When we moved to the West Coast we sold our Cessna 182 airplane and decided to buy a sailboat. We joined the Power & Sail Squadron group to teach us navigation and boating safety.  “No more red port wine left”, but was it going or returning? Which side am I supposed to be on? Oh thank goodness he is a power boat and is supposed to yield to a sailboat. What do you mean a freighter can’t stop?  Okay he is bigger I will yield! And what was the buoy marker for again? Oh yes go around the rock you can’t see.

It was much easier to hope in the co-pilot seat in the airplane and let Rick do the work… but it was fun learning to be a sailor.

After several weeks of lessons we ventured off on our own. Yep land lubbers, prairie folk, stubble jumpers, hay seeds on the high seas. Well we were never far from land but it sounds adventurous!

My sister found a sailboat in Comox.  With great anticipation and the confidence from two courses we set sail in the Comox harbour pulling our blowup dinghy.  We hadn’t cleared the harbour when we realized the dinghy was underwater. We pulled it in and latched it to the deck but we couldn’t see, so we moved it to the side. Well that didn’t work either. We were going in circles in the middle of the harbour trying to deal with our damn dinghy. Finally we let some of the air out, latched it to deck and off we went. We had some nice wind for a little while then we had to run the motor as we headed for Nanaimo. Sailing is such fun.

Nanaimo didn’t happen as the sun was going down and we needed to stop. We found a bit of a bay and anchored.  We cooked a gourmet dinner of mac and cheese on our little propane bottle stove then snuggled into our berth for the night. It was a peaceful night bobbing up and down, rocking and rolling on the water, bracing our feet against the bow of the boat and hanging on to the post so we didn’t fall out of bed, laughing so hard we had tears running down our faces. You could tell when a cruise ship  went by as we almost ended up on the floor! We got an early start next morning, we had tepid coffee, bread and fruit by flashlight and we were off before the sun was up.

We made Nanaimo Harbour in time for a late lunch. We anchored  in the harbour and watched the many different boats coming in and anchoring for the night.  When we  went to sleep the harbour was full of at least three dozen boats. When we woke up there were about five left. We never heard a thing.

The short cut home is through Dodd Narrows, which pushes the water through the channel faster than our sailboat can go at top speed under full sail or motor.  We waited for slack tide which is about an hour window where the tide is changing direction. I was quite concerned about this narrow passage  as there are several eddies ( whirlpools) and big rocks that can cause problems.  Also there were fourteen boats waiting to go through. I tied everything down, put on my life jacket, waited and worried.  I noticed other boats had people hanging off the decks, walking around and generally enjoying the day while I watched every eddy and rock we passed with trepidation. There may be times when there are problems but the guide book seemed to have overstated the gravity for this run at least.

Well now we can hoist the sails and head for home!  Except there is no wind. We can put our tacking lessons to good use.  Two hours later we could still see the house on the point. Rick does not want another gourmet Coleman meal and he does not want to be a cork or a rocker for another night. Motor it is!

We pulled up to our mooring buoy at dusk, hooked the rope, tied off the bow line, blew up our dinghy and rowed into shore.  I enjoyed the day but no more overnighters because sailboats rock and rock and rock!

Note from Julie: Mom wrote this post before she set off on their trip to the Ukraine, France and Germany. Right about now they should be floating into Yalta en route to Odessa (from there they will be flying into Paris). The only thing I can say to make you less jealous is that it’s only 9 degrees in Odessa today (48oF).

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