Through the Worm Hole:

Through the Worm Hole:  From the Urban Jungle to the Secluded Marine Park

The last week has been remarkable, successful and eclectic.  I’m back to writing an update to the True Love Adventures on the south side of Octopus Islands, a small group of islands on the NE side of Quadra Island.   We are relaxed and rested.

Our vacation break in Seattle was busy.  Back at our Alpental home, the new brood of humming birds had hatched and were swarming around our feeders.  I was able to capture several good shots.

We began our “week back” with the very successful 60th Anniversary Edmonds-area High School Dance on Friday, and ended our trip back on Wednesday, helping local music superstars Macklemore and Ryan Lewis record a music video for their “White Wall” song on the roof of the Dick’s Drive-In on Seattle’s Broadway Avenue.

Thanks to Saul’s tenacious outreach efforts, we finally got in contact with the correct people and the Macklemore music video shoot transformed from idea to reality.  It was touch and go right up until the actual event.  Although it was supposed to be a secret, it leaked out and the crowds we always expected arrived early.  Dick’s was the center of attention with stories in almost all of the Seattle print, radio and TV media.  Here are a couple of links to the Seattle Times, the PI and the Capitol Hill Blog.  We even made CNN!  Jim, Saul and I weren’t done working until after 1:30 AM.

We got to sleep about 2:30 AM, slept about 4 hours, got up, did some few last-minute chores and then boarded our seaplane at the north end of Lake Washington for the flight back to April Point.  This time we flew in the smaller “Beaver” seaplane vs the larger “Otter” seaplane we flew on our trip back to Seattle the previous week.  I must say I like the Otter better:  it’s faster and quieter than the Beaver.  But I still loved the seaplane experience.  When the seaplane landed back at on our dock at April Point and we stepped out into the fresh air and got back on the True Love, it truly felt like we had been transported gone through a magic portal to a completely different space and time.  It reminded us of the worm hole in “Star Trek:  Deep Space Nine.”

Needless to say we were pretty exhausted.  We only had enough energy to enjoy a light dinner at the April Point Resort before collapsing in bed.

Friday was a long transitional day.  It began with a ride on the only cab on Quadra Island to the little grocery store where we reprovisioned for the rest of our vacation.    By the time we were done and restocked it was noon.  Our goal was to reach Octopus Islands, but we weren’t sure all the tides, winds and currents would work out.  We fought a strong North-West wind all day.  It was even windy in Calm Channel usually true to it’s name, but not on Friday.  So we explored a little bay on the west side of Calm Channel.  The Captain decided to drop anchor so we could take a break while we waited for slack tide at the Hole-In-The-Wall rapids, which was our last chance to reach the Octopus Islands before dark.

It was very nice to get out of the wind and we spent a couple of hours there sunning, resting and watching two seals play “my tail makes a bigger splash than yours” in the bay.  It was a perfect break.  The strong winds were in our face again as we turned west towards the Hole-In-The-Wall channel between Maurelle and Sonora Islands.  But, we only had to travel about an hour for this leg of the trip.  It was still about an hour before slack so we were up against a pretty stiff current, but well down from the 9-knot peak.  Even so, we watched small whirpools form around us as we went through.

It was all worth it as we approached our favorite “gunk hole” (a small bay in which to drop anchor) just outside of Octopus Islands Marine Park.  The Captain and the first mate of the True Love prefer to anchor away from the crowds and even with a NW wind ranging from 20-35 knots, this little spot was perfect, with no waves and barely5 knots of wind.  An Imageeagle greeted our arrival by flying overhead and we watched as she then carried a branch to her nest in the small rocky island just in front of our anchorage.

We settled in, lit the Sabbath candles and said a special prayer for all our blessings before we had some macaroni and cheese for dinner, showered and collapsed.  I really didn’t realize how exhausted we were until we woke up 12 hours later.

Saturday has been a perfect day of recuperation.  We had a very leisurely morning, drinking in the view all around us and bathed in the warmth of the sun while we enjoyed our protective little cove.   Before kayaking we splurged on some freshly made cherry ice cream topped with organic fresh cherries.  We love making homemade ice cream on the boat.

