Notes from along the way...
Life Below the High Tide Line
browns turn to golden as the sun peaks out from the clouds. greens become florescent. colorful sea stars dancing on the sandy bottom. colorful starfish clinging to the 'three ugly sisters' thru every surge and swell. sea grass and countless kinds of kelp kissing the surface of the sea...growing towards the light, creating shadows for crab and fish.
When sailing your senses sharpen exhaustingly. Constantly making judgments and choices. Always alert, aware, keeping balance in yourself, the helm and the sails.
cried today. feel like a really good cry, almost can't stop it, but need to be more alone than this 32 feet can give to let it all out. figuring it all out as we go....scared, homesick, feeling useless and selfish. the dream is never the daily working, yes working, reality. Motoring more than I thought, daily alone time...not happening, yoga...yeah right, even the pleasure of grinding coffee beans has turned into just another chore. I'm almost 40...that's a bit more of a reality since turning 38...all of yesterday.
Broken Group :
sailing with choppy swells, jib alone. pulling steady after a hurky jerky rise amongst a tangle of sheets. my body feeling the power of the flogging clew. steering towards rocky islets because that's the direction the building swells and building winds are pushing you. the breaking waves sound just like the surfacing whales....both too close to enjoy. too much concentration is needed to steer and navigate to actually enjoy the sights or document the moment with the camera. shoulda hoisted the stays'l. jib down without dunking in the salty swells....a good accomplishment as we're now head to and I can see them lapping the bowsprit. tick tack motoring through the rocky islets...thinking of the many grand ships lost in these waters, among these very rocky shores. the first exploreres who knew these waters without a chart... wow. powering down until I can plot our position. (I credit mark helprin for this next wee bit. I'm currently reading a soldier of the great war and came across a passage that so well fit our current circumstances I had to pull a few phrases to complete the picture of my thoughts. my paraphrased bit is in 'quote') 'very hard to discern the hundreds of islets, islands and their protrusions, constantly shifting and reshaping....nearer, farther, not seeing your open channel till its too late to turn around....trusting the chart, your navigation. but careful attention to the chart doesn't stop your surroundings from continual mutation. as soon as you think you understand the relation of one feature to another, your position has changed and you become almost lost moments at a time in this perspective-and-distance-charged landscape.'
we decided to abandon the first ''all weather'' anchorage due to the 18+knot wind and wavelets blowing straight in. the salty solo sailor in just ahead of us securing himself in the most tucked away corner of effingham bay, which turns out to be much smaller than we anticipated. continuing on across coaster channel and weaving our way into joes bay, protected by the proximity of turtle, Willis, Dodd and chalk islands. Bruce set on the first go, a relief as my adrenaline has peaked out. We're wind and sun burned on our faces...the rest of us has been bundled in fleece and foulies. It feels like late afternoon with the sun breaks between the fast moving clouds, but its past 7pm by the time we're settled. ah settled.
OK..that's all I've got in me to peck out at the moment. Off to get laundry out the drier. Those two coffee drinks, with refills, really helped this evening. As did a marina with internet as I was able to be in the comfort of my home, listening to my husband snore As I typed these words. Don't know when I'll have the luxury of time to put thoughts down on this here blog but I'll keep up with the quick updates on facecrack. Take care of yourselves and each other...
Hey! Is this thing working? Got back from Alaska and spent 4 years working for Hasse and Co. at Port Townsend Sails. Hauled out two different times for a total of 10 months. Now it's one week till we cut the dock lines for our open ended cruise....stay tuned :)
Well we're almost there. Ron and I dropped Wally off and had a few short cruising days stopping again in Pender Harbour. I have to put a shout out to David and Richard who own Oak Tree Market in Maderia Park in Pender Harbour. They have the best meats! They are very friendly and the market is clean and has a beautiful selection. You'll probably find Richard behind the meat counter with his butcher apron on. The steaks are amazing and if you're real sweet he may make you up some of his delicious Tuscan Burgers! The warfinger is pretty friendly and will let you tie up for a bit while you make the short walk into town for shopping before dropping the hook in one of the many surrounding bays - we prefer Garden Bay.
