Farewell, O Canada!

(By Ann)
Today we crossed the border (I think the tidal change actually created a line in the water) back into the US. We celebrated with hotdogs for lunch. We are now in Roche Harbor. We celebrated with a fabulous bottle of champagne with Camembert cheese and the last pear picked from Gord and Glenda’s tree. So yummy! So much to celebrate! Five years of cruising…closing quickly.

Yum!

Sorry for the lack of blogging over the last week. We have been busy soaking in all of the last moments. And spending special time with our British friend, Carol who came to enjoy it with us. We brought Carol on board while still in the Gulf Islands with Karen and Jim from Raven. The silly singing fun of the Hummingbird Bus was followed by spectacular hiking on Wallace Island.

Followed by an even more spectacular rescue of Charisma while Carol, Bob and I hiked further. Short version…Jim and Karen ended our hike early to attend an early happy hour on another boat. When they got back to the anchorage they noticed Charisma had shifted on her stern tie and was a bit close to shore. They boarded her and set a new kedged anchor until our return. Many thanks to both of them! All is well.

We followed that excitement by taking Carol to Victoria! The welcome we received was amazing! Dancing ferries, red carpets, welcome speeches by Justin Trudeau, lots of singing of “O, Canada!”, and even a 21-howitzer salute! Okay, maybe we timed our arrival for the same time as the Royals (William and Kate and their “littles”) but I am sure it might have equally as spectacular even if the Royals were not in town. What timing! I saw their heads just 100 yards away!

In front of the venerable Empress Hotel


The plan now is to spend a few more days in the San Juans and then cross the Strait back to Port Townsend where we will begin to remove the personal items off of Charisma and get ready to show her. We already have several people very interested in her. Hopefully finding her the best new owner will not be difficult…other than letting go. Thank goodness for the memories!

We Didn’t Miss the Bus! (By Ann)

We left Vancouver early this morning and journeyed across the Strait of Georgia through Active Pass to Galiano Island. Our mission was to meet up with Karen and Jim on Raven (formerly of Sockdolager) who were meeting us carrying precious cargo…our friend Carol of Arnamentia…who is visiting from Great Britain!
Just as we cleared Active Pass the VHF cackled with our favorite British voice hailing Charisma! Carol, on board Raven, had just sighted us as they came within view of the pass. Perfect timing…Charisma Karma..call it what you like…we are just thrilled with yet one more “cruiser family reunion” (stealing a great line from Rich on Legacy). Pictures to come later.

Of course we were disappointed that John and Lisa on Figaro (formerly Orcinius) missed the reunion but it was their great info that guided us to a very unique bus ride…so I guess we were channeling them.
As recommended by the missing members, we caught the Hummingbird Bus to the pub! Who doesn’t like a free ride to a pub? This one included a very eccentric “motivational speaker” ( seriously the driver told us he travels the world giving motivational speeches!) who told stories and provided local knowledge about the island all while entertaining us with his drumming skills and loud music. And when he finally stopped to pick Jim and Bob up, initially he passed them up to have a “women only tour” but relented, allowed them on board and passed around tambourines. Silly songs ensued, a lovely dinner was enjoyed at the pub and we did a repeat coming back to the boats. On the return trip we found out that we had just enjoyed the last weekday ride of the season on the special bus…end of season! Thank goodness we didn’t miss it.

Silly as the driver was he clearly understood that life is full of blessings if we look for them. Certainly this very special cruiser family reunion is a blessing!

Is That…Emerald City?

Oh my, we’re not in Kansas anymore. We just got into Vancouver. False Creek to be specific. On the one hand it’s a spectacular spot, right near Granville Market, a huge artisan/market area. On the other hand, we’re back in the “big city”. I mean BIG. But, we’re anchored in the channel, so kinda cool. There’re tour boats, water taxis and more motoring by us. Culture shock after four months in the relative wilderness.
But a huge bonus – we got a visit from Deb and Drew from Black Dog!! We first met them in Mexico and got to know them better during the crossing, especially in Tonga and New Zealand and they live on a small island up here. How cool it was today that they came into town to drive us over to Stanley Park for a wonderful afternoon walking around lovely Stanley Park. The time just flew by and before we knew it the day was over and we reluctantly had to say goodbye.
One bonus that we’ll always be able to remember them by (besides the South Pacific voyage) is they took us to a wonderful First Nations gallery where we found a spectacular carving that we bought as a memory of this trip.

