Great meals, beautiful weather, smooth cruising, kayaking, paddle boarding, sun followed by rain-fed waterfalls, stars, bait balls, Stephen’s first shooting star, starfish, jellyfish, seals day and night, bridge and 41. Just how we drew it up! Great friendship and great conversation.
Before coming to PLI we spent most of the summer at our home in Alpental. This is really the first time we’ve done this in a long time because of our expanding boating adventures.
We had forgotten how special summer is in the mountains. We enjoyed our time with neighbors, watching stars on the deck and watering our new plants from the large landscaping project that started last fall.
Because of our nephew’s wedding in August we hung around longer than we normally would have after the Canadian Border opened on the 9th. This allowed us to really enjoy the hummingbird hatchlings in full flight. I’m sure we will spend at least part of August in the mountains from now on.
Our neighbors Cindy & Brian even painted a pickleball court on the road in front of their house and we’ve all had a blast playing in the beautiful mountain setting despite the crazy bounces from the rustic court.
Between our time in the mountains and our “Grandma and Baba Camp” with James and Robert, our summer was lovely.
We even got in a real True Love Travel Adventure up to Alaska. I’ve never been and Jim was only there once in the winter for work early in his legal career.
This spring we decided to book an Alaska trip when we weren’t sure we would be allowed to go to Canada at all. The result was a wonderful Alaskan Adventure. What an experience! The cruise ships didn’t start heading up to Alaska until we returned, so we enjoyed our travel without the huge cruise ship crowds. It really was a perfect moment in time to visit the far North.
Wow, Alaska is big! Everything about it is big. The size of the state, the size of the parks, the glaciers, the mountains, the rivers, the fish, the tides. The only thing that is small is the population (it’s about 750,000 people, the same as the City of Seattle’s) and number of regular flights connecting Juneau with Fairbanks.
We began our trip with a spectacular flight from Seattle to Juneau. The plane had some “issues” (according to the pilot) so we could only fly at 24,000 feet instead of the usual 38,000. This meant of course that we could much more clearly view the spectacular mountains and fjords of northern British Columbia and southern Alaska, which created one of the most beautiful flight we’ve ever taken.
Just flying from Seattle to Juneau you gain an hour because it is so far to the west. After landing we had time and lots of light to explore a bit. During the short Alaskan summer, the sun sets very late, and it takes a long time to get dark outside (in Fairbanks it never got completely dark), and then the sun rises early. It’s certainly strange, and everyone’s internal clock is a bit off, but not really unnerving.
We packed a lot into 10 days. Our goal was to see Glacier Bay, go fishing, kayak with humpback whales, then fly to Fairbanks and take the nice train that connects Fairbanks with Anchorage with a very special stop at Denali National Park. With very little time to schedule our trip we used a local travel agent recommended by Wendy Perrin Travel and as usual we weren’t disappointed.
We only spent a day and two nights in Juneau which is a very small town (about 30,000 people) despite being the Capitol of Alaska with a big dock for large cruise ships. It can only be reached by boat or plane and for us the prominent features were the surrounding parks, mountains, forest and glaciers. We stayed in the lovely Jorgenson House B & B which was about 3 blocks uphill from “downtown.” While in Juneau, we went for lots of long walks through town, saw the Capitol Building and wandered the “back roads” so to speak. On one of our “walk abouts” we passed a local hero, Ralph Austin, lumberjack and prize winning log roller. You can look him up. As is our way, we said hello in passing and he began to share his story including YouTube videos of one of his winning log rolling competitions.
Serendipitously, our friend Robert DeWolf was in Juneau while we were there, on his way back to Seattle after this year’s leg of his decade-long kayak adventure from Olympia all the way up to Juneau. His ultimate goal is Skagway, and he should reach that destination in the next year or two depending on how long he spends in Glacier Bay first. Now that’s an adventure! Again because of Covid and other life experiences we hadn’t seen him for 2 years. We shared a meal at one of the local restaurants and learned more about his latest Kayak journey.
After Juneau we took a small plane to Gustavus (“Gus Stave Us”). Juneau only gets 34 days of sun a year, so we didn’t expect a clear day, but we did get some beautiful views and it didn’t rain. Our lodge in Gustavus (The Bear Track Lodge) was perfect. The founders built it with logs about 20 years ago and it is now operated by their adult children and their spouses. The service was great, the food was abundant and delicious and the excursions perfect. The only issue we had was that all of the activities began really early in the morning and we are not generally early morning people. But the activities were amazing so it was definitely worth getting up early every day for a few days.
Because of our early flight to Gustavus, we arrived at the lovely Bear Track Lodge well before lunch. It had been a busy week before our trip with our grandkids and we didn’t get much sleep during our two nights in Juneau because Juneau wakes up early as well. So after we settled into our cozy room at the Lodge we expected to rest a bit but ended up taking a 2 hour nap. After the nap and a quick lunch we walked out to the nearby giant mud flats in search of animal tracks and found bear tracks, moose tracks, and more. Another big thing about Alaska are the tides. They are huge. We were walking the mud flat at a 14 foot high tide and it didn’t come close to filling the bay. Filling the bay requires a 25 foot tide, and they occasionally get tides that big there.
Our first excursion was taking the 100’ long National Park boat to Glacier Bay and seeing one of the big “calving” glaciers there. The bay is actually quite young in geological years. 400 years ago, there was no Glacier Bay, but over the following 100 years giant glacier carved out the bay and came very close to where Gustavus is now, about 65 miles away. We know this because Captain Cook and Captain Vancouver took very good notes about the extent of the glaciers during their explorations. During the last 300 years, the glacier has steadily receded, but occasionally grown. The National Park boat was pretty new and I befriended the captain and got lots of time on the small decks on either side of the bridge. The Park Ranger who narrated our trip was extremely interesting and knowledgeable and filled with awe in his surroundings. When packing for our trip we traveled heavy and packed two different kinds of rain gear (heavy and light). Today was a heavy rain gear day because it was cold and rainy. With my zoom lens in hand we saw everything, black bears, brown bears, whales, rafts of otters, mountain goats, birds and finally one “arm” of the amazing glacier. Our excursion traveled up up the Johns Hopkin’s Arm. It is closed earlier in the summer because seals birth their pups there but it had reopened to the tour boat about a week earlier.
