Monday, August 22, 2011

Pain, Celebration and Desolation Sound

TENEDOS BAY – August 8, 2011

As planned, in Lund,I met up with Brentwood Bay Power Squadron friends on their boats; Len and Dawna on Dawna 2, Cathy and Randy on The Plan, and John and Gilly on Gallivant.  The three boats are power boats about 25’ in length.  Sailboaters call power boats stink pots but I do not hold that against my friends - tee hee.  For Ta Daa, all 45’ of her, I felt like she was the mother ship. 

First stop, Tenedos Bay where we spent three glorious nights in remote surroundings, which included bears.  A bear actually swam past The Plan on the first morning.  Cathy was not impressed.  Winston and I donned our bear bells whenever we left the boat for land.

We also met up with two other boats, Peter and Margaret on Zaria and Rod, Leanne and Darcy on Great Escape.  It was a great combination of people in a great location. 

Activities while in Tenedos Bay included a beautiful nature walk to Unwin Lake.  It was like stepping back in time seeing stumps with the springboard notches in them.  The moss was lush and a stunning green.  The sun shone into the forest giving it an enchanted ambiance.  At Unwin Lake we swam in the surprisingly warm lake water.  I even convinced Winston to swim to cool down.  Upon exit of the lake he immediately rolled in dirt, moss and whatever felt good.  Peter, just before loading into the dinghies, introduced me to a deep river hole where I could re-wash Winston.  Salt water swimming was also a delight.  We dinghied to a rock island.   Most of us found the water temperature a welcome warm.  The oysters in this area are the largest I have ever seen. 
Rod led the way the most unexpected sight.  It was a Buddha statue placed on a rock, under a ledge.  Somebody must have risked life and limb to place it there. 

You will have to ask me about the rooster in Tenedos Bay.  

TOBA WILDERNEST – August 11, 2011
Up anchor at 0700 with Toba Wildernest as our destination. Ta Daa, The Plan, Gallivant and Dawna 2 motored to Refuge Cove for the vessels who needed to fuel.  At Refuge Cove we also filled up on fresh cinnamon buns.  One was more than enough for one person.  For the few times I have been in Desolation Sound, this was my first trip to Refuge Cove.  It is quaint and has a smattering of cabins.  You can find Refuge Cove on West Redonda Island. 

Also on this island you can find Teakerne Arm.  As we made our way towards the final destination, I diverted and took The Plan on a tour of  Teakerne Arm.  At the head of the arm is a waterfall.  It is connected to Cassel Lake.  Some boaters are brave enough to anchor in the deep water and hike the short distance up and to the lake.  Ron and I were never that brave and I still am not. 
After viewing the falls and posing the boats for photo ops, we made our way to Toba Wildernest. At Toba Wildernest, we were able to tie to a dock for the night.  John and Gilly on Gallivant had to leave the group to start making their way back to Victoria. 

 The location of this pseudo resort is stunning and situated at the entrance to Toba Inlet.  Zaria, after leaving Tenedos Bay a day ahead of us, met us here.  Margaret, the dogs (Winston and Logan) and I walked to the waterfall which is the never ending supply of water for boaters and the resort.  Bear bells were in tall order here.  Only once did Logan bark, which caused Margaret and I to wonder if a bear was near.  The hike, needless to say was all up hill, but thankfully downhill on the way back. 
WALSH COVE – August 12 2011
Walsh Cove is a mere 4.4 nautical miles from Toba Wildernest and is noted for the visible petroglyphs on the rocks.  Here we met up with Great Escape.  Zaria on the other hand, headed to Rebecca Spit.  This is a fairly deep anchorage (75 ft) and a stern tie is needed.  Stern tying is becoming easier the more I do it.  Calm wind also makes a difference to the ease of anchoring. 

Once settled in Walsh Cove, Len, Dawna, Winston and I boarded The Plan for the much anticipated day trip to the head of Toba Inlet.  We had the perfect day for we could see the tops of the mountains. 

