What do you DO all day?

What do you DO all day?

This is a question that we get asked quite a lot by people who aren’t familiar with the cruising lifestyle, so I thought I would tell you about our day today.  Of course every day is different, but this is a day in the life:

We are in Desolation Sound and anchored in Squirrel Cove, which is a large anchorage.  The weather here has been perfect for the last week, sunny and warm. The water temperature here is in the 70’s.  

 I wake up first, like most days, Ralph is up first, like most days.  Charlie and I lounge for a little while and I read a couple chapters of my latest book (title is “north of normal” – kind of a fascinating read). Ralph puts on the water for coffee.  I convince Charlie to get up so I can make the bed and then we head out in the kayak so he can have a shore trip.  There is nowhere here for me to get off the kayak but Charlie is used to that so I just go to a good place and he jumps off so he can run around for a while.  As we head back to the boat I see that Ralph has decided to row out and join us in our new dinghy, which is a Walker Bay 8.  We want to get a closer look at the entrance to the lagoon that is at the end of this cove, which has a short section of rapids.  We have a good tour but don’t try to enter the lagoon as one could get stuck in there depending on the tide.

Back on the boat, I prepare breakfast while listening to satellite radio.  By the time we drink our espresso, eat breakfast, putter around and clean up it is almost 11 am.  Ralph does some work on the windlass prototype he has designed and installed on the boat while I prepare for a shore excursion.  I rearrange and check our food supply, collect all the trash and recycling and gather the laundry in a very large dry bag.  About 12:30 we load up the dinghy and motor a couple of miles away to the town of Squirrel Cove. 

At the dock we meet an older man who is bringing in books to donate to the tiny book exchange.  He feels grateful for the books because once he was very ill here and spent 6 weeks at the dock recovering and reading every book and magazine. Such a neat guy. 

In town we go to the laundromat, get awesome burgers and fries from the Flying Squirrel takeout window,

Lake swimming

Friends caught and prepared these mussels and clams. Delicious!

walk Charlie and grocery shop.  The market is small and unfortunately their supplies are low.  We are able to get some frozen meat and a few other things to replenish our stores.  

With everything done we head back to the boat at about 4 pm.  Only a few moments after we get back we see a boat approaching and it is some friends we made a couple of years ago up here – Bill, Paddy and Libby (their pup) – we invite them over for happy hour.  We catch up over snacks and gin & tonics with no ice – ice is something we haven’t seen aboard Toga for a while.  Turns out we are both heading to the same place next so we make loose plans to get together again in a day or two.

We are both hot so we decide to take a swim and then rinse off with fresh water on our swim platform – we have a shower there for that purpose.  We spend some time putting away our groceries and clean laundry and then Ralph takes Charlie to shore for his evening shore leave.  We’ve had a lot to eat today so we just have a poached egg on toast for dinner at 9 pm.  

So – that’s about it! We are having a great time.  Sometimes we look at each other and talk about how wonderful this is! I’m trying to add some photos but the available bandwidth is an issue. Hope you are all enjoying summer.  XXOO

Not much to report

Not much to report

Hi friends! Long time, I know.  We drove up to BC and we’ve been in the boat yard about 10 days.  We had a very nice drive up and have had mostly very good weather (very hot right now) since we got here, with the exception of a wind storm that was pretty powerful.  Feels kind of scary when you are living in a boat that is standing on supports in the yard.

Things are going as they seem to go with boat work, which is forward and backward on the progress toward getting back in the water.  For example, we recommissioned our domestic water system and while trying to get all of the air bubbles out, the pump failed.  We were able to fix it, but the point is that quite a few unexpected tasks arise along with the expected ones.  During the winter at home, Ralph works on projects to bring here to install/replace things aboard.  He is busy every day working on those tasks.  I am less busy than he is and my tasks are arguably less interesting (more domestic in nature), but we enjoy our days.  We make plenty of time for relaxation and fun. Springtime here is truly beautiful, and we enjoy the antics of all of the different birds around here from Eagles to Geese.  

Based on the way things are going, we think it will be 2-3 weeks unti we are back in the water and off for our summer cruise.  Talk to you soon!

Full functioning galley

Found this fun store where they have just about any food for man or beast you can think of in bulk

One of my jobs is to try and keep Charlie reasonably clean. It’s quite dirty here. This is a do it yourself dog wash, which is a great idea.

There are some shallow areas in the river by the boat yard. This is the first of two sailboats we have seen grounded since we got here. The tides are considerable too.

