| Dear Friends:
We are back in touch - a bit late, but we've either
been out of internet contact when we had lazy days,
or been busy as H when we did have contact. So here
Though the Pacific Northwest waters are known for being
windless and having strong tides and currents, we have
had some grand sailing over the past weeks. There were
only a few days when we didn't reach our intended destination
due to lack of breezes, and each case the alternate
anchorages we used were fine. On the other hand, we
learned to sail with the tide atlas on hand at all times,
sometimes choosing longer routes to take advantage of
stronger or (in passes), slower tidal currents. There
is another, less often mentioned route deciding obstacle
in this area, clearing customs and immigration as you
wander between the American and Canadian islands. Fortunately
we found the Canadians, once you have cleared in by
appearing physically at a Customs point at some time
within the past three years, are happy for you to clear
by telephone as you approach Canadian waters. American
customs, on the other hand, have become ever stricter
about appearing in person immediately upon arrival.
But more about that later.
The food and setting at Garden Bay Pub in Pender
Harbour is grand. Here we are with our old cruising
buddies, Winston and Caroline Bushnell. They have
been around the world on the 30 footer they built,
with two children on board. Winston has also been
through the Northwest Passage on another boat he
We had not painted Taleisin's topsides in two years,
her antifouling was getting thin after being scrubbed
by divers three times, so after spending a few days
exploring Saanich Inlet, rendezvousing with Doug and
Jackie Truscott who had sailed their 40 foot schooner
Tillicum over to at Genoa Bay, then sailing down to
finally see the beautiful Buchart Gardens, we had a
fine reach to Canoe Cove Boatyard. We particularly like
this spot because of the friends we made there when
we sailed Seraffyn in from Japan over 25 years ago.
One of them is a real inspiration - Bill Garden, well
known for his power and sailboat designs, he lives on
a tiny island half a mile from the shipyard. Last year,
at the age of 87, Bill had completed building a beautiful
20 foot cat boat for his own use. Now he is finishing
up the kitchen at his house and clearing the grounds
for a big family reunion.
Both of us actually enjoyed the four day haul-out.
Not sure why, but some factors might have been, since
it was summer, the yard was almost empty, which meant
everyone was relaxed. The crew at the yard includes
sailors we had met in South Africa, and Mexico, which
meant some lovely chats about cruising. We didn't rush,
taking an extra day to do things at a leisurely pace.
We had our meals at the local pub (The stone house)
just a few hundred yards from the boat. Then we met
Doug Barron, a local boat builder who has a just returned
from building himself a winter cottage in New Zealand.
He convinced us to make Cortez island our summer's goal.
With Kellie Bulmar's (Larry's niece) engagement party
to attend at Gibson's landing, we now had our general
itinerary planned, but a very loose schedule.
Marina Island, only three miles from the Gorge,
is a perfect place for a casual rendevous with lots
of sailing friends.
Though I am not great at communications afloat, the
cell phone we carry added a special bit of fun as we
sailed northward. George Dow, who owns and loves our
little Seraffyn, called from somewhere on Block Island
Sound every few weeks. The conversations generally went
"Hi, I'm out sailing on a beam reach,
smooth seas, Seraffyn is making five knots. My wife
has brought along fresh lobster and a nice Sauvignon
Blanc." To which I truthfully replied, "We
are running at six knots, drifter flying, we're eating
Dungeness crab and drinking a light white wine from
Porto Palo, Italy."
We met some very interesting new folks as we cruised
north. At Plumpers Cove, across from Gibson's landing,
we came to anchor alongside a handsome 32 footer, named
Plumper. Her owner Lieutenant Commander Gary Davis is
the captain of the Canadian Sail Training vessel, Oriole.
With a fair wind and fair tide we both set sail the
next morning headed north. What a fine sail it was,
15 to 20 knots behind us, sunny, warm, clear. We reached
into Pender Harbour in mid-afternoon then anchored near
each other in Garden bay. Gary and his wife joined us
for cocktails and dinner ashore at the local pub.There
Gary, whose speciality at the Navel academy was navigation,
told us of his fight to convince the Canadian military,
and also the American navy, to forget the idea of relegating
paper charts to the waste heap. The simple argument
he used to convince them, "if you send a man out
into the field with a GPS in his pocket and I sniper
puts a bullet through it, what have you got? If he has
a paper chart to back that up, you may have a chart
with a hole in it, but it will do the job."
Dove is the boat Winston built for his latest sailing
adventures, including passages to Hawaii and points
west. Next to him is Puna, the 27 footer he helped
his daughter Kim build. We are all rafted up next
to Marina Island.
Our favorite anchorage of the summer cruise to Cortez
island was definitely The Gorge. Completely enclosed
mile long lagoon, a nice selection of relatively shallow
anchorages with excellent holding ground, a fine restaurant
right at the harbour and friendly folks who took us
to the local center for any shopping we needed. We joined
in at a fund raising dinner given by the local people
who are trying to convince land owners to fight clear
cut logging of their land, shared crab dinners with
new sailing friends and joined them and dozens of others
for two days of barbequing on the long sandspit at marina
Island. Also had a delightful meeting with a younger
couple who cruise with their chocolate lab Ernie on
a beautifully maintained Bristol Channel Cutter. Kay
and Craig Compton invited us to visit their home and
his furniture design studio on Bainbridge island as
they knew we were headed south to Seattle in September.
The whole pace of our cruising over the summer was
leisurely and relaxing. We got a lot of good books read,
tried to finish up the last bits of paint work. But
of course used any excuse to put aside the sandpaper.
By the last week in August, only half of the work we
had on our list was done and we had to have Taleisin
looking spiffy for a fund raiser we were doing in Seattle,
so we reluctantly began our trek southward, choosing
good sailing days to move on, laying enjoyably at anchor
when the wind didn't get up by 10 AM. Definitely not
ambitious, but it suited us just fine for this summer
of our lives.
May you find a pace that suits you over the coming
Lin and Larry