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! 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”
There 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. But 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!
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.
Illusion has been in Kewalo Basin Harbor since November 2014 and although Doug’s made a few trips down to work on the engine, he’s hardly been out of the engine room! So when Toby and I went down to join him for a while recently, it was up to us to go and check out what Honolulu has to offer the visiting cruiser. In Part 1 I talked about the practical stuff – bear in mind that we’re on a budget and not looking for the fanciest restaurants and bars, so it’s all pretty basic. But we had some fun times, and managed a little bit of exploring too in between hose-showers, galley cleaning, and swimming in the sea!
Obviously ideally you’d want to get away from Honolulu and explore the quieter parts of Oahu, (and even more ideally, take off to the other islands!), but even without a car and keeping local there are some fun and interesting times to be had. Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor are two of the most obvious nearby ‘attractions’, but although Doug explored both (and thought they were worth a visit), I decided to use my free time to check out the art galleries. Continue reading “Cruisers’ Guide to Kewalo Basin Harbor – Part 2: Being tourists..”
After Illusion sat in Ko Olina Marina for over a year we were pretty keen to work out somewhere else for her to be. We’d gone there originally because they were the only place to get back to my emails confirming Doug could arrive there and the paperwork seemed manageable. It worked out fine as a place to arrive to from the Marquesas, but overall we had a slightly disappointing time there – it’s right by a resort and is basically a really impractical spot unless you have a car, and even if you do, it’s not that ideal. The restaurants, shops and bars at the resort were crazy expensive and to get to other stores required a longish walk and bus-ride. There were a couple of friendly people on other boats, but it wasn’t a great vibe in general and it wasn’t cheap either – though we had some fun times wandering through the hotels and hanging out at the beaches. Maybe as a live-aboard place with a car it would be better, and admittedly it coincided with not being able to get our engine mended, Doug’s shoulder preventing him from sailing, Doug having a bad back, and me visiting while pregnant and really struggling with the heat – so it’s not surprising it has some bad associations for us! Anyway, last November when Doug went down with his friend Petra (while I was too pregnant to travel!) they managed to get a tow out of the marina and sailed to Honolulu. It should have been an afternoon sail, though they were unlucky with the winds and it took a while longer than hoped, but they eventually got into the harbour and that’s where Illusion‘s been for the last few months.
Toby finally met the boat! We wanted to introduce him to his English and American family first, so it took us 7.5 months to get him there, but now that we’ve tried family life aboard we don’t want to stop. It was just a short trip this time, but it’s keeping us motivated for longer term plans. From the first moments he seemed mesmerized and totally at home and having him there with us made it feel even more like home to us. Continue reading “Baby on board!”
So a whole summer has passed and we haven’t managed to sail Illusion at all. Oh dear. This is turning into a very slow journey from New Zealand to Vancouver, but life comes at you with all its unexpectedness and hey ho, you do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.
It’s kind of nice having a second home, especially one that’s in warm, sunny Hawaii – even if it has moldy carpets and leaky windows! The surprise was that when my friend Martin and I arrived at the boat (Sara had to stay home for work), our neighbor informed us that we had just missed four days of clouds and rain – but all of our time there was great, especially considering the bitter cold for Vancouver last week. We had a fun, relaxing few days (joined for some of it by another good friend) and managed some jobs around the boat, too, in between beers in the cockpit and exploring the island’s beaches. Almost too relaxing, as we nearly failed to do the main job: mailing the fuel injector pump off to be rebuilt! After the difficulties of the last voyage (from New Zealand to Hawaii), it felt great to have some time on the boat to chill out and not have any imminent stresses. No sailing (without a usable engine, I can’t easily get out of the marina), but plenty of exploring and socializing. Too busy having fun to take many pictures, but here are a few: Continue reading “Quick visit to Hawaii”
We’d been at Marina Taina on Tahiti since last Tuesday and, apart from a couple of trips to the giant Carrefour just down the road, hadn’t seen anything of the island. Saturday’s plan was to get to Papeete to try to find a replacement motor for the autopilot (which keeps failing on us) and to check in at the police station. Quite excited to be heading ‘off site’, we were up bright and early. Friday’s brunch on the boat with Janice had left us with some pancake batter to use up so Doug got to work making us breakfast, and we sat out on the deck with mugs of tea, ready to tuck in. One disgusting mouthful in, we realized something in the mix was as unaccustomed to the tropical heat as we are. Oh well, bananas and papaya it would have to be. We headed off out into the already burning sunshine, returning once for the water bottle and a second time for the camera with photos of the motor and parts we needed. We were already getting sick of our day out and it was still only 8.30am.
After the drama of the anchor dragging we settled into an amazing week on the island of Raivavae, a place I’d never even heard of which suddenly became home to us. Mostly we were working on the engine or trying to do other boat jobs to prepare to set sail so we didn’t see the stuff tourists go for – beautiful beaches off out by the reef, mountain walks with incredible views, diving, snorkelling, canoeing. Apparently that’s what tourists do anyway, when tourists visit. Chez Linda, the attractive pension run by the lovely Linda and John, where John and Deb were staying, organized all that kind of thing, along with lending bikes and cooking delicious meals. In the time we were there, though, I think only two other couples arrived. Interestingly there was a lot of local opposition to the airport being built thirteen years ago and you still get the feeling that, despite being welcoming and friendly, this is an island that is quite happy to not be inundated with visitors.