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What happened? (See slideshow at end)

September 22, 2010

Many of you who were viewing the ‘Spot’ locator already know that we’re now back in Victoria.  What happened?  It’s a long story but has something to do with September being one of the most unusual in the recent history of Victoria’s weather annals.

We started off the trip under favourable conditions but it wasn’t long, in fact, by the time we reached Race Rocks, that we were shrouded in fog and trying to sail with the ebb tide under minimal wind conditions.  We struggled out the straits all night in darkness, full on fog and light wind that was not enough to fill the sails all the time due to lumpy sea conditions.  Eventually, on the Sunday morning, with seasickness hitting some of the crew we headed into Port Renfrew looking for solace from the fog and minimal wind.  We stayed for the day and headed out the following morning with conditions little improved.

Every mile sailed was a struggle with not enough fuel to make motoring much of an option due to the fact we still had many miles to go.  However there was some celebration onboard especially the rounding of Cape Flattery (see photos)

A group celebration for rounding Cape Flattery

 

What were we celebrating? We had made it through the Straits of Juan de Fuca and thought we were well on our way south with what are supposed to be north west winds.

Trying to open the champagne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a fine champagne – it was even cold which 20 years ago when we sailed away was unthinkable.  No complaints from anyone onboard other than we could have been doing this in the sunshine.  Nevertheless, we celebrated a good crew, a good boat and the fact we were on our way.

And who came by to visit one night?  It was a dark night, totally enveloped in fog and we were shining the light around and attracted a number of birds i.e. petrels.  One decided to land in the cockpit, stayed around (not for champagne), squawked, sat on my foot, recuperated and flew off. I believe the petrel was attracted by the bright light and then temporarily blinded but shortly recovered as was able to fly away.  All very unique and after several other attempts to use the flashlight we realized that we had to limit the time of shining it into the fog. They were attracted to the light there being no other source to guide them on their flight.

 We have no pictures of the inside of the boat but after 3 days of solid fog both inside and outside the boat were indistinguishable.  Water dripped from everything and then what came next was a gale from the south east.  Heaving to for 7 hours waiting it to pass we were able to get updated weather which showed no change in the immediate future.  Due to lack of progress, time considerations and little progress up to that time then we would turn back to Victoria.  It was a sad moment for all but the right decision.

Sage is now back at the bottom of Fort Street trying to decide quite what to do at this point while one gale after another is scheduled to move across the island.  Everyone heading down the coast this year has similar stories and so for the time being hold tight and will post something again once Sage starts to move.  

Crew Blog:

Pam:

here’s what I have to say…pam

These are the things that I learned during my 6 day cruise…
That one should always take note of who used the head before you and act accordingly.
That seasick induced vomiting into phosphorescence does not heighten the experience.
That baby bum wipes are only a temporary replacement for actual personal hygiene.
That playing ‘Race the Turd Bag’ during slow to no wind days, can actually help to pass the time.  Please contact our Activities Director Dale for complete rules.
That hot flashes are brought to a whole new level of the screaming meemies when clad entirely in foul weather gear.
That you can actually read your fortune from the daily bumps and scrapes on the top of Cap’n Tony’s head.
That after 144 hrs, no shower and iffy sleeps, I Iooked alarmingly like my Uncle Louis, who until the age of 93, lived with goats.
That I have a new respect for all boat refugees.  Whoo Hoo!! Go Tamils!  You Rock!!
But more importantly, I learned
What it is to feel this eerie calm of no wind, no point of reference, no horizon, just fog and the reflection of the mast light on the water, looking strangely like snow.
That not all beauty is obvious,  man with all the shades of grey, I experienced the subtler side of beauty.
That the perception of time is so situational.
But foremost, I learned to unclench.  My hands, my shoulders, my feet.  And when really lucky my thoughts.  To paraphrase Cap’n Tony, “Pam look up, just feel the waves under your feet and with your hands on the wheel.  Don’t anticipate and don’t over compensate.”
Those folks, are words to live by….Who knew?
There were those moments when it all came together, no matter how fleeting, they’re mine and it was a time.

Dale:

Overall I don’t have much to say on the blog about the trip. I enjoyed the experience of being offshore, the unusual weather patterns were and continue to be very frustrating. The right call was made given the combination of conditions we faced, although very disappointing for everyone. The food and the company were both excellent on the trip. The boat was great to sail, the few times there was any wind. I believe I saw the moon once for about 2 hours and the sun slightly more often. There were not much in the way of reference points to sail by. Those were the foggiest and darkest nights I have ever sailed in. I would certainly do it again.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 23, 2010 10:53

    Wow – Hi Everyone – I’m a friend of Pam’s in California. Landing a new job recently I’ve been busy with no chance to see how you all have been doing on your voyage! Luckily with my insomnia, with Pam and her friends on my mind, I finally came to see what has been happening! So sorry to hear that weather was acting bratty and holding you back from making your full sojourn to Hawaii. Nothing is a loss, look at all the fun you had practicing!

    Six days is a long time to be in the fog – and dew. This year certainly has been an odd year for weather everywhere, here in California, we never really had a ‘hot’ summer, where the East Coast practically weenie roasted everyone! Temperatures were unheard of. I commend all of you for your gusto, hope and inspiration. It was nice to meet some of Pam’s friends via the blog, I’ve heard so much about all your practice trips and how much she was looking forward to Hawaii.

    Everything is a learning experience. You were smart to turn around – I can’t imagine being on a 6 hour gale, I was turning green in my imagination just thinking what that would be like…uggggh!! See your boat name has two meanings, Sage is a great spice – and she shared her wisdom with you to turn around and wait for the perfect time to try again. I don’t think you were in to making a sequel to the Perfect Storm! With a little weather under your belts – I’m sure the next adventure will be a grand affair. You got your weather man and machine down, you learned to blog; from what Pam had share, she learned a whole new appreciation for the Sailors at sea – and a few other floating or should I say flying objects!! LOL… and you learned the wisdom of being wise enough to do what was right – and have fun with what you have accomplished! See listening to your gut has a whole new meaning!

    It was a great blog – I hope to come back soon and read more about Sage and her crew’s next big bold adventure!!

    Take care – Pam I guess I’ll be seeing you sooner than December now!!

    Hugs to all of you!
    Katrina

    The photos you managed to get are great!! Thank you for sharing your blog!

  2. wayne permalink
    September 23, 2010 17:51

    Well sure am glad I subscribed. This is excellent stuff. More please!

  3. Sue Donaldson permalink
    September 24, 2010 02:03

    I see the pix of that pathetic little drifter up there, trying hard to be a spinnaker, and think WAIT there IS a spinnaker just hankering to be unfurled….

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