At low tide the animals come out to the shore to forage for food and we were entertained by lots of momma and baby raccoons Imageeating at the shore as we kayaked around the islands that make up this Canadian marine park.  When we got back to the True Love we enjoyed a yummy steak “linner” with coleslaw.  During our meal we watched a pair of juvenile herons trying to fish while being taunted by a much more successful kingfisher.DSC_0831

We even fixed our water pressure device!  We brought a replacement pump with us and thanks to Ben Rhoades’ (our often mentioned boat guru) instructions and preparations we were able to swap it out with virtually no problems.  As I finish writing this entry the Captain is taking a shower and the new pump is working perfectly.

DSC_0776The soft pink in the setting sky is reflecting on the water as we end our day.  Tomorrow we head to Dent Island, an oasis of luxury in the wilderness near Big Bay.  It’s a short trip there.  We just need to leave around 9:00 AM to get through the series of rapids at slack tide, beginning with Hole-In-The-Wall.

We have scheduled a guided fishing excursion for Sunday afternoon.  The First Mate is really looking forward to a good fishing lesson and hopefully catching a big salmon or two!

True Love Adventures Part 1 Comes To An End

photoYesterday we had a wonderful morning in Lund. We woke to a couple of fathers and a gaggle of boys fishing off the dock next to the boat.  They were very successful and caught a couple of large  cod.  After enjoying our usual morning elixir we went in search of  Nancy’s Bakery, now a “must stop” in the future.  We visited the Art Gallery and bought a soap stone sculpture of the a seal that now is poking it’s head out of its display onboard the True Love.   In general, we moved slowly and cast off for Campbell River around noon.

DSC_0575After being in the mountains of Jervis Inlet and Princess Louisa Inlet the expansive waters here seemed so big.  We made it easily to Campbell River and procured some temporary moorage to get supplies for our pressurized water system and some other stuff at the Target.

We hoped to once and for all fix the problem with the water pressure system by replacing a leaking check valve.  No such luck.   So we left Campbell River, took the short cruise to the east side of  Johnstone Strait and docked at our moorage at April Point.  Eagle sounds welcomed us as we approached the dock.

We tinkered a little more with the water pressure system, taking the old water pressure pump offline.  That wasn’t the problem.  We finally gave up and went out to dinner.  The food at April Point isn’t that good but the view is

This morning we did a lot of closing-down-the-boat chores.  We even were able find the number and use Skype to call the Jabsco water pressure system customer support people.  Turns out the problem  is a broken pressure relief switch.  Unfortunately, Jabsco was all out of them and would not have any more for 2-3 weeks.  Our guess is that this part is failing a lot, hence the fact that they are out of them.  So we plan to simply use our manual work around (turning the pump on and off at the circuit breaker) until we get back.  Although we were not able to repair it, we feel like we learned a lot and made a lot of progress.

DSC_0581Our Kenmore plane came to our dock to take us back to Seattle on Tuesday afternoon.  I was a little nervous about flying on the small seaplane.  But, oh my, what fun!  Of course it was a perfectly clear day and the views were magnificent.  Anyone who boats up in this area should take a seaplane flight.  We learned so much seeing the areas we had traveled by boat.  DSC_0604Beside the spectacular views we learned about great new places to anchor and gained interesting perspective on our travels.

Now we are back in Seattle for a week to help with some fun Dick’s Drive-In projects including our 60th Anniversary Edmonds High School Dance on Friday night.


Then we are off for Part 2 of the True Love Adventures 2013.  As we transition from vacation to work and back to vacation again, I’m reminded of a saying that was posted on the chalk board in the restaurant at Egmont.

“A master in the art of living draws no stark distinction between work & play; labor & leisure; mind & body; education & recreation.  He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing.  To himself he always appears to be doing both.”

The Quintessential Princess Louisa Inlet Day

The Quintessential Princess Louisa Inlet Day


 We woke and looked out of our boat to see the floating debris field far away, seals around the boat, fish jumping and a warm sunny morning.  DSC_0472We choose to stay another day and leave tomorrow (Sunday).