The part of the glacier we saw was spectacular and it even stopped raining. I particularly love the small floating “bergie bits” scattered on the water approaching the glacier. On our boat we met new friends from southern California, Charlie and Susan Ware, who we would encounter many times during our Alaska Adventure.
One of the other things we discovered on our trip is that the National Park Lodges in Alaska are different from the grand lodges of the lower states. In Alaska, the NP Lodges we saw were more rustic and in the case of Glacier Bay, over 60 miles from the main attraction. But in Alaska there is a good alternative because there are lots of small private lodges just outside of the National Parks that are very nice and because of our travel agent, that’s where we stayed. Good choice. After our cruise to the Glacier we walked the very nice nature trail around the National Park Lodge while waiting for a car to take us back to the Bear Track Lodge.
At dinner that night we met Beth Foster. She is a retired teacher and fellow family business owner of a restaurant in central Massachusetts. She’s the traveler in her family and had come to Alaska after her other trips had been cancelled by covid. We shared meals and learned that she loved fishing, so we convinced her to join us on our fishing excursion the next day.
Again, we were up early for our day of fishing with our guide Captain Dave “Remo” Riemenschneider . He was a perfect guide for us, knowledgeable, interesting, a true adventurer and he liked listening to country music while we fished. We fished for a few hours and caught several halibut. Using salmon heads and giant hooks we landed our first 30 pound halibut. Once we checked to make sure it was the right size (not too small or too big), and decided to keep the fish, our guide quickly killed the fish with a blow to the head and then cutting out its heart and ceremoniously returning it to the sea. I thought it was pretty cool but, Jim thought it was unnecessarily Aztec. The second fish we hooked was truly a whopper. It took all three of us to reel it in close to the boat then Remo actually lassoed its tail and let it tire out before removing the hook and hauling it into the boat for a quick photo. This big fish over five feet long (66”), just 4” short of the “mega” sized fish that can be kept. Because it’s best to return both the smallest fish and the large breeding fish, you have to return all of the largest fish unless they are over 70” long. Captain Remo said our fish was the largest fish any of his customers had caught so far that year and estimated that it weighed over 150 lbs. After taking a few photos, Captain Remo returned the fish to the sea. The final fish we caught was another 30 pounder. We could have kept fishing. We were allowed another 40 pounds of fish, but our guide read us perfectly and asked if we would rather take an excursion to another little local town: Hoonah.
Hoonah is usually a short stopover for cruise ships on their way to or from Glacier Bay. It’s such a small town it’s hard to imagine it filled with thousands of cruise ship passengers, but fortunately we had it to ourselves. We walked along the main street, shopped in the tiny gift store, had a delicious mocha latte and then met a local fisherman friend of Captain Remo and toured his fishing boat. Our cruise back to Gustavus was a bit windier and bumpier but after making it back to dock, I learned how to fillet our fish. To me, if you are going to fish you need to clean it yourself and honor the catch. Cleaning and cutting these big is fish hard but Captain Remo was a good teacher.
Back at the lodge we were served another gourmet Alaska meal and slept well.
Our final Gustavus excursion was kayaking with whales. We shared our kayak adventure with another young couple from DC. Our guide was great and we got to try two person kayaks for the first time. We kayak often on the True Love, but our kayaks are smaller, lighter and one person per kayak. These large heavy two person kayaks were perfect for our whale watching adventure. A small boat took us and our kayaks across the sound to a shoreline where eagles, bears and whales are usually abundant and we weren’t disappointed. Our guide packed a yummy lunch and we had our meal on the same shoreline where a young black bear was foraging a mile a way. He was completely uninterested in us.
Our boat “taxi” driver was from the Seattle area and like many of the people we have met in Alaska he’s drawn to Alaska every summer. He’s created two distinct tracks. His winter track in Seattle is as a biologist for hire and his summer track is as a boat driver in Gustavus. Many of the people in Alaska live dual lives. Usually in sunnier climates in the Winter months but they return every summer to parts of Alaska for fishing, boating, trekking, guiding, etc.
They are calm, hard working, old souls, who enjoy the wide open spaces and glorious scenery of Alaska.
Watching the clouds clear, Listening to the small waterfalls, Evening descends over Princess Louisa Inlet, Peace surrounds us.
Because of Covid and border restrictions it’s been two years since we have found ourselves again floating on the calm magical waters here. As those of you who have followed our boating True Love Adventures, you know that PLI is truly our happy place. We’ve never been here so late in the season but it’s still awesome. The tips of a few maple leaves are just beginning to turn yellow for Fall. The waterfalls are minimal except for Chatterbox Falls although they are still trickling at our favorite anchorage, creating the waterfall surround sound experience that we enjoy so much.
After the joyous wedding of Chad and Brittany on August 21 at Bow Lake (near Bellingham), we spent two two long cruising days to get to PLI. As predicted, the skies were overcast and we had a cool SW wind as we left Bellingham. But true to its summer name, the weather cleared as we approached the Sunshine Coast and we were able to travel on the fly deck with the top open to the sun. Although we followed the Canadian entry rules by filling out the Arrive Canada app, uploading our vaccine records and receiving our negative Covid test, we were still unsure how it would go at customs.
Because we began our cruise into Canada from Bellingham, we planned to clear customs at White Rock, which is a lovely town just north of the Canadian border near the “Peace Arch.” Unfortunately, the dock there was not suited for larger boats, especially at low tide. In fact we’ve since learned from other boaters that the big docks there were wiped out last year in a storm. So instead I called into the main phone number for Canadian Customs. It was busy initially, but after a few attempts I got through to a very helpful border official who took down all our key information over the phone and sent us on our way, just like they usually do in a normal year. Amazing!
