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Community out west

As I type this, Michael is somewhere in the dinghy in the Broken Group in Barkley Sound towing our friends on Madrone (www.tidalpool.org) towards Ucluelet. When they asked if we’d consider giving them a tow out of Effingham Bay we didn’t even think twice and filled up the outboard’s gas tank.

Let me back up a bit. I’d first spotted Madrone, a spritely little Rawson 30 ketch, in Port Hardy. At that point, we’d begun to look at boats and think: “Are they going around?” wondering if we’d spot a boat again on the west coast of the island. I didn’t get the chance to ask the crew of Madrone in person then but did when we saw them again in Bull Harbour. It was there that we found out this intriguing couple was moving from Portland to San Francisco in their boat, and decided to go around Vancouver Island along the way.

We shared another anchorage, and an evening of ceviche and cocktails, near Winter Harbour and buddy boated around Brooks Peninsula. It wasn’t until we came into Hot Springs Cove though that we saw our new friends again. The Madrone crew waved to us as we were setting our hook. We also exchanged waves with another boat, Got ‘d Fever (www.llcruise.blogspot.com) who we’d met in the Bunsbys and shared a wonderful afternoon of tea and cookies with.

That feeling, of coming into an anchorage and seeing familiar boats, of being welcomed into a new place with a familiar wave, is one of my favorite parts about this life. It’s been years since we’ve experienced that special camaraderie that grows among cruisers in a foreign land, or at least a rugged challenging coast off the vacation track and it’s been a treat to find it out here again.

Perhaps it’s the sense of accomplishment that brings us together. It’s also the challenges that we’ve faced out here and getting to know other boats, quickly, means having a familiar voice over the VHF should you need help. Mostly, I think, it’s that anyone willing to live and travel on a small boat for weeks and months on end is just bound to be plain old interesting and I never get tired of meeting the characters out here.

So we make friends quickly and as friends do, we help each other out without question. Anchored in Effingham Bay in the Broken Group, Michael helped Matt on Madrone install their repaired starter motor (which turned out to not be repaired at all). Madrone decided they’d sail their boat to Ucluelet to hopefully get their engine started once and for all but needed a little help getting through the narrow entrance to the bay. No problem. It’s what our community does for each other.


  1. Tucker says:

    You are plucking my heart strings. Can’t wait to see you guys down here!

    1. Mary says:

      Talk about plucking heart strings! That’s my son and daughter in law on the Madrone. It does my heart good to know that you guys are out there, too. We are getting used to sporadic contact; and understanding that they really aren’t all by themselves goes a long way to easing our minds. And I know that Matt and Kristin would return the favor in a heartbeat! Happy sailing to one and all!