Curve of Time Podcast is Published

Dear readers,

The first two episodes of the Curve of Time Podcast are up and streaming on Apple, Spotify and Amazon. We are so excited to share it with you. Episode 3 should be up later today! https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/curve-of-time-podcast/id1633329225?i=1000569067545

Yesterday, we were in the recording studio working on episodes 5-7 with our amazing cast. Here’s some fun video.

6:30PM Tuesday, June 26 is the Rainier Club Curve of Time Podcast Dinner: For our Seattle area followers the Rainier Club downtown is doing a special dinner where we’ll give a presentation on the making of the podcast. Just call the Rainier Club at 206-296-6870 and let them know that you want to attend at your own expense (the cost is $64 per person) and that we are your “sponsoring member.” We would love to have a big group! Reservations close this Friday so don’t wait until next week to decide. You can’t pay directly, but you can just pay us later. Reasonably priced parking is available at the Rainier Club or you can park on the street or take the Light Rail to the Pioneer Square Station and then walk about the hill to Columbia and 4th Avenue.

A fun bear scene!

Here is the Rainier Club’s summary of the 7/26/22 event:

“Literary Happy Hour” is so excited to feature beloved RC members, Fawn and Jim Spady. Their remarkable story will be presented during dinner which will feature an exquisite menu hand-crafted and prepared by our talented Chef Jim.

Join us to hear about the making of their podcast, The Curve of Time! The podcast is centered around The Wells family who have always wanted to adventure north to the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. Clint, Katherine, Tanner, Ella and Dexter embark on a journey north on their boat the True Love. This family story is based on the True Love Adventures of Jim and Fawn Spady and inspired by Wylie “Capi” Blanchet and her remarkable journeys 100 years earlier.

The Wells family are also musicians and play music along their adventure. Enjoy the music and the adventure as they travel from Port Townsend to Nanaimo, Egmont, Princess Louisa Inlet, Desolation Sound and Bute Inlet. Find out more on their blog trueloveadventures.com/

Join Us for the Adventure! Hop on Board! Make your reservation by calling the Front Desk or register on the RC Web Calendar.

Menu

Herb Seared Pacific Ling Cod
roasted fingerling potatoes, summer succotash, tomato basil coulis
Vanilla Buttermilk Panna Cotta
fresh summer berries
Chateau St. Michelle
Two Glasses

$64.00++ per guest

Online reservations typically close three business days prior to the event date. Please contact the ReservationsDepartment to check an event’s availability if online reservations are closed, 206.296.6870. Event cancellations made after 72 business hours prior to the event date, may be charged the event fee.

Happy 4th of July, & Octopus Islands

After leaving Powell River and a quick stop at Nancy’s Bakery in Lund, we headed to Desolation Sound’s Oakover Inlet for the night. The Captain made a reservation at the Laughing Oyster restaurant. We enjoyed a lovely dinner with another spectacular view and saw some great patterns in the water.

We woke up late Friday July 1 unsure of where we would end up for Canada day. Given the mediocre, early season weather and extremely expensive fuel prices, the popular anchorages in Desolation were unusually empty and that was tempting. However, Octopus Islands farther north whispered an invitation to us and so that’s where we went. Perfect kayaking weather was forecast for Saturday, with warm sun and calm winds, so our usual gunk hole anchorage on the south side of Octopus Islands felt like a perfect choice.

On our way to Octopus we stopped in Calm Channel to wait for the slack current at the “Hole In The Wall” tidal rapids that connect Calm Channel and the Octopus Islands. The area north of Desolation Sound is full of tidal rapids. They are short, two-way, salt-water rivers that flow around many of the islands here. During big food or ebb tides, they can be very turbulent and dangerous, with powerful whirlpools and strong sideways currents that push your boat around and hide logs and other debris that can damage your propellers or rudders. But at the moment when a flood tide switches to an ebb tide, the tidal rapids are completely calm and easily navigable for the hour before or after. While we waited the Captain used the temporarily available cell service while the First Mate did some yoga in the sun on the bow. Calm Channel near the Rendezvous Islands is also usually a good spot to see humpbacks and orcas, but we had no luck this time. The slack current at Hole In The Wall wasn’t until 7:30PM so it was past 8 before we were anchored and settled, but with the late summer light at 50 degrees north latitude, sunset wasn’t until 9:30PM so anchoring late in the day was no problem.

