Last time I wrote it was from atop the party ice freezer outside the General Store at Lund Harbor. I'd been hiding out there from the weather which was, basically, gale force winds from exactly the direction I wanted to go. Not a happy situation for any boater, but we made the best of it. Not long after I sent off the last post, I dropped in at Mary's Bakery to see if they'd found the laptop case I'd left there the previous afternoon. No luck, but I was INDEED lucky to meet Mark and Caroline.
What I hope is a new friendship with Mark and Caroline started when, as I'm wont to do, I struck up a casual conversation with them in the bakery, asking if they were off the big red sailboat on the other dock from me. The boat, Jonathan, caught my attention not only because of its color, but because it was obviously outfitted for some heavy-duty sailing. Mark looked like he was fit for the rough stuff and Caroline looked at him as if she knew that was the fact of the matter. Well, after just a brief chat we each went our separate ways, but it wasn't long after I got back to Mabrouka that Mark came over with an invitation to dinner that evening. He already had some other friends coming over and, I guess, had decided that he might as well throw one more wild card into the mix.
My mommy taught me always to take something nice to the hostess of a party, so I baked up the last of my oatmeal raisin cookies, grabbed a six-pack of Full Sail amber (What better culinary pairing is there, I ask you.) and walked over to their boat a little before six. The cookies were well received, although I'm not sure if Mark got the full effect because he was busy putting together a lasagna and I don't think he got one while they were still hot. Oh well. But, hey, let's not mess with the lasagna! Can you imagine? Lasagna, ...my favorite!
So, it wasn't long before their other guests, Peter and, ...uh, Moda arrived? (I'm sorry, her name didn't stick. They were both really nice. Peter had recently taken on a 54 foot project boat started by a previous owner something like 25 years ago. Moda (I'll stick with that name and just hope it's something close to right.) bought into the project lock, stock, and barrel, having literally spent days grinding, grinding, grinding the steel hull for its new paint job. The fact that we were all dyed-in-the-wool boat people guaranteed an evening of lively discussion.
On to the hosts, ...I guess more specifically, the host. (Not that Caroline was anyone to shake a stick at. She was both a real cutie and an accomplished sailor in her own right!) Mark, though, stands out in my mind as a true adventurer. If I spend too much time on him it'll sound like I want to marry the guy, so I'll try to hold back, but he'd just brought Jonathan through the Northwest Passage, having holed up in Nome, Alaska for the winter. He and Caroline had just arrived in the PNW and were headed (can you believe it?) for Antarctica! This guy may be a nut, but I admire him. He'd done at least one circumnavigation (maybe two, I can't remember), so he was plenty familiar with the warm places of the world that draw the NORMAL sailors, but the beauty he finds in the icy bits of the world apparently keep pulling him back. He'd even spent a ten-month winter iced into a fjord in Greenland. These stories had to be drawn out of him, so his accomplishments hadn't made him boastful. We all told tales of our own over lasagna, salad, ice cream and coffee, so he did not dominate the conversation and we could not possibly have even scratched the surface of all the stories he has to tell. Check out his web site at Jonathan Adventure Sailing
Getting back to my own story, it was a bumpy night that made me appreciate the value of a good set of fenders. Mine were squeaking and groaning all night long as the gale winds swirled around the corner and over the hills attempting to grind Mabrouka's hull to dust against the dock. I'm actually not too disturbed by the motion, even though it's pretty jerky when tied to a dock, but I was surely commiserating with the fenders. That kind of night makes me want to stay buried in my covers until the sky is well lit. This time of year that's after 7am, so it makes me a lazy sailor, indeed. When I finally did drag myself out into the cold, wet morning, I was greeted by a harbor that was emptying rapidly. Encouraged by a break in the weather, everyone was heading out to make up for lost time, including Mark, Caroline and Jonathan. I'd promised to drop them one of my boat cards this morning so they'd have no excuse not to keep in touch, so I ran over there quickly and handed one across as they were pulling away from the dock.
Slightly ashamed of myself for being such a laggard, it wasn't long before I'd cast off my own mooring lines and turned Mabrouka's bow southward. The wind was relatively mild, but on the nose, and the seas had calmed down to a low chop. It could turn out to be a foolish notion, but I hoped to make it well south, possible to Pender Harbor or Secret Cove down on the Sechelt Peninsula. Motoring along, I was visited briefly by a small pod of Orcas, I think only two or three. It always feels like such an honor to see them, but I can never get a good picture. Perhaps it's that their black and grey topsides don't contrast well a sea that's lit only by an overcast sky, or maybe I just can't hold my camera still enough on a rolling boat. Anyway, I still include the picture below as evidence of their visit.
It turns out I wasn't the laziest of the boats that had holed up at Lund, because there was one that followed me down the coast. They gained on me slightly throughout the day and the last I saw of them they were heading off around Grief Point for points south, probably ending up where I'd intended to go. By that time, though, I'd decided to hide out again and was turning in to Westview for the night. The wind had resumed its 20 knot pace and I had no desire to spend the rest of the day pounding into choppy seas, only to arrive at an unfamiliar harbor to navigate around hidden rocks and through narrow channels to anchor in the dark.