Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No, really -- check this out.

I can't stop watching this vid. Dig this:


Monday, October 20, 2008

Trip Statistics

Days of Trip : 155 (5+5+1=11 Coincidence?)

Times Anchor Set : 79 (this does not include those times it took 3 times to attempt to set the hook or if we hung on the same set for multiple nights)

Nights Swung on Hook : 91
With Stern-Tie : 7

Picked up Mooring Ball : 5

Tied up to Public Dock/Float : 16

Moorage : 43

Days Sailed : 13 (just to show how perfectly wonderful spread out these beautiful days were i've included specifics below)

1. waiting on tide/current at Dodd Narrows 5/21
2. Seaforth to Mathieson Channels 6/15
3. Mathieson Channel 6/16
4. Leaving Meyers Chuck 6/30
5. Frederick Sound 7/8
6. Hoonah Sound 8/8
7. Iphigenia Bay 8/18
8. Grenville Channel 9/9
9. Frasier Reach 9/12
10. Queen Charlotte Strait 9/22
11. Strait of Georgia 10/10
12. Captain's Passage 10/12
13. Townsend Bay 10/18

want to know any other stats? let me know.
love, alison

The Last Leg

Hi everybody!

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!

Thanks for following!
Alison, Ron and Juichi

Monday, October 6, 2008

"Just a couple of days..." part 3

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.

me again

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.

Talk to y'all soon,

Friday, October 3, 2008

Hey, readers: comments = love

If you're reading, remember to comment. Alison LOOOVES to see comments, as it lets her know that folks who love and miss her and her fellow and her boat are actually reading and following her adventures. Remember: comments = love.

-WBG, guest blogger and consumer of Juichi's stores

"Just a couple of days..." part 2

It's 0830 in Blind Channel, and no one is out of bed yet. The pounding rain makes it hard to motivate. But I must do my duty to Alison and finish my description of my section of the trip so far. Hello again, folks. Wally Grundle, at your service, guest blogging ("guest-blogging?") for the crew of Juichi.

Now, where was I? Oh, right: Bond Sound. Up earlier than usual, we were caffeinated and fed in time for a 10:15am departure. We pulled the crab pot and were surprised by several rough-looking crabs -- keepers, tho' -- and a flounder (hake? halibut? whatever: flat and ugly). Ron cleaned the crabs on the stern anchor, and Alison took them below to steam and pick. I helped Ron pull the stern tie, and then, using knowledge gained through several sessions with Alison, I hauled and stowed the anchor without any help. I am now quite clear on where she gets her arms and shoulders; that's hard work! Ron motored us out of our anchorage and down Bond Sound, while Alison treated us to sausage and cheese muffins. As we neared the end of the sound, we spied Margie and Chuck on Dream Catcher just ahead of us in Tribune Channel, but they were too far ahead to say hi. We continued down the channel with the intended destination of Tsakonu Cove. However, the closer we got to the end of Tribune, the more the weather kicked up out of the southeast. The guides all indicate that Tsakonu should be avoided when the weather comes from the southeast, so we revised our plans, turned through Clapp Passage and down Chatham Channel for Cutter Cove.

We'd talked about stopping at Minstrel Island, supposedly a ghost town of sorts, but from the water it didn't look either too ghosty or too interesting. Supposedly, Minstrel Island had a larger population than Vancouver at the turn of the last century, then, when the local businesses dried up (or some other bad economic turn), so did the town. In any case, the weather had changed from blustery and overcast to calm and sunny, so we made tracks for our anchorage at Cutter Cove. Alison let me set the hook myself (yay!), we got our travelling duds put away, and proceded to spend the rest of the day relaxing in the delicious sunshine. Alison took a row into a creek at the head of the cove where she heard but didn't see (and got thoroughly spooked by) bears, and came rowing back as fast as she could. Ron and I sat and read on the deck. After Alison's return, there were cocktails and a wonderful sunset. Thanks to our luck that morning with the crab pot, Alison whipped up a marvelous crab alfredo with zucchini, accompanied by some really tasty garlic and cheese biscuits.

Alrighty. We're up to Wednesday, the first of October. A loooong day. Underway at 10:35am from Cutter Cove with coffee and banana bread in the belly (Alison has perfected her banana bread; it really is a perfect power food), we set out down Chatham Channel to Havannah Channel and into the wild and wooly Johnstone Strait. Johnstone is known for taking bad weather and turning it worse, for taking an ugly sea state and turning it dangerous, so we wanted to take every advantage of the lovely weather we were enjoying, and transit as much of it as we could in one shot. We got to Port Neville earlier than we'd expected, and decided to pass it by, and, in doing so, headed out of Johnstone into Sunderland Channel, past Topaze Harbour and Bessborough Bay, finally turning into Forward Harbour and setting the hook in Douglas Bay. A thirty-four mile day, but, given the weather that was gonna hit us the next day, a very prudent decision by the masters of the vessel, Ron and Alison.

