Victoria BC

I must say that leaving Vancouver was bitter sweet as it truly is a lovely city but as Victoria is a few degrees warmer in winter that’s where we decided to head, but not without visiting one of the many Gulf Islands, Salt Spring Island and in particular a place called Ganges.

Going under Lions Gate Bridge departing Vancouver

As we departed Vancouver I was a little apprehensive for two reasons, the last time we entered Vancouver Harbour it was reminiscent of Armageddon with more boating and commercial ship traffic being crammed into what is a relatively small entrance making for interesting times and for a very busy pilothouse. Now, before you all start thinking that I am going a little soft, a fellow blog follower and Vancouver local posted the following comment regarding the day we entered the harbour.

Victor Caux • a month ago

James, nice blog. We were paralleling you the whole trip from Pender Harbour to Vancouver. In fact we were the power boat slightly ahead and to your port as you were off Pearson Island as we dealt with our tender. We stayed a little closer to the shore instead of going as far out as you did for the trip South. I think you arrived at Siwash Rock about 5 minutes before we did. Just so you know, that day was particularly busy for some reason. We live in North Vancouver and I have never seen the traffic that busy before.

So, when I say it was busy it really was, you will have to take mine and Victor’s word.

Secondly, since capping the lines on my two auto-pilot (steering) pumps I have noticed that Pendana is losing a few centimetres of oil from my steering reservoir. Hoping and praying like heck that it was simply air moving through the system and nothing more sinister and after spending hours trying to hunt down a leak, without success, we decided to venture forth to test the steering system and see what happens. Praying nothing would.

Container ships at anchor waiting their chance to enter the inner harbour of Vancouver

I am pleased to report that our departure from Vancouver Harbour was without incident and we managed to escape the clutches of the harbour and its commercial traffic. However, the steering fluid situation was not going to cooperate. On our run from Vancouver to the Gulf Islands I noticed that we were losing fluid when in high speed rudder mode which we use when in following seas, docking and when there is excessive current (remember I don’t like seeing my bow track off course). During this leisurely seven hour passage I checked the steering fluid hourly. Sometimes no loss at all, sometimes one inch but when in high speed mode, we lost about four inches of fluid in two hours. Again, I tried to find the leak and again, without success. With one more run from the Gulf Islands to Victoria BC left, I planned to run our second auto steering pump to see if that made any difference at all. More on this shortly.

Making our way to Ganges

As we crossed the Strait of Georgia and made way towards the Gulf Islands we soon realised why this place is a boater’s paradise (currents aside). More islands than you can throw a stick at, more coves and bays one could explore in a lifetime and plenty of vistas to satisfy the soul. While the weather on our transit to Ganges was less than ideal we still managed to see the beauty that surrounded us everywhere we looked.

Ganges, was a lovely little place to spend a few days and not only did we truly enjoy being at anchor, but the town of Ganges itself was charming. All in all, a great place to stop and spend a few days relaxing after the hustle and bustle of Vancouver.

Ganges Saturday markets we most enjoyable

One of the many marinas in Ganges

A rather full tender dock

While in Ganges we noticed a Nordhavn 63 in port and another Nordhavn 57 and while the owners of the N63 were not about, Liz and Gary, owners of N57 Joint Decision whom we last spent time with in Sitka, Alaska, visited for a coffee and chat. Always nice catching up with this couple!

N63 with a very cool looking tender on the foredeck

If I may back track just a little, while in Vancouver I wanted to sort out my Racor restriction gauges not that there is anything wrong with them but more a job driven from my need to find a better quality solution?

I have to be honest in saying that Racor gauges feel cheap and poorly made and just because they have been the industry standard since day one doesn’t mean that there is not a better solution out there. As such, I went on the hunt for a solution and came across two other types of gauges that looked like they may fit the bill.

I am currently testing the Fuel Fixers, Racor approved T-Handle Restriction Gauge and the Dent Marine Heavy Duty Gauge.

New Dent gauge a very solid piece of kit

Standard Racor gauge cheap and nasty

Newish Fuel Fixers T-handle restriction gauge

The reason I dislike the traditional racor gauge as much as I do, is two-fold. One, the gauge build quality is simply terrible. Cheap and tacky! Secondly, the traditional racor gauges are all marked zero to thirty inch Hg and the problem (clogging fuel filter) happens before ten inches Hg which means the gauges are horribly over-scaled and do not provide the resolution an owner wants in the range he wants it. There is no doubt that both the T-Handle Restriction Gauge and the Dent Marine Gauge do a much better job in this regard.

After four weeks of using both new gauges I have to say that I like, and am favouring the new Dent Marine Gauge. The quality can be felt the moment you touch this gauge and the engineer who designed this gauge is a fellow boater who knows, truly knows the importance and the role these often forgotten gauges play. The Dent Marine Gauge clearly shows the caution area between -5 and -8 Hg as well as, the desired filter replacement pressure of -8Hg. For me the Dent Marine Gauge is far superior, as is the T-Handle Restriction Gauge to the regular Racor Gauge. I wish the Dent gauge had a T-handle though as this would do away with the need for tools when changing the filters. I do plan to speak to the manufacturer about this and to see if they can add an option to include.

