season and I'm a bit reluctant to hope things go back to normal.

 

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5 minutes ago, climenuts said:

We've had a consistent small group all summer. Most of us have been working from home and we don't spend much time with anyone else so we're comfortable huddling down in a boat together when things get miserable. Yesterday was my 100th day off the dock in 2020 and 75th day on the move.

We've had a great October cruising around Howe Sound and Indian Arm near Vancouver. Tough to get to the Gulf Islands on weekends but hoping for a trip over Xmas. Starting to turn to outstations/reciprocals more often to run a dehumidifier and an electric heater but the Espar works well when we're on the hook.

The summer has been amazing for seafood. Oysters, Dungeness Crab, and Red Rock Crab have all been open and plentiful up and down the coast. We've also taken up foraging for mushrooms which helps pass the time while the crab traps soak. Found ourselves a giant cluster of Chanterelles Saturday on Bowen Island which went really well with breakfast!

Despite COVID this has been an amazing season and I'm a bit reluctant to hope things go back to normal.

 

That's awesome. I'm not brave enough to forage for mushrooms. Too great a chance for mis-identification and then watching the walls melt while waiting in the ER. ;)

I rendezvous'd with the same group during the summer as well. Most retired and working from home. Some "at-risk" folks, so they were extra careful. If anything, I'm the dirty doorknob licker because I actually go to work everyday, even though I barricade myself in my office. The difference this time, is that we had several out-of-state people return to join us.  They're all being careful too, but there's no denying that the risk goes up the greater the number of people and the greater the geographic diversity of the crowd.

I'm not done sailing, just done with large groups until next year's warmer weather and hopefully a working vaccine.

I'm going to re-stitch my winter jib and swap out my new, tri-radial mainsail for my old main which I now call my "winter main." NOAA keeps saying that my area will experience another relatively mild winter so I want to be able to get out there if I can.  The CO detector is wired up and working fine, so I can run the heater.

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1 hour ago, Ajax said:

That's awesome. I'm not brave enough to forage for mushrooms. Too great a chance for mis-identification and then watching the walls melt while waiting in the ER. ;)

I rendezvous'd with the same group during the summer as well. Most retired and working from home. Some "at-risk" folks, so they were extra careful. If anything, I'm the dirty doorknob licker because I actually go to work everyday, even though I barricade myself in my office. The difference this time, is that we had several out-of-state people return to join us.  They're all being careful too, but there's no denying that the risk goes up the greater the number of people and the greater the geographic diversity of the crowd.

I'm not done sailing, just done with large groups until next year's warmer weather and hopefully a working vaccine.

I'm going to re-stitch my winter jib and swap out my new, tri-radial mainsail for my old main which I now call my "winter main." NOAA keeps saying that my area will experience another relatively mild winter so I want to be able to get out there if I can.  The CO detector is wired up and working fine, so I can run the heater.

The admiral bought this pocket book and the full version for the mushrooms which has boosted confidence: https://www.amazon.ca/All-That-Rain-Promises-More/dp/0898153883 These were the first we've eaten because they're the only ones we're 100% certain about and failing that the look-alikes don't do much harm other than shitting your pants for 12 hours.

I like the winter sail idea as things tend to get moldy pretty fast out here. Hopefully with enough use I can keep the new dacron clean for now.

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2 hours ago, climenuts said:

We've had a consistent small group all summer. Most of us have been working from home and we don't spend much time with anyone else so we're comfortable huddling down in a boat together when things get miserable. Yesterday was my 100th day off the dock in 2020 and 75th day on the move.

We've had a great October cruising around Howe Sound and Indian Arm near Vancouver. Tough to get to the Gulf Islands on weekends but hoping for a trip over Xmas. Starting to turn to outstations/reciprocals more often to run a dehumidifier and an electric heater but the Espar works well when we're on the hook.

The summer has been amazing for seafood. Oysters, Dungeness Crab, and Red Rock Crab have all been open and plentiful up and down the coast. We've also taken up foraging for mushrooms which helps pass the time while the crab traps soak. Found ourselves a giant cluster of Chanterelles Saturday on Bowen Island which went really well with breakfast!

Despite COVID this has been an amazing season and I'm a bit reluctant to hope things go back to normal.

 

I'm sure the lack of tourism dollars is not good for most business but my God this is probably a on e in a lifetime season for Cruising BC if you are a native.  Turn the clock back 50 years type stuff.

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April to June was definitely much quieter than the previous couple years. The more remote places and touristy places typically dominated by Americans stayed quiet through the whole summer but places near populated areas were busier than I've ever seen them in July, August, and September.

With a lot of clubs being closed for reciprocals, outstations closed or open with limited capacity, and people eventually realizing sailing was a really great social distancing activity a lot of the nice anchorages turned into total shit shows with dockhoppers trying their luck at anchoring.

