Well, first of all, it wasn’t the first one. Cause as Ty was so eager to have a sailing experience before he goes away, we had this 1 hour out-and-back trip in Sidney harbor (it was on the 2nd of September 2009), we were in a rush to get right on time to the diesel-engine workshop with Billy (you do not want to be reckless around this honorable Elder!) – that’s why we couldn’t sail more. About this really first one – we got a view how the sails look up there and that Freya is able to really go along with the wind when we know how to guide Her (or maybe how to let ourselves to be guided by Her)!
Anyways. The Trip. Plans were glorious and huge of course – straight up to Vancouver (to give a free ride to Dylan and Ollie to do their business…) and to visit Salt Spring and Saturna on our way there.
5th of September 2009. Saturday. Sidney. Vancouver Island.
Reality – we left later than we thought we will. Emily, Dylan, Jason, Megan, Ollie and Marian were on the board. Dinghy was making jokes with us. Also Freya’s engine. Ollie did a great job accepting the situation and giving space and time to the difficulties! We got some diesel and up we went. By that time it was clear that we are not heading towards Vancouver cause plans had changed and Ollie didn’t have to go there at this time anymore. Well. We had bikes on the boat and lots of stuff from everybody. So when we met with our first bigger heel we saw how all the crap just fell on the one side of the boat and down there a huge mess was present. Nobody was bothered! Everybody felt so happy to feel the wind, gravitation and movement!
Sails wide apart
- Megan in bliss
Evening of the first day came quick though. We didn’t get far really, just near to Swartz Bay ferry terminal. Engine stopped it’s contract at this point, wind died with the sunset and we were out there, not even in a bay… No worries though! A boat passed by and we gave some shouts and asked them to tow us to the next bay, just to anchor down for the night. This happened and when the Moon (big moon just after the Full Moon) was rising, Jason and Ollie went ashore (paddling, cause the dinghy engine didn’t start) to get some electricity into our batteries. This island was privately owned, so those people made sure that our battery was on dock, not on their land. Luckily they allowed us to use electricity at least! Everybody found their sleeping place. Emily and Dylan set up a tarp on the deck and Jason and Megan did the same just down next to the wheel… Me and Ollie had great sleeps in the forecastle!
6th of September. Sunday. Coal Island.
Morning. Rain. Our hero Jason (he wakes up early, cause he is a good farm-boy and knows that mornings can be well used, even before sunrise, even with rain!) paddled alone to the unfriendly island, saving our battery and then they started to fix the engine. They discovered that the fuel filter is not letting diesel through and that this is the reason of unworking engine. So they took it off and engine started to sing and we said goodbye to the Bay (just south from Swartz Bay) next to Coal Island.
Next stop, government dock next to the ferry terminal in Swartz Bay. Megan left the crew and headed back to Victoria with her bike. Jason went along to a mission to Sidney to get fuel filter and gas for the stove and oil for the lanterns and hooks for the nets to hang. My (Marian) mission was to phone to Alex and invite her to our trip. She came with her gorgeous presence and continued balance in between male and female energy. Ollie was happy too! Jason got back too but as the filter was expensive, we decided to skip it for now and just go.
Ready! Set! Go! Salt Spring, here we come!
Wind was there and we were ready. Engine started so fast (after we realized that we need to give fuel to Her!;) and we set our course towards Ganges. Some nice moment down the wind gave us chance to set the sails wing on wing. Jib and main on the one side and fore on the other. Crew learned fast. Freya showed Her speed and movement. Full keel (I do hope that this is the right word for the thing which holds us not to heel over when sails are full of wind…) acts differently that Ollie is used to on his Maria Mahoy. New experiences.
We got some rain and sun. Cooking took place in hard conditions, but skills were developed and everybody was fed. (By the way, Universe was kind to us and we got lots of veggies and fruits and rice and even bread and butter and cheese for the trip! Abundance!)
