A Cyclist ‘In Training’

The panniers, trunk bag and handlebar bag were all packed full and ready to go….it is July 29 th and just one month before we hop over to Europe to start our epic journey of discovery and it is Joyce’s (my mother-in-law) 95th Birthday Party!!!  Today I will ride my bicycle onto the ferry to Little River and from there to the Emerald Estates in Comox…maybe not a long journey, but a great way to get the feeling of freedom and independence from the trappings of daily life that a bicycle trip evokes.

This really is the summer of the whales…I spotted 5 humpbacks just off of Harwood Island on the ferry crossing!

After all the traffic had left the terminal, I slowly and somewhat unsteadily, started out…it only took a few minutes to adjust and feel the breeze on my skin to get that ‘feeling of freedom’ that my dear friend, Simone, so aptly describes when she is on one of her cycling journeys.  I REALLY GET IT, SIMONE!!!  And thank you for being soooo inspirational in helping to me realize how fun and easy it truly is!

It was absolutely joyous to fly along through the fields, meadows and farms of the Comox Valley, with the snow capped peaks of the mountains in the distance!  I stopped at a Farmer’s Market filled with fresh produce and a few small stands filled with zucchini for sale…again evoking memories of riding through Holland!  I even had a bit of a headwind! (More Dutch memories!)  Then I came around a big bend in the road and before me was the sparkling Salish Sea and more views of distant islands!  It was simply breathtaking…I stopped to soak it all in!  There was a cooling Southeast breeze, a long drink of some refreshing lemon water, and a few big stretches.  Not really knowing what lay ahead, off I tootled enjoying every minute of this newfound freedom.  I was ready for anything…even the upcoming hill…and more hill…and even a bit more…I was thankful for all the big trees along this route for providing some much needed shade!  After a fun downhill stretch coming into suburban Comox, I headed to my fave coffee shop, the Komox Grind, and was pleasantly surprised to see ‘Bulletproof Coffee’ on the menu!  Had to have one!  Delicious!

I really felt that I had only just begun and could have kept riding…but my destination was at hand and this journey had ended…a mere warm up for the big one yet to come!!!!

NEWS FLASH!!!  Our CUBE bicycles have been packed and shipped today from Germany to Netherlands!  What a joy and relief to know we would have wheels when we get there!  Hip, hip, hooray…another reason to celebrate!

Advertisements

An Idyllic Summer Day

IMG_4808

Well what better way to get inspired to write than to spend a gorgeous day at the lake!

So, taking a break from my sailing blog, which I will eventually get back to….it’s just that things are pretty busy around here enjoying all the bounty that summer has to offer…and it always too short!!!!

The raspberries and blueberries are full on, peas are still happening, zucchini is running away….and tonight for dinner I steamed the first of the foot long beans!  The cukes are in the fridge in ice water, waiting to be pickled and finally, the abundant green tomatoes are turning red!

But I left the garden all behind today and had a had a great long bicycle ride around Inland Lake with a stop for a picnic and a swim at our ” Secret Beach”.

If you look very closely, you may notice some dark patches on the white sand…I had to share my picnic spot with only about a thousand tiny dark brown frogs(seriously, about the size of the tip of your pinky finger!), a dozen big green ones and even a brightly colored toad!  When I jumped in the lake for a refreshing swim, I was joined by a diving loon who called out its haunting greeting.

Then it was time to bushwhack my way back to the bike trail….trying not to get too scratched up with those pesky salmon berry bushes!

We are so lucky to have this fabulous (handicapped accessible, 13 km loop) trail and Provincial Park within a few kilometers of Westview!

Hmmm….I just might have to do it again tomorrow….summer life is too short not to!

A West Coast Misty Day

 

IMG_4745

 

June 18

What a great long sleep I had last night!  Awakened at 7:20 to a calm and misty morning with eagles calling out.  We are invited over to the ‘mothership’….the 40 ft Beneteau that Cap’n John V. calls home…would we like an espresso?  We have a tour of his boat and share a few stories over our delicious coffees.  Time to press on…

We had been thinking about going for a walk along the trail to Squirrel Cove (on the other side of Cortes), but with the inclement weather we decide to motor on in search of adventure!

