Leaving Port Hardy the first time we set out in the early afternoon. It was very windy, but our business in Port Hardy was finished. Around the point we faced building winds and seas. The winds were high enough that though we were motoring close to the wind and had just the reefed main up, we were still heeling enough that I wondered if the engine should be on. We started to pound mightily and take lots of spray into the cockpit. “Is there a shorter trip than Bull Harbour?“  Even the nearest anchorage was 2 hours away as we were only able to progress at 3 knots into the wind and tide. Time to turn around. Once we got the boat through the wind and headed back towards Port Hardy we killed the engine. Suddenly nasty stressful motoring became a cool easy reach at 5 knots. Correct choice.

We anchored out at Port Hardy for another night. As usual our boat was outclassed at anchor, but that night it was the Tamsen. A mega-sailboat. I saw it in the distance and took it to be a smaller, closer boat. But it just kept coming. I think it’s spreaders had spreaders. Jeez.

The next morning that same patch of water was calm and we motored with the tide and made Bull Harbour in good time. On the way out of the harbor a group of dolphins came charging at us. After they passed us they thought better of it and returned, dancing alongside and across our bow. I ran out on the foredeck to watch them, then ran back so Kristin could go. They seemed to almost endanger themselves by the bobstay, they would come so close to the bow. We felt so honored that they took the time out of their busy schedule to play with us. After a few minutes they headed back to wherever they were going.

We tested the self steering gear for the first time (I know, I know…) and it didn’t work well. The bearings are too stiff and worn. I can rebuild it when I have parts, time and shop area, but for now its a fancy looking stern guard. The Auto-helm 3000, on the other hand, seems to work well even in wind and waves.

We met a really cool couple from Olympia, WA in Bull Harbour. They are taking a few years and going down the coast to Mexico. They have crew in the form of a 2 and a 5 year old. I don’t think they take shifts yet though. Their boat is Wondertime, a Benford 38 ketch, and they have an excellent blog.

In the morning we left at high slack chasing Wondertime’s track. The bar was peaceful, but the seas along the north side of Cape Scott were big and confused. There was enough wind that the sails kept us from rolling, but it was a relief to get around the point and find that the ocean was pacific after all. And, as if it need be said, gorgeous.