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DECEMBER 2005
Dear Friends:

In some ways, I prefer writing about our sailing days after some reflection rather than as they happen. Incidents that seem important (and sometimes unimportant) at the time, tend to mellow and sort themselves into logical order. Then as I write a story, or in this case, the latest newsletters I recall moments that are true highlights instead of the simple day to day moments of scrubbing mud off the anchor chain, missing a tide, pulling an empty crab pot, being too lazy to walk up the hill for the very best views. The past autumn spent wandering south from Cortez Island toward Seattle was mellow feeling at the time, with more pleasant sailing days and more breezes than one usually expects in the Pacific Northwest at that time of the year. But looking back a few months later, reminds us of how full and fulfilling that time actually was.

I enjoyed being right in the center of the city at the Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival

For the first time in many years, we revisited ports we had been to in the recent past. This time when we caught a wonderful fair wind, we didn't debate as to which anchorage we should choose after a fast run through the Malaspina channel, we headed right for Garden Bay inside Pender Harbour. Since the food at the local pub is excellent, we indulged and enjoyed the company of sailing friends including the Bushnell's plus locals we'd met during our previous visit. Gibson's Landing, home of Larry's favorite cousins was a must stop and this time we sailed toward the fun of the Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival with two cousins on board. Mary Belle Bulmer, who was Larry's skiing companion before he ran away to sea and her daughter Kellie, who is an expert diver and diving expedition leader. Kellie has not been out onto a bowsprit since she sailed with us on Seraffyn as a six year old. As we reached past Point Atkinson carrying full canvas in a warm 18 knot breeze, Kelly cautiously slide out toward the headstay, giggling like she had so many years before. On her return to the deck she declared, "That's got my heart thumping more than any diving I've done." Make me laugh to think of how concerned I'd be if I tried to make any of the dives she does on a regular basis.

The coming back to the Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival for a second time was like coming home. With fellow wooden boat owners whose names were now familiar, with sailing friends we'd met the previous years, Larry's old school buddies who I now knew as friends, the five days we moored right in the heart of the city, flew by. I did take some time to explore the dozens of craft shops on Granville Island and spent far too much money on food treats from the market place that lay only 50 meters from Taleisin. Highlight for us, was being invited to join Tony and Patsy Latimer to sing "The Yacht Club Bar" at the Saturday night Chantey evening. I think half the audience had learned it from our Storm Tactics DVD as they sang along with us and covered the few glitches I made due to first time in front of a big audience nerves.

Real highlight was singing along with Tony Latimer and Pat Thomson during the Shanty Evening.

By the time we set sail though, I was ready for some quiet time. We found an excellent anchorage just north of Active Pass and by good chance, the cell phone coverage let on call through. Beth Leonard and Evans Starzinger were only two islands away from us on Hawk, bound south after a summer spent in the Queen Charlotte Islands. "choose an anchorage, we'll find you there," Beth suggested. The next evening we sifted gently in to a tiny nook on the south end of Saturna Island. There is a tiny park with just enough room off it for two boats to comfortably lie at anchor sheltered from all winds and from the wakes of the big ships and ferries that transit the Haro Straits between the San Juan Islands of the USA and the Gulf Islands of Canada. For two days we exchanged visits and took walks ashore together. Beth must be the most disciplined person I know, getting up extra early and working away at her computer until 3 PM each day when she is in port, before heading off looking for pleasures. But her discipline gave Larry and I the impetus to get Taleisin and our selves ready for the seminars we would be doing three weeks later. We talked of many things together, favorite anchorages, friends we shared, editors we'd worked with, passages we'd made. But the subject we kept returning to was the problems people have keeping electronic and electrical gear working. Hawk at 47 feet, is definitely a big boat - but Beth and Evans have very limited gear on board - no hot and cold water, no refrigeration, the list of no is longer than the list of yes. Even so, Evans finds he spends about three days each week keeping everything, from sails to systems, in good working order.

It is the contrasts that make cruising special. I looked forward to the quieter environs of the gulf Islands after five days of city life.

As I mentioned in our last newsletter - customs clearance in these islands can be interesting. This year the rules seemed to be, all boats sailing into American waters must clear in person, no more passes or phone-ins. We'd been to Friday Harbour early in the season so, decided to again clear in there as the customs would have records of our previous visit. In fact I'd chosen our rendezvous spot with Hawk for its easy access to our intended clearance port. Upon arriving alongside the clearance dock, I proceeded to use the telephone provided and answered the usual questions with the same answers I'd used two months previous and the previous year also.
"What's your country of registry?"
"Canada."
"Citizenship?"
"American"
"Husbands citizenship?"
"Canadian, green card holder in US"

A long pause then -
"If you are both residents of the US why is your boat documented in Canada?"
"My husband could not document the vessel in the US because he is not a citizen."

A long pause then -
"American residents can not bring a foreign vessel into American waters for more than 14 days without paying duty on it."
"Taleisin was built in the United States"

"sorry, that's the rules. You must return to a Canadian port and obtain entry for the vessel."

That is Stanley Park in the background, one of the most beautiful city parks in the world.

I was a bit stunned but remembered this person was trying to stick to rules written for the norm, not for odd balls like us. "May I speak to your commanding officer?" I asked. "You may come up to our office and meet with him, but no one from your crew may get off your boat while you do." So, knowing there was an all-seeing camera on the dock, I relayed this to Larry and marched off armed with all the paperwork I could think of and mustering all the patience I could find.
The commanding officer turned out to have had a lot more time handling customs problems, and a lot more understanding of voyagers. He listened patiently then said, "She is correct, you have to properly import your boat and pay any duty. But since you have proof it was built in the US, let's do it right here today. Twenty minutes later I walked out of his office carrying not one, but three copies of importation documents for Taleisin, stating "all duties paid." The fee, $2.00. That was to cover the extra photo copies one of which is permanently taped to Taleisin's documentation papers; another is in our file cabinet and the third with our log book for instant access next time we clear into American waters.

Hawk and Taleisin lay peacefully at anchor at the south end of Saturna Island. I can't imagine two boats that are so different, nor two boats that please their owners more.

My patience had a double reward. The folks on the boat moored across from the customs dock had helped Larry order excellent fish and chips from the local shop. They arrived at Taleisin just when I did. We hoisted just our staysail, untied our lines and reached across the harbor to anchor in a well-sheltered spot, then got out a bottle of chilled wine. When we unwrapped the fish and chips they were still hot and scrumptious. The sunset was lovely, the anchorage far smoother than our trip through bureaucracy and life felt just fine.

Hope you have lovely holidays
Lin and Larry

P.S. A few folks wrote asking for more information on how Taleisin's ventilation drop board is built. Take a look at this months cruising tip for photos of it in place.

 





Vancouver, Canada

This is a view over False Creek, a real favorite anchorage right in the center of the city, alongside a lovely park. Anyone can drop anchor here for up to five days.





















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