Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stuart Island Black Mamba

We had a nice sail along the international border between Canadastan and the USA. It was a light air day, but we wanted to see how well our third crew member works. Her name is Matt. Kinda strange for girl. Matt is a Sailomat 601 windvane. Windvanes appear like Rube Goldberg machines at first glance. In actuality they are graceful self-steering  machines that drive your boat day in and day out without using any electricity or fossil fuel. (see mechanical http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-steering_gear) Hands free sailing is the way to go, especially on some of the long passages we have to look forward to. Here's Matt earning her rum ration on Jeorgia on the way to Stuart Is., with a piece of kelp in tow:

Stuart Island is at the NW section of the San Juan Islands. It has two great anchorages, Reid Harbor and Provost Harbor. We anchored in Provost. In the morning Chris got me up early to start the death march out to Turn Point Chris's favorite place in the San Juan's. Turn Point is an 1890's era light station that marks where the international border 'turns' to the south.. On a lucky day you can stand on the cliffs and look directly down on the Orcas as they pass by. No Orcas this time. Here's the view from the porch of the light keepers house.
    Stuart has a great one-room school house that is still in use. I had never noticed the totems on the side of the school before.

On the hike back to Provost Harbor we came across this Black Mamba just off the main trail. These are the deadliest snakes in Africa. Chris saw a dead one earlier this year when she was working in Malawi. Can't imagine what they are doing on Stuart Is. The North American ones have coloring similar to garter snakes.

Next morning we crossed over to Canada and cleared in at Bedwell Harbor. We anchored off and spent the night. In the morning we invested two loonies each and had a hot shower at the resort pool.

Tonight we are at Montague Harbor, carefully planning our next leg.

Paul & Chris

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