We had a exhilarating day sailing across the Strait of Georgia! We left Buccaneer Bay and raised sails in Welcome Passage headed for Plumper Cove Marine Park in Howe Sound. As we neared the Trail Islands, just off Sechelt, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful day and Northwest winds to keep sailing right across the Strait! How glorious! Needless to say, our egos were rightly polished by doing so. As we neared the West side of the Strait, near Gabriola Island, the winds picked up and we had to change tacks to more of a run (We made this decision after a couple waves broke over the beam rail covering my back and Ron's front! Cold.) Which meant our headsail had to come down. I was a little nervous about heading forward to do so. Ron offered to do it, but I was more scared about taking the helm and something happening to him. I felt secure that he could rescue me should something happen - the 'something' being ending up in the water. I gathered the lazy sheet to use as a tie-down once the sail was on deck and headed forward. As I was organizing my plan, a pod of porpi joined us! Talk about taking the edge off. I now had no fear. I told Ron to just ease the tensioned sheet and I'd get the sail down without heading back into the wind - the swells and wind had both picked up and the running and surfing were actually pretty calm. I went about my job, enjoying the porpi leaping, breathing and cruising right at the bow. It seemed that if I slipped they would just give me a lift right back onto the deck, I wouldn't even get wet! The sail came down without a hitch and after it was secure I went back for my camera. I got some wonderful video! They stayed with us till we rounded the Flat Top Islands, at the Southeastern end of Gabriola Island, which was well over an hour! By then we were able to head into the wind without the swells and get the main down. We motored into Silva Bay excited and spent. 4 hours of sailing will do that I guess. We tied up and spent way too much for a nights moorage and didn't even get to the Bitter End Pub! We're guessing they got bought out with this whole Silva Bay Resort thing going on :( And I was hoping to finally get a cool t-shirt! Oh well.
We were sad to see Wally go but also glad to have our space back, real glad! wink;) wink;) We may have our space back on the boat but we've seen more boats these past few days than we have the last month! We finally figured out that not only are we back in a more populated area but it's Thanksgiving weekend for the Canadians! We have a decent little weather window right now and there are a lot of people out and about on their boats for the long weekend. Well, I guess it's a good way to ease back into life in the 'real world'. People are very friendly and excited to hear about our adventures. We met a couple of boats out from Nanimo - Misty Morning (who joined us fighting Gabriola passage a little early) and Island Beet (cute story...co-owners brother and sister. brother, Doug and wife Louise, keep the boat up and close to them on Vancouver Island and sister who's married to a beet farmer in the midwest. There is also a good bit of music beat that runs in the family! Louise is an avid cribbage player and got a kick out of our boat name story).
We wove our way through the Gulf Islands and made the decision to get across to Roche Harbour on San Juan Island. We were running low on propane and have had trouble getting it filled in Canada. Different regulations. So here we are so close to home and yet reluctant to end this wonderful adventure. But we're in cell phone range now and talking with friends and family is hard to put off, much less knowing we could see them within the day and start all these wonderful parties we've been promised! We ran into Scot on SV Jaga out of our homeport of Port Hadlock in Roche Harbour and had a wonderful visit. We spent a very lazy Tuesday walking and exploring the beautiful McMillin Mausoleum, lunch at the Lime Kiln Cafe and another visit from Scot. All of a sudden it's 4pm! Ron and I were done being tied up at the dock and decided to make the short run over to Shaw Island in the San Juans and spend the night on the hook. It was a beautiful evening motor and just after anchoring we enjoyed a soft sunset and a full moonrise over Parks Bay. The next morning we listened to the weather while sipping our coffee and made the decision to make the run across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We took our time with breakfast waiting for the tides to turn in our favor. We literally got spit out of the San Juans at about 8 knots (nice job baby on timing the currents!). The sun peeked out on a nice gentle day. It's good to be in familiar waters and on our way home.
Ron touched base with Wally and he started the phone tree. We pulled into Point Hudson in Port Townsend and were greeted on the dock by friends with growlers (that's a jug o beer) being passed before the dock lines were made and the engine shut off! What fun! Days flew by with little sleep and a full social calendar. Such good friends we have. On Saturday 18 October we completed our trip with a lovely sail down to Hadlock. Katy joined us on Juichi and John and Sarah followed close on board Mystery. Sarah and I spend the lovely afternoon taking pictures of each others beautiful sailing boats. What a perfect day, way to end our trip. We had a lovely weekend in Hadlock and came back to Point Hudson where Ron and I will be spending the winter. I'll be working at the sail loft and am looking forward to the 5 minute walk commute.
Well, this adventure has come to an end but the crew of Juichi and Mystery have made a pack to be diligent on getting out on a regular basis so hopefully it won't be too long before there is a continuation on the Adventures of Juichi!
Wally here again. From my last entry: "Despite the weather, our spirits are high as we joke about being lucky to get out of port by 2pm."
So, uh... we didn't leave that day (10/03). We had French toast, drank coffee, hashed and re-hashed the day's course, groused about the weather, and generally lay about until finally it was, in fact, too late to leave. Part of the problem was that Juichi is terribly comfortable down below (watch out, crew of Mystery -- you're, I'm sure, learning of this issue). The other part of the problem was that the rain never stopped even for a minute. At times it was heavy, at times it was just a light patter on the cabin top, but at no point did it actually stop. Well, sorta.
Ya see, as soon as we'd made the decision to stay (and to get roaring drunk, but more about that later), the rain let up. Alison thought it would be a good idea for us to take a walk, so we headed out for the trails about which we'd gotten a brochure the day before. Snoopy, the enormous and standoffishly gregarious mutt from the resort, joined us and lead us through two trails, one up through an old-growth grove and another out to a rocky promontory overlooking Blind Channel and Mayne Passage. We retired to the boat, resolute in our goal of getting terrifyingly inebriated.
