Toilets That Flush

That’s right, we’re back to our regular lives. Toilets that flush, hot water on demand, king sized bed, unlimited furniture that’s comfortable, internet access all the day all the time. A big washer, dryer, two refrigerators (and an ice maker!), the list of amenities we enjoy at home grows tiresomely long.

We miss the boat. Coming back to our house is always a difficult transition for us after a couple of weeks on the boat because in spite of all the amenities our land based home offers,  there is also a lawn to be mowed, a floor that needs vacuuming, and groceries to be bought. And even though it’s so much easier to take the car to Costco and stock up on groceries, it’s much more fun and adventurous to anchor in front of downtown Sidney, dinghy in to shore, and hike up the beach and down the street and lug everything back to Galapagos.  I guess we’re just crazy like that.

Galapagos waits in front of the public beach on the Sidney, B.C waterfront.

We had a wonderful, successful trip and I have over 500 photos to sort through. We got our anchoring routine down pat. I learned that the hot water heater works only when we’re tied to the dock. Whoops! We anchored out 100% of the time and remembered what it’s like to negotiate food storage sans refrigeration. Let’s just say that ice is expensive in the islands. I docked the boat in Poet’s Cove, choosing a dead calm day and plenty of room so I would have a good chance of complete success. It worked out great. And we’re getting the whole ‘docking this beast’ routine down in terms of who does what when Mike’s at the wheel and I’m doing the tying off. We’re learning. So far, so good.

On the Strait of Georgia.

Our route took us from Tacoma to Camano Island and then through Deception Pass for the first time ever. A ten hour day by motor got us to the island and anchored out for the evening. We continue to be amazed at how much faster this boat moves than our Cal 34. We had planned to meet up with a friend of Mike’s from work, who has a house on Camano Island. But alas, his cow was calving that day so they were not home. For some reason, that just cracked me up.

But regardless of cows, we had to pay attention to the timing going through Deception Pass.  For the uninitiated, Deception Pass is one of those places where you don’t want to be caught at the wrong time of the current cycle because you could find yourself with an opposing current of over 6 knots if you don’t pay attention. We had been through that area on the Victoria Clipper, but had never sailed (or motored) through it. The mother cow made it possible for us to make it up to the pass in time to go through without trouble. We had 1 knot of current with us and even with that, it was like Mr. Toad’s wild ride as Galapagos struggled to keep a strait course. A sailboat coming the opposite direction, against that same 1 knot of current, was stopped dead in the middle of the pass for awhile and I thought he was going to drift into the rocks, but he made it. I’m pretty sure current doesn’t tell the whole story in this place. It’s pretty ‘exciting’ to be sure.

Approaching Deception Pass. Fishermen fishing the currents appear to block the passage, but they don’t actually get in the way.

Once you get through the pass you are in the islands and that’s pretty sweet. We hit Rosario Strait at the wrong time, however, and would have been bucking current with no wind all the way north so we decided we were done for the day and anchored at little Strawberry Island State Park. There isn’t much going on at that little park but it was a reasonable enough anchorage in calm weather.  We were already tucked in for the evening and it wasn’t even dinner time yet. I thought about dropping the kayak in the water, but it was too much trouble. I decided to sleep instead.

It’s an interesting thing, going on this kind of vacation. It takes awhile for the ‘vacation’ part to sink in, at least for Mike. It hits me immediately in the form of sleeping. The first two days if I wasn’t on watch, I was probably sleeping. Mike, on the other hand, was doing projects. Here’s a little note from my diary after the first two days of this trip:

What I do best on this boat is sleep. I could sleep all day long and into the night and through to the next day. Honestly, sometimes I can barely keep my eyes open and it feels like my brain just needs someone to hit the ‘reset’ button. Mike does projects. Since we left he has installed and hardwired a small inverter, being used as I type this to keep this laptop running and to allow him to use his little soldering iron. Because he has also wired in the battery charger for his drill and now he is working on some other god-knows-what project in the man cave. I like the IDEA of doing projects, but I cannot bring myself to think of one to do. Well, there was that Creeping Crack Cure I put around the outside of the midship hatch as extra insurance against leaks, but that hardly counts since it took all of 5 minutes. But by GOD that hatch doesn’t leak a drop. Then I did cook dinner and clean up. And then put some gluten free cookies in the oven, hoping the shot of glucose from them would somehow jumpstart my brain. I wonder if this is what I will always feel like when we live on the boat. Will I be this completely lacking in motivation, unable to find the energy to even drop the dinghy in the water? Thank God this laptop works without internet.

