Fraser Squadron

Serving Delta, Tsawwassen, Ladner and Richmond

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A MOMENT IN TIME

By Jim Poirier

 

A voyage to the South Pacific

SV NOROUE
Corbin 39
Hull 105

Skippered by
Jim Poirier

 

A sailing adventure dedicated to those who went before us

 

In memory of
Dr. John Ferries
MAY WE NEVER FORGET

 

CATCH THE TIDE AS IT'S EBBING OUTCORB 39AGAINST THE WIND AS IT TURNS ABOUT
BIG SEAS BUILDING
WHITE WATER WASHING ACROSS THE BOW
WHITE CANVAS STRECHED TIGHT
BLUE SKY AT THE END OF THE NIGHT
RUNNING FROM THE SUNRISE
TAKE ME TO A PLACE I BELIEVE IN
By Jim Poirier

 

Night before departure
Time 22:06 Sunday, Aug 11, 2013
At the dock at the Ladner Yacht Club Ladner BC Canada

I am sitting at my tiny writing desk in my cabin aboard "Noroue", a Corbin 39 cutter rigged heavy displacement off-shore sail boat. I will not bore you with specs and detail; you can Google that. I will say that she is a single purpose boat, designed and built for long distance offshore crusing, and I own hull number 105 of 199 hulls made by Marcus Corbin.

The crew are settling into their chosen bunks that will be their home for as long as it takes to get to our destination of Morro Bay, California. Richard (Dick) Dunn, a long-time friend, has selected the quarter berth in the wheel house. Derrick Serrer has chosen the port salon berth as his personal space for the trip. I have not known Derrick for very long, but he brings a burning desire to experience an offshore voyage and I like that. He reminds me of myself almost 30 years ago, before I was offered to crew on Kismet, a Vanguard-Pearson 32, built in 1964, and owned and skippered by my dearly departed friend and sailing mentor, John Ferries.

We had a great Bon Voyage Party Friday night at the LYC's club house. It was hosted by the club, and celebrated Donna's birthday (Aug 12th) at the same time. It was truly a Parrot Head party, and Jimmy Buffett would be proud. Saturday and Sunday were spent dock sailing "Noroue" so that Dick and Derrick could become familiar with her rigging. Sunday afternoon. the three of us went to Point Roberts, WA to buy fresh provisions and extra jugs of diesel fuel. All this was stored on Derrick's boat in the Point Robert's Marina where we would pick it up after clearing customs and acquiring proper documentation for cruising in U.S. waters. When we returned to Ladner, Donna had made a wonderful turkey Dinner with all the trimmings. There was Donna, myself, Erinn, her son Derek, my son Robert and soon-to-be wife Lucy, Dick, Derrick and his wife Andrea and daughter Paige. It was a fun time, and after dinner, Donna drove Dick. Derrick and me to the LYC.

Now, tired and ready for sleep, we spend our first night on "Noroue". The crew has gone to bed and I sit here trying to comprehend the journey before me. I find it impossible to fathom.Leaving my safe, dry, comfortable, predictable land life to return to sea after 16 years, am I doing the right thing? Trying to envision the time and distance involved is impossible for me while tied securely to a dock in the sheltered, quiet, safe waters of the LYC. It all starts in just a few short hours, at 08:00 tomorrow morning. I can't believe I am going to do this. "Noroue" is packed with food, equipment and spare parts, enough to sustain life at sea for several months. Her water line is so low that there is an inch of water in the galley sinks.

I don't know why I am so apprehensive; I have done this before, although I was much younger. In 1992 I crewed with John Ferries on Kismet from Point Roberts to San Francisco. Then in 1993, I joined Kismet in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, sailing to the Galapagos Islands, through the Panama Canal and the Caribbean, on up to Cuba and on to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Then again in 1996 I sailed my beloved Contessa 32, "Swack" on a 4 month voyage to Hawaii and back. Donna sailed as crew on Kismet with John and me in the Caribbean, and then again, through the Hawaiian Islands with me on "Swack". Based on these experiences, she decided that offshore sailing was not for her. I accept this and therefore am going to do this without my best friend and companion. This may be the root of my apprehension.

