Day Twenty-Four: Second Epilogueses

The hotel room is near one of those metal grate bridges. As the cars zoom over, it makes that hollow, rushing sound. Now some may find that irritating but it reminded me of the wind all night, and I think I slept better for it.

Still waking up early, so I guess we’re not home yet. I am, however, looking forward to Eggs Benedict and ice-cold orange juice with good coffee for breakfast: definitely not boat fare…

Looking in the mirror this morning (a full-size mirror finally), I noticed that with three weeks’ scruff and short hair (for those of you who don’t know me, two days before I hopped the plane for Vancouver, my hair was past my shoulders), I am really, really gray. Gray. Where the hell did that come from? Next think you know I’ll be eyeing up the Metamucil in the grocery store…

Maybe it was the sea air…

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I put on my rings for the first time in 3 weeks. I noticed most of the sailors wore their rings and I suppose the likelihood of an issue on a sailboat is low, but I’ve caught them in so many unlikely places that doing any sort of ‘work’ with them on makes me nervous. I like my fingers 🙂

Last night I sent off my boat notes to Cooper Boating and an enquiry to Nanaimo Yacht Charters about availability. I need to start working on the Doctor before she starts thinking about work again. Desolation Sound sounds pretty damn empty… And according to my system (admittedly skewed, but don’t tell her), she still owes me 8 weeks of vacation.

I had neglected to mention an odd thing that happened on the long run back to Powell River. Somewhere around Squirrel Cove when we were playing bucking bronco with the waves, we heard, clear as a bell, on VHF channel 68, “Welcome to McDonalds, can I take your order?”

We both burst out laughing. It had definitely been a young woman, and it sounded really practiced so it seems unlikely it was someone screwing around. However it is equally unlikely that McDonalds is using VHF frequencies and the nearest McD’s had to be Lund or Campbell River. Weird.

Then about a half an hour later, while I was talking to R Shack Island, we heard her again. This time we heard a bit of someone ordering something as well. We thought the order might have been a jokester replying on the VHF , but we can’t be sure. Dave never mentioned it, so I don’t know whether he even heard it. Amusing stuff on the high seas.

So I’m going for my second hot-hot shower in less than 12 hours and then some Eggs Bennie. Life is good. (Leslie went for maple & blueberry pancakes. HUGE!)

 

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I’ve got a response back from Lorraine already. The dates aren’t perfect but we could definitely make something work, especially if we were willing to pop from one boat to another mid way. That would preclude heading back to the Broughtons, but we could make a couple of weeks in Desolation Sound work and maybe a week and a bit in the Gulf Islands. I’d like to try the San Juans or even further down the Puget Sound as well.

The best bet looks like a Beneteau 40, which is a lot of boat for two but we could make it work. There is also a Beneteau 321 for 2 weeks after Aug 7, or we could ‘jump ship’ and take out the Bayliner 3288 for late July/Aug. I guess I should discuss some of this with L before she reads it online 🙂

We are off for the flight in a bit. Should be getting kitty snuggles in about 5 hours–if they are still acknowledging our existence, that is.

 

lounging ladies

Cats waiting patiently (at Carmen’s house!)

We wanted to go to the Comox CFB Museum since we had time, but as luck would have it, it’s closed on Mondays. Next time…next time…

As we sat in the terminal waiting Lesslie got paged to baggage screening. It seems that even though I told them about my life vest, they still wanted to double check there was a inflatable life vest. No problem other than the redundancy. Having the vest was worth it, though.

So we got back to our cozy seats to wait the hour and a half for our flight when they announced a delay. We now have a wait of almost five hours for our plane. Did I mentioned the museum was closed? What the hell are we going to do to amuse ourselves for 5 hours? I’d rather be sailing…

And… No Rogers signal in the terminal and the free wifi has gone flaky! Without the boat to keep me busy I am slipping into internet withdrawal… Beep! Beep! Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!

Waiting.

[later] Waiting…

[a little later] Waiting…

[much later] Still waiting… And now my battery is dying…

[a little later than that] Now they’ve announce our plane has left Edmonton. Should be here at 4:20, taking off again at 4:50. Waiting…

[later x 2] Through security. Waiting…

[later plus, now with extra patience] Da plane! Da plane!

[Leslie] You’re too tall to do that…

And we’re off. Georgia Strait, Texada Island, Powell River.. Hey! There’s the marina! South marina, fuel dock finger 7… 8… Hey that white blob should be R Shack if they are still there.. Hi! [waves like idiot!]

And now, the pretzels!

Arrival at 7:19. W00t!

C’s agreed to meet us at the pub for beer/dinner and maybe some pda’s on the side. She might even bring Sam if they can find her ID.

And so, so long, farewell, adieu….

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Day Twenty-Three: First Epilogue

I woke up at 6. Aaargh! The only good thing about going home is the hope I can sleep in again. 6 am is not an hour for anything to be stirring but cats and editors with a deadline.

I crawled out of bed at 7. A cup of coffee and a KitKat for breakfast — hey, we have to get rid of the rest of our supplies! I finished yesterday’s blog post and started thinking about packing. The plan is to catch the noon ferry to Comox and meet L’s parents there. So we have to get rid of supplies, pack, do garbage and recycling, and wipe down the boat a bit.

Mostly packed up, we created an Emporium of Mostly Good Things for R Shack to pick over and then packed some stuff to take home (chocolate and garlic: mmmmm!) and one last bag for L’s parents who are meeting us in Comox. We left Carmen (the basil) with Rosie (R Shack’s rosemary) to spread a little more flavour. With any luck she’ll still be sailing around the west coast for weeks to come.

I talked the lovely wharfinger into taking our bags in her golf cart to save us the hike since we are on the south dock again. Then we hauled SD up on the bow, said goodbye to the dumb thing and fired up the engine. Dave helped us cast off and we managed not to dent R Shack. At the fuel dock there was a lineup of powerboats, but we slipped in on the side dock and used the small pump. We were topped up, paid and were off the dock before the powerboat had switched tanks. It’s good to be a sailor…

A quick 180 and we tied up in an empty spot opposite the fuel dock and went to say our goodbyes to Corus and crew. It was a pleasure to meet Anne and Laurence, and we hope we will have the chance to sail with them again–or at least to see the famous Dreamspeaker.

We were waiting for Larry from Cooper to come check out the boat, so we headed over to R Shack Island to snag a picture of Dave, Margaret and the boat. As we were chatting below, Larry walked by headed to Shearwater. He had no paperwork, so it was sort of a pro forma checkout. I told him I would email Sam in Vancouver with my list.

