Author Archive Mary Lynn

Talk of Generals – without the scandals

8199165408_b10063d462_b
Scenes from California

 

OK I give up.  With every intention of getting the blog caught up from our sailing Summer and a great Fall, I have finally realized that we’ll never remember what we did today, if I keep focusing on yesterday.  So while catching up the old, we’ll also be posting the new. To that end, here’s what we were up to last week.

We arrived to Fresno from Richmond two Sundays ago and spent the week exploring the local lakes.  First we holed up high above Pine Flat Lake. This remote resort community on the outskirts of Fresno enjoyed a boom back in the 50’s but not much has happened since. From it’s heyday, the motels and marinas now show their age, but the place is still beautiful.

 

Sunrise on Pine Flat Lake

 

We picked up mid week and then made our way south to Lake Kaweah for another 2 days of work at the Horse Creek State Park.  Lodged in the foothills of the Sierras, it was a great place to work out in the wild.

We had stayed in the area through the week in anticipation of taking a National Park tour over the weekend. Bright and early on Saturday morning, we drove into the Sierra Nevadas towards Sequoia National Park.

The misty morning gave the groves of giant Sequoias an air of mystery to add to their already extremely impressive magnificence.

 

Land of the Giant Sequoias

 

One Big Tree – cut down in the 60’s so it didn’t fall on some park guest cabins.  Finally someone got smart and suggested moving the cabins instead of cutting down the 2,000 year old trees

 

Perspective – General Sherman is the largest (but not tallest) tree in the world.  The widest tree, General Grant, is just down the road.

 

Through the afternoon, the fog thickened and rain kept spitting, so we decided to bypass King’s Canyon and start west.  The intended destination was Big Sur, but Jimmie Shell had just arrived in Monterey so we rearranged the schedule for a stop in town.

We arrived just in time for dinner and searched for an easy meal.   Buffalo Wild Wings was hopping so we pulled in.  At the entrance, the manager told us it was their opening night and we needed tickets just to get in.   With some smooth talking, we quickly found ourselves sitting at the bar with piles of free food and $3 Petron margaritas in front of us.

 

Living large at B’Dub

 

3 hours later, we were confirmed B’Dub fans.  I called it a night, but Tim and Jimmie explored Cannery Row and wrapped up the evening with a BB King lookalike at Cuz’s Sportsman Club.

Sunday morning, we hit the beach at Fort Ord State Park, we walked through the ice plants to the ocean and watched seals playing in the surf.

 

Fort Ord

 

After breakfast, we dropped Jimmie off to meet up with Keri, who’d just finished a conference and Tim and I drove out to Toro Park for a local mountain bike ride.  We could feel the fact that we hadn’t exercised in a month and the 1600 foot climb was excruciating.  The 4 mile skinny single track was even more so!  But it was good to be back on the bike.

 

High above Monterey

 

On a whim, we decided to check out the nearby Laguna Seca County Park for camping.  We found ourselves high in the hills overlooking the Mazda Raceway next to some more top local mountain bike trails and powerful 4G.   I am no motorhead, but even I thought the racing red Porches were very cool.  Not a bad spot for the week.

World of Waterfalls – August on Journey

7908745056_6c6f544cb2_b

Princess Louisa Inlet is one of those places where seeing truly is believing.  Surrounded by rain forest, it’s the home of North America’s highest waterfall – James Bruce Falls, Chatterbox Falls and the hidden Trapper Falls.  Through the forest, dozens more waterfalls cascade down the steep inlet slopes making this a lush and abundant ecosystem.

Our first full day in Princess Louisa Inlet was my birthday and it was an amazing way to wake up at the base of Chatterbox.  We had rafted up to Wendy and Alan’s boat Blue Fin and had an awesome day planned.  Alan was the crack of dawn collecting fresh oysters from a secret stash on shore for fried oysters later.

Tim and I dinghyed ashore for hike while Andy and Demeree explored the shoreline from their sea kayaks.

The BC rain forest glows in the sunlight

 

Blue Fin and Journey off shore

 

At the base at  Chatterbox –  It’s a great Birthday!

 

Moored in Princess Louisa

 

After our hikes and paddles, we all gathered together for a lazy afternoon.  The weather was perfect and we took turns diving into the pristine water.  Wendy fried up perfect oysters for an appetizer and we topped off the day with homemade pizzas.  Tim brought all the fixings for my favorite-as-a-kid Watergate cake, an incredible treat in the middle of the remote wilderness.   We all gathered for candles, champagne and green pistachio deliciousness.

 

Watergate Cake – a beautiful use of pistachio pudding and Cool Whip

 

Happy Birthday Prep – wow that is a lot of candles!

