Starts with a first step. My first step began with a bus ticket from Port Townsend. Five hours later, I reached the Seattle’s airport. St John, in Canada, lays just on the exact opposite side of the continent.
I even managed to miss a plane during one of my two stops. When it starts this badly, it always finishes well! And then, like after a long night at the wheel on a stormy sea, I landed on the east coast of Canada. It was more than 4 000 miles away. I was dead tired.
And no, I have not done that with my bicycle even if it would have been better for the planet. Still, I took just a one way ticket. And I plan to sail home riding the wind on the back of my house. Finally not so bad for the planet all that together!
My anchor in Newfoundland is Judy, a young 80 years lady. She greats me first by calling my name all over the airport, then by wildly waving her arms. Her big and warm smile showed that I had finally reached port!
Lost ticket and lesson learned…
Out from the airport to a good meal and a comfortable night. At the pay-booth Judy searches for her parking ticket. No ticket. Several cars behind us make me nervous. I imagine myself in the New York jungle, even in quieter Seattle with frantic commuters returning home after a long flight from somewhere. Three or four minutes later and Judy is still looking for her parking entrance. Amazingly, the clerk behind his desk doesn’t panic either. Even better, he rests both elbows on the counter and starts talking with Judy about one thing or another. Wonderful country where, believe it or not, no one is finger pointing, using like mad the horn or even trying to squeeze between the gate and her car. They just wait patiently with an old British phlegm. I feel bad both for poor Judy and for all these customers in line behind us. Finally, the gatekeeper asks her:
“When did you get there?”
At about 6:15…
“OK, I will issue a new ticket and bill you from there. ”
Just before completing this task, Judy retrieves her lost ticket. She shows it triumphantly to the employee.
The ticket displays 6:16.
They both exchanged a big smile!
I am still waiting for an angry driver, late for dinner, activating both his horn and his high blood pressure in furious exasperation. Another country, another way of life. We travel also to enjoy our differences.
Getting back to Breskell
An awesome diner and a good night rest at Judy’ house before finally getting back to “Breskell” the next morning. And she was there, the old yellow lady, waiting patiently for me. I was so pleased to see her again that I kissed her hull. I love her so much… You may not understand my feeling, you plastic boat owners. Built your own boat first and start traveling some stormy seas on her deck. Later, we can talk again about fondness!
My first feeling is good, comforted by a quick survey . The inner parts of Breskell seem to be dry. As a kind of preventive medicine and to stop the progression of mildew when water stagnate inside, I drilled four holes in the hull last September.
These opening prevent any inside water accumulation. A little “plastic reconstruction” with fiberglass and epoxy, and my hull is going to heal nicely from this preventive surgery. Now, I admit that few sailors will drill voluntarily holes in their hull. With my open hatch last year, I have been caught in Greenland with water inside. I did not expect the same surprise today.
Another surgery is scheduled for later. A major one. For holes that are not mine. And not tiny either…
For now, I start by cleansing the operational field, meaning pulling everything outside. One hour later, I had a big mess on deck. A landlubber nightmare . Nothing unusual for any boater during his springtime commissioning.
I know where everything belongs. A well organized sailboat, is a boat where you can find a small screw or an engine part in less than 5 minutes. “Breskell” belongs to this category.
Two solar panels gone with the wind.
Sadly, after a more detailed survey, I feel discouraged . Two solar panels are missing from my rear arch. I am upset, really upset by this lost. I reported my discovery to the yacht club. In the office or in the yard, none of the managers share my initial suspicion.
“Your panels have not been stolen. Nothing had ever being hijacked from our boatyard. Gone with the wind may be?”
Every boat hauled in this yard is dis-masted. A safety precaution against winter storms. Smart people all these managers. I trust them.
“So far away West you never heard about our last November storm right? Just take a look on the internet. Google for November 15, 2018 in Newfoundland.”
Damn it! I know the wind in Newfoundland and Labrador can be very powerful in winter. Still, in mid November 2018, Newfoundland and Labrador were in the throes of the “most intense storm” on the planet, according to a meteorologist in Gander. Well, may be not the most intense on earth but enough wind to pick up easily my solar panels and send them back to the North Pole. Wild, whipping winds gusting upwards of 130 km/h were causing huge waves, delays, cancellations and closures all across the province. And 10,000 customers in this province were without power because of this severe weather and winds, according to Newfoundland Power. And that was just one of the numerous storms this winter in the area.
Live, learn and remove not only your mast but your solar panels when winterizing your boat in St John.
First night on board
For now, let’s enjoy my first night on board. What a thrill!
All the familiar noises even without a mast and with the boat resting quietly on her berth. The wind stirs the wood on deck and brushes lightly the side of my hull. I have finally returned to the familiar surrounding of my good old boat for a dreamless night.
Next morning, it’s up on deck at 6: 00with no time to lose and a long list of works to complete: rails, lifelines, batteries… The next night comes so soon I don’t even realize it’s late. Back to bed captain, dead tired again but so happy. I spare some time to communicate with my family and my friends via email, Facebook and my website. A promise I also made to my sponsors, supporters and followers. I even worked hard to extend my day. Not sure about the efficiency of this last task!
Soon, my crew will join the boat and give me a helpful hand. Together, we will start planning a mind-blowing expedition: sail an home made yellow wooden boat safely through the North West Passage, then toward the Bering seas, down to Alaska and south beyond the sunset to Port Townsend.
For now, take care and follow us also on Facebook.
Thanks again everyone for helping this one small first step toward an extraordinary journey.
And don’t forget that, together, we need another step, a giant one, to make our planet great again…