Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Village Channel

Village Channel, originally uploaded by macatay.

We have made good progress north and west, and are anchored tonight at Crease Island, about twenty miles short of Alert Bay. We have returned to this anchorage at every opportunity since we discovered it a few years ago. From here we can look out at Village Passage, dotted with islands that were traditionally the sites of of Indian camps or communities. The best known - Mamalilaculla - is just a few miles away. A few buildings and poles still stand there, nearly buried in the high blackberries and young alder trees that are fast reclaiming the site. All through these channels, we come upon white beaches that are actually middens - piles of shells left from years of inhabitation. It's easy to paddle from one island to another, there are protected channels and back passages to keep a traveler out of exposed water. There is a sense of neighborhood, shared locality. Community would be possible.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Buddha

On a warm sunny afternoon last week, we dropped our anchor in a beautiful spot, in a small cove with steep cliffs along one side. As we worked at the business of anchoring and making a meal, we both noticed an interesting niche, high up in the cliffs, and what looked like a Buddha, placed carefully in the opening.

Now, the eye always tries to make sense of what we see. A log looks like an alligator, a rock looks like a big house, a pile of logs looks like a sandy beach. So we figured that was just another odd rock up there. Finally we looked at it with the binoculars – it was a Buddha. Does the photo at the left give you an idea of how high up this is, or how beautiful this vista? We did some climbing on this cliff, and weren’t able to get even close to the Buddha’s cave.
I’ve never been big on monuments or memorials, much less cemeteries. But if this Buddha was set there in memory of someone, it is a fine gesture. To me it seems like a salute to beautiful and remote settings, to laughter and joy at what the world has to offer, and to the powers of observation.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Oyster Catchers

We are making progress on our northward journey, and are currently anchored in Tenedos Bay in Desolation Sound. This morning, in flat calm water, we kayaked for miles along the shoreline. When the water is still like this, it is possible to paddle in a leisurely and absent-minded fashion, hugging the rocks and tidal flats and getting great views of birds, flowers, and sea critters.
These rare Black Oyster Catchers have become favorites. Our bird book suggests that they look like crows smoking carrots, an image which, once imagined, can't be forgotten. They poke around the intertidal zone and on rocky outcrops, stepping carefully and deliberately on their skinny pink legs. It seems as if they might topple over at any moment, since their bills seem way too big for them. Great entertainment!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Boat Bread

Boat Bread, originally uploaded by macatay.

For three summers, I have been trying, without success, to make good bread in Indigo's small oven. I haven't been able to produce bread that satisfied the taste we've developed living near great bakeries in the big city. No crisp crust, no tantalizing aroma. A few months ago, our generous friend Jane sent along bread recipe from the New York Times called "No Knead Bread". This bread rises for 18 hours, then is cooked in a casserole inside a very hot oven. I was skeptical: my largest casserole is two quarts, and I have never tried to heat our small oven to its hottest setting. A few days ago, I came across a rave review of this same recipe, and decided to try to adapt it. I made a 2/3 sized batch, and cranked up our oven to the max. Fantastic results, as shown in the photo above. The Captain gobbled up the bread, all the while fussing about how much propane was required to bake the stuff. Then he got a gleam in his eye, grabbed his tape measure, and headed topside to figure out where to stow more propane tanks.

Friday, May 18, 2007

More Rust

More Rust, originally uploaded by macatay.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Nanaimo, BC

Another fine day, with kayaking in the early morning sunlight, followed by good sailing nearly all the way into Nanaimo. We are working on a few odd maintenance and provisioning projects here. We are also trying to refine the connection between our single side-band radio email blog posts and their final appearance on the blog. That's the excuse for more rust photos, although I personally really like the wierd effects.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Maps and Misadventures

Maybe you read this blog in the hopes that we will reveal our foibles. If so, here’s a treat for you: yesterday we left a faucet running and drained our main water tank, scraped rocks trying to squeeze into an attractive little cove, and took an awkward several tries before we were able to set our anchor.
Or – maybe you read this blog in order to follow our progress. If that’s the case, you might like to click on the link on the right hand bar called “Position Reports”. This will take you to a web page showing the locations of the users of the ham radio network that provides us with email when in remote locations. To find our location, you must work a little: scroll way down the alphabetical list of ham license numbers in the right hand column to find ours: KE7GWX.
A small window opens up and points to our last reported position. At the bottom of the window, you can click on “View position reports for KE7GWX”, and that will give you a small map like the one shown above, plus some other options for viewing our current location.
So now you can see just where on the map we are currently geeking along, alternating between adventures and missteps, between awed appreciation of the sublime natural beauty all around us and stark terror at the speed with which nature can trip the unwary.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Marvelous Rust

Marvelous Rust, originally uploaded by macatay.

I've been having difficulty posting to the blog by email, but I finally solved the problem. I'm posting this image to celebrate - I keep finding amazing patterns and colors made by rust in the marine environment. Just an odd little image to share my discovery.

Shirtsleeve Weather and Cirrus Clouds

We continued our northbound travels today, with sun and the warmest temperatures yet this year. It was shirtsleeve weather except in the wind, which still has an icy quality. At noon, as we ate leftover birthday pizza and tacked back and forth across the Swanson Channel, we encountered this dramatic display of cirrus clouds in the blue sky. Our trusty cloud book, given to us by our old friend Ann last fall, explains that cirrus clouds are ice particles. When combined with very warm weather, that can signal a probably return to cooler temperatures. That's no surprise to us, but we still have warm weather as it turns dark on Galliano Island.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Back in Bedwell Harbour

We are back in Bedwell Harbour after ten days in Victoria. Victoria offers lots of distractions: the endless activity of seaplanes and ferries coming and going from the Inner Harbour, shopping, great restaurants, chandleries and book stores, kayaking in the Gorge. I’ve never managed to make a sketch or painting in Victoria – when we are there we are always too much entertained and diverted.
Today we sailed back north up the Haro Strait – the body of water shown in the left of this photo. Sam has joined us, taking advantage of the annual double whammy of Mother’s Day and his mother’s birthday. This is a major birthday – 60 – and has been celebrated now for nearly a full month. I will not go quietly into older age. We just finished a fine dinner of steak and potatoes and salad, and are still listening to the Blues on KPLU out of Tacoma, maybe the last evening it will be possible. We really do plan to head north after dropping Sam off on Monday, leaving behind croissants, fine Blues radio, and easily accessed high speed internet.