After clearing customs, we rode a big flood tide north as we cruised past the City of Vancouver and Howe Sound, which is the beautiful fjord that takes you almost all the way to the Whistler Ski Area. Enjoying the afternoon sunshine and light winds we were able to ride the tide all the way up to Pender Harbour, where we anchored for the night.
Monday morning the Captain had a zoom conference so the First Mate took the dinghy to the public dock and walked from there to the grocery store to get some fresh fruits and veggies because you aren’t allowed to bring those (or alcohol) into Canada. And then we were off with another flood tide and favorable winds up Agamemnon Channel toward Princess Louisa Inlet.
Cruising 40 miles down the big fjord and then into the beautiful little side fjord that is PLI always feels like coming home for us. We easily set our anchor and shore tie at our favorite anchorage, about a mile away from Chatterbox Falls and the handful of boats that were anchored there or tied up to the one dock managed by the BC Parks Ranger. We still had time to explore a bit on the dinghy and the First Mate enjoyed the best paddle boarding in the universe on the calm waters, literally paddling over the reflection of the mountains. Malibu Camp at the tidal rapid entrance to PLI was almost empty, probably because of Covid and the end of the Young Life camping season. As I write this we share the four mile long fjord surrounded by tall mountains with only six other boats and the two sight seeing seaplanes that flew in today, stayed for about an hour, and then flew out.
The air is cooler in late August, not cold, but not warm either, similar to early in the summer when we usually hang out here. Still the water is 70 degrees so we plan to do some floating later. The seagulls that usually nest in the inlet have done their thing and flown the coop. We haven’t spotted any eagles yet. I’m sure they are out searching for salmon. Early in the summer we see the very new baby seals and mothers. But now there is more of a little community. When we were out paddle boarding this morning they surrounded Jim. We’ve never seen so many together here.
Although there have usually been some clouds/fog coming over the mountains during the day, the last two nights have been clear. A bright moon is rising, but it doesn’t overtake the mountain top until after 3 AM, which creates a fun star watching opportunity in the first few hours after the the sun sets and the sky turns dark.
Last night we laid out on our camp cushions on the bow and watched the Summer Triangle appear (Vega, Deneb and Altair), followed by a great collection of stars, satellites and even a few shooting stars. We always sleep well here. Although the sky lightens up with the sunrise we don’t get direct sun until late morning this time of year so its easy to sleep in.
We weren’t sure what to expect coming here so late in the season and we don’t have time to do much exploring in Canada other than our visit to PLI. But it’s still absolutely worth it. We’re here for 6 nights and then we head back to the little town of Egmont (about an hour closer than Pender Harbour but much smaller), where we will pick up Stephen and Kaysi Kushner.
Stephen and Kaysi were the “silver lining” of our Covid time. They are friends we met and spent lots of time with in Hawaii during the first months of Covid when we happened to be at our condo on Oahu. They taught us how to improve at pickle ball and we taught them how to play bridge. After leaving Oahu we’ve continued our friendship with regular zoom calls and by playing bridge online. I’m not sure our paths would have crossed for such an extended period of time, but we are now lifelong friends and we can’t wait to share our favorite place with them.
Our first two days in PLI were full of sun, star watching and very dry conditions. But as predicted a rainstorm came in Thursday, bringing the 10+ cliff side waterfalls back to life and filling the inlet with the stereo sounds of water falling everywhere. Chatterbox falls is filling nicely and the surrounding waterfalls are adding to the chorus. In early summer the smaller waterfalls flow steadily as the high mountain snow melts, but at the end of summer it takes a rainy day to ignite the surrounding smaller but very tall waterfalls that surround Chatterbox Falls at the head of the fjord, and it’s well worth a day or two of rain to see PLI in all of its waterfall glory. We had a similar experience on the hike along a river on the southern island of New Zealand that led to the Tasman Sea.
Friday night I turned on our underwater lights to attract fish and the fish came but so did a seal. What fun it was watching the seal swim and spin in the light!
Today is our last day before we head back out for a few days. It’s sunny again! But with the sun the high waterfalls diminish back to a late summer flow. This may be the first time the weather forecast was correct up here a week in advance.
Today we explored a new little trail that follows the path of one of the high waterfalls. It’s hard to believe that after 12 years coming up here we never explored the fresh water pools from the waterfall directly across from our anchorage. This is a known spot to clean off and wash clothes in fresh water if you don’t have abundant water on your boat. It’s not a necessity for us and we usually just swim in the salt water. But because of the low run off from the lack of snow melt it was easy to get to it. This late in the season the underbrush is dying back and the trail around the waterfall is obvious. So we scrambled up and got pretty far up the waterfalls. We couldn’t do this during the heavy runoff the last two days, but today it’s perfect.
I continue to take lots of photos. I don’t know which is more beautiful the mountains and the waterfalls, or the reflection of the mountains and the waterfalls in the water.
Our next blog we’ll share our Alaska Adventure from July.
Dear Family & Friends,
Well 2020 has been quite a year! We don’t have any “True Love Adventures” travels to share this year, but we do have each other and that’s a lot more important. Now more than ever, we appreciate you! Sure 2020 has been a challenge, “What the 2020!” But there is still so much to be thankful for. Here’s our top 10 and I’ve added my Top 10 pictures from the year as well.
1. We are so thankful that our family and friends have been relatively healthy (other than the usual stuff that life brings our way as the years go by). No one in our immediate family has got Covid yet. Thank God!
Listen carefully for the whale song.
