Farewell to Genoa Bay

What an incredible time we have had in Genoa Bay with my brother and sister in law and David and JoAnne. Tom, an artist and salty sailor, is captain of his domain. Frances is a quiet and unassuming artist herself, having descended from a long line of Dutch Master Portrait artists. David, our selfless host, has a heart of gold with vast knowledge of audiophile components and JoAnne, a competent, compassionate nurse, loves to dance to Dave Matthews and can turn a dinner into a party!

We had a celebration together last night which was joyous, filled with conversation and good food, wine, dancing and music. The horrific "T" word wasn't mentioned once! Most Canadians, as do most Americans, feel a great deal of horror and anger at the Donald. Callie was able to crash the party for a bit… Elenor and Rigby, their two beautiful cats who are brother and sister, only got to participate from a distance.

I can't begin to share all that I am grateful for and for the appreciation that I feel toward family and host and hostess. We have decided to head up Island at the request of Tom and our hosts though, instead of heading to Seattle. You can't come to Vancouver Island without experiencing Long Beach. So Long Beach, here we come!

All Good Things Must Come to an End

With a heavy heart, we must pack up today and head back to the RV. We still have a couple more days or so on the island, but sailing with Tom and Frances has come to and end. What an extraordinary time we have had with my brother and sister in law. Tom designed and built Alfresco 41 years ago, and it is an incredible sailing vessel. She is 18 ft wide and 38 ft long. Because it is a catamaran, they don't pitch side to side, but only speeds up when the wind increases. Both of the hulls are sleeping quarters, as is the cabin area. It is a magnificent creation and the first of many sculptures Tom has created.

Frances played the ukulele for us in the evening and sang beautiful, old Nova Scotia songs with her soft, innocent voice ringing out across the calm waters. Callie behaved herself while she enjoyed the sailing experience, and her curiosity didn't get the best of her. She wanted to jump over to the dinghy that is tied up to the side of Alfresco but had to be reminded with a slap on Alfresco's side, that it wasn't a good idea…



Burgoyne Bay & Saltspring Island

It is another smoke filled day on Vancouver Island. There are 126 fires burning last time I checked- down from 200 earlier in the week. The temperature is warm and muggy and there is very little breeze blowing. Callie is doing exceptionally well and has taken to the catamaran as if she has done it all her life. I was somewhat worried about her going over board last night, but she stayed close to my side and was here in the morning to tell the tale….


We have arrived!

What can I say except that Callie has taken to sailing better than I expected. We are currently anchored at Burgoyne Bay…. off of Saltspring Island.

We had a lovely evening of wine and Bob Dylan and this morning we are moving Alfresco because of low tide. You don't want to anchor in eel grass because this is where the herring lay their eggs.

It is a beautiful morning, quiet and serene and a flock of Canadian Geese flew by in formation, heading out to wherever they go for the day. Frances told me that this is a flock that live here in this particular bay. We are the guests.





Crab Hunting in Genoa Bay

David, Tom's friend who is allowing us to park our RV on his property, invited Michael and I to go out with him to drop crab traps into the bay for a party we are going to be going to later on at Tom's float house. His aluminum boat was so steady and smooth, that the surface of the ocean felt like glass as we headed out to the opening of the bay. There is supposedly a highway down below where crab enter from the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean.

After David dropped the cage overboard that was baited with chicken parts, he gave us a tour. It has the awesome distinction of being a safe haven for young salmon and is considered a nursery of sorts. If you look closely along the coastline, you see hundreds of silvery fry darting about in the clear seawater. After about 30 minutes of motoring about, we headed back to the trap and found 3 young rock crab attacking the bait. David tossed them back into the sea and said that this was a good sign that more will come. It is the big ones that you want! When the larger crab arrive, the younger ones escape in openings up above or they will be eaten.

Later on in the afternoon, Michael and David will head back out to check on the crab trap once again. If we are lucky, fresh crab will be on the menu for the party in the afternoon!

Michael and David actually caught 12 crab and only kept 4 large ones. You must let the young crab go in order to keep a sustainable amount left in the bay. When you live by the seashore, seafood is your major source of food. It is a different lifestyle, and one that is much more sensitive and in tune to the ebbs and flow of the tides, and the animals that they share it with…..





A Float House in Genoa Bay

Michel and I spent another fabulous evening with Tom, Frances and their precocious cat Gypsy last night. I am once again full of admiration for their artistic life style.

Alfresco, the catamaran that Tom built over 32 years ago, was a precursor to the sculptures Tom creates to this day. The float house, which he also built with the help of Frances, is something out of a New Orleans bayou. Genoa Bay was exceptionally quiet yesterday evening, all except for the prehistoric squawk of a blue heron that flapped its wings overhead as it tried to take flight off the shoreline. The waters were calm and reflective and the overall mood, tranquil. We are visiting during a record breaking heat spell, so it is difficult to imagine the horrific winter storms that blow through the bay with astounding force. Tom and Frances usually leave for Mexico in the winter months, but this winter they are planning to stay put and work on their beloved float house…


Gnomeland Security

Willapa Bay and the Bay Center RV KOA Park are a big hit for Callie and me. Callie and I were out on our morning walk when we rounded the corner and she was startled by a series of gnomes guarding a small corner of a vegetable garden. She stopped dead in her tracks and cautiously moved forward to check out these strange little creatures. When she was convinced that they wouldn't harm her, we continued down the pathway to our campsite.

