It’s a bittersweet night as I write this. Our shipper has moved up our ship date by a week and turned a scramble to get ready into a frenzy. All the scrambling has meant less blog posting than we’d like. The British Columbia coast is so beautiful and we have so many good friends here. But tomorrow night will be our last night in the Gulf Islands. The next day we head to Shelter Island Marina in Richmond, haul our sailboat out of the water and onto a truck, and after packing for a couple of days, send it east.
This wasn’t the plan we originally had when we set off last year, but as has happened to many people these last few years, COVID has forced changes. Closed borders meant a missed weather window for the US west coast, and instead of spending last winter working our way south towards Panama, we spent time in marinas here in BC with lots of time for boat work, thinking ahead, and trying to keep warm. Somewhere along the way a new plan was hatched: instead of risk a COVID barrier going south, let’s go east… ship the boat by truck to the Great Lakes and take the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Atlantic.
The more we thought about it, the more we got excited about it. First, staying in Canada through the summer and the US for most of the fall would be a lower risk if (god forbid) COVID started blocking borders again. Though shipping the boat isn’t cheap, overall this choice actually gets us to the Caribbean faster, and (with luck) over to Europe next year, which we’d really love to do.
But that wasn’t really what we kept thinking about: it was this summer’s route. This was an opportunity to travel through and see a lot of Canada from a unique perspective. The Great Lakes feature some truly amazing cruising, with areas like Georgian Bay, the North Channel, and the Thousand Islands, and the adventure of traveling all the way down the St. Lawrence, across the Maritimes, and south down the US Atlantic coast.
There will be lots more to share as we hit the (fresh) water. The boat arrives in Midland, Ontario and we’ll put it together as fast as we can and set off exploring Georgian Bay by the beginning of June. I hear the temperature is already hitting the high 20s in Ontario…