 

Cake flameup – 41 candles creates quite a glow

 

Early next morning, Tim and I hopped into our dinghy and paddled with Alan over to the secret stash of oysters which low tide exposes.  We gathered a few more for that night’s dinner.  This time it was our turn to do the shucking…

HUGE oysters are abundant in the Inlet

 

Our next adventure for the day was to hike to the Trappers Cabin, an old cabin from the 1800’s that sits high above the Inlet.  The trail was impressively rugged and though it was only a mile, it was almost literally straight up.

 

1 mile straight uphill to the Trappers Cabin

 

Overlooking the ruins of the Trappers Cabin – high over the Inlet

 

Trapper Cabin’s views

 

Trappers Falls – we were glad for the watercooled air!

 

Glad for the rope

 

Our kind of trail

 

We were feeling pretty good about ourselves by the bottom and were tempted by homemade ice cream from Malibu Rapids.  It was a several mile dinghy ride, but Andy and Demeree took on the challenge and brought some back in a cooler.  It was the perfect treat after a rigourous day.

 

Andy dangles between Blue Fin and Journey
Andy dangles between Blue Fin and Journey

 

The next morning it was time to go.  Tim and I woke up early and started paddling out the Inlet on the sea kayaks while Andy and Demeree would follow behind several hours later.  It was a magical morning of seals, eagles, waterfalls and serenity.  We were awestruck by the beauty around us.

 

We snuck up on this baby seal on the shore

 

Exploring the Inlet by Kayak

 

Early morning paddling

 

Just another waterfall

 

It’s like kayaking down a waterfilled Yosemite

 

Heading out the inlet

 

Another of the Inlet’s residents

 

Blue Fin begins motoring out of the Inlet

 

We start paddling out to be picked up by Journey

 

That’s my ride!

 

The sun breaks through

 

Our last views of Princess Louisa

 

Malibu marks the entrance

 

Wait, who’s driving the boat?

 

We sailed all day on our way back to Smuggler Cove for the night.  We got back just in time for yet another spectacular BC sunset.

 

Sunset back at Smuggler Cover

 

Princess Louisa Inlet – August on Journey

With Gardens and Customs under our belt, it was time to do some sailing. Tuesday morning we started with Cowboy Omelet, pulled up anchor and motored out of Butchart. Next up was the port at Ganges where we’d stock up for our next few days in the remote Princess Louisa Inlet. We wouldn’t see a grocery for a week so it was time to shop.

 

Ganges – Home of Thrifty Mart and the best hardware store around

 

The two forms of transportation around these parts

 

Float Planes are like taxicabs

 

Once we had provisioned Journey, we got back underway.  Our next destination was Wallace Island to meet up with Allen and Wendy on Blue Fin.   A storm was brewing in the distance, which brought some brisk breezes and an amazing sunset.

 

Demeree sails towards a squall

 

The wind picked up and skies were black

 

But the sunset we arrived to on Wallace was spectacular

 

and kept getting better

 

On Wednesday we’d take our biggest sail yet, across the open waters of the Strait of Georgia – the waterway which separates Vancouver Island from mainland British Columbia.  We set out early in order to miss the high winds of the afternoon.  We motored cork-like across the choppy seas and finally reached the BC Coast after 3 hours.  We sailed protected waters East of Texada Island and the winds went from 10 mph to 20 mph.

Though we’d reached our destination, the perfect sailing weather was too good to pass up and we spent the next 2 hours close hauled to the wind with a heel of 30 degrees and testing how fast Journey could go.

 

Crossing the Straits of Georgia

 

That’s right 0 degrees is level, we are sailing now!

 

After our afternoon of sailing we tucked into Smuggler Cove, a beautiful hideaway.  Andy and Demeree toured the cove on their sea kayaks while Tim and I rowed the dinghy, exploring the lagoons.  After a dinner of curry, we rinsed our dishes off the back as the water glowed with phosphorescence.

 

Smuggler’s Cove with Allen and Wendy

 

Here Tim and I decided upon our Pirate names: Mr Tim and Barnacle Betty

 

Here Tim and I decided upon our Pirate names: Mr Tim and Barnacle Betty

 

The next morning we set sail for our final destination.  The remote Princess Louisa Inlet.  The day was spectacular and though the winds came and went, it was an amazing trip into this remote corner corner of the Pacific.

 

The Lay of the Land

 

Sailing up  Prince of Wales Reach

 

The Winds pick up

 

Maximizing the Wind with Wing on Wing

 

A  different perspective

 

Blue Fin in the distance

 

The Malibu Club guards the entrance of Princess Louisa Inlet – Once an exclusive resort, it is now a Christian Youth retreat.

 

Blue Fin poses

 

Journey takes her turn in front of the waterfall

 

Demeree on the front of Journey

 

This great shot is too good to not take advantage of

 

Malibu Rapids is the  very narrow entrance to the Inlet

 

Beautiful views!

