Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A blast of a blast off

And so it has come to pass. The departure date is set, at least as far as any departure date for a cruiser can be set, so the next order of business is to say our goodbyes and thank-you's. The landlubber types who buy the cruising mags and dream of sailing naked amid islands dotted with palm trees and white sands, think that cruising is about the boat and the destination. Those of us who have cruised even a little, know intuitively that it is really the people who make cruising what it is! Boats can wear out, skin will sag, but the spirit will always live on! Note what happens when flag officers let their halyards down!!

I have a very clear recollection of the 2003 sailing season when Pat and I were neophyte cruisers and we finally mustered up the courage to join our first club cruise with our friends Dennis and Marilyn. Dennis and I had passed our ASA bareboat courses together, and so when I bought a boat, it was only natural that I turn to a more experienced partner to help with a major crossing to 50 Point.

It was imperative that we do it right, because Jan, from the cruising committee had called us at home to confirm our attendance and to advise us important details like the times for the happy hour and the frequencies we were to monitor on the VHF. As a pilot of many years, I interpreted the precise directions as something like an IFR clearance, and I felt compelled to readback and acknowledge the directions from the cheerful Jan. In hindsight, she must have thought I was something of a nut case when I suddenly started speaking in the clipped phrases of ATC speak. Somehow I felt it was going to be OK despite the trepidation of navigating across almost 20 miles of open lake. After all we had the cruising committee looking after us!

Upon arrival at 50 Point, after a journey of epic slowness, something like 8 hours if my memory serves me correctly, (who knew that it was OK to use the motor in a sailboat for more than leaving and entering harbour?)we were guided efficiently into our slip by hordes of people screamining directions and pointing at what seemed like several slips at the same time. While the illusion of ATC precision was shattered, the enthusiasm of the day was infectious. Everybody was so willing to lend a hand and go out of their way to make the newcomers feel welcome. Right down to John Williams emptying the cutlery tray of Allegro to help Pat serve her chocolate cake.

So here we are 5 years later and about to embark on a trip almost as significant as that first foray across 19 miles of open lake. Pat and I have gained confidence and we had our lives enriched by the people we have met cruising, and particularly from the open arms of the members here at our home of PCYC. Hopefully our travels in the coming days, weeks and months will live up to the expectations of those who helped us prepare for the journey. We don't know what the final destination will be, we aren't sure about the route. What we are sure of is the fact that we would not be doing this if we hadn't gone to 50 Point, if Jan had not called to check in and if John had not emptied the galley of Allegro.

For those of you who came to our party on Friday, August 8, thank-you for giving us a boost of energy and enthusisam. For those who could not make it, please know that we missed you. Thanks to all for the good wishes and encouragement. Thanks to Eva Robinson for being the chronicle, as all of the pictures below are from her, and a special thanks to Roseanne who rose to the occasion and made a short but heart warming speech... we know the effort it took!

The blog is a two way street. We will respond to your comments and feedback, so please keep your cards and letters coming. Suggestions, questions, ideas are all appreciated and to the extent that we can, Pat and I will try and make the blog a living breathing thing. I look forward to my next update in a week or two, and in the meantime, enjoy the pics.

Thanks to all who have made our cruising what it is. Tomorrow we will leave the slip and the journey will begin.

Enjoy the pics. Click on the faces for even more pics.

Goodbye Party


Vince & Julie said...

Wait! Come back! I've still got some Slivovitz left on board...

Suppose I could just pour it in the diesel tank and turbo boost Peas & Carrots!

XukGuy said...

All the very best on your journey from David & Dorothy. (XukGuy)

Will read the blog on an ongoing basis - post lots of pixs and think of us here in the cold!!

Take care - we will miss you!!