Linger Longer

14 September 2016
06 August 2016
09 July 2016
18 July 2015
24 May 2015
31 March 2015
26 February 2015
15 February 2015 | Barra de Navidad
07 February 2015 | Tenacatita Bay
04 February 2015
26 January 2015 | 19 18.051'N
04 January 2015 | La Cruz, Nayarit, Mexico
25 December 2014 | La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico
01 December 2014 | Ensenada, Mexico

Reflections by Kirk - 4/3/14

07 April 2014
We are on our way again, about half way up the Strait of Georgia, holed up in False Bay on Lasqueti Island waiting for SE gales to subside. It seems that since I have not reflected in quite some time that a few reflections regarding our past six months or so are in order. But first a recap of our adventure from the start.

We left Seattle in mid June of last year with plans to head north to Alaska and then turn around and head south to Mexico. We really left too late in the season; and while enroute, lingered a little too long to fulfill the plan. We made it about two thirds of the way up the British Columbia coast to almost 53 degrees north latitude. For our east coast brethren, that would be equivalent to being to the north of the northern tip of Newfoundland or about some 750 miles north of Burlington, NJ where I grew up.

It was quite an adventure for us. We spent a lot of time in very remote areas and witnessed some of the best that the natural world has to offer; miles and miles of unbroken conifer-covered mountainsides, secluded coves where sea otters floated around oblivious to us, hundreds of whales, abundant wildlife, and the wild rocky west coast of Vancouver Island. Sometimes we would stay in the same place for a few days and sometimes we would travel several days in a row maybe thirty or forty miles to the next secluded anchorage. We made new friends on other boats, caught our share of fish and crab; and, while sometimes experiencing trepidation over venturing into new territory, we learned to feel more comfortable with this new lifestyle and with our boat.

When we realized we would not make it to Alaska and then Mexico, the search for a place to spend the winter commenced. With the colder temperatures, sometimes-fierce winter storms, and not enough direct sunshine for our solar panels to keep batteries charged, we needed to be tied to a dock with a source of electrical power and water. Since we no longer have a car, we looked for a place where necessities were within walking distance of the boat. It was our very good fortune to secure moorage in the Inner Harbour in Victoria, BC on the southeast tip of Vancouver Island.

Reflecting on the six months we lived in Victoria, we fell in love with the place and it’s people. Victoria is a small city, the capital of British Columbia, that focuses on the tourist industry. Our marina is located in the heart of the City with over one million people a year passing within one hundred yards of our boat’s location. The tourist season is primarily from May to October so the crowds were gone and some tourist activities were curtailed, but we had an up-close first-hand view of why this is a destination for people from around the world to visit. We’ll start with the people. In some of the “tourist” destinations we have been, the inhabitants sometimes seem bored or even irritated with the influx of people from out of town. Not so in Victoria. There seems to be a kind of friendliness that is more comfortable, more genuine than most places we have visited. We felt similarly about most of the people we have encountered in British Columbia, but it seems better in Victoria.

Food and beverages were a real treat. Both Kris and I like to drink beer and may have even been a little snobbish coming from Seattle with its plethora of microbreweries. Even though Victoria has maybe one-fifth the population of Seattle, there seemed to be a greater variety and quality as good or maybe even better than beer back home. A local specialty that we did not try much of, but could have at any pub we visited, is hard cider on tap. Salads were exceptional. Nearly every eatery offered a variety of excellent salads. Even side salads were colorful and delicious. All of the burgers everywhere, whether beef or lamb, were hand made patties. Breakfast is taken very seriously up here. Every breakfast menu includes a minimum of three different styles of eggs benedict; some places had ten different varieties. There is a huge effort to use fresh, locally produced ingredients in everything.

There is a bit of an English influence in Victoria and it is reflected in three primary ways we observed. One is tea. From High Tea at the Empress Hotel to a proliferation of shops that cater to the sale of many varieties of tea and all of the accoutrements, this city has all that a dedicated tea drinker could want. Another is gardening. The climate is relatively mild with summers that do not get very hot (80 degrees is quite high) and winters that seldom see temperatures below freezing. Many different varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers do well in this type of a climate. Parks, residential landscapes, and open city spaces tend to be extraordinarily attractive and tidy year round. Hedges everywhere are kept neatly trimmed. Flower and shrub beds always have crisp edges, are kept weed free, and are generally heavily mulched. Rose plantings, many large and formal arrangements, proliferate. The effect is that the entire area always has a very pleasing and attractive look. Speaking of parks, a very large urban park called Beacon Hill Park is located about four blocks from where we kept the boat. This place is very special. The landscaped areas are immaculate year round. There is an extensive “native” area with lots of Garry Oaks that are native to the area and are considered endangered. Four or five manmade lakes are scattered around with paved pathways and stone bridges throughout. The Children’s Farm is quite nice with a fine petting area. Peacocks roam wild around the park and surrounding area. Mating season was just beginning in March and the males walked around in full display trying to attract a potential mate. The Park also includes numerous trails, a cricket pitch, a great playground with a mini zip line, playfields, tennis courts, and a lawn bowling club. Another great place to walk through is called Government House, a bit further away but worth the walk. Government House is where BC’s Lieutenant Governor, the Queen’s emissary resides. Yes, Canada still recognizes the English monarchy. The Lieutenant Governor’s job is to host and attend parties, make appearances and to speak on behalf of the Queen. He or she lives in a mansion on thirty-two acres surrounded by extensive gardens tended by a small army of volunteers. Sounds like nice work if you can get it. The other English influence is the extensive Victorian architecture. You see it in many houses and downtown buildings. It seems as though there is a real movement afoot to preserve as many of these old structures as is possible.

Public art is in abundance throughout the downtown area. Bronze statues, fountains, huge murals on buildings, and special art projects. We had a lot of fun with the City’s 150th anniversary project. In twelve locations throughout the greater downtown are life size bronze hands engaged in some activity representative of Victoria. One holds a teacup near the Empress Hotel, another holds a pile of blankets in front of the Hudson Bay store, another holds a mooring ring on rocks at the harbor. Some are in obvious locations and a few take serious searching. It took us many weeks to find them all, but we persevered.

For a small town, this area has a lot of big town venues. There are several universities, a sports arena where we watched Western League hockey games, a minor league baseball stadium, theaters large and small, ornate and modern, a local symphony and ballet company, large library, lots of music venues, and the Royal BC Museum. The museum has an extensive collection of First Nations artwork and artifacts including many totem poles.

Maybe the best part of our stay in Victoria was the huge influx of friends that came to visit us. On average we had visitors from Washington State once every three weeks. Victoria seems to have always had a special appeal to folks from the Seattle area and we gave people a reason to go there. We feel unusually lucky to have such good friends and took great joy in walking the City, sharing our favorite places.

All of the above discussion may be a little dry and boring. When we realized that we were not going to achieve the original plan (which would have us sipping cervezas in a beach palapa right about now), we felt some degree of failure. We have since determined that our decision could hardly have been any better. We spent six months in a wonderful place. We completed some boat projects that were left undone when we left last June and we now have a much better chance of getting to spend some quality time in southeast Alaska before finally heading to the land of sandy beaches and palm trees (and cold cervezas in beach palapas). It seemed important to me to try and justify to you that we tried and did mange to make lemonade from lemons.

As I finish writing this (4/7/14), we have travelled to the northeast corner of Vancouver Island to wait out another gale in Port McNeill. When the weather is a little safer, we will be crossing Queen Charlotte Strait. In another week or two we hope to start a series of little side adventures that we are calling the Hot Springs Tour. Hopefully it will begin in a place called Bishop Bay.

Vessel Name: S/V Linger Longer
Vessel Make/Model: Sceptre 41/43
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Kirk & Kristin Doyle
Our adventure started Sunday, June 16, 2013 with many friends "cutting our dock lines" at Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle, Washington. When we left we knew we were pressed for time to reach southeast Alaska for the most favorable cruising months. After contemplating this dilemma for a short [...]
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S/V Linger Longer's Photos - Main
Heading north into the Sea of Cortez for the summer where there is less change of hurricanes.
72 Photos
Created 19 December 2015
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Isolated volcanic island and bird sanctuary 18 miles off coast
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Heading back north, lingering longer at various anchorages.
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We made a quick overnight passage south to Manzanillo.
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Sights around Victoria
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Created 28 March 2014
Broughton Islands and Fitz Hugh Sound, BC
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Created 1 August 2013