2. We are thankful for wonderful books, podcasts, music, online movies and shows. Some of our favorites this year: Podcasts: (Alan Alda’s Clear & Vivid. Russ Robert’s EconTalk and Saul Spady’s Electric Election Road Trip). TV series: The Queen’s Gambit; and we are now “group watching” the Mandalorian with Jasmine, David and the grandkids. We’ve been devouring books from all genres. Let us know what you have read and loved. We are always looking for new books. And many people don’t know that their Prime Membership comes with a free Kindle book from a list of 5 or 6 every month. It’s a great way to discover new novels. My Mom and I often choose the same book. I discovered a fun old-fashioned mystery series, by Marlo Benn, with a female detective set in the 1920’s. The Julie Kidd Novels are also very good. Some of our favorite authors this year are Louise Penny, Jeff Wheeler and Douglas Richard. I’m rereading Harry Potter because James read it for the first time and the discussions were truly special. Jim loved: “Up from Slavery An Autobiography” by Booker T Washington. And just recently I read: “ Challenge, A Philosopher’s Guide to becoming Tougher, Calmer and More Resilient.” It’s a perfect book for 2020!
3. We are thankful for pickleball and our pickleball buddies here on Oahu.
4. We are thankful for being retired. We sure picked a good time to retire! This allowed us to spend more time in “low-COVID” Hawaii and allowed us to spend more time this summer with James and Robert in Seattle. Of course we couldn’t have done this without Jasmine’s amazing leadership of the team at Dick’s. She has guided our family business during this crisis very well and we are very grateful for that!
5. We are thankful for Zoom. It doesn’t replace being together in person, and boy do us huggers miss the hugs, but we have had many wonderful zoom experiences with friends and family, including a marvelous Family Assembly meeting with a hybrid of live and virtual participation, a virtual Passover Seder and several virtual birthday celebrations. We even cooked dinner virtually together with Greg & Carolyn Call.
6. We are thankful the election season is over and we can move on. “This is the way!” (Mandalorian reference)
7. We are thankful for BridgeBase Online. We miss seeing our Rainier Club bridge friends in person, but it’s been great to play and chat virtually.
8. We are thankful for getting healthier and losing weight. Last spring Jim and I decided the best thing we could do during COVID was to make sure we stayed healthy and focus on losing weight. Thanks to our local organic produce delivery, no alcohol, virtually no sugar and lots of exercise, we did it! Jim lost 12 pounds and I lost 16. Woohoo!
9. We are thankful for the miracle of modern medical science. First, Jim got his hip replaced last Christmas and he is stronger now than he’s been in a long time. And thanks to the past 10 years of scientific vaccine work prior to COVID, multiple COVID vaccines have been created in record time. America’s front line medical workers and those most at risk will soon be vaccinated, with others in the USA and globally soon to follow.
10. Finally, we are thankful for all of the beauty around us, including amazing sunsets and sunrises, trees and flowers, vegetables and fruits grown in friends’ gardens, oceans, mountains, waterfalls, the stars, planets and satellites in a clear night sky and, most importantly, your beautiful smiling faces!
Mele Chanukah, Mele Kalikimaka, and Mele New Year! Let’s all raise a glass to 2021 and a better future! But clearly looking back on the year of photos and love, we are so very very blessed.
Love Always, Jim & Fawn
The time has come for Jim and I to leave our special safe, peaceful cocoon in Waianae, on the west shore of Oahu.
It’s hard to believe I haven’t written for over a month. But I wasn’t feeling it. Like most of you reading this, for most of the last several months, we hunkered down, stayed really close to home and got groceries only when needed. We were very lucky though in that our home for the last several months was our little piece of paradise here on our condo overlooking Papaoneone beach in Waianae .
We had the opportunity to get organic vegetables delivered weekly from the one of the local farms and that has really opened our eyes to a whole new group of vegetables. At the same time, our friend Rose also shared a lot of her amazing home-grown vegetables and fresh eggs. We decided to focus on getting as healthy as we could. As a result, Jim and I each lost 10 pounds! We are exercising everyday, drinking a lot less alcohol and cutting all carbs to a minimum. We changed from drinking our elixir first thing in the morning, to after our morning exercise, and we are eating dinner earlier. We decided that our best shield against COVID was to get as healthy as we could. We’ve worked on our strength, our stamina and our mobility and we both feel great. We like our new lighter bodies and we hope to enjoy this change for the rest of our lives. Of course living in Hawaii makes it much easier to exercise because the weather is consistently nice, and the beach and the golf course are so close. It will be a challenge to maintain this new level of exercise when we get back to the boat and the mountains, but we think and hope we are up to the challenge!
At the end of May, Oahu finally opened the beaches and that was a great relief (the ocean was always open for swimming or surfing but we weren’t allowed to sit in the sun or read while on the beach). I was truly getting condo fever so we took a drive all the way around the island. The lack of traffic made it quite delightful. We’ve never snorkeled at the very popular Sharks Cove on the north shore (it has nothing to do with sharks), but the lack of crowds made it doable this time. The area has crystal clear water and lots of fish and coral. It’s a bit challenging to get in the water but really worth it. All things considered we still like our little beach and snorkeling area the best, but Sharks Cove is a “must visit” if you ever have the chance.
The local golf courses finally re-opened and it was great playing again. With his new hip and increased strength and mobility Jim has really upped his golf game. We’ll probably play one more time before coming back to the PNW.
We also enjoyed more video time with family and friends. Jim and I have become passable at Minecraft (creative mode only). We’ve built homes, built tunnels, farmed, gathered and fed cattle, sheep, pigs and llamas. Jim and James have been particularly good at building towers and digging underground tunnels. We tried to do some more advanced engineering stuff with pistons and “redstone” without success, even calling in and expert after failing. Turns out the problem is a glitch in the “pocket edition” (PE) version of the game that we use on our iPads that interferes with “redstone” engineering, so it wasn’t our fault that we couldn’t figure it out!
Of course, last week, we watched the SpaceX crewed mission to the International Space Station blast off simultaneously on video with the grandkids and and separately live streaming on Facebook with Saul and Shakira. It was so exciting! We loved Robert exclaiming, “they said they are on a mission!”
We’ve continued to play bridge with friends online and even created a little bracket tournament that went extremely well. Continuing to play bridge online has been another fun part of this crazy time, although we look forward to playing in person again.