Mike, working on a boat project during his ‘vacation’.

Let’s just say that it takes awhile for Mike to unwind. And it takes me awhile to find my groove. I feel a little bit ‘between worlds’ the first few days, a bit discombobulated. I can’t go on my morning walks with the dog. I have no interweb. It’s a wierd, liminal space.

The following day was one for sailing! We rode the tide up Rosario Strait and out into the Strait of Georgia to find wind! Lovely, constant wind. Getting to the head of Rosario Strait took almost no time at all. By 10:00 we were in the Strait of Georgia, looking through our binoculars at a crowd of boats in Echo Bay on Sucia Island.   We had the whole day ahead of us so we just went sailing, waiting for the Labor Day crowd to leave Sucia so we could find a decent anchorage and spend a little time there. We spent several hours on a warm sunny day just doing long tacks back and forth in the strait, finally having a chance to really get the hang of tacking Galapagos. It was fabulous. Let the vacation begin.

Long, easy tacks on the Strait of Georgia.

We found a great anchorage at Sucia between Little Sucia and the big island, just outside of Fox Cove. It’s not a marked anchorage and it’s nowhere near the mooring buoys. It was perfect. We are learning that we can trust our big Bruce anchor and heavy chain to hold us. We settled in for a couple of days to explore Sucia.

Scenes from Sucia

Sea lions on rocks off Sucia Island.

And just around the corner, seals on rocks. Classic.

That’s Little Sucia and the beach right by the boat.

Forest path on Sucia.

Galapagos and the sandstone of Sucia Island.

Little Blue Heron.

And the next day, it poured rain all day long. The hatch didn’t leak a bit. We stayed in bed and read books and ate bad things all day. Aside from expanding waistlines, this was our reward:

Sunset from Fox Cove

And this looking the other way.

And this.

And now you know why we miss the boat.

The following day was glorious sun and warm temperatures. Time to get off the boat and do some hiking around the island. More photos. Remember, I have almost 500 hundred to sort through.


It’s a vulture. It was busy dining on a small dogfish.

Sucia Island is known for its fossils. Here’s a little vein of fossilized shells in the sandstone.

Mike likes to go Geocaching whenever there is one around, and there was one at Sucia. He found this one easily. No cool prizes, though, although there was a pin from the American Club in Hong Kong. It’s probably still there if you want it. 

We stayed at this anchorage for close to three days, then beat time over to Poet’s Cove in Bedwell Harbor to check in with the Canadians. Galapagos’ first two owners live in British Columbia. She would be back in her home waters. More fun to come, so stay tuned.

Our dinghy, Tortoise.

Our dinghy, Tortoise.







30 thoughts on “Toilets That Flush

    • We are determined to enjoy her in between projects. Being on the boat just ‘living’ on her gave us some ideas about what needs to be fine next as well.

  1. Sounds and looks like you a lovely time in Galapagos! We too were in Poets Cove (in early July) and I too did some docking practice which went absolutely perfectly. We even had two guests on board which makes it even more stressful. I always keep the hints in mind that Ace from Port Townsend shared with me. Works like a darn every time! Since we usually anchor on Terrwyn it is rare for us to dock and when we do I like to handle the lines whilst ‘stepping’ onto the dock 🙂

    We are heading out at the beginning of October our last sail on Pixie this year in Canadian waters. Then we fly back to S. Africa on November 1st and be reunited with Terrwyn for our next long journey (this time across the South Atlantic).

    Love your photos!

    Take care and fair winds

    • Do share your hints on docking! I’m working on my nerve in that area. I want to be as confident on Galapagos as I was on Moonrise. Excited to hear about your next adventures !

  2. Welcome back! Every time we head out on the boat for more than one night I find myself just wanting to stay, stay on onboard and never return to our land life. There is something about the boat, the simplicity, the work, the small space and the beautiful wild world around me that just calls to me. It says “You belong out here, keep going”.

    BEAUTIFUL pictures. Lord, just so so breathtaking. They are somewhat similar to a trip I took one time to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, but so much grander.

    Happy to see you enjoying your larger boat 🙂

    • Hey there! You guys are getting so close! You’ll be out there for good in no time at all. I do hope you make it up to the PNW sometime. It’s true that we have world class cruising grounds right here and we know some folks who have sailed around the world but now prefer to just stay here. Can’t say it doesn’t make us chomp at the bit, though. Tate would love it here. It’s not hot.

