Category Archives: Boating

Marking Trolling Wire

Always ready to help, Ruby sits nearby and supervises while the Captain marks trolling wire. He buys the stainless steel wire in a huge 1200-foot roll and then sets it up to mark it as he rewinds it onto another roll. Here is the newly bought, unmarked wire.

After it is marked, it is wound onto another roll.

Here is the setup, from the new roll to the finished roll, and the work area in the middle.

The stainless steel cable (5/64″) is made up of seven strands, so these are split into four and three, and kept apart by the nail in this little block of wood. Then a short piece of “marking wire,” also stainless steel, is inserted in the space.

This short piece of marking wire is then twisted around the trolling wire, going one way on one side  …

until it is all neatly wrapped around the trolling wire.

Then the other end of the marking wire is twisted in the opposite direction until it is all tidily wrapped around the trolling wire.

About six inches farther along, another mark is put into the wire, so you now have two sets of wrappings, six inches apart. Why do we do this?

It is where the line snap is hooked on. The two marks on the wire keep the snap from sliding up or down the cable. Tied to the line snap are the perlon fishing line and any flashers or lures that the Captain feels like using. The lure in this photo is just an old beat up coho spoon that has seen better days.

Two fathoms (a fathom is about six feet) farther along, the Captain will put another set of marks on the wire to stop the next piece of gear from sliding up or down when he sets the gear in the water.

The trolling wire is spooled onto the gurdies that you see in the photo below, about 300 feet on each spool. There are two sets of three gurdies, one on each side of the boat. From the gurdies, the wire goes up through pulleys and is attached to the trolling poles  which are lowered partway down while fishing, to keep the lines away from the boat.

Lead balls of about 55 lbs are fastened to the end of the trolling cable before it is lowered into the water by the gurdies (with hydraulic controls), and the line snaps with the trolling gear are fastened on between the markers (sometimes every two fathoms) as the line sinks into the water.

The boats below are at anchor but their trolling poles are down and you can see their position during fishing time. When they come in to a wharf, of course they raise the poles straight up so they don’t smash into other boats.

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Now you hope that the lines don’t tangle in bad weather and the fish will bite before that orca gets them.

Fire in the Hole (or is that Hold?)

Fire in the hole is a warning that was called out to miners when explosives stashed in a hole in the wall of a mine were about to be detonated. It may also have referred to the lighting of the little hole in a cannon where gunpowder was packed and burned until it reached the main charge that fired the cannon.

But in this case, it was not “fire in the hole,” but rather “fire in the hold” of this boat. Around the end of May this year, fire broke out on this boat. The cause is thought to be a bad combination of gasoline fumes and electric sparks, but I’m not sure of that, since I wasn’t on the boat to know. The owner, who lived aboard had only one option and that was to jump into the water. Even so he got some burns, but he’ll be okay.

You may recognize the Royston Wrecks on the opposite shore. I posted photos of them in this post: https://wordsfromanneli.com/2016/04/06/royston-wrecks/025

We were a good couple of miles away as the crow flies, maybe more, so the pictures are not very clear, but the smoke leaves no doubt about what was happening.

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I’m not sure if this is the Comox fireboat (whose five-minute drive took an incredibly long time – not their finest hour, nor their usual response time) or the one from Powell River (which arrived  amazingly quickly from the mainland, across the Strait of Georgia).Both arrived on the scene about the same time, but too late to save the boat.037

The fleet anchored in the bay could only stand and stare, and feel very sorry for the boat’s owner.

West Coast Exploring

It seems like a dull day. But my friends, Monique and Evelyne are about to find adventure.

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Photo by Anneli

See the faraway gap between the islands? That’s the way to the Pacific Ocean and they’re going to explore a little as they head in that direction.

P1000517They go by boat with a friend, Ron. His runabout will do, as long as they stay in sheltered waters and the wind doesn’t come up. They strap on their life jackets but the seagulls shriek at them, “Many dangers! Many dangers!”

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“And anyway,” he says, “You’ll get wet. It’s raining.”

They put their hoods up and stay close to shore. Good thing too, or they might have missed seeing this elk.

P1000524I’m sure he wouldn’t stood there very long if they had been on land, but quite often animals (deer and bear), don’t expect danger to come from the water. They are much more wary of what approaches them by land.

A bald eagle watches them go by.

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Photo, courtesy of Ken Thorne.

On they go towards a large kelp bed. But it seems this seaweed is also a bed for sea otters (not to be confused with river otters). Not only does it hold sea urchins, one of their food sources, but it gives them a place to hide and something to hold onto when they get tired. It is especially handy as a nursery for their pups. Just towards the shore from the kelp is a rather large group of sea otters.

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Some of them have clams or other shellfish that they hold on their chest while lying on their back. They hit the shell with a rock they have scooped up from the ocean bottom. This way they can break the shell and then eat the meat inside.

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Photo, courtesy of Ken Thorne.

Photo, courtesy of Ken Thorne.

By the end of the day, the sun has made a valiant effort to come out. As it sinks into the Pacific, it paints a fiery glow over the bay.

1809All that is left to do now is sit by the bonfire and listen to Evelyne and Monique tell the wonderful stories of what they saw today.

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All photos by Monique and Evelyne except for the first one and the ones by Ken Thorne to whom I have given credit and thanks.