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Getting Nowhere Fast
08/22/2010, Port Angeles, USA

Well here we are in Port Angeles a mere 78 miles from home although we have logged 107 miles. The almost 30 mile difference is from tacking back and fourth today trying to beat our way out of Juan de Fuca with winds of 25 knots on the nose. We made about 4 big tacks back and fourth across the shipping lanes from 10am to 2:30 pm and were only as far as Race Rocks. The winds seemed to be increasing as were the seas so we decided to turn around and head to Port Angeles which was a nice downwind sail. What a difference when we turned the boat around and were having a really nice sail we almost convinced ourselves it wasn't so bad out there after all. But looking at the waves and feeling the wind on our backs, we knew it would be a hard slog if we turned around again. So here we are tied up to the dock and having a nice evening. The winds are supposed to ease tonight and tomorrow so we will give it a try then. Last night we had decided to anchor for the night when we realized it was blowing so hard in the straight but we thought it would be easy in the daylight. Not so much. We did work out some of the bugs today though. We tuned up the rig a little and saw that some of our lockers needed to be more securely closed and locked so it wasn't a complete loss of a day. With any luck we will make it to the big open ocean tomorrow in time for the full moon. Stay tuned.

08/23/2010 | ron howell
hey Ian and Ellen, and Harvey if you are there, hope the sail goes well today. Sylvia and I and a friend i met at coopers went to gibsons sunday to sail. rented a 21' that was a tad light rigged, at i thought it was. it was tough sailing, we only made it over to gambier island, tied up to a dock and had lunch, then decided it was tough rough for us rookies and we motored back, had a great day and gained a little more experience, cheers...
08/23/2010 | Judy and Bruce Graham
Good to hear that you are on your way....we wish you the best of luck! We actually thought that you were leaving next week. We will look forward to reading your blog. We are on vacation sailing or I should say anchored outside of Newcastle Island and looking to replace our house batteries. We were going to overnight in Nanaimo but will be here a few days now I think. Take care.
08/23/2010 | George & Sherry
We wish you all the best Ian & Ellen, may you have fair winds & a bright star to steer by.
Keep the shiney side up Skipper .You are now living your dream !
George ,Sherry & Beannie
Day 1
08/21/2010, Just south of Saturna Island

So here we are enroute to San Francisco although we are still pretty much in home waters. We were up early (too) at 6am and underway by 6:30am. The river was really moving so we were sometimes achieving 9 knots of speed with the help of the current. I actually had to ask Ian to slow the boat down as I was cooking and wanted to finish before we hit the straight which can be rough at the mouth of the river. By 11am were at the customs dock in Point Roberts and checked in by noon. Harvey's wife Lynne met us there so she could take us shopping for the things we thought we shouldn't bring across like citrus and potatoes. (Harvey is our crew as far as San Francisco) We left Point Roberts by 12:45 and once out in the deep water were able to sail for a couple of hours which was nice. Now we are motor sailing along towards the straight of Jaun de Fuca. So far things are good but it is day one and it is relatively calm conditions. Not sure if I'll be spending much time here at the computer typing if things get rocking and rolling. We'll see. We've worked out our watch schedule that we will use for the first few days. Ian and Harvey's shifts overlap with mine so that I'm not by myself for the first few days until I feel comfortable enough to manage on my own. It also makes it easier to prepare meals and whatnot. So that is pretty much it so far. Nothing much to report. No wildlife yet. No fishing yet. I know the guys are keen to fish but until there is some space in the fridge they might have to hold off. That's about it for now.

08/22/2010 | Carol and John
I'm impressed you are planning to cook! I distinctly remember living off crackers and water for our six days offshore. Glad things are going well so far. Looking forward to hearing more of your trip. Lots of love from us.
08/22/2010 | Ken & Carole
Great to hear you are on your way and everything is going good. We were down at Point Roberts about 1:30 and later tried to get you on the VHF. Hope you can send daily reports so we can track your progress. It looks like you should have some good winds. Have a great trip.
Hardest Part (so far)
08/20/2010, Vancouver

2 days ago I had to do something I've been dreading for years - give up my cat. Farley hates anything to do with boats and so had to go to her new home. The stress it would have caused her and me had we decided to bring her along, would have been too much. It was stressful for her in our local waters the few times we brought her along, so I could only imagine how bad it would be out at sea.
I'm very grateful to my good friend Shannen who willingly adopted my 11 year old cat. Knowing she is so well cared for leaves me free to embark on this journey and I will fondly remember her as my 'landlocked' cat.