Spring in BC – so pretty

Cooking on board is pretty much like at home for us. This pizza turned out pretty well. Kudos to the chef!

Celebrated my 49th birthday last week with friends – fun party!

A recently completed project – replacing our shaft seal. If you think this looks easy and quick – guess again!

Ralph’s usual place these days – the engine room

Corn, Cows and Coffee

Corn, Cows and Coffee

Ralph, Charlie and I decided that it would be fun to take another long road trip after we put Toga to bed at Shelter Island boatyard outside of Vancouver.  We spent a little over two weeks cleaning, sorting, organizing and winterizing the boat before we loaded up the car (amazing how much stuff we haul back and forth) and took off.  Since we took the route through Canada last year, we decided that it would be interesting to take a different route this time.  Our planned destinations were: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN to see my Amy and my Dad & Mary; Canton, (outside of Detroit) Michigan to visit Ralph’s brother Ken and his partner, Diane; and lastly, Belleville, IL to visit my brother Curt, my sister-in-law, Stacy and their family.  

We headed south through Washington and then east through Idaho, Montana, North Dakota and arrived in Minnesota.  The Fall colors were very striking this year, especially around the Idaho, western Montana area.  We thought Couer d’Alene was very lovely and would love to visit some time.  Our visit to Minnesota was fun and an added treat was that my niece, Jacie, was there!

We decided to drive from MN through Wisconsin and around the upper peninsula of Michigan, where Ralph spent time as a boy camping and visiting his relatives.  We traveled along the western shore of Lake Michigan and the eastern shore of Lake Huron and there were some really pretty sand beaches along the lakes.  We spent the night once in a really quaint throw back motor lodge and ate Pasties – a cornish meal that traveled from England with the miners that relocated to Michigan. While in Michigan we visited the University of Michigan campus, the Henry Ford Museum and had a wonderful stay at Ken and Diane’s house, visiting relatives and having a lovely time.  The weather was perfect most of the time!

From MI it was a one day drive to Illinois, where we had a sweet but brief visit with my brother’s clan.  They are so fun – we really enjoyed ourselves.  From IL we decided to take the southern route home – over 1800 miles.  That was a long slog.  Not much to say about it except there is a lot of open space here in the USA.  

On the trip we saw so much corn, so many cows (we know where the beef is) – and of course, no road trip is complete without that sweet companion, coffee. 

After stopping at home for a respite we got back in the car and visited Jacob in San Luis Obispo – had to get some Jake time in!

Now we are back home and trying to get our land-based lives back together.  We have many projects going on and are busy, as usual, but it’s great to be home.  We hope we can see all of you soon.  Thank you for following our blog and sharing our adventures! Love to each of you. 

Cows in SLO

Happy times

Curt and his lovely bride, Stacy

Noah (17 – my nephew), Abra (18) and Jacie (21) my nieces!

Ralph, Matt (Ralph’s great nephew), David (Ralph’s nephew), and Ken

Ralph, David (Ralph’s nephew), Ken and Mike (Ralph’s great nephew)

Ralph and Ken’s childhood home in Detroit

Ralph and Ken indulging me at the Henry Ford

Fiery colors everywhere

This one is for me – at the Henry Ford

Hot wheels at the Henry Ford


Majestic University of Michigan (Ralph’s alma mater)

Not a bad view

Fall foliage

This is a pastie, which contains beef, potatoes, onions and maybe carrots.

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan

Jacie and her pal, Charlie

Minnesota apples

Road tripping


Tired, but adorable, law students (Alexis in foreground, Amy and Kate in background)

Family Reunion #3

Family Reunion #3

We had a couple of rainy days at the dock at Refuge Cove after Erik left.  We had about a week to spend before we were scheduled to meet up with my Mom and Bob, my step-dad.  We decided to head to Rebecca Spit Marine Park, which is another favorite place of ours.  We anchored in the park and spent several nice days there – some rain and some sun. 

Rebecca Spit Park beach

Hiking on the trails at Rebecca Spit

Fall is here

View of Desolation Sound area

Foggy morning

Foggy morning

At anchor

Beautiful color this time of year

We headed around Cape Mudge, being careful to watch for the correct tides as we had read that the conditions can be severe there.  We encountered no problems, and it was”smooth sailing” – except we were motoring.  No wind to speak of.  We pulled into April Point Marina a day early and had the dock to ourselves.  The next day our family arrived and we were able to have several days of fun on Quadra Island. 

