Water, water, everywhere? Family walk in Isla Espíritu Santo

The imposing, bird-covered Monument rock at Ensenada El Candelero on Isla Espíritu Santo is surrounded by fish, crabs, and red seastars clinging to the rocks. After a drift around in the dinghy watching all the life thriving in the shallow water, we headed to the beach to follow a trail to a dried-up waterfall. The island is managed by CONANP (National Commission of Natural Protected Areas) and has six authorized paths for hiking, accessible from different bays. This was one of the easy ones, a 40 minute round trip according to the leaflet we were given when we bought our permit to enter National Parks on our boat, and suitable, we hoped, for a young sailor to work his land-legs. Continue reading “Water, water, everywhere? Family walk in Isla Espíritu Santo”

Birds, cactus, and friends: exploring the Baja Peninsula and Sea of Cortez

We anchored yesterday here in Bahía San Gabriel, on the south west of Isla Espíritu Santo in the Sea of Cortez, and woke up this morning to a bay full of clouds and colour. The boat was covered in dew, the air was wet with morning mist, and sun beams shone through the grey hanging over the hills. Magnificent Frigatebirds circled overhead along with a few Turkey Vultures, at the shore there’s a Great Blue Heron, and on the water a group of maybe a hundred Least Grebes (I think, definitely some kind of grebe) moved around tightly packed together, ducking under, then chirping their way back into view. As the sunlight got stronger, cloud reflections and wind ripples on the water swirled into gently shifting patterns of blue, white, grey and green, smudgy like an oil-painting. Continue reading “Birds, cactus, and friends: exploring the Baja Peninsula and Sea of Cortez”

Making a boat a home (aka lowering expectations) and setting sail: a catch-up post!

Leaving lovely Morro Bay, California

Wow! We haven’t written a blog post since February? Oops! So much has happened with and on Illusion since then. We’ve done a slightly better job at keeping Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram up to date, but if you don’t follow us on there, here’s a quick recap, written with apologies for being the worst bloggers ever….

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Back in the day – Illusion being built

** We’ve been sorting through a big box of photos which had been stored under the bed in Illusion for quite a few years. It’s been quite a surprise to find out which photos survived and which were damp and stuck together – we haven’t got through them all yet, but so far there are some great ones from various adventures, including travels in Mexico, South Pacific tropics, and New Zealand. Over the next few weeks we’ll scan some and post them here on the blog to give a bit of Illusion‘s back story. **

I was living in an apartment in Tiburon (near San Francisco), California, failing to find a used boat to buy. I almost gave up after a boat deal in Germany fell through. Then the MacGregor video of their 65 foot sailboat at a local boat show sparked my interest in taking a closer look; a factory visit to meet Roger MacGregor; and a downpayment to get on the waiting list. A year and a half later, in late 1994, I went back to the factory in Costa Mesa, California to see her being built. Surprisingly, the photos of her in pieces, with the hull partly assembled, survived in good shape!

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Pledge Less Plastic in 2017

2017 is here! And with it (along with even colder temperatures and the seemingly inevitable viruses that have floored us this past couple of weeks) lots of intentions and plans. We think, and hope, it’s going to be a pretty big year for us in terms of sailing! I wrote in our last post about the privilege of being able to travel relatively easily, and with that privilege we recognize the responsibility to do our bit to try to protect and cherish the seas that we love so much. Continue reading “Pledge Less Plastic in 2017”

Endings and beginnings

So 2016 is coming to an end and what a year it’s been.

We are delighted that this was the year we finally got Illusion up to British Columbia, were able to live-aboard as a family for a while, started exploring the amazing Salish sea, and shared some great sailing and boat-based social times with friends, old and new. Summer feels a long time ago now, but wow, we had some brilliant local trips and started to get the hang of sailing with a little one. We didn’t do a great job of updating the blog, but our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages are usually fairly current, and perhaps over Christmas we’ll add some videos or posts about our time in Desolation Sound and other beautiful places round here!DCIM100MEDIA We’re excited to gradually get to know more boat-people in this area and are especially impressed by the hardy liveaboards who brave the winter here, despite a lack of official support for long-term anchoring in False Creek and nearby beaches, and manage to keep cheerful too. Everyone should have a few (friendly) pirates in their lives! Continue reading “Endings and beginnings”

Us and the boat and the sky and the sea

img_20160714_193503.jpgThere were numerous moments over the last three years when we wondered whether we should just give up on trying to get Illusion to Vancouver. It was so complicated and expensive and time-consuming. And then on top of that wanting to visit our families for weddings and births and funerals, the addition to our own family-crew, the ongoing pressure of trying to complete my PhD, Doug’s surgery and recovery from his shoulder injury, and all the other ups and downs of life…. Yawn, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about all the bad stuff. Every few months we would have a serious talk about whether we should give up on trying to get the boat here. Maybe sell her. Maybe sail her back to the Marquesas. Maybe go and live on her in Hawaii. img_20160804_114739.jpgBut none of it quite made sense and each time we re-evaluated, our conclusion was to keep pushing on. We couldn’t easily sell her without a working engine, but if she had a working engine, we could get her here and in that case we didn’t want to sell her. So we just stuck at it and waited for all the circumstances to make sense and come together and…. eventually, they did!

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Marine life – sailing from Hawaii to Vancouver

One of my favorite things about being at sea is catching sight of some of the incredible life that inhabits our oceans. This passage saw us cross paths with two species of dolphins, a shark, humpback whales, albatrosses, flying fish and a lot of jellyfish, as well as the ever-present gulls. Continue reading “Marine life – sailing from Hawaii to Vancouver”

Underway – Sailing from Hawaii to Vancouver

Route sailed from Hawaii to Vancouver
Route sailed from Hawaii to Vancouver

We did it! Finally! Illusion made it to Vancouver, Canada on the 24th of June, after almost three weeks at sea. The three of us (John, friend of a friend in New York, Ivan, good friend of Sara’s from Spain, and I) had an undramatic and enjoyable passage, with a bit more motoring than hoped for (definitely worth fixing the engine!), decent conditions overall and no major storms.

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