We have chosen to make our departure for our Pacific voyage from Victoria`s Inner Harbour on the Labour Day weekend( Sept. 7) when there is a Wooden Boat Festival at the docks. Just backing Shiriri into a slim space between highly polished vintage yachts is stressful and the noise and crowds of curious onlookers is not the best for last minute jobs and especially our goodbyes to friends and family. Our pride and joy, Shiriri, that now has all her paint and cetol varnish in multiple layers to resist salt spray and tropical sun is splendid and practical in our eyes but does not measure up to the floating varnish advertisements that surround her. During our isolated up-coast summer we forgot that the work-boat standard we had struggled so hard to achieve would look, well, .... practical!
Finally the hardest goodbye for me is over ( saying goodbye to my frail old mom), we have topped up our fuel tanks and jerry cans with diesel and Heather, Gwyn and I motor out of harbour and turn right toward the place where Juan de Fuca Strait becomes the open Pacific Ocean. We motor out past Race Rocks lighthouse and start saying goodbyes to each familiar piece of landscape we pass. We say hello to a Canadian Navy ship in the strait that Anne is serving on, and imagine that future date when Gwyn and Anne will change places in San Diego. There is no fog, no head winds, no wind at all in fact and after several hours we anchor for the night at Port Renfrew.
We understand why so many voyages never successfully get launched. We have had so many impediments ourselves lasting over several years and now we are sharing our berths with the most difficult companion of all - fear! There is something about leaving the familiar shore that claws at the guts. Nevertheless, the next morning we hoist sail to a fresh breeze and angle across the entrance of Juan de Fuca for Cape Flattery and the beginning of our first passage down the coast to San Francisco. Shiriri is southward bound at last.