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More like fall daysailing than cruising. This was this past weekend. Last night it snowed. Wednesday supposed to be nice again so I’m gonna get back out there for maybe one last sail.

Haul out here on L Ontario seems to be a month later than it was way back when. It’s my favourite time of year to be around the boat.

As for the COVID part I think my club was locked down pretty tight with all measures, especially contact tracing. Looking back to the spring I’m  both surprised and grateful that I got a bit of sailing in this year.

 

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2 hours ago, climenuts said:

April to June was definitely much quieter than the previous couple years. The more remote places and touristy places typically dominated by Americans stayed quiet through the whole summer but places near populated areas were busier than I've ever seen them in July, August, and September.

With a lot of clubs being closed for reciprocals, outstations closed or open with limited capacity, and people eventually realizing sailing was a really great social distancing activity a lot of the nice anchorages turned into total shit shows with dockhoppers trying their luck at anchoring.

That's kinda funny, the everyone is a boater show.  Could be worse.  I'm guessing the spots that take a little work to get to were awesome.  I was astounded by the late summer vacation push from the states.  Aug thru labor day it must be nuts in desolation.  My guess is that desolation and the octupuss Broughtons etc were a dream this season. 

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25 minutes ago, SASSAFRASS said:

My guess is that desolation and the octupuss Broughtons etc were a dream this season. 

What we were thinking this summer.  But not so much the case in Desolation, anyway.  Went to Squirrel Cove, for example.  Among the many other boats there, saw ten boats rafted side by side.  Fairly busy other places up there.  No thanks.  Bit too busy for me.  So we went south, then NW up to the relative solitude of Bamfield and Ucluelet after that.

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My ex-business partner and I brought Easy Wind up to Riverside, NJ on Friday and Saturday.  Crossed Swan Point bar at high tide in the wind and rain at 1st light Friday morning then sailed up to the Elk into a stiff northwesterly breeze.  

Spent Friday night in Chesapeake City then headed up the Delaware on Saturday.  

Good foulies and long johns were indeed the name of the game.

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9 hours ago, Deadhead said:

My ex-business partner and I brought Easy Wind up to Riverside, NJ on Friday and Saturday.  Crossed Swan Point bar at high tide in the wind and rain at 1st light Friday morning then sailed up to the Elk into a stiff northwesterly breeze.  

Spent Friday night in Chesapeake City then headed up the Delaware on Saturday.  

Good foulies and long johns were indeed the name of the game.

Will you keep the boat in NJ for the winter?

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16 hours ago, SASSAFRASS said:

That's kinda funny, the everyone is a boater show.  Could be worse.  I'm guessing the spots that take a little work to get to were awesome.  I was astounded by the late summer vacation push from the states.  Aug thru labor day it must be nuts in desolation.  My guess is that desolation and the octupuss Broughtons etc were a dream this season. 

I can't really speak to the usual busyness directly as it was my first time in Desolation this June. It was great in Grace Harbour, Tenedos Bay, and Von Donop Inlet for me but friends of mine were saying it was just-as or more crowded than usual in August.

The usual 'local' spots in the Gulf Islands (Princess Cove, Pirates Cove, Herring Bay, etc.) were just as if not more busy than normal. The "Touristy" spots like Bedwell Harbour, Port Browning, Ganges, etc. were must less busy (other than Canadian YC outstations in otherwise empty marinas).

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25 minutes ago, climenuts said:

I can't really speak to the usual busyness directly as it was my first time in Desolation this June. It was great in Grace Harbour, Tenedos Bay, and Von Donop Inlet for me but friends of mine were saying it was just-as or more crowded than usual in August.

The usual 'local' spots in the Gulf Islands (Princess Cove, Pirates Cove, Herring Bay, etc.) were just as if not more busy than normal. The "Touristy" spots like Bedwell Harbour, Port Browning, Ganges, etc. were must less busy (other than Canadian YC outstations in otherwise empty marinas).

Over here in the Gulf Islands, the early summer was quite sparse with many more sailboats than powerboats. As the summer went on, there were more and more sailboats, and the powerboats started showing up more. Desolation is always crowded in midsummer, the best time for cruising there is September, after the schools start in again.

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14 hours ago, Ajax said:

Will you keep the boat in NJ for the winter?

Yes.  I live in Bethlehem, PA and work in Flemington, NJ.  Riverside is much closer to both than Rock Hall.   The winter maintenance and chores are much easier to accomplish here.  

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Wife and I just spent night 1 out of 6  in our first vacation in 5 years. 

Lake ray hubbard is only 3 x 5 miles but still has pleasant sailing,  and lots of anchoring.

Awesome rib eye, gravy and loaded buttery mash. And scotch. 

Wife had 1/2 day of work she couldn't get out of,  so a nice 6kt close reach 7am  back to the marina. Back out this afternoon. 

Its the irwin 30 $1 project boat. 

 

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