Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rebecca Spit

We spent two fun-filled nights at Rebecca Spit on Quadra Island. Sunny weather + 85 degree air temp + 73 degree water temp = a lot of swimming. Upon arrival we squeezed in a quick swim before evening cheese and crackers on the foredeck. The next morning we went for a walk on the rocky beach, searching for precious rock treasures to bring home. After lunch Jason and Isaac snorkeled off of our kayak, Banana, and we spent the next couple of hours jumping and diving and swimming off of the boat. After a drying session in the sun on the warm foredeck we had cheese and crackers and then dinner followed by a post-dinner, evening swim. We spent the evening playing a board game waiting for darkness to fall. At this point Emma and I climbed back into the water for one last swim in hopes of churning up bioluminescence. Alas we didn't manage to make the water glow but we have fabulous memories of our swim at 10:30pm.

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sailing in Jervis Inlet by Isaac

It was a sunny day at the end of May when we left Princess Louisa Inlet. There should have been rain and clouds and thunder for such a sad occasion but alas, life is not a movie. Malibu Rapids was going pretty strong when we arrived, so we pulled into Malibu Lodge to look around and eat. As we were prepping to tie on, we notice that most of the Malibu staff were engaged in the activity of rolling around on a very large deflated balloon right next to the water. Fortunately, some of them saw fit to get up and act semi-normally so we threw lines at them, which they liked. After we were tied on, one of the staff began to show us around while the rest finished rolling around and filed off the dock. She talked about the history of the place and what it was now, but I missed a lot of it because I had found a totem pole. When I looked away from my camera, everyone had disappeared, so I figured I had gotten quite enough photos and hurried on. Apparently, everyone was really fast or I take slow pictures because I later found out I only got two photos of that totem pole.

The story, near as I can remember, is that the place was built by some rich guy and other rich guys like Bing Crosby would come to the place and admire the inlet. One day they were all sitting around doing rich guy stuff when word came of a polio outbreak. Immediately everyone up and left, leaving everything as it was. Later, a seaplane carrying the head of Young Life flew through the inlet and the head decided he wanted to buy Malibu Lodge and start a new Young Life camp there. It's been a Young Life camp ever since.

We all clustered around the railing that separated the lodge from the Rapids and watched a sailboat careen through, deciding to wait just a little bit longer before we did the same given the speed he went. So we lingered a little, and we may have eaten lunch, and then we got back on the boat and pulled away from the dock. I took bow watch to look for rocks and was once again disappointed when the charts successfully predicted where the rocks wouldn't be. Mom came up and recruited Emma as a cooking partner; together, the two of them disappeared below decks to bake cookies. Some people just won't stop cooking.

Dad suggested we start sailing, though I was a little worried about the cookies. Mightn't they get all diagonal if we sailed? Who had ever heard of a diagonal cookie? I was quite sure this would not be a good thing. Nevertheless, we raised sail, and all heck broke loose below deck. Dad and I turned to each other with bewildered expressions as giggling and screams erupted from below the cabin top, and I was forced to go down and take a photo of the two cooks holding knives and other scary cooking things at a 37 degree angle. I reemerged and there was much manly chortling about the state of affairs down below, probably because we were secretly wishing we were down there too.

Emma took up position at helm after she finished baking cookies, and suddenly the boat was in our hands. Dad coached her through her first tack as I ran the sheets; if memory serves, it went quite smoothly for a first tack. I had a bit to learn myself; I had never really learned how to read a sail's trim, so I picked that up as we worked our way down the inlet.

At some point we decided that we needed good sailing nicknames. I had been reading the Destroyermen series and, likening myself to one of the crew that ran around the deck of the destroyer and did manual labor, I said, "Ooh, you could call me Deck-Ape!"

"Deck-Ape?" came the incredulous reply.

"Yeah," I said, beginning to doubt myself. "Deck-Ape."

Emma thought for a moment, then announced, "I'll call you Chimpy. It's easier."

"Ok," I said, really starting to wish I hadn't said anything. "What should I call you?"

"Capi!" she announced happily.

If you don't frequent the British Columbia coast, then I don't blame you for not knowing who Capi is. But if you do frequent that amazing coast, I have only one question for you:


Seriously. Capi is legendary. Even if you haven't read the classic The Curve of Time, surely you must of heard of Capi, or maybe even M. Wylie Blanchet!?

If I really must explain...

Capi is this amazing woman who, in the early twentieth century, moved to Victoria with her husband and acquired a small 24 foot motor boat. On their first summer, her husband went out on the boat alone. They found the boat. He was never seen again. Most people would have sold the boat. Instead, Capi started a yearly tradition of stuffing all five of her children on the boat every summer and taking off to explore the unexplored BC coast. In the book is told the stories of Henry the Whale, how John Broke His Collarbone and Accidentally Healed It Again, the Man from California, and much more. Read it.

