| 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
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?"
"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
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