My mind is boggled. I have spent years and thousands of hours preparing "Noroue" and myself for what will take place tomorrow morning. I'm thinking too much, it is time to go to bed and get some rest. I will surely be needing it.
 

Day 2 Tuesday, Aug 13, 2013
Time 18:13

We are now clear of Cape Flattery and motoring south on a course of 214 degrees true on our way out to sea. We have been motoring for 2 full days and one night with no useful wind. At the far eastern end of the Juan De Fuca Strait, we encountered very lumpy seas. At one point, we hit a standing wave that put water right over "Noroue's" deck. Dick was at the helm and Derrick and I shot out of bed wondering what had happened. I thought seriously about turning around and heading for a sheltered anchorage till daylight, but we were making reasonable progress on a good course, so decided to stay going. This proved to be a good decision as a few hours later conditions were much better. There was still no useful wind but at least it wasn't a head wind and did not seem to impede our progress. The day turned out to be very pleasant with warm sun and kind seas.

Just east of Neha Bay, we entered a very thick fog bank which seriously impaired our vision. We used radar and our auto fog horn and all eyes and ears were on alert. We encountered several small sport fishing boats and one large ship that was seen only on radar but we were able to clear all vessels with plenty of room. Everyone worked together as a team. Now the sun is out and the fog is light, providing us with much better visibility, but not a breath of wind. So we keep motoring.

We are adjusting to new sleep patterns and constant motion. Our watches work like this:

08:00 to 10:00 Jimmy
10:00 to 13:00 Derrick (Jimmy makes brunch)
13:00 to 16:00 Dick
16:00 to 18:00 Derrick (Jimmy makes evening meal)
18:00 to 20:00 Dick
20:00 to 22:00 Jimmy
22:00 to 00:00 Derrick
00:00 to 02:00 Dick
02:00 to 04:00 Jimmy
04:00 to 06:00 Derrick
06:00 to 08:00 Dick

This seems to provide all of us with reasonable sleep time. I seem to keep very busy throughout the day and should take more time to rest. I'll have to work on that. We have all adjusted better than I expected. Dick and Derrick are good natured and always willing and I am glad to have them as shipmates.

I made stew for supper tonight. It was a hit with the boys. Two mugs each of the concoction were consumed by all with Dick polishing off the last of it. This is good; no leftovers. The guys seem to like my cooking.

I have had little time to myself, so journal entries are sketchy. I will try and fill in the highlights.

Yesterday, Day one, Monday Aug 12th, we left the LYC dock at exactly 08:00 hrs, right on schedule. We were escorted all the way to the Sandheads light by fellow yacht club member Richard aboard his Bayliner 39 "Stillwaters". He had on board his father, my wife Donna and her daughter Erinn. He even waited while we made a brief stop at the Steveston fuel dock to top off our diesel tank before proceeding on to the Sandheads light and off to Point Roberts. This was a very nice gesture and I am grateful.

We arrived at Point Roberts at about 14:00 and proceeded to the customs dock where I had to go ashore to use the customs phone. After some minor misunderstanding of what I needed, the officer I was speaking with said to sit tight and he would come right over to the boat. My first thought was that he was going to want to inspect the boat and check everything. Even though I knew we were completely compliant, it was the time all this would take that concerned me. My fears were for not. A few minutes later a young officer appeared on the dock and did everything he could to assist us with our paper work and permits. We could not have asked for a nicer customs person and we thanked him sincerely for his help. After customs, we motored over to Derrick's boat and transferred our stored fresh provisions and the 2 extra jugs of diesel fuel onto "Noroue". Once done we got under way quickly and have been motoring ever since.

As I go through my busy day, thoughts of Donna, my children, family and friends ping-pong through my mind. I still cannot completely comprehend this undertaking in its entirety, but there is only one hour and ten minutes left till my 20:00 watch, and I need to lay down for a rest. I know in the back of my mind that I have to stop thinking of the big picture and start sailing one day at a time.
 

