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October 2005
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 goes -

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 built.

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 like this…"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 months,
Lin and Larry

 





Photos of Taleisin

Darren Emmens who is a professional photographer, took these photos while we were getting ready for a race in the Puget Sound and generously let us use them here. I think he does grand work. Take a look at his photos at emmensimages.com or nauticalstock.com. He can also be reached at 206-972-0946.























Postcards from Victoria








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