And at 3:00 AM

Braesail tied up in Anacortes, after a fairly fast, but uneventful run from Vancouver. It was easy—except for the beginning, where it was dark and Martin had to play dodge-em with a whole anchorage of large ships. Fortunately, radar is just the tool for the task and it was up to the effort. And it was easy—except for the end, where tankers and the Marathon Oil Refinery (locally called “Mordor” after the place of fire in The Lord of the Rings) have a level of light pollution that make it nearly impossible to see lighted buoys and land features, making navigation incredibly difficult, particularly when you end up having to shoot down a mile-long, 50′-wide channel to your marina. A few feet on either side of the channel, and your boat will be stuck in the mud—literally. But we made it, and slept long the next morning.

We thought about running Martin up to Blaine, to make it back into Canada, by land, within the 72-hour limit, but then decided against it. The time at the dock gave us some time to run a few errands. On Thursday, we all drove up to Bellingham to a place where we could get PCR tests with results guaranteed in time (for a big fee….). At 11:00 we started the clock ticking for the latest possible arrival in Canada at 11:00 on Sunday morning.

The most dangerous thing on a sailing journey is a SCHEDULE.

Every cruising sailor from Sinbad on!

After testing, we investigated a possible location for Martin to host a “lunch and learn” event for local architects, and then went over to St. Paul’s Episcopal for Walt to practice for Christmas Eve services. After choir rehearsal we drove back to the boat for the night. The next day Walt drove back to Bellingham to play three Eucharists and two carol services.

Why not just do what we did on Sunday—move Braesail to Bellingham? That’s a great question! We found, as we left Bellingham last Sunday that Bellingham Bay is crowded with crab traps, not all of which are marked to standard, and they can be hard to see in the best of light. In the dark they are impossible to see. The routes out of Anacortes are deeper water so as soon as you are out of the harbor area, you don’t have traps with which to deal.

At 1:30 on Christmas morning, Walt climbed back on Braesail. Martin had had a good sleep, and Lorelette hadn’t shut down for the night. The forecast on Thursday night was for relatively quiet conditions, so we all decided to take off immediately rather than catch another couple of hours of sleep. Walt took the first watch and made an easy run to the north end of Lummi Island, at which point, he turned the boat over to Martin and Lorelette and crawled into bed.

The second most dangerous thing to do is not to check the weather before you leave harbor

Those same cruising sailors

After a couple of hours of sleep, Walt woke up to a very rough ride. Looking out the aft window of his cabin, he saw completely horizontal lines of snow in the stern light. What happened to that lovely weather?

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