Alison had read about a trail that lead from the beach where we'd anchored in Douglas Bay that lead up and over the Thynne Peninsula, which protects the mouth of Forward Harbour and separates Douglas Bay from Bessborough Bay. The descriptions tell of the trail being marked by "flotsam and jetsam" and "beach finds" -- turns out this means trash. Still, the trail was very pleasant, if somewhat eccentrically marked, and we were treated to an extremely beautiful sunset over Bessborough Bay. One of the highlights of the hike was a flight of Arctic terns that swooped into the bay with such speed that their final hard turn, all in formation, made a noise like a jet engine. I didn't know birds could make a noise like that. We all gawked and, after the dull roar of their turn-and-brake maneuver had died down and the terns had landed, we gawdanged and whoaed and giggled a bit. Truly impressive.

We hiked back to the dinghy, stopping to collect several pounds of good dirt for the composting head aboard Juichi (truly a delightful bit of ingenuity), and rowed slowly back in the calm and very clear water, pausing occasionally to marvel at some enormous sea stars. Alison treated her gentlemen to a dinner of stuffed pork chops and roasted potatoes. Since dinner was served later than usual because of the long day and the adventures ashore, we only played one game of cribbage, which Alison took in a close finish.

The wind kicked up overnight (later, we'd discover from others' local knowledge that we were anchored in the single windiest spot in the whole harbor, the very focal point of the swirling williwaws produced by Forward Harbor's steep walls). I got up to relieve myself over the side in the middle of the night; the sliding of the companionway hatch woke Ron up directly, scaring him to think that the sound he'd heard was the keel scraping on the bottom, telling him that we'd dragged the anchor in the wind and were now only moments away from foundering on the shore. He pulled on his pants with great speed and dashed up the companionway, looking frantically out toward the shore, sure of the worst, when, spying the shore just where it should be and Juichi lying just where she should be, he turned to see me, confused, heading back toward the companionway. He nearly jumped out of his skin. He'd taken such care below to dress quickly but quietly so as not to wake me, and was so preoccupied by the potential peril, that he hadn't stopped to wonder why I was sleeping so quietly as he dressed. (Note to those who do not know me: I am not a quiet sleeper. "Chainsaw cutting open a tin roof" is one of the milder descriptions from the recent past.) His sudden alarming fear -- both for our safety and for the huge, lumbering dark shape in the cockpit heading straight for him -- turned to amused relief, and we all had a good laugh. Ron then spent the next three hours staring at the ceiling in the v-berth, thanks to his good pal adrenaline. Ha!

The morning of 10/02 was grey and blustery, but the hook still held solid, a good testament to both Lewmar's reproduction of the classic Bruce anchor form (Juichi's is a 44# for those interested), as well as to the reports of good holding in Forward Harbour's sand and shell bottom. So versatile and solid is that Lewmar "Bruce" that Ron and Alison haven't once set the CQR that for so long adorned Juichi's bow (and still does, unused) on this voyage.

Because of tides and currents, our departure from Douglas Bay in Forward Harbour would be a late one. I made crusts for quiche while Alison and Ron plotted the next days' course. When I was done, Alison took over in the galley, and I helped Ron sort and stow charts. The smoked salmon quiche came out of the oven first. It was stunningly delicious. Alison is, as I've mentioned before, a frickin' genius in the galley. A perfect blend of cheese and egg and filling, with little pockets of molten cream cheese goodness surprising here and there. While we waited for Alison's next culinary masterstroke, Ron and I hauled the dinghy up and squared away the foredeck for departure. Given the water we had ahead of us that day, we could afford nothing loose or moving on the deck.

The crab quiche came out next and was equally delicious. Alison had augmented her recipe by drizzling hollandaise sauce into the mix, adding to the flavor dimensions and increasing the creaminess ratio (that's math; look it up). She's terribly demure about her quiche recipe, saying it's nothing more than six eggs and a cup of milk, but I know differently. The secret ingredient is... nutmeg. You thought I was gonna say "love," didn't you? Whatever, man.

