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In the grip of Desolation Sound

22/07/2017

If Captain Vancouver could read our blog he would be quietly chuckling to himself in his grave saying "I told you so!!". Spectacular though the area may be  to us, it is proving a remarkably difficult area to get away from.

We had initially included tended heading directly north from Desolation Sound through the  rapids to the north of Johnstone Strait and into the Broughton Islands. However after a couple of days in Desolation Sound it became clear that this would not be sensible. Our ageing boat batteries, which after the expense of trucking across the Rockies we hoped we could "squeeze one more season"  out of, had decided otherwise. The strain of anchoring almost every night without any shore power to top up on, and then recovering around 40-50m of chain every morning was starting to prove too much for them. It was clear new  batteries couldn't be delayed for another season, so a diversion to Campbell River was called for.

Just as we had got that problem sorted another snag arose. Now that we are heading into areas with little if any mobile phone or data coverage,  we wanted to reactivate our satellite phone system, a task that in the past has involved nothing more than writing a simple email and providing the ubiquitous credit card number. This had all been done, our UK provider had told us it would be re-activated within 24 hours, and we were just getting ready to set sail when we received a panic email  saying "Sorry, hasn't worked. Your SIM is too old you need a new one". 

One can get a lot of things done in Campbell River but getting a new satellite SIM card is not one of them. We quickly established getting a new card out from UK would delay us by at least a week so we started looking to US suppliers who said they could do it within 48 hours. They were as good as their word and 48 hours later we were heading out of Campbell River and already in our first set of tidal overfalls when ominous clouds of white steam were seen pouring out of our engine case. The engine was quickly stopped, sails hoisted, and the source of the problem identified - a split hose on the "hot" side of the fresh water cooling system.

The split part of the hose was cut off, the shortened hose rejoined to the engine, topped up with coolant and we were on our way again.  A few hours later a second split in the same hose started issuing steam. Clearly time for a replacement hose and another visit to Campbell River to get it. Here's hoping it will be third time lucky and we get away on our third attempt!

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