Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quick England trip and Goodbye Canada (sob!)

Yes, this is unmistakably London. It is August 2011 and as you can see the recent public disturbances were nowhere near Tower Bridge I am pleased to say. Susie and I wanted to get to England and catch up with family and friends; we started in our old stomping ground in London and had a few days strolling round old haunts and a leisurely walk in the City to places where I used to work way back. It was high tide on the Thames and we happened to be near St Katherine's Dock; it reminded us of our first Nordhavn viewing about six years ago. Time has certainly flown since then.

Our timing was pretty good since the first weekend was Susie's brother's 60th birthday party. Steve is a great collector of fine wines and there was a concerted but failed attempt to make inroads into the collection. A great time was had by all, and we even had an extra day to recover which was a bit of a bonus.
The wildlife photos in England are a little harder to come by but this year Bev's tortoise harvest has been exceptional as you can see below. There are many more stll to come from the eggs; the hatched little fellows are wonderful in minature - see the 50p coin in the foreground of the picture.

Off to Devon we went with Susie's grandaughter to see my parents who are keeping very well. There was very important news to deliver - they are going to be great-grandparents and I am going to be a grandparent! No doubt there will be more news on this in due sometime in early 2012. Well, although our England trip was fairly short, it was wondeful to see all our loved ones and make plans for the future as regards various visits to the New World to see us. Yes!

While we were away the emails kept flying in relating to various future plans; life's admin does seem pretty relentless. It is probably my fault, making life as challenging as possible. And it is important to do some advance planning; unfortunately, when travelling far and wide by boat, a lack of forward arrangments can leave you stuck somewhere. Metaphorically of course. On the return trip, we flew from London to Seattle and stayed a very comfortable night at the Red Lion Airport Hotel. And there is a great place for supper nearby, the 13 Coins (check the frittata). Entering the US by airplane means that we qualify for visa waiver and will be able to take Last Mango down the coast to California for the next three months. So there was some method involved. After a night in Seattle, we had a 33 minute flight to Vancouver and a short hop by seaplane to Gabriola. Today we have cleaned the boat inside and out, done the pre-departure checks in the engine room, examined the route and the tides. I have been looking at the weather on windfinder, passageweather, buoyweather, oregon weather, every weather I can find ......... today there is a small craft advisory in the San Juans, and the weather at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca is unsettled. But it looks better for Wednesday so the fingers are crossed that we can round Cape Flattery and head South. Tomorrow we have a 66 mile run from the Gulf Islands to the San Juans to Friday Harbor then Anacortes. Familiar territory for us and we are looking forward to this terrific adventure of taking Last Mango to Panama over the next four months.

It will be very hard to say goodbye to Canada. We can't believe that we are actually leaving. We first entered Canadian waters on 22 June 2010. In the last year we have made many, many new friends here. And we have travelled three and a half thousand miles. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Our memories are full of happy times, beautiful places, and wonderful people. Thank you to all our friends in Canada; we have so much enjoyed our visit to this wonderful country.

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