Back at R Shack we chatted a bit more, grabbed some pictures (not my best work) and they reciprocated with us and Shearwater (see below). Then it was time to go. We said our last goodbyes and expressed sincere (very sincere if I get my way) wishes to boat together again, and headed down the long path to the ferry terminal.

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I grabbed our bags at the marina office, L grabbed tickets at the ferry office and we met in the middle at the waiting room. The second-last leg of the journey home has begun.

We met Allen from Intrepid at the dock waiting for the ferry and chatted a bit, and then ran into Leslie and Charles from Arcturus on board. Seems the dock-side gossiping is not quite over.

I booked a night at the Best Western in Courtney and tix for our plane ride tomorrow. No early booking discount for us. No sirree. But soon the ferry ride was over and we disembarked to wait for L’s parents. We were about 30 minutes early for their eta so we sat in the sun (and talked to Allen some more…).

Soon the blue van rolled up and we were off. Boston Pizza for a beer for me and lunch for them; we had, not thinking ahead, eaten lunch on the ferry. We sat for a couple of hours talking and watching Costa Rica beat Greece. Seems 3 weeks out of touch isn’t long enough to completely miss the World Cup. Eventually we wandered off–thankfully because my ass was getting that stuck-to-vinyl feeling.

A drive to beautiful downtown Cumberland and a walk around the museum that was unfortunately not open. It’s an old coal-mining town with lovely old houses and tons of character. A lovely space. Back in the van we drove around a bit more and, because I was completely bagged, they took us to the hotel and bid adieu.

A 3-hour 20-minute shower followed, and I feel human again. L and I are mulling over room service, but they do have a sushi bar downstairs so…

Mmmmm… sushi! Good choice.

And now, my friends, goodnight…

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Day Twenty-Two: Last Day, Long Day

We slept in till past eight and then I got up and updated yesterday’s blog entry. That took two cups of coffee and the last of the sugar.

That done I passed it to Miss Editor-Pants and walked up to settle our tab. A dollar a foot with no extras: $33. Our cheapest night yet that we weren’t on the hook.

Back at the boat I hauled SD up on the dock and drained him of yesterday’s rain. Then I put out our gloves to try and dry them. Apparently these efforts offended the weather gods and a little while later we had our biggest downpour of the trip. I rescued the gloves but SD’s full of water again. Stupid dinghy.

Leslie finished with her revisions — took two passes this time — and I posted ’em up. Dave popped by to ask if we wanted to hang together today and maybe get a sail in the end. We also chatted about the possibility of meeting up if I can convince the Doctor she needs more boat therapy. That would be grand.

Next in the agenda is getting home. Ferries, flights and parents aren’t jiving and we might have to spend Sunday night in Comox and catch the 3 o’clock out on Monday. We are going to head for better wifi now and see what we can see. We will definitely be home for Canada Day though.

We chatted with the lady at the store/office. She and her husband run Morgans Landing Wilderness Retreat with rooms to let, cabins, moorage and more. She’s also been a fishing guide for more than 30 years. It sounds like a grand place for a retreat or vacation.

Back at the boat I started redoing the lines in prep for casting off and digging out the rain gear. It was still raining intermittently and we were head into the wind (15-20 knots) all day. Corus and Mariners Compass cast off 10 minutes early. It seems to be a boating thing but it’s driving Ms-I-am-always-5-minutes-late crazy. Still she’s humors me by hopping to it when I say we are going now. R Shack Island backed out our their slip at virtually the same time and we were off.

I had a chance to ask Dave about the name of his boat the other night. Margaret had previously mentioned she grew up on a small island called Shack Island so I got that part. But for the life of me I couldn’t figure out the “R” Anyone? Guesses? It’s pretty obvious?

Well they were originally going to call it Shack Island, but it seems a couple of kids had snuck over one night and started a fire burning the old house to the ground, pretty much destroying the place. So in memory of the old place they named their new boat ‘our Shack Island’… R Shack Island… Great name. Dave said locals always smile when they see the boat.

The Yuculta Rapids were pretty tame. A few eddies and swirls but really a non-event. I will have to come back to some of these rapids when they are running to see what the big deal is.

After that the skies slowly cleared and the winds slowly built. After an hour we were pounding in into 2’ chop and 20-22 knot winds. So I abandoned Leslie and went and had a warm shower. As long as we don’t mind the lack of headway it’s another grand, grand day. I expect after another couple of hours we will get bored with it.

Leslie is enjoying herself at the helm and seems reluctant to relinquish it. I tried some psychology, noting that with her new fancy-ass high-tech, lime green hoodie on and her blue jacket and life vest that she looked like a frog in a blue suit. I quickly amended that to fashionable frog in a blue suit to help avoid any repercussions other than her abandoning her post during this fashion emergency. Unfortunately it didn’t work. Sigh. I guess I’m a passenger for a while.

It’s a real Osprey day today. We saw five or six circling over Big Bay and a few more as we travel down Lewis Channel. I love these birds and have been lucky enough to see them fish but unfortunately today no one spotted a fish while we were watching.

I got the wheel back and the winds built a bit and the waves built even more. Soon we were banging away in 4-5 seas and giggling every time we got a face full of spray. The sun is still out and the wind is warm so it’s fun for now.

Ocean Grace is now settled in Lund and reporting no space at the docks but some room at the breakwater. I want to reserve our decision until at least Corus assesses the sea past Savoury Island. I’d rather not have to get up a 5 to make Westview Sunday morning. I’m more inclined to fight it out, but I’ll rely on R Shack to keep me from doing something stupid. It’s going to be 7pm at least before we have to decide. In the meantime you can still hear the occasional “Wheeee” and “Wooo!” from our cockpit.

And so it went. Wind straight on the bow. Waves. Dancing. I like to sing and Leslie (as well as pretty much every co-worker I’ve ever had) had long had a habit of turning on music to avoid listening to me mangle keys, notes, rhythms and lyrics. So I dance to her tunes… Huh. I guess that says something about our relationship.

Anyway we were making as little as 2.9 knots COG at one point and it was getting tedious. Still fun though, but slow enough you were getting envious of them powerboats and getting a tad frustrated as the ETA kept slipping. I wanted so bad to raise the sails.

We started to pick up a bit of current in the last hour and zoomed into port at 6 or 6.1 knots. Dave had called ahead and there was space at dock 8. Stern in, starboard tie. As far as we knew, everyone else was in already.

