Friday Photo

Oh hey! It is Friday!

Who has time to take photos when you work all night and sleep all day? I’ve worked one evening (shelter), one day (optometry), and two overnights (shelter) so far this week… and am about to head off to overnight number three (though at a different shelter than the other shifts this week). This hasn’t left me much time for wandering around town or for taking pictures this week. Instead, today we’re flashing back to 2007 because of the opera that I went to last night before work: The Flying Dutchman. While I’m sure that the tropical seas of the Pacific near Hawaii are a slightly different hue than the North Atlantic of Wagner’s opera, this production opened with some footage of rolling swells and breaking seas that brought me right back to many times on Offshore.

Friday Photo


I was so busy last week that I forgot to put up a photo so this week we get two! I haven’t put any of my photos from sailing up here yet (though you can find them all here) and those are the most recent photos I’ve actually had a chance to upload and edit. These are the two I submitted to the SALTS photo contest – it was a tough decision, I had about 6 that made the short list – so you may see them on a SALTS calendar or website in the future… if they like them, that is!

These photos are from the West Coast of Vancouver Island: Hesquiat Harbour and Brooks Peninsula. I love the West Coast. I know I have said it before, but I will continue to say it over and over again: I am convinced that the West Coast of Vancouver Island is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world. Or at least in the Pacific, it is the only coastline that I have any real authority to speak to.

Back on Land

Despite having spent nearly two solid years living and working on the Pacific Grace, I have probably spent more coastal time on the Pacific Swift. As a result, I have a lot wonderful pictures of the Grace and few of the Swift. Case in point. We passed the Grace as we were going north to Brooks Peninsula and they were headed south. We had stunning weather nearly the entire time.

More stories and pictures to follow soon… and the pictures will likely get put here.

Friday Photo

I’m sailing the West Coast of Vancouver Island right now. Instead, this photo is from the summer I cooked the West Coast after returning from Offshore. After seven or eight days of playing on the West Coast with the kids we pick up in Ucluelet, we round the bottom of Vancouver Island back to Victoria, ending the last trip of the summer. On the way around we pass Race Rocks lighthouse. The light has been going for something like 150 years. There are lots of sea lions that make their home on the island. Another Race Rocks trivia item is that there is a local brew named after it…

Fog

I’m sailing the West Coast of Vancouver Island right now, but I couldn’t resist leaving a few West Coast sailing memories to keep you company while I’m gone.

Fog. It is a way of life when sailing around Vancouver Island. Hopefully we are not encountering too much of it this week.

Sailing the West Coast, I have had full days of fog, with the blast of the fog horn going off every minute or so. It is amazing how one becomes so accustomed to hearing the horn that one is able to tune it out. Life carries on with minimal interruption after awhile. Conversations pause mid-word to allow the blast to pass and then pick right back up without any notice.

When the fog lifts and the fog horn goes off, it is a strange silence that descends over the boat, especially if the motor is also off. All of a sudden the fog horn becomes noticed again, this time in its absence.

It is interesting how we are able to tune out annoyances so that life can continue without any interruption while they continue to occur. Then, when the annoyance ends, it is like a weight has been lifted and peace descends. That which we didn’t know was bothering us is gone and all of a sudden we realize just how much it was taking out of us.

I wish you clear days and smooth sailing, on and off the water.

Going Sailing in the Morning

I’m getting on a bus this morning to head over to Ucluelet. There I will board the Pacific Swift for 10 days of sailing around the West Coast of Vancouver Island before returning to Victoria. I am looking forward to this trip in so many ways.

I have been involved with SALTS for 12 years. From my first trip, as a high school student at a new school in a new city and province, I was hooked. Three days was not enough. I arrived home and immediately signed up to go on a 10 day trip the next summer. Since then, I have been a volunteer and professional crew in several different roles. Soon, ten day trip were not enough and I worked for them for two years, sailing around the Pacific Ocean.

There will be no remote South Pacific Islands on this trip. However, the coastline I am about to explore is amongst the most beautiful in the world. From rugged rocky coastlines to sandy beaches, from tall spruce and cedar forests to the red flashes of arbutus, from rolling breakers to natural hot springs.

It will be a wonderful ten days.

Here are some of the memories from previous trips… I look forward to making more soon…


SALTS

I have been associated with SALTS, the Sail and Life Training Society, for over ten years now. My first trip was a three-day coastal voyage in high school. I’ve been on board nearly every year since then. For two years, I worked for SALTS in the position of cook. Coastally, I’ve sailed all around the Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast/Desolation Sound as well as circumnavigating Vancouver Island at least once. Offshore, we circumnavigated the Pacific Ocean: Hawaii, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, China, Japan… I lived and breathed SALTS for those two years – at times literally never leaving the boat for weeks on end (the longest passage we had was 30+ days without sighting land). I had to miss sailing with them this summer because of school, but I am looking forward to getting back on the water next season. It is hard work, but it is some of the most rewarding work one can ever do. Enjoy the short video. If you watch closely, you might pick me out once or twice in the offshore footage at the end.

Hove to

To continue to appease the northern commenter… I offer this previously unpublished piece of writing, from this day in history…

June 20, 2007. 139nm

I never get tired of the sunsets out here. We’ve passed below 10N and so the wind is somewhat lacking, meaning the sea can be somewhat glass-like.

Yesterday and today we hove-to for a swim stop. Yesterday, I ended up with far too much saltwater in my body so today I took the snorkel gear out. How many people can say they’ve gone snorkeling in 15,000ft of water? It is so incredibly blue and surprisingly clear. All you can see are the people around you and tiny jellyfish ranging from the size of a dime to about 15cm in diameter. The small ones would sting a bit, but you don’t really feel it.

I never last long out there because I pretty much have no stamina. When I got out of the water, I went up and sat on the bowsprit. It was a unique perspective to look back at the swimmers and the boat against the endless horizon. Just us and the ocean.

I also did my first sights today with the sextant. It is neat to be learning such an old craft, albeit with some modern equipment. I was only 1.6nm off on my first sight which is pretty good. I haven’t calculated how I did on my second sight. The process reminded me of that part in Red Rackham’s Treasure where Thomson and Thompson try to correct Captain Haddock on his navigational calculations to which he replies: “Gentlemen, please remove your hats.” “Why?” “Because according to your calculations, we are now standing inside of Westminster Abbey.” It makes me laugh just thinking of it…

We caught another dorado today. I guess it is in the freezer which means I’ll be expected to do something with it tomorrow. Meals seem to be less exciting on this leg. For one thing, we didn’t buy as much in Hawaii as we did leaving Victoria. I think the allergies are more restrictive on this leg as well.

Well, it has cooled down and I am cooking tomorrow so… ‘night.