It’s been three years since we were at Octopus and with the light NW winds, our gunk hole anchorage outside of the main bay gave us a beautiful view and relative isolation from the other boaters anchored there.

Both of us woke up around 1:30 AM and headed up to the top deck to look at the stars. The sky is expansive here and we were treated to a perfect view. I even saw a shooting star! But it was still remarkably light for a moonless night. The sun sets in the NW and rises less than 8 hours later in the NE, adding in an hour of twilight and pre-sunrise dawn, the skies don’t get completely dark, even without a moon at 2 AM

On Saturday, the warm sun shinned brightly as predicted and we kayaked enjoying all the calm waters around Octopus Island Provincial Park. There were lots of families around and I had the opportunity to share the “big news” about the soon-to-be-published Curve Podcast. In the afternoon we took the tender out to find some cell service and explore one of the other tidal rapids near our anchorage.

Weasels fish in the water.

Together, Surge Narrows and Whiterock Passage are another waterway that connects Calm Channel to Octopus Islands. The Captain navigated through Surge Narrows with no problem even though the current was very strong, skillfully using our tender’s 40 HP engine and GPS chart plotter. By contrast, Whiterock Passage has almost no current, but is very narrow and very shallow (less than 10 feet deep). For those boats that don’t have a GPS chart plotter, there is a “Range System” that uses onshore monuments to help navigate through the narrow, twisting channel. First you line up the “Range” with the bow and when you almost reach the shore, you make a turn and line the “Range” up with the stern. It’s very low tech but as long as it isn’t foggy, very effective. We are thinking of adding this area to one of the last episodes of the Curve podcast. We also saw eagles and a sea lion taking advantage of the fish who become disoriented when going through the rapids.

The downturn in the weather perfectly aligned with our next stop: two days at Dent Island. So we watched some Wimbledon on the Satellite TV and had a lazy morning before the quick cruise back through Hole In The Wall, then through the Yaculta Rapids next to Big Bay and on to the fabulous Dent Island Marina. We haven’t been here since 2018. They will be booked up every day through Labor Day beginning July 6, when all the usuals come up after July 4th festivities in the states. I can’t think of a better place to find refuge in a summer downpour. Usually our boat is put in between the big yachts wherever there is room. But today we got the premier space in the front of the outside dock next to the small “canoe” rapids that run next to the Lodge. It’s very special.

This area usually has lots of eagles, but we’ve never seen so many in the trees nearby. And as soon as we were docked we saw an eagle family catch and share a fish with their young eagles.

Then we hot tubbed, took a long shower and went into the new sauna with a view window. This is the area that I took my special dolphin photo in July 2019.

We enjoyed a yummy dinner and dessert before walking back to the boat in the rain. We are supposed to get an inch of rain in the next 24 hours. But we can hang out in the Lodge or in our boat, do some remote work, eat well, and just wait out the storm before heading out again tomorrow on the next leg of our adventure. Thanks for reading!

This blog is written by the First Mate and the Captain of the True Love.

2022: Big News!

Our cruising begins this year a little earlier than normal and given our non-existent La Niña spring we expected some rain. And that’s exactly what we got, with lots of cold, mixed weather as we headed North into Canada, to the islands and rugged coast of British Columbia.

Seal saying
goodbye at Elliott Bay

We left Elliot Bay Marina early Thursday, June 16th. With the True Love in “tip top” shape after a few spring test cruise issues, we confidently rode the big spring ebb tide north all the way to San Juan Island, anchoring just outside of Roche Harbor. After a long day, a successful anchor and a shower we encountered our first “Stoic Challenge”: our shower faucet failed and wouldn’t completely shut off. So less than a day into our voyage we were no longer in “tip top”shape.

