Saturday, April 12, 2008

Shiriri Saga #11 In the Eye of the Storm.

At Port Renfrew

We are feeling a little nervous as we point Shiriri`s bow away from the sheltered inland waters of the Strait of Georgia and out towards the open waters of the Pacific. We are motoring as fast as we can go up the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the misty light of a summers morning because the forecast is for thirty knot winds in our face if we cannot get past the rugged outer coast, around Cape Beale and into the harbour of Bamfield by noon. Shiriri plows along through the big swells and tide rips and if we look away from checking off the lighthouses that mark our progress, we can see the curved horizon of the open Pacific. We cling far too close to the reef strewn coast as if it would protect us from the unfamiliar world out there.

There are other reasons for our unease besides the great uncertainty that the ocean represents: Elaine, Gwyn and I have left Heather with Anne in Victoria to have the heart procedure done when her name finally comes to the head of the wait line and my elderly mother has just had a slight stroke. We seem to be travelling in the ominously quiet center of a dangerous storm that circles just over the horizon. We know that we need the experience of the open ocean that a voyage along the west coast of Vancouver Island will give us and we also know that the constant delay of our ocean sailing plans is sapping our resolve. We need to have this adventure to maintain momentum but are realizing that there are many different kinds of storms that must be weathered if we hope to even just keep our heads above water.

For the present however, we live in the needs of the moment and struggle around the final Cape into calmer waters and eventually to a mooring at Bamfield. A few minutes later the first fierce gust of wind whistles in our rigging to tell us that it is twelve noon on the dot.

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