Author Archive Mary Lynn

Talk of Generals – without the scandals

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

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






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




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.




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!




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