Sailing Hibernation

Rosario Resort

The Rosario Resort on Orcas Island. The weather was frosty, calm, an clear. Perfect cruising weather.

New Years weekend was another one worthy of the memory banks. I went with friends to Rosario Resort for New Years Eve. This marked the fourth time in five years that I’ve spend New Years Eve there.

The Resort never disappoints, but it was only a small part of the trip. The weather got cold, sunny, and calm; the perfect winter cruising weather. After two days at the Resort, we slowly started heading back east. We stopped at Cypress Island on the last night out. We hiked past a frost covered beach and crisp winter trail to frozen Reed Lake. It felt good to be on Cypress. I hadn’t been there is about three months.

Reed Lake Duck Blind

The log-cabin-like duck blind at Reed Lake.

There is a log-cabin-like duck blind at the lake. It’s a great shelter to sit quietly and appreciate the natural beauty. The windowsill-like front makes the lake appear like a living portrait. As I sat there gazing, the thought occurred to me that this was the peak of the trip. All actions from this point would be aimed at getting myself to work on time the following day. Looking out at the lake was kind of like watching a sunset; beautiful, and a little sad.

I was told by a psychologist once that humans are like a pendulum that swings between curiosity and boredom; between adventure and caution.

Frosty Hike

A frosty hike up to the lake.

When I came back from my voyage this summer, I was swinging very much away from curiosity and adventure. I spent most of four months voyaging alone, sailing in bigger water and wind that I had ever seen, experiencing non-stop engine trouble, trying to catch my bearings in a new and constantly changing location. I pushed myself. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. My fun meter was pegged.

Now that I’ve had a few months to recharge, my pendulum is starting to swing the other way. My feet are starting to itch. What was once new and foreboding is beginning to feel familiar and achievable.

Cypress Island Duck Blind

The view from inside the duck blind. See how the it kind of looks like a framed, living portrait?

When I was travelling, I couldn’t help but view my trip as a scouting mission. It was unfortunate because it caused me to chase the horizon. I didn’t stop to savor my locations. I was constantly moving. I wanted to learn about what resources were out there; what obstacles. I knew I’d be back. Now, I want to go back.

I knew during my trip that the clock was ticking. I was unemployed and had a limited amount of resources to expend on my journey. What I want, what I‘ve dreamed of, is to cruise continuously. That requires a source of income.

I’ve proven to myself that I can live cheaper on the boat than I can on land. I’ve more than proven to myself that I prefer life-on-the-boat over life on land. Over the last few months my programming skills have grown, as has my confidence. The possibility of a part-time, remote programming job seems easily within my grasp. I’ve begun to turn up the pressure at my current job, to start the process of moving toward remote work as was discussed at my time of hire. I’m also putting feelers out into the job market and looking for that ideal job.

sailing sewing

Sewing is a common task I save for winter time.

In the meantime, I’ll pass the cold winter snuggled inside my insulated hull and dream of the Sunshine Coast.

It breaks my heart every time I have to turn the boat around. Every weekend has a peak; a point where I have to turn back and prepare for the work week, even as short as it is. The idea of non-stop cruising has long been a dream, and now a primary goal.

It’s not that I’m disgruntled by my work. I genuinely like the work I do and the people I work with. It’s the commute. And the signs. And the rules. And the press of humanity, and the noise, and the ugliness that I have to pass through to get from the place I live to the place I work. If I could work form the boat, I could avoid that.

Huge frost crystals

Huge frost crystals that formed on the logs by the shore of Eagle Harbor.

Winter is the time to mourn the death of adventure… and to plan for adventure’s rebirth next spring. With the conclusion of warmth and light, northern cruisers huddle in their cages and pretend to be productive members of society. And so I recess into my floating cave. Dreaming of the sun and adventure.


Related posts:

Eagle Harbor Washington and Reed Lake Hiking Trail
Boating Life, Preventive Maintenance
Heavy Weather Sailing
4 Responses to “Sailing Hibernation”
  1. Alan Kropp says:

    Hi Chris,
    There is an out of the way DNR park on Orcas. It’s obstruction pass park. It’s on the same arm as Rosario right as you make the turn in from obstruction pass. It is most easily accessed by water. Kind of a hike in by land. 80 acres nice beach it had 3 mooring boys when I was last there. Not many people used it. Nice hikes in the woods . Used to be able to have a camp fire on the beach. Has some nice camp sites. Hard to find even much mentioned about it. Used to be considered a secret get away spot when I lived on Orcas.

    • Chris says:

      I was just there two nights ago! Thank for the tip, Alan. It is a great place. It’s pretty exposed to the south, but in a north wind, like we’ve been having lately, it’s a wonderful spot.

  2. martin says:

    Hi Chris, a bit off topic but would like to pick your brain on your trip to Princess Luisa. Going to do this trip this summer and would like to get your input on best place to cross Georgia strait etc….. anyways, we are dock neighbors at cap sante! we are the catalina 28mkii almost across from you. thanks in advance. love your writing.

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