Because boats have one big water system, even one small leak means the main water pump needs to be shut off when not absolutely necessary because the pump will burn itself out if it runs constantly. So the next day we ventured into Roche for a delicious breakfast and walk to the Philbrooks Marine Repair there. Philbrooks main facility is in Sydney in Canada but their satellite facility in Roche is also staffed with incredibly engaged and helpful people. Doug the manager scrounged through his extra washers to give us a new “O” ring to our old faucet cartridge. Ever hopeful, we headed back to the TL to test the “fix” to find . . . it did not work. So we called the Ace Hardware in Friday Harbor (the “big city” on San Juan Island) and they thought they might have a replacement cartridge that would work. So we tendered back to the Roche Marina, took a cab to Friday Harbour but did not find the proper cartridge there, either. Returning to the True Love we lifted anchor for the short cruise to Bedwell Harbour to clear Canadian Customs. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to just call in to customs from our boat, as we had done for years using our special “Nexus” cards. Instead, perhaps as some kind of weird remnant of old covid rules, we had to tie up to the dock at Bedwell and call in from there using our cell phone or a landline at the dock. We were on hold for 45 minutes, but then got through to an agent and were cleared to continue into Canada.

Originally, we planned to go to our usual “first stop” anchorage at Montague Harbour. But the first mate was feeling a bit tired after a long couple of weeks of work on an exciting new project (that’s the “Big News” at the end of this blog) and by the final cruise preparations and our first long day cruising and the shower faucet repair challenge. So we pivoted and headed to the little town of Ganges on Salt Spring Island.

The Captain was a bit wary of going to Ganges because many, many years ago we had stayed at the Salt Spring Marina there and it was a bit sketchy because they assigned us to a slip that was very close to a reef which we then grazed with our propellers while exiting, which was not a big deal except that the cavitation it caused in the propellers is expensive to repair. However, the Marina assured us that it was under new ownership and that the docks had been completely redone to prevent that from happening again. So we gave it a try and had a blast.

Ganges is known for its wonderful farmer’s market on Saturdays and it didn’t disappoint.

We were able to procure wonderful produce, artisan bread, pastries and other goodies.

But our amazing treasure was a handmade ukulele created by an unassuming but remarkable man and luthier, Terry Warbey. This Uke is made out of three different types of wood and it sounds like a harp. Learning to play the ukulele was my Covid project. I found a wonderful online instructor, Cynthia Lin, and played almost everyday. Luckily, the Captain loves to hear me play. In Hawaii, I would get up early and do my lessons. This year I joined hundreds of ukulele players online from around world for the “100 Days of Ukulele” challenge. My goal was to play everyday and post a video of a song when I felt up to it. I learned not to to be afraid of playing in front of other people and was enchanted by the fellowship and joy shared by musicians around the world. The range of talent covers the spectrum from true beginner to virtuoso. But everyone was so supportive! It truly exemplifies what is possible with the internet and facebook. With my expanded knowledge of instruments and music, I knew how special this ukulele was. And the Captain bought it for me to celebrate our 41st Wedding Anniversary! But, that isn’t the “Big News” either.

Back to the leaky faucet. On Ganges we met a young couple sitting next to us at dinner and we asked them where we might find parts for our repair. They recommend two places. The first was the hardware store. And unfortunately their faucet cartridges were also not the correct size. So we ventured out again to Windsor Plywoood which we were told also has plumbing supplies and there we met a Plumbing Oracle. He looked at our old cartridge and pointed out that it was missing a little washer at the end. He suggested that this little missing washer, by itself, could cause the slow leak that we were experiencing. We were overjoyed! Unfortunately, Windsor Plywood didn’t have any of the little washers, but the Plumbing Oracle said that we could probably use the little washer at the end of any other faucet cartridges if we couldn’t buy the little washer at the hardware store. So, we walked back to the hardware store in town and while they also did not have any of the little washers, we did purchase a faucet cartridge we knew wouldn’t fit so that we could move the little washer there to our broken cartridge. Back at the dock, before we had a chance to do the repair, we met and befriended an amazing couple who have just spent the last 2 years of covid working remotely from a powerboat they bought in Florida and then cruised through the Panama Canal and back up to Seattle. While their story is amazing (and we would love to share it in a future blog if its OK with them), it turns out that they had some extra supplies for their voyage including a little washer that looked about the right size. And it was about the right size. Just not the right size. So I took an imprint of the size we needed from the end of our cartridge and placed it on the slightly oversized washer. Then I carefully took a box cutter knife and carefully trimmed around the edge of the slightly-too-big little washer until it fit snuggly into place in our old cartridge. We then put the old cartridge back in our shower faucet and, drumroll please, the leak was gone! We gratefully sent positive waves of thanks to the Plumbing Oracle and celebrated with lots of high fives and great joy.