Emma and I pulled off tack after tack, each one smoother than the last. The only exception was the tack where my ankle got caught in one of the jib sheets, causing the jib to slam across to the other side and flog wildly as I got things sorted out with the lines. Then the time came to lower sail and we motored into Egmont, tired but triumphant. There we encountered our friend Kismet. We had met the older couple on the boat in Princess Louisa, so it was pleasant seeing them again in Egmont.

We ate dinner that night at the pub, where we learned appearances can be deceiving. The pub looked bad, but the food was quite good. I think I got a pulled pork sandwich which was overflowing with sauce, but I don't remember much else. Satisfied, we all tucked into our respective beds and fell asleep.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Desolation Sound

Leaving Princess Louisa behind, we had an epic sail down Jervis Inlet. With winds on the nose at 10-15 knots we handed the boat over to Isaac and Emma. After a quick lesson on tacking the boat, Emma was off and running. She was a total natural on helm and Isaac (who somehow acquired the name Chimpy as the day progressed) smoothly operated lines. Jason and I sat back and watched as the two of them tacked us back and forth (past a couple of bears on shore), back and forth, all the way down the channel to Egmont. It was a beautiful and occasionally hilarious thing to watch.

The following morning, the kids sailed for a short while before we hit the Malaspina Strait. The winds piped up and the waves got bigger. Jason took over helm and I crawled to the front to put a reef in the mainsail. We sailed at a close reach, then a beams reach and finally turned to a broad reach, surfing down the waves. In the past these conditions would have scared the pants off of me so I was ecstatic that Emma loved all of the crazed motion. That afternoon we made it to Westview at Powell River for a re-provisioning trip. We ended up on the dock just inside the breakwater which offered no protection at all from the wind and waves pounding in from the strait so Marinero heaved up and down with the heaving docks and Pika and I (we were both a bit queasy) longed to be somewhere else. Pika was so sad about the conditions that she went on a hunger strike for two days. Poor chihuahua.

The following day we hightailed it out of Powell River as soon as we finished our grocery run and headed for Desolation Sound. Our first stop was Tenedos where we hiked to a lovely lake and had a swim. Next stop was Roscoe Bay. We had tried to get into Roscoe Bay on our last trip to Desolation but had wimped out, because it's a shallow, narrow entrance and we have a deep draft. Once inside the bay you are stuck until the next high tide since the entrance actually dries out at low tide. This time we entered on a rising tide with 1.5 feet under the keel on the port side of the boat and 1 foot on the starboard side. Yikes! We spent a couple of nights in Roscoe which allowed us to hike to the top of a 2200 foot mountain and go for lovely swim in the bath-water-warm Black Lake.

Our next stop was Manson's Landing on Cortez Island. Manson's has a huge lagoon full of more sand dollars than I thought could be possible in one place. The kids spent hours exploring the tide pools and collecting sand dollars for friends. Aaron took an abandoned clam shell and made the cutest little crab-i-tat I have ever seen. He found a tiny little crab to place in it and it was so cute I just had to squeak.

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Making Music in Paradise

We interrupted our lounging about, swimming and paddling to hike the infamous Trappers Cabin hike. It was just as steep as last time but less painful because we hiked at a more sane speed this time. Last time we completed, at death-march speed, the entire hike in two painful hours. This time our leisurely pace brought us there and back in about four hours....much more relaxing. This time I also had a water filter in my pack so we got to enjoy water fresh from the mountain stream along the way. Super delicious and satisfying. The waterfall up top was just as gorgeous as last time only running lower than last year so it was easier to poke out and enjoy the long view down the inlet. Back at the boat we immediately jumped into the water to wash the sweat and dirt away.

Later in the afternoon we met up with Chris from San Juan Sufficiency. After a dinner of fried rice, Isaac went over to Chris's boat with his guitar and the two sat together through the evening sharing songs with each other. The following evening Chris joined us in our cockpit with his two guitars and everyone played guitar and sang until Aaron fell asleep and the sun set.

