We left Port McNeill to anchor for the night in Alert Bay. A strange town, it had that post nuclear abandonment feeling. But it was 7pm on a Wednesday. A marvelous field of totem poles in a burial ground, three London double-decker buses and a sign eagerly proclaiming the repair of the soft-serve machine ranked among the top sights.

I doubt we will have access to the internet for a while, as we are about to round the top of the island. When the weather looks good we plan to leave Bull Harbor and sail out a ways, clearing Brooks Peninsula before returning to the island. But unlike the Oregon and Washington coasts, Vancouver Island offers many sheltered harbours, so we have numerous chicken-out options. We made a last stop in Port Hardy trying to find random bits. We didn’t find anything. There is more useful stuff in the used room at Sexton’s Chandlery in Portland than on the north third of Vancouver Island.

We found that a new starter motor would cost $900 and be shipped in a month from Los Angeles. Buzzt. A rebuild was a possibility, but I think I found the root problem. Our air filter is not a replaceable type, but a perforated metal screen. That should be cleaned regularly.  And hadn’t been. I misread something a while back and took it to be maintenance free. Also, the grade of oil we are using is for 80 degree weather, and its usually 55 degrees in the engine room when I ask it to turn over. These troubles combined to make it hard to turn the engine over, so we upgraded our wiring to let the starter motor try harder. It finally tried too hard. But now even with the viscous oil it starts like it used to. Yay!

Other big news on the boat work front: Kristin has been working when the chance comes up on a reef point for our mizzen sail. The project is now complete!  We raised the sail and the shape and tension were excellent.  We hope the reefed mizzen will allow us to heave-to with less sail area and also serve as a smaller riding sail at anchor. In theory we could also use it to reduce sail area under way, but I suspect we’d have balance problems until the jib reef point is complete. Next project: jib reef point.

Happy birthday today Dad!  (The old man is 65). Happy birthday tomorrow Colleen (Little sis may be 23, if I recall).