The next day, Sunday, we left Ganges and headed north for Nanaimo, passing through the currents of Dodd Narrows at slack tide. At Nanaimo we docked, did our final provisioning for our upcoming long stay in Princess Louisa Inlet and had a truly yummy dinner at our favorite greek restaurant, Astera Taverna. Jasmine knew we would be eating there for Fathers Day and had called ahead to buy our dinner and that made it extra special. Thank you Jasmine and David!

Monday morning we left Nanaimo on Vancouver Island just after sunrise to cruise north with the flood tide across the Strait of Georgia to Pender Harbour on the coast of the BC mainland to rendezvous with our dear friends Jayne and Warren Spector. Neither has retired yet so they have complicated schedules but this year everything came together so that they could fly by seaplane to Pender Harbour on Monday and then return to Seattle on Friday by seaplane from inside Princess Louisa Inlet. As we crossed the Strait of Georgia the auto pilot remote control that we use from the upper helm stopped working, but that is a little problem as boat problems go since its similar to the cruise control on a car, and the main auto pilot on the lower helm still worked. The remote control auto pilot is 8 years old so it’s not surprising that it stopped working but its just a little annoying when crossing a big body of water like the Strait of Georgia. But that’s boating!

Other than the problem with our remote auto pilot it was a super easy crossing of the Strait of George with light winds and calm seas so we arrived easily in time to pick up Jayne and Warren, even though their flight arrived 30 minutes early. It wasn’t sunny but they had decent weather for their flight up and the sun soon came out for the short cruise to Egmont, which is the last little marina before the 30 mile trip to Princess Louisa Inlet. At Egmont, we washed the salt off the boat and then shared a remarkable gourmet meal at the West Coast Wilderness Lodge, which is a short walk from the Back Eddy Resort. Now that covid is over, we can go back there and we highly recommend it. We’ve been to Egmont every year since 2009 (except for the covid years) and we’ve never seen Orcas there. But we did this year, during our gourmet dinner. Everyone having dinner there was oohing and ahhing as four orcas swam past, about 300 yards away. What a magical treat!

The next day (Tuesday) the weather wasn’t great (drizzle, changing to a steady rain that lasted all day) but we headed into PLI with the morning flood tide and hoped the next day’s weather would be better. There was a lot of debris in the water so all of us kept our eyes on the water to watch for logs and dead heads. It’s difficult to see when it’s grey and raining. But the crew was up to the challenge. Other than the debris, the cruise into PLI was easy with no waves and light wind. Unfortunately, Jayne and Warren didn’t get to see the spectacular mountains that line the inlet until they flew out on Friday, but they could see the lower part of the 20+ waterfalls of Princess Louisa at “full flow” because of all the rain. The weather forecast also called for improving weather so we were hopeful for the rest of their visit.

Because PLI is so deep, using a shore tie is required when anchoring to keep the boat from drifting off into the deep water. Shore tying was a bit of a challenge in the rain, which definitely increased to a downpour during the time the Captain and Warren took the tender to shore with the long rope that had to put around a tree. Once anchored and tied we took a breath and watched all the amazing waterfalls. When it rains like this PLI is filled with so many waterfalls. This time of year, with all the heavy snows the Pacific Northwest has had, the big waterfalls are already bigger. But in the rain, they are bigger still and there are so many more.

We spent our first day in PLI watching the clouds, the rain, and the waterfalls while playing bridge. I think Jayne and Warren were a bit worried about the weather for the rest of the trip, but we expected clearing the next day and we got it. Over the next few days we did all the PLI things: taking in the magical beauty, kayaking, paddle boarding, exploring inside and about a mile outside PLI by tender, walking to Chatterbox Falls, walking the forest trail near MacDonald Island, taking a tour of the remarkable Malibu Young Life Camp and enjoying great food and great company. On Friday about noon Jayne and Warren were picked up by the Seaplane for a spectacular clear and sunny low-altitude flight back to Seattle. For the next 5 days Jim and I will enjoy our PLI retreat together. The weather is spectacular again today (Saturday). Hopefully, we will get a lot more sunny days before we head out of PLI and then continue north to Powell River, Dent Island, the Octopus Islands, and the Blind Channel Resort. At that point, we plan to turn around and begin our cruise south back to Seattle.

