September 11, 2017: Sailing and praying

Sunday evening’s clouds had vanished and the sun was grinning happily by the time we began our Monday with bagels and raspberry scones, tea, and coffee. Walt had a phone conference at 9 am with the person organizing the journal for the Society of Scholar Priests, of which Walt is president, and by about 11:30, after Morning Prayer and some time spent reading and writing, we were motoring out of magical Pirates Cove.

Pirates Cove driftwood "jaws"
A shore near Pirates Cove’s entrance/exit is reflected in the amazingly transparent waters. I thought the large piece of driftwood in the center looked like a huge set of gaping jaws!
Pirates Cove cave and madrona
Leaving Pirates Cove: caves along the shore and a madrona (arbutus) tree at the left

Then, heading south in Pylades Channel and into Trincomali Channel, we found WIND–WOW!

We sailed for about two hours, with me at the helm and Walt trimming the sails; this was the first time that we’d had good sailing conditions for that long since we began our boat travels in early May. (One likes to have wind of sufficient strength and steadiness that’s also blowing in a useful direction relative to that in which one needs to travel; one should not be in desperate need of charging the ship’s batteries by running the diesel engine; it’s pleasant to be in relatively open water where there are few other boats with which to collide and to have sunny weather; and it’s very nice to be free of time constraints so that getting to a particular destination at a certain timee.g., proceeding down a channel or through a pass or tidal rapids at slack tide, or arriving at an anchorage before dark–isn’t of concern.) Sailing is SO quiet and lovely with only the sounds of the wind and the water and the occasional seabird!

Since we were heading into winds, varying from about 7 to 10 or 11 kts., in order to arrive at Clam Bay on Thetis Island, and it isn’t possible to sail directly into the wind, we had to tack (steer the boat’s bow across the direction of the wind) several times, with the sails being moved from one side of the boat to the other. This was my first opportunity to have more than a few minutes’ practice at steering Braesail under sail, I was very anxious, especially as wind speeds increased and the amount of the boat’s “heel” (tipping over to one side as the wind pushes it) did as well, but I became more comfortable over time with turning the helm, watching the instrumentation (wind speed and angle, boat speed–usually 3-6 kts.–and course over the water, etc.), and with trusting Walt’s instruction. By the time the wind began to die away and we turned on the engine to recharge our batteries (our solar panel helps but does not supply ALL of the batteries’ energy needs), I was quite tired and glad to give charge of the helm to Walt!

We dropped anchor in spacious Clam Bay at about 2:30, I made tuna salad sandwiches for a late lunch (we’d had apples as snacks on the way), we did a little reading (no connectivity in this anchorage), and we both took long naps in the aft cabin. I wrote answers to e-mails to be sent when possible and worked on this blog entry while Walt made us an Asian supper dish of rice, spicy sausage, and broccoli. KP duties done, I enjoyed a marvelous sunset,

IMG_20170911_194426806
Sunset in Clam Bay, Thetis Island
Sunset east in Clam Bay
Pastels bathe the eastern sky at sunset in Clam Bay

read about the anchorages we plan to visit over the next few days, shared tea and cookies with Walt, who’d showered and had been reading the detective novel he’s been working on for quite some time, and made my way to bed as a few stars began to blink sleepily above the bay. As I lay quietly in the gently-rocking boat, I prayed for all who have suffered on this date, in the past or in the  present: “Lord, have mercy!”

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