Leaving Bishop Bay* and sailing down Princess Royal Channel, the stretch of water that separates the island of the same name from the mainland, we struggled to find help from the current despite the fact that it was supposed to be in our favour. Our destination, Bottleneck Inlet off Finlayson Channel, laid 55 miles away and the going was slow, sometimes dropping below four knots. But even after nine hours of motor-sailing, we weren’t quite ready to call it quits.
One of our favourite cruising grounds along the Inside Passage is Fiordland Recreational Area which sits 20 miles to the north of our intended anchorage. When coming down Heikish Narrows, the last channel before reaching Finlayson, we couldn’t help but feel drawn. And although we didn’t have the weather window to spend much time there we did have enough of an opportunity to make a short trip into Mussel Inlet to revisit what we believe is the most beautiful and impressive waterfall in coastal British Columbia. After the amount of rain we’d seen over the past few days, we were sure it would be impressive so, at the last minute, we decided to turn left instead of right and made our way up Sheep Passage to Windy Bay for the night.
In the morning, we upped anchor and rode the tide up Sheep Passage to Lizette Falls. On our way, I couldn’t help but think how beautiful it is here and that we sometimes grow complacent in its beauty. The Inside Passage can be a constant barrage of the senses, and it’s easy to fall into a trap where you tune out some things in favour of others. Like today, to our port I noticed a striking cloud-capped mountain cut by a long cascading waterfall. Two, in fact. And I had to remind myself that people pay thousands of dollars for the privilege of such a view. It’s only the foolish who ignore it. And I was nearly a fool.
Drifting in front of Lizette Falls, I think the reality that we’re going to put Cambria on the market and what that means finally hit us. David was the one to put words to it by saying, “It’s hard not to get emotional when you think about it all. We’ve seen some phenomenal things.” He’s right. We have. We’ve travelled back in time and glimpsed the earth in its rawest form. We’ve witnessed things through the eyes of great mariners like Vancouver, Cook and the First Nation coastal bands who call the rainforest home. We’ve followed bears as they forage the shore for food. We’ve frolicked with whales, bathed in waterfalls, kayaked off the face of tidewater glaciers. And more. So much more. But have we been good stewards of our time here? Have we been grateful enough? Or have we taken this all for granted?
It’s not that we aren’t excited about our next adventure. We are. And we’re also ready to move on. It’s just that for the last eight years, we’ve been living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. We’ve had experiences most people can only dream about. And it’s really difficult saying goodbye to all of that. But that’s what the cruising life is at its heart – saying goodbye and moving on. It’s just that it’d be a little easier if we weren’t also saying goodbye to Cambria at the same time.
* From Friday, 02 September 2016