We arrived to Ganges in the daylight, around 5-6 pm. Warm tea, coffee and cacao in the cafeteria and then we toured around in marina, meeting with some funny characters (like those boat-people usually are..), men. One of them was really straight-talking-dirty-humor-beer-belly and the other one just got a stove going on his boat. This Other had some cloudness in his eyes going on, but he was kind and funny and happy to have ladies around…
Oh, by the way, Emily took her bag and went to an adventure towards OUR Ecovillage. Nice jazz was going on at TreeHouse and Ollie impressed an older man with his outrageous dancing skills, alone and with Alex. This old hippy seemed to know what he was talking about and he called us back, but we felt tired and had our own nice night on the boat with lanterns and warm rice-veggie-pot and improvised dessert with bananas, oats and strawberries. Satisfaction.
This night, all 5 of us, slept inside. Rain out there. It is pretty dry inside, only some water drips in from the deck and goes down to bilge…Ollie helped more water to come in when he poured salty ocean water all over the deck to be nice with our teak… Tight and warm, this is how we slept and got ready for the next adventurous day.
7th of September 2009. Monday. Ganges. Salt Spring.
Windy! Rainy and sunny. As we learned from our experience, we arranged stuff in the cabin better now and we were ready to meet with waves and heeling. Great sailing lesson also began. Against the wind (so how is the right term for that?) we set our bowsprit and started to play around with lines. Freya teached us that we have to help her to turn with sails too – just turning the helm doesn’t make her tack and turn into a direction we want to go. So we made some circles and spins and didn’t really get far at all, tight zig-zag!Once we learned to use jib more to get the fore turning we discovered a trick and we started to focus on making the angle in between the wind and our direction smaller and smaller. Around 40 degrees was the best we could do. Not bad! Others passed us, motoring and waving from their nice and fancy boats. We were just so happy to learn and challenge ourselves! Teamwork really started going.
Ready?! Tack boys and gals! Nice!
Then I took the helm for the first time. Ollie told to keep the sails full and showed where we are on the map and that those marks there are to keep an eye on and tack before we reach them. Heh. Then it started to happen that we heeled a lot and laughter and excitement filled us all. Jason, Dylan and Ollie started working on seizing the lines around deadeyes. I was skipper now. Boys! Tack! … Again!
- Marian on Helm
This is how She heels!
Oh we flew and sun came out and I breathed the moment in in awe and grace and gratitude. I realized that I am in my dream. That I am really there, in the winds and waves, sails and movement, friends around, on the Pacific waters, islands and mountains all over the place… Jason told that he saw the biggest and bluest eyes in his life so far… I just felt happiness all over and in me.
It took us like 5 hours to get out from Ganges Bay. We had to do more tacks that we thought to not hit the rocks and then we were there, in the Swanson Channel, heading north, towards Saturna and towards Navy Channel. Ferries and cargo loads were moving around too. We stayed alive. It started to rain and wind died down. So, once we were in Navy Channel and a boat with nice folks, music and girls abroad passed by, sharing destination with us, we turned on the engine and took down the sails. A great day of sailing!
Lines and Sun
Lyall Harbor showed itself from a good side and friends who just passed by, were waiting there to say good words about the beauty of Freya and about the hippies of Victoria (as we all looked colourful and dressed in “old-looking” clothes) – they showed us their moving home and fed us with chips and salsa and multi-coloured-tasted candies (you will never know how they taste like!) and filled us with the vibe of art, music and spiritual wealth. Guys told that a spell was almost cast upon us (me and Alex) by this older man David who seemed to be the “leader” of this crew – we just felt connected with their ways and they invited us all to visit them in Vancouver and to go to sailing with the other boats they also have around there. Music can be created together too they told and they left the dock to say goodbye to the Sun, playing flutes and clarinet in this beautiful setting.
We drove up to Sunset Cabin (Dylan’s family’s place on the top of the mountain) in Dylan’s car and met with some friends of him. Fire was going already and as the darkness made the lights of Vancouver visible for us, we fed ourselves with delicious fire-cooked meat from Dylan’s parents freezer. Even me and Alex helped ourselves with some of it. Delish!
Forest! Sleep in the bed! Alex and Ollie got a special suite, I shared the other with Jason and Dylan took the star-ceiling to feel grounded with the Island before he goes to Okanagan..
8th of September. Tuesday. Saturna.
