More than half way through! wow - where have we been, what have we done?
We have certainly learned that this boat is more than up for the challenge of going out on the Big Blue Wet Thing - though we still draw the line at 12 foot seas! We do believe we have seen some 9 foot ones... with waves on top... and the stabilizers are worth their weight in Gravol! or scopalamine - and time. Time is so important out here, because if you believe you don't have any, you'll make decisions based on where you think you HAVE to be, rather than on when it's best to do something. Stopping once in a while to smell the seaweed, or observe the otters... maybe even catch a fish... that's why we planned on 6 weeks. Sometimes it has felt like we do leave an anchorage the day after we arrive, but we've had a few layovers - some planned, some not so much. Waiting in Port Hardy to get the radar fixed was not on the agenda - and yet I found it to be a fascinating place to people watch, and otherwise we wouldn't have met James, the radar/ crab whisperer! Spending extra days in Winter Harbour while the others forged ahead because we were awaiting a Perfect Weather Window was worth it, for the wifi but also just because it's such a pretty place and the people who work and play there are great. Curtis the constantly grinning and always busy dock hand - also working towards becoming a Physiotherapist... who knew??
Learning about how people get to where they are and why they do it is fascinating! Unfortunately the PWW never did materialize, or we missed it, but regardless, the dreaded Brooks Peninsula came and went and we survived. Like a martini - shaken, but not stirred.
Trying to make our time with Sea Level last, we bumped along at a good pace for a while, but I think we saw what we came to see - and made the most of the time there as we moved along. Now that we are down to two boats, we are slowing the pace, and although we have a hard and fast ETA and destination, (pick up Valerie in Tofino) I'm all for hanging around for a few days before we get back out and move down the coast. I have to say, it will be a different kind of civilization - even Hot Springs Cove doesn't much appeal to me, especially after Cam and Kim's description of it when they arrived there... float planes, fast boats, all disgorging numerous passengers to trek up the path to the fabled baths in the wood. Need a soak? take a number... though I assume we will get there, anchor out ( again, with numerous other boats, something we have not had to do on this trip!) and wait until after 6 or even before 9 the next morning before we venture ashore.
However I have to resign myself to the fact we are moving steadily towards the land of more boats, more kayaks, more people...
It's interesting, we really only know of about a dozen boats who we have seen off and on during this trip. Some we have reconnected with, others have disappeared after an extra day at an anchorage. Sailboats glide by us and move on - although there have been a few that we've been playing tag with.
Judging by the reception we get at some of these marinas ( and the shape of the docks! we ripped a whaler out of our piece of the dock shortly after we tied up at Tahsis... rotten to the core... and we weren't the biggest boat in the gang!) it's as if they don't see many larger boats coming in. Maybe most of the big boats anchor out? We're certainly not the biggest around, but the three together have drawn some attention, especially in Zeballos. I would sure love to see more yachties venture in to places like that and spend some money! There may not be any groceries there, for numerous reasons, but that doesn't mean you can't go to the restaurants. We enjoyed several meals at the hotel, where Dave from Mexico ( !!! ) was the stand-in cook with his wife, while their friends who own the place had gone down to Mexico for a visit. The food was fantastic - all fresh fish, and as authentic mexican as you can get, in that it was true to how they would cook back home. (blueberry jam the next morning was to die for, Colibri managed to snag the last jar for their boat... incredible stuff!)
I talked to the owner of another fishing "resort", as he was getting ready to take a bunch of kayakers out - after he told us some scary cougar stories, he suggested we should have tried his restaurant because he has a "real chef", and if we wanted supplies we could have asked at the little store close to the docks and he would have sent whatever we needed down... (fresh stuff... the little stores around there only sell candy and pop and very old jars of spaghetti sauce and hamburger helper)
As we walked through the town, the very run-down buildings looked sad and in need of paint, but there are signs of rebuilding and renovation, as the firehall was being totally and carefully re-sided and painted, and other buildings were being lifted and updated. A good sign.. and the museum was absolutely fascinating! Also, everyone who saw us said hi - no matter the age! The other amazing thing about Zeballos was the water. We were told it came from a well, 200 plus feet deep - I don't think I've ever tasted such good water, so much so that we happily used up the water in our tanks and filled up. It won't last long, and I hate to waste it on our laundry and the head.... but we enjoyed gallons of it at the restaurant whenever we could!