      • Yes Tate really would. I could live up there if I could live in some skins suits, like fur or hide of some sort. We have discussed living on the boat in Alaska while we work in the summer and sailing around.

        • OOH you should do it! You are young and strong, and no one even looks twice at wearing furs in Alaska. Go for it! I know I was reading a blog by a young couple doing just that. If I can remember which blog that is, I’ll send you a link.

  3. Flushing toilets are way over-rated! I am quite envious of you. I learned to sail on a Brewer designed boat and am glad that you are enjoying your boat! I hope to find something similar when we are to the point of buying a boat as well. Good luck and keep it up! I love your blog.

    • We are so pleased with the Brewer design, although I’d be fibbing if I didn’t admit that we look longingly at some of the fin keeled boats we see really sailing hard around here. Still we will be glad of our weight snd keel once we are in less protected waters. There are lots of Brewer designs out there when you are ready. And your puppy photos are killing me with cuteness !

  4. ” I docked the boat in Poet’s Cove” is perfect iambic pentameter, so fitting for the name! The picture of the forest pass in Sucia resembles my idea of heaven, or at the very least, a path back to the inner self and away from the chaos of daily life. I love your detailed and creative way of sharing this adventure. Delicious! But in fact it makes me sleepy, imagining perfect peace when tacking and at anchorage.

    • It’s so surprising how much we sleep on this boat. Like 12 hours a night. Ridiculous. But I can sleep on it even in 25 knots of wind. Perfect iambic pentameter? Who’d have thought? What a nice serendipity. You ‘got’ that photo completely. Of course!

  5. Great to meet you two and see my beloved former boat being brought back to the life it deserves. Actually all the major renovations were done in 1990/93 by myself and many professional riggers and ship workers. I will try and compile a list of changes I made prior to our 3 year cruise down to New Zealand as part of an intended 10 year circumnavigation. Unfortunately life takes unexpected turns but maybe you will carry on where I left off
    Derek Denny
    Walacine 1990/2002

    • Derek, it was such a welcome surprise to meet you and your wife! We’ll be blogging about that later so don’t want to give too much away now, but suffice to say we would welcome any and all information you have about this boat and would love to hear stories about your travels aboard her some day. I know we’ll be back in the Gulf Islands, probably next year if not sooner. We’d love to meet you again and would welcome you aboard if you’d like to see her again. We are feeling more and more lucky that we were able to buy this boat. Yes, we will take very good care of her, for sure. She has already taken good care of us more than once.

      • I would love to come aboard again but may have to bring some hankies in case I get a little emotional. Looked through my photos of Walachin today and there are not many as my former wife holds them as hostage. I do have several seconds and will try and scan them for you. I can tell you that the chap I bought the boat from was also emotional when invited aboard…. She has a special spirit that will grab your heart and hold on like crazy… You have bought a fine cruising yacht that will get positive comments where ever you go in the world… I have had over 20 boats since 1946 and yours is the finest ever. Be proud!

        • All hankies are welcome. We get it. It’s hard to let some boats go. The day we sold our Cal 34 I burst into tears, and it was supposed to be a happy day! I think the man we bought her from had some teary times about selling her, too. We do love this boat, and hope to be her caretakers for many many years. She is filled with learning curves for us, but so far we have risen to her challenges.

  6. I docked the boat in Poet’s Cove…choosing a dead calm day.
    It felt so great to be afloat…set free in every way.
    Just Mike and I and Galapagos with nothing we had to do
    But listen to gentle wave songs under skies of sparkling blue
    A truly magical opening too this long awaited trip
    Just Mike and me and Galapagos a most magnificent ship!
    Blame it on Joanneup she pointed out the first line!

  7. Every time I went down to see Dulcinea, your slip was empty… and I thought… I hope they are having a great time! We will have to get together and share stories, being that I got back from the San Juans just after you left! A lot of those pics gave me a bit of Deja Vous…. we live in a beautiful place. I am working on a post of my trip… should be out soon…

  8. Oh Melissa, the photos are awesome. Wow!

    This sounds like a great trip. We hope to get there too ~ one day.

    Food for thought: If your hot water heater has connections for a heat exchanger, or if one can be installed, you could connect it to the generator or engine. This way you can have hot water whenever you charge the batteries or run the engine/generator.

    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

    • That’s the plan! We will have hot water at anchor pretty soon. You guys should definitely sail here! So glad you enjoyed the photos.

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