Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bad Weather - 222

One of the things I often get asked about is bad weather. We have had our share of it through the years, sometimes we even have deliberately gone out in bad weather to practice bad weather tactics or man overboard drills. We don't usually take pictures during bad weather because we are busy with all the added workload that reefing, sail changes or looking for things going wrong. We are also working extra hard navigating, even when we use the GPS (this is getting to be more and more rare) it takes more to make sure you are where you think you are in a thunderstorm. We have had it only once where the boat was knocked down, and I will tell that story if someone asks for it in the comment section. Have a great start of the week!

Friday, September 28, 2007

4 - Baie Fine - 224

Following the advice of the guidebook sailor, we rowed up a creek and then hiked about a mile up a trail and found a waterfall slide. Bonus, if you don't mind sliding on slime.

This is an honest to goodness beaver dam.
The backwaters of the beaver dam with the house in the center.

About five miles up the trail is cave lake. About here the mosquitoes attacked in full force, we were prepared with DEET.

Precipice in the pool.

Deb standing on the top of the beaver dam. These were excellently engineered. They were curved just like hoover dam for strength and packed with mud.

Rowing up the creek.

I am sure that there is a video game that could almost approximate the experience of this slide.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

3 - Baie Fine - 225

Our first evening in the pool, another sailor who had been here about a dozen times came over and caught us up to speed on all the things to do in the area. I had two different guide books with me - he trounced them both. He told of a beautiful lake of blue 300 feet above where we were anchored, only a 1 mile walk up to the lake. The walk was beautiful, with no mosquitoes or poison ivy.

These are my beauties.

A quick snack before we go swimming. When I was a kid, eating anything would disqualify you from swimming for an hour because if you ate and then swam you would have a heart attack and sink to the bottom like a rock. (at least it seemed like my Grandma believed this)

This water has about 80 foot visibility.

The bank drops off underwater as steeply as it does above water - of course this means great diving. Steep bank + steep drop off + male human = diving madness.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

2 - Baie Fine - 226

I can still hardly believe that I can sail into this beauty.

This is the end of Baie Fine. It is called "The Pool"
Blueberry pancakes for breakfast on deck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Baie Fine - 227

This is the entrance to Baie Fine. We knew something was up already. The rock was white instead of red, and it was higher. The water was bluer. The air fresher. Cue the angel chorus in the background.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Little Current - 228

Calvin and Hobbes in the cockpit, snuggled under a blanket, in the middle of nowhere. They have absolutely no idea what blessings they have. Jannelle was bummed when her teacher told her that Calvin and Hobbes doesn't count as reading time. Hello? In my book it does.
After the Benjamin Islands we were getting low on time because Deb had to be back to teach summer school. I was not sure that I wanted to go any further. Really, could anything be better than what we had just seen? Still, I met a boat builder that told me that I couldn't miss Baie Fine. Besides, what fun is sailing unless you are killing yourself trying to keep a schedule?
I am an expert and arriving at bridges 30 seconds after they close. We had to wait an hour for this to open. I also pick the slowest checkout lane at the grocery store, and the slowest vehicle at the gas pump, and the slowest lane at the toll booth, and never be the person in front of me at customs - they usually get a thorough trunk check - and never be behind me at the airport: I never just walk through. It is all just preparation for sailing. This is the bridge at little current. If you want to go from east side of North Channel to the west side of the North Channel you are funneled through here. Depending on which way the wind blows there may be up to 4 kts. of current. Hence the original name.
This bridge does not wait for you either. Once the line of boats goes through, it closes back up.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Gift of Time - 229

At this point in the trip, I had completely relaxed and forgotten deadlines and work schedules. Life had settled into a "Grapes of Wrath" travel routine. Everybody had their jobs and specialties and did them without being asked for the most part.
Ask yourself - when was the last time you had 3 hours of uninterrupted time to spend with your children. (or to do anything) This was the BEST part - the gift of time with my family.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

4 - The Benjamins - 230

On the south half of South Benjamin Island is an area of lower level rolling rock, the plains if you will. Some of these rocks would have indentations that collect water. We found several with an entire ecosystem built right in. This one had tadpoles in different stages of development with plants and bugs. God's koi pond?

I half expected to find one of these little ponds with minnows.