This week the restaurants and the hair salons in Oahu finally re-opened! My hair was completely out of control and I was shedding like a very hairy dog. I kept thinking there were bugs on me, but it was only my hair shedding. Given the extreme pent up demand in the Seattle area I thought I should give someone a go here and I found a small salon in Haleiwa that could cut curly hair. Adonia Salon is a small family business and it was fantastic. After getting my haircut in Haleiwa we splurged on a meal at the Beach House. We even got a piece of carrot cake in the morning to go with our ice coffee! It was a delightful day. Although Jim has reached his weight goal, I still have two more pounds to lose, so we will continue to eat super healthy. Maybe we will do one more meal out before coming home on Thursday, but until then, veggies and a small amount of protein will be our usual fare.
Of course, these last two weeks have been so sad and scary. Like all of you we were shocked, saddened, appalled, and angered by the behavior of the four Minneapolis police officers. The fact that three officers watched while the other officer slowly suffocated George Floyd was shocking for us. Hopefully, this will finally lead to reforms both within police departments and within the inner city communities that have endured such high levels of violence (the vast majority of which are not caused by police officers). I’ve shared a lot on FB posts on this, from experts and opinion leaders. I don’t really want to play it all out again here. Hopefully, we will look back on 2020 as a year of Quantum Change in our society by peacefully working together to make things better through our hard work, our words, our kindness and our votes.
We really haven’t had protests here in Hawaii until this week. Thankfully, they have been appropriate and peaceful, and there has been no rioting or looting. Dealing with the scary nature of the protests in Seattle has been another exhausting challenge for Jasmine and Saul and the rest of the team at Dick’s. Once again we are amazed by their strength and leadership. Here is a link to Jasmine’s letter that she shared with our employees and customers.
I’m writing this blog on our deck watching the sun set. Three more sunsets to go until we fly home on Thursday!
We don’t know exactly what we will be doing when we get back. Our hope is that the Canadian border re-opens and that, after we spend some quality time with friends and family in the Seattle area, we will still cruise north for our annual True Love Adventure in the beautiful coastal waters of British Columbia. We also hope that the peaceful protests and violent riots and looting don’t lead to an explosion of the virus. We should all know that within a couple of weeks.
Mostly, we look forward to seeing our grandkids. After reading the medical literature about the lack of transmission of the virus from children under 10 to adults, we are willing to take a small risk to gain the healing power of hugs from James and Robert. Elbow bumps will have to do for Saul, Shakira, Jasmine, David and other friends and family. I’m such a “huggy” person that this will be particularly hard for me, but I’ll get through it.
I’ll leave you all with one of our best sunsets from our time here since February. It’s been interesting experiencing the seasons of Hawaii as we moved through winter and spring. It’s definitely getting more humid. The sands of the beach have shifted to the north exposing the rocks on the south near LahiLahi. I find myself longing for the mountain air and the sounds of the seasonal waterfalls at Snoqualmie Pass.
Stay well, stay healthy, stay connected and please be kind!
I hope everyone is holding up OK. Every day brings so many updates. I’m reading so much and there are hopeful signs that we are learning more and moving toward a more sustainable policy.
The last few weeks have been good for us: repetitive, strange, healthy, busy, and limiting. Here on Oahu, in one of the 3 safest states in the USA with the fewest cases of the virus, the governor banned walking on the beach. This is insane, especially since he is allowing walking in all state parks beginning tomorrow.
There is no explanation for these unequal rules. Meanwhile the Attorney General of HI decided to inject himself and say according to the Governor’s emergency decree, doing anything on the beach other than entering or exiting the water is illegal. We even had police officers on our out-of-the-way small beach issuing warnings.
At the same time, the new emergency health rules do not apply to the homeless encampment on the north end of our beach who have no sanitation at all. Time for my favorite emoji 🤦🏽♀️.
The good news today is that we are now allowed to walk on the beach although suntanning and other forms of lallygagging remain illegal, as are beach chairs and umbrellas. Accordingly, I’ve designed a beach couch made by digging a contoured hole in the sand to sit in and if the police show up I can start doing sit-ups as a cover because exercising on the beach has been made legal again.
Since I wrote you last, we celebrated Passover and Easter. Our Zeder (Zoom Seder) was truly wonderful. We used a new Haggadah this year that was available through Kindle and better for children: The Kveller’s Haggadah. Our Grandson James is 7 going on 10. He’s an exceptional reader and was able to participate fully. Watching him experience his first Passover “fully conscious” and engaged was so special. We wished we were all together in person, but our Zeder was the next best thing.
The worst part of being in isolation in Hawaii is not getting to see friends and family. I’ve decided to reread Harry Potter. James is on the 4th book and I’m quickly catching up. It gives me an opportunity to discuss it fresh with him. After finishing the Chamber of Secrets, I called him to discuss it and he asked me, “so what was your favorite part?” And although Robert isn’t a huge video conference fan we had a fun FaceTime with him this morning and he was showing us his reading program and how to use emoji masks.
The best part of being here in Hawaii is of course the sun and the warmth and we have our quarantine buddies Tom and Debbie to talk with and play pickleball. Luckily, we can still play almost every morning and we are in great shape. We also get fresh greens delivered from the local organic farm every Friday and therefore we are also eating very healthy. I discovered that the greens from the fresh carrot tops are great in our morning elixir and dinner salad. We also are blessed with fresh veggies from our friend Rose who lives nearby and is a master gardener.
As instructed we don’t go to the grocery store very often. However, we did recently run out of our favorite gin and so had to make a gin run to the local liquor store. Earlier in our trip we discovered a liquor store nearby in Ewa Beach that carries my favorite “Empress” gin. So masks and gloves at the ready, Jim drove me there and I bought the last 3 bottles. This liquor store looks like something out of Harry Potter Diagon Alley. Part small convenience store with tight rows of every imaginable “potion”. We are ready for anything now. FYI we are not putting bleach in our gin & tonics! We also drove through the local Wendy’s for a rare meal out. In our little town of Wainaiae restaurant choices are limited to fast food, poki and one Thai restaurant that is still open for take out. There are a few other restaurants, but none really worth bringing home.
