It’s been a very busy, and soon to be officially over, summer of 2007.  

Our move from Kalamazoo/Saugatuck to Friday Harbor was hectic to say the least but the decommissioning and recommissioning of AirWaves was orderly chaos.  Having lived aboard now full time for 3 months Maria and I can honestly say we love life aboard.  One has to remember you’re living on a 42-foot sailboat and the only ‘shore’ space is our 2X24-foot garage that we park our car in and store off-season items.  Life is much simpler when you don’t have as much accumulated ‘stuff’ and the requisite storage space for it.  It comes down to ‘when you buy something and bring it aboard you donate or get rid of an older version of the same newly purchased item” and that means when Maria buys a new blouse she donates or gets rid of one of MY shirts!

We have only begun to explore the hundreds and hundreds of miles of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and the mainland; thousands of islands offer equally thousands of sheltered anchorages and both small villages like Lopez Village on Lopez Island in the U.S. San Juan Islands to world class cities like the Canadian cities of Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as Seattle which pretty much anchors the most heavily sailed area of Puget Sound.  We enjoy BOTH the cities, especially Victoria that is only 33 sailing miles from our home port of Friday Harbor, and the MANY remote and unspoiled islands in both the U.S. and Canada.  I’m enclosing a couple pictures from South Pender Island in the Canadian Gulf Islands where I write this email using the marina’s wi-fi.  Who said you had to be out of touch just because you’re in a exquisitely beautiful location?

The weather has been absolutely perfect and is, frankly, normal for this part of the world.  Who would think you could be north of Duluth MN and have day-after-day-after-day of perfect weather: daytime highs in the 70’s and nighttime lows in the 50’s.  We’ve slept with the quilt EVERY night since we’ve been here and that includes the 90-degree record breaking temperature in mid July; it went down to 58-degrees by midnight.  Our onboard central heat/air has NOT been used in the air conditioning mode since last summer in Michigan.

Bugs, or the lack of them, has been a VERY pleasant surprise.  Go inland a mile or so and they’re very present but on the water they are basically non-existent.  People ask us WHY we have screens as most boats, and houses too for that matter, don’t have them.  Maria said the screens stay because not EVERYTHING that comes through a window is a bug.  Think squirrels or even birds!

We saw our 1st Orca whale last Friday as we sailed from Friday Harbor, south through Cattle Pass Point at the southern most point of San Juan Island, and out into Haro Strait on the way to Victoria.  He (she?) didn’t splash for us but we got to see her magnificent dorsal fin and tale.  Sadly, this past weekend, 5 native Americans harpooned and shot with a 50-calibre machine gun, a Pacific grey whale at the ocean entrance of San Juan de Fuca Strait.  The whale suffered for 10 hours and died while attempting to elude its hunters.  Whales are, like Dolphins, VERY intelligent animals and it was a cruel and illegal action.

We continue to consider this part of the world like Canada’s North Channel that is north of Manitoulin Island at the north end of Lake Huron.  The water here is, of course, salt water and not fresh but the cool/cold year round temperature of 50-60 degrees holds a smaller percentage of salt than the Atlantic Ocean; that’s at least what I’m told but I’ve seen the virtually instant caustic effect the Atlantic salt water has on boats in a matter of weeks; here, as there, you are wise to rinse your boat when you come back from sailing for the day but almost nobody actually ‘washes’ their boat with soap as fresh water loosens the salt and rinses it away, leaving the boat clean.  We’ve only actually ‘washed’ the boat ONCE in 3 months because, guessing here, the environment is MUCH cleaner here.  When we’d wash the boat in Saugatuck only a couple days later AirWaves would already have a lot of black streaks on it.  

That’s enough history for one email.  We miss you all and continue to be blessed to have your support as we transition to life aboard.

All pictures but the picnic table picture are from South Pender Island and it looks JUST like Canada’s North Channel for those of you who have been there.  The picture of people gathered around a picnic table (Maria is on the right) was taken at South Beach on San Juan Island’s southwest coast overlooking Haro Strait; it was a picnic for anyone who was from or lived in Michigan.  

Fair seas to all…

Bill & Maria Wertz

P.O. Box 838
204 Front Street E-38
Friday Harbor WA 98250