Thursday, August 28, 2008

The treacherous sea

After writing the last post, I went out to check on the boat, and since the wind wasn't blowing much in the trees, I expected it to be not very eventful. Unfortunately, It was eventful. First off, I noticed that the boat wasn't there.
I get out to the beach, and look for a mast poking up out of the water, maybe a few scraps of fiberglass here and there on the beach... but there was nothing. So now my heart begins to beat a bit faster, it's sounding like the noise the wheels make when you start to run off the freeway. I catch sight of a boat way out at sea, but its moving, under power, and it doesn't have a mast. Then, far downwind, I notice a little Costa Rican flag bobbing and waving, connected to a small sailboat, which is still floating! But poor Altair had drifted something like half a mile or more, and I quickly ran back to the house to notify Abe, and get the Green Goblin (my canoe) and get as fast as I can down to the boat. Breakers two feet high were crashing down the shore, with giant waves out further at sea. Abe and I scamper down the beach as fast as we can, canoe on my back and kayak on his, until we find a little bit of a lagoon, where we get in the water and punch our way out into the waves. After a while of paddling I finally manage to get out to the boat, but I figured that I was going to go in the water the whole time.
So now I'm on the boat, but I can't just turn on the engine and head out, because I had gotten my insurance line (the one I drag behind) wrapped around the rudder post. I turn on the GPS and note that the boat is still drifting, but slowly, and that we are in about 15 ft of water, getting shallower, and we're about 300 yards from the break. Abe is paddling around the boat, asking questions, and the boat is leaping around in the water, but I can't make the decision to jump in the water to get my rudder cleaned out. Instead, Abe paddles up and gets aboard, then brings his boat on board, and strips down and jumps in and after working for a while, clears off the rudder. Now we're ready to go. I turn on the engine and get ourselves moving, then Abe steers while I go up forward to pull in the anchor. Eventually we get the anchor up, and the waves are making the bow into a diving board with elephants jumping up and down on it, every once in a while a wave big enough to break over the deck a little. I'm wet, but not as wet as I thought I would be, (and not as wet as Abe) and the wind is trying to pick a fight.
We get my canoe on board, so nothing is dragging behind now, and then hoist sail and get under way, sailing about 6 miles to a port nearby (Deep Bay). Danger has passed. Altair has survived, and I feel pretty good about life again. After an hour of sailing (didn't expect to take Abe out sailing) we get in, set the anchor in firm ground (the previous ground was ankle breaker rocks, not good holding at all) and is sheltered from the waves, so I am feeling better about the boat.
Its been a good run so far, and the run continues on...

Qualicum Beach

I'm at a house just north of Qualicum Beach, or rather, just west of it, because the coastline is almost east-west here. I got in last night at dark, with my brother acting as a lighthouse, standing on the shoreline and blinking on and off a flashlight at me. The beach is very shallow sloped, so I had to anchor way out, about 400 yards out or more, and then paddle in. And the wind began to blow really hard just as I got in, so it was a bit of a rough paddle in. Then I ended up staying the night in the house, which is where Adam (the First Nation's elder my brother is staying with) lives. He's from the Kwakwaka'wakw people, and is really a great storyteller. He told me about going up to Kingcome inlet and seeing a sailboat at the government dock, and since he figured it was me, he knocked on the boat to say hi. An old man with a "bald head" and "long grey beard" (just like mine) came up on deck and he wondered how this guy could be Abe's younger brother.
I've left the boat overnight now, and it was blowing pretty good last night and raining a bit. I'm helping Abe make these digging sticks that are necklaces, for a feast in Kingcome in September.
I think I'll stay here today, then leave for Ballenas islands tomorrow morning (about 20 miles) and then go to Gobsons the next night (about 35 miles), and then go to Vancouver and pick up Ric on Sunday (about 20 miles).

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Spawnfest and onward...

