Leaving Canadian Waters

After Telegraph we had a return overnight in Montague Harbor watching float planes come and go in the harbor. A short stop there we set off for the US to clear customs at Roche Harbor. Ann chose Holst’s St Paul’s Suite a work we’ve played with the Symphony. I set course through Navy Channel with 10-15 knot south wind on the nose and 2-3 foot seas. While the plan was to make Roche our departure time was delayed causing us to miss the ebb tide. Between that and the lumpy sea we put into Port Browning on North Pender Island for an overnight and better start the next day. We called in on VHF for a slip and lucky to get one in this small marina. Walked to the local market and picked up groceries and beer. Check out the hitch hike sign. We get alot of exercise walking for food, beer and wine carrying back pack and carry bags. Sometimes we pack ice a fair distance. We only have an ice box on board. Winds continued but abated in the night and we let go lines earl the next day for Roche. Departure music was Vaughn Williams “English Folk Suite”. Proper for leaving the Commonwealth where we enjoyed every day of our Carpe Diem philosophy.

Telegraph Harbor on Thetis Island

From Nanaimo we passed south through the Dodd Narrows with due respect for the currents we motored through at slack water with a 16 boat flotilla one at a time. Narrows like this one and Deception pass require careful planning as my boat only makes 6 knots under power with its 21 hp Yanmar diesel. Departure music was Handel’s “Water Music”. Weather continued hot for our 4 hour passage with light south wind on our nose. We settled in to our normal watch and easy go attitude entertained by Wilson, birds, an occasional Eagle and dolphins. No whales sighted. Ann would fix ramen now and then or Chile for lunch. On rough weather days it was peanut butter and jam. Telegraph was family run for years and we enjoyed our stay. Out in my wet suit to check zincs and found one max prop zinc depleted. So hot we spent the day in chairs under the tall cedar and fir trees. Arbitus trees in abundance as well. We stayed three days took on fuel and departed for Montague. Departure music was the well known tenor/bass duet from Bizet’s Pearl Fishers.

Kestrel out

V-02 Nanaimo – Island Thoughts

From Montague we motored north to Nanaimo on the coast of the big Island departure music was John Williams “Jurassic Park”. Nanaimo is a hub for a working waterfront. Looks a lot like Longview with logs and chip piles, tug and barge ops. What is different is the large ferry boat terminals and constant sea planes landing and taking off. The many marinas and boats of all types reflect high degree of activity. Dodging all of this while underway has my attention in and out of these active ports.

The scene reflects the island life with the transportation needs to drive the economy movement of goods and people. I was reminded of my working time in Japan a mega example of an island nation. Off Nanaimo Ann and I hoisted sail and set out into the Straits of Georgia for a day of sailing with 15 knot winds. This is for me the joy of feeling 8000 pounds of sailboat moving easily through light chop at 6 knots about 7 mph. The afternoon weather was nice with winds out of the north.

Nanaimo was the furthest North we traveled and headed back through the Dodd Narrows at slack with a 16 boat flotilla all heading south. All went well. Departure music was Bernstein’s “Candide Overture.” We headed for Telegraph Harbor. We continue to learn And feel more comfortable on the water. Safety still remains the primary focus amidst all the shoals, currents and at times heavy traffic. The main beef for sailors is always the big cruiser power boat wakes they leave while seeing how close they can come by. It is grin and bear it! So still on our way. I leave you with a quote from Tommy Transits book Bus Tales, the chapter “no one forgets how you make them feel. From Hada Bejar, “The fragrance of the rose lingers on the hand of the giver.” I invite you to give someone a rose and tested it out or just a smile.

Safe travels friends

Gary, Ann and Ensign Wilson

V-02 Gulf Islands B.C. Canada

With very hot weather we departed Sidney for Montague Harbor on Galiano Island where we tied up to a marine buoy for two days. One of the highlights was a bus ride to the Hummingbird Pub. Not your usual bus or driver. Nope we we boarded a vintage yellow school bus driven by Tommy Transit a colorful extrovert of positive value to every riders spirits. On board the school bus we were entertained by Tommy and the riders singing and laughing, playing percussion instruments he passed out. He was a transit driver in Vancouver B.C. for many years and he learned much and wrote a heart warming book. If you can’t afford a therapist for life’s problems his book will suffice. Check it out.

Under sail into Montague Cheers!

V-02 Canada

While my blog is not political I will say that being in Canada with good friends was refreshing and in many of our anchorages the lack of internet freed us from the daily grind of political media and tweets. When the customs agent asked our purpose for visiting I thought to myself “political asylum.” We share a very common bond and interests with our Canadian neighbors. Ann and I are thankful for their caring about that relationship and the hospitality and friendship we experienced in Canada.

We meet many wonderful and engaging people on our journey, boaters like ourselves, and often the same boaters at different ports. We share the magic of the water and wind, the same weather and quite frequently a lot of laughter. We were thankful to our friends Brian and Louise for hosting us for three days at their lovely Brentwood cottage on the bay on Vancouver Island. And meeting young Nick, a live aboard 30 year old in Nanaimo. Below Brian rowing ashore after setting a prawn trap…ummmm! On to other islands!

Fair winds

Gary, Ann and Ensign Wilson

Gary with Captain Hook in beautiful Sidney B.C. where the WA state ferry arrived from Anacortes.

