September 9, 2009


Some people say passage making is hours of boredom interrupted by moments of terror. By that definition we’re on a boring passage out the Juan De Fuca Strait. The sea is glassy calm – so calm that as we motor along I’m able to spend my time watching sea birds squabbling over a perch on a kelp raft, as well as the slow process of a mama and baby dolphin as they swim across our bow and make their way north.
This is the same body of water that my great x5 grandfather, Charlie Taylor made his way down after a trip up from San Francisco during the gold rush, about 155 years ago. He probably would have sailed through the same low pacific swells (if it was a calm day) toward Victoria, then just a muddy little Hudson’s Bay Fort that wasn’t yet part of Canada. For whatever reason he never headed off to the gold rush – instead he claimed the Island as his home, something I find myself grateful for as Victoria and the rest of BC faded into the distance behind us.
This passage, more than any other milestone this summer makes it feel like we are on our way. Until now we have been saying our slow goodbye – now we are on our way toward something new. I was trying to recall how it felt when Ev and I made the same passage 14-years ago. Too many memories have mixed together to make that moment distinct though. All that comes back as I watch our wake fade away and the familiar mountains recede is the memory of seeing dolphins – but that time they were leaping in our bow wave rather than making their quiet way through the glassy calm.
While the miles drift past, I’m reminded why I like the rhythm of passages. There’s an order to our day that we don’t find on land. We sit and eat breakfast together, then we do our chores (Maia does her school work and I write while Evan does boat chores, or whatever it is Evan does…). We all take turns keeping watch and slowly the day unfolds, the light changes, the wind rises and falls, clouds fill in and mist dampens the air, we avoid logs and kelp, we spot freighters and we contemplate our next meal. All of it is blissfully dull, with lots of time to read and relax and the knowledge that we are getting somewhere – even if it all feels as leisurely as a holiday.
Tomorrow we leap off for California. May it be just as blissfully dull as this.


boatbaby said...

Yes may it be dull. Fair winds my sweets.

Anonymous said...

Ooh this sounds lovely. Have a wonderful passage. Looks blissful.