I will continue testing new gauges both but for now my money is on the new Dent Marine Gauge. All things being equal, I will replace all outdated Chinese manufactured Racor cheap and tacky gauges with these new, US built and manufactured quality gauges and no, I don’t own the company just happy to support a great product, as it is about time!

Early morning in Ganges

Arriving into Victoria Harbour

Our trip down to Victoria was perfect! Here is a quick video of what defines perfect weather. The weather was lovely, seas calm and winds didn’t move past about 6kts. All in all, a perfect trip! Our arrival into Victoria’s inner harbour was a little challenging as the marked channel is very, very narrow from the outer to inner harbour (at best 25metres) and with Prince William and Princess Kate in town, the police and authorities were out in force in their inflatables. Nonetheless, slow and steady was the order of the day and we managed to make it safely to our slip, without incident.

Lighthouse on Trial Island

Approaching the outer harbour

Need I say more…..

Beautiful house on the water at Fisherman’s Wharf.  What a great idea

Wow, the Government’s Legislative Parliament building was on one side stunning us with it neo-baroque architecture with the chateau-style Empress Hotel which was built in 1908 on the other. Wow, wow, wow, now that’s a view. Think we may like it here!

A seaplane overtakes Pendana, no doubt he has been here before

and a seaplane departs….

Nordhavn 86, Rest Assured proudly on display at Wharf Street Marina – pretty sure this vessel is solely used for charter

Oscar keeping a sharp lookout as we approached the marina

Almost there with the beautiful Empress Hotel beckoning us forth

Our first night in Victoria and the view from Pendana

The famous Empress Hotel

Now, back to the steering fluid leak. On this trip south we decided to use Acuu-steer pump two and found that there was no loss of steering fluid form this pump at all. Hooray! I guess that’s why folks buy Nordhavns as they have a back-up for everything! All that remains now is to hunt down the leak on pump one which I am not looking forward to – maybe I will just replace it with a new one!

Steering pump manifold in a place that only a Chinaman can get to…grrrrr – probably should rebuild this as well, as the leak may be coming for here – again nothing obvious

The Victoria Legislative Building at night

Pendana at rest

Simply stunning

Picture perfect

Bianca and her friend Laura from Australia as we head to Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf – lots of house on the water here. What a superb idea this is

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf

Friendly Harbour Seals at Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf – and yes the colours are really this vibrant

Now, I am somewhat ashamed and upset with myself, if you remember I promised that this blog would not turn into yet another travel blog. Even I must confess that it’s certainly starting to look and feel a lot like that so apologies in advance, promise to improve. Then again, when you have such a spectacular place to photograph it’s very hard not to share this with the readers of Pendanablog. So for those of you who are upset, I apologise.

Claire and Leanne (friend from Oz) enjoying a few drinkies at Milestones, which I must confess was excellent

While in Vancouver we met up with our old mates from Hawaii, Martin and his charming wife Mieke from the Chasse Spleen. Great to catch up with them again, even if they are from Tasmania!

The Chasse Spleen pictured in-front of us at the lovely Waikiki Yacht Club

Legislative building at night

Hotel opposite at night. I love the reflection


Hard to believe but 100% real

Living on a boat does, from time to time, present problems. For example shopping for bulky items and then having to drag them back to the boat makes for an uncomfortable experience. I am glad to report that here in Victoria there is a great company called ACCIO that will deliver whatever you want, whenever you need it directly to the boat. From Costco orders, to speciality wines, restaurant food and take out to boxed doughnuts, these guys have everything. Great company and awesome service and, as such, we are more than happy to support them as they truly are remarkable.

Miniature World in Victoria was actually rather good

With the weather producing some spectacular days and with more activities to be done Bianca together with our Australian friends decided to go for a six mile Kayak out into the deep beyond.

Leanne, Ethan, Laura and Bianca out in amongst it

Bianca looking back for a quick pic

While in Victoria it was time to give Pendana a nice soapy-wash, clean the teak decks and give her stainless some loving. The only issue was I simply couldn’t be bothered doing it. Luckily for me I came across a nice young guy named Emil Jansen who runs Top Notch Yachts here in Victoria and Sidney BC and decided to give him a whirl. As it turned out Emil lives and works the summer in BC running his own business, Top Notch Yachts for half of the year then switches roles heading to Florida working on superyachts. Needless to say I was super impressed and, in fact, I would go so far as saying that his work was the best I have ever seen. A true gentleman and great operator and coming from the superyacht end of the market truly knows what attention to detail means. If you are ever in this part of the world and need to have your boat given a little attention then Emil is your guy.

Emil working away on the stainless

…and his contact details

That’s all for now and rather than continuing to wax lyrical about Victoria any more I have decided that it was probably best to simply hit the send button on this blog but no before mentioning that the Royals were in town and we had front row seats.

Stay safe


1 thought on “Victoria BC”

  1. SUBJECT: Re: Victoria BC

    I was walking the Vancouver sea wall this morning and spotted Giraffe tied up at RVYC. She is much prettier than the modified Barrington that I see every day from my apartment high over Coal Harbour


    Peter Speer

    Sent from my iPhone

    > On Oct 4, 2016, at 8:07 AM, http://WWW.PENDANABLOG.COM wrote:

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