My sister, Diana flew up from San Diego where she lives in an arid burg somewhere around the 2000′ mark. She and I grew up in Oregon near the coast and she has a deep appreciation for the PNW so I knew she would enjoy our cool weather and love the life at sea. I asked her if she could guest post on her time here so our readers could see it through someone else’s eyes.
Four days passed without hardly knowing what day of the week it was, what time of the day it was, or if it was lunch or supper or snack or nap time. Naps were non-existent of course, because there was far too much to see and do, and Sherlene was determined to give me the whole summer experience in 4 days! No schedules to meet but a very busy itinerary!
Kevin and Sherlene arranged for can Airporter Shuttle from Sea-Tac to Anacortes where they picked me up about a block from the pier. We ate well the entire time and it started with fresh tuna sandwiches before we left the dock. Then started my first sailing experience. I wish I had known then what I could appreciate 4 days later, but it was the perfect day for sailing: blue skies with light wind and we cruised the Bellingham Strait like sailing champions. When we sailed into Eagle Harbor, some boating neighbors commented on how beautiful Wings of the Morning was flying down the channel. I was clueless. I was a kid along for the ride totally ignorant of the fact that not every day is a sailing day, and not every sailing day is a spectacular one – and I had just experienced a spectacular sail. Wow!
We clammed, and crabbed, and hiked, and sat on driftwood on beaches and shared private thoughts. We sailed and motored between Anacortes, Cypress Island, Clark Island, Sucia Island, and Bellingham. We watched bald eagles, hawks, and vultures soar overhead, while blue herons fought territorial battles. Pigeon Guillemots bobbed in the waters all around us, and we chuckled at every takeoff when they dragged their webbed feet in the water like newbies at flying. We grabbed the binoculars whenever a brown blob appeared in the water. Was it a seal? An otter? A dolphin? Maybe an orca? A curious baby seal came to check us out, followed by a nervous mama trying to herd the little one away, two playful otters dipped and dove through the water in a chase, dolphins gracefully cut through the waves and wakes during our sails. Seals lounged on nearby rocks shared with cormorants. Time stood still while nature gave us a show. Ps. 19.1 was very pertinent one morning: the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shews forth his handiwork.
Then there was the eats. What can you create on a one burner gas stove top and small igloo sized fridge? Menus by necessity were simple, mostly one dish meals, and the outdoor air does seem to whet the appetite, but how can it not with fresh tuna on Dave’s Killer Bread, or clam chowder with clams dug just hours before, or fried rice topped with garlic buttered crab meat? When we didn’t have fresh seafood, we had curry and rice, or beans and stir fried vegetables. Breakfast was
hearty oatmeal with craisins, or hash browns, eggs, and sausage gravy, or avocado toast. Afternoon snacks included crackers with cream cheese and oysters (just close your eyes and eat, don’t look!), apples and spicy cheese, yogurt and fruit, fresh cherries. I’m pretty sure I didn’t lose an ounce in spite of hiking 3-4 miles a day.
When sis asked me what my favorite thing was, I had to give it some thought, but while journaling this, I came to the conclusion that it was simply the sharing of her life. She loves her world that revolves around Wings of the Morning, and she couldn’t wait for me to experience it all: from digging clams on rocky beaches and finding a big eastern soft shell or a little manilla steamer or even throwing back a huge butter clam, to hauling up the crab pots and finding 2 legal size red rock crabs, or hiking all the trails on all the islands we stopped at (I have a few more trips to go to get all of those in – just glad my feet stayed happy!). Eating what you catch was a thrill to her and a thrill for me to watch her process it from a living organism in the ocean (OK, ocean waters) to food on the plate. That’s
as fresh as you can get.
Kevin is her partner in crime, and even when the wakes of a ship make her a tad bit grumpy when she’s serving as the galley maid trying to keep food on the stove top and not on the floor, or the rip tides and river currents keep her awake at night (I have a new respect for those!), they work together as a team building on each other’s talents. Kevin lives by trial and error, learning as he goes and relying on a certain amount of instinct, Sherlene is the knowledge gatherer, searching Dr. Google for all the pertinent information on currents, winds, distances, depths, and mapping out the most efficient routes accordingly. She guides the stern wheel with a phone in one hand that has her route embedded with all the info. She freely admits that all she’s learned is mostly from Kevin – I think she means the instinctive stuff or the safety bits. He is a talented teacher, not directing or even guiding as much as questioning and making you question yourself. Showing you, then giving you the lead, and questioning you later on how to do something, or why you do it a certain way. I think he taught me a thing or two, if my memory can retain it. He’s proud of Sherlene, I hope she knows that. She taught me a few things too!
Four days later I’m on the train for Portland, reliving and trying to turn short-term memories into long-term memories, and feeling so thankful for these past days. A wrinkle in time, no schedules, no deadlines, but a full heart thankful that my sis wanted to share her world with me. Thank you Sherlene. And thank you Kevin.
Thanks sis for coming and taking the time to write this post! Come again anytime and take the wheel awhile!