The rock surface was just beautiful. If you look closely at this picture you can see the scrape marks on this rock going from left to right where the weight of a mile of ice on top of this area would grind away at the bare rock. I was told by a local that the islands had built up much more soil than we see here until the entire area was deforested in the late 1800's causing what little soil there was to wash away. On the Benjamins we saw no dirt, just trees growing in moss.

Our dinghy on it's last days. One person to point to where we are going, one person to row, and one person to bail. Minimum crew: 3, we actually would regularly fit 5 in this 8 foot vessel. Not bad for a boat built out of the best 1/4 inch plywood you can buy at Home Depot.

At first the girls were a little afraid of the cracks in the rock that would go down 20 feet, but they soon got over it and would disappear exploring.

I am not quite sure what this face means, but I am sure that it is something I am doing wrong.

This picture just begins to capture what it feels like. Feel in your mind a slight breeze with no hint of pollution, cool air with just the right amount of humidity, and no sounds other than nature. The air even tastes clean. I had no idea that beauty such as this was so close to home.

The rock here is unique to the area. I could have spent two more weeks here just climbing around this island. Water always nearby, blueberries everywhere - a perfectly engineered relaxation spot.

As far as school, this is the best place for children to learn. The whole life cycle in 4 square feet.

Friday, September 21, 2007

3 - The Benjamins - 231

Jannelle and Bianca hiding in a hole left by a fallen tree.
Precipice anchored between the Benjamins

Nice to be away from it all.
Yea! We are 1000 miles away from school!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

2 - The Benjamins - 232

The only drawback to having a whole island made of rock is that you can get rock slivers. Both Jannelle and I got pieces of rock jammed in our feet when we got out of the dinghy and slipped on the rock. Ouch. Nothing like digging a piece of rock out of your foot.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Benjamin Islands - 233

Our next destination was the Benjamin Islands. Up to this point in the trip we were impressed by the beauty of what we had seen and were very grateful that we could take such a trip - but we were unprepared for the beauty of these islands. They took John island and made it seem drab. The blueberries were bigger and more numerous, the rock was stunning and the water was even clearer. We were warned that the harbor between the Benjamins would be busy - we even had people warn us not to go to the islands because they would be so crowded. It wasn't that bad, although once again the stinkpots were there. A disturbing habit they have is to start their generator and then dingy away from their boat and set up a chair someplace else so they themselves wouldn't have to listen to their generator. We on the other hand would get to listen to their generator drone on for hours. I really think the whole generator thing has gotten out of hand. A good compromise would be to limit generator run time to the hours of 10 -2. I would like to eat my dinner without listening to some stinkpot drone away.

The rock was what was stunning. You could climb up 200 feet of solid smooth rock that would glitter in the sun. Some spots you could actually see the direction the glaciers were grinding at the rock some 10,000 years ago. We went for several walks around the Island, picking blueberries and stopping to swim when we were hot.
The trees would grow in two inches of moss and peat. They could only grow so big until the wind would push them over. Then the tree would rot, and a new tree would take root and try again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Whalesback Channel - 234

For about three days we told our children that we were going to see a whale. Here it is. They never once fell for the whole we are going to see a whale - they know whales are not freshwater (although this website would beg to differ : This is whalesback rock, in whalesback channel.

Monday, September 17, 2007

John Island - 235

Our first night in the North Channel was spend in a small harbor next to John Island. It was a very well protected anchorage with good holding only marred by a stinkboat that was there before us. He, like most stinkboaters, had to run his generator every morning and evening for an hour. Plus, they had the obligatory dog (welcome to our country, it is so nice to have your dog poop in our pristine wilderness). We loved the blueberries!
Precipice anchored next to John Island.

Jannelle at the top of the island.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

School Boat - 236

This summer we spent six weeks living on the boat. One of the things that we worried about is whether the girls would be able to focus on homework in the middle of the daily sailing activities. It turns out that at least for our children, the sailboat has just the right mix of quiet/energy for doing studies. We are going to home school (of course) when we go on our trip next June, starting out with our own texts and lesson plans, and probably migrating to a system like Calvert. Deb has 12 years of teaching experience and this should help. We are well aware of the challenges of teaching your own children, but it is my belief that school on the boat will be a better learning style for them, especially my oldest Jannelle who has always struggled with a traditional learning system. We will be moving to a system like Calvert because it has standardized testing built in so that we don't fall in the trap that every parent falls into - thinking that their child is "above average". We hope to meet other parents cruising who are doing the same thing and gang together. We are excited to tackle this part of the adventure as a family.