A trawler was coming up on our rear and we started to get worried he would snag our spot as he was just barely going to beat us in. He didn’t. Take our spot that is.

Dave went in first as we needed to be out first in the am to fuel up. I gave him a couple of minutes and then headed around the breakwater dead slow. We waved to Corus as we motored by and Dave came on the radio to tell me we’d have to raft. I slid past the day marker that hid a rock and gently reversed down the finger. Laurence and Howard from Corus were also there to lend a hand and very quickly were were secured to R Shack Island’s port side.

C’est finis.


9h39m 43.7nm

We tidied up and put Shearwater to bed for the last time. It was about 10 after nine and it had been close to 9 and a half hours on the water. Long day.

Dave and I had a beer and then Margaret and Leslie joined us and we chatted until hunger and fatigue drive us back to our own boat. Long day.

We abandoned the pancake plan in favour of the backup Chef Boyardee and relaxed a few moments before hitting the sack. Long day.

So that’s it. 21 days on a boat. I’m thrilled and it’s hard to wipe the smile from my face. I am so glad we did this trip; it was good for us on so many levels. I’m just hoping we aren’t done yet. But we will see…

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Day Twenty-One: Misty Morning Memories

Well, last night sucked. It blew and blew and something was banging off the hull all night. This morning in the light of day I figured out that it was the aft fender, about a foot and a half from my head. Last night we had no idea. L actually abandoned me around 1:30 and went to try to sleep forward, although I don’t think it did her much good. I resorted to a pillow sandwich to dull the noise and dozed pretty well except for the big gusts.

This morning is rainy and I have gotten wet a few times so far, filling the water tank and walking up to the store. I’m down to one beer so I picked up three singles to get me through.

Yes. It’s almost over. Tomorrow is our last night aboard, and we’ve got no real plans except home. I just checked Air Canada and there are no flights Sunday available out of Comox. I’ll head up and check WestJet next. We want to try and get in a visit with L’s parents in Comox, but we will see whether they can meet us within our still-vague schedule.

We are killing time this AM. A walk on the beach and a pretty rock for Carmen (the girl, not the basil) and some reading down below. I really do regret the lack of a bimini on days like this. I tend to perch in the companionway below the dodger just to be outside.

It’s been a fab trip and I’ve met some great people and seen some extraordinary sights. Apparently Dave has been telling everyone about the blog, so I hope I’ve managed not to offend anyone. Not used to writing for a wider audience, and anyone who knows me will tell you I have a big mouth that tends to get going before the brain has quite caught up.

I never managed to make Shannon smile although I’ve seen her smile a few times. Just not at anything I’ve said. I have a sneaking suspicion she read my earlier offhand comment. If so, sorry: see above disclaimer. Sigh, me and my big mouth 🙂 Or it could be I’m just not as charming as I like to think I am. Heaven knows I have lots of ability to rub people the wrong way: been doing it all my life. I’ve come to appreciate something good about everyone I’ve met on this trip, which is really all you need to enjoy yourself.

We were rather nervous about the social aspects of the trip and the potlucks (which turned out to be a relative non-issue), but I should have realized with 30 people along you pretty much have the whole spectrum. Anne mentioned she was surprised at the numbers and that they had been expecting (hoping for?) a smaller group. Personally I liked the bigger group as it gave us more places to hide in plain sight.

But as I said, it’s been great. People to sail with, people to play with, people to gossip with, people to learn from… A great introduction to the broader sailing community.

Anyway… There is apparently a skippers meeting at 1 to discuss the order of boats through the rapids. Some of the lower-powered boats are rightfully nervous, and it seems to me that the power boats should hang back and play safety. I guess that’s all TBD. Until then it’s some ramen noodles and a bit of writing.

Electra left early, trying to catch the early slack at the Yucaltas so they could make Powell River tonight. The rest of us kicked around. A brief meeting at Corus reset the departure time to 3 along with the discussion of the order of boats through the rapids. We were ticked in behind R Shack so we were at Dave’s mercy, but since he was leaving at 2 it was fine.

I started itching to go around 1:30 and was ready to pull out at 2. The problem with that was R Shack Island was fueling and so were we, so I would have to wait an extra 15 minutes for him to get off the fuel dock. Sigh.

Then disaster struck! Charles from Arcturus came by and said they were also fueling up and I graciously (stupidly?) said they should go first. It’s not so much that they were slow (although they were), but that Dave had been super fast and set the bar for my expectations too high.

I pulled out when I saw Arcturus put the fuel hose back. And then they had a fuel spill or something on their deck and I did little circles in the current waiting for them to finish. At last one of the fishing boats next to the fuel dock pulled out and we went in anyway.

Another 26 litres and all ready to go, but the fuel girl had left to help an incoming boat. So I had to wait again! L was eyeing me like she was going to have to club me or something, and then finally we were off the dock.

By this time it was 3, and Corus and Ocean Grace were off too. I found myself last in line when Laurence announced he’ll proceed at a sedate 5 knots. Aargh!

Past the first set of current I veered off to follow the coast instead of focussing on the slowpokes in front of me. That worked for a while until we hit another patch of current and I had to rejoin the line.

At that point I figured since we were going so slow anyway I’d just throttle down even more and gawk at the misty, wet scenery. Oh didn’t I mention the rain and fog? Rainy and foggy. I was pretty wet, with water pouring off the brim of my hat every time I looked down. Wet.

Actually I was pretty snug except for my hands. We had no waterproof gloves so they got soaked early in and stayed that way. It was warmish so I was pretty good for most of the trip, switching out for dry gloves right at Dent Rapids and whacking my hands together to get the blood flowing loudly enough that the other boats noticed. And we had an impromptu dance party, grooving to “Rock Lobster”, ABBA and whatever else L could come up with on her iPhone.

Eventually Mariners Compass and Ravens Magic caught up, and Mariners Compass blew by us like we were standing still. Ravens Magic apparently had a lot of patience and dawdled back with us.

We saw some stunning scenery and an infinite variation of cloud, mist and topography. It’s the kind of thing you can never capture on film. At one point on this trip I had mentioned to L that I wished I could paint because then I might be able to interpret the essence into something tangible. Coincidently, Ian (Ian Sheldon that is) mentioned this morning on one of my Facebook pictures that he’d love to do some fog paintings (his current thing is prairie storms). I’d love to see what he could do.

Anyway, past Philip Arm and down Cordero Channel we went and eventually Corus called for everyone to speed up so we would make the slack. I revved back up to proper cruising speed and caught up about 30 minutes later.

