Voyages of Sarah Jean II

Passage Hawaii to Vancouver - Day 20 - LANDFALL!

30 July 2013
Norm
It's Tuesday morning. We are immersed in thick pea soup fog. The wind has died. The seas are calm; there is no horizon; only misty whiteness all around. We could be flying through a cloud bank. Our AIS system shows 25 active targets: that is to say other ships that are out here with us milling around in the fog. We have dodged a few freighters and one large fishing boat. They declined to change course for us. We are but a mere sailing vessel amidst these steel behemoths.

A few minutes ago we ran over a drifting bed of bullwhip kelp. A strand continues to trail from the rudder behind us. Earlier this morning Beth spotted an enormous log. Hewn from the Coast Mountains, destined for a saw mill, the log had somehow escaped being converted into 2 x 4's and had run away to sea. Perhaps there are more out here. A humpback whale just emerged from the fog; a shadowy leviathan escorting us as we approach land.

We have taken down the protective BUBBLE of TRANQUILITY. The plastic panels were coated with dew, restricting visibility. Beth and I are taking turns now, watching intently for boats, logs, whales and other hazards of seafaring in the Pacific Northwest. With Ucluelet and landfall just a few hours away, we are taking no chances.

Despite the damp and foggy conditions the excitement level aboard Sarah Jean is high. We are stoked! We are ready to arrive! The ritual of preparation has begun. Dock lines have been dug out. Anchor pins have been removed and the windlass tested. Passports have been located. Flags have been run up the mast. As Beth said yesterday, this will be one sweet landfall!

Thank you for joining us on this long passage; for keeping us company. Our journey is not quite over. We will stay in Ucluelet for a day to see friends and then head to Victoria's Inner Harbor where we will meet more friends. On Friday we will officially end our trip from New Zealand when we pull up to our mooring in Campbell Bay on Mayne Island.

In other news, when we left Joanna, she had been swept out to sea in a tiny dugout canoe, her fate unknown. This next installment of our story will take a turn as we meet Jim and Katie who are cruising through the islands of Vanuatu aboard their sailboat, Vision Quest. Do you see where this is going? Written between naps and night watches, my plot is not too complex.

Watch for Chapter 11 - Homecoming - the climatic finale, to be written and posted in a few days as we journey down the Strait of Juan de Fuca, when not watching for logs and whales.. This will be where I clumsily attempt to pull everything together and produce a satisfying conclusion for you.

***

VISION OF JOANNA - A Continuing Bog Adventure Set in Vanuatu

CHAPTER 10 - Vision Quest

Spray flew into the warm morning air as sailing vessel Vision Quest cut through rolling sapphire sea; her sails pulling her urgently forward, her long varnished bowsprit shining in the sun, pointing the way southward towards Ambrym.

Jim stepped out of the companionway into the cockpit carrying two cups of coffee. "That was quite a storm last night; pretty intense! I never thought we'd be down to a third reef in Vanuatu!"

Katie was curled up on a cushion by the helm. She looked up from her book. "Yeah, I know. The wind hit 30 knots on my watch! Glad that's over." She uncurled her legs and stretched. "This morning's forecast looks really good though; light winds for the next four or five days. It's perfect for visiting Ambrym! The anchorages there are so exposed."

Jim sat down beside her, scanned the horizon for boats, and took a big sip of his coffee. "I can't wait to get there." he said excitedly, looking forward through the rigging as if searching for land. "I've been dreaming about this for years. I hope Abraham Komo is still there in Ranon. I think that's the village where he lives. His work is amazing! That one piece I had in the gallery last year was exquisite!" Katie smiled, nodded and went back to her book. Jim always got so excited about meeting a new South Pacific artist, especially a wood carver. Jim continued, "Ambrym is a pretty remote place, Katie. I bet the locals there could use some of your nifty spectacles. They'll be a flotilla of canoes paddling out the boat to see you!" Katie smiled again. She knew he was right. Like Jim, she couldn't wait to get there.

Jim, a retired high school art teacher, had always loved the rich and vibrant artwork of the South Pacific, each culture with its own unique style. His personal collection had led to the establishment of a small gallery which had blossomed into an emporium of South Pacific art treasures. In just five years Jim had establishes himself as an expert; the person to see in New Zealand. And Vanuatu, its culture raw and primordial, was proving to be quite the treasure chest; the boat was filling higher and deeper with each new anchorage they stopped at.