08/20/2010 | Norm Cooper
Hey Ellen, those furry creatures sure do steal our hearts don't they? We'll be leaving our dog behind in a few weeks. Not easy although she will also be well cared for by my Mom. Will be thinking of you tomorrow as you head off. Fair winds!
09/01/2010 | Amanda Letcher
Good Ole' Farley :) She is SO photogenic :)
Getting Closer to Leaving
08/12/2010, Vancouver

One more week to go! Then we untie the lines and head south to San Diego. Are we ready? Are we up to the challenge? Will we have fair winds? Can we really do this? These are questions that run through my head daily (and unfortunately nightly too).
What ever the answers, we are going! We are both excited and a bit nervous too. It's been so many years of planning and hard work to get to this point that we don't want anything to go wrong. But it's a boat after all and things will always go a little wrong.
The last few weeks have been stressful as we are both working full time and doing all the last minute running around getting things done. And of course we are having issues with the email and ham radio deal. Trying to get that sorted out before we leave. It was working and then for no reason we can figure it just stopped so now we are reloading software and re installing things to get it back up and running.
And then there is the saga of the anchor chain which we ordered several months ago. I came in with lots of time to spare but the galvanizing on it was unacceptable so we returned it. They ordered in a different kind but when it arrived it wasn't marine grade and wouldn't fit the gypsy properly. So now we are waiting for the 'correct' chain to arrive! One more week for it to get here.
But things are getting done. I have almost totally provisioned the boat now we just need to get the fresh things and the dairy and meat. Ian has almost completed his list of 'must do' jobs. So we are feeling pretty ready to go!
The next week is going to both fly by and drag by if that's possible!

08/15/2010 | Kpavitt
Hi Ian and Ellen, I am a Metro Vancouver employee and I have been watching these sailing blogs for years. Usually in March when the puddle jumpers leave to go to go south before making the voyage across the duldrums. I have set you blog in my favorites and I will be reading alog to your ventures. Hopefully you post often and that your blogs are of all good news. i hope to see lots of pictures??? This is my dream as well so enjoy it!.
08/15/2010 | Pamela Carey
Bro and Sis, this is just so exciting. Loved reading about all your preparation and can't believe it's all happening at last! Australia is calling ..... Love Pamela and Pat
08/15/2010 | Norm Cooper
We can totally relate to your trials and tribulations and the related stress as you prepare to push off. You guys are as well prepared as anyone we know and your boat is awesome! Bon voyage and hope to see in San Diego!
08/16/2010 | Ross Bellwood
Good luck you two, I will be watching your journey!
08/18/2010 | Rick Gagnon
Ian, it has been a pleasure to work with and learn along side you. You have done a fine job as a safet professional and I am sure the skill sets you have will ensure a very safe voyage for your family. We will all be watching and observing / sharing your success, stress and challenges your are about to face. We wish you well and we do look forward to an eventual safe return where you can join us at Annacis for one of the many famous BBQ's.

All the best!
The list is getting shorter
07/24/2010, Vancouver, BC

New Rigging - check
New Running Rigging - check
Sell Condo - check
Yes thats right we have sold our condo! Yikes! This makes it really real. In 4 weeks we are leaving to take the boat down to San Diego. We have a month but now that we have to be out of the condo by the end of September, we are in a bit more of a rush. But somehow it will all get done. It just makes us focus more and get what we need to get done happening now instead of procrastinating and putting it off until tomorrow - manana - kasasa! (For those who don't know, Kasasa is a Zulu word which has a meaning similar to the spanish word manana which means tomorrow or whenever)
We are getting excited and itchy to get going. Especially when we see all this good weather. 4 more weeks to go.....

Hope we never have to use this...
06/01/2010, Vancouver

Today we had our liferaft repacked. It's a brand new raft that was never used or even ever on a boat but when we bought it it was already 5 years old but still in the box. Because it was 5 years old, it needed to be repacked which is commonly done every 2 or 3 years.
I had the opportunity to "pull" the cord to inflate it. It was actually easier than I expected it to be. It inflated within seconds. Although it's a 4 man liferaft, it's actually smaller inside than a 2 man pup tent. But it does give you a sense of security knowing you have that to fall back on should the unthinkable happen and your boat sinks.
So here is a photo of us in the liferaft, a place we hope we never actually have to be!

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