Michael and I went on a bike ride along the bay and discovered a prolific patch of wild blackberries growing by the roadside. I dumped the water out of my water bottle and filled it to the brim with blackberries. We are going to have a bowl of berries tonight with our Tillamook old fashioned vanilla ice cream!

On the way back from our ride, we stopped off at the Bay Center Farms Seafood Store and bought fresh oysters, pickled salmon, canned, smoked albacore tuna and a fresh lemon with seafood sauce. Such abundance everywhere you look! I know it is summer and the sun is out! It can't be as green as it is here without weeks and weeks of rain. But for now, we are enjoying the here and now!

On Wednesday we are going to head to Port Angeles and take the ferry over to Vancouver Island. I have a brother and sister in law that live there. Tom Faue is an artist, as is his wife, Frances. It will be nice to see both of them again.

Shore Acres at Coos Bay, OR

It is another typical coastal Oregon morning, cool with a heavy drizzle. Yesterday we visited Shore Acres, about a half-mile up the road from our campsite at Sunset Bay.

The first home at Shore Acres was designed as a summer retreat, which Louie Simpson had built as a Christmas present for his first wife, Cassie. Built on a rocky headland, the gamble-roofed house sat seventy-five feet about the waves below. It was built in 1906, but the gardens that grew and thrived to this day are what bring visitors from all over the world.

There is a beautiful Japanese garden with a lily pond and 2 stately crane statues standing knee deep in the reflective water. The rocks that border the pond were hauled up from the beach below by horses. That must have been really difficult for the horses. They are very rough, ragged rocks and are very heavy. The rose gardens are spectacular though and one particular rose called: hot chocolate was as breathtaking in color and form as well as having a deep, rich, rose scent. You can walk down to the beach along a paved pathway and can then ascend back up into a forest dense with Monterey Cypress and pines.

The shoreline is rugged with finely ground sand and seals, sea lions and elephant seals bask among the jagged rocks. The fog had rolled in densely as we explored, so you could barely see the marine animals, but you could sure hear them barking away in the mist.

Back in the gardens, I of course took many photographs of the flowers and the lighting was perfect for photography- bright diffused light with little shadow. The garden was designed in the English style by David Masterton and visitors of the neighboring households of the time, were given cuttings and plants to beautify their gardens too!

Today we are heading back over to have the RV windshield either replaced or repaired and when finished, we will possibly meander toward Newport.

Callie is doing very well and her health is on the mend. The three of us are enjoying our travels with Callie adventure and looking forward to many more to come. I have to admit that I was becoming very concerned with Callie's health after 4 months of coughing and am so relieved that she is feeling better…..

Sunset Bay State Campground, Oregon

Sunset Bay State Campground is green and lush, the bathrooms are clean and spacious, and the camp sites are private. We checked into one of only two remaining sites, and after we checked in, the "Campground full" sign went up. We are in A25 and it is raining this morning as I write with Callie and Michael sleeping. Callie had her morning walk in the rain, which surprised me, and is now back in bed after breakfast. She hasn't coughed in 5 days and her appetite has returned with a vengeance. I am feeding her fresh salmon and she thinks she has died and gone to heaven. Callie is usually a finicky and dainty eater, and has been sick for 4 months, so it is reassuring to watch her wolf her food down again.

Yesterday late afternoon, Michael and I walked over to the bay and followed the shoreline from one end to the other. It is tsunami territory and warning signs are posted and geological forces are obvious if you know what to look for! The Juan de Fuca fault line is right off shore and this plate is pushing up the North American plate. Evidence of this happening is everywhere with rocks being pushed up vertically in what was once horizontal topsoil.

We watched an osprey fishing and it caught a fish on the second attempt. It circled and pivoted, changed direction and circled for quite some time before diving into the shallow water. It was low tide and a beautiful, calm, late afternoon. A seagull chased after the osprey as it flew away with a fish dangling in its talons. The speed of the osprey left the seagull short of breath and it had to give up after a feeble attempt at harassing the osprey to let go of its catch. It was warm enough for brave souls to dip in the water briefly, but mostly it was just children splashing about in the cold water.

We returned to Callie and our wonderful 24 ft. Icon RV and I made a dinner of salmon, baked potato, corn on the cob and fresh green beans. I had my glass of Chardonnay and Michael loves his one bottle of Corona beer. It is so festive to prepare meals and camp in a luxurious RV with children playing, dogs barking and adults sitting around campfires. Michael is teaching me a card game called: Rook, and I am improving every day. I am not exactly partial to games but making the effort. The better I become, the more fun it should be for me! Because it is raining this morning as I write this blog, I am even more grateful to being inside an RV….

Osprey is entering the water after a dive straight down.

Look for osprey coming out of water in middle of photograph!

Callie is enjoying watching the rain this morning!