Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Gulf Islands Tour

After a whirlwind couple of days in Sidney and Victoria we set sail for Princess Cove on Portland Island. This is Emma's first time on a sailboat and it was so fun to watch her amazement as we set into motion. The kids were all smiles out on the foredeck as we motored out into the water. With light winds from behind us, it was a perfect day for an introduction to sailing. Isaac, literally, showed her the ropes. Together they raised the main sail followed by the jib. Then we relaxed and enjoyed the motion of the boat. Along the way the kids made a hilarious iMovie about ferrets, hidden chihuahuas, and epic seas. After a lovely sail we tried out our new anchor for the first time in Princess Cove at Portland Island. The anchor worked well with an immediate solid catch.

Princess Cove is a beautiful anchorage but roll-y as it is exposed to ferry traffic. I was a little worried about the rolling being potentially nauseating to Emma but she loved the motion. After we were all settled we dropped the kayaks into the water and paddled to shore. We first walked over to the old orchard left over from a group of Hawaiians who had tried to settle long ago. After watching the chihuahua run happy circles through the green meadow the kids lounged in the grass and made daisy chains for close to an hour. We then hiked over to the white shell beach formed from discarded shells of the First Nations people. The kids blissfully (I'm probably going to use this word a lot over the course of the next few weeks) threw rocks into the gorgeous green-blue waters. Back at the boat the kids played guitar while admiring the sunset. Emma even brought a travel violin that she broke out for a Celtic tune.

The next day we stopped in Ganges for lunch and diesel before hopping over to James Bay on Prevost Island. We spent the following morning on shore exploring tide pools, playing in the trees of the old orchard and taking a hike out to lighthouse point for a picnic lunch and gorgeous views. In the afternoon we made the short hop across to Montague Bay. We were hot and sticky when we arrived in the warm sunshine of late afternoon. Against all reason Emma and I desperately wanted a swim. We didn't think it could possibly be warm enough but after some waffling we both couldn't help ourselves. We both disappeared below to change into our swimsuits. We emerged up top still unsure if we would really swim. I crawled out on our kayak Banana and starting dipping my legs while Emma bravely and boldly lowered herself from the swim step and swam over to Banana. Emboldened by her swim, I lowered myself in. It felt soooo good. It wasn't nearly as icy as I had anticipated. All the boys incredulously watched from the cockpit. After a few more dips, they couldn't help themselves and joined us. It was so amazing to be swimming in May. After we had our fill, we sprawled out on the foredeck to soak up the heat from the warm teak decks. After we had changed back into dry clothing we paddled to shore to catch the the famous Hummingbird Pub Bus. After waiting at the bus stop for a while, we discovered that the pub bus is only running Fridays and Saturdays at this time of year. Bummer. So it was back to the boat for yellow curry and more music instead. Not too bad.

The following morning we were up at 5:50am so we could hit Active Pass at slack tide. The Strait of Georgia was behaving herself this time with calm winds and seas and we had a lovely sail across. Six hours later we arrived at Bowen Island with both Emma and I only slightly green from the choppy waves that developed towards the end. It has been so fun to introduce Emma to the sailing life in the Gulf Islands. She is soaking it up and loving every step of the way. We love watching the wonder of it all through her fresh eyes.

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Meet Emma

Meet Emma, our dear friend. She has been the boys' faithful and hilarious companion in classes and fun for the last six months. With great excitement and enthusiasm, she bravely accepted our offer to join us on the boat...for three weeks. So after our two lovely nights at Sucia we headed north to Sidney BC where she was scheduled to arrive the next day. The morning after our arrival we hopped on the bus to the airport where we waited in breathless anticipation for her arrival. After weeks of worrying about the proper paperwork she should carry and how her flight would go from the US to Canada we all rejoiced when she bravely walked through the arrival doors. Thank you to her family for being willing to part with her for so long and brave enough to send her our way for a sailboat adventure. We are so grateful to share this amazing experience with her and have her wonderful, sunshiny presence on the boat. Though she had been awake since 3:30am she was excited and ready for the day. After dropping her stuff off at the boat we grabbed some lunch at Bistro Suisse before hopping onto a standing-room-only bus to Butchart Gardens. Everything was in full bloom and it was so fun to watch Emma's reaction to the gardens and see it through her eyes. The kids were totally blissed out in each others company as they lingered to take photos along the way. We managed to squeeze in for the final high tea of the day where we happily drank some much-needed caffeine and stuffed ourselves silly with delicious pastries. We caught a cab back to Sidney where we ended our day at a Thai restaurant. Exhausted and extremely stuffed we collapsed into bed. The following day we grabbed a taxi and headed into Victoria for the 132nd annual Victoria Day parade. After watching our fill of the 2+hour (cut down from from previous year's 3 1/2 hours) parade we got in line at our favorite fish n' chips spot, Red Fish Blue Fish, down on the pier. After a walk along the water we stopped for tea and eclairs at Murchie's. You may be noticing a pattern here. When we are in a city we mostly just eat and eat and eat. In the late afternoon we hopped on a double-decker bus back to Sidney where we relaxed a little bit on the boat before we headed back out to, eat.

