From the cockpit of Hoku Pa'a:

Sept 9, 2015 Current location: Bamfield, a small town on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Getting Going

Hoku Pa'a before casting off Leaving Victoria with Floatplane and Clipper in background We moved onto Hoku Pa'a the evening of September 1st and headed out before lunch the next day for a short jaunt of two and a half hours to Murder Bay (we assume they are talking about groups of crows) – one day later than tentatively planned. While I'd hoped to be on the boat a few days sooner to get settled, we are doing comparatively well. Eleven years ago, we moved onto Freya three weeks later than intended, on the morning of departure, and bashed our way out the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The next stop was Hawai'i. We began that 26 day passage already exhausted. In our wise (?) old (?) age we are opting for a more leisurely pace.

After months of preparation, one would think there was nothing left to be done. The water that rather impolitely woke Bjarne up by dripping into his ear clearly reminded us otherwise - on our first morning, no less.

Barb at Helm We spent a day waiting out the rainy weather before an early morning departure out the Strait. Lots of motoring in calm winds and seas provided an easy transition into remembering certain passage-making rules (like clipping on your safety harness) and a good testing of the autopilot (which we are considering naming Amelia [Earhart]). The wind hit with little warning mid-afternoon, causing a flurry of activity, dealing with sails, the self-steering, and us aclimatizing to the sudden change in boat motion. A little more excitment was created by some glitches in the reefing system. Ideally, these would have been sorted out at a quiet dock, but I guess that's why people do shake-down cruises. Memo to self: don't let the dishes pile up Seal resting on Log during the calm weather. The seas tend to get rather rough around Cape Beale, and although we were expecting it and we were not unsafe, we still didn't like it, especially going into nightfall. Seventeen hours after departure, under a beautifully starry sky, we dropped the hook in an easily accessed anchorage not far from Bamfield. Some hot chocolate and cookies took the edge off the damp chill before crawling into bed (yes, the leak over Bjarne's ear had already been fixed). [it was the highest-priority item – ed.]

Dead Whale on beach
We've had a few days hanging around Barkley Sound (the Deer Group islands) to rest, test systems, fix things, and drink wine. An unfortunate, but interesting part of our scenery was a dead whale (maybe 2 or 3 weeks gone) on the shore. We don't know what its story was. For the kids, and non-squeamish adults, here is a photo of a mess of writhing maggots.

So here we are in Bamfield, topping up our fuel and water, taking care of some administrative things, stretching our legs and accessing the internet. The weather looks promising for a Thursday (Sept 10) departure. The next post should be from San Francisco (in about a week and a half).

The Half-Baked Plan

Half-baked Plan: nautical chart being pulled out of oven Have you ever noticed in stories how hearing the plan ahead of time guarantees its failure? We are safe in that regard since we haven't figured out the entire plan. Oh sure, there has been plenty of planning taking place, but the details get fuzzier as the event horizon extends outward. We are headed for the Sea of Cortez, via San Francisco and San Diego, and whatever else looks interesting along the way. We'll hang around the Sea, exploring anchorages, searching out interesting sea life and perhaps improving our Spanish (nowhere to go but alto). Sometime in March or April we'll put Hoku Pa'a on the hard and fly back to Canada. That's fairly well cooked; how and when we get back to Mexico...well, the oven is still on pre-heat. Some of us (Barb in particular) have not yet determined how to routinely extricate ourselves from “regular” life without making it permanent, so we will figure it out as we go. Life is short. Deciding to not act until the plan is fully cooked is an even more half-baked idea.

What Story Do Your Keys Tell?

Single Key on keychain
You can tell a lot about a person by their keys. In regular life, I cart around quite a pile: bike keys (one for my bike, one for Bjarne's, and another for a spare bike lock); a car key; four more keys for the house, two for work, one for the marina, and one for the boat. Stored in the house are a few others. From each bit of metal you could learn something about my values, my interests, my privileges and my responsibilities. These keys represent an enriched and complex life. How strange to note that I am now carrying only one key. In many ways, if only for a short time, life just got simpler.