Change of Plans...again

A handful of weeks ago I wrote a little blurb about how we were having a tough time coming to grips with the fact that we have no place to be...ever. No plans. No commitments. Nothing. We are just us. Nothing more, nothing less. Everyday we get up and we look at stuff. That is our look at stuff and then go somewhere else and look at more stuff. The problem with looking at stuff is that sometimes this stuff that we are looking at today looks just like the last stuff that we looked at yesterday.
Which brings me to where we are today. We have just spent 12 days in the Broughton's. This region is incredibly beautiful. It's the real-deal wilderness. Not quite Alaska but it's pretty darn close. There are tons of islands, inlets, sounds, and coves to explore. The problem that we had with most of these islands, inlets, sounds, and coves is that there is almost no place to get off of the boat. There are no roads and almost no trails (other than bear and cougar trails), there are no towns, and there are no people other than the boaters and fishermen that are around. There are a handful of marinas which all had there own personality and were really pretty cool, but beyond that, what people do here is look at scenery, hopefully see wildlife, and try to catch some fish.

We aren't quite old enough to sit on the boat and look at scenery all day. Don't get me wrong, we love us some good scenery but we really like to get to a place, get off the boat, and hike or explore. Not happening here. Most of the anchorages have an extremely rugged shoreline with thick trees and brush that come all the way down to the water. You couldn't get onto dry land if you tried. So what most people do is go to an anchorage and hang out on the boat and relax. They'll read a book while taking in the scenery...take a the fish that they just caught...all while hanging out on the boat. Then they will go to the next spot and start the process all over again.

We tried this for a handful of days and would say to each other “Wow! This is amazing! Look at all these trees! Look at those islands! Look at those mountains! Where are all the bears?” Then we would go to the next spot and guess what we would see? More trees, more islands, more mountains, and still no bears. After a while all of these islands and trees start to look the same, especially when we can't get off of the boat. I'm really not trying to sound like I am complaining because it really is incredibly beautiful. Awe inspiring really. Just...well...boring. Did I say that out loud? Yep...we were bored.

When we get bored, we typically take it out on whoever is near us. Since there are only two of us on this boat, we only have one choice of who gets our wrath. I will generally mope around and say things like “woe is me”. Brenda is the queen of pestering. She likes to poke and prod and do things like shoot rubber bands at me while I am trying to read. Or she'll change her clothes so she is wearing the exact same outfit as me and say “don't you love it when we match?” and then sit as close as possible to me so she can purposefully invade my personal space (we really don't have any personal space on the boat). Or sometimes it gets even worse...we'll talk about our feelings...ugh.

We have typically stayed away from marinas unless we needed easy access to groceries or wifi. It has made us feel a little more on our own and like real adventurers. But up in the Broughton's, we craved movement and socializing. We spent a few nights in a few different marinas so we could at least walk on the docks and talk to some of the other boaters. The majority of the marinas are floating in a bay. That's it...just floating in a bay. There are no roads so the marinas don't have to connect to shore because no one is going to a parking lot because they can't drive here. Everything and everyone comes by boat or by float plane. They are really interesting little places. Floating towns that are empty for 9 months out of the year. And by town, I really mean just a place for boaters to hang out for a night. The marinas were really pretty cool. They all had some sort of pot-luck/happy-hour that helped get everyone together and make it pretty easy to socialize...we have met some really great and interesting people up here. 

The couple of hikes that we found in the Broughton's were described by the guidebooks as “grueling” or “an intense workout”. These guidebooks must have been written by the elderly who have no idea what kind of walking my wife needs to do to keep her sanity, which in turn keeps my sanity. She has to move. She goes nuts if she sits on the boat for too long. The hike that was called “grueling” was up a hill to a great lake but it was short for Brenda's we did it 5 times. Up the hill and down the hill...5 times. It was better than the rubber bands being shot at me.

After we did the hill 5 times, we went back to the boat and said “now what?”. We searched through the guidebooks for a new spot that would intrigue us but the places that we hadn't seen in the Broughton's all had the same stuff that we looked at yesterday...more trees, more mountains, more islands, and probably no bears. Since they were probably going to look just like the last trees, mountains, islands, and no bears as the last place, we decided to move on.

