Wow! Today is the first day of September! The days are getting shorter, the leaves are turning to flame and the temperatures are beginning to drop. It seems like we just arrived home and it is already time to start packing for this winter’s cruising.
As summer comes to a close I have to mention how blessed we are to be in the Pacific Northwest where, other than some pretty vicious fires, we haven’t had the brutal conditions other parts of the country are experiencing. It is very difficult for me to understand how anyone can deny the evidence that major climate change is going on. All one need do is watch or read the news. Almost every day there is a story about record high or low temperatures, drought conditions, super storms, etc. Obviously this trend is not going to end any time soon and we will all need to get used to experiencing (and surviving) weather events the likes of which we’ve not seen before. I recently read that an “extra warm” El Niño is expected this winter so that likely means we’ll be dealing with snottier weather for passages and less serene anchorages.
Overall, we have had a wonderful summer vacation. The garden has provided us with beautiful flowers all summer and even the few vegetable plants have been producing like crazy…especially the zuchinni! We have had plenty of time to get caught up on our medical and dental checkups, joined a gym to work on some of that flab, and Chris has lost a good chunk of weight. I, on the other hand, seem to be more successful at the weight loss when I am south of the border. Go figure!
Last month I got a new (to me) car and have been having a ball driving it. I’ve always wanted a convertible sports car but, being the practical girl that I am, just couldn’t bring myself to buy something that was pretty much just for fun. Thus, I’ve always had station wagons or economical imports. Last month, I learned that a good friend was selling his ’99 Porsche Boxster due to health problems. The price was right and I knew the owner and car and the care it received. So…it now resides in our garage and is “Sandy’s new fun ride”. And it is definitely f-u-n!
|Sandy's new fun ride!|
We managed to take a couple road trips this summer. Our first getaway was to the Oregon Coast. We wanted to visit friends and were missing the sand and the sea. The friends part worked out just fine and we really enjoyed seeing them. Beyond that, though, the “walk along the beach” part was a bust. The rain poured and the wind howled and, other than the foray to our friends’ house, we just hung out in the RV with our books. Not a bad thing by any means, but not exactly what the “plan” was.
|Chris absorbed in a good book|
Last month we loaded up the RV and headed to Canada (Vancouver Island to be precise) to attend a “cruiser party”.
Our first stop was Anacortes, where we left the Coach while we ferried to Orcas Island for 2 days to see some cruising friends we’d met our first season in Mexico. We’ve missed seeing them for the past 3 years and they have brought their boat back to the States so this was a good chance to catch up. We’d not been to this island before so Tom took us on a wonderful tour complete with lots of history. Barbara & Tom’s lovely home overlooks Puget Sound so cocktails on the deck at sunset were a must. As an added bonus, it is crab season so they served us delicious Dungeness Crab for several meals. Yum!
We returned to Anacortes on the 15th (our 5th wedding anniversary) and it seemed only appropriate to indulge in a romantic dinner at a wonderful restaurant overlooking the marina. While we ate we realized that the docks were filled with “pirates” and the Jolly Roger flag was flying in abundance. Of course, we needed to check it out so after dinner we wandered down to the dock to discover that it was one of the get-togethers that “Cruising Outpost” magazine hosts during the summer. We didn’t stay for the festivities but we did run into a guy we’d met in Mexico last year. The world is, indeed, a very small place!
The next morning we ferried to Sidney and then drove to Victoria where we settled into a nice RV park right on the water. It was a lovely spot but very, very tight spaces. I’m constantly amazed at how talented Chris is at squeezing the behemoth into and out of small spaces!
|Doe & her "kids" crossing the street in Comox.|
From Victoria we could explore Vancouver Island by car and our first foray was to Comox to visit our friends, Rolande & Angus. It is a pretty drive through forest and along the water and their home is just across the road from a nice beach that is perfect for sunset strolling. We’d last seen Angus & Rolande 3 years ago just before they left Mexico for Australia. Since then, they have cruised the South Pacific, sold their boat in Australia, flown back to Canada to finish building the house, returned to Australia for a several months long road trip and returned again to Canada. We had great fun catching up and, since they have decided they aren’t done cruising Mexico and have purchased another boat we’re excited to see more of them this winter.
After returning to Victoria, we spent a couple days exploring the city,
|The Empress Hotel in Victoria. Oh look...a Boxster!|
touring the Royal BC Natural History Museum and wandering Butchart Gardens.
The last day was the big cruisers’ party that Fran & Jean-Guy hosted. There were over 30 people at the party, some we knew and some we didn’t. It has been 6 years since we left the NW and headed for the tropical climes of Mexico and during that time we’ve collected many wonderful friends. But the cruising community is nothing if not fluid. Some folks have moved on to new places to explore (Panama, Venezuela, Great Britain, the Caribbean, the South Pacific), some have decided it is time to stop cruising completely and come home and some have, sadly, passed away.
Now that we are home again we are in the throes of amassing all the gear and supplies we need for this year’s cruising season. Already we are excited to get back to the boat, the water, Mexico and, our friends. Every year we make new friends but it is nice to know that this year some of the “old guard” will be back again.