The following morning we tore ourselves away from Princess Louisa to re-enter the flow of time and life (though I managed to squeeze in a last minute, parting swim before we fired up the engine). I watched the kids as they glanced back time and again trying to burn the Princess experience into their brains forever, with heavy hearts we bid her a sorrowful goodbye. She is still our favorite place on earth. We will miss her terribly.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Paradisiacal Princess Louisa

The insanely warm, sunny weather continued making Princess Louisa so extraordinarily paradisiacal we could hardly stand it. We spent our days relaxing in the hammock on the foredeck immersed in the roar of Chatterbox Falls and dwarfed by the towering mountains. We swam daily, or twice daily, or thrice daily in the 72 degree ocean water and paddled many miles in the kayaks. We made several trips to a steep waterfall that alternately pounds down steep drops and then gently streams over granite, forming pools where we washed the salt water from our bodies and grime from our clothes. We never wanted to leave. Sigh.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Arrival at Princess Louisa Inlet

Princess Louisa Inlet is one of those rare places on earth where time feels like it stands still. When we are there I feel like we step out of the flow of time and the rest of the world marches on without us. The peace, solitude and insane beauty soothe the soul and we relax into happiness.

We arrived at Princess Louisa after a night's staging at Egmont where we walked to the infamous Skookumchuck Rapids which left us sweaty and stinky for our dinner reservation at the upscale West Coast Wilderness Lodge. Perched over the water, the lodge has stunning views of the islands below. It felt strange to be sitting in such an elegant setting in our grubby clothes on our way to the middle of nowhere. The following day we made our way up Jervis Inlet and hit Malibu Rapids at slack. After making it through safely, we watched in awe as the magic and beauty of Princess Louisa unfolded. This is our second time here and I still don't have words that can describe what it is to be here. It takes our breath away.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

Blissed Out in Buccaneer Bay

First thing to know about Buccaneer Bay is that the anchoring is 0.7 miles from the beach and, in our experience, the current, wind and waves are always against you when you paddle a kayak to or from your boat. Expect to get wet. We spent two nights here and plenty of hours on the beach. Emma decided it was her favorite place on earth and that she would never leave. We spent our first afternoon wiggling our feet in shlarpy, wet sand until we sunk in up to our knees and all of the silliness that accompanies such activity. Dismayed that we hadn't worn our bathing suits, we settled on a wading session, after which the boys received their very first ballet lesson. I can't think of a more picturesque place to learn ballet and jump around like a half crazed monkey.

The next day we had a lazy morning in the boat while we waited for the misting drizzle to stop and the sun to come out. After lunch we paddled into the beach. First order of business was drip castles. Emma taught Aaron how to make amazing, stalagmite-esque castles by dripping wet sand in piles while Jason and Isaac went head to head in a long jump contest. The long jump was followed by a foot-race where Isaac totally smoked Jason. It was awesome to watch him pull away from his old man like he was standing still. Isaac and Emma had a wobbly cartwheel race that ended in giggles. All the activity left everyone hungry so we sat down to a snack. Luckily we had not made the same mistake we had made the previous day and we remembered to lock the Cheez Puffs in the hatch of the kayak. The day before we had left the Cheez Puffs out and a raven had taken them, eaten them all and then heckled Jason as he looked in vain for them. The kids then stripped down to their swimming suits and headed into the ocean. The breeze was a bit too much for us older folk to join so we watched them shiver from afar. We ended the day with a walk down the beach as we watched orcas in the strait. Pure bliss.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Bowen Island

Somebody has to stop me....I keep buying and hoarding food. I bought all of the aforementioned food when we were in Seattle. I bought more when we were in Sidney and I'm ashamed to say I went to the grocery store three times in the two days we spent on Bowen Island. I imagine the places we are headed are so remote I won't ever find food again even though we have been to many of these places and I know they do have food. It's a terrible affliction to have. 

Our eating trend continued at Bowen. After our arrival we promptly bee-lined to the French crepe restaurant for lunch followed by afternoon tea at the coffee shop. The kids and Jason then checked out a bookstore while I went to the grocery store. After showers and wifi catch-up we walked up to the pizza place and ordered pizzas for take-out. While we waited, I went to the grocery store....again. We ate our pizza dinner at the beachfront park. After dinner I stowed away our groceries and we went for a sunset walk. 

The kids were pooped by the time we got to Bowen so the following day we took it easy. The kids spent the morning around the table drawing, writing and reading together. While Jason and I were drinking our morning caffeine out on the foredeck a man walked by and complimented our boat color and nailed it as sea foam green. He then circled back and asked if we'd like a watercolor of our boat. We took him up on his offer and he set up an easel on the dock. The kids occasionally popped out of the boat to check his progress throughout the morning. The painting turned out beautiful and it now hangs on our wall in the salon. In the afternoon Isaac and Emma helped Jason apply another coat of varnish to the toe rail while I....went to the grocery store....again. We then roused ourselves out of the boat for a short hike up the hill for a gorgeous view over the water. For dinner we discovered the Japanese restaurant, Shika Provisions. We ordered grilled rice balls that bordered on divine. Seriously. We ordered five more to bring back to the boat so I could reheat them the following night. I still miss the rice balls. 

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