A totally different experience from Tahsis, which has created a little floating Margaritaville. Wifi, right there... JImmy Buffet Music piped in, lights and signs and everything Mexican/Caribbean - fish cleaning stations lined up like a surgeon's operating theatre and barbecues everywhere. It was a dog friendly place, and puppies raced around like mad things, as the waitress brought us drinks and an amazing lunch - however, it closed at 8 at night and didn't do breakfast! So we missed out on dinner .... had a glass of wine while we did our wi-fi-ing, but no meal. A fun place - the town was small, obviously, and the general store sold a bit of everything but well stocked - and the hardware store again had a bit of everything, very friendly service - the marina provides a car so you can drive in and drive out, or you can walk. The old church above the marina houses an arts and craft co-op, which is one of my favourite things to poke around in, all locally made stuff and watched over by one of the artisans ( I bought some beach glass jewellery from her!) Once again we heard the cougar story... only this time it was "shut the door behind you, my neighbour just told me a cougar walked by his house a few minutes ago". Very unnerving.
Now we are swinging in Bodega Cove anchorage, getting ready to leave. We had a lovely night, have tried fishing pretty seriously twice... and crabbing... and prawning. No luck on any front. However we did have fun bouncing around out there with all the fishing boats, listening to their carefully worded secret code messages..... "yeah, I"m at the Eagle Disco Ball.... got a bunch of little ones.."... " got one in the box, fishing the beach... and a bunch of little ones..." .. and so on. Guess we need to learn the language if we want to catch fish. Funny thing , though, we were out there with between ten and twenty boats... so we obviously were where the fish were! Only almost got run into once... some dingbat in a go-fast kill'em all kinda boat headed right at us (we were the two yellow-clad duffers in Tilly hats poodling around in an inflatable... scary)... finally veered away from us about twenty feet away, missed us by that much! His wake didn't miss us though. Idiot. Gave him what for... one finger salute... anyway..... hope he wasn't the one boat out there that caught a 25 pounder. Karma dictates that he gets nada!
So tonight we are going to Santa Gertruda, I think - not more than an hour away. Rumour has it there is a nice hike to a very warm lake, and it's a good anchorage. We heard that Friendly Cove was a bit rocky and rolly, so we would like to avoid that. If we want to go see what's up there we can take the dinghies..
Just got a radio call from one of those boats that we've met on this trip - the Fleming... they are just ahead of us, one jump ahead of us, as it were. Sounds like they are heading down into Clayquot tomorrow... we will have to see what the weather holds! Right now it is grey and windy and looks like rain! tutt tutt! good news is I have a pot of fish soup/stew on the stove, I think it will be a perfect night for that! Channeling Valerie and her bouillabaise.... of course, no where near as good - but we will raise a toast to Val and Bill while we eat it! And hope that we will all have a chance to enjoy the real thing next year when we go up to Alaska ( including the Aussies, of course!!!)
No pictures, this is coming via the magic of our satellite telephone... : ) so I"m keeping it simple. One thousand words is worth one picture, or something like that!
We have landed in Bodega Bay! After a lovely trip down Tahsis Inlet... sun was shining, no wind to speak of... we wended our way through Princessa passage and found a spot in Bodega Bay....only other boat here a sailboat flying numerous courtesy flags, which indicates,I suppose, that they've been many more places than we have! If they are still here tomorrow maybe I'll jump in the kayak and go ask them about it. ( I'm hoping we stay, especially if we have success with crabs and prawns... and I know the fishing is good, we just have to find the right spot and use the right bait and get to the correct depth... isn't fishing relaxing!!! )
Colibri anchored, we rafted, and after a bit of puttering and putzing we jumped into our respective dinghys and went out with crab pots, shrimp pots, and fishing rods. I reckon it was about 4:00 when we went out... had a great time, wind came up and then died down, we were surrounded by other fishing boats.... finally decided to call it a day when we heard someone on another boat call in and express surprise at the time... 8:00 p.m. Wow. time flies when you're having fun~! We caught one small small rock fish, which we threw back... after that, nothing. But no problem... a bad day fishing yada yada yada...
