This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Yacht is Ours!

Today, Monday, August 18, 2009 Leslie and I became the proud owners of our dream boat--a Bayliner 3216 Motor Yacht.

After struggling with the details, issues, near disasters and repairs for nearly the entire summer, the former owners turned the keys over to our broker and accepted a check for the agreed on amount. After all that either went wrong or nearly did the actual moment transfer of ownership took place was really quite anticlimactic.

Our boat now sits in the Squalicum boat harbor here in Bellingham, only 10 minutes down the hill from our house. Our broker found a way to get us into one of his slips in this harbor making it unnecessary for us to moor up north at Semiahmoo marina about a half hour from home. This is a really big deal for us as this harbor provides all the necessities, fuel, repair, parts, waste removal, etc., that one would expect from a good marina and did I mention it is only 10 minutes from home? It isn't a permanent berth but will be home for Key of Sea for at least the next year. While there are still lots of things needing doing to the boat this will be a handy location to get them done. Meanwhile, we will place ourselves on the waiting list to get into this harbor permanently.

Key of Sea. Yep, that's her official name. The old name will be removed soon and the new one put on. There is apparently some sort of ceremony which must be performed in order to beat the curse that can follow a boat which has had its name changed. We will have that done and then proceed. No point in pressing our luck.

Curt, our broker has very kindly agreed to spend some time with us on docking and navigation procedures. We have signed up for a 6-week Coast Guard sponsored boating class that begins in September. We have also signed up to have the boat inspected by the Coast Guard Auxiliary in the next couple of weeks so we can find out what safety items need to be on board. So we are already playing it safe.

So, for all our friends and family, we do plan on going out a lot in our boat and inviting you to accompany us on our adventures no matter whether just a jaunt around Bellingham Bay or more distant destinations in the San Juan and Canadian Gulf islands, north through the Inside Passage or perhaps even further on to Alaska. Who knows? The fun is just beginning. Bon Voyage!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Annual Canadian Fishing Trip

For the third year in a row I spent 5 glorious days in Ucluelit, British Columbia, a small fishing community on the west coast of Vancouver Island fishing for king and coho salmon and halibut. And for the third year in a row I returned home with my limit on all three.

Rick Scribner, our guide and sage for all things having to do with the sea brought mutual friend Ken Marshall and I to this stunningly beautiful spot out on the edge of the world. Our goal was to enjoy the beauty of the place, the camaraderie and especially the fishing. We weren't disappointed.

It takes the better part of a day just to get there from Bellingham requiring a border crossing, a ferry ride and a drive across the wild interior of Vancouver Island.

We berthed at the government marina and left for the big bank 20 plus miles off the coast at dawn the second day. The weather was near perfect. The cloud cover burned off by mid morning and left us bathed in sunshine. The sea was near flat calm allowing me to stand to reel in the fish instead of my traditional sitting position on days when the sea is less than calm.

We caught lots of Halibut, fought with pesky Coho who frequently attacked our lures as they descended searching for the Kings. I felt especially accomplished catching my first Halibut and then proceeding to catch all the Halibut for our group. A few others were caught but wound up being too small.

Ken caught a 28 pound King which was thrilling for him. I have included a bit of video of his experience. Not until the final day and the final hour of fishing did I catch a 32 pound King which turned out to be the biggest fish caught during our expedition.

We caught our limits, released lots of native coho (you generally can't keep the natives) and spring salmon (often too small to keep). We also caught two 28 inch Ling Cod a Red Snapper (too small) and several Perch (too, whatever). We kept the Cods and threw all the others back.

We fished off the islands in Barkley Sound with little luck except that I lost my entire set up when a large King hit my line and I stupidly began frantically reeling him in before the fish was ready to quit. The King suddenly took off and I didn't get my hand out of the way quick enough. Sad!

With little happening in the sound we decided to move on and headed towards South Bank, an area only a few miles off the coast of Ucluelit. We stopped in an spot none of us had fished before. Several other boats were there as well and had their nets in the water which was a good sign. So we joined in the rumba line and began trolling. It was here that my 32 pound adventure occurred. After about an hour of fishing we had filled out our limit and headed for home.

We had great fun. Got a sunburn and chapped lips and returned home happy hunters with freezers full for the winter.