As we approached Dent Rapids we sorted ourselves out with Mariners Compass dropping back behind us, Intrepid sliding in front of us (they had left early to go sightseeing), and Dave ceding his place to my lowly 33′ as his palatial 34′ cruise liner moved to the back of the sailboats.

We hit Dent 10 minutes earlier than planned, but it was fine with a lot of turbulence and eddies and the occasional whirlpool. Somewhere near the end of Dent, eagerness overtook Mariners Compass and they started to inch up on R Shack Island’s ass. Dave politely invited them to pass on and that was the last we saw of Mariners Compass until the dock. I’m not saying I wouldn’t be as bad if I had all that horse power unused, but I’d like to think I could have waited until the pass was clear and then let loose the horses in one glorious roaring charge. Each to his own I guess.

There was a lot of drifting and twisting but no one had much trouble except maybe Corus when they skirted a whirlpool too closely and slewed rather sharply. No biggie, though.

We were a tad early so we slowed a bit before trying Gillard Passage, which was about a nautical mile further on. This was the one we wanted to hit right at slack, and slack was only about 5 minutes.

Again an easy transit, with a couple of sailboats coming the other way, one of them being a big Island Packet with a bow wake bigger than most powerboats: a lot of hp in that puppy!

As we exited Gillard Passage we could see Big Bay off our port bow. At least we were supposed to see Big Bay off our port bow. What we saw was a long line of low fog and mist with a bunch of sailboats slowly disappearing into it. Hmmmmm.

We all slowed and inched into the mist trying to spot the docks. Big Bay is a community wharf, and the setup was catch as catch can. I told L to set up for a starboard tie and then she countermanded me because of Stupid Dinghy, so we set up a port tie instead. It’s good to be skipper.

Eventually we could see the fingers, and I watched Intrepid completely miss their spot due to a strong cross current. So I decided to stern in on an empty finger on the down-current side. Good choice. A perfect dock and we walked the Shearwater to the back of the slip.

After watching the hijinks of everyone missing their spots, R Shack Island decided to show us how someone from Blaine would do it. Of course they aren’t from Blaine, but they’ve visited so there you go… Dave came in “with vigour” in the best Tim Melville style. From the look of the faces on the crew standing in the dock, people were thinking less ‘vigour’ and more ‘crazy’, but he smoothly brought her in on the up-current side, eased her into a hearty reverse and stopped her right where she needed to be for Margaret to hand off her midship lines pretty as can be. Sweet.

I forgot (f*ck) to start the GPS before we left the fuel dock so no track for today. I’ll try and fake one when I get home.


17.8nm

We all engaged in a bit of dockside gossip and tidying up, then headed up to the covered deck for a brief meeting. We have one more set of rapids tomorrow (the Yucaltas) and two choices: 5:50 am or 12 noon. The problem is we have 40-some nautical miles to go tomorrow, and noon is a late start with 15- to 20-knot headwinds expected the entire time.

Ravens Magic, Intrepid, Arcturus, Simply Irresistible, and Ocean Grace are leaving at 6 if there is no fog. Corus, Mariners Compass, R Shack Island and we are taking the late slack.

That done, we adjourned to the boats for beer, naps, cooking or all three. Dave was trying to pawn a 5-pack of berry cider he’d bought by accident thinking it was beer. I took pity on him and delivered him one of my last beers I’d picked up yesterday.

I made up all my remaining tomatoes, onions, lemons, and most of Carmen (the basil) into a tomato salad. I took pity on everyone and only put half the remaining garlic in as I had a bud and a half left. Then I fried up the Italian sausage, whipped up some tomato sauce with onions, garlic and oregano, and mixed it with the last of the rotini. Most of our remnants gone in one fell swoop!

We trooped up to join everyone in the covered BBQ area, and ate and drank and shot the shit until the sun set. Carmen (the basil) and Carmen (the person) got compliments on the tomato salad, although Dave seemed a bit awed to be eating such a famous plant.

It was a nice end to the trip as we don’t know whether we will all be able to get together tomorrow at Powell River (at present it seems unlikely).

Back at the boat L and I did dishes and cleaned up before bed. G’night!

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Day Twenty: Grizzly Morn

Morning. Coffee. A walk on the docks. Anxious Arcturus. And so on…

We were all lined astern on the docks and pretty tight. Arcturus was concerned about getting out and wanted us to peel away in order: R Shack, us, Arcturus, Ocean Grace, etc. I was tempted to leave early just to show off, but then Dave asked me for a hand with his lines. Arrogance foiled!

On top of that, Larry wasn’t waiting, and he took Ocean Grace neatly out of the stack before the rest of us. Somehow it’s not so arrogant when he does it, though. I guess I have to work on my sangfroid…

Just before we all started casting off, a young grizzly was spotted walking down the exposed beaches (it was low low tide). We all peered through binoculars and then, after casting off, looped around the docks for a photo op. Mine will likely turn out looking like a cinnamon-coloured rock, but there you go. At least I don’t have to pack a big heavy camera around…

So out we went into the dangerously unpredictable Johnstone Strait. Which was once again meek as a lamb. Then it was rev her up to 2200 and point her about 85° and sit back and watch the logs float by. Lots of logs. Lots and lots of logs.

Dave had his main up and I fought the urge. Then Corus behind us put up the full set and started beating up the Strait in 11-knot winds and I fought the urge. If we go straight on, it will be at least 6 hours today so we don’t really have time to… Well, maybe after Race Passage. We will have the current and be on the last leg of the Strait. Ya, maybe then…

Up ahead R Shack called a dolphin alert so we altered course to come in on his wake. 10 minutes later we motored through a big pod of dolphins obviously intent on the hunt. Two peeled off to play in our wake for about 3 minutes, but then we could see them zoom off through the clear water to rejoin their fellows. Still, a wonderful sight. Makes you rethink all those clichéd names like Laughing Dolphin and Dolphin Cove, and makes them seem much brighter and happier. I am officially a dolphin fanboy.

Speaking of wildlife, apparently R Shack had a midnight otter problem. The nocturnal visitor was banging around in his cockpit until Dave woke up and chased it off. Apparently to most people, they are only cute from a distance; Tim had said much the same thing about his opinion on how they treated his docks.

A little later I spotted some small backs with low dorsal fins. Not humpbacks but definitely not dolphins. I declare them minkes and radioed back to Arcturus to keep an eye out. At that point Ocean Grace, who was ahead of us, radioed back they had a humpback off their starboard bow. Our eyes swiveled 180 degrees but we couldn’t spot anything.