The water temperature in Walsh Cove was 21.2 degrees C.  At the head of Toba Inlet it dropped to 10.5 degrees C.  Also the water changed colour from sea blue to glacier emerald.  And!  Who would have guessed?  We scooped some water in a bottle to view the colour.  Len had a sip.  The rest of us followed suit.  The water was fresh with only the slightest hint of salt.  We were in a salt water inlet yet it was so diluted with fresh water you could have used it in the water tanks.  Amazing. 

The scenery was spectacular.  I kept reminding myself that I was in Desolation Sound and NOT in the Rockies.  

While we were gallivanting up Toba Inlet, Rod, Leanne and Darcy managed to capture some prawns for dinner.  They hosted us on Great Escape. Dinner was delish and the company was outstanding.

Ironically, when I boarded Great Escape and settled into my spot a song came over the speakers.  It was Somewhere Over The Rainbow as sung by Isreal.  This was the very song I chose for Ron’s Celebration.  I was overcome by emotion.  The tears started to flow but only for a short time. 

AUGUST 13, 2011
This day marks the six-month anniversary of Ron’s passing.  It took me a while to put things into perspective.  The tears never stopped for the better part of the morning.  I rowed Winston to shore.  We walked.  I rowed around the little islands and the cove.  I read.  I fished.  The tears kept coming.  It took me a while but I figured it out.  I decided that the rest of the day would be a day of celebration.  I switched my thinking from the loss of Ron to celebrating him being at peace and free of pain.  I celebrated how far I have come in six months.  I celebrated the time we had together.  I celebrated Ron’s grace and courage.  I celebrated all he has taught me.  I celebrated a great man and acknowledged Ron is one-of-a-kind. 
And at dinner that night I celebrated with a whole bottle of Ravenswood Zinfandel.

Len had more luck at fishing than any of us.  He caught a ling cod and rock cod.  Again, Rod and Leanne hosted us aboard Great Escape.  While eating dinner who would have guessed that KD Lang and Hallelujah would play.  This was the other song chosen for Ron’s Celebration.  Yes, the tears came. It did not matter for I was surrounded by friends. They understood. 

SQUIRREL COVE – August 14, 2011
Today we headed to Squirrel Cove on Cortes Island.  It was pouring with rain when I awoke.  No time for delays.  Gotta get Winston to shore for his piddles and poos.  Gotta get the boat ready to up anchor.  Gotta wish for the rain to stop.  And it did.  My routine for up-anchoring is getting as smooth as anchoring – thank goodness.  It was a pleasant motor to Squirrel Cove.  In Desolation Sound, as long as the clouds are not too low, there is always something awesome to see.  Once at Squirrel Cove I set anchor and rafted to Great Escape on one side.  The Plan rafted to the other side.   Dawna 2 rafted to me. 
All of us were so excited to put in our order at the floating bakery for our morning cinnamon bun.  Off we go in the dinghy to place the order.  As life would have it, the floating bakery was closed until further notice.  We were clearly disappointed.  Darn, rats and all those other four-letter words.

We lifted our spirits by heading, by dinghy, to the Squirrel Cove General Store.  It is always an experience to visit – it has a lot of character and being on Cortes Island it is always full of characters. 

Great Escape left the next day.  After their departure, Len, Dawna, Winston and I boarded The Plan and went for an afternoon trip to Melanie Cove.  We were on a mission to find the gentleman’s cottage from the Curve of Time.  Len was sure he had discovered it last year.  I donned my handheld GPS and off we go.  Once anchored in Melanie Cove we landed the dinghy at the mouth of the river.  We then walked up the river a ways and followed Len into the forest to the square and not overly grown spot he found before.  He convinced us we had found it so took a lat and long bearing to chart the location.  Again, the forest walk was stunning in its overgrown and green beauty.

On the way back to Squirrel Cove I felt such a feeling of excitement.  I could not wait to get back to Ta Daa and tell Ron what I had done.  Then it hit me.  He was not physically there for me to share the experience.  These moments pop up now and again  It was surreal.  It is a silent yet deep pain.  My tears were few. 

Today marks my 14th wedding anniversary to Ronald Bertrand Harris.  As mentioned in an earlier blog posting, we were married in Comox BC at Filberg Lodge. 