We need to be back in Seattle in mid-July because of the Big News! I’ve finally started production on my “Curve of Time” inspired project with a multi-episode family adventure podcast. Collaborating with Saul’s company and the amazing Madeline Reddington we honed the scripts originally written by Richard Lasser into a sweet & funny family adventure. It’s inspired by Wylie Blanchet’s collection of short stories from the 1920’s and 1930’s that she published in her book, “The Curve of Time”. My vision was to create a new story about a modern family that was so inspired by these short stories that they decide to buy an old boat, fix it up and then take their boat up to some of the areas described in the Curve of Time; areas where Jim and I have cruised and loved during these past 12 years. They get into lots of the same adventures we have in the past. The podcast is geared to kids 6-12, but the whole family will enjoy it. The family in the story homeschools and the mother and three kids are a musical string quartet. We were lucky enough to get a truly amazing musician and composer to do those parts. We have a fine cast of actors, the “theme” music is composed by a remarkable local composer and beautifully edited and produced. I hope you listen to it, share it and like it on the podcast page when that goes live. To be among the first to listen, use this link to the podcast web site: CurvePodcast.com. The first two episodes will be up very soon. Please go to the web site and sign up and you will get a notice when the first episodes are published. The followers of the True Love Adventures blog are the first to get this invitation! I’m hoping you will prime the enthusiasm for the advertising and outreach campaign that will follow later this summer when we have at least 4 episodes completed and uploaded. In mid-July, when we return to Seattle, we will record and edit the last 5 episodes of season 1. We hope it will become a popular podcast that will generate enough interest for more seasons and perhaps someday a multi-part video series or movie! THANK YOU for being our first listeners!

The Captain and The First Mate of the True Love.

Anniversary Orcas In Jervis

We left the calm protection of PLI behind. Said goodbye to the eagles, the eaglet and the waterfalls and entered Jervis Inlet to a big change of the weather and a strong south wind.

That was ok because we were planning to spend the night at an anchorage we used in 2016 or at the very head of the inlet where we anchored in 2014. The first mate was pushing for the 2016 anchorage and the Captain was thinking the head of the inlet would be the most protection from the wind. On our way to the head of the inlet we heard a communication over the VHF that there were orcas in Jervis inlet heading towards another boat closer to the 2016 anchorage. That decided it!

Here’s a picture of another massive waterfall with a giant rooster tail.

So we turned around and headed towards the orcas to meet up with them very close to the entrance to PLI. We think they are the same orca family we saw at the West Coast Wilderness Lodge. Four of them in all. A mom, probably a grandma, a young baby and a toddler. We were able to capture some decent pictures and a little video.

We feel very very lucky. In our 12 years of boating we have never seen orcas in Jervis Inlet. We’ve heard they come up here, but we have never seen them ourselves.

It’s a misty grey morning (as expected), calm winds and a big tide pushing us out of the inlet. When we get to Egmont the tide shifts to push us north to Powell river where we will stop and reprovision. Now we are preparing ourselves mentally to enter reality again. I’m really looking forward to completing Season 1 of the Curve Podcast and talking to the kids and family. But the news and the other negative energy, I can do without. That is part of life though, of course. We are up for it all, recharged and refreshed.

We docked last night near Powell River at the Beach Garden’s Marina. After walking to the near by Pacific Point Market with our wagon, we took a taxi into town for dinner. After dinner we decided to walk back the 3 miles and discovered a delightful seaside trail. And go figure, we encountered a young bear swimming and frolicking on and near the trail. Locals said “that is just so Powell River.” We waited for the bear to leave the path and continued back to the boat.

PLI Early Spring Nature

We’ve aren’t often here in PLI this early in the season. Robust waterfalls cascade all around us. As the day heats up Chatterbox falls goes from dramatic to full with the daily snow melt from the abundant snow on the mountain tops. We even had a little pile of snow at sea level near our anchorage! We’ve never seen that before.

