Monday, October 6, 2014

Wrapping up the trip to Victoria

I'm on my next adventure now and was planning to update the blog, but became a little stymied by the fact that I hadn't completed the writings from my last trip. So here's an abbreviated summary.

We sailed up the Washington coast and made the turn in towards Victoria. There was very dense fog, which isn't the best to make on feel relaxed when sailing largely blind. We made our way East, through the passage, and the fog cleared around 11:00 on a beautiful sunny day. We headed into Victoria harbour, got directions to the customs dock, and called our client. We found the little customs dock, big enough for two boats, and tied up there. Our client had let us know he couldn't be there for a couple of hours, which was pretty surprising since we thought he was just waiting for us in Victoria.

There's nothing at the customs dock other than a somewhere to tie up your boat, a phone to call customs, and a locked gate. We called the customs guys on the phone and let them know we were there. They said they'd be there in about an hour, so we just sat back to wait. We were finally on solid ground, so we sat back to have a rum and Coke, but only had half a glass of Coke between us. Kind of like an old Got Milk ad. We discussed going over or around the locked gate, to resupply, but chose not to. That turned out to be a good thing, because when I mentioned the thought to the customs officers when they arrived they pointed out that that would have made us (me) liable to a very large fine and potential jail time. (Kinda harsh for a Coke.)

The customs officers rolled up in a big black Suburban, which made Cuno's day, since that fit his impression of how these things should be. Our client had already payed all the import duties on the yacht, since they'd bought it in Mexico they were a reasonable amount, but we couldn't get out of there until the client showed up. Fortunately, the client had just jumped on a Harbour Air flight over when we'd called, and he arrived just as the customs officers were leaving. So everything got taken care of.

The client was very nice. It turned out that he'd been sailing the boat north, and had fallen off the stairs shortly after they'd passed Bodega Bay, breaking his neck. He was fine, or at least as fine as you can be after a broken neck, but that was the end of his trip and that's why we'd picked up the yacht there. We spent a few hours with him discussing the trip, and in the end he bought Cuno and I dinner. We went for pasta at Pagliacci's, a Victoria institution.

Before departing that evening he asked is we had found the lifejackets. We said we had, pointing out to him the crappy ones in the stern storage locker. He said "No, the good ones." We had been through the every possible inch of the yacht, from bow to stern, and I knew there were no good life jackets on board. Well, it turned out they weren't on board. They were hidden under a seat in the dinghy. A stupid place to keep your PFDs, but there you go. I was a little annoyed at him for not having said anything before, and a little annoyed at Cuno for not having addressed it with him, but there was nothing to be done about it now and the trip was over, so it was OK.

We had one last night on the boat. The next morning we got up and cleaned so that it was far better than when we arrived. The owners came down to the yacht and we went through a handover process. They were very happy about everything and recognized the effort we had gone to, which was nice. Then it was time for me to go. I thanked Cuno and we said our goodbyes. The yacht owner and I shared a cab to the Harbour Air terminal, where I caught a flight back to Vancouver. That flight is always amazing, and it was the perfect day for it. I love the view of the Gulf Islands as you pass by.

It was a tough trip but I'm glad I did it. I saw an aspect of the coast that I'd never seen before, and I had experiences that I'd never had before. Cuno was a great skipper to sail with. Sure, we drove each other crazy once in a while, but he was always professional, buttoned down, and I felt safe with him. He taught me well, and prepared me for other deliveries, if I'm ever to take one on. I would trust him with my yacht, if I were ever to have one.

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