Not to be insensitive about the very real struggle facing migrants around the world, we too face the routine of determined progress heading north, toward promised lands. Each day now we rise, weigh anchor, and motor out into the straits toward our current destination of Desolation Sound, a series of channels and islands so named by Captain Vancouver in the eighteenth century because he thought it had little economic value. Evidently that did not regard aesthetic value as it is more and more beautiful the closer we get.
Echo Bay, Sucia Island
But I digress; how did we get here? (Water flowing underneath). Languorously exploring the San Juans the last few weeks, we have enjoyed the company of Kathleen’s father, Jim, and sister, Carolyn. Eagles and herons, seals and porpoises abound, but no real whale sightings yet. Our new crab trap has gone to the bottom a few times and taunted us with small ones that jump away, so we have more to learn on that front.
One evening, while performing the evening ritual of pupus on the flybridge, we heard the ominous beep of a new alarm. Not the bilge, not the propane, not the errant iPhone, what is it? Finally down below, outside the engine room door we discover the CO monitor bleating like a lost lamb, and we both look at the door wondering what evil lurks therein. The diesel genset has been running a couple of hours charging the batteries without complaint, but now that I think about it there is a smell of exhaust. Defying protocol I peer in the engine room and sure enough it’s intense in there. Genset shutdown, blowers on, all hatches and doors open, everybody goes back to the flybridge until the air clears.
Upon inspection, the genset wet exhaust elbow has cracked at the flange with the exhaust manifold, allowing exhaust to escape and set off the CO alarm. Another reason not to run the genset while you sleep, I say. How much will that cost, asks Kathleen. Not to worry, I say, we can fix it. (Hoping that such arcane parts are available). Amazingly, the marine services industry is so well developed in the northwest that our next port of call in Anacortes has a dealer for our genset and a stainless steel fabrication shop with everything we need. But this being the busy time, no mechanics are available for two weeks.
Three days later, I emerge from the engine room after rebuilding the exhaust, squinting into the sunlight that has been bathing the quaint town of Anacortes. My able assistant, Kathleen, now qualifies as a diesel technician. They say that cruising is working on your boat in interesting places. A migrant needs to be self sufficient.
Into Canada, we crossed the border with flags flying and but one bottle as allowed, and quickly went to Costco in Sidney BC. Heavily reprovisioned and fully laden with fuel and water now, we waited for son Connor to fly into Sidney from Hawaii. Properly celebrated, his arrival marks the next phase of our cruise, and we are so happy to have the opportunity to share this experience during his summer off from university. The question remains how will he tolerate the lack of high speed internet?
The Gulf Islands are behind us now, the Strait of Georgia has been crossed, and we work our way north with a few other boats intent on the same destinations. We even saw Umiak, one of our sister boats from the factory in China, and hailed Hugh on the radio as we passed in the Malaspina Strait and exchanged recommendations on anchorages up North. We agreed that we are both proud to have boats by Bill Kimley at Seahorse Marine.
Montague Harbour, Galiano Island
So the journey continues, and all is well aboard Laysan as we head through some of the most beautiful cruising grounds in the world. Life is good, all the best to our family and friends, and thanks for listening.