I don’t fight the tears.  I do let them flow.  However, when I cry, I think.  I attempt to put things into a better light.  I remembered our day.  It was beautiful.  I think of how he would have planned to celebrate.  Ron loved to celebrate.  He would have been full of surprises and gifts.  He would have been overflowing with love.  I know how much he respected and adored me.  Please do not get me wrong.  I am not feeling sorry for myself.  I am missing my husband, my friend, my everything.

Ron loved for the boat to be clean, as do I.  He took charge of the outside and I the inside.  As soon as I got to Fisherman’s I knew what I had to do.  After being in Desolation Sound with little water, it was time to hook up the hose and scrub the decks – make them free of doggy paw prints, bird ka-ka and other stuff.  It felt so good to scrub and clean and think of Ron. 
In honour of our anniversary I drank a very good bottle of red wine, given to me by Ron’s boss, Bill.  It was from a winery in Osoyoos, BC  - Nk’Mip.  Thank you Bill and Monique. 

NANAIMO – August 17,2011
Today is the day we cross the Salish Sea aka The Georgia Strait.  It was uneventful except for the wind picking up on the beam.  I decided to quarter the waves and head more toward Winchelsea Island and then follow the waves down the coast.  It was a much smoother ride into Nanaimo.  Dawna 2 reached the Nanaimo Boat Basin first.  Len let the wharfinger know that two more boats were coming in.  I know the boat basin and know that it is better to back in so the bow in heading out.  My goodness, backing in this time was like threading the needle with a cross wind.  To get set up I had to do a four-point turn then back between all the boats.  I look over and saw tens of people in the little floating Mexican restaurant.  I told myself not to look at them.  If I can’t see them, they can’t see me.  After some creative maneuvering, I managed to get the boat into position and toss the lines to waiting hands.  My knees were weak and trembling but I did it. 

I purchased Winston a new life jacket.  The one I had was oversized for him and felt it was not appropriate.  That was an experience taking the bus to Woodgrove and back again.  Dawna came with me for company.  Ron and Monica of Windchaser joined us for dinner one night.  We had a great time.   

Winton and I walked a lot and relaxed which we both enjoyed.

THETIS ISLAND – August 19, 2011
From Nanaimo we headed south through Dodd Narrow to Thetis Island.  I had a nice breeze so pulled out both sails.  This was very relaxing and therapeutic for me.  Today marks the one year anniversary that Ron and I were delivered his death sentence.  Today marks the day our lives changed forever. Today marks the day we cherished every moment we could spend together.  Today marks the day we discovered our fears and our strengths. Today marks the day we discovered our true friends, new friends and loyal family.  Who knew that six months less six days Ron would no longer be with us.  Not now, my husband, but one day we will be together again.

I celebrated the whole days events, thoughts and feeling with a fine bottle of Chateau Neuf Du Pape wine.   By the way, I did share the wine.

Did I ever tell you that I suck at prawning but am OK with crabbing.  So now the goal is to learn to prawn better.  I took the traps out and set them with hope of provisioning for our seafood feast, out last supper together with the gang.  Well, with all the effort of setting one prawn trap and hauling up four hundred feet of line – by hand I might add – I managed to get ONE little prawn.  I felt so sorry for him I threw him back to get bigger.  Crabs were a different story.  I managed to get four keepers.  Fortunately, we purchased a sockeye from local first nations to supplement my catch. 

I arrived at the dock around 1100.  Mom and I chatted for the afternoon then had a rest.  We went into Ganges for a fine pasta dinner at Aunt Pesto’s.  It is their favourite spot.  By bedtime Ta Daa was rocking in a SE wind.  Winston and I woke this morning to light wind and rain. 

It has been a lazy morning for us but a good time for me to update the blog.  While in Desolation Sound, connection to the web is little to none.  Also, my time to sit and write was limited with all the activity and people.  I had a wonderful time.  It was time well spent to help me through a tough month.  I have not yet figured out what I should be doing but I no longer worry about it.  Being away has caused me to slow down and take one day at a time.  I am not sure what it is going to be like to return to Victoria.  That remains to be seen.  I plan to head home to West Bay on Wednesday – weather permitting. 
In the meantime I am going to enjoy the company of my very dear friends Pat (I call her Mom) and Bud.  They are a dynamic duo who have sage advice from their own experiences to offer.  I love them to bits and pieces.

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