 

Approaching Malibu Rapids

 

The Malibu Club with its guardian totem protect the Rapids

 

Inside the Inlet

 

Demeree takes a stand!

 

The head of the Inlet.  At the base is beautiful Chatterbox Falls with North America’s tallest falls cascading down the cliff on the left

 

Blue Fin anchored at the base of Chatterbox

 

Here we setup our anchored camp for the next 3 days. At the base of Chatterbox Falls, miles away from a town, road or cell tower, we were truly away from it all.

Canadian Blooms – August on Journey

Once we entered into Canada, we were off to Butchart Gardens.  There are only 4 moorings available in the Garden’s small harbor and we got there just in time.  We relaxed on the boat for lunch and then went to explore the enormous gardens

A Precious Butchart Mooring

 

A perfect picture of Demeree and the boats beyond

 

One of hundreds of fountains

 

A&D

 

ML&T

 

Pistachio Goodness

 

Butchart’s Il Porcellino (Italian “piglet”) – rub his nose for good luck!

 

An Obligatory Self Portrait

 

And from the other side of the lens – thanks to Demeree

 

High Above

 

Plants of all shapes and sizes

 

You never know what you will find around each corner

 

A quiet moment

 

Totems

 

Yes it is as big as it looks

 

I mean come on, who isn’t going to have fun with a mirror ball

 

Serious studying the Roses…hmm

 

Now that’s more like it.

 

Magic

 

and fun

 

and more magic

 

Journey in the harbor

 

Even the dinghy ride is a great time with Andy and Demeree

 

Crossing the Line – August on Journey

OK, I know that the blog is getting confusing as far as time due to some very delayed posting…BUT here is where we pick with August’s adventures!

Friday 8/3, we began our first full day in Seattle in downtown Ballard, getting the last of our work done before taking off sailing for the next 10 days.  While we worked away, the Blue Angels soared over the town practicing routines for the weekend’s SeaFair.  I did take some time out to watch aerial loopdeeloops and also stumbled across the best sandwich EVER.  Other Coast’s Ragin’ Cajun with spicy turkey, pepper jack cheese, red onions on incredible homemade bread.  It’s a must do in Seattle.

After our day’s work, we checked out Dutch Bikes – bicycle shop, bar and coffee shop.  While we sat on the sidewalk, enjoying a happy hour beer, the Cycle Saloon pedaled by.  There is just so much to love about Seattle.

 

That night we returned to the boat and got to finally meet our 2nd boatmate for the next 2 weeks, Andy’s girlfriend, Demeree. 1 hour of laughter later it was perfectly obvious that we were all going to get along beautifully.

 

Getting Journey ready to Sail

 

The next morning was spent with shopping and boat prep. We finally set sail around 3:00 pm and tacked our way up the Puget Sound towards Port Ludlow. We dropped anchor in the dark in a peaceful cove just in time for grilled salmon.

 

Racing the cruise ships out of the Sound

 

Amazing Mt Baker Views

 

Andy and I – sailing away

 

Hard to beat sunset on a boat

 

Headed North

 

Sunday we woke to no wind, so we motored towards Stewart Island in the San Juans.  I got a chance to do some driving of the boat which was the first stage of my improved sailing self confidence.

 

Seals keep an eye on us

 

Andy is in his element

 

Under motor ,Andy and Demeree fix some plumbing

 

Um excuse me…IS THAT WATER IN OUR BOAT!?!  Not to worry, the leak is quickly fixed

 

Blue Bird Sailing

 

Kayakers off of San Juan Island

 

Lunch Time

 

Motoring around San Juan

 

Lime Kiln

 

Lime Kiln Light House

 

When we arrived to Stewart Island, we rafted up with a fellow Catalina 42, Blue Fin – sailed by Wendy and Allen.  We also joined Dan and Billy and their incredibly gorgeous Taswell.  Their spectacular boat reset the standard by which we will judge all other sailboat.  We all gathered around, enjoyed a dinner of Pad Thai and relaxed during a beautiful sunset.  Wrap up with our theme desert, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, it’s good living.

 

Pad Thai at Sunset

 

The next morning, we were bound for Canada.  We were enroute to Sydney BC to check into customs.  A prime Bouchart Gardens mooring was our goal and we knew that we needed to arrive early for one of the coveted spaces.  While we were in customs, we got a chance to see the famed Janice of Wyoming Super Yacht.  This spectacular 130 foot boat was very impressive, even more so since it’s from our home state!

 

Stewart Island

 

Andy waits at Customs

 

Crossing the Bridge to Canada!

 

And they mean it

 

The Massive Janice of Wyoming

 

Wyoming Tribute

 

We know we’re in Canada now!

 

 

 

1 2 3 23