Learned this morning while I was hooked up to wifi why I don't do news while we are away... found out about my favorite Glee Star... SO SAD.... sniff... RIP Cory....Finn...
still waiting to hear about royal birth announcement... but after this morning, not keen to check the news again.
Otherwise, it continues to be a great holiday and adventure...I see we have TV reception, and there is James Bond movie playing. Seems somehow wrong! Hmmm... especially as right now he is scuba-ing through a sunken ship full of missiles. Not too keen on the sunken ship angle here!
Heard from Kim and Cam and sounds like they are well on their way down south, stopped in Hot Springs Cove!!! I'm a bit leery of going in if it's going to be really busy, but I guess we can wait until the evening when everyone leaves! we'll see....
We are missing them tonight! Hope things are going well for them...
dinner is almost ready, some salmon we caught a while ago... and salads and nice food...
so ttfn!!!! we are dreaming of crabs and prawns and hopefully salmon tomorro
The day has dawned bright and clear and calm. The bright and clear looks like it's here to stay, but the calm - not so much. I am sure that the wind will pick up fairly shortly, probably just in time for us a leave the dock and attempt to maneuver ourselves through the rather interesting breakwater ( left, right, left, spin around, turn around, touch the ground... oh lord i hope not... then right again.. and you're out... maybe)....
Right now I am sitting on the deck using the wifi watching the other boaters and their computers. One couple has a table each, with their computers, printers, keyboards, mugs of coffee, all spread out... the price we pay for going away for a summer, I guess, is to remain connected!
So the fishing closed yesterday for this area until October.. talk about timing is everything.. however we can fish further out and so hopefully we can do that later today. I can only imagine what it would be like to catch one of the fish that I am seeing coming off the boats here! I'd have to empty both my freezers!
We never did see the cougar that has been wandering around town... came close once or twice, maybe that's as close as we want to be... we have seen the local eagles, otters and seals feeding off the table scraps put out by the fishermen.
Seems odd to start the day without Sea Level! Hope to hear from them soon about where they are and how the trip down is going. Ourselves, I think we are looking forward to getting back off the docks and into some quiet cove for a few days. I feel as if we are nearing civilization - arrghhhh~!!!!! which means ..... no, I won't say it. Days and days and days to go!!! Carpe Dieme!!!! grab the fish!!!!
THis is amazing! beautiful trip up the inlets, a bit windy coming up to Tahsis, we have come up to the store which is amazing and the restaurant which is great fun. Now I see the allure of this place! Kim and Cam finally saw a bear and cubs.... and got up close and personal with an otter... excellent!!! finally some wildlife!
We are enjoying this fabulous weather, still.... it may change... but I see people with really big fish and thinking this may be a place to stay ... fishing.... restaurant.... bartender called Bernard... well life could be perfect... oh, and wifi...
time to eat and finish my cider... talk later!!!!
we have had a great afternoon, lunch on the porch... then appies on Allan and Caryn's boat... we watched some really big fish being cleaned, only to find out that the fishing is closed as of today, until October!!! However we can go out closer to the mouth of the sound and fish there.. so maybe tomorrow??? we said goodbye to Kim and Cam and then we found out there are cougars roaming around the town. wow. I am keeping my eyes open but it's not happening. All I see are dogs.. many, many dogs. This is a dog town. And me without my dog... : ( there are days I am happy he's not with me, and days like today I'd love to have him here! We came up for a later dinner to the dock restaurant, margaritaville.. only it closed at 8:00. She let me buy some drinks but that's it.
This is such a different place from Zeballos... totally different vibe, this pseudo Jimmy Buffetville on the dock for one thing, really attractive to boaters. Unfortunately the docks are less than stellar, we have ripped out one of the whalers as most of them are rotten to the core. We have moved a bit and managed to find relatively stable timbers, but I don't think I'd like to be a bigger boat in a huge wind. Speaking of wind, it was stinking strong in one direction as we came in, then shifted 180 degrees and blew from the other direction later... now it is dead calm. The way I love it. Jimmy Buffet is playing in the background, local kids are hanging out on the dock, we are wi-fi-ing like mad...