We left Olympia two months ago today. In some ways it seems like we left E dock yesterday, but the heavy weight of our buckets of memories makes it feel like years ago.
Our friend and crewmember Garth will join us on Friday. If the weather forecast is still clear we will sail due south from Ucluelet towards San Francisco. Our plan is to stick to the inshore route, that is, 10-20 miles off the coast. This area typically has lighter winds although we will have to contend with more shipping traffic and possibly more fog. However should the forecast turn unfavorable we can easily stop in Grays Harbor, Newport, Coos Bay, Crescent City, Eureka.
We’re extremely grateful that we decided to sail down the west coast of Vancouver Island after all; the trip has given the girls and us valuable experience sailing in ocean swells and much greater confidence in sailing together as a family. It’s going to be a whole different ballgame sailing 24/7 for six or seven or eight days straight though without the chance to stretch our legs. I’m thinking it will be like our other long days off the coast have been with lots of naps and much of my time just spent preparing food and cleaning up the aftermath of meals. And hanging on.
For weeks I’ve been quite nervous about our upcoming passage, to the point where I’d be nearly shaking with anxious chills. This is my third trip down this coast and I know how ugly it can get out there. But as the time to depart has come closer I (we) have gotten more and more excited about simply being in California and all the new and old friends we are anxious to meet up with. Weather forecasting has gotten a lot better in the past 10 years and we’ve certainly gotten better at reading it. And after navigating around all these treacherous rocks and islets off Vancouver Island the past few weeks I’m truly looking forward to being out in clear open water for a while.
It’s been becoming more and more of a struggle to stay focused on the present, to savor these last days in the Northwest. At least five times an hour I think of the upcoming trip and what’s on our to-do list before we depart on Saturday and get a little shiver of nervousness and a flutter of excitement about the long glorious hours of sailing ahead and our landfall in an entirely new landscape.
So, today, two months after leaving in Olympia, we pulled back into Ucluelet which is our last Canadian port. We’ll do laundry again, buy some provisions, sew up some leecloths for the girl’s bunks, inspect the rigging, restock our ditch bag, button up down below, and head to the playground in town a few more times. The shakedown is over, now it’s time to sail.