Read time: 10 minutes
No fancy literary allegories here. Just plain ol’ catch-up since my post about sea kayaking in the San Juan Islands last fall.
Suffice to say, I made it through my third winter on the boat. While I know there are colder places to live on a boat than the pacific northwest, I keep swearing I won’t do another winter on it – not unless I sail to Mexico or, if I stay put, install a fancy heater. Time will tell. Mostly I puttered away on the boat, learned to sew, and picked up some skills as an intern at Northwest Rigging.
Just as the weather was starting to have some nice days, I flew to northern NY to spend time with family. It was even colder – piles of snow lined the streets and the wind always seemed to pick up each time I walked across town. I stayed with my sister Robin, helped a little at her pottery studio, and spent time with my mom. It was by far the longest visit since I left home when I was 17 years old.
I also visited my friend Brett in Saranac Lake and picked up a used 13ft kayak from the rental fleet of a local outfitters. The lakes were all still frozen but they were nice enough to let me leave it there for later in the spring.
In early April, Robin and I traveled through an ice storm to get to a sunny beach in Thailand. We shared a fancy beach house with my friends Emma, Chloe and their little boy McKenna who live in Bangkok. It was 36C every day, we walked in the morning when it was cool, sat by the water, and ate really good food.
Robin stayed for a little over a week and then I headed to Cambodia, exploring a tiny fraction of Angkor Watt by bike before jumping on a bus to Phnom Penh. Friends Frances and Souen were kind enough to host me at their weekend house on the Mekong River and where we swam, paddled and otherwise tried to beat the heat in the river with the city skyline in the distance. No doubt the high point of my trip and I can’t wait to return.
By the time I landed back in northern NY in May the weather had improved. I spent a week on the couch with COVID and then tackled a bunch of home repairs at my mother’s camp – including repairing a big section of the boat house roof. Lots of new skills learned. Somewhere in there, I managed to put down the hammer and squeeze in a five day kayak trip in the Adirondaks with Brett’s house as my basecamp. The nights were literally freezing but the days brilliant and I mostly had the lakes to myself.
May wrapped up with my Mom’s combination birthday/memorial bash at Camp High Skies. This time we also spent time remembering Rafael, my stepfather who passed away last fall when I was visiting. Words can’t express what a great guy he was, he was much loved, loved everyone, and will be deeply missed.
Back in Anacortes, I spent the first week of June living out of my van and working nonstop on the keel of my boat where salt water had intruded into the epoxy coating and started rusting things away. Not fun, but I learned a lot about angle grinders an how to curse into a respirator.
I launched June 8th and have been sailing since then – traveling in familiar waters but also some some new spots including a very memorable camping trip on Skagit Island,, Bowman Bay after ducking under Deception Pass Bridge, and some especially good times at Wattmough Bay.
I gave up my slip on July 1st and have been ‘living off the hook’ officially for almost a month. The plan is to spend the next two months slowly working my way north into Canadian waters and then back down. Time will tell.
Good health and happy adventures to anyone reading this – safe trails.
July 29, 2023
Obstruction Pass State Park
Orcas Island, Washington