As I write this from Pender Harbour on British Columbia’s beautiful Sunshine Coast, there’s a slight breeze trickling across the water and the sun is shining from high overhead. It has been slightly over a week since we pulled Yahtzee out of a slip in Portland, Oregon and in that time we’ve put just shy of 500 nautical miles under our keel. For us that’s a lot in a short amount of time. But it has been an incredibly memorable week of traveling and has us back to the lifestyle that we know and love.
After winding downriver to Astoria and then sailing in the Oregon Offshore Race to Victoria, our friends departed and my dad waved goodbye to us from the window seat of a seaplane as we simultaneously exited Victoria Harbour. From there we sailed north to Sidney where Jill’s mom, Donna, flew in and met us in Tsehum Harbour. (The Victoria airport is actually closer to Sidney than it is to Victoria.)
Since we’ve spent so much time in the Gulf Islands over the past year and because our goal this summer is to get farther north and around Vancouver Island, we did just that. The weather and tide set us up perfectly for a run to the Sunshine Coast northwest of Vancouver and after a 67-mile motor-sail from Sidney, we dropped the hook in Buccaneer Bay on Thormanby Island.
When the hook was set, we got Hornpipe and Spirit Bear off the deck and went ashore to Buccaneer Bay Provincial Park’s famous sand beach to stretch our legs. The sand is unlike many spots along this part of the coast, soft and powdery, and if felt as advertised while squishing underfoot and between our toes.
The boys were in their element as we sailed Yahtzee north, anchored, went to shore and reveled in being on the beach. They both continue to astound us with their adaptability and comfort in everything we do and their excitement at getting the boats off the deck and heading for the beach was infectious.
For Jill and me, even though we enjoyed our time on the river, it’s wonderful to be back cruising this part of the Pacific Northwest again. Having Yahtzee on the hard and not cruising was painful, but the toil was part of the process. We don’t like to sit and work on the boat in a battle for perfection and vanity that will never be achieved. Though boats need the love, and many sailors spend far more time working on them than actually sailing them, we’re all about the latter. And that’s part of the reason it has been so rewarding to be rolling again and ticking off the miles.
As we turned the corner from Victoria into Haro Strait, the San Juan Islands spread out to the east and the Gulf Islands to the north. The familiarity of the setting was comforting, and while working our way farther north and watching the mountains move closer to the water, it felt like home.
But the thing aboard Yahtzee is, whether we’re cruising the river, sailing on the ocean or plying the waters of the Salish Sea, as long as we’re exploring the world around us with each other, home is wherever we go.