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”
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….
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!
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”
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.
After three (unplanned!) years on Oahu, things finally lined up for us to set sail – engine fixed, crew available, captain recovered from shoulder injury, and reasonable weather conditions. Continue reading “Last Days in Hawaii!”
They’re not often talked about, but I’m fascinated by rogue waves – waves that are much bigger than the rest of the sea around them, jumping up at you out of nowhere. Even the name suggests mischief and danger. I’ve witnessed what I’d call mini-rogues (basically waves that are noticeably larger than the average sea state) many times while out in the Pacific, usually during or near storm systems, but sometimes caused by storms hundreds or a thousand miles away. Proper “rogue waves” are less common, but more dramatic. Continue reading “Rogue Waves”
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”
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!”