About 5 minutes later we heard a loud woosh behind us, and as eyes swiveled back, there was the humpback heading away from us. Sneaky bugger had dived beneath us. We watched him fade into the distance until he showed us his flukes and dived deep. Seriously. Whales. Twice. We are so stunned.

The wind started to die. All my plans for post-Race Passage sailing slowly melted, and L consoled me with trail mix. Corus meanwhile were have a gay old time. Lucky bastards.

We passed Ocean Grace just on the entrance to Race Passage but couldn’t gain on R Shack Island. I figure having their main up and the 4-knot current was giving them a slight advantage. I considered going to battle speed of 2600rpm, but cooler heads prevailed.

Out the other side of Race Passage, the winds picked up and we raised our main hopefully. Dave called back that he was getting 8 knots and going for it, so we hurriedly pulled out the jib and killed the motor. At which point Ocean Grace passed us again since we were doing a stunning 1.2 knots perpendicular to the Strait. When Dave radioed back 2 minutes later that the winds had dropped it sealed our fates and we fired up the motor once again.

It was probably a nautical mile or two later when we spotted a line of ripples across the Strait that once again threatened to raise my hopes. I was carefully mulling the possibilities when Dave radioed back yet again. “There’s 11 knots and we’re going for it!” He managed to sound not quite like a Star Wars fanatic meeting the actor who played Boba Fett in the original movie for the first time, but it was a close thing.

Nevertheless, I calmly and reasonably decided to roll out the jib again and shut down the motor. Eleven knots became 15 and the Shearwater heeled over like a walrus trying to sun its belly. We heaved to, cranked in the first reef (very inelegantly, but in the end, effectively), swung around and started on our tack. Literally 30 seconds later the winds jumped to 21 knots and the walrus became more akin to a Galapagos tortoise teetering on the edge of his shell about to flop permanently onto its back. We swung the wheel again into a heave-to.

Second reef. A little more elegantly performed. We’d just practiced it, after all. The wind dropped to a sedate 19 knots and we were off flying across the Strait. We hit about 8.1 knots max, averaging out around 6.8 or 6.9. Behind us Arcturus declined to rise to the challenge, but Intrepid stepped up and it was three of us sailing.

R Shack had a bit of a head start and of course gained lots of time while we were screwing with the reefs. Intrepid was quite a way behind and had a lot of ground to make up. Tack and tack again. R Shack chose short tacks, while we and Intrepid used as much of the channel as possible. We gained on R Shack with each tack, and Jntrepid was reeling us both in.

Dave’s fatal mistake came on our last tack. He tried a short tack once too often, ended up in the lee of the island and off course to make it up Mayne Channel. We cheated as much as possible on our second-to-last tack and had a straight shot. 15 knots of winds and 6.5 knots of speed sent us racing past him.

Intrepid had slowly been clawing away at the gap and came in on our stern, but they ran out of time and Shearwater led the way up the channel.

The winds were stating to fade and shift so we furled the jib and fired up the motor. A couple of minutes later a 17-knot gust knocked us hard over and we decided we were done with sails for the day.

What a day. What an exhilarating, glorious day. For probably the first time since sailing small boats, I got to sail for myself. No instructors, no passengers, no one else to consider but my agenda and what the wind and I could work out together. Valiant crew L put up with my heeling and tacking, and we worked together to trim the sails and extract as much as possible out of the day.

I didn’t want it to stop. I want to do it again. I asked, but Laurence won’t offer written guarantees… Sigh.

A few minutes later we rounded a curve and there was Blind Channel Resort and Marina. Bow in, port side tie on Finger 3 Bravo, just across from Electra. We tied up with no problem and did a little happy dance. At least I did. And when R Shack came in about 10 minutes later, I’m pretty sure Dave was doing a happy dance too.

I’m still smiling.


7h38m 41.7nm

A cold beer and then I had a skippers meeting at 4:30. This was a problem as I had a beer date with Carmen at 5:30 Alberta time. So L and I compromised and I took a beer to the meeting and she had a cider on board, and I do believe that C was sucking at the beer teat oh so many miles away with us. Life is good.

We have reservations at 6:45 for dinner with Dave and Margaret up at the resort restaurant and if Margaret and Leslie are lucky, Dave and I will have stopped grinning and be willing to talk about something other than sail trim and SOG (speed over ground).

Time for some writing and a shower before dinner while L has bit of a lie down.

A cool shower, some dockside gossip, and L and I joined Dave and Margaret dockside to head up for dinner. L had the seafood ragout and I had the rouladen, Dave went for halibut and Margaret had goulash. A multi-ethnic meal.

Great food and wine, and fine fine company, and we trundled back to our boats sated and happy. Tomorrow we aren’t leaving until noon so hopefully I can sleep in. We have two sets of rapids to do at precisely 5:40 pm. Until then we have the whole day to transit about 12 nautical miles.

Tired, windburned and happy… Goodnight.

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Day Nineteen: In the Country of the Gods

Glorious: rays of sunshine, flat, still expanses of water, clouds moulding themselves to the tree-covered mountains gently undulating around us, forming layer upon layer of perspective with vast, rocky, snow-covered peaks providing a solid anchor around which the landscape dances. Dolphins playing beneath us, taking a moment from their busy lives to bring smiles to passers-by and birds floating near shore, ducking down as we approach and bobbing up once again as we pass by.

I sit in spot of warm sunshine on the bow of the Shearwater, watching R Shack Island off our starboard bow, mainsail up in hopes of a wind that never comes and reflect on the nature of hope and truth and faith. All my hopes for this journey have slowly, incrementally creeped into existence. The solid reality and truth represented by this environment we find ourselves in cannot be denied or made to disappear. Our days are controlled and constrained by wind and water, sunshine and clouds; yet ultimately it does nothing but set us free to explore, learn and grow into ourselves. And faith: some part of me wants to believe it is all part of the gods’ plans, to know I am a part of it, intrinsic to its existence. Yet another part wants nothing more to know that we are only a speck in the chaos of a random dance of beauty and joy that knows no bounds and suffers no limitations.

So here I am being all poetic and shit and Leslie calls me back to the cockpit cause Dave’s hauling up the sails and her competitive steak is kicking in 🙂 So it’s back to work.

Woke up this morning around 7-ish with an intended departure time of 8-ish. Around 8:09 I radioed the wharf manager and asked if I could settle up since the office wasn’t open yet. He said yup. Paid up and ready to go, he gave us a hand swinging our bow since it was low water and we had less room to maneuver.