Katie was a retired optometrist; an eye doctor. She had accompanied Jim to remote tropical islands of the Pacific on many of his art seeking expeditions. She had always come away from these trips appalled by the inadequate eye care available - the challenges of many seniors and children who had no access or could not afford it, even if available. Five years ago she had decided to do something about it. Selling off her lucrative optometry practice, she had set out to find a solution.

After several frustrating years of experimentation Katie developed a whole new concept in eye wear. She named it Kiwi Kwik Glasses. In the end, the idea was very simple; heavy duty low cost plastic frames coupled with mass produced off the shelf standard prescription lenses that could be snapped into the frames with a special tool. Inexpensive prescription eye glasses could now be built in minutes! The finishing touch was to make the lenses photo sensitive so they would darken, becoming protective sunglasses in the intense tropical sun.

Katie had the rugged frames made in three standard sizes: men, women and children. For each she ordered a huge stock of snap in lenses, enough to last an entire season in the tropics. Katie planned to refine her new system in the field, spending a complete season in the remote villages of Vanuatu, prescribing and fitting Kwik Glasses. If the idea worked as Katie hoped, she would look for investors to expand her fledgling company. Her dream was to provide low cost eye glasses in poor countries around the world. It was a huge undertaking that sometimes excited her, and sometimes terrified her when she considered the risk she was taking investing all their savings.

The final piece of the puzzle was to get a boat; a means of transportation to the Pacific islands and a place to live with a built in eye examination room where Katie could prescribe and build her Kwik Glasses. Jim wanted a boat too, but a big one so he could safely store his art treasures for return to the gallery in Auckland. And so the search had begun. They finally found their boat, a 43 foot Hans Christian ketch, washed up on a beach in the Bay of Islands where it had been torn off its morning in a savage winter storm. Battered, broken and full of sand and mud, it was purchased for a song. Jim spent three years restoring the nearly destroyed yacht, fitting it with an examination room for Katie, complete with a big swivel chair and countless drawers for her lenses. Another cabin had been fitted out with special shelves and bins to store Jim's art treasures. With a dark green hull, matching green canvas and gleaming teak work, the restored Vision Quest was a beautiful ship in which Jim and Katie took great pride.

On the day she was launched, as Katie held the bottle of Champagne, she turned to Jim and said, "You know, you really are an artist. You've created a masterpiece for us!" Then, holding the bottle high above her head she cried out, "I name you the good ship Vision Quest - may you bring us swiftly and safely to wherever our hearts lead us - and may you help us to make a difference in the lives of every person we meet along the way!" Katie lowered the bottle and the cork was popped. It had not seemed appropriate to smash it against the freshly painted hull. The adventures of Vision Quest had begun. That naming ceremony had been two months ago. And now, here they were, in the heart of Vanuatu, about to make landfall on the magical island of Ambrym.

A gust of wind hit the boat. Vision Quest heeled over, her long keel biting into water. Jim got up, a big grin on his face. "I love it when she digs in like that. She sure is a solid boat!" Stepping out of the cockpit he said "Think I'll go up on the foredeck for some fresh air". Katie, immersed in her reading, did not respond.

Jim stood at the bow leaning against the pulpit, peering into the distance, hoping the mountainous outline of Ambrym would soon start peaking over the horizon. He scanned to the left and right, as was his habit, always on the lookout for other boats and dangerous debris. And then, in the distance, off the starboard bow, he spotted something floating. It looked like a log. Raising his binoculars, to his astonishment, he saw the distant object was an empty dugout canoe!

Jim turned and shouted, "Hey Katie, look over there off the starboard bow. There's a canoe. Looks like a real tiny one. It must have blown off a beach during the storm. Let's go check it out!"

Returning to the cockpit Jim helped Katie to drop the mainsail and furl in the genoa. They fired up the engine and changed course directly into the wind towards the canoe. Jim was at the helm. Katie stood on the deck, shielding her eyes from the glare of the sun with her hand. Jim guided Vision Quest alongside the bobbing canoe for a better look.

Katie looked down into the tiny craft and let out a blood curdling scream! There, in the bottom, lay the body of a child, dressed in tattered shorts and a dirty white T shirt! She wore one pink flip flop.