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Monday, May 18, 2015

San Juan Sweep

After a nights stay in Port Townsend we set sail for the San Juans. Our first couple nights were spent at one of our forever-favorite spots, Watmough Bay, where we hiked another lovely Mother's Day away. Our next stop was Rosario Resort. We spent our first afternoon swimming in the super cool 1920's indoor pool and showering. The next day we hired a taxi to drive us part way up Mount Constitution. He dropped us at the Little Summit trailhead. From there we hiked the last two miles to the top where we enjoyed one of our favorite views in the world before hiking the six miles back down to Rosario. We spent our next night in the tiny picturesque cove at Matia Island where we walked the winding trail below towering old-growth trees. While I was lounging about on the fore-deck in the sun I watched bald and golden eagles swoop through the anchorage and listened to the chattering of the resident guillemots. Next we made the short hop over to Sucia Island where we spent two nights in Ewing Cove. The first afternoon we were serenaded by sea lions off on a distant point. We watched them laze about and occasionally awkwardly lumber into the water with huge splashes. On a nearby rock outcropping we watched four seal pups wriggle there way up to bask in the sunshine. On land we came across a family of geese, two parents and seven goslings. We startled them as we came around a corner along a thirty foot cliff and I started to squeak about how cute they were when they did something very unexpected....they started waddling their little selves towards the cliff. My squeaks of delight turned to disbelief as I asked, "oh my gosh, what are they......aaaahhh! aaaahh! aaaahh!" We stood frozen as we watched the tiny goslings hurl themselves off the cliff to escape....us. They turned into little puffy balls and bounced down the cliff as I continued to aaaaah! aaaah! aaaah! We all breathed a sigh of relief when we saw six little puffballs stand up at the bottom and waddle there way into the water after their parents. We thought they were all safe but then we watched in horror as a seventh fell off of the cliff and landed with a sickening thud. We stood in sad silence waiting for the seventh to move when we realized....we were staring in mourning....at a rock. It was much too flat and rocklike to be a gosling....phew! A short second later the real seventh gosling appeared at a higher point on the cliff and after a moment of deliberation, bravely hurled himself off the top and landed n the waterline with a tiny splash. The brave little gosling paddled his little self into the water to join the rest of his family. It was, a waterfall of goslings...something we never thought we'd see or even imagined existed. Now I know you are thinking to yourself that this is an extremely rare sight indeed, but as it turns out I witnessed another cascade of goslings when I brought Pika to shore for a bathroom break. Crazy Sucia goslings!

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Time to Set Sail

On May 1 we finally returned to Seattle and Marinero. Our grand plan is to spend the summer on the boat sailing through British Columbia. Our week in Seattle was spent prepping for our big trip with a bit of fun sprinkled in here and there. Our first item on the agenda was checking out my great-grandparents names on a memorial dedicated to Scandinavian immigrants. I bought the spots on the plaque two years ago and have been anxiously awaiting for it to finally go up. It was cool to see our ancestors names below Leif's larger-than-life-Viking feet. Over the weekend we met a friend who works for National Geographic on their expedition ships. He gave us a tour of his boat and gave us the lowdown on what it was like to work his dream job. Later in the week the boys and I spent a morning drooling over Star Wars costumes at EMP followed by an afternoon at the zoo. We spent another day hiking through the rain to the top of Little Si. Isaac spent an afternoon in the office with Jason while Aaron and I hit the Lego store and a park. In the spirit of keeping my ancestors memories alive I punched my great-uncle's address into google maps and tracked down the house where he may have lived in 1907. Chores included three painful trips to the grocery store, where I bought obscene amounts of food. Combined with the food I ordered on Amazon Prime, the boat is full of dry goods that should last us four months....hopefully. The boat is so full of food that it is actually heeling over way more than usual, so much that I roll to that side of the bed when sleeping. There were multiple trips to Fisheries for odds and ends for the boat including a new bigger and grabbier anchor which Jason and Isaac replaced with only one crushed thumb in the process. After a week of prep we happily set sail for Port Townsend.

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