Because of our position on the east side of PLI we don’t get the sun until around 10 AM and because of the clear evening in was a bit cool.  So after our usual breakfast we decided to take the True Love tender on an adventure out of PLI through the rapids and into Queens Reach and the end of the inlet.  We trolled slowly out PLI soaking in all the beauty of the steep sides covered with so many shades of green sparkling in the sun.

I’ve been practicing with the video on my new Nikon so we took film of the rapids on our way out to Queens Reach, even setting up the tripod on the tender and we zoomed through.  Unfortunately, we were near slack tide and the rapids were extremely calm.  But I’m learning more about the intricacies of the D600.

DSC_0532The Captain having grown up playing in small boats around Lake Sammamish beamed with the confidence of a young man while maneuvering the tender.

We took some beautiful photos today, ate well, tanned ourselves in the warm sun, swam in the healing salt waters and thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.  Tomorrow we head out to Lund on our way to April Point on Monday.  That’s where we’ll reenter civilization with all it’s connections and trappings, including the internet connection needed to post this blog.

Enjoy the photos from our beautiful day in and around Princess Louisa Inlet!

DSC_0536 DSC_0533 DSC_0532 DSC_0524 DSC_0508 DSC_0494 DSC_0486

Friday in PLI

Friday Morning


Our morning began with the Captain’s favorite breakfast – challah french toast.  The rest of the morning was spent relaxing, reading and writing.  The Captain played with a bottle of bubbles on he found onboard.

Around midday we went for a 3-hour kayak around PLI.


We stopped by the dock and chatted with Mike and Angie onboard the Sealestial.  They are from Flagstaff and have retired and now live on their boat that they keep moored in La Conner.

DSC_0446We also chatted with the Ausie couple onboard the Tuzi (pronounced “two-zee”).  They plan to take their beautiful Ocean Alexander boat back to Australia next year.  They’ve already sailed the world and have now switched to a 60’ powerboat.  Although we have no interest in “blue water” cruising, their stories and knowledge are fascinating.

We ended our day with more quiet repose, reading and napping while watching an afternoon storm pass us by but then circle back for and give us some brief, light rain.



Realizing it was Friday night we lit our candle, said our Sabbath prayers, and gave thanks for our time together in one of the most remarkably beautiful places on earth.DSC_0457

The fridge is definitely emptying, but we are still eating well.  I combined some heated up Trader Joe’s gnocchi in tomato sauce with pesto smoked turkey sausage and sautéed onions from the grill.  Pretty darn good!  The leftovers will make a yummy omelet tomorrow.

After dinner we were settling down to a game of chess when the Captain noticed that the debris field from a winter avalanche had dislodged and was slowly drifting towards the True Love.  Some of you might remember that last year we were woken at dawn by a large fallen tree entangled in our anchor chain.  So, to preempt a repeat of that situation we headed out with the tender and a water ski rope to wrangle and move the debris past us.  DSC_0458We were moderately successful moving the heavy tangle of timber about 100 yards past us. The tide should pull it away from us and out towards the entrance.  It will be interesting to see where it is tomorrow.

Trapper’s Cabin Hike!

Trapper’s Cabin Hike!

This morning, I spent time reading the manual for my new Nikon D600, trying to master some of the intricacies.  I’ll see how I do on the next round of photography.  This afternoon we are contemplating hiking the trappers cabin trail for the first time.  We will see how far we get.  It sounds like a lot of work.

We did it!  IMG_1997The hike begins with a sign that says Caution don’t do this hike: it isn’t marked, it isn’t maintained, it can be slippery, blah, blah, blah.  We talked to the ranger, Craig, on the dock to let him know we were doing the hike (in case we didn’t come back).  Unfortunately, he had just put a nail into his foot and was taking his skiff to town to get x-rays and a tetanus shot.

But we had our portable VHF radio with us and he said our radio could reach Malibu Camp if we had a problem.  After the hike/scramble we learned he had asked the other boaters at the dock to keep an eye out for us in case we didn’t return in about 4 hours.