TO BE CONTINUED . . . FINAL CHAPTER IN A FEW DAYS!
Comments
Vessel Name: Sarah Jean II
Vessel Make/Model: Saga 43
Hailing Port: Vancouver, BC
Crew: Norm and Beth Cooper
About: Our home is in White Rock BC. We set sail Sept. 8, 2010 for San Francisco, Mexico, the South Pacific and New Zealand. In April 2013 we will begin our voyage home through Hawaii, completing a 3 year Pacific circumnavigation.
Extra: We'd love to hear from you - send us an email at bethandnorm@gmail.com
Sarah Jean II's Photos - Main
Pruth Bay, located on Calvert Island, is an essential stop along the way. The harbour on the east side is well protected and provides access to west coast beaches by a short trail. The former fishing lodge is now a marine research centre. Visiting boaters are welcome to use their dinghy dock.
6 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
We enjoyed a great close reach across Queen Charlotte Sound under sunny skies. At the end of the day we anchored in Fury Cove, beautiful and secure with room for lots of boats . . . but we were alone!
3 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
This funky eco resort is located on the north side of Hurst Island. The area has some of the best diving on the BC coast.
7 Photos
Created 18 May 2017
Sointula is a remote but charming community located on Malcolm Island directly east of Port McNeil. It was established in 1901 by a group of Finnish settlers who wanted to create a utopian socialist society.
19 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
We spent a couple of days exploring this historic First Nations community located on Cormorant Island near Port McNeil.
11 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
Working our way north through Seymour Narrows and up Johnstone Strait.
11 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
A few photos as we head up the Strait of Georgia, kicking off our 5 month trip to Alaska.
4 Photos
Created 12 May 2017
We stopped in Hawaii for a rest and provisions but spent most of our time in the boat yard doing repairs. The photos are of a of a few days exploring wild and wacky Waikiki!
37 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
This was a vigorous upwind sail of 2,300 miles across the equator and the ITCZ.
22 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
We spent our time in the tiny village of Te Tetua. Wonderful, hospitable people. An island paradise! Penrhyn is famous for the fine weaving of hats and fans that the women do, and for the golden colored pipi pearls that are found only on this atoll.
49 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
We spent a couple of weeks here exploring by foot, scooter and snorkel.
20 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
On this passage we were joined by David as guest crew. We also ran into some heavy weather - the BIG LOW!
13 Photos
Created 8 July 2013
The Hauraki Gulf is the vast playground to the east of Auckland where there are many islands and anchorages to explore.
25 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
Located about 100 miles offshore northeast of Auckland, Great Barrier is wild and remote. Breathtaking beaches, abundant wildlife and excellent hiking. We spent a couple of weeks on The Barrier.
30 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
Kawau Island is just north of Auckland. We went to visit our friends Daniel and Michelle on s/v Evangeline. They introduced us to the famous offshore sailors Lin and Larry Pardey who live on Kawau.
21 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
A place with a funny name but it has a beautiful sandy beach and stunning grassy headlands for walking. A super anchorage in south or southeast winds.
11 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
This very protected bay just south of Cape Brett is the home of an old whaling station. It provides access to the Cape Brett trail where we tramped about one day.
4 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
Beutiful oddshore islands just south of Whangaroa Harbour. Clear water and good kayaking. Home of the wreck of the Rainbow Warrier.
9 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
An amazingly protected harbour north of the Bay of Islands. Great hikes with spectacular views.
10 Photos
Created 17 March 2013
A few shots around the lovely town and marina at Opua, our home away from home
19 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
We stayed here a few days en route to New Zealand from Noumea. It is a beautiful tropical setting at the very south end of New Caledonia.
26 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
Photos of our arrival into New Caledonia and the very modern City of Noumea, a startling contrast to Vanuatu.
47 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
This is a great anchorage. We stopped here when winds were in our face as we attempted to go south. Very pretty onshore!
10 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
A few shots of the Blue Hole, a spectacular freshwater spring near the town of Luganville.
8 Photos
Created 23 December 2012
Land of black volcanic beaches, black magic, wood carving and colorful kastom mask dancing!
50 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
A wonderful anchorage providing access to several villages. We saw the most amazing kastom dancing - performed by both men AND women! Balloons were a big hit with the kids!
27 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
Wearing only bits of grass and penis sheathes, thrusting spears into the air, they emerged out of the jungle stomping and chanting . . .
