I'm Matt, a software engineer and boating enthusiast based in Washington State (but on the move). I started Hermit Cove Boats, offering cool skin and frame boat plans and kits. Check it out!
People have lots of advice for newbies setting out to sea. Very little of it is the same from person to person, but we found that having a sea anchor for storms was a common point. We decided we should have one aboard before heading south to San Francisco. But where to buy one? No place on the island is big enough to stock such an unusual item. So I decided I best find one online, and ship to some address in a town that we would later arrive in. That town, I decided, would be Ucluelet. So when I finally had phone and internet access in Tahsis I started calling businesses there. If they didn’t answer the phone it would be of no use to leave a message, as we wouldn’t be around when they called back. No one answered at the public docks. The folks at Island West Marina refused, but referred me to other businesses. Someone picked up at “Crow’s Nest”, a curio shoppe. I explained my predicament. I think I used the phrase “life saving equipment”. The temporary worker (it was Sunday) hesitantly agreed. I then went to an online merchant and ordered the rope, anchor and swivel. I paid for the better international shipping, and held my breath.
We left Tahsis and it was days later when anchored across from a native reservation that we got wireless access (When I balanced the laptop just so standing on the cabin top). I had some Google Voice messages from a nervous shop owner. The customs folks imposed a 131.01$ fee on the shipment. Incredibly, she put it on her card, but she didn’t like that she didn’t know who for, and they wouldn’t answer their damn phone anyway! Well with my spotty connection I could get off text messages but that was all. I didn’t have the shop’s email address. “Thank you, thank you! We’ll be there in 2-3 days!“.
Well, we got in today and I picked it up. The boss was out, so I left the fee plus a gift with someone else. I hauled the 50 pound box back to the dock and unpacked an intimidating selection of heavy gear. If you’ve never seen a 5/8” 316 stainless swivel, it looks ready to hang the Empire State Building while it spins. Many thanks to the fine folks at the Crow’s Nest. If you are ever in Ucluelet and need locally themed T-Shirts or gum with sassy sayings, you will not find better folks to shop with.