Friday, October 16, 2009

The Joy of Sailing, Life & Love…

Let’s start this 4th installment of our sailboat cruise story with a birthday cake. Admittedly not everyone thinks of birthday cakes when we speak of traveling under sail. But if the ninth month of the year is upon us the crew of AQUILA certainly gives thought to birthdays. Mine is early in September, Catherine’s a bit later and Clementine’s is near the mid-month mark. So we start this phase of our story off with an image of a birthday cake. Not just any birthday cake but one created in celebration of the passing someone’s first 17 years. You’re absolutely right – it wasn’t made for me!

Okay, we’ll use this special cake as our compass and take the topics as presented thereon; Sailing, Life & Love…
Sailing in our case, after leaving Patos Island, took the crew of AQUILA down the western shore of Orcas Island and back to Spencer Spit (see map) for a rendezvous with our good friend Richard Emery on his custom 30’ motorsailer CHAK CHAK. In the second image we have our two vessels rafted together while mooring off a state park mooring buoy. Our arrival at Spencer Spit marked a somewhat unplanned, counter-clock-wise circumnavigation of Orcas Island, the biggest ‘rock’ in the San Juan archipelago.
Our joining with CHAK CHAK marked the phase of our cruise I’ll call “Messing About” (see 'yellow' area on the map). Over the course of the next few days West Sound of Orcas Island was our home-base. As chance would have it we managed a rendezvous not only with Richard on CHAK CHAK, but our friends Janet & Jay Berube of the sailing vessel BLUE HERON. As well as another path crossing with Marjean on GRACE, and a surprise reunion with Slavek & Alicja on their Baba. That first night on the West Sound Marina dock our flotilla numbered five cruising sailboats. Jay & Janet are fellow members of Rickey Point Sail Club on Lake Roosevelt who were near wrapping up a six week cruise throughout the southern reaches of the Inside Passage. While we didn’t get a good picture of them under sail this year I’ll use a stock photo I took of BLUE HERON, a Kent Ranger 26, a couple of years ago as image #4.

In the next photo we see Alicja & Slavek approaching the fuel docks of West Sound Marina as a commercial seaplane taxies from the dock in preparation of take-off. Betwixt tides, shallows, seaplanes, other boats, kelp-beds, ferries, dinghies, crabpot floats, and whales, a skipper has a lot of moving parts to keep track of when navigating the islands.

Image #6 AQUILA dock-side and a gathering of sailors. Catherine had coordinated with our firefighting friends, Max & Jeff to stage a surprise birthday party for Clementine at their new East Sound home. As it worked out the day of our flotilla gathering coincided with the party and soon our island friends found their backyard filled with a salty (a few of us were approaching crusty) mix of sailors and firefighters. In the local jargon, “It was Skookum!”
There is a saying in reference to the idea that complex stories can be described with just a single still image, or that an image may be more influential than a substantial amount of text. It also aptly characterizes the goals of visualization where large amounts of data must be absorbed quickly; “A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS”. And in this case I have merged several photographs into one frame to tell the fun story of that special night in the backyard of Max & Jeff Jones…
But there are two photo images of that same event I will post separately and with little notation. This absolutely fun image of the birthday girl and Max…

And this one of mother & daughter. And thus we have all the elements of the birthday cake; “The Joy of SAILING, LIFE & LOVE…”

As the late, great George Harrison told us, “All things must pass” and so did our shore-side birthday party. The next day found our impromptu flotilla hoisting sail and heading off to varying points of the compass. In photograph #10 Catherine has captured an image of AQUILA hoisting her new spinnaker and ghosting along in very light air. In image #11, Marjean readies the sailing vessel GRACE for a run back to Bellingham.
In picture #12 Slavek & Alicja have the sails up and their beautiful vessel catching the breeze on a sun filled September morning as Catherine & I bid them farewell once again. Jay & Janet pointed their bow eastwards and toward the end of their very fine journey. It was great to cross wakes with them. Richard’s plan was to cruise CHAK CHAK with us for a week or so, into the Gulf Islands of southern British Columbia.
Often we have non-sailing friends ask us, “So what do you do all day long when your out on the boat?” Well along with the above we also row about exploring different bays, coves, anchorages and the like.

We visit different ports of call, like our excursion for homemade ice cream at Deer Harbor Marina (and what a nice looking crew AQUILA has been gifted with).

We visit with friends, take the time to have in-depth conversations, and often make new friends along the way.

And some evenings we play music. But rarely, hardly never are we bored...
That ends the "Messing About" phase of our cruise. In the next part of our adventure CHAK CHAK & AQUILA head north to clear Canadian Customs and the big question is, "What are we going to do with all this booze?"
Hope you join us then...
Here are some links to the places visited in this portion of the journey;

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