Finishing the quiche and getting into our foul-weather gear ("foulies" for those uninitiated), we chuckled nervously as the wind really picked up, going from 10-15kts to a steady 15 with gusts over 20. The williwaws pounded down on the water in an almost petulant fashion, as if defying us to weigh anchor and just try, just try to get underway, punks. Alison hauled the anchor, and almost the moment we pulled out of Douglas Bay toward the mouth of Forward Harbour, the wind dropped off to nothing. Like a teasing relent from a bully, the wind falsly raised our hopes of better conditions in Wellbore Channel, and then, as we entered the channel, dashed those hopes to pieces. 20kts steady with gusts over 30. Ouch. We drove into the wind-vs-current chop, bouncing merrily if tensely along, our spirits bouyed by a pod of porpoises that bobbed and dashed merrily through our wake, clearly playing with all the abandon for which small cetaceans are known. With a sudden burst of bow wake and a confusion of already rough waters, we plowed into Whirlpool Rapids. The current tried vainly to wrest control of Juichi from Ron's capable hands, but he held fast and guided us through. The rain redoubled its efforts to discourage us, but Alison fought back with hot tea (Tazo Wild Sweet Orange with a healthy dollop of honey: recommended!). The weather and water finally let up south of Green Point Rapids, and we pulled into Blind Channel Resort in a light rain. After tieing up and paying our moorage, we enjoyed wonderful hot showers, relaxing reading with the rain pounding down on the cabin top, music and another delicious dinner, finally being put to sleep by Ron's ever-so-favorite sleepymusic, Jean-Michel Jarre's Oxygène (insert snide comment here; I would, but I was fast asleep halfway through the third movement).

That brings us current. It's now 10:30am, Alison is whipping up French toast with blueberry compote as I blog and Ron charts. The rain continues, increasing and decreasing like a child playing with a faucet. Despite the weather, our spirits are high as we joke about being lucky to get out of port by 2pm. We have dry foulies, clean laundry (thanks to the machines at the resort), and our bellies will soon be full, thus we have nothing about which to grouse.

Not sure where we're headed from here, but I may get a third poke at this guest blogging gig when we get to Powell River and I hop off (depends on what Alison says; she hasn't read either of these entries yet, but I can hope for yet a moment more of ephemeral fame in the annals of the Adventures of Juichi). Gotta sign off now; the rain is so thick it's messing with the wifi reception and I don't want to lose all of this brilliant exposition.

Until next I blog, I remain most faithfully and humbly yours,
Wallet B. Grundle, Esq.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

"Just a couple of days..."

Hi, all. Wallet B. Grundle, Esq., here. You can call me Wally. Alison has asked me to guest-blog for her so I'm jumping in to tell part of the Juichi tale. Unfortunately, since they had adventures between Prince Rupert and Port McNeill which Alison hasn't yet blogged, my stories will be out of order. However, for those of you who know me, random extremely long-winded and timeline-challenged blurbs of infonoise are not at all surprising. For those who don't know me, um, hi, and uh... I like cheese.

So, context: when Katy and I went up to cruise with Ron and Alison back in June as they headed north, I'd discussed a similar adventure for later in the year as they headed south. A couple weeks ago, Ron called me from Shearwater saying that they'd be in the vicinity of the north end of Vancouver Island in roughly a week, and did I want to come up and meet them. My answer included a long string of emphatic expletives indicating an affirmative response, and I agreed to meet them in a week in Port McNeill.

I arrived in scenic, metropolitan Port McNeill on the afternoon of Wednesday the 24th of September. I met up with Ron at the marina, and we got to work, readying for our departure on the morrow. Aside from the necessary provisioning (propane, diesel, water, groceries, liquor, laundry), the first task of the evening was getting drunk. I kid. Well, not really. Oh, and Gus' Grille in Port McNeill employs a young lady I will someday marry. I am in love, and this time it's for real.

Where was I? Oh yeah. The next morning, we got up, untied and headed out. We were hoping to see orcas by Stubbs Island, but instead got treated to the largest pod of porpoises any of us have ever seen. HUNDREDS of porpoises. I know that sounds crazy, but wait for Alison's video. Seriously. HUNDREDS. Ron navigated expertly into West Passage, then up Village Channel to Goat Islet where we set the anchor. Ron and I rowed around Center Island to set the crab pot, we saw a black bear, we had a tasty dinner, y'know, the usual.

The next day, we tried to leave, but were thwarted. In the face of violent weather, we were forced to stay at our anchorage. The wind howled viciously as terrifying swell fetched against the hull. Alison was barely able to work in the galley, so heavily did the boat rock. Nevertheless, after great effort, she served up a meager meal of breakfast wraps containing hash browns, grilled red peppers, hot sausage, egg, and pepper-jack cheese. It was difficult, but Ron and I managed to choke down at least two wraps each, Ron taking one for the team by shoveling down the leftover third course. Seeing no other alternative, we were forced to take naps, argue, tell stories and have cocktails before Ron made his famous wings for dinner. This whole paragraph is a lie. It was a really, really nice day. Three guesses what killed our motivation that morning. Daaaang Alison can cook. [whew] We got up late, ate too large a breakfast and didn't want to leave cuz we were being lazy. So. That's day two.

