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!

Continue reading “Us and the boat and the sky and the sea”

Our favourite sailing videos on YouTube

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Watching the world go by in Oahu

I think it’s time to confess to our newish, secret addiction. Since Toby entered our lives just over a year ago, our movie-watching habit has gone from “oh, another rainy evening, let’s just cuddle up under the blankets with your laptop” (bear in mind that it rains ALL the time in Vancouver) to “wow, I got through almost thirty minutes of that before Toby woke up, that’s a total miracle, but unfortunately I can’t remember what happened because I’m so tired that my brain doesn’t work anymore”. I can’t remember when I last watched a full movie in one go, and watching them in twenty minute chunks just isn’t the same. Even watching episodes of series became tricky. So we’ve pretty much given up for now.

But Doug, on his many long walks to get the little lad to sleep, has listened to numerous podcasts. One of those is The Sailing Podcast (another good one to check out is Sail Loot) and one episode featured an interview with Riley and Elayna from Sailing La Vagabonde, who talked about their videos. Continue reading “Our favourite sailing videos on YouTube”

Already February? How did that happen?

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Braving the cold at Tynemouth beach, Tyne & Wear, England

Hi! Happy new year! Well, yeah, not exactly new any more, but we’re just settling back into Vancouver after six weeks away (no, not on the boat, come on, you know us better than to think we’d actually go sailing, don’t you? Hoho. More on that later…) so it still feels new to us. And hey, it was still January when I started writing this. Just.

What can I say? It’s 2016, our boat is still not our main form of housing or transport, and all is well. Continue reading “Already February? How did that happen?”

Autumn in Vancouver

wpid-img_20151022_154341.jpgVancouver, consistently near the top of ‘best places to live’ lists, has so much beautiful, spectacular scenery that it can be easy to overlook the gorgeousness of your own neighbourhood. We’re based in Mount Pleasant, East Vancouver, which is a bit of a trek to the beaches and mountains that make this place so famous (and so expensive!), but we’ve been surrounded by amazing colours and stunning sights these last couple of months without having to walk more than a few blocks from our place. Continue reading “Autumn in Vancouver”

Fog, whale and wine: an afternoon sail around English Bay, Vancouver

20150929_152717Some days you just have to drop everything and go sailing. Our friend Kate has a groovy little Riviera Star 24 in a marina in False Creek and has offered to take us out for a sail on numerous occasions, but the timing has never worked out. This week it did! Twice! First Doug and Toby went out with her on a beautiful sunny day and, despite a few engine issues (uhoh, maybe it’s contagious!), had a lovely time for Toby’s first ever sail.
Continue reading “Fog, whale and wine: an afternoon sail around English Bay, Vancouver”

Weather at sea!

With all the crazy weather happening recently in the North Pacific (hurricanes, tsunami warnings, storms in Vancouver, etc), we’ve been reminiscing about some of the mad weather related moments on Illusion’s journey from New Zealand to Hawaii. Here are a few of the memories that stand out, for varying reasons… Continue reading “Weather at sea!”

Stormy seas and safe harbours – lessons in community

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Storms in the Pacific. August 2015
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Three hurricanes in the North Pacific!

Back in 2013 when Doug was solo-sailing from the Marquesas to Hawaii, and wondering whether to just carry straight on up to Vancouver, he heard radio check-ins from a couple of boats doing that journey who were having a pretty rough time of it. Rough enough for him to realize that he should call it a day for that season’s sailing, leave the boat on Oahu, and get himself up to Vancouver for some much needed rest and shoulder surgery. He’s mentioned those boats a few times while we were working out whether he could sail to Vancouver this summer, not wanting to leave any later than the end of August if at all possible. The last few months have been all about trying to get the engine fixed, while simultaneously prepping the boat to be ready to set off. As the end of August approached, and with the engine really close to working properly, things were still up in the air about whether Illusion was going to be leaving the harbour. Continue reading “Stormy seas and safe harbours – lessons in community”

Going bananas – easy cookie recipe

Bananas at sea - August 2013 (Leaving Raivavae)
Bananas at sea – August 2013 – en route from Raivavae to Tahiti.

While Doug works away on the boat, Toby and I are back in Vancouver. Given that Toby is sick every time we go on a bus, I’m starting to see the (unconventional) wisdom of Jean-Marie , the broker for our harbour neighbour’s boat, who took one look at Toby splashing around in a bucket in the cockpit, asked his age, and said, with a smile but in all seriousness, “Ah, he’s too young to be on land.” Brilliant, eh?

Anyway, here we are on land, looking for ways to enjoy the summer without Doug, van or boat. It’s going pretty well, considering (you know, minus the odd moment of ‘aaaagh, I’ve run out of diapers and it’s bedtime’) and when we do brave the bus we get rewarded with sights like this: Continue reading “Going bananas – easy cookie recipe”