12 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
This where we helped bring a giant marlin to the villagers and where we saw some amazing traditional dancing. The next album is dedicated just to the dancing.
40 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
Home of dugongs and lots of sea turtles, this is an awesome anchorage!
12 Photos
Created 22 December 2012
The biggest city in Vanuatu where we stopped to stock up on food at the great public market.
12 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the seldom visited anchorage where we stopped with friends to deliver much needed school supplies.
40 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
Views of the Port Resolution area including a visit to the fiery volcano!
45 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the most southerly island in Vanuatu and our point of arrival. Beautiful gardens, dugout canoes and the spectacular Mystery island are shown in this album.
36 Photos
Created 5 October 2012
This is the great little island where we spent about a week in September, including our 29th anniversary.
30 Photos
Created 15 September 2012
Our son, Brian, and his girlfriend, Lindsay, visited us for a couple of weeks. We cruised the Yasawa Island Group and had an excellent time - village visits, hikes, diving, good music & great company!
87 Photos
Created 25 August 2012
This small island was simply stunning. A beautiful village, white sandy beaches, great hiking trails and crystal clear water. This island is not to be missed!
27 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
Ono Island is located in SW Fiji at the north end of Kadavu Island. It is surrounded by the Great Astrolabe Reef. The area has some great diving!
46 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
This series of photos guides you through the step by step process of spawning giant clams. We watched this in Makogai.
18 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
A fascinating place with sea turtles, giant clam breeding and the ruins of a huge leper colony.
33 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
Viani Bay is thye anchorage near to Rainbow Reef, one of Fiji's top dive spots. We did 4 dives here with Jack Fischer and got a few good photos.
13 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
This village was one of our favorites. The friendly people are originally from Tuvalu and have brought much of their culture with them - including dugout canoes and great weaving skills.
20 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
This unique island is NE of Taveuni. We visited Albert Cove and Katherine Bay.
34 Photos
Created 4 August 2012
A day spent with Suzy from s/v Sidewinder climbing up to the Tavoro Waterfalls and then hiking the Lavena Coastal Trail.
29 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
We really enjoyed Qamea Island. We anchored in Namata Bay and got to know the wonderful MItchell family. Meet some some of them in this album!
19 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
A few shots from our excursion to the north side including a high mountain plantation and very cool cathedral cave.
11 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
We anchored here for a few days and enjoyed exploring the many islands and hidden caves by kayak.
16 Photos
Created 13 July 2012
Our visit to the charming village of Daliconi near the Bay of Islands in the Northern Lau Group
16 Photos
Created 17 June 2012
One day we took the bus from Savusavu to Labasa on the opposite side of he island. It is a big town with a large Indo Fijiin population. The market is great and the bus ride is an adventure!
23 Photos
Created 12 June 2012
This album shows our arrival port of Savusavu and an excursions to the Cousteau Dive Resort.
37 Photos
Created 12 June 2012
Our excellent passage from New Zealand to Fiji including a stop at Minerva Reef - a circular atoll in the middle of the ocean!
31 Photos
Created 11 June 2012
A few shots of our excellent passage from Tonga to NZ with Kyle Russell aboard as crew.
29 Photos
Created 31 October 2011
We visited the villages of Matamaka and Nuapapu where we went to church, had lunch with the locals and then the next day visited a school. Lots of fun and some great images!
38 Photos
Created 29 September 2011
Even more shots of this great cruising area!
26 Photos
Created 29 September 2011
More of the same great sights and experiences!
36 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
We have so many great photos of Vava'u they are divided into a few albums. This is the first. People, boats, spectacular anchorages and unexpected sights - such as grave quilts!
36 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
Photos of the awesome underwater world of Vava'u including caves, coral, fish and some other creatures.
20 Photos
Created 28 September 2011
A beutiful atoll with a population of only 3 permanent residents awaits those who brave the narrow pass into the lagoon.
25 Photos
Created 5 August 2011
Bora Bora has lived up to its mythical reputation - a towering green volcanic peak surounded by motu islands and a beautiful blue lagoon!
21 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
We had a short visit to these islans but it was long enough to enjoy a visit to the luxurious Le Tahaa Resort. Wow!
24 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
We came to this small gem after an overnight passage from Moorea. Baie D'Avea was one our favorite anchorages so far, made better by very calm conditions!
43 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