So, uh, that didn't happen either. Yes, folks, that's right -- the crew of Juichi were too lazy to get drunk. Now, mind you, I was all for accomplishing that goal. In fact, I was just about to make a set of weaponized gin and tonics when Ron and I had to jump up and help a trawler come into their slip (they'd lost a prop to a collision with a log). Ice cubes in the glasses, we headed out and were treated to warm Kokanee as a reward for our helpfulness. Some disparage Kokanee as a lesser beer -- "raccoon piss" and "Sasquatch beer" -- but I enjoy it, even warm. It is a tasty beer. Turns out, Ron enjoys it at least twice as much as I do, given numerical evidence of that afternoon. One beer turned into two, and then... well, the ice cubes were melted by the time we got back to Juichi. Alison, in fact, had to come get us, wondering where we'd gone. We made our excuses, said our thanks for the pints and offered our wishes for luck with their prop and prop shaft (ouch), and headed back to Juichi. Now for the drinking!! No. We had a cocktail, Alison made shepherd's pie that turned out to be more stew-like than pie-like because I'd pulled creamed corn instead of regular canned corn out of the stores in the hold (but was extremely tasty nevertheless), and then went to bed.
The morning of the 4th found no reduction in the amazing amount of water pouring out of the sky. Pouring. Really. Like a monsoon, but cold. Oh, did I mention that it suddenly was no longer summery? Yeah. Summer stopped dead on the 2nd, had a jolly wake on the 3rd, and was buried in the cold ground on the 4th. Fall made it clear that we were now on his turf. My personal log reads, "Wet today. Very Wet."
We headed out into Mayne Passage, and turned down toward Johnstone Strait. The rain let up for a few moments as a pod of Dall's porpoises played in our bow wake. Alison and I rushed forward like giggling kids, and she got some really great video and photos. We got to Chatham Point, turned down Discovery Passage, and before we got to Okisollo Channel (our next course change) another big pod of Dall's decided to come play with us (vid here). We turned into Okisollo, went thru Upper Rapids (excellent driving again by Capt. Hicken in the very strong and confused current), and entered the Octopus Islands.
What a treat for the eyes! Part of the Octopus Islands are designated as a marine park. We slowly motored thru the islets, passing up a calmer, slightly more idyllic spot with a difficult stern tie for a more open spot with room to swing. Good plan. As Alison set the hook, the rain picked up in earnest and the wind started to howl. Williwaws pounded down over the islets into our little bay, battering Juichi to and fro. We scampered below, stripped off our soaking foulies, got into our dry woolens and settled in. Because we'd had a longish day with lousy weather and few opportunities for good eating, we were all quite peckish but none of us had any good ideas. So we snacked. Now, when you have a crowd such as this one, the snacking is really dangerous. Mixed nuts, carrots and blue cheese, "guacamole" chips (seriously, wtf?) and salsa, grilled cheese sandwiches, multiple trays of nachos -- mayhem. All this mishmash was washed down with glass after glass of cranberry-like cocktails. We polished off a gallon of faux cranberry juice in our drinks in far too short order. The sugar, the salt, and the odd variety all combined to ill effect, sending Ron to bed with a sour stomach, Alison up the next morning with a sour stomach, and your faithful narrator infamously gassy throughout the whole time period.
In our next installment, running rapids at Hole in the Wall, waterfalls at Teakerne Arm, and Thai food in Powell River. Gotta go fold laundry now.
Hi all! Well, we are wrapping up this adventure. Almost homeport. Bittersweet. We've had to get up early the past few days to have the anchor up and be underway by 8am. Not so premium. I'm worried how hard it's going to be to get on a regular W-O-R-K schedule. Oh well, we've got to put in the time before the next adventure can happen.
We have been lucky to have Wally here to share the Broughtons and Desolation Sound cruising with us. What fun was had! I hope y'all enjoyed the blogging. We stopped in the Octopus Islands but I wasn't able to explore due to the bad weather. Leaving through Hole in the Wall the next day we saw a light dusting of snow on the surrounding mountains! Then again this morning leaving Grace Harbour in Desolation Sound Marine Park, more snow built up on the mountains. The fall colors have been beautiful and becoming more abundant as the fall weather really sets in. I'm ready to be secure for the winter, glad we're so close to homeport. But, I'll miss this lifestyle. I'm thankful for the closeness Ron and I have been able to share with this beautiful land and with each other. It has been a priceless experience - well, not really priceless.
Heads up to the Hadlock Crew - - - Wally's going to be in charge of the get together in the San Juans. Ron and I are shooting to be in the area around October 15 - 20. Probably not all that time, those are just the dates to work with. So...start looking at your calendars and talking to your significant others and bosses! Whatever works best for the masses. Touch base with Wally and we look forward to seeing y'all soon!
Wally's going to fill y'all in up to us leaving him in Westview while I'm composing the last of the writing for this trip.