V-02 Crossing the Straits of San Juan de Fuca

  1. Port Townsend Boat Haven Marina was quiet when I rolled out of the starboard quarter berth Ann still asleep in the v berth with Wilson. No wind and no fog following a night before of small craft warnings. All looked good for our 30 mile passage to Vancouver Island. I suppose with age I choose good weather to sail and pass on the small craft advisory times even though Kestrel can do it. The Straits and weather are to be respected though and more so that Ann has a comfortable experience. Last line at 0730 we departed the linear dock, passed the ferry terminal (Port Townsend and Whidbey Island) checked AIS for big ship traffic enroute. We left Admiralty inlet, Point Wilson behind and entered the Eastern Strait. Lumpy and calm the currents subsided about 30 minutes out and the glassy face of the water seemed surreal since there were 20 plus knot winds the night before. 5 hours later we were tied to the Customs dock at Oak Bay. Customs is a telephone at the fuel dock. I picked up the phone and didn’t even dial a number. A young male voice answered and after a few questions gave me a number to affix to the boat. That’s it. For sure I had left the US. I had raised the Canadian flag 🇨🇦 on the mast in conformity with tradition and the US flag 🇺🇸 on the stern. Happily we had made the crossing though by motoring and were greeted by our Canadian friends who are hosting us for the weekend. In short the crossing was very comfortable and beautiful views of the Strait. Ann and Wilson are seen on a hilltop that evening enjoying the sunset over the Straits. Shalom. Gary, Ann and Ensign Wilson

V-02 Port Townsend

We are tied up to the linear dock and sandwiched between larger boats. This town speaks to the waterfront work for repair and care of boats of all length and tonnage. It speaks and reflects the annual wooden boat festival in September. Amidst flannel shirted guys with work pants, and women too working in the local boatyards we are in a social and cultural environment like no other on the voyage. My had lunch with my cousin Steve Park author of High and Dry who lives here and a high school classmate Dom DeBari. Cousin’s stories leave me in tears of laughter. Check out his book!

From million dollar yachts to boats in disrepair the scene is colorful, invigorating and a testimony to those who love the sea. We have met many a sojourner like us and their dogs of which there are many. It is a different life to be on a sailboat amidst these folk and their boats. Our seaworthy boat gets a lot of looks and size is of no real importance though admittedly we are small. Tomorrow we depart for Oak Bay Marina on Vancouver Island. Gale winds have subsided and we will make the 30 mile transit in 5.5 hours. Weather is expected to be good for the morning in the Straits of San Juan de Fuca. Departure music will be John Williams Jurassic Park. Fair Winds.

Gary Ann and Ensign Wilson


Voyage 02 from Olympia the departure music was Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” a very moving and uplifting work played in remembrance of my Brother Don who loved boats and fishing on Pinecrest Lake in CA.

Always my best crew!

1948 – 2017

Voy 02 Kingston & Port Ludlow

July 16-17 from Gig Harbor we departed to the music of Wagner’s “Pilgrim’s Chorus” from  Tannhauser in our way to Kingston on the NE side of Bainbridge Iskand.  The challenge on this passage north sod Blake Island is to not get broadsided by a WA State Ferry running to/from Southworth, Bremerton, And Eagle Harbor.  These Ferry’s at speeds of 20 knots are punctual.  Avoidance at all cost!  Once north of Seattle and no worry of ferry traffic we hoisted sails and tacked to Appletree Cove wind NE at 12.   Dodging crab pots and guys salmon fishing we overnighted at Kingston and dinner on board was pasta with steam clams ala Ann and a nice Colene Clemons rose.

On to Port Ludlow departure music was the Overture to Mozart’s Don Giovanni as it appears our musical theme is Opera. Sailed with a southerly wind over our stern and wing on wing. Sighted dolphins. Relative short 16 nm passage to Ludlow careful of the vessel traffic area with the big ships freighters and cruise ships as well as tug/barge operations. Cooler weather welcomed after two days of 90 plus. We like Ludlow. Took on a whopping 8 gallons of diesel and used the pump out station. Washed down the boat. Wilson did better today in the cooler temps and cool westerly winds. There have been gale warnings in the Straits. So my eyes are on the weather window for the crossing to Vancouver Island. Plan to cross this Thursday or Friday morning. Tacos 🌮 tonight. Found an interesting beer will post later. Depart for Port Townsend tomorrow.

Fair winds

Kestrel and crew

Fair Winds

Voy 02 Gig Harbor

Let go lines at Olympia at 0900 for Gig Harbor 28 nm north via infamous currents at Tacoma Narrows which passed at 1251 hrs. The first bridge across the Narrows known as “galloping Gertie” collapsed in a storm in 1940. You can YouTube it! Due to ebb currents at the bridge our normal 5.5 kt speed was increased to 9.25. Gig Harbor was named by LT Wilkes who arrived in 1841 in a gig, a type of boat. Hot today in the 90s! Motored this leg due to light wind out of the north. Tied up at Arabella’s landing after negotiating a low tide entrance to the harbor, kayaks, paddle boards and Sunday traffic in the harbor. The entrance is extremely narrow and kept my watchful eye on the depth gauge. The new AIS worked! Crew all good though Ensign Wilson was a little nervous during his watch. Extra ration for Wilson. We are off to the famous Tides Tavern at the harbor entrance for requisite draft for the adult crew.


Gary, Ann and Ensign Wilson.