Cape Mudge

Mom and I at Rebecca Spit

More hiking at Rebecca Spit

Trail to Chinese Mountains

Mom and Bob

Good times with Mama


We hiked to Morte Lake – really beautiful trail

Pretty fungi

Again, our time with our family went by so quickly.  Mom and Bob went off to continue their tour of Vancouver Island and it was time for Ralph and I to head south for the year.  We decided to head to our familiar stop at Texada Island in the rain and stayed for two nights.  We had a fair day in the forecast so we spent a long day at sea and stayed for 2 nights at Gibsons Landing on the mainland, which we really liked.  Even though it was only a few miles away, we couldn’t pass up spending some time at Plumper Cove park, and we just about had the place to ourselves.  Then we took the 10 miles trip to Snug Cove on Bowen Island, which was lovely (even in the rain), and then on to False Creek in downtown Vancouver for a few days.  Ralph and our friend Henri took the boat to the Fraser River on Sept 26 and the boat was hauled out.  Meanwhile, Charlie and I picked up our car from storage and met the guys at the yard.  Since then we have been busy doing the usual clean up and prep for the winter.  Almost time to go home.  

This storm was chasing us from Texada Island to Gibsons – right after we tied up we hard a real thunderstorm

Dock at Gibsons – a beautiful double rainbow, hard to capture

Talk about waterfront living – Public Wharf at Gibsons

Public Wharf at Gibsons


Funny – Gibsons shopping

Sunset at Plumper Cove, Keats Island

Keats Island trails

More interesting fungi on Keats Island

Meeting new friends – a swan was unexpected. The bird was absolutely silent – looking for handouts I think.

Boaters Lounge at Snug Cove – so nice!

Snug Cove at Bowen Island

Anchored in the heart of Vancouver

Granville Island ducks and geese

Out of focus but you get the idea – Fall is upon us

Rental bikes in Vancouver – complete with helmets!

Looking better after a bottom cleaning

Toga is settling in for winter

Family Reunion #2

Family Reunion #2

After leaving Amy and Jacob in Sidney we headed north again, mostly against the wind.  We stopped over at Newcastle Island (Nanaimo) where we were lucky to run into our friends aboard ArielX.  That evening we went to the dinghy dock pub, which you can only get to by boat.  It was fun to go out for an evening. 

Dinghy Dock Pub (Protection Island, Nanaimo)

From Nanaimo we travelled to Pender Harbour and then on to Texada Island, a familiar route when traversing from the Gulf Islands to Desolation Sound. From Texada Island we went to Grace Harbour in Desolation Sound Park and then to Refuge Cove, where we picked up Erik, Ralph’s son, who arrived from Seattle via Seaplane.  

Erik arriving at Refuge Sound – he loved his flight!

From Refuge Cove we headed over to Roscoe Bay Marine Park and had a lovely time hanging out and hiking to Black Lake.  We were also invited to happy hour aboard Whale Song where we had a really nice time with Garth, Merrien and Nolan.  From Roscoe Bay we made a short trip in the rain to Melanie Cove in Desolation Sound Park.  We had a little rain but more sun, and the crowds had really thinned out.  Unfortunately the water has turned colder and it is not as tempting to swim.  

Lake above Melanie Cove

Melanie Cove is pretty empty this time of year

Jellyfish and reflected clouds


From Melanie Cove we visited Squirrel Cove and then Manson’s Landing – both on Cortes Island.  

Homemade pizza – forgot to take a photo of the finished product – it was pretty good


Beautiful, peaceful sailing

Fun with family!

Beautiful sunset at Squirrel Cove

Ralph, Erik and Charlie take a trip to the lagoon at Manson’s Landing

Making bread with our on board “bread maker”

Finished product – delicious!

Talking about sailing right of way rules

All too soon it was time for Erik to return to Refuge Cove for his flight back to Seattle and then back to LAX.  It was so fun to have him on board for a week and be able to show him a bit of the wonders of Desolation Sound, not to mention nightly trivial pursuit challenges!

Time to go back home for Erik – we had so much fun!

Toga at Refuge Cove dock

We’ve spent a rainy day at Refuge Cove relaxing.  Soon we will head west to April Point on Quadra Island for Family Reunion #3!

