Considering Time

Decomposing Boat

This old wooden boat is decomposing on the beach of Cortez Island.

I’m losing the desire to continue north. I’ve been travelling through remote islands and mountains and they’re all starting to look the same. I love my solitude in nature but I also appreciate the company of like-minded individuals. I’ve had plenty of the former and I’m missing the latter. I like the idea of canning seafood while I’m out in the wild, clean waters, but my desire to voyage, for the sake of voyaging, is waning. Instead I feel an urge to answer the challenge of trying to live full time on the boat without going back to the cubical or seasonal work.

Voyaging in Canada isn’t exactly what I expected. The islands and anchorages and wild food is more plentiful, as expected. But there is so much wild area out here that it all blends into one another. At home the ‘special’ anchorages are the secluded ones that require local knowledge. Out here, you can’t throw a stone without hitting an anchorage like that. It’s alienating. Less intimate.

Posting Butterfly

A butterfly posed for me perfectly.

There are rolling hills and whole valleys untouched by men, but so wild as to be impassible to an avid hiker. Canada doesn’t seem to be big on island trails out here. A logging road through clear cut seems to be as good as it gets most of the time. It makes me pine for the San Juan Islands with all their trails. It also reminds me moorage at any of the marine state parks is free, since I’ve already paid for my annual state park moorage permit.

I’ve also started writing a new book! It captures all the knowledge I’ve gained restoring my last three boats and all the tips and tricks I’ve learned preparing them to live aboard. I want it to empower others to follow in my footsteps. I’m about half way through the writing of it, and could sure use the more prevalent and cheaper wifi in the States to wrap it up.

Oyster Mushrooms Maple Tree

Old, dried Oyster mushrooms climb twenty feet up a dead Maple tree.

Before I left, I had a vague idea that the hotsprings at Eucot Bay would be my northern terminus. The summer is young, and I’m feeling the pull of the southern horizon. For the last week I’ve had a beautiful anchorage all to myself. I’ve used the time to rest, do repairs, and self provision. When I got here I was exhausted. Now I’m ready to move. Desloation Sound and I have communed with one another. We have felt the other’s pulse. I think I’ll be back, but time will tell. The horizon beckons.

The wind was coming from the southwest. After leaving Desolation Sound Park, I threw up the 150% jib, not even bothering to raise the mainsail and disturb the solar panels. My horizontal parachute shot me right into Refuge Cove of Redonda Island. The store was well stocked. I took on water and refilled my propane. They had ice cream! Oh, strawberry flavored joy!

I needed to do some research for my book, and just generally feeling withdrawals from being unplugged for so long. They had good internet, but it was expensive. Wagoners Guide suggested I might find free internet across the channel in Squirrel Cove. Being a cheap bastard with wind in my favor, I parachuted again and dropped anchor in front of the store off Cortez Island. It was too late to go ashore, so I decided to do reconnaissance in the morning.

Mantus Anchor

My new Mantus 25 lb stern anchor. It unbolts into three pieces for easy stowage.

The next day I got the password for the wifi and deployed my Mantus stern anchor to keep the wifi antenna pointed in the right direction. I spent a few days walking the beach, hiking trails, and working on the book. It also gave me plenty of time to think about how I want to spend the rest of the summer.

When I left, I didn’t set a definite destination or a time line, because I knew before I left I was on a greater journey than this one. My greater journey is to sustain this lifestyle, to stay on the water and out of the cubical. Returning now will give me time to play with some creative money-making ideas. Going back would mean enjoying the rest of the summer with friends, canning fish and crab, and working on dreams.

Voyaging is a kick. I can easily see myself voyaging up and down the Alaskan and British Columbia coasts in the future. At this point in my life though, I need to focus on how I’m going to get from here to there. I look forward to the challenge. I feel like it’s a battle between me and ‘the system’. I intend to win.


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Comments
2 Responses to “Considering Time”
  1. Gary Hall says:

    Chris,

    Been there myself so I know what you’re feeling. I used to think I needed to change my locale to achieve my inner changes. Older now, I see that our wonderful San Juans and Gulf Islands will give me everything I need for a lifetime. As well, Bellingham is a perfect home base for boating and everything else I want to do. At this point in my life, I wouldn’t change a thing.

    Gary

  2. Kenny says:

    Hey Chris, great to meet ya over the weekend. I am looking forward to crab season as well. I think it is only about a week away.

    Thanks
    Kenny

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