Day three (09/28) was a trip to Viner Sound. We thought about stopping in Echo Bay since the reports in the guides were positive, but since we're travelling so late in the year, a lot of stuff is already closed up. We tied up at the Echo public dock, took a walk/look around, and decided to move on to Viner. Viner Sound is a long, straight slice of water off Tribune Channel. The anchorage is near the end and has two moorings; anchoring in the sound itself would be problematic due to the number of crab pots and the fact that the whole end of the sound dries at low tide. We dropped the shrimp pot at the entrance, and dropped the crab pot further in. After tieing up next to a Cal 2-46 from Seattle (via Eureka, CA) named Dream Catcher (shout out to Margie and Chuck!), Alison surprised us with a snack of roasted peanuts and cold beers. She and I took a row around the bay, and then out into the sound to watch the sea lions and the jumping (crazy jumping!) salmon while Ron didn't do anything useful. Scratch that last part. I don't actually know what he was doing while we were out rowing, but, knowing him as long as I have, I'm pretty safe in assuming he was up to no good. Oh, wait -- he was prepping for dinner. That's right. Grilled steaks, potatoes and corn on the cob. So maybe he isn't that useless. Sometimes.

The next morning, we got moving at a reasonable hour since we had a longish day ahead of us. Before pulling back out into Tribune Channel, we pulled the pots and, disappointingly, got skunked. Not even a sea star or jelly. Dang. The wind was up in Tribune, and Ron had to drive carefully to avoid a solid tide line of junk lumber (thank you, BC Timber Sales). Despite the high overcast, the view was tremendous. The steep rock and forest walls, Gilford Island on one side and mainland British Columbia on the other, give the channel a very fjord-like feel. Glaciated peaks of the Coast Range are visible at each turn in the channel. After several hours at the helm, Ron steered us into Kwatsi Bay just as the high overcast broke. Max, the harbormaster, met us a the dock, and, before we could tie up, instructed us to go drop our pots. We did as he said, dropping the crab pot in just over 100ft and the shrimp pot in just under 300ft. Returning to the dock a bit forward of where we'd first arrived since we'd been told where better wifi could be had, Max welcomed us and invited us to dinner. We instantly accepted (he offered fresh crab and prawns, so, c'mon, duh). We took the marina skiff over to a beautiful waterfall -- you're checking Alison's flickr, right? -- and then took the marina kayaks out for a fun paddle, making it back in time for showers and a delicious dinner on the dock. Max made garlic bread from a fresh loaf he'd baked himself, as well as a big bowl of crab and prawns. We brought (read: Alison made) pasta in pesto and steamed veggies. Great dinner. If you're cruising in the Broughtons, go see Max. Lovely fellow, and a great host.

Morning on Kwatsi Bay brought a slow start -- a longish evening with a couple of eventful moments (if you live in Hadlock, ask me about it, but only after several drinks, cuz then it goes from embarrassing to really, really funny) kept us up late -- but we were untied and underway by 11am-ish. We pulled the pots on the way out, getting skunked on crab again, but pulling up a jackpot of lovely prawns. We'd been told that Bond Sound, literally just around the corner, was a can't-miss, so we headed that way. On the way out of Kwatsi, we were treated to a set of native pictographs that Max had told us about. Ron again demonstrated his skill at the wheel maneuvering in the current, letting us take photos. Turning into Bond Sound, we set the hook, hopped in the dinghy and Ron took us for a row up two different estuaries. We were taking our time and inadvertantly burned quite a lot of daylight before getting back to Juichi. Because of the distance to our next anchorage, we wisely decided against continuing on, reset the hook and stern tied off the shore, and set about cocktailing and snacking. Alison prepped some of our prawns by wrapping them in bacon, letting Ron grill these. She then boiled the rest and served them up with cocktail sauce, pouring us gin and tonics to go with. We set the crab pot off the side of the boat (too lazy to row out), baiting it with prawn heads and hoping for something other than sea stars and kelp greenlings. That accomplished, we set about a dinner of huuuge burgers after which we were too tired for either cribbage or BBC nature videos.

Now, it may seem like all I've described so far has been a list of days and their meals. To those uninitiated to the cruising life, I would offer this thought: yeah, baby. That's pretty much what this is all about. Going from one beautiful place to another at a very slow pace (Kwatsi to Bond, for instance, was just over six miles for the day), eating, drinking, socializing, meeting other folks with very similar agendas. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Okay, it's late, I've got my swerve on (Benedictine and brandy? Recommended!), Ron's playing loud buttrock on the iPod and Alison has attempted to retire for the evening, so I'm gonna sign off. I thought I'd be up on Juichi for just a couple of days; after five days of cruising (thru 09/29), I was less than a third of the way to where I was supposed to be getting off. Tomorrow, I'll relate the tale of 09/30 thru 10/02. I'm hoping to make it Powell River, BC, at some point, and return home. Not sure how long that will take, but, as you can clearly tell, I'm not too concerned about it.