At this point, we hadn't been in a real town for over a month. We needed to stock up on some groceries and Brenda needed to get some walking in to break her out of her boredom. The nearest town was Port McNeil on Vancouver Island and was about 50 miles away. This was the perfect amount of sailing that would break me out of my boredom. We have actually motored everyday for the last month. We have had either too much wind in the wrong direction or no wind at all so there hadn't been any sailing on our sailing trip for one whole whole month of listening to the rattle of the diesel for hours on of my least favorite things. 

So off to Port McNeil we go. To get there we have to cross Queen Charlotte Strait...another big body of water that is notoriously rough. Queen Charlotte Strait opens up to the North Pacific and funnels any big and rough weather from up North right down its mouth. I was feeling like a good sail through some rough ocean would do me just right. The weather was calling for 15-25 knots of wind for our crossing...perfect. That would be just enough wind to get our excitement level up. We got zero knots of wind and pea soup thick fog...another 8 hours of motoring with our eyes glued to the radar screen.

Now I was in a serious funk. No sailing on my sailing trip makes me almost angry. It's kind of like driving in rush-hour traffic. I get tense...I start gripping the steering wheel extra tight...I'm yelling at kelp that's floating by, “get out of my way! I have places to go!” The problem with yelling at kelp is that it really can't hear me. No one can hear me except Brenda. She thinks I am going crazy. Since she was a mental health professional and knows what crazy looks like, she takes out her file that she has been keeping on me and takes down some notes and says quietly to herself, “interesting.” She then says to me “now tell me how that makes you feel”, as she is writing. This file that she has been keeping on me is getting rather thick. Now I'm starting to wonder if she is only with me because she is doing a field study on unstable sailors, or if I am just a charity case that she can “fix”, or if she is going crazy herself and actually just doodling in the file that she is keeping on me. Now I am depressed and angry and bored (I need to get into that file and see what is really going on).

We get to Port McNeil and get our groceries, check our email, do some laundry, etc. All the stuff that needs to get done is done. Where do we go from here? That is the question. We have a couple of days to figure this out because there are gale warnings coming from the North and gale warnings coming from the South and the weather isn't supposed to ease for a few days.

We had originally planned on working our way south around the outside of Vancouver Island. The only problem with going on the outside is that we would have to motor for another 10 to 12 hours to get up and around the north end of the Island. Another 10 to 12 hours of motoring would make me literally insane...yes, completely nuts. Going south on the inside of Vancouver Island would take us passed all of the scenery that we have worked our way through for the last 10 weeks. Do we really want to see all of that again on the inside route...or do we want new scenery and new adventures on the outside route??? This was a really tough decision for me because I felt like we had to keep going on our “plan”...but the motoring...ugh.
This takes me back to what we currently “are”. We are just us. No place to be and no time constraints. We can go anywhere we want and do anything we want. We are still having a hard time remembering these facts. Just because we have a “plan” doesn't mean we have to stick to it. Plans are like rules...they are made to be broken. I currently want a good long sail and Brenda currently wants to hike and swim. We really liked Desolation Sound and it has everything that we currently want. It has really warm water and tons of hiking trails so Brenda can hike and swim to her hearts content. There are stiff northwest winds blowing for the foreseeable future so I can sail all the way motoring needed. Both of our desires to be met...check.

So I am now writing this from where we are anchored at the Octopus Islands. We sailed all the way here. 100 miles of some of the best sailing in my life. We had 10 to 30 knots of wind from directly behind us that pushed us all the way here. Sometimes we had too much wind and sometimes we had not enough wind but for the most part, it was just right. We sailed next to 3 different pods of Orca whales while we were on our way and we didn't even have to use bait to lure was amazing! I am now jacked up on wildlife juice and sailing needs are met and I feel incredible. Brenda is currently making lunches for our hike up to a beautiful lake that is just the right temperature for a summertime optional. Her needs will soon be met.

We have been in the Octopus Islands before and soon we will be in Desolation Sound where we have also been before. This is what we do. We go places and we look at stuff...even if we have already been here and seen this stuff before. It is great.


  1. Whales? Finally! Hope you got some pictures or video? Looking forward to seeing you soon. xoxo

  2. Just around the corner on the north tip of Vancoover island is a park, full of trails and cool stuff that you never ever would have expected. Further south on the outside there are nymphs and hot springs and furry little sea otters. Really! ...and you missed it!

  3. And I forgot to say there is a wilderness fishing camp where they mix margaritas with a chain saw engine.

  4. Darn....."change of plans" had me in suspense.....I thought for sure you guys were going to sail back to Seattle and hang with Ann, Eric, and Bjorn....we could go to wild waves!?!


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