With our poles and hiking boots, Julie treats, water, flashlights and first aid kit we felt ready for the challenge. The weather was perfect with light overcast so it didn’t get too warm.  The dry conditions made the trail as easy as it gets.  It’s not that the trail was unhikeable; it is just that it’s very steep with lots of fallen timber and other debris so that you rarely get a break from “the next obstacle.”

Tree roots cascade down rock faces, creating great handholds for scrambling up and down the steeper places on the trail.  Fallen logs create many opportunities to test all the cross-fit training we have been doing.  The hike/scramble is in the woods and extremely vertical the entire two hours up until the last ten minutes when you finally plateau at a small space where the old trapper’s cabin is located that’s mentioned in the book Curve In Time.

Although it’s a beautiful spot, I can’t imagine schlepping stuff up there. IMG_1991We made the top in just under 2 hours.  The Captain and First mate felt very accomplished and strong.  IMG_1984We took about 20 minutes to take in the views of the waterfall and Princess Louisa Inlet far below us.

The hike down would be almost impossible wet, but it was very doable dry and we made it back to the docks in under an hour and 45 minutes.

Our fellow sea travelers at the dock greeted us with great enthusiasm.  They of course were beginning to get concerned that we hadn’t made it down yet and were contemplating how on earth they would launch a rescue.  But, no need.  We shared photos of the top and then headed off proudly on the True Love tender to our private, perfect anchorage.

Once on board we stretched on the bow and then enjoyed a well-earned supper.   I made a delicious summer salad with some smoked salmon, cheese, avocado, blueberries, sunflower seeds and a little bacon.  It all tasted so delicious. After dinner we enjoyed some homemade strawberry ice cream and a game of chess before bed.

Princess Louisa Inlet

Princess Louisa Inlet:


Every time I enter PLI I’m struck by a different sense.  The first time it was the overwhelming grandeur.  This time it was the pure, clean, fresh smell in the air. We entered the rapids at the end of a perfect cruise down Jervis Inlet.  When we approached our favorite anchorage it was clear of any other boats.  We arrived at high tide and anchored and attached our stern tie with ease.  From our anchorage we are graced with the sounds and site of two waterfalls with a perfect view of Chatterbox falls in the distance.


Yesterday was as perfect as it gets in Princess Louisa Inlet.  We slept well and woke up to a glorious sunny day.  We entered our day slowly listening to the stereo sounds of the waterfalls surrounding our anchorage, reading and enjoying our usual elixir breakfast.  The captain/barista made us wonderful coffee and he enjoyed his cinnamon role the First Mate had stocked for just this occasion.

I did my Gyro/Yoga stretches on the bow of the True Love listening to the soothing sounds of the waterfalls.  We spotted a mother seal and her pup about 100 feet off the bow of the boat. DSC_0339 The pup was very small and couldn’t have been more than a week old.

Then we went for a swim.  The water is cool, about 67 degrees, but healing.  We floated, played and swam until we were hungry for lunch.   I grilled some tofu and we enjoyed a beautiful fresh salad with Avocados, blueberries, radishes and sunflower seeds.

Then we went for a wonderful long kayak around the bay enjoying the views from the other side of our anchorage.  All that kayaking made us hungry again.  I grilled chicken, zucchini and mushrooms to toss in with rice noodles and spicy sauce.  Yum.

The evening brought some clouds and some unusual wind, but no rain.  We read our books until we couldn’t keep our eyes open and slept soundly once more.


Glassy Crossing

We did it! We crossed the Georgia Strait and it was glassy calm.

Image As we passed Pender Harbour we noticed that the Caper was there and we stopped by to say hello the Barlows.  Now we are having lunch at the Back Eddy in Egmont.  We won’t have any internet or ability to communicate for at least 4 or 5 days.

It’s sunny and so beautiful here!

Time To Unplug


     Every year when we leave the dock we begin a transition from the pace of our regular lives to the rhythms of sea.  It takes a few days and usually some “issues” to focus on why we are here on this journey north.

