Aboard ADAGIO The San Francisco Bay Area, California December, 2008
We Wish You Very Happy Holidays and a Safe Harbor for the New Year
At the end of December last year, we abandonded ADAGIO to the Pacific Northwest winter, and flew to Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, for three months of festivals, boat shows, music, good friends and outdoor adventures.
Being boat-less, we took the opportunity to explore by car and by tour boat. Most fortunately, our mate Adrian took us sailing aboard CAMIRA, and also for a tour by auto of lovely South Bruny Island. The weather was stormy and dramatic, which suited the photographers in the group. Dramatic skies, miles of beaches and rocky shores, southern hemisphere rain forests and albino wallabies.
We toured the dramatic rock formations along the seashores of the Tasman Peninsula, by a tour boat operated by “Sealife Experience“. The naturalist told us about the white bellied sea eagles that we saw nesting in the trees, fairy penguins in the water near the boat, seals and cormorants on the rocks and in the water. But the most interesting features were the geology of the shoreline. We were in an area where sedimentary layers meet volcanic dolerite. To paraphrase from Wikipedia: Volcanism, associated with the Jurassic breakup of Gondwanaland in the Southern Hemisphere caused the formation of many large diabase/dolerite sills and dike swarms. Tasmania has the world’s largest areas of dolerite, with many distinctive mountains and cliffs formed from this rock type. Locals have given these landforms names including the words, “pillars”, “needles” and “organ pipes”. The tour boat took us close to the rock face, and into caves, much more intimate with the shoreline than we would ever come with ADAGIO.
When we returned to Bainbridge Island, Washington, in April, spring was in the air, the icy docks were dry and warm, and the weather was perfect for bicycling. We followed our favorite shoreline routes several times a week, alternating days with working out at the gym.
We enjoyed watching David sail his Optimist dinghy at Port Madison, and Dorothy even volunteered to help man the “bock” one day of sailing camp. Steve bought David a radio controlled airplane, then got hooked himself. Every Friday evening we met other RC flyers at Battlepoint Park for a fly-in. The guys learned to fly the planes, we all learned how to poke a plane from below to disentangle it from a tree, and the guys learned about fast-drying epoxy and tape for repairs.
In July we visited with family, and Dorothy joined the wedding party for our niece, Elizabeth, at the historic and elegant Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, the gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park. August brought our daughter’s birthday celebration. And then we were ready to depart for cruising in British Columbia waters.
Our first stop was Victoria, where we enjoyed the Victoria Splash! symphony performance on the inner harbor, the Dragon Boat Races and dance performances, the Canadian Air force Snowbirds air show, and the Victoria Wooden Boat Festival. When the winds turned from northerly to southerly, we sailed north to Nanaimo. This was a safe place to leave ADAGIO for a land tour to the west coast of Vancouver Island, and The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Rain coast forest walks, miles of sand beaches full of surfers on a summer’s day, elegant dining, and an amazing boat tour to watch black bears turn over rocks on the beach and lap up pools of tiny crabs.
As fairly new members of the Ocean Cruising Club, we had signed up to join other members for a Rally cruise with 19 other boats in Desolation Sound, British Columbia. We had met our first OCC members in New Zealand, about 10 years ago. We were very warmly greeted by the Rally organizers, Lisa and Andy, at Cortez Bay. A grand BBQ brought the 70 cruisers together for the first time, and we made friends immediately. Several of the members were friends of other cruising friends, and we were happy to finally meet them in person. Mostly circumnavigators, we felt as if we were surrounded by giants, who were down-to-earth, and looking for a fun time together.
Each day we sailed to a different island, cove or inlet, and occasionally hiked to a freshwater lake for a swim. The weather was exceptionally fine. Most nights we formed a large raft of boats, with boats being berthed side-by-side, and every fourth boat setting an anchor and taking a stern line ashore. The logistics of this complicated operation were handled with great skill by Lisa and Andy. One night ADAGIO was selected to be the center boat in the raft, and the “party” boat for the evening. The Barrel of Monkeys choral group had been practicing for days, and they selected the bow of ADAGIO for their performance stage. All 76 OCC members climbed aboard, with drinks and nibbles in hand, to enjoy the show, increasing the depth to which ADAGIO settled into the water by a fair amount. We were pleased that people did not start dancing, and the evening was a big success.
One late afternoon, after forming the raft along the shore, our organizers led us out into the center of the channel for a dinghy raft-up in the sunshine, with everyone bringing drinks and sharing appetizers, singing, telling stories and spinning the super-raft around in great circles. We agreed that we were probably having more fun than we would allow our children to have.
We made many new friends and hope to join an OCC rally again in the future, with or without ADAGIO. Half of the members attending this year’s rally had chartered their boats in Canada. The other half arrived aboard their own boats.
After the rally, we sailed south to join our friends Ralph and Nan at anchor in Montague Harbour in the Gulf Islands. Ralph led us along the beach and forest trails around the park ashore, and we found more photography opportunities.
Back in Victoria, we toured and dined and visited with our new OCC Canadian friends. Rose and David took us to beautiful places we had never seen during our many visits to Victoria. We shared meals with Tony and Coryn Gooch and Shaun and Penny, as well as the intrepid single-handed circumnavigator Jeanne Socrates.
Hanging flower baskets were being removed from the gardens surrounding Victoria Harbour. Rain clouds appeared more frequently, and we began to plan for our passage south to San Francisco. Our wonderful friend, Joe Siudzinski of KatieKat, joined us aboard ADAGIO for the passage south. After a long wait, we found a solid weather window that would allow us to make our way safely the 60 nautical miles west through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and that also would allow us to round Cape Mendocino in California in safe seas and winds. When the decision was made, we sailed across the Strait, and entered the US in Port Angeles. The next day we sailed to Neah Bay to wait for an early morning departure. We safely negotiated the icy docks as we released our dock lines. As we sailed south down the coast of Washington, an enormous Mt. Olympus raised his snowy peaks. To avoid crab pot floats, logs and large ships and fishing boats, we headed offshore before turning south. We had a boisterious, non-stop four and 1/2 days passage, with only the communications gear giving us problems.
We had sailed and raced our own boats on San Francisco Bay when we lived in Tiburon for 12 years, but never aboard ADAGIO. The winds abated and the sun filled the skies as we passed under the Golden Gate Bridge. Fortunarely, we had Joe handy to snap our photo.
Since arriving in the Bay Area, we have spent many (but not enough) days with our daughter and her family who have moved to Menlo Park. We will share Christmas with them, then fly to Hobart where we are looking forward to more festivals, Australia’s best Wooden Boat Festival, and the Ten Days on the Island Festival.