Another course change

After our fabulous trip down the coast to San Francisco, it would be anticipated that we would continue our cruise down the coast. Yet we have been embraced by the kindness of many enthusiastic sailors in the SF Bay. We’ve also been thrilled to introduce the boat to both our Bay Area kids as well as curious grandchildren. So, SF Bay will be LaVie’s home for the winter and then we’ll continue southbound.

Samantha and Emily are learning all about berths and lee cloths

How great is this? More nooks to explore!

We have been able to experience the excitement of sailing underneath the Golden Gate aboard the gorgeous schooner, Elizabeth Muir. With her gifted skipper, Peter Haywood, at the helm, we zipped throughout the Bay in the typical 20 knot breeze. It was terrific to spend the day with our nautical guardian angels, Leighton Richardson and Lynda Martel aboard a classic schooner.

Photo credit: Lynda Martel

So, for now this blog will pause for the cruising season, and resume when we explore points south. Thanks to all of you who have been following us. Stay tuned!

To the Golden Gate!

Fresh from our recent West Coast VI circumnavigation, we were enthused to embrace the next phase of our sailing journey: night sailing. Pumped with enthusiasm (and seasickness meds) we rounded Cape Flattery, only to discover flat seas, a mild swell and little wind. Although we imagined that we would be flying along once we turned the corner southbound, the calm conditions gave us a chance to acclimate to the swells, watch schedules and radar. Here’s our first sunset at sea:

By the second day, we were experiencing “typical” Pacific sailing conditions. Does this look like a content sailor?

151 nautical miles this day!

After we got into the rhythm of the sea, there was time for relaxation and entertainment. (Thank you Alex!)

We even welcomed a visitor to the boat who needed a break from the wind

After cruising over 800 nm from Sidney, BC we zipped under this beautiful entry to the City By the Bay.

This is the crew just after we docked in Sausalito. Pretty happy, eh?

As we looked around our surroundings, we realized we had entered a new world! (Some of us didn’t think it was all that strange…)

Marin County, of course

And we’re off! v2.0

After completing boat maintenance, cleaning and reseating the leaky deck prisms, we left our lovely marina headed to points south. This may be the last photo of LaVieEnRose at Canoe Cove, but then again…

We are joined on this leg of the journey by a good friend, Alex Zimmerman. Dave and he have known each other through the Wooden Boat forum.

Of course, the optimal time for departure from Canoe Cove was dawn. This journey promises plenty of sunrises, just not associated with marinas.

Even the Strait of Juan de Fuca decided not to inflict punishment. Here’s a photo as we left Port Angelas.

After Port Angelas, the next stop is Neah Bay ( where I am furiously typing before we are out of cell coverage) This is the last stop where the crew can all sleep through the night. Then we turn the corner around Cape Flattery! I may post more to Twitter via Iridium Go, but there won’t be any pics uploaded. You can follow our location on the link titled, Where is LaVieEnRose? You can also follow us on Twitter at @LaVieEnRoseYawl. Next post will likely be from SF!

VI Circumnavigation complete!

The last leg of our trip from Bamfield to Sooke began predictably in the fog of early morning. As we cruised through Trevor Channel, around Cape Beale and into Juan de Fuca Strait, we were reminded how much this portion of the journey served as a metaphor for the uncertainty of life ahead.

It gave us a chance to use our recently acquired skills using radar. Truth be told, there was no pondering the sea state in the fog until we were certain we weren’t going to ram a fishing boat!

At the end of this portion of the journey, we were delighted to see the flags of Canoe Cove, the marina where we first launched six years ago.

And we could reflect on how far we had traveled since then.

Next phase: southbound along US West Coast.

Bamfield:Past and Present

It’s impossible to explore the West Coast of Vancouver Island without encountering fascinating aspects of the past. Bamfield is one of those places. All good students of Canadian history know that this is where the transpacific telegraph line terminated. ( This telegraph line connected all the former and current British colonies.)

In addition to learning about recent BC history, we also spent three hours with Wisquii, our tour guide on the Kiixin experience. We hiked through gorgeous old growth forests to the site of the former Kiixin village from the 1800’s Although he was trained as a teacher, our guide was foremost a master storyteller and we were captivated by his tales of the huu ay aht.

Has anyone ever heard of a “culturally modified tree?” Check out this one on the path to the Kiixin village:

A CMT is one that’s been altered by indigenous people as part of their traditional use of the forest. In the case of this tree, it was examined to see if it was worthy to be a canoe, but it didn’t make the cut.

Now, onto modern day Bamfield which is a thriving town, despite its remote location. It is the home to the Bamfield Marine Science Center which is formed by a consortium of five western Canadian Universities. This is a center where research flourishes. Anyone recognize which adorable sea creature inhabited this skeleton? (adorable is the main clue!)

By far, the cultural highlight of the entire trip was attending the MusicByTheSea performances. (Check out their website at After attending one concert, we decided that we should prolong our stay and take in two more. The musicians are world class, and the director is such a visionary.

How’s this for a most spectacular venue? (I think I need help from a thesaurus is that “spectacular ” seems to have become my favorite word during this trip.)

We were also impressed by the simplicity of descriptions in Bamfield. ( Bill and Cathy Norrie told us about this, but we had to see this ourselves!)

So this marks the end of the “touristy” part of the circumnavigation. Next, Juan de Fuca Strait, then back to Sidney. Stay tuned!

The Broken Group

This cluster of islands, islets, rocks and reefs is part of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. To glance at the chart makes you realize that this is an area that requires careful attention for navigation. (Clearly a glance is not enough!) There’s such a variety of experiences that we met boaters who spend all summer here.

In this cruising area, rocks are everywhere: along the coast, at the entrance to anchorages, even in the middle of bays.

Once we were tucked into the anchorage, it was time to explore. Our dinghy, a Portland Pudgy handled the rocks with ease.

The hike across Effingham Island was well marked by past cruisers.

And we were rewarded by a spectacular beach at the end of the trail.

History, hiking and hot springs

As we explore the rugged West Coast of Vancouver Island equipped with accurate charts and modern navigational aids, we are humbled to think of the feats of the early mariners. Nootka Sound marks the site of the first permanent European settlement. Indeed, Esteban Jose Martinez was sent to establish the post because Spain was worried about incursions by the Russians who were in Alaska. Imagine that? Meddling Russians…

Ultimately, Bodega y Quadra and George Vancouver met at Friendly Cove to sort out their territorial differences. This stained glass ( a gift from Spain) illustrates the signing of the Nootka Convention, in which Spain relinquished to England all its claims to the Northwest lands. It baffles me why Spain would give a gift to commemorate their surrender of claim to the land, but here it is:

The church which housed the stained glass was formerly a Catholic Church, however it was deconsecrated in 1994 and native carvings were placed at the former altar.

The village which surrounds Friendly Cove is called Yuquot which translates to “Where the Winds Blow from Many Directions” Good warning for sailors!

After our encounter with a significant site of British Columbia history, we were off to well known Hot Springs Cove. Most people arrive in float planes and speed boats from Tofino, but we were fortunate to share the area with just a few other boaters and campers. The hot springs are located in another beautiful provincial marine park. The walk to the springs is through the temperate rain forest.

Through the years, visiting boaters have replaced the planks with the names of their boat. There were a few marriage proposal planks as well. Lots of great names…my fav is Exit Strategy.

At the end of the 1.2 mile trail was the Hot Springs. It was definitely worth the hike. The lowest pool mixes with the ocean water in a natural jacuzzi with each ingress of water.

A hot springs shower at the end of the day!