Vancouver BC to Midland ON: 4,100 km

On Monday May 16, just before 7 a.m., Mike’s phone rang. It was our shipper: “Get up, get up! They’re hauling you out right now!”. We were docked at Shelter Island Marina on the Fraser River, adjacent to the boat lift, and awake (barely). The previous few days had been a rush, first from Puget Sound to Sidney for one last stop at our engine mechanic and then back to Vancouver, all because our shipping date had been moved up a week. We were expecting to be lifted out later in the day on Monday, but apparently the yard manager had taken a look at our boat that morning and reacted with “there’s a lot of stuff on that boat” (to get packed), and decided to haul us out right away so we had more time. Well, maybe he didn’t say “stuff”.

About two minutes later there was a knock on the hull and we were quickly up and untying dock lines to get the boat in the lift. Once out of the water it was a mad two and a half day rush to pack up the boat. By that afternoon the mast was down and the rigging stripped, with Glenda working hard to pad and wrap the mast while Mike dismantled solar panels and davits. Just about everything on deck on the boat had to come off, and everything down below had to be stowed carefully to make sure that it wouldn’t be damaged or damage something else if it moved during the trip.

Late on Packing Day 1… mast wrapped and ready, davits and solar panels removed

Later on Monday our shipper came by to let us know that the forecast on the route east was calling for up to 50 cm of snow on the prairies (in May?!?), and by Tuesday morning the decision had been made to route the truck through the US instead of across Canada. The one big consequence of the decision was we would now have to had carry our small set of succulents with us instead of having them travel on the boat, because house plants can’t cross the border.

The inside of the boat, just a few hours before departure – you can’t see it, but the galley floor is packed full as well

On Tuesday afternoon the boat was lifted onto the trailer and tied down, with the mast, boom, and davit arch carefully strapped below on the base of the trailer. We worked late both nights and finished strapping down the kayaks, dinghy, and dodger roof on deck Wednesday morning, exhausted but satisfied that the boat was in good shape and in good hands. Innisfree left Vancouver later that day and we followed her progress on our GPS tracker eagerly, with our driver kindly texting us brief video updates each night to soothe our nerves.

Innisfree all packed up and ready to go

Planes, trains, and automobiles

Late on Saturday we flew out on a red-eye to Toronto (house plants in hand). From Toronto, a GO Train took us as far as Aurora where we then had to switch to a bus for the trip to Barrie. Barrie, unfortunately, was the end of the line for public transport on a holiday weekend, so from there we ordered an Uber to travel the final 50 km to our motel in Midland, Ontario.

Leaving Toronto on the GO Train

The next day (Monday, May 23), a little bleary-eyed, we found our way down to the marina to introduce ourselves, get oriented, and make sure everything was set with Innisfree due to arrive the next day. All was good, and with a bit of time to kill we explored the shoreline and the town, relished the warm weather, and visited the local Huronia museum.

Innisfree showed up on schedule at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday May 24. The marina was ready, and in under an hour we had her off the trailer and into the water, and before too long nestled into a slip. The main task that first afternoon was unpacking enough down below so that we could sleep in our bed and make coffee in the morning. While packing the boat had taken a few frenzied days, putting her back together would take a week of long days. Reassembling the cockpit, davits, and solar panels, washing just about everything, recommissioning the engine, re-rigging the mast, etc. As you might expect, there was a lot of “where did we pack ____?”

Innisfree partially reassembled

The weather was wonderfully hot and sunny… a nice change from the cold BC winter and spring. The other boaters on the dock were really friendly and lent us a hand at times, but the best part of the week was when old friends dropped by to visit. Sitting in the cockpit catching up over a beer with friends we hadn’t seen in years was simply magical.

On May 30 the mast was stepped and on Tuesday May 31, exhausted but smiling, we cast off the dock lines and headed out into beautiful Georgian Bay. It was fifteen days and 4,100 km since that 7 a.m. phone call in Vancouver.

Finally out of the Marina!