On the 3rd of July I took Appa over to Liberty Bay for the annual fireworks there. My good friend Chris went with and we rafted up to David and Julie. Great time. On the 4th, Chris and I headed back to Shileshole marina and David headed down to Quartermaster Harbor for their 4th of July firework celebration. Once at the dock, I started to get the boat ready for our trip to the San Juan Islands. My mom and dad showed up around 6pm and Jen dropped the kids off around that time also. On the 5th, at 7 am, we shoved off the dock and caught the ebbing tide to Roche Harbor. Had a great transit to about Port Townsend and then hoisted the sails and took off across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. One of the best and fastest trips north ever. Arrived at the Seattle Yacht Club Henry Island outstation around 5 pm. We were travelling with two other boats, Sand Dollar and Dolphin Quest. They pulled in around 8 or 9 as they left a bit later than us.
7 am comes early sometimes. No wind till we reached the Strait. There was a ton of haze from multiple fires on Vancouver Island.
Making breakfast underway.
Here is my Benny. Reading his book for a change. That boy loves his screentime but then again I do also.
My bio dad has been dead now for years. This is my step-father Pete. I was taking a nap on deck while in Friday Harbor and woke to Sam and Opa playing Uno. Ilse was also napping. Sam then changed the game to a hybrid version of Uno. This went on for a bit and then they started to play hide and seek. While on the boat! So cute. Then Sam conned Pete into watching a Barbie movie with her. Once the movie was over, Pete came back on deck and said "I should get a free pass to heaven for watching that Barbie movie!".
This is hard to put into words but I am happy that Sam has a chance to know Pete. She calls him Opa and they really connected during this trip. I find it unfair though that my daughter and son (Ben met Arne in Florida and does kinda remember him) will never know Arne. I never knew my grandfathers. I have a vague recollection of my mother's dad but never knew my dad's dad. By all accounts he was a great man. Died of stomach cancer before I was born. Had I known Butch, would I have turned out differently? I wonder what my cousins Eric and Heidi think about not having Butch around. Jen's brother's kids go with their grandparents to Wisconsin for a month and live on a farm. What an experience that has to be. Maybe I'm wistful about the whole grandparents thing cause I feel cheated and I think my kids are being cheated also. Hell, Eric and Heidi were cheated too. Jen's dad has dementia and the kids won't know him. Thankfully Jen's mom is doing well and is a part of their lives. I did live with my grandmother on my dad's side but my mom's mom died before I could know her. She died of, wait for it...cancer.
Here is Sam and Oma at the Henry Island outstation. Sam and my mother really bonded during this trip.
We spent the night at Henry Island and then in the morning headed over to Bedwell Harbor which is in Canada on South Pender Island. Bedwell has a nice hike to the top of Mt. Norman and also a nice swimming pool and hot tub.
Upon landing at Bedwell you have to check into Canada. The captain of the vessel is the only one allowed to get off the boat. We got the boat secured and I headed up the dock to the border patrol office. It is much easier to check into Canada then to check back into the USA. Once in the office the border patrol officer noticed a bulge under my shirt and after introducing himself he inquired about it. It does look like a holster I suppose. I lifted my shirt and said one word, "cancer". Things went smoothly after that.
We spent two days at Bedwell. Love that place.
The crew of Appa, Sand Dollar and Dolphin Quest just before our 6 mile hike to the top of Mt. Norman.
The boys hiked on anything and everything.
The hike could be a metaphor for my cancer. Really tough trail at times.
At the top.
My kids did great on the hike. Ben never complained and Sam did once in awhile. We told stories while hiking to keep her mind off the trail. My uncle Lynn used to tell me Bowser the dog stories. I changed that a bit to Bowser the Mahi Mahi. This Bowser is a fish that tries to help other fish in the ocean. It is a work in progress.
On the way down, four of us got stung by wasps. I got it once on the calf. Shauna got stung and so did Dylan from Dolphin Quest. Poor, poor Sam got hit 5 times. Five freaking times. Oh the screaming and crying. We had two more miles to go at that point. I cannot carry Sam. She worked her way down and once at the trail head, we jumped into the dinghy and roared to Appa. Some Tylenol and Motrin given and Sam started to feel better. What a girl!
Papa Fox aka Pat met us in Bedwell on his boat Subira which is an Islander 36 Freeport. He has been working nonstop on his boat and got enough done on her to actually use the boat rather than work on it. He stayed with us for the entire trip.
The next day we headed to Ganges which is a nice little town with a proper grocery store. Seattle Yacht Club has an outstation there also and once docked we headed up to Moby's and had lunch. We sailed almost the whole way. Sand Dollar and Dolphin Quest went to Portland Island instead of following us. They would then head to Buchart Gardens and other places. We would meet up again back in the USA at Stuart Island in Reid Harbor on the 14th.
After Ganges we motored over to North Pender Island at a really cool place called Otter Bay. They have two swimming pools and a nice little cafe and grocery store. Small grocery store. Pat followed us over and we had a delicious dinner of brats and potatoe salad.
Appa in Otter Bay.
I spy with my little eyes ORCAS! They were not very close though.
