Back in November when we were anchored in San Diego I was feeling the effects of being on the move, without a solid group of friends or colleagues around me. I wasn’t getting much time to myself or to talk through stuff with friends, and, although I’d hoped to keep up my daily writing habit when we left Vancouver, it was hard to find time between sailing, provisioning, laundry, route planning, boat jobs, parenting, socializing, and exploring all the new places we were traveling through. I’ve been a member of the amazing Women Who Sail Facebook group and a couple of its sub-groups for a few years now – such great sources of knowledge, support, and advice – and after seeing a few comments about writing from other members, I realized what I needed was totally within reach:
Nobody was inside the hairdresser’s, and the woman sitting outside, twiddling her hair and focused on her phone, didn’t look too impressed that I´d interrupted her to ask if I could come in. It´s a long time since I´ve had a haircut in Spanish, and she was equally unimpressed by my almost useless efforts to describe what I wanted. She kept showing me pictures in a worn magazine and I kept showing her photos on my phone and eventually after a lot of confused, unimpressed looks, she shrugged: “Un bob clásico, es un bob clásico”. To get things moving, although I was already wondering whether it might be better to leave before anything went horribly wrong, I agreed that a bob clásico would be just fine. She didn´t seem like someone who wanted to make small talk and we settled into a slightly awkward silence. I sat there feeling uncomfortable and she stood there looking grumpy and we probably both just hoped the whole thing could be done with as quickly as possible. Continue reading “Little angels in paradise: haircuts, kids, and magic moments”
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!
With the news about hurricanes in Mexico, especially Patricia’s near miss of Puerto Vallarta, where I was based for months while cruising around Mexico’s Pacific coast, I’ve been reminiscing about Illusion‘s early years and my first cruising experiences.
Some 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”
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”
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.