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
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