Another great thing about the last few weeks has been some spectacular sunsets. The whales have all gone now. The last Humpbacks we saw were on Easter. A Mom and baby put on a great show and then they were gone. We will have to catch up with them in Canada when we head out on the True Love this summer, God willing.
Ok, time for a little ranting. So when will we begin to return to a more normal life? The Stanford, USC and NYC antibody studies all show that a much higher number of people have got the virus (although without any serious symptoms) which means that the virus has a much lower death rate than originally estimated. This was always likely, but until we knew it for sure, all of the “lock down” precautions were reasonable temporary measures to prevent a nightmare scenario. But now that we have more data, and a much clearer understanding of the real risk of serious illness and death for different segments of the population, we believe it is now time for those at high risk to remain isolated while young people without underlying health issues go back to work, school, and real life. We need to open up outdoor activities, stay smart, wash our hands, wear masks and keep physically distancing. But we can’t let fear keep us from moving forward. The news that hospitals are so empty they are laying off doctors and nurses is ridiculous. It’s time to let real data, not estimates, guide our actions. I don’t expect Hawaii or Washington State to lead in this area. But other states will and we will learn from them. Here are some good interviews:
In the sports world, were you one of the 55 million sports-starved people who watched the NFL draft? I know our son-in-law David did. We watched in the background while playing Bridge Base Online (BBO). Who knows if the Seahawks’ first round draft pick is any good, but we’ll see. I know David was disappointed with SF’s first round choice, but the pundits seem impressed.
One player that caught my eye, Tristan Wirfs, was picked by Bucs. He is a stud. It’s worth watching this video of him literally jumping OUT of the pool onto the deck. I told David he should work on this trick when he gets back to swimming.
As an aside, BBO has been swamped with all the closeted bridge players resorting to online games with friends and strangers from all over the world. The lack of table talk and the ability to compare how other people play has sometimes improved our play. Of course that depends if we are drinking gin and beer while playing. I have to say I truly miss eating the Rainier Club’s Chocolate Chip Cookies while playing bridge and of course visiting with our bridge friends. But it has been fun staying connected online and encouraging to see so many people playing bridge online.
Back to more physical sports. I think it is time for some sports without fans. I’m not sure it will work with football, but I’m all in for baseball to creatively start the season. After all there are many teams that play without fans. My two teams, the Mariners and the Mets are prime examples. They should create regional centers for each division. Let them stay in hotels. Do a lot of reality TV around the players. If some of them get sick, they can quarantine in one place and we can use it as an experiment for the rest of us. I’m sure they will have to negotiate with unions, but come on, lets get creative! We have also been watching the Pickleball channel on YouTube to become better players. Who knew there was a US Open of Pickleball? Debbie, Tom, Jim and I are in training for the 2021 US Open Seniors Division.
Last night we had a virtual dinner date with our friends Greg and Carolyn. We cooked together and enjoyed a lovely late afternoon for us, evening for them. I highly recommend getting together with friends this way.
Oh and we have had to do a couple of repairs. For those of you who follow our Adventures on the True Love, you know that we have become pretty handy out of necessity. This has rolled over to our lives here in Wainaiae. Last week we had a sink drain back up and had to take the pipes apart. It was a couple of hours of work including using a borrowed “snake” in the pipes all the way into the wall drain. With a little help from our friend Tom, and a brilliant last minute use of the plunger by Jim, we were able to fix our problem without the need of a plumber.
A few day later we replaced the outside closet door rollers so we can actually open and close them without the doors falling off the tracks. At first Jim thought they were falling off because I did not have enough skill to open and close them correctly. But after closer inspection, we discovered that the rollers were completely disintegrated. For those of you who have stayed here, you will be pleased with the repair.
Stay well, stay healthy, stay connected. I’ll finish with some star photography I took last night.
Aloha dear friends and family,
As this week has gone by, the change of the season in Wainaiae becomes clear. At the same time that the hummingbirds arrive in Snoqualmie Pass the whales begin their journey north and the beach shifts with currents from south to north. We are intermittently spotting whales, but there are way fewer. As an aloha to the whales, I want to share with you some of the photos I got this trip. I don’t have a super zoom lens, but it still fun to see the pictures.
The shifting of the sands is a strange seasonal dynamic of Papaoneone beach here at the Hawaiian Princess. The sand is heavy and runs on the sticky/heavy side. As the ocean currents shift from winter to summer and back again the beach shifts dramatically. In winter the sand covers the rocks and coral on the north side. When a storm rolls in the sands can shift in just days exposing the ocean floor almost up to the building and the sand is deposited on the north side of the beach covering the rocks and ocean floor north. The first time we saw the shifting sands of our beach, we had just closed on our condo purchase. In the previous March when the previous owners accepted our offer on the condo the entire beach in front of our building was pure white sand. In July when we came back for the closing half of the beach in front of our building was exposed rock. Needless to say we freaked out a bit, but we quickly learned this is a regular seasonal shift of the beach sands here. We witnessed it the next fall when the sand came back to the south side in a big three day storm. This same dynamic is what causes the epic “pipeline” surf on the Northshore.
With the change of the seasons comes later sunsets. And I’ve been able to capture quite a few
Strangely, it’s been a busy week here. We try to play pickleball every day to stay fit with our small select group of “Camp Oahu” friends who are still here at the condo. We still follow the news pretty closely, but only for an hour or so each day. Thankfully, we get to FaceTime video with the grandkids often thanks to their wonderful parents. And we’ve been able to share Saul’s success with the “PNW: a concert for your quarantine” online musical performances which is how Saul made lemonade from lemons when the big SXSW (South By Southwest) music/tech/art conference in Austin, TX was cancelled. We’ve also spent a lot of time, with great success, setting up an online bridge group for our Rainier Club bridge friends.
