Shortly after arriving in Barkley Sound, I took my usual long hard look at the weather and began to notice a string of intense lows setting up for a long march eastward across the vast openness of the North Pacific Ocean. The frequency and pattern of the systems seemed somewhat atypical for this time of year and I remarked to Jill, “I have a feeling the weather is going to get real weird for about the next 10 days to two weeks.” Turns out, I didn’t realize how right that assessment would be.
Fast forward about a week and our intended one or two day stop in Ucluelet — or Ukee as it’s affectionately known — started to slow down when an intense low, followed by a slightly weaker one, was forecast to sweep in off the ocean and pummel the Pacific Northwest. The pressure of this low was something more akin to the storms we get in late fall and early winter, and having cruised through many of those, we had no intention of being at anchor or underway when the storm force winds started driving ashore.
After a quick jaunt through the dense, electric-green forest on Portland Island, we came to a grassy clearing that sloped quickly down to the sea. I laid my backpack on a rock, grabbed a water bottle, two beers and snacks from inside and passed them around, officially kicking off our family’s impromptu celebration in honor of being back in British Columbia’s beautiful Gulf Islands.
The boys were soon off exploring and I stood next to Jill for a moment taking in the sunshine and gorgeous views of Salt Spring Island across Satellite Channel. It was great to be back in that spot and Porter echoed the feeling when he found me to say, “Dad, I’m so happy to be back here.” The sentiment absolutely melted my heart — he was right. Continue reading At home among friends in British Columbia→
Raising the oars from the water, I let the dinghy ghost ahead over a flat pane of clear, greenish-hued water. A bald eagle wheeled above tall conifers and besides the rustling of water from underneath the boat and the drip from the oars, not a sound could be heard. Sitting on the stern seat, Porter didn’t stir and I could tell he was taking it all in, too. Soon, the silence was broken as a blue heron’s wings burst into action taking it in flight across the anchorage.
The sun burst through the clouds as we motor-sailed into a strong current between tiny islets in the Gulf Islands. Once clear of the islands and out in Boundary Pass, the wind started pipping up and we easily made the decision to fly our spinnaker. There’s nothing like a good spinnaker run and we always tell ourselves that the sail is onboard for a reason — it does no good stored down below.