On our way out we headed for Corus to make sure they were ok with our outboard and then headed out of Kwatsi Bay. R Shack Island had weighed anchor just as were were leaving the dock and led the way out into Tribune Channel.

Just as we rounded Kwatsi Point we started seeing dolphins. 10s and 10s of dolphins. Some were playing by our boats, some were fishing by the shore, some were just doing dolphin things. We slowed down and enjoyed the delightful company for almost 20 minutes. We even saw one that we thought was smacking the water with its fin, but Dave says it had a big fish in its mouth. Stellar.

So I headed down for a shower now that the water is hot and cleaned up underway. Back in deck I sat down in the beautiful light on the bow and waxed poetic until the good doctor called me back to work.

We raised the sails in 8-9 knot winds and started on our first tack. Somewhere up ahead R Shack radioed back as they completed their first tack to keep an eye out for more dolphins. Well, did we get dolphins. They scooted up behind us and followed along for at least 45 minutes and 5 tacks. There was a whole lot of giggling in delight. I attribute the poetic nature of my soul at that moment, but it could be that Dave told us to raise our sails and shut off our motors. Oh, and sing. They were thrilled at my rendition of Leslie Had a Little Dolphin.

I took about a hundred pictures and about 10 minutes of video. No idea if anything turned out. I guess we will see.

Words cannot express the joy that watching dolphins play brings. It’s like a more exuberant baby’s laugh, kittens on the attack, a drunken game of tag… We both feel so privileged.

Eventually a passing power boat lured away the last two or three stragglers and we sailed on with smiles on our faces.

The wind died around Sargeant Passage and we furled the jib, leaving the main up in case the winds picked up crossing Knight Inlet. No such luck. We dropped the main before heading into Chatham Channel and waved as Mariners Compass motored by.

Down the Channel we slowed to let R Shack Island gain some distance before we hit the narrow part. The current picked up to about 5 knots in our favour as we turned to follow the transits. To negotiate the narrow part one must align two red signs and keep them aligned. That ensures you are on the right path through the channel. The current kept the boat slightly askew making it much easier to keep the transits in view, but made it seem like were a tad cockeyed in our steering.

R Shack took the long wide way around Hull Island and we took the shorter narrower side with extra rocks. We missed the rocks.

Out the other died we were now in front and facing the opening to Johnstone Strait so the wind and waves were up. As we rounded the curve into Port Harvey we saw a big log boom being towed by an old tug. Apparently others had met this boom going through Chatham Passage but I was nervous enough with him and the width of the bay.

I decide to go up wind of him with the logic that at least the boom would blow away from us. All was fine. Up the bay and Port Harvey Marine Resort finally appeared from behind an island. We radioed in and the tied up in front of Arcturus after doing a 180 off the pier. My moment of docking triumph was ruined when bow got a bit too close and they had to push it off the wharf. Sigh.


6h37m 34.9nm

We cleaned up, tied some serious spring lines and watched R Shack come in bow first, neatly avoiding the necessity for a 180.

After we were all tied up I cracked a beer and relaxed in the sun. A finer day I could not imagine.

Tonight they are offering pizza for the group at the restaurant but we are begging off to cook the chicken thighs before they go off. Looks like everyone else will be going though. Might pop in for a drink.

A skippers meeting in Corus –who arrives an hour or so after us — set tomorrow’s destination at Blind Channel, so we will be off at 8am down the Johnstone Strait trying to catch the favourable tides. If we leave at 8 we should be in before 2pm if we don’t dawdle.

La had a lie down and I went in search of rumoured wifi.

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Day Eighteen: Ball of Confusion

7:30. Up. Around.
8:00. Getting antsy
8:30. Officially antsy
8:50. Ready to go
8:59. Gone

After a breakfast of coffee and bars I wandered the docks chatting and waiting. There was a light drizzle, and fog was settling in so there was a bit of apprehension floating among the boaters. Industrious Leader Laurence was, however, still abed so there was no one to soothe the savage beast of insidious creeping doubt. Still, I asked Larry his opinion on fog and he likened it to a maze. Keep the shore on your right-hand side and follow along. Seemed like good advice. In the event, it was moot.

We cast off smoothly just before 9 and tied up at the fuel dock. Seven or so gallons of diesel and we were topped up again. We settled up with Pierre and then moved the boat to the end of the dock to see what was up and finish getting ready. Arcturus had left before us, and Raven Magic and Simply Irresistible went by while I was getting into my wet gear. Intrepid and Ocean Grace followed about five minutes later.

We cast off again and headed out into the fog and mist. The winds were low and we headed past the Burdwood Group. Ocean Grace turned off and drifted into the mists around the islands for a look-see but we continued on up Tribune Channel.

Ahead Irresistible had their main up and then Intrepid turned into the wind to raise their sails, eventually bringing up the rear sailing wing on wing. After a hour or so we slowly steered to port to visit Lacy Falls, a wide veil of water cascading in sheets down a lovely face of rock. It’s quite deep there so you can get the boat quite close. Ocean Grace caught up and we both slowly circled taking pictures and admiring the view.

About this time Raven Magic had reached Kwatsi Bay and discovered there was room for only three boats. There was a lot of chatter back and forth on the radio, and then R Shack chimed in with the news that Corus had headed for Port McNeill for a new starter battery. As you can imagine this threw us into a tizzy. Yes, a tizzy. Like high school girls who suddenly found themselves without dates for the prom: the energy bordered on hysterics of the silliest kind.

Eventually decisions were made, the cooler heads moved forward and the rest of us fell into line like little ducklings. Of course I found myself following Ocean Grace from in front of them, but that’s how these things go sometimes.

Arcturus was already docked at Kwatsi; we and Ocean Grace took up the last two spots. Raven Magic, Simply Irresistible and Intrepid decided to go on to Lagoon Cove. That was at least another 3 hours further on, but they’ll save time tomorrow. Eventually Electra and R Shack showed up as the mists were clearing and it was starting to look like a nice day. They tried anchoring across from the marina and then gave up and moved further down the bay.


2h39 13.9nm

We relaxed, had a beer and filled the water tanks. L decided to pick up a fancy high-tech Kwatsi Bay hoodie. From our slip we face the shore and the constant woosh of water rushing provides a lovely ambient white noise. Apparently the marina family uses those falls to generate electricity.

A little later we decided to row over to a trail that supposedly led to some falls. We piled into SD and started rowing away. Just as we were rounding the last finger, Charles from Arcturus, facing us, started talking about where the various boats were. He said “At least we have six out of ten here.”

“Seven,” I replied.

