Another Boatless Summer… and the fun never ends!

Ah summer… months of hot weather, warm seas, and glorious boating opportunities. Unless, of course, your boat is down in Mexico.  This is our third summer  
(have to do the calendar math here, not my strong suit… 2016, 2017, 2018 – yes) without a boat nearby in which to cruise the Pacific Northwest. We have always been lucky to find lots of alternative activities instead, and this summer has been no exception. I have done some things that ticked off items on the bucket list I didn’t even know I had, including a trip with friends to England for a wedding ( super fun!!!)

a boater in England…. of course I had to take a cruise down the Thames!
and a road trip down the coast to San Francisco with an artist friend Jennifer Heine to take part in an amazing week long art class ( also spectacular!)…
painting class with this uber talented young artist…Lindsey Kustusch… that’s her work behind us, not mine!!!!!

 and we enjoyed a delicious weekend in the Okanagan with Jennifer and her husband a few weeks later,  touring wineries and eating local food. Heaven…my idea thereof.

Lawrence and Jennifer enjoying a most delicious spread !

Our N60 buddies from the lower mainland and Washington State drove  up on their  motorcycles and spent a long weekend with us – unfortunately, as per usual, in a summer of 35 plus sunny weather, that was our weekend of rain. Go figure. However,  we still had fun.

Kemps ( Sea Level II) and Fishers ( Daybreak) getting ready to roar off into the rain…

But when I open up Facebook and look at the stories and photos of other trawler and Nordhavn owners enjoying their little ships on both sides of the continent my heart breaks just a tiny bit! It brings back so many memories of our years cruising up to Desolation and beyond, and the first long distance forays with our Nordy friends in preparation for  the big trip down the west coast to San Diego and down to La Paz.

The first group cruise with Colibri and Sea Level II… getting ready to circumnavigate Vancouver Island 2013

Those were some of the best cruising memories I will ever have. We continue to make many many more, but there was something about those years that stick with me.
Of course, the 20 plus years before that of cruising with babies and toddlers and dogs and children and yes, grown up children… goes without saying that those were the sweetest summers of our lives.

Christopher on Pagoo, our 30’Campion live aboard and playpen – heading North to Desolation 1989 or 90..time flies when you’re having children. If anyone ever sees Pagoo… let me know… best little pocket trawler ever made…
Child number 2, Andrew – no more living aboard but lots of summer cruising still!

Probably the last trip with both boys out on Pagoo – a little bit tight for four!

I look at young families heading out with their little junior yachters and reminisce about what it was like for us. Every summer, four weeks of passages (we were so lucky!)  and anchorages and docks and finding the perfect onion rings and ice cream cones and cinnamon buns. Best friends rafted next to us, waking up to fresh baking in their cockpit because we always got up earlier and hunted down the local bakeries in the most obscure coves.. evenings enjoying just-caught crab or prawns that the kids cooked, each trying to outdo the other with the perfect recipe. Fishing in the Tin Boat that we managed to tow behind our 30’ trawler and occasionally catching  a salmon that would feed all of us for dinner…first big fish caught  for the kids, what a memory!

first red snapper.. beautiful!

 Or Lawrence dragging everyone around on the tube, to delighted laughter and screams of delight ( and that was just Val and I)
So I almost envy those youngsters with their little ones, and boy, am I glad to see them out there enjoying the life! But now we are inbetweeners… we don’t have the kids with us any more (although I love having my family  come and spend some time with us) and we don’t have grandchildren (yet).

Andrew and Adrienne enjoying the beach at Todos Santos
So our adventures take on a different spin – and thus we have wandered down to Mexico, where our Northern Ranger II awaits us… fall and winter and spring  cruising only, as it gets too hot down there in the summer.
Ironic, actually, as this has been a VERY hot summer up here, with temperatures reaching the 40’s..and it is also the second year in a row that forest fires have broken out all around us here in the Cariboo. Smoke blankets the entire province, I am pretty sure, and I know that the US is suffering the same fate, California of course taking the brunt of the action. So it almost feels as though a summer on the boat, exploring the northern Sea of Cortez, would have been a good alternative choice.
But we enjoy our lake summers, and try to find a way to connect with our boating friends in the meantime, especially those whose boats are far away in the South Pacific or New Zealand.
Thus a  re-enactment of our Trawlerfester/ Cubarista  land rally – we got together in Bend, Oregon, for an amazing fun-filled long weekend two years ago,

the rafters are ready to go!
and this year we are heading to Vancouver Island for a weekend with most of the gang.The beauty of this is it includes our oldest and bestest cruising buddies, who travelled alongside us for years and years in their sailboat ( even before kids, and they say they chased us… whatever)…and our newer cruising friends, some of the Trawlerfest gang from 2013? and the Cubar gang from 2015 and 2017.

croquet… of Seaforth with Christy

Val just before she blasted the ball right out of the park….

Our next adventure starts after this weekend, when we fly to the East Coast and meet up with our other N60 buddies ( soon to be N68) and have the opportunity to explore Boston, Gloucester, and a slice of Vermont. THIS is bucket-list stuff, folks! To actually be able to walk the docks and check out  the Wicked Tuna boats… people who know me, understand how exciting this is! Not to mention seeing Vermont .. and spending time with good friends who won’t be cruising Mexico for a while.
Northern Ranger I and Tanglewood

And that is what I love about boating. There are friends you  make as you move along and occasionally reconnect with on your travels, friends you have had for years, and new friends that suddenly become old friends that you carry with you on your journey. Doesn’t matter if they are somewhere on another continent, Australia for instance – thank heavens for the internet and Facebook and instant messaging… or six hours away ( we moved away from everyone to live on our lake and find the drive down a piece of cake.. except when the roads are closed due to mud slides, forest fires, snow storms, or massive accidents.. downside of living up here).

Smokeless day… Horse lake at its best!

Of course, that other part of boating – the quiet solitary weeks when it’s just the two of us, no commitments, no ETA’s… moved only by whim and weather… yes, that’s the cruising that I probably miss the most. So I am looking forward to the coming of fall, and October, when we can drive back down to La Paz and head out again for more adventures in the Sea of Cortez. Unfortunately our annual allotment of days spent away from Canada.. or at least mine, as I have done more  out of country adventures this year by myself… has almost been used up, so we will only have just over a month remaining – something us old retired folks have to think about when it comes to our medical insurance! But that’s OK… the clock resets in January and we will be back down again to further explore the mainland of Mexico and  some more northern parts of the Sea, with fellow boaters and hopefully on-board guests and of course, our solitary selves.

There will be a time, I am sure, that the Pacific Northwest lures us back, and whether that is in the near future or further down the road, I am looking forward to all the adventures in between.
So meanwhile, when I open the pages of my favourite boating magazines, or check out the sites on Facebook, I will feel a little pang, and then just get over it because life’s too short for regrets and our little ship awaits us down in Mexico, and time will fly as it always does, and before we know it… we too will be out and about and enjoying our time simply messing about with boats.