Day 24 & 25 Deadly Downdraft and a Rolls-Royce

Well, this was our last morning breakfast at the lodge and as usual it was beautiful.

We packed up and gave a good deal of thought to our options for a fuel stop. We could have gone back Northwest to Courtenay for fuel but even though I was positive I had plenty to make that it was certainly closer to go back to Sechelt (and I always get nervous when the fuel level gets down around 30 minutes remaining ( < 5 gallons) and that’s how we would have been landing if we went to Courtenay). I had awakened thinking about how I did not like the previous departure at Sechelt and on the flight down there.  It continued to haunt me. When I called the airport common traffic frequency as I was approaching, I asked if anyone was familiar with the downdraft off the end of the runway because it sounded like they were using the same runway. The plane that was getting ready to depart said he did not think there would be any problem and I asked him more about the winds and he said that he would give me a report after he climbed out. I continued in and he did not get back to me and I went ahead and landed. As we were rolling out on the runway he told me over the radio that he had experienced a bad downdraft and almost didn’t make it over the ridge! We then noticed another plane take off in the other direction uphill with a slight tailwind and he did ok even though he was taking off up-hill but he did not have a direct tail wind, at that time it was more of a quartering tail wind. I talked with one of the local pilots about my concern and he told me that there had been a fatal accident with someone not making it over that ridge just last week! (I googled it and a Cherokee 140 with 4 on board did crash 7/5 with one fatality) I watched the winds for a while and really did not like the way they were switching up so much, even though taking off up hill would be with a quartering tailwind at least I had a good departure route where I could turn towards lower terrain right after the end of the runway. I discussed all the options with Julie including the possibility of waiting until closer to sunset when the winds would be calm and we decided to go ahead and take off in the up-hill direction. It turned out to be fine, I did make a 45 degree turn to lower ground as we went over the end of the runway rather than continuing straight over higher ground and it definitely had me on my toes and nervous taking off in those conditions. We headed out across the strait toward Nanaimo. It was fun to have one beaver flying just slightly ahead of us and two other beavers just behind and below us on the crossing. We then went down to Victoria and it was a beautiful sight seeing flight. We had made arrangements for the rental car to be left at Victoria Flying Club where we were tying up for the night and then we checked into the same bed and breakfast we had been at before and picked up the gear we had left. Then it was off to a fun dinner at a very authentic Swiss Restaurant.  Their menus had big cow bells on them and you could hear when anyone was looking at the menu.The bed and breakfast has a Rolls-Royce and the owner gave Julie a 3 a.m. ride over to the airport to catch her flight home while I got some more sleep. I had a leisurely morning at the bed and breakfast visiting with the hosts as they made breakfast. Then I spent some time with the owner and his Rolls-Royce. We raised the bonnet on the car and chatted for awhile about cars and I learned a lot about a Rolls-Royce. I then went out and spent almost 7 hours thoroughly washing every part of Double Shot that might have gotten salt water on it, it felt good to get it all cleaned up. I then had a nice lunch and a leisurely flight back up to Courtenay.

At Courtenay I met one of the float plane pilots and we talked a lot about the lakes in the area. He recommended a lake up north in Desolation Sound that sounded great and I decided to head out there the next morning.