Day 6, Saturday, Aug 17, 2013
Time 20:00

Finally! A real "blue-water cruising day". It is a sunny 19 degrees C with a light SW wind and "Noroue" sails effortlessly on a good southerly course. We are all in good spirits and enjoying the ride.

The past few days have been busy with strong SE head winds causing a need to make several long tacks out to sea and back again. We are crisscrossing our desired course of longitude 126:30 west. Now the wind has been from the SW for 24 hours at 5 to 10 knots, giving 'Noroue' a speed of 4 to 5 knots under full main and furling jib. The seas are about 4 to 5 feet providing a comfortable ride.

A couple of days ago we experienced our first gale of the trip. Winds got up to 25 to 30 knots from the SE and we had to bring down the main sail to its third reef and furl our jib to a small sheet of sail. It got very rough and sailing hard into the big seas made the ride uncomfortable. Both Derrick and Dick got quite sea sick and at one point both had their heads over the rail relieving their bellies of their last meal. They claimed that neither had ever chucked their cookies in their lives. I guess there is always a first time. The whole affair made me wonder what was in store for the rest of the trip. Sea sickness is not to be taken lightly when far off at sea in a small boat. If one is afflicted by this scourge there is no escape, and medication will do little to relieve it. I worry about dehydration, so I encouraged them to keep drinking some water, even if they throw it back up. I did not tell them at the time, but I too was suffering some sea sickness, although I never came close to throwing up. It seems that they are both average and have recovered from the initial bout and the symptoms are going away with each passing hour, much to my relief as well.

In the past 24 hours we have made good southerly progress and should now be approximately 600 nautical miles north of our destination of Morro Bay. Even at our relatively slow pace we could make Morro Bay in 7 or 8 days if all goes well.

For supper tonight I made pork chow mien and wild rice with chopped sun dried tomatoes, garlic and butter. Dick and Derrick praised my culinary skills and said the food has exceeded their expectations. This mornings breakfast was scrambled eggs with chopped green pepper, onions and ham served with a toasted fresh tomato sandwich on the side. The boys noted that it was Saturday Morning and that should constitute a second pot of coffee. I agreed and it was enjoyed by all.

I am writing this sitting at the cockpit table while "Noroue" sails herself under the direction of our Aries wind vane. I just watched the sun set behind a cloud bank on the horizon leaving its golden angelic rays spreading across the heavens; a wondrous sight that I never tire of. Just after coming on watch at 02:00 this morning, the ¾ moon disappeared behind a cloud bank only to reappear beneath it just above the horizon. It was spectacular. I called Dick back to the cockpit to watch it. The moon was huge on the horizon and blood red as it slowly sank into the sea, an amazing unearthly sight I have never before witnessed before, and will never forget.

As we sail along at about 4 knots I can see a spider struggling against the wind and the boat's motion to build his nightly web. I am not sure if he realizes that there is a lack of bugs out here on the open ocean. He is one of only a few spiders who have survived the wind and seas since leaving Ladner. There must have been a couple of dozen when we left, all finding secure little hiding places around the life lines and bimini canvas, but the sea has taken its toll on our little friends. I say 'friends' because here at sea with no sign of normal human life around us; life in all forms takes on a special meaning and should never be taken for granted. We are guests of Mother Ocean and are completely at her mercy. Only she has the right to decide who lives and who dies, thus we become equal with the lowly spider, and must seek out a peaceful co-existence onboard "Noroue". It was fate that put them on our particular boat out of the many to choose from in the LYC marina, and fate must take its course.

The ocean is teeming with life of all sorts, but one must look hard sometimes to see it. In actual fact, I suppose we aren't meant to see life in the ocean. It is not our world and we truly are aliens here. But every once in a while a creature from this foreign world will show itself, and those moments are exciting and always humbling. A few nights ago while on watch, I heard a blast of air that sounded as though it came from a huge tunnel. I looked to port where the sound came from just in time to see the enormous back of a whale reflecting in the pale moonlight as it surfaced not more than seventy five feet to "Noroue's" beam. The arc of its back appeared to be as wide as "Noroue's" hull, and it took my breath away. A moment later a second whale surfaced beside the first and again let a huge burst of air from the huge breathing hole behind its head which stayed under the surface. Then as the these two whales melted silently into the ocean a third whale surfaced a little farther off to our port beam, taking a quick and massive breath of precious oxygenated air as he too became one with the sea. Did they surface because they knew we were there, passing by in our insignificant little ship, or was our meeting simply fate? Either way, our encounter left me a little spooked and a very humble guest of Pacifico and her family.

