Sunday, November 14, 2010

How sweet the sound. Sailing Safari kati in Ganges Harbour

Easing down the narrow lane between boats tied two deep on the floats of the local dock takes some concentration this morning, but this is the forth time recently that Safari Kati has been out and all the old boating skills are seeping back into me. It is seven years since we sailed home in our big schooner Shiriri, five since she sold, and this new boat has been in a long refit to bring her back from an equally long period of neglect. She is not completely finished yet, but it is time to go sailing and get our confidence back!

Once out from behind the breakwater and into Ganges Harbour I raise the sails of our little 25` folkboat and hoist the outboard engine out of the water. Heather is aboard for the first time and is struggling a little with the tiller. Somehow it does not work quite the same as the wheel steering she was once so familiar with. The light northerly breeze wafts us slowly out of the harbour and I am glad for such a gentle re-introduction to boating for my wife. After arriving alive after a long difficult voyage home from Australia she has shown no interest in returning to the sea until now and I want this to be a happy experience for her. Going sailing alone is ok, but together is a whole lot nicer!

The wind dies behind an island, picks up a little in the outer reaches of the harbour and then drops again in the wind-shadow of Scott Point. Our outboard engine pushes us against the ebb current in Navy Channel, past Long Harbour and into a long bay on Prevost Island where we anchor and row ashore in the inflatable tender. We explore an old orchard, gather some apples and walk the trails until it is time to head home.

At anchor in Lyle Bay. Prevost Island
Once back in Ganges Harbour the afternoon sea breeze is kicking up whitecaps and Safari Kati heels a little more, fills her sails roundly and for the first time we hear her begin to speak. “Swoosh, aaaah”, she says as she rocks gently and presses the waves apart. Heather and I smile to hear this sweet voice of our new friend who has sat mute and abandoned for so many years.

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