Friday afternoon as we were leaving the states we were boarded by the US Coast Guard for a safety inspection.  This happened to us once before on our very first journey out of the marina on our first boat.  The men on the boat were friendly (clearly just learning this procedure) and we went through each item on their check list.  It turns out we are very safe and up to code including extra fire extinguishers but, we did not have a written “waste management plan”.  That is correct.  We did not have a piece of paper on board that explains our plan for our garbage.

We would like it on the record that we always put our garbage in our trash and recycle bins and when we go ashore we transfer this stuff to the big bins on shore.  The Captain takes full responsibility for this enterprise.  We do not throw our garbage overboard, ever.  This is a solemn promise.  However, because we did not have it in writing we were “cited” but not fined.  We know the Coast Guardsmen didn’t make these rules and they realized this was a silly request.  But the bureaucrats that made this rule clearly do not have enough to do and are overpaid.

photo     The Coast Guardsmen left the True Love practicing a moving transfer to their boat while Jim and I both took photos and videos like proud parents.  We then headed up to Canadian waters taking our time on a beautiful afternoon.  Customs was easy and we headed through the Pender Island channelDSC_0171 to anchor for the night in Port Browning Bay.  This was a first for us.  It a sweet little bay on just north of Pender Harbour that’s perfect for overnighting with easy anchorage .

We settled in, I made some yummy quesadillas with left over grilled vegetables.   We experienced the good food, Sade playing on the Ipod, the sunset and a peaceful end to a successful day.DSC_0173

I always look forward to the cruise up the Southern Gulf Islands.  The weather is usually calm and the views beautiful.  When we lifted the anchor we had a bit of a problem with water control on the bow of the boat where we use a hose to wash off the mud and seawater on the anchor and its chain as we bring both back up.  The bit of a problem was that the handle just came off.  So the Captain turned off the water pressure and we proceeded to our next stop with the hope of finding a fix.

Although the sun was bright and warm and the tide was with us we did have a pretty stiff northwest wind.  Both Jim and I did our exercises on the stair stepper, sit-ups, push-ups and stretches.  We couldn’t get a dockside reservation in Nanaimo so we decided to head to another first stop for us: Silva Bay on the southeast side of Gabriola Island.  By the time we got there we had some serious winds.  Docking was a real challenge as the gusts increased to over 25 knots.  But the Captain did a fantastic job and with help of the people on the dock we got ourselves into our slip and prepared to relax again for the night.

Silva Bay is a charming little place with a wonderful waterfront restaurant, pretty views and nice people.  We settled, plugged in the power and then headed to shore to see if we could repair our water faucet.  We were directed to Vince.  Vince is a sweet, if somewhat rough handyman for the marina.  I showed him the faucet top and he proceeded to take it apart using only his box cutter.   It really was a thing of beauty.  I love this part of being on the True Love.  Not the breaking of things of course, but the fixing.   It seems that society has in so many ways devalued the everyday problem-solving skills and personal responsibility skills needed in life, especially in a times of crisis. The little things that inevitably break while boating in remote areas hones these skills.

At first we thought we might have to do a “McGuyver Fix” with some plumbers putty and some aluminum foil but the Captain retrieved a small second piece from the True Love that we had left on board.  With that Vince was able to put it all back together and viola — it worked again!  We tried to give Vince some money but he asked only for our good wishes.  We accepted his generous help and plan to “pay it forward.”

With the faucet fixed and our water pressure on, we showered and headed in for a yummy liner at the café.  It’s almost impossible to find this kind of sweet little outdoor restaurant in the Seattle area.  All the outdoor patios are too big or too busy.  I love this part of our trip . . . the sun, the good food, the views, the quiet.

We did some chores at the dock before heading back to the restaurant for some late dessert and sunset.  Our plan was to leave at dawn and hopefully catch the typically lower early morning winds to cross the most difficult waters on our trip:  the Strait of Georgia.