Yesterday we spotted a large shark fin cutting the surface of the ocean in a seemingly aimless course as it wondered back and forth and around just below the surface. Was he aware of our vulnerability?

Today we sailed through a migration of some kind of strange jelly fish. There were thousands and thousands of them, all going in the same direction from near the surface to as deep as we could see in the clear blue water. They were about four to six inches long and shaped like an arbutus leaf. Their body was clear with a center spine and small branches angling off to the outer edges of its body. At one end was a reddish brown spot where a stem would attach to a leaf. Where are they going? Do they get angry when bumped and tossed by "Noroue's" hull as it cuts through their path?

There are birds far out on the ocean that seem to live out there. They seem quite indifferent to us and our boat as we sail along. Sometimes we pass by only a few feet from them as they rest on the water, oblivious to our presence. Other birds glide endlessly and effortlessly, only making minor adjustments to their wing tips as they ride the wind and catch the lift of air passing over a wave. I feel out of place and somewhat awkward out here.

I looked at all the pictures on "Noroue's" cabin walls today and thought long and hard about Donna, our kids and family. I wonder how all of you are and how you are spending your time and what you think about in your quiet times. I hope you are getting our SPOT reports, and that they help bring me closer to you as the distance in miles between us increases. Well I am loosing my light now, so I will close for the night.
 

Day 21, Sunday, September 01, 2013
San Louis Obispo Train Station California USA
Time 13:30

"Some of the best memories I have of this trip
were times that I was alone on watch
in the dark and able to come to peace with myself.
Even during the hard times when the winds were blowing strong
and the waves were thundering behind me,
I was able to be at one with myself"
:Derrick

Where do I start? We sailed into Morro Bay California and tied up to the Morro Bay Yacht Club dock on the afternoon of day 13 at about 14:30. The sail down from the north gave us a wide variety of wind and sea conditions. We used almost every sail combination "Noroue" carries in her sail inventory. To start with, we encountered three days of heavy SE head winds, to a few hours of motoring in no wind, to near tropically perfect sailing in warm sun with smooth seas. Then the wind slowly swung around to NW building slowly to a full 30 to 40 knot gale. The seas grew large and fast, and the temperature plummeted to a chilly 13 degrees C. We put up "Noroue's" red storm jib and with that sail only, ran before the gale for 12 hours before the wind lessened and we could roll out the furling jib. It was very rough and we had to hand steer "Noroue" as she had developed a steering cable issue. Hand steering in these conditions was hard, tedious work and took its toll on our energy. The saving grace was our thundering southerly progress. "Noroue" ran at 6 to 8 knots and 9 to 11 knots down the big seas.

"Noroue" is truly a great sea boat. While on watch at the wheel, I heard the roar of a following sea approaching our stern at twice the speed Noroue was going through the water. I turned around to look and there was a six foot plus waterfall cascading down on "Noroue's" stern. My first thought was "Oh No, I'm going to get wet!" Worry for not. "Noroue" just lifted her stern and let the foaming torrent pass by on both sides harmlessly without a drop of water spilling her toe rail.