Coronavirus question: should we all wear masks when we go out now? We’ve read a lot about it. And I guess we’ve come to the conclusion that it can’t hurt. So we ordered some pretty fabric masks from JAMS, a local clothing store here in HI. We look at them as our quarantine souvenirs. When we ordered them they were available with filters. Dr. Birx said in the White House briefing today, when asked, that we need to remember that masks don’t protect what you touch, and your eyes are exposed, so she thinks they create a sense of safety that just doesn’t exist. So even if you wear a mask, you still have to distance yourself from others, wash your hands frequently, and generally stay away from people you don’t live with as much as you can.🤷🏽♀️
And I have to share this great video of a mounted police officer getting a burger at our restaurant on Seattle’ Capitol Hill. Jasmine was there for a Q13-TV interview and captured this wonderful experience.
When we first got here we were able to do some scuba diving. I shared the whale song dive with you earlier but here is a fun interaction with an octopus. Watch as it “jets away” when the diver releases it. This is one fast octopus!
This morning we listened to a Kellogg MBA School video class on “Leadership During a Crisis.” I thought there was a particular helpful question and answer. One of the participants asked, “How do you know you have all the information you need to make decisions.” The Professor’s answer: Of course we never have all the information we need to make decisions, and this is especially true in a fast moving crisis. All we can do is get as much information as possible given the time available, be transparent, make the best decisions we can, and then be nimble and agile enough to adjust or even reverse course as new information becomes available.
Stay home, stay well, stay connected!
The Hawaiian Princess continues to empty out. As of tomorrow there will be even fewer people here. Given the projected numbers of cases and the President’s 30 day continuance for sheltering at home, we are guessing we will be here through at least April and probably into May. Although the Hawaii number of cases are increasing (now over 150) only 12 have been hospitalized. We continue to hope that the heat and humidity keep the cases and the severity of the symptoms down. Unfortunately, many still are not taking it seriously here. There was a big party in a house 2 nights ago across the street from our condo with lots of drinking and aggression. We worry for the women and children who are in abusive situations and have to stay at home. We did call the police but unfortunately they were not inclined to take it seriously.
Shopping Tip: Because we are cooking so much I decided to up the equipment in the condo and have added a hand mixer and a small food processor. Although we still order a lot from Amazon, it is taking way longer than usual so I decide to try to order it for pick-up at the Target. That worked very well. We drove into Kapolei after sunset yesterday and the store was pretty empty, very clean and our package was ready to go. It turns out Target will also bring your order out to the car for curbside delivery.
Paradoxes: I find myself with conflicting paradoxical feelings. I’m both content and happy to be in this beautiful place and sad, missing my grandchildren and children. I go to bed tired after what feels like a full day of exercise, cleaning, cooking, phone calls and to-do lists and yet I look back on that day and feel unaccomplished. I wake up drawn to read the news and check the most recent updates and yet I’m concerned with the sensationalism and untrusting of what I’m reading. I’m drawn to the statistics and projections and yet I’m not sure they really mean anything at this point. I’m know we will all get through this but I worry about what is coming next.
Facebook the great connector. I’m loving the jokes and all the music on Facebook. Of course we love the streaming NXNX concerts. It is amazing the depth and breadth of talent in our area. I also love the Seattle Symphony musicians creating music together while separated using technology. Here is a lovely piece with Nathan Chan. And this couple is just so creative and cute.
Early in the trip we purchased a conch shell so Jim could blow it at sunset. Turns out he has a hidden talent.
Thanks for reading the blog and a special thank you to Josh and Betty (avid True Love Adventure readers) for pointing out that my first blog wasn’t allowing comments. I don’t quite know how I did it, but I posted it the wrong way. I’ve reposted it correctly and I believe this one will allow for comments.
Stay safe and stay healthy. Tata for now.
As many of you know who communicate with us on FB, Jim and I have decided to stay in our condo in Waianae (it’s on the west coast of Oahu so it has a great sunset view). We feel the isolated location (about an hour’s drive from Honolulu), along with the warmth and humidity, is a much safer place to be than the Seattle area, which as you know is one of the USA’s biggest coronavirus hot spots. Our Wainaiae visit began February 3rd and we are pretty sure we will be still be here throughout April and possibly May. And compared with our Snoqualmie Pass home where the ski area is closed, the snow is melting and it’s raining all the time, this is a much better place to be “sheltering at home.” I’ll share some thoughts and pretty photos as I’m moved to blog and I hope you will engage with comments and thoughts as well. Before the quarantine we got to catch up on our scuba diving and heard some amazing whale sounds. We’ve heard them while we were underwater, and it was an exceptional experience. The whales were very close and we heard the sounds for the entire dive although we never saw them while we were underwater. However, when we got back on the boat they were only 100 yards away.
Our nickname for our condo building (The Hawaiain Princess) is “Camp Oahu” because its like a summer camp for older campers. It brings us great joy when we get to see our “snowbird” friends (mostly from Canada). This year we met two new friends: Stephen and Kaysi Kushner. The two of them are excellent pickleball players so they taught us how to up our pickleball game and we were able to teach them how to play bridge. As the virus spread and most of the public pickleball courts on Oahu were closed, we were still able to play on the private pickleball court here at our condo and often shared dinners at each other’s condos. But all good things come to an end eventually, and when Air Canada said it was going to stop flying to Hawaii for the next six weeks, they felt they had to go home. Now they are watching the snow melt in Edmonton, Alberta as they sit through their 14-day mandatory quarantine for Canadians returning to Canada from overseas. Now we have transitioned to singles pickleball by ourselves, quiet meals and of course the beach and the water. Jim and I braved Costco for some senior shopping last Tuesday. It was quite an experience, but ultimately successful. Although they were out of toilet paper we procured a giant container of hand sanitizer, lots of good food, and adult-beverage popsicles. Combined with the food Kaysi and Stephen gave us when they left and we have abundant food for quite a while.