“Umm,” he started to correct me.

“Look behind you.”

He turned and there was Corus with her crew hanging off the sides dressed, as Shannon said, like floats, in neon greens and oranges. Seems plans had changed again and they were now here along with Mariners Compass, who had preceded them by 10 minutes. That was everyone except the three who went on to Lagoon Cove.

Now that that was settled, we rowed on to the falls, dragged SD up the barnacle-encrusted granite and tied her (him?) off on an old tree. A short hike up a typical BC old forest (gorgeous and inspiring nonetheless) and we emerged to see a beautiful 20- or 30-metre-high waterfall. The chilled misty air created that special micro-climate unique to waterfalls in forests and we stood in awe absorbing the loud roar of water cascading down, taking pictures and examining the local selaginellas (I like selaginellas).

Definitely another great moment.

We passed Leslie and Charles from Arcturus on our way down and decided to row over to where Corus had stern tied and welcome them to the neighbourhood. We greeted them and said how happy we were they were here and not there. They agreed. Seems they have now disconnected their start battery entirely to see if that will stop it from draining. I guess we will see tomorrow.

Back at the dock, we sit and read and wrote until Happy Hour. Seems the old Sony’s batteries are dead again. Time to retire that puppy, I guess. One of us will have to switch to the iPad or it’s back to –horrors!– Shogun.

There is filtered water here, and showers, but no power and no washrooms. It is a stunningly beautiful place, and as the clouds climb back higher and higher up the surrounding mountains it becomes even more so. I am so glad we stopped.

During all the dock-side socializing, Sheila had stated her distinct lack of desire to prepare for the potluck. I had been thinking tomato salad but wimped out by hacking up a garlic sausage. Then we added crackers. Howard and Judy were sitting alone in the common area bereft of company and alcohol, so I put my foot down and served beer and wine respectively. Then I joined them. And L joined me. And so on, and so on…

Eventually real boaters (non-flotilla people) started to join and we had two separate parties going: their full-blown potluck and our appies potluck.

I chatted with Anne for a bit and discussed my point of view vis-a-vis the flotilla, and then we talked books for a while. I’ve still got lots of questions so I hope I get the chance to continue the conversation. At one point I offered our outboard to Anne and Ian as theirs is still flaky. I had offered before but it had never been quite the right time. This time they said yes.

So Ian, Howard and I mounted SD’s propulsion system to his older cousin and they filled it with slightly inebriated, happy people and zoomed off across the bay. Of course the zoom was more of a trudge with 6 people and a 5hp outboard, but it beats rowing.

Time for dinner. Our hamburger was starting to look more brown than pink so we decided to take it all the way. I fried up some onions and added the meat and then set a pot of H2O to boil. A bit of sauce, some herbs de Provence and ta-da. Chef Boy-ar-dee’s got nothing on me.

After dinner I dived into the Viognier and dark chocolate, and L did some dishes while I added to this missive. Life’s good…

Another stroll around the docks capped the evening and I closed the hatches, cranked the heat up and made ready for bed. Maybe one slaughter (game) of cribbage…

Pictures to come. Maybe Thursday

Day Seventeen: It’s Raining Meatballs

Predictably (at least according to L) I was ready to weigh anchor after R Shack started their windlass. Arcturus had already left, followed by Ocean Grace and Intrepid. I was sure we shouldn’t be behind R Shack. Dave says Margaret takes forever to get ready and if they were ready, then well… What does that say about us? I gently applied delicate coaxing and persuasion to Dr. SlowPoke and started preparing. Luckily wily laV was ready for my need to not be left behind and sped up enough to pull out just behind R Shack Island. Phew!

Morning started at ten to eight and no 8am check in. So I made coffee and sat soaking in the morning. There was some confusion (on my part) whether we were going to Pierre’s Bay or Echo Bay as the stated destination was Pierre’s at Echo Bay. Turns out Pierre moved to Echo Bay in 2008 and the book was just out of date. Problem solved.

L played follow the leader as we wove the twisted path of islands and rocks while I looked for morning dolphin. No such luck, but the morning seal was pretty friendly and generous with her smiles. I’ll take that and be happy.

Single Guy caught up with us in Raven Magic’s tender and stated his intention to head for Echo Bay and fuel. We said we’d keep an eye out and give him a tow if he ran out short of the destination. About 4 minutes short of Echo Bay, Bill (Single Guy) tried hailing Raven Magic with his handheld but got no response. I offered to relay and hailed Raven Magic and told them their dinghy was safe and sound in a Echo Bay. They responded by saying that their itinerary had changed and they would pick Bill up in three days. Just a little cruiser humour.

Right around Echo Bay, R Shack peeled off to the marina and we, espying the rising 6-knot winds, carried on to the passage in anticipation of some good sailing.

So the winds died.

We motored to Pierre’s old bay, did a few turns around and morosely putted back, sails between our legs. We grabbed a starboard tie, bow in on finger #3. Another fine dock at an empty slip. Pierre himself met us to take our lines and we were arrived.


2h06m 9.0nm

Up at the store we registered our boat and chatted up the girl there. She had a slight French accent so we talked québécois for a bit and then headed back to the boat.

There is a famous museum and museum keeper here — Billy Proctor’s Museum — that is a must see. There is one trail from the docks that is fairly steep or a gentler one over by the public dock if you care to dinghy over. So we readied SD and I rowed across the small bay. We tied up to the old, worn public dock and hiked past the now-closed elementary school in the woods. Through a small patch of dense forest and up a small hill and we were there.

Dave and Margaret were there; Billy, unfortunately, was not. Back at 2, the sign said. Still we browsed through his museum and small gift shop. It was similar to the one in Sointula, although Billy was a bottle aficionado and had an amazing collection of old bottles. We found out later that Billy was more than half the fun, so I’m sorry we missed him.

Lots of old books, pictures and artifacts from the long history of the Broughtons, even a whale tooth or two. We chatted with D & M for a bit longer and headed back.

Back at the boat I headed off for a shower and L killed some time relaxing. Then I made meatballs for tonight’s appies and settled in at R Shack Island with Dave (and eventually Larry) for some ‘man’ time. We didn’t just talk about sailing, but it was close. I think we hit on the topic of girls too for a moment.

I scooted off just before 5 to fry up my meatballs only to find Leslie in my galley. Gallant and reasonable, I allowed her to stay and finish cooking, and tried not to hover anxiously. Twenty or thirty minutes later we stuck toothpicks in the meatballs and headed up to the ‘party’ room. Only John was there from Simply Irresistible although Sandy, his wife, showed up momentarily. Gradually the rest of the crews showed up and soon it was a party.