It took another 12 hours for the wind and sea's to settle down till finally we had to take all sail down and start our little Volvo motor. For the next 24 hours. we motored on flat seas without a breath of wind or a ripple on the water. At last the wind came back, slowly at first from the NW. Eventually we got our 15 to 20 knots and made good way south under a furled jib only. This lasted for two full days all the while moving swiftly south. When the wind blew itself out, we were only thirty five miles form the entrance to Morro Bay, so we again fired up our diesel and promptly motored into thick fog. There was no traffic, but we kept the radar on and I monitored it while making breakfast as Dick and Derrick kept a sharp eye out for other vessels. I can feel the anticipation and excitement growing in the guys as we near our destination. By noon we broke out of the fog just as we cleared Point Estero at the north end of Estero Bay. As we entered Estero Bay we were greeted by warm sunshine and more whales than I have ever seen in one place. They were every where. Some were surfacing for a quick breath, some were just floating about, some were breeching and some were sounding, raising their massive tails high into the air. We were to learn later that there was an abundance of squid and plankton in the bay and the whales had congregated to feast on the bounty. We were also joined by hundreds of dolphins, several smaller whales and thousands of birds there to harvest the leftovers. The show went on non stop for the two hours that it took us to cross Estero Bay to the very distinctive Morro Rock, a five hundred and eighty one foot high solid rock shaped like half an egg marking the entrance to Morro Bay. As we approached the red and green buoys marking the channel entrance over the bar, it was a picture perfect surreal experience for me.

After two years and thousands of hours of planning and working on "Noroue", I was now about to enter the harbour that would signify the end of leg one of my dream. It also will be the starting point of the greatest challenge and adventure of my 62 years on the blue planet. Morro Bay, one of the sixth most dangerous harbour entrances on the US west coast, had laid out the red carpet for "Noroue" and its sea worn crew. After 13 days and some 1300 nautical miles through the water "Noroue" gently bumped her hull against the dock at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. It was time to celebrate.

"AND THE RUM IS FOR ALL YOUR GOOD VICES"
Jimmy Buffett

After the business of making port, customs, arranging for moorage, phone calls home etc, it was time to celebrate. This was kicked off with the quick consumption of six beers that I had kept hidden deep in the refrigerator.

Derrick was the first to leave the boat. He headed straight for town in search of a phone. He missed his family on our voyage and was anxious to contact his wife. Although I had sent two SPOT reports each twenty-four hours, we had no tangible proof they had been received. Most people in our hyper-communicative world we live in have never experienced the inability to communicate verbally or otherwise with loved ones for long periods of time. It is a form of stress that is underestimated. I have experienced this myself on past ocean voyages and witnessed fellow shipmates dealing with this anxiety each in their own quiet way. There are no pay phones to be found in Morro Bay. In search, Derrick entered a small barber shop and asked the proprietor where he might find a pay phone. The man laughed and offered Derrick the use of his cel phone, and insisted even after learning that the call was to Canada. Reluctant to take advantage of such generosity, but desperate, Derrick accepted the offer and made a very short call to his wife. Feeling indebted to the man, Derrick asked if he could get a hair cut. Now this must have seemed strange, even to the barber, as Derrick's hair was no longer than three eights of an inch at any point on his skull. The man told him he was about to close, but if Derrick would have a beer then he would cut his hair for fifteen dollars. Receiving a positive response from Derrick, the man promptly handed him some money, pointed across the street and said "Go over there and buy yourself a beer, bring it back here and I'll cut your hair" Derrick returned to "Noroue" with a shaved head, a two quart bottle of coke, a bottle of Spiced Rum and a great story.

To this hungry, overtired old skipper, rum and coke, no matter the occasion, is a lethal combination. But in the spirit of the event and Derrick's enthusiasm, I could not turn it down. An hour later and two rum and cokes, plus two beer sloshing around in my empty stomach, the crew declared it was time to go out on the town. Having already scouted a goodly portion of the water front of Morro Bay, Derrick directed the way.

With Dick and I following, Derrick led us into a corrugated iron clad hallway with a sign saying "Live Music Tonight" The joint was small and tucked away in the very back of the building, overlooking the harbour. It served a variety of cold beer, and the menu included fish and chips. We indulged in both as the band assembled and prepared to start the show. The front man was a hip looking biker-type of undeterminable age, and also the base player. They had a drummer and two guitar players, one young man and one much older. When they started playing, it was obvious that they were pro musicians. We found out later that the lead guitar player, the older of the two guitarists and the younger fellow are father and son. What a team! They played a wide variety of music from country to JJ Kale and everything in-between. They kept us and everyone in the room going till closing time, and then agreed to play another half hour. We drank a lot of beer and then someone got the bright idea that we should have coffee and brandy. After two of those it was definitely time to go back to Noroue, while we still could. The evening ended with Dick going to bed and Derrick and I each with one of my guitars playing what we conceived to be music??? I remember glancing at the clock on my cabin bulkhead as I was swung my tired aching legs onto my bunk; it read 03:40.

