Monday, July 31, 2006

We had a great visit with our kids and grandkids. It was super to see them all. We had 4 adults and 2 kids sleeping on the boat for 3 days and we all co-existed in great style. Heather and her 2 kids arrived first and were here for 5 days and then Trish joined us for 3 days. We swam, played in the sand, visited the petting zoo, collected shells and caught minnows and crabs, explored tide pools and saw otters and starfish, caught more minnows and generally had a holiday by the ocean. On our way over to an anchorage we had the privilege of seeing a pod of killer whales that was a highlight for me. There was a young one with them and he broached 3 times, marvelous creatures.

Cassidy and Elijah were a joy to have around; they were very well behaved children. We went to a planetarium called the Centre of the Universe and took a tour around the facility. The tour guide even commented on how good the kids were. In 1918 the telescope at the planetarium was the largest in the world. It is open to the public until 11:00 P.M. and then is used for the rest of the night by astronomers for research they are doing.

I had just gotten used to having a crowd on the boat and they all went home. I suffered from pangs of loneliness for the next few days. I am really going to miss my family once we leave. With about 2 weeks before we depart we are doing all the last minute things that have to be done. My list swells and diminishes like the tide day by day, more about that later.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Juan De Fuca
We stayed in Bamfield on Tuesday because they were forecasting gale force winds of 40 knots for Juan De Fuca and rain. Today was basically the same forecast except they said the gale was going to come up later in the day so we would have more time to make it to shelter. We got up at 0415 and were underway at 0445 just after dawn. There was not wind for the first 6 hours so we motored at 5.5 knots, then about 1100 it started to pick up and we started sailing about 1230. It was blowing about 25 knots around 1500 but as it was with us it wasn't too bad, a real ride, surfing down the waves, doing over 7 knots steady. I was watching the GPS and it was recording over 8.5 knots when we were surfing and a couple of times I saw over 9 knots. By this time we only had the main up and we were just boogieing. We dropped anchor at 1730 in a nice sheltered spot about 10 miles southwest of Victoria, we will be able to make it home easily tomorrow.

Monday, July 03, 2006

We have had a relaxing week cruising around the Broken Group, a set of islands in Barkley Sound. One day we had a very persistent hummingbird buzzing around the boat, I think it liked the brightly coloured things around the boat. You would be sitting reading and all of a sudden you would hear a buzz, buzz as it bombed around the cockpit, they are quite the bird. One day we went fishing and actually caught three fish, they were small rockfish, but we kept them and ate them for supper. The next day I was reading some signs at a National Park campsite and discovered that they are a protected species and there was no way we should have ate them, OOPS!!
We cruised down to the eastern edge of the islands outside the park and there was an island that had been completely logged, except for one layer of trees around the edge. There was a logging road on the island and Barry's wish was to walk down a logging road so over we went. It was a pretty sorry site, there were old white stumps everywhere and hacked down bits of trees in piles, there had been no noticeable attempt to reforest the area, if you can believe it though, when we landed there was a For Sale sign posted just on the edge of the old logging road. I wonder who would think any sane person would want to buy that very ugly island.
Tonight we are in Bamfield, just at the southwest tip of Vancouver Island. We arrived here about noon today and spent the day walking to a lovely sandy beach. We had a great time strolling up and down the beach and scrambling over the rocks. Barry thinks the pain killers the doctor gave him have kicked in so was able to walk the distance without too much pain, we will see how his body is tomorrow.
We hope to go around the corner of Vancouver Island tomorrow and head down the Straits of Juan De Fuca. It has been quite foggy the last few mornings and they are predicting gales for the Straits overnight tonight so we will have to listen to the weather forecast in the morning to figure out if we want to head east or not. Heather is arriving with the grandkids next Saturday so we don't have to rush and can stay another 3 days and still be back in Sidney on time.