This will be an email to review our last 18 months based on land. It is time to accept the transition from living on a sailing boat to living in a house. We are back in our home in Calgary, 20 minutes walk from our younger son Neil, and 4 hours on 2 flights or 2 days drive from his brother Mark, Heidi, and their family on Vancouver Island. This may or may not be the last email sent to this distribution list, but the name "sailnews" is no longer appropriate to our lives.

Janet was actually determined not to be home-based from the moment she returned. Two weeks after tying the docking lines she arranged to hike the N Coast Trail of Vancouver Island. This trail gets compared with the West Coast Trail, but beyond the name, the similarities are few. The West trail has a long history which may have started with native trails a few thousand years ago. The reefs and fog banks off the SW coast led to so many wrecks in the 1800's that the trail was formalized for rescue purposes in the early 1900's. It was adopted by Parks Canada in 1907 and lately has become a highly organized multi-day wilderness trail, requiring permits, which book up well in advance.

The North Coast Trail is considered a 45km, 6-8 day camping trip across provincial (not federal) land. It starts at Shushartie Bay an hour NW of Port Hardy in a water taxi. The trail head would be missed in dense cedar trees if the water taxi did not know where to let you leap off the bow onto the rocks. From there it climbs steeply to a bog where you step over fallen logs in knee-deep mud and continue past the abandoned & overgrown Danish settlement, & the Cape Scott lighthouse to the parking lot for San Josef Bay, which is a 2 hour drive on dirt roads back to Port Hardy. The camp sites are mostly on beaches in breathtaking surroundings shared with any bears and wolves that care to watch you setting up the tent. Although Dave would have loved to go, a spot on his leg became infected and the Pt MacNeil doctor advised him to stay near the hospital. So he did another week of boat jobs instead.

Returning to Calgary, Jan set to and arranged to fly to Peru to hike the Inca Trail near Cusco to Machu Pichu. Guides and porters made the trip far easier than the above.

Dave used the chance to return to some ideas he had been fomenting about geophysical software, and sat in front of a computer for several weeks. On his test jobs, the new code increased run times from hours to weeks without any significantly better results, showing that 16 years away on a sailing boat cannot always solve nagging problems.

Meanwhile he got it into his head to start running, made a training plan, and entered the Victoria Marathon at the end of the Summer. He skipped Victoria, but did run a marathon in Calgary in October instead. The metal-on-metal hip is 12 years old and doing well, but probably should not be pushed to its limits!

He also started piano lessons again, and added an older upright piano to the electronic piano in our house. Wrong notes now stand out much more clearly, and correct harmonies are improved.

Mixed around a hiking trip in Newfoundland (you guessed right: the East Coast Trail), and Jan's visit to England in October, we managed a couple of lovely trips on Dulcinea.

Mark and Dave took his children over to the Broughton Group of islands for one long week end.

And we both had a gorgeous week with the 3 generations up north of Cape Caution. Heidi found the anchorage for us where her grand parents used to take family holidays in their fishing boat. Again this was remote country with land mammals, eagles, salmon, and whales, and a good mix of sandy beaches and rocky granite shores.

Dave, being a little more blazee than Mark about watch-keeping, ran Dulcinea hard into a floating log on the first evening out. We confirmed the advantages of a double epoxy skin with impermiable foam sandwich, backed up by several water-tight bulkheads superior to Titanic's, and left the repair until the end of the week, when Mark and Heidi returned to work. We anchored Dulcinea's sterns & tied the bows to trees behind the beach. Then we repaired the damage between tides. Meanwhile we created sufficient spectacle to be on the front page of the North Island Gazette.

We are fortunate to have access to such beautiful country. Snow is now falling on the mountains and thoughts are turning to the backcountry there.

Health issues dogged us a little, and Jan had cataract surgery in both eyes after returning from England. Now Dave has gone down with flu (despite having the "flu shot" this year), and Jan is finishing off her regime of eye drops 4 times per day. She is also getting herself used to long distance sight without glasses.

One early present that Dave took for himself was a helicopter skiing trip in the Monashees with Mike Wiegele. Based at a lodge between Kamloops and Valemont, they cover a lease of thousands of square kilometers. The skiing is, of course, excellent, but the views of peaks and glaciers are truly magnificent.

We shall spend Christmas at our cabin again just west of Calgary. In January, we shall drive west to spend another week with Mark, Heidi & their two.

Jan has been busy publishing a children's book based on photos of the egret "Earl" who spent 3 weeks on Dulcinea crossing the Pacific. It will be available on Amazon sometime next year.

Best wishes to you all

Dave & Jan Hutchinson

You can see previous letters at: