So… what’s the plan?

1382810533947Well… get Illusion to Canada obviously! Eventually. That part of the plan hasn’t changed, although the timing has. I think at one stage we were even talking about having her here by the end of July so we could spend August sailing around the islands of British Columbia. We just didn’t realize that it would be 2014, not 2013!

The big lesson of this whole boating thing for me has been to learn to expect everything to change and not rely too much on plans. It’s a great lesson. Even though I was warned that everything would take a load longer than predicted it was actually pretty interesting to realize that Doug was spot on with his sailing prediction times for the most part. Aiming for two weeks from New Zealand, but might be up to three. Even with awful storms and no engine, it was twenty two days. Five days tops to get from Raivavae to Tahiti, he said. It took about three. About a week to get from Tahiti to Nuku Hiva, five days if we’re lucky with the winds. We weren’t lucky, but it was still only seven days. Aiming for two weeks from Nuku Hiva to Hawaii, but don’t worry if it’s more like three – it was fifteen days. So it’s good to know we can have a reasonable idea of travel times. It’s just all the other stuff that gets in the way….

Speed of repairs (or lack thereof), workshop facilities (or lack thereof), marina prices, bad shoulder, waiting for parts to be delivered, depending on the kindness of strangers. Delays and changes were caused by all sorts of things, only occasionally the weather. While Doug still thought he could get the engine mended, the priority was to work on that and try to sort out what parts were needed and how (and where) to get them delivered – hence the five week stay on Rapa! Once he decided to sail on without a working engine, there were still other repairs and marina availability and the bad shoulder to think about. Each email I received the plan had changed slightly due to a step forward or backward in the repair process. I stopped expecting to know what exactly was happening and just waited for the instructions on which airport to fly to. This was fantastic training for living on Illusion for a month: no expectations about what we’d do, an open mind about what would come next.

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Great welcome home card for Doug from our friend DL! No pirates changed our plans, but a shark did stop us swimming!

It can be hard to just go with the flow and accept that the plan will change, regularly. Not because of bad planning, but because it seems any boating plans should be taken with a healthy handful, indeed bucketful, of salt(y water). But that turns out to be half the fun of it. One minute you’re speeding along making incredible progress through stormy seas, the next you’re wondering if you’ll ever be ready to leave the marina. Or you think you’re ahead of schedule and might arrive at the next island a day earlier than planned, when suddenly the wind drops and you spend a few days zigzagging around, trying to pick up a breeze. And in the not knowing, in the powerlessness, comes the adventure. Trying to plan and being as prepared as possible is definitely a good idea. But it helps, it seems, to assume that plans will change – and more than once.

Autumn in Vancouver
Autumn in Vancouver

 

So bearing all that in mind, this is our current plan for the next step of Illusion‘s journey to Vancouver:

December: we’ll head down to Hawaii for a short visit to see how she’s doing at the marina and do a few of the smaller jobs which should make the interior a bit more comfortable in the long run (leaky hatches, lighting problems, etc.).

Sometime in Spring: Doug will head back to try to get the engine sorted out. We’re not super-keen on doing the final leg without an engine, though it wouldn’t be impossible.

Later in Spring or early Summer (whenever the weather’s starting to look ok): we’ll sail her up to British Columbia. Currently considering how many of us should do that. Probably just the two of us, but potentially open to taking on other crew – let us know if it interests you!

And then…? Well, we’re definitely hoping to explore the islands and coast of British Columbia. Then we’re pretty keen to do another big voyage. Vaguely thinking through timings for that.

What about the blog/Facebook page/Twitter account? We’ve enjoyed doing the web stuff – even though we haven’t been very regular bloggers – and it’s turned out to be a great way of keeping our families and friends in the loop (along with a few friends-we-haven’t-met-yet!) so we want to keep it up and continue using it as a means of documenting and sharing the adventures. Thanks so much for all your interest, support and lovely comments. We’ve appreciated it so much! We still have more photos and stories from the journey from New Zealand to Hawaii and we’ll share those on the blog over the next few months – so check in if you’re interested. Then we’ll update with plans/next steps as we go along. We reckon there’s plenty of (or at least some) life in the old boat yet. In the meantime, we’re enjoying making the most of this beautiful Autumn, and feeling lucky to live near the sea. Doug, obviously suffering withdrawal symptoms, even managed to fit in some speedy repairs during today’s outing.

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It’s the first October since I moved here that we’ve had days of sun to enjoy all these lovely colours:

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