So, I just finished plotting tomorrow’s path. 36 or so miles down and across the Straight of Georgia, through Active Pass (one of the last major passes with large currents stronger that Charisma’s capabilities) at slack tide – 2:30PM and up into Montague Harbor where we’ll meet up with Jim and Karen formerly of Sockdolager and Carol from UK vessel Arnementia, who has flown here from the UK for some PNW cruising. We expect we’ll spend a few days “buddy boating” and then…who knows.
A great way to wind down our final days cruising. We’ll continue to post right until our final day on or about October First, then will go back into this summer’s post on the blog and post pictures of the wonderful places we’ve visited once we’re back in decent internet land.

On Our Way South

Well, actually east, but it seems like it should be south unless you look at a map.

Anyway, we finally wrenched ourselves away from the very lovely company of our new friends Glenda and Gordon.  Seems like we’ve known them forever.  Well, eleven days at least, eh?

Thank goodness our starter issue kept us in Secret Cove (shhhh) so we could enjoy the awesome hospitality these two offered. Such a fun stop…not expected when you are having boat issues.

Last night was a fitting final night at their house.  At sunset while sipping Charismas on their deck, we watched a bear in the woods just below us climb up a neighbor’s apple tree, break the branch, fall to the ground and contentedly munch on the apples that surrounded his fat butt!  We watched that show until dark, then started our BBQ.  While I was cooking flank steak marinated in ginger and stuff – along with asparagus in salt, pepper and olive oil on the barbie, Gordon whispered, “Deer”. (See how close we’ve grown!)  A quick look along the side of the deck and…a four point mule deer!  Huge!

All the wild animal excitement was followed by yet another lovely evening with those two.  We will dearly miss them.

But, onwards and eastwards.  We are now heading toward a rendezvous with our friends Carol (who we first met in Nuie and has flown in from the UK), and Karen and Jim formerly of Sockdolager (see our blog of 2012, “Escape from Aitutaki”) who now live in Port Townsend.  Complicated to explain, but a wonderful reunion as we head towards meeting them in Karen and Jim’s new boat “Raven” in the San Juan’s.

Whew, that’s about all I can describe as Ann and I just had a great fresh oyster dinner where we’re moored tonight and tomorrow (heavy rain in the forecast) in Gibson Harbor at the entrance to Howe Sound, about 20 miles north of Vancouver.

And that’s quite enough geography for the day.

S/V Charisma For Sale

Well, we’re not quite finished with our voyage, but in anticipation of putting Charisma on the market when we’re back in Oct, we have prepared a web site that details all her specs for anyone who is interested. Please feel free to pass the link along to friends.

www.t37charisma.com

We’ll still blog our last couple weeks as we move south through Vancouver (the city) and then the San Juans with our planned completion approximately Oct 1st

Canadian Residency

We’re stopped at Secret Cove (oops, I gave it away!) working on our Canadian residency.

Well, at the very least, we’re hanging at Gordon and Glenda’s house on the water just south of there (or “sooth”, as we say up here, eh?).

Yeah, we got here and it was sooo nice we’re having a hard time leaving.  That and a starter problem are keeping us enjoying Gordon and Glenda’s wonderful hospitality.  All starters give up sometime and I’ve kept a spare on board for just this eventuality.  So once we’ve got the new one in we’ll be off, once again heading “sooth”.

Or not.  It’s awfully nice here.

View from the back porch. Not seen: Beer in my hand.

Heirloom apple from their orchard.

 

Paddleboarding The Straight of Georgia

Well, maybe not the WHOLE straight, but today was such a nice day we jumped on the boards and paddled out so we can say we paddled there. Charisma is tucked in a little cove in Blind Bay, just south of Jervis Inlet. Such a nice spot! Granite walls, trees, lots of little coves, few other boats. And sunshine with no wind. How could we not want to jump on our boards and paddle out?

Tomorrow we head south to Secret Cove. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. It’s, well, you know…

Anyway, we’re meeting up with our new friends Glenda and Gordon, who we met in Shoal Bay a couple months ago on our way north. They live about five minutes from the little marina there and have graciously offered to host us for a day or two. We’re really looking forward to seeing them after the great time we had together in Shoal Bay.

So, we leave early tomorrow – an early start – around 0700, since the SE wind is supposed to come up by noon. We need to make the twenty or so miles south before the wind comes up.