In hindsight, Jim’s retirement couldn’t have been better timed. Jasmine and her team are doing a stupendous job running the family business in this time of uncertainty. Here is a link to the beautiful letter she wrote and sent out to our customers that was shared on social media. Saul has continued to work on the SXSW (South By Southwest) program which of course was cancelled. He pivoted amazingly quickly to NXNW and brought bands and panels together in a virus-safe way, video recording them while they played at Seattle’s legendary London Bridge Studio. The music and informational panels start streaming tonight on line. You can watch through live streaming on FB on the Dick’s Drive in page. https://facebook.com/events/s/the-pnw-live-stage-a-concert-f/551793268783477/?ti=icl. Saul says you can get the best experience when you use an HDMI cable from your computer or “mirror” the broadcast onto your TV using an Apple TV box if you have one. I’m sure many of you are incorporating more Zoom and video chats into your lives as are we. Today we learned how to use the app called “Bridge Base Online” and we were able to play bridge remotely with some of our Rainier Club buddies from Seattle. We hope to play more in the future. Let us know if you play bridge and want to join us and we’ll help you get set up.
That’s all for now. Stay safe, stay sane, stay healthy! Love Fawn & Jim Quarantining in Wainaiae
It’s been hard to begin this blog entry. Usually, I stew a bit while looking at the beautiful scenery around me while pondering the recent chapter of our adventure. But the last few weeks, although full, have been disjointed. And of course there is the melancholy of reaching the end of our great summer adventure. So it hasn’t come to me as easily.
After our last blog we moored in Pender Harbour and boarded our seaplane to fly back too Seattle for our 2nd Annual Family Business Assembly.
Travel by seaplane is always awesome and it was truly wonderful to be back in Seattle to see the Grandkids especially. Our Family Assembly Meeting was a lot of work, but a big success. We learned, played and grew together with the goal of nurturing and educating future generations.
Two weeks after flying home we were on the seaplane once again to meet up with our friends Carrie and Troy Shaw for our final excursion this year back into Princess Louisa Inlet. Carrie and Troy drove to Egmont and we left the Back Eddy Resort to cruise up Jervis Inlet to PLI.
Despite an iffy weather forecast the weather turned quite lovely. We shared 3 nights and 3 days in our favorite place by far in the Salish Sea. PLI feels like our true summer home. We walked trails, kayaked, paddle boarded, played scrabble, floated and even watched a movie. The last night the skies cleared and we enjoyed some fun star gazing complete with shooting stars.
Carrie and Troy headed home by water taxi from nearby Malibu Young Life Camp after taking a fun tour and enjoying lunch with Jim Troyer, Carrie’s old boss at the WA Legislature.
The barometer had been falling steadily for the 3 days before Carrie & Troy left and the clouds finally rolled in followed by a heavy evening rain. This is the first time we have been in PLI in late August. With most of the winter snow melted, the waterfalls were as small as we’ve ever seen them, the rainforest paths were bone dry and the trees seemed to be holding their breaths waiting for rain. So we welcomed the rain. The sounds of the rain and the waterfalls rebuilding echoed throughout the inlet and we woke to abundant waterfalls followed by mid-day clearing. Perfect!
Our final days in our favorite spot were spent doing what we love, kayaking, floating, reading and generally enjoying each other and the beauty around us.
But all good things come to an end especially as the summer begins to fade and I needed to get back to Pender Harbour for another seaplane ride home. Unfortunately, my sister Rachel had to have her second back surgery in 3 months and I wanted to be there to help her threw it. So we docked once again in Pender Harbour and I flew home while the Captain stayed with the True Love.
Rachel’s surgery went well, but it seems like it will be a slow recovery. Getting older can be a challenge sometimes, but as we all know it beats the alternative. Thanks to some family help from Brittany, Chad’s girlfriend and soon-to-be nurse, I was able to fly back to the True Love after only 3 days. Jasmine helped Rachel get home Monday from the hospital and Rachel is now in the good hands of Hannah, Rachel’s oldest daughter, who flew in from Colorado.
After arriving back on the True Love on Sunday, the Captain and I were both ready to leave the dock and we ventured to Anderson Bay, a little bay about an hour’s cruise from Pender Harbour, on the south tip of Texada Island. Anderson Bay is a little gem of an anchorage in a northwest wind (although it is completely exposed to a SE wind). I scavanaged up dinner from what was left in the fridge and we watched an old Star Trek movie before going up to the top deck to watch the stars come out.
Until our recent time in Princess Louisa the star watching this summer has been mostly blocked by clouds. But by the end of our trip we’ve had good weather for watching the last days of the Perseid meteor showers as well as watching the Summer Triangle (Vega, Deneb and Altair) appear in the Milky Way. We’ve seen several big shooting stars and lots of satellites.
On Monday and Tuesday, we cruised south, anchoring first at Montague Harbour and then Bedwell Harbour. The stars both nights were truly spectacular. And the views allowed us to see Saturn and Jupiter very clearly (including two of Jupiter’s moons with our binoculars). Because it was close to the horizon in the southern sky, Antares (in Scorpio) twinkled red, blue and green.
Last night in Bedwell Harbour was our last night in Canada. As I write this blog we are back in the USA, anchored at Sucia Island (in the northern San Juan Islands).
The sand stone formations around Sucia Island are very interesting. And Jim remembered that his Dad, long ago, found a dinosaur bone exposed here, lodged in one of the sandstone cliffs.
Tomorrow, we will anchor near Friday Harbor so we can prepare and repovision the The True Love for our final guests: Jasmine, David, James and Robert. The Captain and I love having the grandchildren (and their parents) on board and we truly look forward to sharing our final days with them. They are taking the Victoria Clipper fast catamaran to Friday Harbor where we will scoop them up before heading to Port Townsend for a couple of nights before cruising back to Seattle on Sunday, September 1st.
I’m planning to do a final “best of” blog after we get home. Thanks for sharing the journey with us!
We were treated to our best sunset of the summer last night!
The Captain and the First Mate of the True Love.
“They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.” F. Scott Fitzgerald