Before picking up Neil on Cortes Island, we enjoyed a very eventful evening in Gorge Harbour. We had just finished using the marina hot tub when we heard some music in the distance. We walked over to check it out and found a wedding party happening at the local Community Hall. We were instantly invited to join the party! Gotta love Island Life!
We scooted back over to Leela to put on our best clothes and write a wedding card to a yet unknown couple. “Hi there! We don’t know you but thanks for letting us crash your wedding!” We joined the festivities just as the sun was setting and were happy to find a jolly atmosphere with kids and grandparents alike dancing to some fantastic music. Didn’t take long for Saxony to recognize the DJ – Cosmo Sheldrake. Turns out Saxony had been following him for a while on Soundcloud. He is quite big in the UK but spent his childhood summers on Cortes Island and was there for a short holiday to catch up with old friends and DJ this party. It was all incredibly good times. At one point Saxony and I ended up in a 3-person whirly-whirl with the bride!
Suddenly a tall fine-looking gentleman in the crowd leans over and says: “Saxony?” Took a second for Saxony to click. “Dan??!!” What an incredibly serendipitous encounter! Dan was Saxony’s first ever boyfriend back in high school when they were both volleyball players. Dan had since re-located on Cortes Island and built a tiny house where he lives with his girlfriend on a community-run farm. He offered to give us a tour when our trip with Neil was over.
We met him at the marina office and he graciously drove us to his farm where he proceeded to give us a tour of his beautiful tiny house and the lands. He even fed us delicious road kill deer stew! What an incredible lifestyle. Saxony and I both left longing for this idyllic lifestyle away from the mind-numbing city life. Thanks Dan for the tour!
The next day we finally headed South for our final leg home. A new high pressure settled bringing sunny skies and tailwinds down Georgia Strait.
Approaching Hornby Island, we found the scenery, the water colour and the moment to be absolutely spectacular and decided to do a quick unplanned stop in Big Tribune Bay. Now in early September, the place was almost deserted and truly was the most beautiful beach we encountered on our summer travels. We relaxed on the beach for a few hours before deciding to spend the night in this idyllic spot. That is what is so great about sailing. We can decide to stay wherever we fancy whenever we fancy. It was all bittersweet as we knew the next day we would be sailing back home to Vancouver.
We spent the afternoon swimming, reading, relaxing and walking to the little general store for ice cream. The water was the clearest we ever saw on our trip.
This last minute decision to spend a night in Big Tribune Bay left us with a HUGE distance to cover if we were to reach Vancouver the next day. A greater distance than we had ever covered in one day in our sailing career.
In order to reach our goal, we set our alarm for 4 am. By 4:25 am the anchor was up and we were slipping out of the bay heading South. The moon, the bright stars and phosphorescence off the bow wake were all contributing to making this one of the most memorable moments of our entire trip.
Taking advantage of the strong North Westerlies, we were quickly able to transition to sailing. Slowly night gave way to dusk and a bright orange sunrise greeted the day. This turned into the best sailing day of our lives. The wind was strong, pushing us home efficiently. Eventually, we put up the Gennaker and were navigating the fine line between in and out of control. We were enjoying a sustained 8+ knots of ground speed, flying back to Vancouver. At one point I was deep in the quarter berth with my head in the engine compartment tightening our propeller shaft bolts when the boat heeled over so hard that I pretty much fell on the engine. “Manny! Manny!” came calls from above. It took me a while to pull myself out of my bind and clamber up the companionway to find we had broached and the boat was very heeled over. We released the Gennaker sheet and she righted herself instantly. I think this scared us from using the Gennaker for the rest of the day but we were still able to push hard and fast South.
One of the more profound questions we were asking ourselves as we were sailing towards Vancouver was “Why are we going home? Why don’t we keep on sailing South? We have the boat, we have the gear, we have a bit of money, we have each other… What is compelling us to stop our trip?” It was a profound question because this truly was a very black and white moment. So much of life is defined in greys. But at this particular moment, we had two options. Keep sailing South. Or turn the steering wheel a tiny bit, choose a different heading and go back home. It was a very difficult moment and a decision that will keep on haunting us for a long time.
We were able to sail all the way under Granville Island Bridge, well into False Creek, for a total run of 78 nautical miles in approximately 14 hours. This was our biggest day ever. We were sun and wind burnt and absolutely exhausted.
We anchored by Cambie St bridge and grabbed a drink together in our favourite sunset cocktail position. That is sitting on the side deck with our legs dangling over the bulwark. The biggest shock was the noise of the City. Cars driving on Cambie St bridge, horns, sirens, lots of people milling about. Living in a City one becomes very accustomed to a continuous background level of man-made noise. We had just spent 4 months exploring the most remote coves and inlets without ever being in a City, with nothing but the sound of the wind, water, each other and occasionally a few neighbours.
And thus ended our 14-week cruise up and down the Inside Passage over the summer of 2015.
By sheer luck, my Kelowna boyz Simon, Stu, Kevin the Panther and Curtisbaby were in town for a Red Hot Chili Peppers show so we invited them as well as Saxony’s Fentessa bikini model friends Robs Rush, Mady and Natalie out for a day of sailing. Again this magical weather kept up and we spent a glorious day sailing, swimming and enjoying each other’s company. To this day the Kelowna boyz say this was one of the best days ever. We tend to agree!
It will always be interesting to watch this little video we shot on the last night of our trip anchored in Beautiful Tribune Bay. We’re jobless, about to enter the next chapter of our work lives and trying to take in the magic of the summer of our lives, and wondering if going back to the rat race is the best move.