October 27-28, 2019: Long Live the Queen! Exploring Victoria’s city

Absolutely terrifying! That’s how I felt about our attempt to moor the boat at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club guest dock in Cadboro Bay not far from Victoria BC! We left the silence of Reid Harbor at about 8:30 am, and as Walt steered Braesail south under partly cloudy skies, the wind at our tail rose from about 10 mph to over 30 mph, whipping up waves about 2 feet high that foamed and broke backward and rolled the boat about over the azure/pewter water on which the sun’s rays danced. The ride was exciting but not dangerous as the wind and current swept us along. The Yacht Club harbor master had told us to tie up inside the guest moorage area, but as Walt tried to turn the boat around to approach the dock shortly before noon, a strong wind gust caught it and wrenched it out of his control. I had the dock lines ready to tie, but the boat suddenly swung and headed between two lines of expensive yachts, straight for the end of the fairway where people were shouting and scrambling to help us avert disaster. Walt struggled against the wind at the wheel and with bow thrusters and forward and reverse gears to avoid hitting other boats, I scurried around the decks and shoved our boat away from those she seemed likely to impact and moved a fender back and forth wherever it appeared that Braesail was going to strike another boat, a post, or a dock, and thanks to extra dock lines, many fenders, and a great deal of heroic help from those on the docks and on their own boats, we managed to pull the boat alongside the dock at the end of the fairway and to lash her securely to it—WHEW!! Fortunately, Braesail did just fine, and no other boats were damaged. I’m sure that those who helped us had quite a story to tell friends and family after this adventure!!

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The windswept corner at RVYC

Once Braesail was secure, Walt walked up to the Customs Canada office (a London phone booth!!) to legalize our stay, but on the way, he didn’t notice a rope hanging at just the right height to sweep his glasses off his face and into the water—aaargh—what next?? At least he had no trouble with the Customs officials, and he has another pair of glasses that will do until a visit to Costco will be possible in a week.

It wasn’t long until the sailboat beside us was pulling out from its slip, but the skipper was having trouble because of the gusty winds. Walt and I helped him pull away safely and moor temporarily at the guest dock, and then he and his wife and another helpful boater (who asked, “Isn’t boating fun?” We replied, “Not always!”) assisted us as we moved Braesail to the guest dock as well. I’m SO thankful for the work of our Guardian Angels in the guise of the quick-witted, fast-footed mariners at the Yacht Club docks who saved our boat and their own boats as well from serious harm!

After a sandwich lunch, Walt took a very-much-needed nap, and I walked up from the marina to the Yacht Club building and then along one of the tree-lined streets nearby. Little wonder that this area is named “Oak Bay”–the oaks ARE magnificent! My walk took me past a number of palatial houses surrounded by vast, park-like grounds, and the leaf colors, at their autumnal peak, stood out against cerulean skies and water wherever I turned my eyes. The wind had lost some of its earlier energy but was still frisking about, the sun was dazzlingly bright and warm, and, after a wander through the Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s facilities, I returned to the boat refreshed and calmed after the morning’s adventures. Walt and I returned to the Yacht Club’s lounge for a small but very good “Happy Hour” meal, after which we found the information required for bus travel to Victoria for attendance at Christ Church Anglican Cathedral’s gorgeous worship on Sunday morning, and were very grateful and glad to relax on a wind-free evening!

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Oaks on Beach Drive looking toward Cadboro Bay

Another gloriously clear and sunny day provided yet more reasons for thanksgiving on Sunday, Oct. 27! A combination of a local bus and our feet transported us through some very rich, very beautiful neighbourhoods to the Anglican Cathedral, where a peal of bells greeted us and the choral and organ music were superb! The choir sang the unaccompanied “Mass for Four Voices,” by William Byrd, which was sung at our wedding nearly 48 years ago! A friendly couple guided us to Coffee Hour following the Eucharist, and, while chatting, we learned that they know long-time friends of ours from Walt’s seminary days in Toronto!

We spent a delightful afternoon walking around downtown Victoria, lunching at a Korean restaurant; passing along beside a Halloween street fair where people of all ages in all sorts of costumes were enjoying music, games, food, crafts, etc.; and visiting the well-known Murchie’s and Silk Road tea shops to replenish our supply of unusual (and high quality) tea. We walked back to the Cathedral for Choral Evensong, which was gorgeous—the choir sang music that Walt and I sang when we were members of the Trinity Chapel Choir during Walt’s Toronto seminary time, and the sermon topic was the nature and value of music as a thoroughly intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and theological art to which all other arts aspire.

After stopping at a grocery store for a few items, we caught the bus back to Cadboro Bay to enjoy a relaxing evening of reading and accompanying delicious Nanaimo bars (one of our favorite confections) with our newly-purchased tea.

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