Thursday, May 2, 2013

#2013-02: Going south to Alaska: Friday Harbor, Brentwood Bay and Victoria

Sunday April, 28th: Friday Harbor

This morning Pat drove to Seattle to pick up our first guests of the 2013 season.  The crew for the next few days are Augi and Cindy Caimi from “Gundo”. The Caimi’s were our neighbors in Gundo for about ten years before we moved to SLO Town.  It’s great to get updated by the Caimi’s on what’s happening in the cool town of Gundo.  Augi explains Gundo for the layman a bit later in this post.

Pat toured the Caimi’s around the Skagit Valley tulip fields and Anacortes before showing up at the boat late in the afternoon.  We immediately loaded up and shoved off towards Friday Harbor, Washington.

The Caimi’s needed a bit of prodding to convince them to come cruising in the ocean. They were concerned about being unable to attain their “sea legs”.  After a couple years asking, we eventually guaranteed that the Wild Blue only goes out in calm winds and seas. And with that simple statement, the weather Gods smiled on our journey as sunshine, light winds and calm seas continually followed us around.

Around 6PM we arrived in a very quiet Friday Harbor. The empty city streets told us it was time to create a dinner aboard.   Light snacks and dip completed our day.

Monday, April 29th: Brentwood Bay via Tsehum Harbour

Although Environment Canada was calling for high winds, we left at Around 6AM so only calm seas and sunshine followed us into British Columbia.  We cleared Customs the usual way: cutting up Wilson into pieces and placing him in the trash.  As you may know, Wilson, a fescue grass, is our only soil plant aboard.  Wilson looks like the soccer ball in the movie Castaway.  He’s been aboard since the boat was commissioned.  He’s also been the target of Customs, which doesn't allow plants to enter Canada.  Customs agents have admonished us for bringing plant life across the border, so we “trash” Wilson each time we cross.  When asked by Customs about plants aboard, we say “we put our plant in the trash”. Within a few days Pat replants the Wilson parts in new Miracle Gro soil, and he thrives.

Wilson after a recent rebirth.
By noon we tied up at the Brentwood Bay Lodge. The marina is small so it feels almost private and the spa, Jacuzzi, pool, pub and restaurant are the best around.  It’s also almost next door to Butchart Gardens, so we called a taxi and entered the Gardens.  April is tulip time and brilliant colors lit up our feasting eyeballs.

Augi, Cindy and Pat enjoy the Gardens.
A hairy Tulip.
Japanese Garden
Even more tulips!
Pat says it's just like the Trail Ride.
Augi and Cindi are cowboy and cowgirl.

Tuesday, April 30th: Up and over the Saanich Peninsula then down to Victoria

We continued cruising in the sunshine and warmth around southeastern Vancouver Island to Victoria.  Other boats were out and about but the Selene boats once again had the numbers.  Wild Blue joined forces with Spirit-a Selene 55, Page Marie-a Selene 58, and Raindancer-a Selene 60 to almost complete the Selene 50’s line up.  It was cover photo material.

Canadian Coast Guard is checking out Wilson!
They may have to call in the big guns!
Even the ferries were out and about.
The new Selene 58 Paige Marie

The very nice Selene 60 Raindancer.
The Selene 56?
Victoria was abuzz with activity.  We moored just in front of the Empress Hotel.  The shining sun and warm air brought out the locals and tourists, a Chamber of Commerce dream day.  We had cocktails about Spirit hosted by Patrick and Miriam, and joined by the crews of Page Marie and Raindancer.  Then it was off to the best restaurant in Victoria: Il Terrazzo, fine Italian cuisine. And they have expensive wines too.  Veteran Wild Blue crew Vince and Marianne Fonte most always order a $350 bottle at Il Terrazzo.

The Selene 53 Wild Blue in front of the Empress.
We stayed on a second day while Augi and Cindy explored the museum, Imax theater, coffee and tea shops that Victoria has to offer.  Alex, with Augi’s help, found soil for Wilson’s rebirth; a 12V charger, and filled the propane bottles.
Pat's second favorite tourist boat: the Hippo!

Augi is an accomplished attorney who has loads of courtroom litigation experience.  To make their case, courtroom attorneys do a lot of listening, reading the jury, and a good bit of acting.  Augi really likes the acting part, so much so that he took acting lessons.   He had a few bit acting parts then in 2004 he starred in the Fox TV series called “My Big Obnoxious Boss”.  The show was a flop in the US after just 5 weeks running, albeit against the ever popular “Desperate Housewives”. Only 5 million household a week watched Augi.  The series has been a hit in several foreign countries where Augi is still recognized and asked for autographs.  Apparently they weren't watching in Canada.

I asked the actor to explain “Gundo” to the lay person.  Here is his videoed response.

We had fun times with the Caimi’s reliving our time in Gundo.  It’s nice to know all is well in our former hometown.

Thursday, May 2: Wild Blue is Northbound.

This morning we enjoyed eggs, hash browns, biscuits and gravy aboard Spirit, then exchanged goodbyes.  The Caimi’s are off via float plane to Seattle then back to Gundo.  The three Selenes will cruise southern waters and we point Wild Blue north to AK.  The weather continues to look good for a week and so we’re hoping for a smooth run up to Ketchikan.

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