Friday, September 9, 2016

Drying out in Ucluelet

Our original plan was to stay in Barkley Sound four nights but after night three of rain we threw in the towel and headed to Ucluelet where we could fix our heater. The entire month of June was cold and after so many weeks of rain and cool weather we were desperate to get the boat dried out so we were happy to raft up to another boat (which we found out later was the boat of the guy who warned us off the public docks in Tofino!) on a dock so we could plug in and set out our dehumidifier. What a relief! After weeks of damp everything we were finally able to dry out.

It rained through our first day in Ucluelet which gave me a chance to get all of our laundry done while Jason and Isaac fixed the heater. They have super funny stories to tell about maneuvering our forty pound hot water tank in the tiny space below the cockpit. As their giggles evolved into laughter they slowly lost strength while the water tank fell, squished Isaac and caused even more laughter. There was some doubt as to whether they'd ever make it out alive.

That night Jason and I went on a date but first we walked over to a wood-fired pizza place and grabbed a pizza for the boys to eat while we were gone. After three months without a date, we treated ourselves to dinner at Norwoods where we both consumed a deliciously prepared piece of fish. As good as it was it couldn't top the uber-delicious halibut braised in butter and white wine over carrots accompanied by a boat-made loaf of rustic bread I had made just a few nights earlier in the boat. I miss that dinner. Sigh. I digress. We had a lovely date and it was so nice to spend some relaxing, uninterrupted time together. When our waitress found out we were from Montana she let us know that the bartender was from Montana and she would send her over. When we met we discovered that we graduated from the same high school in the same year. It was really highlighted what small world we live in and given that I had no recollection of her, it confirmed that my memory really does suck.

The following day brought sunshine so we pulled apart the boat. All of our wet clothes came out of the shower and every drippy item was pulled out of the moldy sail locker. The decks were strewn with an explosion of sails and foulies everywhere. I busted out the vinegar and mold killer and set to work wiping away all of the mold we had carefully cultivated over the last soggy month. Though I had been wiping the boys' cabin clean on a weekly basis the wet weather was an inviting climate for mold to quickly grow back. I took this opportunity, with the help of the sunshine and dehumidifier, to at long last conquer all the mold I could find and allow those spots to dry completely before we piled everything back into the boat. While everything dried out in the sunshine we headed into Ucluelet for a yummy lunch at a sweet organic bakery before hiking out to a light house where we had splendid views over the graveyard of the pacific. When we got back we piled all of our now dry things back into our dry boat. I can't tell you how good it felt to once again have a dry, mold-free, clean boat.

The following day brought more heavy rain as we anxiously awaited the arrival of our niece, otherwise known as Emma 2. Emma 2 is another adventurous soul who eagerly jumped at our offer to bring her onto the boat. We knew it wouldn't be easy given that we were circumnavigating Vancouver Island which can make timing tricky and uncertain, but as luck and weather would have it, we made it to Ucluelet before her arrival. We had a plan all laid out for her. She would fly into Victoria airport, take a taxi to the bus station and hop onto a bus that would drive her the five hours to Ucluelet. What could go wrong? Turns out, all it took is one piece of the cog to fail and the rest of the plan collapsed. I received a text from Emma in the morning informing us that her flight out of Boise had been delayed which meant that she would miss her flight out of Seattle which would delay her arrival into Victoria which would cause her to miss the final bus to Ucluelet. Warg. We immediately hopped onto the Internet to try to fix the problem. Our first thought was seaplane. After thorough exploration we determined this was cost prohibitively and timing-wise impossible. Taxi? Also super expensive. Rent a car? Oops...she left her driver's license in Iceland (we told you she was adventurous!) Finally after all options had been explored over the course of the day, as she inched her way ever-closer in our direction, we decided she should stay in a hotel in Victoria and catch the morning bus. I happened to be in an organic grocery when we decided this so I spent a creepy amount of time in the tiny nook-and-cranny store booking a hotel for her. The cashier kept checking on me in the back to make sure I wasn't looting him...perhaps he sensed my saltiness and thought I was a savvy cyber-pirate since my nose was buried in my phone making the hotel reservation? I did spend an excessive amount of time there so I can understand his concern.

With a final plan laid out I slogged through the pouring rain to find the restaurant where the boys were eating so we could head back to the boat. We got back to the boat about a half an hour before Emma's plane was to land in Victoria when Jason heard back from a person he had left a message with earlier in the day. His name was Keith and he was a tour guide for cruise ship passengers and he was up for the adventure of picking Emma up at the airport and driving her to Ucluelet. I quickly texted Emma letting her know plans had changed, yet again, and Keith who would be picking her up. He could be recognized because he was wearing a purple shirt that says Kiki Shuffle. My response to this was "What?!? Seriously. Kiki Shuffle? Who is this guy?" Turns out he gets wonderful reviews on Yelp and he was for real. At this point I will start to call Keith, Super Keith. Super Keith dropped off his grandchild he was babysitting, hopped into his van and sped away to the airport. When he arrived he couldn't find Emma anywhere. At this point I had received a text from her that her bag had been lost. So Super Keith wandered through the airport with me on the phone trying to locate Emma. Emma was still behind customs so it took a while. Meanwhile poor Emma was cycling between the Delta and Alaska Air desks trying to locate her bag. On our end we realized that if she left the airport without her bag she wouldn't see it again until we dropped her back at the airport in nine days. Luckily Emma and I are roughly the same size so I suggested she could borrow clothes from me and we could buy her some undies when she got to Ucluelet. Emma was just about to accept this as her fate when her bag miraculously appeared on the next flight. At long last a worried Super Keith and Emma met in the airport and after showing her all kinds of official documentation as proof of being a tour guide they hopped into his van and away they sped. During her five hour drive we were lucky enough to spend time visiting with another couple I had met while I was doing laundry way back in Port McNeill. At long last our paths had crossed again so we spent a lovely evening aboard their Valiant 42 sharing stories of adventures circumnavigating Vancouver Island. After leaving her home in Boise at 7am, being put through the air-travel wringer, Emma finally arrived in Ucluelet at 9pm still smiling where we welcomed her with open arms. Welcome to the boat Emma! Thank you Super Keith of Kiki Shuffle for coming to the rescue and delivering Emma safe and sound!

Click here for photos.

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