Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Backing Down

Gray dawn early last Tuesday we rousted ourselves to sail around the north end of Vancouver Island. First, though, we listened to the latest weather report, which had been revised and predicted strong southerlies for days in the future, very unfavorable for rounding Cape Scott and the Brooks Peninsula. As he is prone to do, the Captain mumbled something about the wind always blowing in our faces. Something in the mate snapped - I said, OK, let's just sail downwind. We could ride the northwest wind, still strong on the east side of the island, back down the way we came, with the added bonus of a return to the warm waters at the north end of the Georgia Strait.
So we backed down, a move with a spectacular payoff. We had two long Spinnaker runs coming down the Johnstone Strait, a wonderfully quiet and comfortable way to sail, and perfect sunny weather to boost. Since then we have had five more warm and sunny days, with fine sailing each day, and afternoons back to the shorts and barefeet we enjoyed in Mexico.

Monday, July 13, 2009


We have reached the north end of Vancouver Island, where we have encountered fog, rain, and cool temperatures. After an astonishingly sunny and warm May and June, this is not cause for complaint. But it does make things feel quieter, make one more contemplative. After traveling in a fog whiteout for an hour or two, the appearance of a shoreline seems miraculous. Sensory deprivation whets the appetite, and the fading in and out of elements of scenery have a hypnotic effect. I think about how I might paint the trees in fog, and imagine layers and layers of thin, transparent oil paint.

But when the fog lifts, it's back to excitement and high spirits. Chores and repairs are almost done. Time to round Cape Scott and head down the west coast!