It is certainly not very busy with boats up here in Calm Channel, which is living up to its name today!  However we do spot a large vessel heading our way….the Pacific Yellowfin, a luxury cruise yacht, coming out of Bute Inlet.  Up ahead we decide to pull in to Church House, a historic village of the Homalco First Nations people.  We had been here in our previous sailing life and wanted to check in on any new developments.  It appears that old church is completely gone, and although we make it ashore, there are no trails through the thick blackberries. We fill up our water jugs with some refreshing spring water and wander on the beach finding lots of colored glass.  When we get back to the boat, it is time to move on as we need to catch the slack tide to go through ‘Hole in the Wall’.

The rugged mountainous landscape is eerily beautiful as the low clouds move in and out of the cliffs and valleys…and although it is cool and drizzling, we are pretty comfy with our puffy jackets and rain gear.  The trip through Hole in the Wall, a narrow cleft in the steep rocky terrain between Maurelle and Sonora Islands, and is as lovely as I remember it.  We arrive at ‘the narrows’ right on time to catch the ‘slack tide’ and head over to Bodega Bay and we are now at the north end of Quadra Island.  We make our way through a narrow Channel which opens out into Waitt Bay and Octopus Islands Marine Park as I stand up on the bow and observe many schools of small silver needlefish skipping along the surface.  There are a few boats already anchored but lots of room for many more…we motor through the on-off drizzle and find a small bay to drop anchor amongst the loons, mergansers and eagles.

While I prepare our dinner, we watch a hungry eagle struggling on the shore with a very large salmon (looks as big as him!).  What a show!  The salmon is still flopping around on the rocks as if trying to get back into the water, but he is no match for the sharp talons and beak of the eagle who finally manages to get some dinner.

After our dinner, music and dancing and HOT SHOWERS (sheer luxury!!!!) we finally hit the sack…it’s 11 pm and just getting dark….love these long days!

 

IMG_4748
Now a luxury yacht, she was originally built by the US Army near the end of the World War II, the Pacific Yellowfin was originally christened as JMP64 in 1943 when she slid down the ways at Billings Shipyard in Deer Isle, Maine. As a Junior Mine Planter, she was to be used in protecting harbours off of the East Coast of the USA.

Whales in Sutil Channel!

IMG_4707
Our cozy home on the water…looking forward from the galley!

June 17

The sun sure gets up early on these long ‘close to solstice’ days!  After our ‘Bulletproof’ coffee(recipe below), we bounce into our ‘Rubber Ducky’ and row ashore to the Marina to stretch our sailors’ legs on the hard ground.  The grounds around the Marina are full of lovely gardens with a rainbow of colorful flowers including a gorgeous magenta poppy from which I scooped a seed pod…not quite dried out yet, but we’ll see if it produces.  We make it up to the road through the campground and see a bunch of tents with tables and chairs set up all covered in white linen and vases of more beautiful flowers!  A wedding party perhaps?  We don’t have time to stick around for the show, so we head back to the boat…but we do stop at the store and pick up a couple of big jugs of ‘Whistler Water’ (????) as the water from the tanks in the boat, although there is lots, tastes gross!

Breakfast consists of my special ‘Paleo Pancakes’ (recipe below) of which I have premade a bag of the dry ingredients, and organic strawberries, almond butter and organic hi fat yogurt…yum!  Time to get motoring out to the Strait to catch some more breezes!  We negotiate our way through Uganda Pass, which is a very narrow and tricky (must follow the marker buoys closely) passage that  separates Marina and Cortes Islands…once safely on the other side and into Sutil Channel we notice a ‘dark blue line’ forming on the horizon….

A gentle breeze is filling in from the SW…perfect…we set our sails and are away and gone….peaceful and quiet (engine OFF)… with nothing but the lapping of the water against the hull!

Up ahead we see a boatload of tourists…what’s this about?  What could they be peering at over the side of the boat?  I could not believe my eyes…a whale spout!  And no, this was not an Orca, but a Humpback….

 

IMG_4736

COMMON NAME: Humpback Whale

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Megaptera novaeangliae

TYPE: Mammals

DIET: Omnivores

GROUP NAME: Pod

SIZE: 48 to 62.5 ft

WEIGHT: 40 tons

Humpback whales are known for their magical songs, which travel for great distances through the world’s oceans.

Whale Songs:  These sequences of moans, howls, cries, and other noises are quite complex and often continue for hours on end. Scientists are studying these sounds to decipher their meaning. It is most likely that humpbacks sing to communicate with others and to attract potential mates.

