Our leave of absence has come to an end and as we were closing up Blue Tale we realized that we were having a hard time dealing with the fact that we would have to leave Blue Tale and go back to the north.
Where did the year go? What have we accomplished? Did we accomplish what we set out to do?
We both agree that we can’t really answer the last question. We had some ideas and maybe grand plans to sail as far as we could when we got to the boat. We thought we would sail all the way to Mexico or even as far as Hawaii but in the end we worked more on the boat than we really wanted to and sailed far less than we really wanted to. The work and fixing on the boat was needed (and can be seen in some of our previous blogs). We also took the opportunity during our year off to visit family and friends, considering we were living closer and it was way cheaper (it is about $2000.00 one way out of the north/person).
But to get back to it, why didn’t we just take the boat, leave and do what other sailors have done; sail and work on their boats at each anchorage they come to! Confidence in our sailing ability was what kept us back and the trepidation of taking our boat out into the big wide ocean and sail away from land. Rob has had experience from his youth sailing with his dad on the Lake Huron, and with the navy, but I’m still learning and I’ve only really started in my sailing experience! By the end of the year, we both gained a lot of confidence after sailing up and own the Inside Passage, around the Gulf Islands and into the San Juan Islands. We also agreed that by the end of our year off, we knew our boat intimately, and how she handled and responded to sailing but we will need more handling experience in bad weather conditions.
After our last sail from Montague Harbour back to Cowichan Bay, it took us five days to clean and put the boat to bed at the marina in Cowichan Bay where we keep Blue Tale. We stripped all the halyards and sheets, washed the sails and put them away in their bags with the exception of the mainsail. Rob cleaned the engine room, changed the oil, filters and the zincs on the engine, while I went through each cupboard and storage place cleaning them out. We also took advantage of the local pub and coffee shop at the marina, as this is one of the few luxuries not available to us up north.
The only thing left was to find a place to store our truck, and by chance on one of our walks back to the marina from the coffee shop, we ran into one of the owners of Cowichan Bay Marina and through discussions, he offered to store the truck at his property; he also offered and was good enough to drive us to the hotel we were going to stay at out by the airport in Sydney before flying back to Winnipeg and eventually back to Baker Lake, Nunavut. A big thanks to you Richard!!
Before we left, our good friend Dan came to the hotel and took us back to his place for dinner with his wife Christie and little girl Carson; a great way to leave the west coast and end our year!
Below are some photos we took at the Sidney Marina while waiting for our flight to Winnipeg. It seems many of the boats reminding us that we were going back north.~Sophia & Rob