I played a tournament in Burlington, then caught a ride back to Bellingham and headed out on the water. Presently I am illegally docked in Nanaimo. I would anchor, but I got in really late and I don't want to anchor in the dark, so I tied up to a public dock that says no tieing up to. We'll see how long I can stay. Anyways, the tourney was fabulous. I had a great time, I felt like I played pretty well, and the team did way better than expected, so we were all pleased. Monday morning I headed out and made it to Patos Island, where I caught a nice fish and ate it for dinner, then today I made it from Patos to South Pender Island, where I crossed the border, and cleared customs, and then all the way to Nanaimo. It was a long fast trip, with the wind at my back, and the spinnaker up the whole way. Here are a few shots of the last couple days...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bellingham again

I'm in Bellingham again, and I'm working on getting into canada. Canada is proving to be a tough border to cross, because I keep on having reasons to head south again and not north. Right now I'm working on figuring out how to get people to come with me for the next couple trips. I'm planning on staying in Bellingham for the next few days, then playing in Spawnfest (frisbee tourney) on saturday and sunday, and then going north to Qualicum Beach (near Nanaimo) on monday-wednesday, and meeting up with my brother there. After that, I'll go further north into desolation sound and the inside passage, and then end up in Port Mcneil by the 7th of September, when I will meet up with my dad (who is going to drive up there) and then take him to Kingcome Inlet to visit my brother again, at a feast in Kingcome village. Then race back to be in Bellingham by the 19th of September, and play in a tourney on the 20th, and 21st.
Then wind my way down slowly and get to Seattle and figure out what to do with the rest of my life.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Shasta: The Reality...

We got to Mt Shasta Wednesday afternoon, and went for the ranger station in order to figure out what we needed to do to climb, and also to check the route we had planned. We saw there was basically no snow at all on the mountian, but we figured it would still work out. The ranger told us that people in what seemed like our physical condition had made it up in 10-14 hours, and that it was a long slow hike, that he didn't really recommend it. And there was a big old cloud sitting on the top. So we deliberated, went to the headwaters of the Sacramento River (which is a spring just pouring out of the mountianside) and then finally decided to give it a try. So up we go, on this dusty road, while the light is slowly getting darker.
We made up some dinner and then put on our backpacks and took off up the trail. The Base Camp was around 8500 ft, and we made it just after dark, and then set down to sleep, preparing to wake up at 3 am in order to try to make the summit.
We got up, made a kind of slow breakfast, and finally were on the trail and moving at 3:50 am, at a lively pace, trying to find the trail in the dark, and after an hour we realized we'd gone nearly 3,000 ft, a pace which if we kept up, would bring us to the top in another hour. Then the sun came up, and the altitude began to hit us and we slowed down a bit, pausing at 11,500 ft, 12,500 ft and 13,700 ft for some rest. Then we made the push to the summit, arriving at 8:00 am. Four and a half hours. So there you go, Mr. Ranger, not quite the 10-14 hour time as estimated. It was really foggy on top, and by fog, I mean clouds that were flying by at something like 100 mph. The wind hitting us was around 40-60 mph and really gusty, but the constant wind just out 100 ft from the top looked like it was from out of an airplane, clouds just whizzing past.
So I threw a frisbee off from the top, as promised, and I don't know where it went, but I think it was the furthest I've ever thrown, because it had a long ways down to go and it had a lot of wind to catch. And the highest I've ever been is 14,162 ft now. (besides airplanes, they don't count)
And I took a lot of pictures:
Oh, I also went biking with rachel before we climbed...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Shasta (the plan)

So here's the plan for the next couple days, in case anyone is interested. I'm at my sister's place in Marin right now, and I'll be heading up to Mt. Shasta with her and Sam (her man-friend) tomorrow. We'll get to the base of the mountian, make some sort of camp, then take off the next morning and do the peak. Bag the peak, you could say.
After that, I'll take some sort of transport further north until I get to seattle. I'm thinking of hitchhiking or trying a craigslist rideshare thing, but we'll see what works out. The greyhound is the other option.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Yosemite is a place that before this last weekend, I had never really considered going to before coming down here a week ago. We got ready until the late hours of the night, and then got up an hour later (like 1:45) to head out, finally arriving at the permit office at around 7, so we could wait 30 minutes until they let us in to get permits. Luckily, there wasn't many people ahead of us in line, so we were able to get a permit to the place we wanted to go, Evelyn lake. Then we headed out, about 10 miles that day, and we climbed to a high of 10,440, and then camped at about 10,340. Really high, in my mind, because I was heaving a lot for breath. Then the next day, Amy and I climbed to the top of Vogelsang Peak, which is about 11,516 ft. It was really cool up there, and we had a great view. I think its the highest I've ever been, besides in a plane. After that, we came down, and then sunday we came back out. I really like the high alpine feel in my nose, despite the dry hurt and sunburn and creaky breathless altitude of it all. Its like the desert, where only the tough survive, and you say to yourself, "well, I'm alive."
Some pictures: