September 1, 2012: 16 days to be dubbed our Engagement Sailcation
We rose with the sun and set out with the tides from Elliott Bay Marina that crisp autumn morning. Only one of us knew there was a ring stowed beneath the floorboards….
We traveled as far as Anacortes, WA, where we enjoyed an afternoon picnic with our good friends, the Maddox Family.
September 2, 2012: Leaving US waters for the first time!
We arrived in beautiful Victoria, after sailing nearly the entire way from Anacortes! A spectacular day, complete with perfect wind. We cleared customs and docked for the night at the Wharf Street Floats. We were elated to raise our first courtesy flag and to fulfill a promise we’d made to each other before we ever purchased The Red Thread. We said that someday we’d sail into Victoria – and then we did!
September 3, 2012: To Ganges on Salt Spring Island.
What a fantastic place! We anchored for the night and treated ourselves to dinner at The Treehouse Cafe, a one-of-a-kind restaurant that offers up live music under the canopy of a beautiful, sprawling tree. Upon returning well after dark to our dinghy, Miss Sassy Strings, we were frustrated to find her nearly completely deflated on one side! Deciding to trust the inflated side of our speedy outboard, we hurried back to The Red Thread! The only casualty from our dinghy ride back, Neil’s sunglasses, that fell overboard during a moment of stargazing! The next day, while underway, Neil found and patched the leak. Our little hot rod was back in business!
September 4, 2012: Cruising continues…to Degnen Bay we go.
We tucked into quiet but crowded Degnen Bay as we rounded the southern tip of Gabriola Island. Most of the boats were empty and on mooring buoys. Initially it felt a bit like a ghost town of boats. We dropped our anchor and stern tied to one of the private docks, a kind offering by the only people in sight. Russell and Arabella became our friends that evening, and we enjoyed wine and sailboat stories with them late into the night.
The next morning, we set out across the Strait of Georgia. Whiskey Gulf, a missile testing range, was active, which meant that we had to take a longer route north before crossing the Strait. Seas were choppy, with 25-knot winds over the bow and waves stacking up to about 6 feet. Jessie spent a chunk of the crossing on the verge of paying homage to King Neptune. Needless to say, a tasty boat breakfasts like the ones we’d enjoyed during the preceding days was not to be had. Stale rolls would have to do!
September 6, 2012: Nearing the crown jewel our our journey!
After a night tucked away in Green Bay, a lovely anchorage just off Agamemnon Channel, we set out for the crown jewel of our voyage, Princess Louisa Inlet. The Sunshine Coast lived up to its nickname that morning. We saw few boats as we made our way north past Egmont BC toward Jervis Inlet.
Touted as being one of the most beautiful fjords in the world, there was certainly not a shortage of spectacular views as we neared Princess Louisa Inlet. Little did I know that Neil had a diamond burning a hole in his pocket, as he casually scouted Malibu Rapids and the entrance to the Inlet.
The 30+ miles up Jervis Inlet were a treat. Although the lack of wind mean that we could not sail, we reveled in Mother Nature’s gift of sunshine and nearly 80 degrees (Fahrenheit). We took to referring to the Inlet as our Canadian Caribbean, and we found ourselves swooning at the sheer beauty that seemed to grow richer with every mile. After passing through Malibu Rapids, we had arrived. We had made it to Princess Louisa. The music of rushing water echoed throughout the fjord as we neared Chatterbox Falls and tied up at the small, nearly empty dock. Incredible; nothing short of incredible.
…and then late that night, tucked together in our hammock over the bow, Neil proposed.
And I said YES!!
September 7, 2012: Waking up ENGAGED!
Waking up engaged was a magical feeling! In a place so remote that it is only accessible by boat or seaplane, cell phone service was a modern-day amenity that we lacked. Ironically, it felt liberating to revel in our new commitment privately. Well, almost privately. We excitedly shared our news with the few boaters who, like us, had made Chatterbox Falls their home for a few days. Mostly, we relished our news together. We wandered the trails, lounged in our engagement hammock, and talked about our dreams for the future.
After several days without cell service, we crept back toward civilization and were overjoyed to share our BIG news with our loved ones! The outpouring of love and support we received from all corners of the US added to our high, leaving us in a perpetual state of happiness.
September 8, 2012: To Pender Harbour we go!
Pender Harbour is stunning, with one little crook and cranny to explore after the next! We anchored off and watched the sun slip away from our day. A subtle breeze shifted to a heavy winds late into the night, and we decided to let out more scope. As we tried to release more chain, we realized the windlass wasn’t working. Troubleshooting quickly led us to the culprit: our batteries were not charging properly, and we didn’t have sufficient power to operate our windlass! We realized we either had a problem with our alternator or regulator, a problem we weren’t going to be able to resolve that night. We manually released more chain and spent the remaining hours before dawn night restless, waking up frequently to check on things.
We accepted that fixing our boat would not be feasible right away, so we made the most of the time we had left in Canada. We docked, plugged into shore power, and kayaked and explored much of the next afternoon, with plans to repair The Red Thread at our first port in the US.
September 10, 2012: One crazy bus…
After leaving Pender Harbour, we hooked up to a mooring buoy in Montague Harbour on Galiano Island. We dinghied to shore hoping to catch the “Pub Bus” to the Hummingbird Pub. Seeing that we missed it, even after trying to make chase after the bus, we hitchhiked with a local man the 4-5 miles to the Pub. After some expensive and rather mediocre food, we hopped the Pub Bus back to the dock. It was the most amusing, frightening, and psychadelic bus ride we’ve ever had, as the driver spun glow sticks around his ankles (yes, while driving) and banged on cowbells and tambourines, all to a 70s acid rock soundtrack! This is an adventure not to be missed…but also not for the faint of heart!!
September 11, 2012: Our last Canadian port of call
Poet’s Cove on South Pender Island is a magical little place. Included in the cost of guest moorage is full access to all of the luxuries of the resort, including a heated swimming pool and hot tub. We felt like we were in high heaven to be able to relax in the sunshine poolside! We also enjoyed going on a brief hike to an old church and exploring the wooded area.
The days were long and the sunsets incredible…
September 14, 2012: Making our way home…
From South Pender Island, we made our way to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, where we cleared customs and spent the final night of our voyage. The next day was devoted repairing The Red Thread, with the help of our good friend, Glenn. From there, we made our final push home, where new jobs and the rest of the “real” world awaited us.