The seagulls are nesting on Seagull Cliffs and the PLI pair of eagles are on their nest. We haven’t seen any baby seals yet. We are hoping we get to see a new born before we leave. With the last three days being the first really warm weather this year the trees released their pollen, which collects in swirling patterns on the surface of the water. Luckily neither of us is allergic to tree pollen!

Teaming with early spring life the seawater is quite dark. It’s still beautifully reflective but with a hunter green tint vs a reflective blue. So far we have seen very little bioluminescence (phosphorescence) in the algae although we did see a little glow at the bottom of a close waterfall on our second night. We’ve put up a hummingbird feeder and I just saw one fly by as I write this entry (joyful giggle).

The Eagle vs Seagull Battle: While Jayne and Warren were with us we explored in the tender and noticed a ruckus going on at Seagull Cliffs. It was something we had never seen before. The eagle was hunting for eggs in the seagull’s cliff-side nests. I was able to catch some good photos and Jim got a fun video. We also saw the strange sight of one of the eagles on the top of a tree near its nest and on the other branch very, very close was a small bird. I didn’t have my telephoto lens so we don’t have a picture. We have many theories though: the two birds are friends from a previous lifetime, the little bird is trading lookout duties for protection, or the little bird’s parents were too lazy to make their own nest so they laid their egg in the eagle’s nest, which was adopted by the eagles and is now one of the family (aka lazy mazy in the Horton Lays An Egg).

So Many Spectacular Waterfalls.

Curve of Time Podcast Customers All Around: The cutest family came by our anchorage to explore our waterfalls and pick salmon berries. I gave them one of my Curve of Time Podcast cards! If you haven’t signed up already please go to CurvePodcast.com. You’ll be among the first to know when the episodes are launched, hopefully by mid-July. Yesterday an old, small wooden powerboat came in that looks very similar to the “Caprice”, the family boat in the Curve of Time. We need to go check it out today before it leaves.

Longest Days of Summer: The days are so long now we can’t stay up late enough to see the stars. So we are going to sleep and if we wake up in the middle of the night we go up to the top deck to take a look. Last night wasn’t ideal (there is quite a bit of moisture in air). But it was pretty good. The Summer Triangle (Vega, Deneb and Altair) doesn’t rise fully over the mountains until 1 AM. But last night at 2 AM we saw it and the Milky Way, a few shooting stars and lots of satellites.

Another Glorious, Sunny, Warm Day: Sunday it was 80 degrees here! The First Mate did her exercises on the bow while the Captain did his amazing editing job on the blog. We went out on the tender to check out the eagles nest again to try to see some newly hatched eaglets. No eaglets yet, but we did see one of the pair strike the water with talons and grab a fish! We followed it in the tender and I was able to capture this spectacular photo (the eagle with a fish in his talons and a glaciers in the background!). After that we returned to the True Love and the first mate deployed the pizza-shaped floaty toy! Hopefully, we can float again tomorrow!

Contemplating Connectivity: We found out a few days ago from a fellow boater that Starlink’s RV system works perfectly here. But we cherish our 10 days “off the grid” every year. All we have now is a Garmin InReach which allows very brief texts for checking in. The Starlink system is certainly appealing for the boat, but if we do get it, our house rules will have to be to shut it off whenever we’re inside in PLI. Our quiet time here is so precious and special; we never want to lose that.

Our Last full day in PLI: Glorious sunshine greeted us this morning again. We definitely hit the weather jackpot for this time of year. Kayaking filled the glorious calm morning. Jim and I raced across the inlet back to the True Love and he beat me by two lengths. He’s getting so strong! After some fish tacos for lunch we lounged the afternoon away reading, sunning and floating. Jim even did some paddle board yoga! Then we headed out on the tender to try again to get a glimpse of an eaglet in the Eagles Nest. And this time . . . . . success! Then we played a bit in the outer edges of Malibu Rapids trying to capture a video of the churning water and whirlpools. We also got some more photos of a wood duck and her 10 chicks. Tonight the hummingbird came around the feeder during our yummy steak dinner and we caught it on video. Tomorrow afternoon we plan to raise anchor and leave with the slack tide at the rapids around 2PM, then anchor at the head of Jarvis Inlet in preparation for a dawn exit the next day to get a power assist from the big ebb tide. Tomorrow is also our 41st Anniversary. We are so lucky to have found each other in this time and space.

