August 28, 2017: A love-lorn seagull and many jellies

We began another sun-drenched day with Morning Prayer, and were raising Braesail’s anchor from the thick mud by about 9:15 am. Walt piloted the boat out of the Octopus Islands Marine Park and down a channel to Surge Narrows and Beazley Passage, the eighth stretch of tidal rapids to be transited during the past few days. Because we were traveling through at slack tide, as one should do, Walt had a very easy steering job after seeing another whale spout (but no whale), and we soon entered Whiterock Channel, where range markers are placed to help one stay in the deepest part of the passage between the forested, rock-lined shores. It wasn’t long before were out of the channel and in spacious waters where the wind began to rise, but it was blowing either straight onto the bow of the boat or against its stern, making sailing very difficult, and so we continued to use the diesel engine to move the boat, charge the house batteries, and heat water.

Shortly before noon we turned into the very narrow Von Donop Inlet on Cortes Island in Desolation Sound, avoided a rock in the center of the channel about which we had read in the cruising guides but of which we saw no sign, and delighted in the beauty of the winding passage, which is much like “Hole in the Wall” and Whiterock Channel, but its peacock-blue waters are surrounded with undulating, thickly-wooded lower hills instead of sheer, soaring granite walls. It was such a hot day that I sat in the cockpit’s open doorway on the cabin top on the starboard side with the wind in my face and gratitude in my heart.

By about 12:15 we were anchored in 72-degree water in the peaceful cove at the head of the inlet together with a few other boats. Walt made cheese-and-pepperoni quesadillas for lunch and retired to the aft cabin for a nap. I worked on this blog post and then found a little shady spot with a slight breeze on Braesail’s starboard side deck, squeezed myself between the cabin top and the life lines at the edge of the hull’s top, and had a short nap too. After awaking I followed the shade around the boat’s sides, chipping and scraping off more of the peeling varnish on the toe rail and made good progress; it was fun to watch the cloud-like white jellies float by, and to observe a little seagull drama: a pert gray-and-white gull landed near the boat and began to drift, and within a few minutes, a smaller brownish gray gull landed and began to follow the first bird as it cruised lazily around Braesail. The second gull stayed a little to one side and behind the first one, and mewed plaintively every few seconds–“Please, please, don’t you know I love you?” Round and round the boat they paddled, until the first gull had finally had enough, and with a short cry, soared away. The smaller bird sat, silent and forlorn, for a few seconds, and then cried out and flew after the first–poor little thing! I hope their story will have a happy ending!

At about 6 pm, Walt, who’d been working on rewriting his Leuven conference presentation on the reconciliation of peoples for submission as a journal article, invited me to share our usual afternoon snack of chips and dip, over which we discussed the places we’d like to visit over the next several days some longer-range plans. I went back to work on the toe rail while Walt made lovely cold chicken salad for supper, and after cleaning up the galley I returned to work on this post and other writing. Hot chocolate and cookies served as our before-bed snack, and I returned to the cockpit at about 11 pm to zip up the side curtains, greet the Milky Way, the setting crescent moon, and my favorite constellations, observe two more meteors hurtling toward the ebony hills, and again watch the tiny dot that is the International Space Station sail swiftly across the sky before climbing down into the cabin and then into bed.