Passage Hawaii to Vancouver - Day 19
29 July 2013
I've thought of this moment for so long. We are now in Canadian waters and our long passage from New Zealand is coming to a close. I feel tremendous excitement and anticipation. My eyes search the horizon for a glimpse of our beloved British Columbia. I long to see it; the snow capped mountains, Orca whales, lighthouses dotting the coastline. Home. How sweet it is! After sailing 8,000 miles from NZ over the past 3 months, I'm ready to get off the boat. I want to be home.
There was a time when I didn't think I could do it. I didn't think I could sail all the way home to Vancouver. If you look at the map, it's such a long way. During our passage from New Caledonia to New Zealand last year we encountered a gale. That experience shook my confidence. I knew we would likely have adverse weather on a long passage to Vancouver. So when we arrived in New Zealand I Googled shipping companies to see if we could ship the boat to Vancouver. But I knew Norm really wanted to sail Sarah Jean home and complete the circle of our South Pacific sailing adventure. In the end I knew I had to do it with him. We would do it together. My mind was full of trepidation as I pondered our journey home. I was able to manage it by tackling only one nautical mile at a time.
Now the shores of home are almost within sight. I feel a huge sense of accomplishment, like a blanket wrapped around my shoulders, providing warmth and comfort. I breathe a sigh of relief. This passage from New Zealand to Vancouver has not been easy. It's been long and more like a delivery trip than a pleasant cruising experience. There were some difficult upwind days, some adverse weather, challenging light air conditions and many days at sea - 56 in total. But we did it! We made it happen, ticking off the miles one by one.
I am also acutely aware that our sailing adventure is ending. We've logged almost 25,000 sea miles in the past 3 years, visited 10 countries and enjoyed visits from our children and friends in distant lands. I've even read 98 books! We have so many wonderful memories of people and experiences, as well as thousands of photographs to reinforce those memories! We feel our perspective on the world has changed as a result of this adventure. We suspect it will continue to impact our lives in the months and years ahead.
One door is closing, another is opening. We will hold this sailing adventure close to our hearts for a long time; probably forever. But now we will be able to hold our family close. We'll sail with our kids in BC waters, hug my mom, hug Norm's dad and see more of our sisters and their children. I'll be able to pick up the telephone to call family; walk out the door to have coffee with a neighbor. We'll sit by the fireplace, take long luxurious baths, keep fresh flowers in the house, and gather with old friends. Our lives will be rich beyond measure. We have long lists of activities we want to do on land . . . for me; play the piano, quilt, garden, practice yoga. Norm wants to continue to write, share what he has learned about offshore sailing with others, and perhaps build a small wooden boat. We have so much to look forward to. We'll miss our cruising life but we know we'll be happy at home.
My heart feels ready to burst. I pull on my wool sweater, grab the binoculars and head for the bow. As I gaze at the horizon, in search of land, I know that this will be the sweetest landfall ever.