We woke at 5:30 to a beautiful sunrise DSC_0185and leaving the dock was a breeze.  As we turned north into the Strait we encountered very strong winds and 3 – 6 ft seas.  It wasn’t smooth, but we felt we could make the bouncy 3-hour crossing until we got an alarm and warning lights from our inverter panel.  Our inverter changes DC battery power to AC when the generator isn’t running.  Now this was new and not something we wanted to deal with in these conditions, which were not fun at all.  We turned off all the AC power and turned around and headed back to Silva Bay.  Again the strong winds made docking a challenge, but with the help of dock mates we were pack in port.  We discovered one of our bedroom portals had leaked from the strong waves and water got on an old phone charging plug which had done a self destruct sequence and ruined the outlet.  So, our new rule in crossing open water . . .  no plugs in the sockets especially near portals!

After chilling a bit we headed to enjoy the omelet bar on the deck of the restaurant, process our unsuccessful crossing, call our boat guru Ben Rhoades for advice on the next step to repair the outlet and make new plans.

We headed to Nanaimo where we settled, refilled our water, plugged in and headed to our favorite Greek Restaurant where we ate well and drank Ouzo enthusiastically.

DSC_0205Sunday felt like two days, but we were rewarded with a stunning sunset.

Today we did  laundry, grocery shopping, purchased our needed supplies to repair the outlet and our water pressure valve.

We are currently enjoying  frappuccinos  and Starbucks free internet.  For dinner we will enjoy leftovers from last nights yummy dinner while we make our final preparations  for our Strait of Georgia crossing Tuesday morning.  The predictions for wind are lower, but if they aren’t we will adapt and enjoy more of what Nanaimo has to offer.

We’ve decided the melting plug was a sign to unplug from our regular lives and enjoy our vacation.  So other than some quick check-ins and writing our blog we are now officially on vacation.

The 2013 Adventure Begins

The last week has been a blur while we prepared for our annual jaunt  north to Canada on the True Love.  Jasmine, David and James made a last-minute trip home to find a house for their mid-August move back to Seattle. They decided last Thursday to fly out on Saturday.  With the help of Katherine Ghiglionne, a wonderful friend and very talented Seattle real estate agent, they were able to find the perfect house.

The Kids

They are now “pending” on a wonderful house in north Seattle and the Captain and First Mate got to enjoy a bonus grandparent fix with Baby James.  He is growing so fast and is so interactive now.  We can’t wait to have him and his parents back here full time.

Jim and I began our vacation yesterday afternoon by cruising to Poulsbo to enjoy the July 3rd fireworks there in Liberty Bay.  Ben and Lisa Slivka joined us on the first leg of our trip from Elliott Bay Marina bringing on board their alacrity and a collection of wonderful wines.Image

Bathed in sun we all enjoyed the quick jaunt to Poulsbo where we launched the dingy and the kayaks.  The Captain piloted the dingy to pick up two more friends, local Poulsbo residents Andrew Coulson and Kay Krewson to join our gathering.

Although we had munched all afternoon on hummus, chips, nuts, truffle cheese and pears, we were still able to enjoy our grilled salmon and  vegetables accompanied by the wonderful collection of wines.



With the sunset and darkness came the fireworks.

The pyrotechnics begin with  the private fireworks surrounding us from every direction.  The Captain decided to test our flares and we all decided that they would be remarkably ineffective in a true emergency given that they only stayed up in the air for about 20 seconds.  When we get a chance we need to buy the better flares that use a small parachute to slow their descent.

At 10:22 the Poulsbo display began!  While listening to Jazz and enjoying Kay’s cookies we oohed and ahhed throughout the display.

After saying our goodbyes the Captain returned our guests to the nearby shore where Andrew and Kay dashed Ben and Lisa to the Seattle ferry with only seconds to spare.

The Captain and First Mate rallied to bring up the dinghy, clean the dishes and prepare for a dawn departure to ride the tide north to Samish Island where we plan to spend the afternoon and evening with Doug, Julie, Chad, & Dani, as well as our friend Dick Spink, at the Wallace family’s beachfront home there.

While cleaning the dishes we discovered that the hot water tank was not working without running the main engines.   We are hoping it is just the fuse.

Happy Independence Day everyone!

The Captain & First Mate of the True Love