Sailing, sailing, sailing That’s why we live the life we do, so that we can untie the lines and explore the world in our own backyard. We have had some great times and some trickier times. We have laughed, yelled and cried. But we always have fun.
As the choas of the last few weeks begins to calm, and Asunto looks less like it was smacked by a stuff tornado and more like an ocean going vessel, it hits me. We are leaving. Really going. Sailing away.
I am a bit of a mess. Nervous, excited, perhaps in shock. Work is finished. Time to go! HOLY SHIT!
I think the hardest part is the unknown. Of course this is true of any change, the known is comfortable and familiar. The unknown is scary. But it is facing this fear and moving forward that shapes our lives and builds our character. So change, adventure and unknown, here we come!
And head south! And we mean south, south, south – to Mexico! Follow our adventures as we take year to sail to Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska as a family. We will be leaving within the next few weeks, and it has been pretty crazy around here finishing up all the projects so that we can feel ready and safe to travel. So many emotions right now, but we are super excited!
No the Straight of Georgia is not the open sea. But she meanders her way around and through our little islands and her fingers stretch towards to Pacific. She remembers the sea, she knows her roots.
The PredictWind forecast didn’t see it coming. The Environment Canada forecast did, but even they didn’t know how fickle she would become.
We left Cortes in a light northly, even flew the Spinnaker for a bit before the winds died and the sea turned to glass. We anchored in Tribune Bay on the southern tip of Hornby Island in 10-15 knots of southerly breeze. Tribune Bay is shaped such that it appears to be hugging the Straight, the long arms reaching to the south, effectively funnelling the waves and wind towards the shore.
We knew Tribune is not the place to be in a southerly. However we have wanted to see this beach for years, and Fynn and Kyber were itching for a chance to run. We piled into the dinghy, and Kolby dropped us off in knee high water and went to anchor Otto a little deeper. As soon as Fynn could touch off came her clothes and she and Kyber raced along the sand. Yes, we needed this.
We were on shore about one hour, during which we did not feel an increase in the wind. We did notice Asunto dancing and bobbing on her chain, but weren’t too alarmed. Otto was also bouncing in the waves but because of the long shoaling of the bay the waves did not seem any bigger from our prespective.
Suddenly we both looked at each other: ‘time to go’ we thought simultaneously. Kolby went to bring Otto in while I loaded the backpack. Getting everyone into the dinghy was when we first realized just how much the sea had changed. The ripples and chop had morphed into 6 foot monsters, stacked up on each other without rest. The waves were breaking on our faces, we were drenched in moments and starting to shiver.
I’m not even sure how we managed to get aboard. Asunto was all but leaping, and a relentlessly moving target. I had to get on first, and with the ladder out of the water my target was a 2′ by 3′ rectangle with one hand hold. ‘1,2,3 go’ and Kolby zoomed Otto towards the stern. I lept, made it, then slipped off. Hanging by the backstay as Asunto attempted to buck me off, I remember telling myself there was no way I was letting go, no way I was not getting on this boat. Once I was up and the ladder down, I grabbed the dingy painter and then it was Kyber off, and Fynn off. I tied Otto to the cleat while Kolby started bailing. Once I had Fynn settled below and dry clothes on to stop the shaking, Kolby and I quickly realized there was no way we were getting Otto on the davits. She would have to be towed. ‘What if we loose the dighy? Do we just let it go?’ ‘I could swim after it’ Neither option was a happy one and all we could do was hope for the best.
Bringing up the anchor was another challenge. The bow would cut into the waves, and the wind, now up to 20+ knots, was determined to spin us broad side. Otto was also struggling. Without a taught tow line the wind would sweep her sideways… There was one moment where Kolby was certain she would flip.. I remembered wondering if leaving was the best choice, or if we should stay and wait it out.
Once we were underway things improved, slightly. But we still had one major problem; our decktop hatches had many cracked and broken latches. It was on the ‘to fix list’ but hadn’t been an issue so far. As wave after wave crashed across the bow and sprayed against the dodger, I was running around belowing, tightening the latches, moping water off the floor and placing strategical towels. Thinking I had the situation under control, I went up top to see how Kolby was. It wasn’t too long when we watched Asunto dive bow first into a Goliath of a wave. With the bow already low from the pitch of the last wave, this one was blue water on the dodger. A first for us. It was not a good scene down below. Hatches that were leaking let in buckets of water. Bedding was wet, carpets wet, everything soaked. Again I mopped it up using the last of our towels. Then, thankfully we turned, ran broadside then finally downwind as we fled towards Ford Cove. As we pitched downwind my stomach started doing flips with every roll. Kyber was also less than enthusiastic, but Otto loved it, surfing down the waves in our wake, her tow line mostly slack. ‘Otto is having the time of his life’ Kolby yelled to me. Fynn was also unaffected, sitting bundled on the couch watching her shows and munching down dinner. She didn’t say boo.
Anchored in Ford Cove the effect of the wind and waves was dampened. Again I wondered if leaving was the right choice. As nothing serious had happened, it seemed to be. We know other boats who rode it out in Tribune but we also learnt that night that a boat had washed ashore. In the end the decision is personal, and for us and our boat, the desicion to go was the right one.
That night as the wind faded with the sun, the sea refused to let go. She had tasted the tempest and loved it. With no wind to turn us into the waves we rocked and rolled for hours until finally the sea wore herself out and settled into the night.