It’s impossible to truly explain PLI and our perfect anchorage. We try with our words and our pictures. It’s like immersing yourselves in the most special nature painting and then adding sound and smells. Jayne said she felt like she was in Rivendale (the magical City of the Elves from the Lord of the Rings movie). That’s a pretty good explanation.

This blog is lovingly written by the Captain and the First Mate of the True Love.

A Covid Summer in Alpental and Alaska Part 1: Juneau and Gustavus

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.

Back to Canada . . . After 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.

What is that in the corner of this star photo: shooting star? UFO?
The full moon rising.
Saturn rising and reflected in the water.

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.

Chatterbox before the rains.

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.

Chatterbox after the rain.

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.

Fresh water pool before the rain. See the heart rock?
Fresh water pool after the rain. See the rainbow.

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.

Ripples in the water behind Jim’s paddle board intersecting the current.
Sunset at Egmont

Our next blog we’ll share our Alaska Adventure from July.

Mele Chanukah, Mele Kalikimaka, Mele New Year!

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!

Visiting Greg and Carolyn when we could! We also got to see Simon, but alas, no photo.
Celebrating the end of last year with Saul and Shakira.
Playing games with Rose and Keith
Music with Judy and Steve pre-Covid at the Blue Note.
Saul’s invention. Wood tossing to the upper deck. Still works perfectly. It’s definitely harder on him.
Normalcy before Covid at the Princess.
Mom’s 80th in person. We had to postpone the NY trip.
Dani and Scotty visited us at the Pass. Chad and Brittany also visited, but again how did we not take a picture?

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!

Saul with Benji interviewing Chief Ron Allen of the S’kallam Tribe.

3. We are thankful for pickleball and our pickleball buddies here on Oahu.

Missing Debbie and Tom.
Our friend and coach, Stephen and his wicked serve.
A Covid safe Thanksgiving with our pod of pickleball buddies, Stephen & Kaysi and Keith & Rose.

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!

Happy New Year 2020. Who knew?
Robert’s Preschool graduation.
So many 2020 Legos.
Lots of fun aboard the True Love.
Learning to play golf.
Learning to play golf.
Nice swing James!
Granny and Grandpa George bravely traveled to visit us during the Covid lull.
Robert learning to tube behind the tender.
Being Robert’s online teaching assistant.
Creating David’s B-day Surprises.
Learning to paddle board on our last boat trip of the year.

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.

One of the first Zoom board meetings. At least Jim is wearing a shirt!
Family Assembly 2020
Gen 3 “live” at the Family Assembly.
Passover 2020. It was lovely to have so many joining us.
Happy Birthday Zoom with Pop
Rosh Hashanah
2020
The grandkids teaching us how to use FaceTime things. We had to put this in, because it’s so, “What The 2020!”
Watching Space X on FaceTime

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!

Rose’s amazing homegrown Dragon fruit.
Healthy organic produce delivered fresh from a nearby farm.

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.

Jim hiking Mt. Snoqualmie.
Hiking “Debbies Gold” at Alpental

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!

The full moon with Saturn and Jupiter moving to the “Grand Conjunction.”
The summer comet from Silverdale, a little harbor in Puget Sound.
Lots of amazing turtles.
Jim learned to blow the conch shell.
We drove up to the watershed above Honolulu for this scenic shot.
Our year would not be complete without Orcas and . . .
Humpbacks!

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

Our 2020 Growth Mindset Logo created for us by Sig!

Quarantine Adventures: Time to Leave Shangri-La

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.

I liked this black and orange fish.
It was hard to capture but this school of fish were moving like a waterfall from one side of the coral to the other

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.

Here’s James’s avatar in Minecraft and one of our large structures complete with a glass roof.

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!”

Given the terrible news from the the same day I find this photo of the NASA broadcast particularly hopeful for the future.

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.

Ceremonial eating!

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!

Light from the darkness