Jason took us to a small hike to see Freya from the other side of the hill. Sunny morning and good smells. Alex and I took some time to stretch and ground ourselves. Ollie said that he will go back to camp, but he came down to the Earth and took a rest on a sunny moss. He woke up with a brilliant plan that solved everything for everybody – “what about if you girls take ferry from here to Swartz Bay, pick up Alex’s car, then Jason’s car from Sidney and then we can go fast down to Cadboro Bay with Jason (Dylan said he will stay to Saturna). You can make a dinner on Maria Mahoi (Ollie’s boat) then and wait for us!”
“Great!” we said and head back to the breakfast – bananabread, barbecued lamb, omelet and fresh forest air.
Patience and calm mind was challenged when we realized that we had left the battery on and that it was drained and so they cannot start the engine of Freya (Dinghy was a row-boat too). As there was a lot of time until ferry for the gals, we put battery to charge and had a drink and talking circle in the bar. We were told that it is not allowed to be bare-feet there, but as we didn’t had any shoes around the chef said to keep our feet under the table.. :) Funny rules around here I thought..
Men took some world issues up and talked and challenged each other’s abilities to listen and stay calm and friendly. Different personalities showed their sides and women observed more than the guys had time to notice. Rebellious and fierce Jason wants to act and get things to change, whatever it takes. Ollie showed other perspectives and reminded that wars won’t be ended with wars. Dylan was somewhere in the middle with his opinions. In the end we were closer to save the World than we were before. And we crew grow more together.
Batteries full and engine running again – we hugged and said goodbye. Dylan left the area for now too. Freya met her sister from SALTS, Pacific Grace, just near Saturna. Ollie and Jason headed towards a strong adventure…
Pacific Grace around Saturna
We (me and Alex) had good ferry rides back to Vancouver Island. Everything took longer than we thought it will and once all the cars were picked up and we followed each other in the food-searches and got to Cadboro Bay with treats and tricks, it was dark already. With pulsating hearts we walked down the stairs and looked into the darkness to see a sign from Freya and the boys… No signs. As Ollie’s dinghy was locked without a sign of a key, we used our pirate-spirit and took Luke’s dinghy. This was a long and funny face-to-face paddling down to Maria Mahoi. We managed to get everything just about to be ready and our hearts to be calm and not worried when we heard something… Yes! A lantern was sliding on the water in between the other boats. We shouted to each other to give signs of our location. Dark out there! Luckily Freya didn’t hit nobody and as her mooring was taken by this funny other boat, they tied her just to Maria. Good work guys!
Yeah. They were ready to call to coast-guard to call help in case the engine will die down (cause it showed signs), Jason was there ready to change filter … They held their breaths and tried to be in peace, stretching their eyes to see better… I guess our prayers helped them and boys were treated with care and lots of food and warmth on Maria. Jason and Ollie suggested to use red and green lantern instead electric lights – “indeed, it looks more romantic,” we thought!
Jason's courage on their dual trip with Ollie
What a trip! Obstacles make us stronger. Working together allows us to know each other better.
A guy from from a boat “Needs Must” paddled by and said “I thought who are those crazy guys in the darkness….and then…of course, you! Freya! Glad that you didn’t hit anybody!”
Sweet sleep after a tiring day.
9th of September. Wednesday. Cadboro Bay. Victoria. Vancouver Island.
Wet stuff out to dry. Salty water over the decks. Sails tied down. Lines nice and neat (as Ty told :).
Me and Ollie went down to our mooring place and tied Freya to the boat still there (despite our previous note about our return).
Last great trip this year – Freya proved Her strength, beauty and capabilities. Now everybody can go and do their winter-world-travels-works-and-moves.
Oliver will be in Japan for 8 months.
Dylan is picking fruits in Okanagan for some time and then who knows what comes after that…
Marian goes back to Estonia to see friends and family and to find a way to get a permission to return to the Dream of Freya.
Tyler is exploring New Zealand with his brothers for 3-4 months.
Jason will live on the boat until he might go to Alaska.
Giorgio will study in UVIC and hold the stability and strength for all of us.
So, this is how she schoons!
P.S. You can take a look of the Nautical Chart of the area (zoom in around Salt Spring and Saturna and you can see where was our route).