Richard from Raven Magic announced he wanted to string up Single Guy for absconding with his dinghy and dereliction of duty, but Laurence pronounced that if the Yellow Eye Bill caught was tasty enough the sentence would be commuted. 30 minutes later when Andrea showed up with the tasty fish, Bill was safe.

Leslie is now playing Echo Beach about 100 feet away from the beach in Echo Bay. It makes her happy. And you know … Echo Beach. Far away, in time.

We visited for a bit then abandoned the social for the coziness of our boat. L headed for a shower and I did dishes. Then I caught up on some writing and watched the rain fall on a now-crowded harbour.

Maybe a little hot chocolate and Chips Ahoy before bed…

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Day Sixteen: Fan-tack-stic sail

The morning had been wonderful right up until L, upon completing a picture-perfect tack, said that it was spec-tack-ular. Then she followed up by calling it fan-tack-stic. That was the end of a pleasant morning. Sigh. Punsters should be outlawed.

I wanted to mention the swallows yesterday at Sullivan Bay. There were at least 4 or 5 pairs swooping around. One pair have a nest above the entrance to the laundry and if you were patient, you’d see Mama (or was that Papa?) swoop in and these ugly (in a cute way), bulbous baby-bird heads that were 90% beak pop up for dinner. I’ve always loved swallows and miss our family from St Albert. They kept me entertained for our entire visit to Sullivan Bay.

We slept in and missed the morning call but no worries. I settled up. Moorage is reasonable, but power is outrageous, so it evens out to be a fair price. As L predicted, as soon as another boat started setting off I got antsy, and after my third trip back to the store, I started making ready to leave. Somewhere around there L noticed my activities and wondered what the rush was.

We cast off and headed southish. We are in the Broughtons and now working our way slowly back home. In fact, today’s destination is in the Broughton Archipelago itself. We will have to weave in and out of islands and islets to reach Waddington Bay.

As soon as we cleared Sullivan Bay the wind came up to 4 or 5 knots and by the time we rounded the point it was 10-15. Up went the sails, off went the motor and we merrily tacked our way up and down Sutlej Channel. Of course the winds climbed right off the bat, so after a couple of tacks and some nice heeling over we threw in the first reef. At which point the wind dropped down to a comfortable 10-12 knots.

Behind us R Shack island was screaming along and Corus was behind them. Ahead we saw Ocean Grace also with sails up but they soon disappeared behind an island and we didn’t see them again until Waddington. After a nice sail the winds started to die in the lee of the island so we shortened up our tacks. Unfortunately the wind soon died altogether, and we were actually becalmed at one point. We fired up the engine with sails still up to try and find some wind, but it was all in vain.

In came the genoa and we motored with the main up for an hour until I decided to drop it. The passage was beautiful and as we passed Echo Bay (tomorrow’s destination), the passes and channels got narrower and windy. Soon we were in the archipelago and dancing around rocks and tiny islands. Eventually we curved around Fox Island and caught sight of a few masts in our anchorage.

Just before we turned into our last passage between the scattered islands, I spotted a small fin ahead. L popped up and we both maintained watch. A few seconds later we spotted it again and for a minute or so we watched the dolphin pop up and down until our approaching engine made him stay down for good. At the entrance to Waddington, I spotted him or his cousin again and we watched him surface two or three times as we passed by.

These fellows looked smaller and more greyish than the Pacific White-Sided dolphins we had seen in Johnstone Strait. I think they were porpoises but I will have to wait until I’ve got internet to check.

The first place L and I picked scared us so we moved back into a small bay and dropped anchor like we somehow knew what we were doing. Soon after Corus and then R Shack Island followed. Electra motored in not long after and everyone was here except for the perennially dawdling Intrepid, and Simply Irresistible, who would be meeting us tomorrow.

Time for a beer.


5h23m 25.9nm

Anne and Laurence were going to pop over before dinner so we cleaned up the place.

It was a glorious sunny day now that we’d arrived. The clouds burned off and the sun was actually scorching in the cockpit. We sat and basked in the sun until it became too much. L went below and I put the motor on SD and went for an explore.

Ian had brought a collapsible kayak that he’s never used before so he was up on Corus’s fore deck with 12 pages of instructions and more parts than a Star Wars Lego set. I left him to it.

I chatted with Dave and Margaret for a bit. Dave promised if we got Margaret drunk that she had some interesting tales to tell about the aberrant sexual behavior of sea otters. Now I still think the furry buggers are cute, but Margaret promises that after her story we will be quite put off. I await the tale with prurient delight.

Back at the boat we sat and relaxed and jeered when Ian finally launched his kayak. He made the rounds proudly showing off his creation, then headed out of the bay to explore. It started to get late so I went to work on supper. Pork loin encrusted with mustard balsamic, BBQ roasted potatoes in herbs and garlic and, of course, tomato salad. About five minutes after I’d started the Kayak Telegraph Service came by with a message that Anne and Laurence were begging off on account of the halibut.

It seems Single Guy (from Raven Magic)–that was how he had been introduced; his real name is Bill–had taken Howard and Andrea out fishing. They had come zooming back about 10 minutes earlier and you could hear the squeals for miles. Just as they were pulling up their lines she had a bite and successfully landed a lovely 10-lb. halibut.

Apparently this caused a bit of a problem as the necessary fish killing-cleaning-filleting skills were sadly absent aboard Corus. The entertainment from across the anchorage carried on for quite a bit.

So I cooked dinner and we chowed down on one of my better attempts. The loin was just about perfect: thank you, Carmen. After dinner we dumped the dishes in the sink, climbed aboard Stupid Dinghy, and went out to explore. In perfectly calm water, after a week of practice and absolutely no shifting of weight, SD is almost usable with two passengers; I still have major doubts about the rated three.

The sun was low in the west (although I swore up and down it was the north) and the light shimmered and bounced off the water to make the firs, spruces and cedars dance on the shorelines of the archipelago. Day shift was over, so we didn’t see any wildlife. I’m pretty sure the critters are unionized here, and the BC gov’t is tight with its overtime. Maybe tomorrow. We cruised some islands and islets and then gently puttered the perimeter of Waddington Bay, arriving back at the Shearwater.

I stowed the motor etc. and then went to wash dishes with L. After chores I grabbed another glass of red and enjoyed the dying light in the chilling air while writing a bit and snooping on the neighbours. Then it was time for bed and a bit of reading.

The days keep exceeding my expectations.

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