I awoke at 07:15, tired and spongy-headed, but unable to sleep any longer. Thankfully though, tired as I was, I was not sick. This is unusual for me after such debauchery, but I question not. The day drifted by, Derrick arranging transportation home, Dick cleaning up and doing some shopping while I prepared to start working on "Noroue's" steering system. I had to find a source of parts, and with the help of Pat, our local contact and past commodore of the MBYC, we were able to track down the manufacture of "Noroue's" steering. It was built by the Edson Company located on the eastern seaboard of the US. Ed, who I talked to on the phone, was very knowledgeable, and it did not take long on the phone to put a parts list together and get an order under way. It would take three to five days to get them to me.

In the meantime Dick filled his time washing the salt off of 'Noroue's' deck and rig, and lubricating various pieces of equipment. I filled my time making small modifications and adjustments to things on board that had given us trouble at sea.

"EXPANDING THE VIEW OF THE CAPTIAN AND CREW
LIKE A MAN JUST RELEASED FROM INDENTURE"
By Jimmy Buffett

The three of us, Dick, Derrick and myself formed a special bond over the thirteen days at sea. We developed a deep level of respect for the skills and attribute's each individual brought to the voyage.

In Derrick, I found a rock solid dependability and an unselfish level of commitment to do his part. This was not an easy voyage and at times, I am sure it was pushing his physical strength and endurance. He was like the energizer bunny; he just kept going and going.

Dick brought an infectious easy-going good nature to the ship. This was invaluable to the overall moral of the ships company, including mine. He always had a smile and an optimistic outlook. It was a very positive experience having him on board.

What Dick and Derrick brought to this leg of my journey will stand out in my mind for the rest of my life. I learned a lot from both of them and I am deeply indebted. Thank you.

We did have some moments. One that stands out in my mind, and I am sure in theirs as well, was the founding of 'Captain Jimmy and the Spinnakerets'.

One afternoon, sunny but failing wind brought me to the conclusion that in order to avoid starting the engine, we needed to raise Noroue's spinnaker sail. Neither Dick nor Derrick had ever sailed a spinnaker, especially Jimmy style: free-flying it without a pole. The seas were still confused, lumpy and unsettled after the wind died down. To set the big sail in these conditions requires a practiced handling of the helm, usually needing experience and practice combined with an intimate knowledge of the characteristics of "Noroue's" helm. To say no more, it was a disaster! The spinnaker suffered minor damage and so did the ships moral, hence the formation of the Spinnakerets. We all laugh about it now, and I realize I expected a lot. I hate motoring at sea!

Derrick flew home the afternoon of day fourteen. We missed him right away. Dick wanted to stay on for a few more days and help with the repairs to "Noroue". I was thankful for the assistance and the company. The longevity of our friendship (since about 1975) is comforting to both of us and is much valued. But time pressed on and Dick had to return home without me, traveling by Amtrak train as I would too in the next few days. Our friend Pat was kind enough to drive Dick to the train station in San Louis Obispo.

In the meantime, I continued to work on "Noroue" until the parts came which were now due to arrive Thursday by 12:00 at the MBYC. In fact, they were 20 minutes early as per the tracking reports estimated time of arrival. Both the Edson people who supplied the parts and the expertise and the FedEx people who handled the delivery did a superb job. Well done! By 19:00 hours "Noroue" was a mess with tools and equipment everywhere, but fully operational. Her skipper on the other hand was bruised, dirty, sore, hungry and exhausted. Friday, August 30th was spent cleaning up, and preparing to leave the dock and relocate to a MBYC mooring buoy where she would lay at rest while I return home for a few weeks to celebrate Donna and my anniversary and attend son Robert's wedding. I will be returning in early October to prepare and provision "Noroue" for Leg two: Morro Bay to Ensenada and on to La Paz, Mexico.
 