This is where freinds Bob & janey joined us. Spectacular bays with towering volcanic spires were the highlight of this paradise.
39 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
The exotic island of Tahiti where we celebrated Norm's birthday. Pics include the Papeete market, super yachts and sunsets over Moorea!
27 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
This tiny anchorage is located on the outside of the atoll so there is no need to deal with passes or current predictions.
9 Photos
Created 28 June 2011
Crystal clear water, sharks around our boat, spectacular lagoons and a funky bar overlooking the pass made this one of our favorite stops!
30 Photos
Created 25 June 2011
This album includes shots of the main village, scuba diving, arrival of the traditional Vaka boats and, of course, our daughter, Amanda, who joined us for some fun times!
29 Photos
Created 25 June 2011
This was our first atoll in the Tuomotus Group. Crystal clear water, beautiful motus and quiet isolation made this stop very special.
35 Photos
Created 10 June 2011
Towering cliffs, a rugged hike, huge wterfall and the site of a Survivor TV series - Daniel's Bay has lots to see and experience!
29 Photos
Created 3 June 2011
Wow - what a great island! Excellent harbour, waterfalls, pine forests and high ranch country. Come inside the album and see!
33 Photos
Created 3 June 2011
We visited Hapatoni Bay, famous for artisans, especially carvers. We also visited Hana Moe Noa Bay and Ivaiva Bay where the beaches were white sand and the water crystal clear!
24 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
Fatu Hiva is probably the most spectacular island in the Marquesas Group. Photos include the Bay of Virgins, mountain hikes and a traditional pig roast dinner.
61 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 27 April 2011
This was our first landfall in the Marquesas. Photos include the anchorage at Taahuku Bay and village of Atuona, along with an inland road trip across island to Puamau Bay.
84 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
We had a wonderful 19 day passage from La Cruz, Mexico to Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Group of French Polynesia. Photos include everything from laundry day to our equator crossing.
64 Photos
Created 27 April 2011
We spent a couple of weeks in February exploring the Gold Coast from Puerto Vallarta south to Manzanillo.
47 Photos
Created 16 February 2011
A few shots of the great marina at La Cruz and our explorations around the Puerto Vallarta area.
17 Photos
Created 16 February 2011
We took a panga trip up the Rio Tovara near San Blas. This is a mangrove jungle area with many birds, iguanas, turtles and even crocodiles.
18 Photos
Created 22 January 2011
This magic island is a breeding area for many species of birds including frigates and blue footed boobies. The birds have no fear of people - allowing very close encounters and amazing photos!
38 Photos
Created 22 January 2011
A collection of random photos taken at Marina El Cid and Old Mazatlan. We enjoyed the city, especially the many art studios and galleries.
38 Photos
Created 12 January 2011
A great family Christmas together sailing in the Sea of Cortez from Puerto Escondito to La Paz. Hikes, snorkeling, sea lions, wake boarding, beach cattle and more . . .
112 Photos
Created 2 January 2011
This is the bay and fishing village where we holed up during a big norther.
18 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
This wonderful cruising area is located just north of La Paz. Red cliffs, crystal clear water and white sandy beaches abound!
34 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
We spent about a week in this wonderful Mexican city. It is laid back with no visile tourist industry except for the yachties like us. We liked this place!
16 Photos
Created 9 December 2010
This is a wonderful anchorage on the Baja Cape between Cabo and La Paz. We spent a couple of days here snorkeling, hiking and enjoying the beach.
12 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 15 November 2010
A visit to the town of Two Harbors, including a great hike, followed by a visit to the bigger town of Avalon.
24 Photos
Created 14 November 2010
We anchored in Pelican Bay and did a great hike along the bluffs to Prisoners Bay. Vistas and some wildlife incliding an island fox!
31 Photos
Created 13 October 2010
Beautiful beaches, elephant seals, sand dunes and great hiking - San Miguel has it all!
29 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 13 October 2010
A few shots around the marina while we were waiting out a big blow.
9 Photos
Created 13 October 2010
A few photos a day at anchor in San Simeon including kayaking in the bay and views of the Hearst Castle verlooking the ocean.
12 Photos
Created 1 October 2010
Shots of Monterey, the famous aquairium and a bike ride along the 17 Mile Drive to Carmel.
46 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
Photos of Santa Cruz Marina and a bike ride to the boardwalk, pier and surfer museum. We then road to the cute village of Capitola a few miles south of Santa Cruz.
17 Photos
Created 28 September 2010
1 Photo | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 24 September 2010
Angel Island is located in the middle of San Francisco Bay. We spent the day exploring it on our folding bikes. Awesome views in all directions!
16 Photos
Created 19 September 2010
Passage from Cictora to San Francisco. Departure on Sept 6. Arrival on Sept 11. Crew were Kris & Ryan. Great first passage for Sarah Jean II.
43 Photos
Created 15 September 2010
A few photos of our boat.
2 Photos
Created 2 August 2010