Waiting The Rain, Heriot Bay

We’ve been at Taku Marina, Heriot Bay, Quadra Island for three days now. Some vicious wind, rain and yesterday, lightning/thunder. Yucko!

The good news is that we reconnected with lovely friends Charles and Sheri from “Danca”, a Ranger Tug 30 that we met up in the Broughtons. They live on this island and got here from their vacation a few days before we arrived on our way back south. Our very good fortune! They were nice enough to drive over, pick us up and we spent an afternoon touring “their” island by car. Such fun! Then time at their incredible home, that they have rebuilt, for cocktails and dinner at Heriot Bay Hotel. Yay! We had such a great time and hope to host them sometime down in California.

Today, the weather was still “stinky”. We decided to stay, since winds were from the ESE, or exactly the direction we need to go. So…we went for a “road hike”. We headed across island to Quathiaski Cove. Turned out to be about five miles and half way it started to rain. Hmmmm. Well, we sat under a big tree for a while, then kept on and finally made it to what is really the only shopping area on the island. A grocery, pharmacy and some misc stores, but importantly for us a really excellent cafe named Kameleon. And a great bookstore! Yay. We had a great lunch and then both bought a new book.

After that we toured a bit – an ice cream and then a coffee. We figured we’d grab some Java and call a cab. When I asked the barista about a cab, she said it’s really easier here to just hitchhike, so we decided we would do that. But, before we had a chance a nice gent who was car camping his way around said he overheard and would be glad to drive us back across the island. Uh, OK! And so it goes. Such friendliness!

Hike Across Quadra Island

Well, we had stunning weather for our hike from Wiatt Bay to Granite Bay on the other side of the island. Even the 30 plus knot winds subsided by the time we got back. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and it was warm (last time we were here the water was “bracing”…this time it was “brisk”) so Ann jumped in Newton Lake which is on the way back. A total of 8 miles, round trip, with one fairly strenuous hill. For those who may follow in our footsteps so to speak, one hint: the trail to Granite Bay drops you into a dirt road parking lot on the other side of the island with no signage of where to go from there, or how much farther to get to Granite Bay. Go right down the road to an intersection, then right again and you’ll find your destination. It’s about half mile past the parking lot.

Anyway, we did have one casualty of the high winds. While we were gone a gust blew one of the solar panels up off the strut (which I carelessly didn’t have the set screw engaged). It swung in on the hinges when it dropped and hit the hydro gen, cracking the glass top and almost punching a hole through it where it hit the gen. Total loss since the glass is all cracked, but I think it still works for now, so we taped the worst crack with clear mylar and will hope it doesn’t leak until we get back and can replace it. Oh well.

Today’s a rainy day so we’re just reading books, making banana bread and I finished the carving that we’re going to leave at the driftwood museum at the head of the bay.

Rapids!

Oh my! I totally forgot about the Upper Okisollo Rapids.

We came pretty close to a “problem”. Fortunately it pays to have good manners. As we were transiting an island group at Lower Okisollo Rapids, I made a VHF call to another yacht that was moving around us, to tell him we would stay on the “outside” of his route. We chatted a bit after the courtesy call and when I asked where he was going he said he was going to duck into Owen Bay to “wait out” the Upper Rapids. “Huh” I thought. Upon looking at the chart (really quickly) I was reminded that the “worst” of the two rapids was right ahead and we were heading right for them. Yipes! Long story short, his mention got my attention just in time to “re-plan” and duck into Owen Bay behind him. At the time, we were two hours before slack and the current had slowed us down to less than two knots speed over ground – and some of that was sideways!

So fast forward a bit and we’re here! Wiatt Bay, also known as Octopus Marine Park. It’s windy as all get out. As we were making our way around the rocks to get in here, I could see a dozen lenticular clouds above the hills. I mentioned to Ann that those cloud types usually brought high winds. Boy did I hit that. Just as we were anchoring we were being hit with 30 knot gusts. The good news is that we’re at the head of the bay so there’s no wave action, just the wind.

OK, so just wanted to check in. Hopefully the shortwave radio will send this since there’s no internets here and we’re going to be here for about four days. We going hiking tomorrow (Sunday) and then it looks like rain, sometimes a bit heavy Monday and Tuesday. The good news is that this is where the driftwood carving displays are and I’m in the process of carving our contribution! Pictures will follow – at some point ;-)