“Do it!! Dad. I really think you should just come. It will be amazing!!! You have to.”
It didn’t take any more words to convince my Dad to book a flight to Port McNeil to join us for a week of sailing. He managed somehow to squeeze away from work and we managed to be where we said we would be, on time!
One of the tricky things about the trip was deciding the pace we wanted to go. We made a conscious decision after Desolation Sound to continue at a slow pace, which would allow us to open up our trip and be able to share it with people, like my papa! I was so excited to have him come to meet us.
Doug Brown, aka pappi, is the best; hilarious, musical, creative, adventurous and just the absolute best dad. I’m a lucky daughter, there is no doubt about it.
Along with my dad, our great friends Mike and Heather flew in to join and take us to 5 on board. Another big round of shopping and organizing ensued to properly prepare for our crew.
Our crew arrived and we were amped up getting the boat ready, gear onboard, diesel in the tanks while looking at the weather forecast for Johnstone Straight. 40 knots was predicted for the afternoon, and we wanted to push and get some miles done but we didn’t really want to be out in 40 knots if we could help it. We decided to go for it and duck into a cove somewhere if needed.
At this stage, Emmanuel and I knew Leela so well. We knew when to reef (early!), and how to do it with the least amount of strain on the gear (point into the wind!). I felt so much more confident in my knowledge and experience sailing, which is a great feeling. I’m able to enjoy the process so much more with a good foundation of how the boat works with the wind. The learning curve was starting to feel like a curve instead of a cliff overhang.
The unique thing about this week of sailing more than any other was the range of diversity that we experienced. We sailed from Port McNeil to Refugee Cove and experienced incredibly drastic changes in the environment. The air and ocean temperature changed dramatically, we saw incredible wildlife displays. We fished, swam and explored. We jammed, sang and ate. It was one of the best weeks of sailing of the summer and it was made even better to share it with Mike, Heather and my dad.
We had Pacific White-sided dolphins swimming in our bow wake, which had been a dream of ours. We saw whales everyday. On the second day, a humpback whale surfaced so close to Leela that we could smell the whales’ breath. It didn’t smell great, it was horrible actually, we all accused each other of letting a fart rip! That was the guys excuse the rest of the trip whenever something smelled off, the whale did it! Right.
We stopped overnight at Shoal Bay and hiked up to a lookout with a view of the bay, Leela and Phillips Arm. It was one of our favourite places and all of us dream of going back to visit.
We hit the rapids into Desolation Sound, the water warmed up and we swam daily.
For me, it was a trip where I created a lifetime of memories with my dad. It was one of those trips where everything is flowing and smooth, you know that it is special in the moment, where no time has to elapse before you feel the glow when you think on what happened the day before.