Monday, August 19, 2013

Discovering Community in the South Sound

Sailing on Eli-Oh this year, we added a whole new dimension to sailing.

When I've sailed the South Sound before, it was pure peace. Except for brief conversations with strangers, it was just me and my late husband or me and my son. And it was nice. Peaceful. Like a Quaker Meeting or a Buddist retreat, or a ....well, just pure peace.

 This year we had the Peaceful times, yes, and we also had community.

We visited family: we dropped anchor in the shallow waters of Van Geldern Cove and rowed ashore to a family gathering in the little town of Home. It was wonderful to meet my new husband Rifaat's aunts, uncles, and cousins, and to hear family memories shared. I fell in love with a little girl less than a year old named Jewel, and her parents, Mindy and Steve.
the galley on Eli-Oh
We visited old friends: The next day we sailed into Olympia to visit with friends we had not seen in 30 years. We tied up at Boston Harbor Marina, where people took shelter from the sun under awnings and listened to music, talked with strangers, nibbled on freshly grilled hot dogs. Children and dogs played on the beach, fishermen bought bait, people sat on benches on the docks and visited or just sat. Some one sang and strummed on a guitar.

As I was recovering from a long sail in too much sun, some one called, "Anyone interested in splitting a 5 pound salmon?" I was. As I carried my half down to the boat, I met a woman coming up the dock. "Oh," she said, eyeing my salmon fillet,  "you got the half salmon." I split it with her and ended up with just enough salmon for our supper and a little for omelets the next day. Perfect for a galley with no refrigeration.

Every morning, James, who has a ham radio license, tuned in to a marine network. We listened to people all over the Sound checking in from their boats, giving weather reports. Sometimes it was "fog so thick I can't see 100 yards", or "It's a beautiful day here. Bright sun, not a cloud in the sky, no wind." (Hunh? bright sun and no wind is not so beautiful to this sailor!)

We had some mini adventures, too. Sometime in the night while tied to a bouy at Penrose Point, we heard splashing. In the morning, the dingy was full of water!  Did an otter or seal visit us during the night and try out the dingy?

We hoisted it up by the spinaker halyard to dump out the water.

On Tuesday, we motored back through the Narrows with gps, compass,  and chart to guide us through fog so thick we could not see either side of the pass! 

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