Category Archives: Sailing

Finally we can sail again!

Every Spring or Summer we get the boat ready for another season of sailing, as much as my on-call schedule will allow. And every year Marc and I wonder if boating will become easier with Gabrielle. And what will be the new challenges of cruising with a child. One year, we tried to go out in lumpy seas when she was quite small (under two) and she protested vehemently. One year she was fairly easy to string up in a jolly jumper but whenever it came to docking or anchoring, she required immediate attention. The result was that every time we were pulling into a dock or an anchorage, it was to the symphony of a screaming baby.


Last year, the couple times we actually got out to sail, she fell asleep every time the engine was on. This year is another new chapter. She’s model 4.5 Sailing Fantastico. She insists on helping us steer.


But she looks behind us when she steers. She was pleasant and curious when we put up the sails and shut off the engine. She didn’t mind the heeling over as well sailed.


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But she is firmly into the destination and not just the cruising aspect. When can we get off and explore? So we aimed our sails for Prevost Island and off we went. IMG_8696 IMG_8704 IMG_8710 IMG_8717 IMG_8740 IMG_8743 IMG_8762

(Above is a weird goat sheep creature we saw on the island. We assume it’s wild and roaming around. We were perplexed by the horns and the breed.)

We hiked around the island for a couple hours. Model 4.5 is terrific at hiking with very little whining. We appreciate her strong legs and her repaired heart. Our biggest challenge throughout our sail and explore was her aversion to wasps right now. She was stung for the first time a week or two ago, and since then there has been a lot of trepidation around these tiny insects. So we are learning new parenting skills at how to teach her about real risk vs. perceived risk. Real Danger vs. Perceived Danger. I wish so much, as I have many times before, that my particular kid came with her very own manual.


Sailing is my happy place. I feel like it fills up my soul. I hope the summer is giving you time for the things that replenish your soul too!

The Day after Kitty.

11154738_10152897368202807_3102775492272619754_oThe day after Kitty’s 5th birthday was my birthday. It was also the day that she died.

The morning that Kitty’s body was found beside her family’s boat, my body went… numb. Waves of grief wash up , filled me and spilled out.

Then I made two pots of soup, baked two loaves of bread and made a double batch of cookies. It was clearly a bit neurotic of me. But I needed to do something.

As I sat down to a bowl of soup and a piece of bread, I realized I had made the soup for her, for them, but also for me. After a great sorrow, we need nourishment.

I think of the half-drawn art that Kitty must have left, the pockets of play tucked away in corners. And as I folded Gabrielle’s laundry, the grief overwhelmed again. Kitty’s clothes that Cidnie had generously sent up to us months ago.

Once I joined this tribe of women, when I moved onto a boat in a very pregnant state, I did not know we would laugh together, cry together, bleed together. I didn’t know these friendships would be life-shaping. But they are.

Here are some words from other friends as we process the hole left behind. A giant gaping hole fringed in sparkles, ribbon, bubbles and balloons. All the bits left over from a great birthday party.






As the days get smaller


As the days get smaller, shorter, quieter, and the nights become darker and longer, we move toward our woodstove, I pick up my knitting, and increase my vitamin D dose. But it’s not like we are hibernating! Our bears in this part of the world don’t even hibernate, so why should we?


There is still time for a bit of sailing, a bit of apple picking, a bit of mushroom hunting. IMG_3137 IMG_3138 IMG_3143 IMG_3149

My child, since she was small, has played with non-toys. Primarily vegetables. Maybe it is because we have such an abundance. When she was wee, she rolled around tiny squash, and now she clusters them into little families. She finds a green onion husk and suddenly it is a microphone and she is a rock star. Well, I already knew that!

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It’s funny as a doula entering my third year, I am noticing patterns when babies come. I theorize to myself that when it is cold outside, babies are often late because they are gaining that every ounce of insulation from their mamas. And when it is hot outside, babies come earlier because they don’t need the extra time. This is not substantiated by any evidence whatsoever. It is just a quiet observation as I begin to wonder about patterns with babies. This is the third Hallowe’en that I have been at a birth. Why do babies wait for Hallowe’en?


I hope you are finding yourselves moving toward your own Winter patterns as November sucks us in.

Happy Smaller Days, friends.

Need to be: Sailing!

When the husband decides that a Sunday afternoon is a perfect day to take a break from building his canoe, whatever previous plans were made, they get chucked out the window. Because sailing is one of the things that I like doing best.

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She claimed it was Her Boat. And that she was the one who got to drive.

Except she couldn’t see where she was going. Nor did she try. She just sat with her head down, and steered with ne’er a thought as to direction or course.

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We toodled around a bit and found that there was a serious lack of wind. Where do you go when there is no wind? To the pub of course. On Saturna Island!

But we stopped to explore the double-Decker bus cafe first because, well that is just what the Gulf Islands have in their repertoire.

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After all that exploring, were you as thirsty as us?

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Then we motored home, unloaded the boat and settled in when a baby decided to come three weeks early and off I went.

Shoulda’ sailed over, right?

A Sailing Weekend to Wallace Island


When I was a kid, my parents used to take my brothers and I to Wallace Island. Often it would be the first weekend in a sailing season that we would be out. My mom used to do Easter egg hunts along the rocky beach and arbutus ridges of this beautiful island. Only accessible by boat or float plane, this island is still one of my favourite spots to spend a weekend.


With rain forecast for the whole weekend and our friends who were set to join us experiencing multiple delays, we headed up anyway, armed with woollies, long underwear and lots of tea.


It only rained on us on our way home and the rest of the weekend alternated between clouds and blazing sun. This is the first weekend that my on-call work allowed us to take the boat out and it was so good to be on the water. I felt a bit of trepidation about taking Gabrielle out as she hadn’t been overnight on the boat since she was a wee baby. But she did great. As soon as we got moving, she just wanted to curl up in the V-berth in her nest. Whether she slept or not, she found it happier to be snuggled up there with her books and her baby doll rather than try to walk around the cabin.





She got to see a mama raccoon and three babies along the shore as well as countless other raccoons scouring old campsites. A couple days before we went sailing, she found an old net on the beach so it became her mission to catch a fish with her net. Every waking moment, she wanted to have her net and dip it in the water so that a fish with absolutely no survival skills could lazily swim into the net saying “Catch me! Oh won’t you please catch me!” And she could hoist it up triumphant.

It did not happen.



There was a lot of attempts and Marc managed to scoop a fish and then she wanted to let it go right away because she felt bad for the fish flopping around in the net.















It was a great trip. Not much wind. We unfurled the jib once for a while to fly it more like a flag stating that Yes, we are in fact a sailboat. On the way back, in the rain, there was a good swell and some wind but it was right on our nose and we were happy to power through and just get home.

We came home with a list of boat projects for the Winter, as always, and renewed enthusiasm that we have to just squeeze a couple more times out on the boat in between my on-call schedule. There were moments when a full-blown toddler meltdown would occur in a deadly quiet anchorage where I wondered, should we really be doing this? But it was outweighed by the “Ahhhhhh” moments that we sighed and sat back in the cockpit with our candle lantern, stirring phosphorescent-illuminated water and watching the stars that yes, it was definitely worth it.