Notes From the Dockside Year in Review

Out with the Old, In with the New | Year in Review (Part 1)

Thursday, December 31, 2015S.V. CAMBRIA

Another year has come and gone which means it’s time to reflect upon the last 365 days. Like the ones that came before it, 2015 ended all too quickly. From start to finish, it was a whirlwind of activity full of highs, lows (mostly highs) and big numbers – including over 3,000 miles and 200 days at anchor. Here's a quick look back:

We Made Friends with a Duck
Quackers isn’t just some ordinary old duck. She’s a Domestic Muscovy and can be quite curious . . . dog-like, in fact. She showed up at the marina last fall and has been making quite a name for herself ever since; she has her own facebook page and was even written up in the local newspaper. She grew close to many of us who live or work at the marina and would come by Cambria to say hello (and possibly get a treat) just about every day.

Unfortunately, the busy summer months took a toll on young Quackers and she has grown into a cranky old lady who steers clear of most people. We’re still friends but our relationship is solely based on food – she loves David’s whole wheat bread and will come running (or waddling) whenever I call her name. It’s still very sweet, but there’s no petting her anymore and I doubt if her little webbed feet will ever grace our boat again.

We Finally Went Winter Cruising 
It’s something we’ve been threatening to do since we first arrived in the Pacific Northwest years ago but, for one reason or another, never got around to doing until this year. With a big season planned, getting out was a priority so we could make sure everything was in working order and fix anything that wasn’t. It was great to get away from “civilization” for a couple of nights and shake the cobwebs out of Cambria’s sails. Hopefully 2016 will bring more winter cruising opportunities our way.

We Planned Our Route to Alaska
I don’t know how or when it started, but I get to decide where we go every season and how we’ll get there . . . it’s one of my favourite jobs. This year posed a few problems, however. Sailing to Southeast Alaska meant we had a lot of miles to cover in order to get there and thousands more to travel once we arrived. I spent weeks pouring over advice from friends, cruising guides, books and charts before coming up with a plan that, for the most part, we stuck to during the season. We may not have made it to every place we would’ve liked, but we managed to squeeze in all of the highlights and found a hidden gem or two along the way that we hadn’t counted on. 

We Celebrated Our 10-Year Anniversary . . . In the Boatyard
On the ninth of April in 2005, David and I stood on a hilltop overlooking the Hauraki Gulf in a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand and promised our lives to each other.  I have no idea where those ten years went, but I know they were good ones and I wouldn’t have spent them with anyone else – David is the best decision I’ve ever made (unfortunately, I can’t speak for him).

Our anniversary coincided with a layover in Nanaimo, a small city with full amenities, which meant we were able to get off the boat to enjoy a meal out to celebrate.  But it also coincided with a scheduled haul-out, which means we spent it on the hard rather than in a romantic, secluded anchorage.

Planning a haul-out for April is a bit of a crap shoot when it comes to the weather – wind, rain and cold days are the norm as the Pacific High fights for dominance over the lows that roll down from the Gulf of Alaska.  But we couldn’t have asked for better weather. Every day was sunny and warm and we finished anti-fouling and waxing the boat in record time.

We Were Followed Around By a Dark Cloud
I really don’t know what it was about 2015, but we spent too many months being followed by a dark cloud. First in Alaska when July saw record rainfall for Juneau and later in Northern British Columbia while we waited out the remnants of a typhoon that had move across the Pacific from Japan. The rain continued to fall in the north, but we finally found our way out of it by the end of September and had a few great weeks of fine weather at anchor. It started up again in November and Washington State broke records for the month of December. With a Monster El NiƱo in place, we’re hoping things dry out in 2016. But with the jet stream sitting so low, it’s difficult to say what will happen. 

And that seems as good a place as any to end this part of our Out with the Old, In with the New Year in Review. Log on tomorrow for the rest of the story. Until then, we wish everybody a very safe and Happy New Year!

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  1. Nice recap. Looking forward to Part 2. Sweet picture of the two of you in NZ - is that at Shakespear Park? I love your broody, dark cloud picture. That one would look great framed.

    1. Thanks, Ellen! It is Shakespear Regional Park -- good eye! Have a Happy New Year!