Linger Longer

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18 July 2015
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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 4-17-14

20 April 2014 | Shearwater, Denny Island, BC
This morning we had delivered to us a fabulous breakfast of scrambled eggs with onion, peppers, cheese and moose meat, sides of English muffins and apple wood smoked bacon. Yes, moose meat. Yesterday a fishing boat was towed by the Canadian Coast Guard to the dock where we are currently tied. Tough luck story for the fishing boat. A little over seven months ago a navigation error lead to the grounding of the boat on some rocks in Alaska. It eventually sank in ninety feet of water. Between the sinking and bungled salvage work, the boat sustained considerable damage. After over six months of work and lots of money, it was ready for the return to its homeport in Oregon to complete the repair work and return the vessel to working condition. On the west side of the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii) about one hundred fifty miles off the BC mainland coast, a failure of the generator lead to a loss of electrical power. Hence, the tow to the docks here at Shearwater. As a side note, they told us that the Canadian Coast Guard's efforts to assist them were extraordinary. Including the one hundred fifty mile tow, three technicians were sent aboard the stricken vessel in an attempt to identify and repair the problem. They also provided hot sandwiches, muffins and beverages. This is in stark contrast to the US Coast Guard, who's on the water presence since 9/11 has seemed to focus more on police action than as an aid to mariners.

Talking with one of the crew, led to our offer of a beer; and, strange as it may seem, soon the whole crew of three were in our cockpit where we swapped stories, learned about their boat, how it works, and drank a few more beers. Mr. Jameson, Mr. Jose Cuervo and Miz Southern Comfort eventually joined the conversation in a big way. They reciprocated with the offer of breakfast in the morning. An Alaskan electrician who helped to replace all of the wiring and electrical gear on the boat had donated some moose meat to the cause. Neither Kris nor I had ever tasted moose meat before this morning. It was delicious.

This, in some strange way, has led me to reflect on how the decisions we make, even the small ones, and the timing of those decisions have impacts on our lives. About sixteen years ago, Kris and I decided to learn how to sail. That had a monumental impact on our lives. A few days ago we decided to stop here at Shearwater. Weather forecasts of gale to storm force wind have kept us here and the new forecast of two large back-to-back storms with winds to sixty knots will keep us here for another few days. Our decision to ride out this weather tied to a dock instead of seeking some protected anchorage before winding our way up through inside passages of the northern BC coast led to our meeting the fine crew of the damaged fishing boat, a Swiss couple who have been travelling the world on a large catamaran for many years, and a couple from Prince Rupert who plan to sail from the Strait of Juan de Fuca directly to the Marquesas in a week or two. Not sure if meeting these people will have any impact on us but they are all leading extraordinary lives and I suspect that what we have learned from them will add to the reservoir of new knowledge that we are trying to compile. If things progress as they should, sometime, somewhere the knowledge we have just gained from these folks will become a factor in some decision that must be made.

A little over eight years ago, I decided to enroll in a class to help me through the onerous process of obtaining a Masters License (aka Captains License). There, I sat and studied with an acquaintance from the sailing club where we both taught sailing. About half way through the term, she asked if I might be interested in helping to sail a boat from Maui to Seattle. The impact of the decision to enroll in that class was huge. Kris and I both made the trip, which sealed our decision to try this cruising lifestyle. We were asked to join the "yacht" club of which all of the crew on the trip were members, where we met and became very close to some of the finest people we have ever met.

Earlier in this trip, we were anchored in a nice snug cove on an island in Queen Charlotte Strait. The sun was out, the winds were calm, and I decided to change our transmission oil. Deep in the bowels of the boat in a space that no human should be wedged into, I was busy extracting the old oil when I heard a little wind and Kris said, "Hurry up Kirk." So I hurried as best I could, put the new oil into the transmission, cleaned up the mess and gathered up my tools and stuff. Upon extricating myself from the space and looking around, I quickly understood why Kris had told me to hurry up. The wind was howling, there were whitecaps in our tiny little cove, heavy rain was blowing sideways, the boat was now on the other side of the cove and we appeared to be moving slowly toward shore. I was convinced that our anchor was dragging through the sandy bottom. Kris started the engine, which we hoped had adequate transmission oil and I went to the bow to pull up the anchor so we could reset it. With no coat I was quickly soaked through and chilled, but this was a bit of a serious situation that we needed to stabilize right now. We retrieved the anchor, moved the boat to a more suitable spot, and got the anchor back down and well set. Twenty minutes later the wind was calm. We just happened to be in the place at a time when a squall blew right over us. Wish I had picked a different time to change the transmission oil. If I had bungled something down in the bowels, we would not have been able to move the boat and may have continued to drag long enough to have had very unpleasant results.

A week ago we arrived here at Shearwater and I am finishing this on April 20 just as our "yacht" club friends are returning from the annual Yellow Fest celebration at Blake Island from where you can see nearly the entire Seattle skyline, a very special place. Shearwater, our current location is also special in its own way. The area was/is home to the Heiltsuks a native band of peoples also known as Bella Bellas who inhabited most of the central BC coast for at least a few thousand years. Sometime during the period of World War II, the government commandeered a section of land to build an airbase from which seaplanes would search for enemy submarines and potential invasion forces along the coast. A man with both financial resources and vision bought the base and some surrounding land when the base was decommissioned. He acquired a fine infrastructure, which included large airplane hangers, a major ramp from which the seaplanes were hauled up onto land, lots of concrete paved areas, other buildings and apparently power and water supply installations. Over the years, Shearwater has grown into a major center that serves both commercial and recreational maritime needs. There is now a BC ferry dock, sites for barge loading and offloading, the only lift for many miles around capable of lifting boats out of the water, a skilled marine service and repair staff, fuel dock, helicopter landing areas, a hotel, grocery store, restaurant, liquor store, laundromat and housing for over one hundred employees. The place is very well kept, modern and clean. During tourist season, there are crowds looking for fishing and boating adventures, loggers needing a jump off point for the helicopter rides to distant logging camps, and folks who come to a remote location for some good old R&R. Dirt roads and trails wind through Denny Island revealing many homes tucked away in the highlands, where they have beautiful vistas of the surrounding waters and islands. It takes a hardy and resourceful bunch of people to live and work here. The only way in or out for people, equipment, and goods is by boat, seaplane or helicopter. This is worth a visit should you get a chance.

We have decided that our next goal is a visit to the hot springs at a place called Bishop Bay. This has been highly recommended by several people and we look forward to a few good soaks. There are several more hot springs along the northern BC coast and in southeast Alaska that we also hope to visit.

Fair Winds
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.
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Heading back north, lingering longer at various anchorages.
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