"SITTING ON THE DOCK OF THE BAY"
Otis Redding

On the morning of our second day in Morro Bay I got a pleasant surprise. When I poked my head out of "Noroue's" companion way first thing in the morning I looked into a familiar face on the dock. Werner, my dock neighbour in Ladner at the LYC for the past year and a half, was smiling and saying "good morning" I had to wrap my head around that for a moment before realized he was real. This was a chance meeting and was not prearranged. Werner left the LYC in early June of this year aboard his sloop rigged center cockpit sail boat "Princess Del Mar", to coast hop down the US coast to eventually end up in La Paz Baja Mexico for the mid-winter months. He was only staying in Morro Bay for a short time as he was going to move south to San Louis Obispo harbour. Dick and I had him over for supper and lots of wine and good conversation. We may meet again in La Paz as he will be leaving from there to head for the Marquesas, and I for Galapagos.

Also, while at MBYC dock, I met Richard and his wife Takae on a stop-over on their voyage south aboard their Islander 36. Meeting people like Richard and Takae make cruising very special. Warm and generous, always looking to help and assist, wanting nothing in return. Richard and Takae were staying in Morro Bay for a week or so and rented a car. Their offers of transport to those of us who had none, exceeded expectation. This included inviting me to an outing in San Louis Obispo that even included dinner. The evening was finished off aboard "Noroue" with music, drinks and good conversation. Today I treated the three of us to a Thai lunch and they drove me to the train station where we said our goodbyes and hopes of meeting in late October in Ensenada.

Hats off to the Morro Bay Yacht Club! Everyone I meet there demonstrated a sincere interest in our well being and comfort. We were offered the use of cel phones, rides, treated with utmost respect. We were made to feel welcome and part of their family. I cannot say enough thanks to the members of the MBYC and the town of Morro Bay. From shop keepers to the Coast Guard: you all made me feel at home and I look forward to my return.

To the Ladner Yacht Club of which I am a proud member. The encouragement I received from all my fellow members (not all of which deemed me completely sane) helped to keep me going when the problems seemed too large to overcome. Thank-you; you all helped strengthen my commitment to do this. Even though it is still early into the voyage, I feel more confident in my ability to complete the journey.

I want to give special thanks to John Burke, Kim Watkins and especially Richard Laurendeau who took the time to take my wife Donna and her daughter Erinn aboard his boat and escort "Noroue" to the Sandheads light. You all make me proud to represent the LYC on my voyage.

To my family and friends who have supported this venture; you are all part of this. Erinn, your Mark Twain quote is on my cabin wall and I read it almost daily. Bernie and Betty, Roger and Marion, your beautiful journals give me a place to log my thoughts. I will do my best to fill them with meaningful reflections. Don and Marilyn, your sturdy brass bell now hangs from the forward side of "Noroue's" mast compression post in her main salon, a solid reminder of the strength of our friendship. To my Mother, brothers Aime and Mark and sister Viola, you have always been there for me and never tried to hold me back. And to all my friends who have stood by me, Dave and Leslie, John and Heather, Fred, Frank and the other Fred, and all the others too numerous to mention, I take a piece of all of you with me. Thank you all.

The best for last. My beautiful, wonderful, sweet wife Donna. How do I deserve you? Your understanding and unconditional acceptance of this man I am! You, above and beyond all, make this possible. I know it is a debt in my heart I can never repay. No man should be so lucky as to have the love of a woman like you. I love you with all my heart and I will think of you every day we are apart. I can't wait to get home.

Now, on a train traveling north at a leisurely pace, I can reflect on the journey past and future. This is such a big Planet with so many amazing things to see and do. I look at the distances I have yet to travel, some 14000 sea miles to get back to my home port of Ladner, BC Canada. Then I compare it to the tiny portion of Pacifico I will cover, it is humbling. All that you have out there to measure time and distance is from the bow of ones boat to where the sea has dissolved your track. It is just a MOMENT IN TIME.

End of Chapter one

On a north bound train to home somewhere south of San Francisco CA USA.

Jimmy

 (chapter II)