I had to have Ben back in Friday Harbor on Sunday the 12th. He had computer camp on the 13th back in Seattle. Jen drove to Anacortes and then took the ferry to Friday Harbor. She also brought along an inflatable kayak that she purchased for me. It is an Innova Swing II. Two person model. Super light and cool.
Saturday we headed back to Roche Harbor and checked back into the US. Pretty painless as far as checking back into your own country can go. Had really nice officers there this time. I have had some real ball busters over the years. We headed back to Henry Island and spent the night at the outstation again. Pat got a slip in the Roche marina. Once we were all set on Henry, I took my dinghy over to the marina and had a couple drinks with Pat at the bar.
Sunday there was no wind so we motored to Friday Harbor and met Jen at a restaurant and everyone got reacquainted. I was wondering if Sam would pitch such a fit about being left with me for another week and not seeing her mama but in the end, she did great. We sure missed Benny though.
Friday Harbor also has a Seattle Yacht Club outstation and we stayed there while Pat got a slip in the marina.
Motoring to Roche Harbor
Sam was not immune to the drone of the motor on the way to Roche.
Friday Harbor outstation
Once awake it was chocolate time!
Sunday was a tough day for me. Had to say goodbye to my son for a week. He was anxious to go and was looking forward to computer camp. Ben is a bit of a home body. He likes a set routine and the ability to see his friends at any time. Vacations for him are more of an ordeal.
Sam settled down after Jen left and we had a good time.
Swinging and kissing.
Heading to Deer Harbor. Even the kitty has sunglasses!
Monday morning was light winds and we decided to take the long way around Shaw Island and head to Deer Harbor. We sailed the entire way. Battling current and light winds was challenging but a ton of fun. Pat passed us briefly while we headed down the San Juan channel. That guy got lucky with current and wind for sure. Once he passed us, I got serious and really started to sail Appa. We did attempt to fish however. Took us 6 hours to go 8 miles. It was fun as hell. I guess you had to be there.
Sam clearing the fishing line yet again while sailing to Deer Harbor. Look at the water. No wind at times and yet we sailed.
Almost at Deer Harbor.
Deer Harbor was a great place. Nice dock crew and a great hike to a very cool restaurant. We even saw deer.
Tuesday we planned on sailing to Stuart Island and hooking back up with Sand Dollar and Dolphin Quest. We tried to sail but the current was just to strong. Once in the harbor, we dropped anchor and had Pat pull in and raft off of us. I haven't anchored for over a year and we were a bit rusty at it but got the hook down. Sand Dollar was hanging off a mooring buoy when we arrived and after one night came over and rafted off of us.
My mom has friends that live at a house on Reid Harbor on Stuart Island during the summer. We visited with them and had freshly caught shrimp. Thank you Howard and Sands for sharing your shrimp and your beautiful house.
We hiked to Turn Point on Stuart Island. It is a nice easy hike but long. Once again we dragged Sam along and told stories the whole way to make it easier on her and us. No wasps this time. 7 miles round trip.
Thursday we left for Deer Harbor again. Sand Dollar and Dolphin Quest went to Jones Island and we felt that Deer Harbor and their swimming pool needed another visit. Pat took Easton with him to help him sail his boat. By all reports Easton was great crew. Sam and Easton swam for almost 2 and a half hours in the pool. In President's Channel we saw a gray whale being chased by the stinking whale watching boats. Poor creature.
Friday we hit Friday Harbor again. There we had celebratory drinks on Sand Dollar toasting to our trip being almost done.
Friday Harbor sunset
Saturday we all left for Port Townsend. Pat and I had reservations at the marina there but alas, no room for Sand Dollar and Dolphin Quest. They pushed on through and headed back to Seattle. We spent a great day in Port Townsend. It was hotter than hell there. High 90s was reported.
Sunday we pushed on home to Seattle. Had to motor the whole way but that was alright.
It was a great trip and I enjoyed the two week break from chemo.
Playing while motoring to Seattle.
Hanging out on a seal.
I really need to take more photos of Benny...
She had a nightmare at Port Townsend and crawled into bed with me. So warm and cuddly.
Wearing Opa's hat.
SItting here in the infusion suite getting this poison pumped into me; I can already feel the weirdness creeping back into my body. My white blood cell count is low now. The infection fighting cells are ok for now though. I might have to get some medicine infected into me to stimulate WBC production. I was told to not worry about it till the doctor was worried about it. So I'll try to not think about it.
After today five more weeks and then I get another two weeks off. After those two weeks I have four more infusions left. Then a CT scan to make sure the cancer is gone. After that they test my colon and rectal area to make sure I don't have any leaks. If that is good I get to have surgery to reconnect everything. One day at a time.
I am reading Lonesome Dove again. Been years since I read it. I enjoy this quote and think about it often.
“I see you’re in a hurry to get someplace. It’s a great mistake to hurry.” “Why?” Joe asked, puzzled by almost everything the traveler said. “Because the grave’s our destination,” Mr. Sedgwick said. “Those who hurry usually get to it quicker than those who take their time.”
― Larry McMurtry,
― Larry McMurtry,