Behavior and Parenting:  These whales are found near coastlines, feeding on tiny shrimp-like krill, plankton, and small fish. Humpbacks migrate annually from summer feeding grounds near the poles to warmer winter breeding waters closer to the Equator. Mothers and their young swim close together, often touching one another with their flippers with what appear to be gestures of affection. Females nurse their calves for almost a year, though it takes far longer than that for a humpback whale to reach full adulthood. Calves do not stop growing until they are ten years old.

Swimming and Breaching:  Humpbacks are powerful swimmers, and they use their massive tail fin, called a fluke, to propel themselves through the water and sometimes completely out of it. These whales, like others, regularly leap from the water, landing with a tremendous splash. Scientists aren’t sure if this breaching behavior serves some purpose, such as cleaning pests from the whale’s skin, or whether whales simply do it for fun.

As we carry on, the wind gets stronger from the South East, more or less from behind us, pushing us along.  We see more whales on our way over to Von Donop Marine Park (at the north end of Cortes Island) where we will meet up with our sailing buddies, John V. and John N.  It is a very protected little inlet and a great anchorage…a good thing, as the wind is supposed to pick up tonight to 25 knots!  As we are dropping the anchor, we are being watched by a curious Bald Eagle from a big old Fir.  The eagle has landed!  Another fun filled sailing day!

BULLETPROOF COFFEE:  1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil, 1Tbsp unsalted organic grass fed butter, 1Tbsp organic collagen powder, in a 12 oz cup of your favorite coffee.  Use a hand blender to whizz everything together til foamy…yummy and better than a cappacino!

I found a very nifty ‘hand and arm powered’ whizzer at the dollar store…

Grain Free Paleo Pancakes ( makes 6 – 3 inch…enough for 2)

6 Tbsp ground organic golden flaxseed

2 Tbsp organic chia seeds (or hemp seeds, sesame seeds, coconut)

1 – 2 Tbsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

pinch of sea salt

2 large free range eggs

2 Tbsp coconut oil

Mix together in a medium size bowl.  Spoon mixture into preheated on medium heat and well oiled ( I use coconut oil) frypan.When the mixture sits for a few minutes, it may get to difficult to spoon into the frypan, as the flax absorbs the moisture, so you can add a liquid such as, coconut milk, liquid whey protein, or even just water to thin it out a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

“JUST DO IT”

IMG_4723
No, This is not us, Mark has not lost all his hair, but a promotional photo of the sailboat which has actually been renamed  “JUST DO IT”, which I thought was quite appropriate!

 

June 16th, 2017    🌥

After an early riser and 2 false starts (hmmmm, can’t go without the GPS or the bin of dry goods!), we finally get to the PR Marina by 10:30.  Whew! What a lot of stuff to load.  The Very Large refrigerator is jammed full of produce from the garden and pre-made frozen meals.  The Vberth is strewn with stuff…all this for 2 weeks?

After a quick run thru on the systems with Cooper Staff, we are ready to ditch the landlubbers behind and set our sails and our sights for Savary Island and beyond.  There is a light SW breeze so we up the main ( after figuring out how to take the reefs out) and let go the jib….sailing once again!

Lunchtime, naturally the wind gusts and I need to retrieve the sushi out of the sink, but no harm done.  We can enjoy our snack now that the wind is going light.  Lots of boats, large and small, going in both directions…this is the Marine Highway to the very popular Desolation Sound.

Carrying on past Savary Island and Lund, we recall the days when we would sail out through the shallow and treacherous Manson Passage as a short cut into the Strait….and the many times we anchored in front of the million dollar cottages on Hernando Island where now WE too could enjoy the spectacular view of the snow capped Coastal Mountains.

At Baker Passage (between Hernando and Cortes Is) we catch a lovely SW breeze with very flat water and we sail over to Hollyhock Farm and back a few times getting the feel for this seemingly quick sailing vessel on a gloriously sunny day.

Eventually the wind drops and we must start the engine…How great to just  “purr” along at 5-6 knots And then we are at Gorge Harbour on Cortes Is. in no time!  And yes, the petroglyphs at the entrance are still there!

IMG_4689

 

 

As we dine, we can hear the band at the Marina in the distance, but they don’t play late and we have a very peaceful night on the water!  A joy to be living the sailing life once again!