Family Reunion #1

Family Reunion #1

Our trip south from Desolation Sound included several really great days of sailing.  Most of the time it seems like we are fighting the wind, if there is any, so it was a treat. We left Squirrel Cove and stayed on the dock at Texada Island for a couple of nights, then headed to Pender Harbour, then to Nanaimo, and then to the Victoria area.  We got reservations at Victoria’s Inner Harbour, right in the heart of downtown, and docked easily at the front of the marina, right by the public way.  It was really fun to be there, so much energy with tourists everywhere and lots of street vendors and performers.  One strange thing that it seemed like, being at the dock, we were a part of the tourist attractions – lots of people walking the dock, looking in our windows, some taking photos of themselves with our boat – it was strange but OK.

Amy arrived first, and she and Ralph hit the Royal British Columbia museum right away and really enjoyed that.  Jacob arrived the next day and we all took a walk through old town and china town and enjoyed some time at a pub together (including Charlie, who has been in heaven with us all together).  Amy and I treated ourselves to High Tea at an old mansion, which was delicious.  

After three days in Victoria, we headed out to the southern Gulf Islands, first staying at tiny Russell Island where we kayaked and swam, even though the water was a brisk 59 degrees.  The next day we went to Montague Harbour and the kids and I took the pub bus to the Hummingbird – a treat not to be missed! Our last day in the islands was spent at Beaumont anchorage, with lovely hiking and kayaking.  

We are now at Port Sidney Marina after a fantastic sail here, topping 9 knots. We sadly bid Amy goodbye this morning.  Jacob and I plan to do a tour of a local distillery this afternoon before he leaves tomorrow.  It has been so wonderful to spend this time as a family, it has been very special for me and everyone has done well with the close quarters, etc.

Next up for us is that we are heading back up north again for family reunion #2! More on that next time.  

Puppy love

Sailing lessons

Beauty at Beaumont anchorage

Kayaking fun

Toga in the background


Swimming in the brisk water

Swiming fun with the lifeguard present

One family photo

High tea

Cute kiddos posing for Mom

This is Poutine, which we tried for the first time – delicious!

Sweet family

Pub life

I think she looks very royal

Where the action happens at the BC parliament

Rotunda at the BC parliament building

Victoria Inner Harbour with the Empress in the background

Victoria Inner Harbour


Fun and Sun in Desolation Sound

Fun and Sun in Desolation Sound

I realize that my last post was about 1 month ago.  There is very little internet up here.  We are still in Desolation Sound, having arrived a little over 3 weeks ago.  Since arriving we have been having mostly sunny, warm or hot weather.  We’ve met up with friends, hiked, swam, kayaked, caught crabs and prawns, hosted and attended happy hour gatherings and have had an all around good time! Since I wrote last we have been so many places – notably False Bay at Lasqueti Island, Hornby Island, Rebecca Spit, Von Donop Inlet, Walsh Cove, Toba Inlet, Melanie Cove, Grace Harbour and Squirrel Cove.  

We had planned to stay here a while longer, but we are heading south tomorrow to (hopefully) meet up with Amy and Jacob in about 10 days in Victoria.  I am hoping the photos here tell the story of what we have been up to – good old summer fun!

  • False Bay at Lasqueti Island – an honor kiosk for home made goodies

    Adorable cottage on Lasqueti Island

    Tiny post office at Lasqueti Island

    Cloudy but lovely sunset at Hornby Island

    Fantastic beach at Hornby Island

    Sunset at Rebecca Spit Park

    Grocery shopping crusing style – Ralph is a pack mule

    Best $8 I’ve spent all summer – a mosquito zapper

    Wild beach at Rebecca Spit

    Cute seals sunbathing

    Went through the passage safely

    Swirly water as currents are strong in Beasley Passage

    Readying for the big hike to Newton Lake

    Sceptres side tied at Waiatt Bay

    Trail to Newton Lake (near the Octopus Islands)

    View from Shallow Bay

    Strange things growing on trees in the forest

    Newton Lake

    Rewarded with a great swim in Newton Lake after a vigorous hike from Waiatt Bay

    When we left the dinghy it was out a ways in the water – tidal ranges are serious here

    Mother and baby seal at Waiatt Bay

Ariel X ahead of us at Toba Inlet

Anne and I being silly

Toba Wilderness Waterfall – we filled up our water tank with this delicious water

Hiking the trail to the waterfall at Toba Wilderness Resort

Fun racing against the crew of ArielX

Delicious fresh seafood

That squiggly line shows a great sail we had in the channel

Dinner aboard Toga with Anne and Henri serving freshly caught prawns – we hauled in 130 of them!

Lovely Black Lake in Desolation Sound Park

On the trail to Black Lake from Grace Harbour