Canada

We spent four days tied to the Customs dock in Ucluelet, taking advantage of the nearby laundromat and grocery store.  We did about $100 worth of laundry, washing nearly everything that was washable onboard, plus a few things that weren’t. We also started demobilizing and decontaminating the cabin, gradually transforming Khamseen from her salty offshore mode back into clean comfy condo mode.  Ahh.

Then we headed out into beautiful Barkley Sound, winding our way into a tranquil bay at Dodd Island.  K bought a fishing license and quickly brought home the bacon.  In this case, several limits-worth of rockfish and a few lingcod (the ugly monster-looking thing is a ling cod). One of the ling cod was blue inside.  We ate him anyway, he was delicious.

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K shared some fish with Tom and Rob, who were cruising on Tom’s 1970 vintage Swan. 

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They in turn invited us over for a happy hour.  Karsten on Dreamcatcher KM had spoken highly of these classic Swans so we were glad to be able to see one up close.  We swapped sea stories over wine and cheese, and Tom and Rob brought us up to date on the state of the world we’d find when we got back to Seattle.

We also spent a few days anchored at Bamfield, which seemed not so much a town as a collection of fishing lodges.  Then we headed back out to sea, turning left at Cape Beale and entering the Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

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After months of remote self reliance it was some relief to be back in the world of Coast Guard radio, aids to navigation, lighthouses, and buoy tenders.

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We finally caught our first glimpse of the U.S.A. – Cape Flattery – through the fog across the Strait.

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With the forecast calling for westerly gale-force winds in the eastern and central parts of the Strait,  we called it a day after a leisurely 40 mile run and ducked in to Port San Juan to shelter at Thrasher Cove.  Luckily Thrasher Cove didn’t live up to its name and we spent a peaceful night anchored off a beach full of backpackers. We also sampled a bit of K’s Ucluelet IPA.

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We continued on the next morning, and by sticking close to shore we were able to hitch a fast ride on an eddy in the ebbing tide.  We made fast time (7 kts) and in a few hours we were at Race Rocks off Victoria.

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Then we made even faster time (10+ kts!) as we caught the flood tide current that gives the rocks their name and makes the homebound sailor smile. 

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By dinnertime we’d reached our destination: Oak Bay marina, and were feasting our eyes our favorite Sea Monkies.  A and M were vacationing on their beautiful Halberg Rassy, Sea Monkey and we’d arranged to meet up in Oak Bay.  They smoked us in the spinnaker race to Sidney Spit the next morning…

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even though we flew our zippy bargain-bin Range Rover chute.

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Sidney Spit, a national marine park, is a beautiful place with sandy beaches, grassy meadows and marshes, and forests of huge cedars.

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It felt (and smelled) good to be back among cedars, and to touch again the smooth trunks of peely Madrona trees that lined the bluffs.

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After hiking the island trails one morning, K had enough of dry land.  The manfish in him couldn’t resist the call of the marginally clear waters and eelgrass meadows beneath the keel.  He invited S to join him, but since she was chilly just standing there fully clothed, she declined.

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We can’t print K’s actual response after he jumped in, but it was observed that his skin instantly turned bright pink and he didn’t stay in very long at all. In fact, it was his shortest swim ever.  He seems to have forgotten where exactly he was and complained that there was cool stuff to see but he was too cold to breathe.

48°38.55′N 123°20.57′W   17-Aug-11 03:28 UTC

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