As a friend pointed out recently, we have not sent any news of our arrival back in Canada.

Jan flew back to Hawaii and together we spent a nervous evening sitting at anchor in Kaneohe Bay watching lightening striking ground around us as the aftermath of the latest hurricane crossed Oahu. We offered what little help we could, but David & Nancy had all the resources to pump out and secure poor Flash Girl, which had been anchored near us and struck during the night. Dulcinea was provisioned and ready to go, so as the Trade Winds settled back, we raised anchor and headed north.

We had 3 or 4 days on a lovely reach north before the wind left us and we started to drift around the edge of the North Pacific High. We were joined for several hours by a pod of baleen whales (either sei or minke) which slowly & gracefully played beside us & between our bows as we drifted along. This was followed by one of those immense schools of dolphins which sometimes rise out of the sea as far as the eye can see.

We watched the fronts arriving in the Westerlies, chose a latitude to sail on, and arrived off the North end of Vancouver Island. We could have sailed directly to Port Hardy or Port McNeill, our ultimate destination where our son & daughter-in-law live. However, we had promised ourselves a return to Victoria - our starting point 16 years ago. In fresh NW winds, we past a poorly-lit tuna-fishing fleet, and then slowed down in some dense fog bank. Having a couple of days free, we groped across Juan De Fuca and anchored in sunny Neah Bay and used the profusion of blackberries to ensure there could be no lingering symptoms of scurvey!

Then we motored alongside the busy commercial traffic up Juan De Fuca Strait and into the Victoria's Inner Harbour to check into Canada. This meant docking on the small customs dock and because of the long weekend there were many America boats lining up in front of and behind us. On the dock is the telephone which one uses to check in, but it was not working, so we called Customs on the cell phone and received our clearance number. As our reservation to dock in front of the Parliament Buildings & Empress Hotel was still 2 days away, we motored to Cadborough Bay and joined our son's family for the week end.

They joined us for the trip back and we re-entered the Inner Harbour with 3 generations sitting around the boat and waving back to the tourists. Avoiding the sea-planes, and negotiating the tight space, we made contact with the harbour authorities who directed us towards an inner dock but responded with a long silence when we reminded them we had a 37ft beam. No worries, they moved us to an even better location and several friends & relatives visited over the next few days, and sampled Hawaiin champagne. It was lovely to see friends we had not met for a number of years.

Once we had caught up on sleep and felt well rested, we moved back to Cadboro Bay, and again family and friends joined us for the trip.

Dave had tried to replace a hose and discovered that a bronze through-hull was in poor shape, so we checked and found a sheltered corner of the beach with lovely smooth, sand where we could beach Dulcinea on the tide and change the skin fitting. This was the first time we had beached her. Dave cautiously asked some local residents & dog-walkers whether they would mind, and got the general response that she would be much nicer to look at than the boats which frequently drag anchors during winter storms and end up wrecked. So at 6.00 am one morning, we nosed in just after high tide, and as we touched, we looked up to meet the eyes of a woman emerging on her balcony and asked whether we were spoiling her view. She replied that we "had certainly changed it". Later, Jan talked to them on the beach and was invited to use their bathroom as much as we wanted. Janet was going to say "No thanks" but when told she could "soak in the bath as long as you like" she could not refuse. Our hot showers on the boat were not working after a long lapse of disuse and cold showers were not inviting. Two sailing friends arrived to help with the work and all was nicely sealed up long before the tide came back.

We then sailed on up the beautiful Inside Coast through the Gulf Islands, and visited more friends over the next few days. A gale on the nose as we tacked up Johnson Strait tore the headsail which had been patched for us in Hawaii, after which we just motor-sailed with a heavily reefed main. We joined Mark & family again in Port McNeill and sailed up to Port Hardy where they live.

Finally we were home. Dulcinea is now in the small marina at Port McNeill and we are at home in Calgary, left with happy memories of the past 16 years. We are pleased that Mark & Heidi together with another family have already used Dulcinea for a week end in a remote bay on the mainland.

Our future plans are to sail up the coast to Alaska next summer and then who knows what?

Jan, Dave & Dulcinea