Thursday, July 2, 2015

Farewell Emma

Emma's last day of sailing did not disappoint. The winds in the strait of Georgia decided to give us a wild ride. We started the day by sailing off of our anchor which is always pretty cool. After that we had a brisk downwind sail until we turned the corner into Discovery Passage. Here we found ourselves at the front of the Van Isle race with 20+ knots of wind on the nose. We kept our lead for a short time but the front running boats were wicked fast so they quickly caught and passed us even though we were averaging 10-11 knots with current behind us. We had wind against tide within the passage so the waves were stacking up steep. As we bashed through the crazed 4-5 foot, super-steep waves I went forward to put in a reef (I should have put in two) to calm the motion of the boat a bit. Then, in an effort to stay out of the the race boats path, we took a tack into a tidal convergence zone and got bucked around like crazy lemurs as we executed the tack. It was pretty uncomfortable and we decided we wouldn't do that again, however, the entrance to April Point was a raging tidal zone we had to cross. Once safely out of the wind, waves and tide, we dropped sail and slid into our slip exhausted and starving. I still can't get over how tiring it is to manhandle a boat through those kind of conditions. It's a super great workout. We bee lined to the lodge for dinner where we looked over the crazed water we had just passed through. We sympathetically watched the water taxi that shuttles vacationers between April Point and Painters Lodge bounce wildly across Discovery Passage and thanked our lucky stars we weren't in that boat.

The following morning waters were calmer so we bid Marinero farewell and hopped on the water taxi over to Painters Lodge where a rental car and a drive down to Victoria awaited us. After being on the water for five weeks it was strange to get into a car. It was crazy to cover the distance that had taken us three weeks in a boat in just three hours. We arrived at the Oak Bay Hotel where we all slipped into our bathing suits and hotel robes and headed down to the warm mineral pools that look across Haro Strait into the U.S. After swimming we all took decadent showers to make up for the fact that we had only had two in the last three weeks. After living on a boat for a while, it's so weird to re-enter land life where there is unlimited water, electricity and wifi, and easy access to food. The following morning we all packed up and sadly climbed into the car to bring Emma to the airport. At the airport, after many hugs, we bid Emma a tearful goodbye and waited while she went through security, until we could no longer see her. Thank you, Emma, for joining us on Marinero. Thank you for all of the laughter and adventurous spirit you brought with you. It was absolutely infectious and we loved having your sunshiny presence on the boat. We loved watching you grow and learn so much along the way. You are an amazing crew member and you have an open invitation to join us anytime on the boat 8). We miss you so much. *sniff*

We sadly left the airport and ate a melancholy lunch at a farmhouse bakery before starting north up Vancouver Island. We have always wanted to check out the mountains inland from Comox so we took this opportunity to do a bit of inland exploring. Here's what we realized throughout the day. As we drove down the highway with everyone else, on roads that look like everywhere, it felt like our souls were being sucked out of our bodies. We thought it would be so cool to rent a car and check out all of this country that we couldn't see by boat but somehow it only depressed us. There are so many tiny, quaint places that we have pulled into by boat that have seemed like little magical pockets of civilization and my imagination fills in what is beyond. But what I found is that my imagination does a much better job of filling in the landscape than people. Being in a car on the highway beyond those places almost ruined it for us because now we knew what was beyond those magical pockets and it was just the ordinary. We drove through Cowitchan, a place we have stopped many times on the boat and it seemed just ok instead of dreamy. It was kind of a bummer. In the evening we settled into a hotel room in Courtenay. We tried to drown our sorrows with a fabulous although somewhat subdued dinner at Locals (we were still missing Emma) which was quite delicious. The following morning we headed out to the Strathcona Provisional Park. The road to Strathcona was littered with clear cuts, pillaged mountainsides, and the park sat adjacent to a ski area. Aside from these detractions, our hike through the park was quite lovely. At this point all we wanted was to be back at home on Marinero and continue sailing, so we hit the highway for Campbell River. Along the way we stopped to feed my addiction (and my family) with one more grocery run. To be continued.....

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