Cruisers make much of the places they have seen – the experience of actually transporting themselves to another world – the adventures and the cultural diversity…
but the other aspect of cruising that makes it so attractive is the friendships which develop.
One minute you are signing up for a course with Steve D’Antonio or Bob Senter with twenty or forty total strangers, and the next you are planning an entire summer based on getting together with people you didn’t know five years ago – but can’t wait to see again!
This summer has certainly been a case in point. Because Northern Ranger and her big sister ships Sea Level II, Colibri and Duet are lounging around down south in the heat and potential hurricanes, while we hang around up North and worry about her, we have had lots of time on our hands and no boat to spend it with. And because we were not alone in this predicament, we came up with plans to give us the “cruising life” without the boat.
This has worked out amazingly well! Starting with a Grady-White trip up Indian Arm to Wigwam Inn, the RVYC outstation, where we met other cruising friends and had a chance to stay at the historical Inn ( avoided the haunted room)…
. we segue’d to an amazing weekend at Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island for a land based reunion of Cubar participants ( Northern Ranger and her crew, and Sea Level II and her crew) at the Lodge belonging to the Varnebaank owners Christy and Ken Donnelly ( celebrating their recent wedding!!!) …
somewhere in there was a quick trip down to Washington State for an amazing seafood dinner with the crew of Daybreak, Karen and Jerome Fisher, to hear about their cross-the-Pacific plans for 2017 and talk Nordhavn.
I had a chance of course to join Teka III, Denis and Mary Umstot, for the N2Alaska rendezvous ( tons of fun and lots of Nordhavns to meet and enjoy!) and a weeklong cruise around the southern bits of Alaska.
And now we are getting ready to drive down to Bend Oregon for our own N2OR.
Christopher and Diana Dent ( Colibri) are hosting the event and planning our every minute ( hooray!).. participants are from near and far – the Canadians ( Northern Ranger and Sea Level…) Australia ( Sue McKenney, one of the Original Trawlerfesters!) and Duet’s intrepid crew, Ron and Nancy from Lake Tahoe.
We are all looking forward to getting down to our boats and starting our next great adventure, but meanwhile we are excited about spending another weekend with friends and travel buddies and talking about the future… and also sharing tales about the past. Slideshows are prepared, stories are ready, and videos primed – also Lawrence’s margarita recipe will be dusted off and showcased, just because it is just so darn good!
September 7th…the Aftermath
The weekend was another success, thanks in NO small part to the herculean efforts of our hosts, Christopher and Diana Dent, who planned the entire itinerary from the minute we arrived in Bend, Oregon, to the minute we left..
Our trip down was lovely ; we stopped halfway for an overnighter to break up the trip at a B and B in Yakima ( lovely house, great meal in town, delightful breakfast before we headed out).
Our arrival at the Dent’s estate ( well, how about just lovely big house with enough rooms for almost all of us!) was timed perfectly to allow for a bit of settling in and lunch, and then it was off to Pilot Butte to hike to the top, followed by the Art Walk in downtown Bend… dinner at back at the house was Diana’s Borscht and Lawrence’s margaritas, and of course show and tell for our Baja trips. As always, there was discussion about future plans… where to go, where to go??
And the weekend continued along in the same vein. We did a mile plus walk underneath a mountain through Lava River Tubes, which was about as far from boating as I have ever been.. ( unless it was the dinner on top of Mt. Bachelor the next night… beautiful and fun but BRRRRR on the ride up in the open ski lift! Especially for the Aussie contingent… thankfully blankets were provided for the trip down… after the sunset of course.)
Other adventures included Big Eddy Deschutes River Rafting.. no one mentioned white water. Did I hear anyone mention white water??? Anyway, it was great prep for a rough sea if you happened to be bobbing around in a life raft. Absolutely hilarious and loads of fun. We opted out of the level 5 fifteen-foot-drop section. Odd, that.. the two bowsprites ( Kim and Diana) said the whole adventure was akin to having someone take a huge bucket of water and throwing it right at you. Repeat. Repeat. Unfortunately the weather was turning and it wasn’t exactly balmy outside! (REALLY unfortunate that no one thought to take the go-pro, as we were STRONGLY advised not to take cameras or cell phones, even wrapped in ziplock bags. This turned out to be a very smart move.)
The next day was another water activity, although it was more my style than crashing down waterfalls! Kayaking on Hosmer Lake – the kayaks were doubles with “glass” bottoms – absolutely wonderful to see the fish under our feet, although my hands were itching for a fly line. The highlight was kayaking up the river ( all of two or three inches under our “keels” ) all the way to the waterfall. Beautiful!
And of course, a picnic lunch amongst the reeds because Diana could not find the pull out spot even though she was sure it was just around the next bend … NOT)
Throughout the entire series of adventures, there was food – and wine – and the occasional margarita. The meals we had at home were spectacular, planned to perfection by Diana and executed by the ladies …. typical of boaters, we all know our way around a galley and are keen to pitch in to ensure there is food on the table and libations in the glasses.
The men.. well, this was the weekend we were scheduled to be hit, down in La Paz, by the first hurricane of the season that wasn’t going to veer off to the West and avoid our little town and our precious boats. So most of the time and the conversations started to focus around weather. What ifs? Whens??? How Muches???? and Who do you call??? And of course, our favourite..
the Wait and Sees. Which is literally about all you can do.
The last scheduled event was one for the men…. we did a pub cycle tour. No, not a tour of the pubs by bicycle, but a cycle pub…where six of us could pedal to our hearts content and drink wine and beer ( as long as both feet were on the bike!!! VERY strict!!! ) We managed to hit three Bend pubs, which was a lot of fun as we cycled through downtown Bend waving and trying to avoid angry motorists ( we weren’t in charge, thank heavens!) It was a LOT of fun! and we got to taste a bunch of Bend’s finest.. of which they have many!
And as Hurricane Newton passed by our marinas and boats with great force but little ( apparent) damage, we breathed a sigh of relief and packed our bags for the long drive home ( no stops this time).
It was a perfect ending to a fun summer, where friendships were reinforced and plans were tentatively hatched. Or at least if not hatched, then gingerly laid and awaiting further incubation. There is the “go West, to the Marquesas, and dip down and visit the South Seas” camp… the “head down and turn left through the Panama Canal and head over to the East Coast … maybe go as far as Greenland or even Iceland” camp…and of course the “just head South until you get to the end of the world and go back up, and visit Patagonia” camp. It’s always fun to talk to other cruisers who have “been there done that”.. although there aren’t TOO many who have done the Patagonia trip! We are always ready to hear stories about first hand experiences with some of these places we are dreaming about. ( hint hint! )
Whatever plans we firm up, we have the boats that are capable of doing almost anything we want them to do, and as dreamers and now doers we have the will and the desire to make it all happen. And whether we decide that one route fits all, or each of us choses a different path for our futures, for sure there will be opportunities to meet up again and cruise together.
From a chance encounter at the Anacortes Trawlerfest, to signing up for Cubar and heading south to Mexico… friendships cemented by shared adventures up and down the West Coast, on to who knows what in our futures…. there is something about cruising and meeting like-minded individuals along the way that has exceeded all our expectations and continues to fuel our passion for life on the high seas!
Our last task, as we did the “teary goodbyes” ( the last scheduled event on the itinerary Christopher had created for us) was to sign off on the schedule… and as we did that, we already started to talk about next year’s N2OR event… which actually could be anywhere, depending on where everyone ends up next year!!!!