Saturday, 21 October 2017

Bahia Tortugas, 21st of October

A Detour to Mexico

To our great disappointment everything did not go as planned. After about a week at sea we were hit by a storm (50+ knots) that caused quite a bit of havoc aboard our good boat Sarema: the wind shield canvas was ripped apart on both sides of the cockpit; the newly repaired genoa was torn; Webasto got water through the exhaust pipe and stopped working; the wind generator lost one of its wings and had to be lassoed to stop it rotating uncontrollably (by Pekka, a natural-born cowboy!); china broke when a breaking wave tilted the boat abruptly and the sink emptied its contents on the floor (first time ever!); the inner forestay lower Norseman terminal became loose, and we had to take the sail down, remove all the parts and tie the forestay to the pulpit. And when we hoisted the SEABRAKE (Model GP30L), designed ‘for when the going gets rough’, there was nothing but a mere thimble left of the brake!  

The worst thing is that while heaving to we got a rope around our propeller. As a result, instead of heading for French Polynesia we are currently on our way to Bahia Tortugas where we’ll get the rope removed, repair the torn sail properly, and either reinstall the inner forestay or store it for good. We still have about 400 nm to go, and the anemometer reading is about six and falling. Thank God we are in no hurry!

On the 19th of October, we sailed into Bahia Tortugas aka Bahia San Bartolome, Baja California Sur. Once inside the bay, the wind coming from behind Mount Bartolome began to abate and we had to resort to our emergency plan: Pekka had spent the previous day constructing a rack on the swimming platform for the outboard engine which was now taken into use. 

With the help of the little wind there was left and the outboard engine, we slowly motor-sailed further towards the head of the bay and finally dropped anchor in front of the small village of Turtle Bay. We’ll stay here for a few days to repair at least some of the damage caused by the storm, and then continue our voyage hopefully under more favourable circumstances!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Bellingham, U.S.A. 1st of October

The End of Inside Passage, finally!

The absolute highlight of the journey from Port Hardy to Bellingham was the town of Sointula! 

Malcolm Island was settled in 1901 by Finnish immigrants in search of a new life, a place where they could establish a utopian community based on the principles of equality and freedom.

In the beginning there were only Finnish people there and their language predominated. The Finns obtained a land grant from the British Columbian Government and set about building their new home on Malcolm Island. They gave the name Sointula - Finnish for “place of harmony” - to the location selected for their permanent settlement. The early years were hard, but gradually the life that these pioneers dreamed of creating became a reality. The community established a cooperative store which is still operating, they learned to cut and mill lumber, they took up fishing as livelihood, and played an influential role in the development of B.C.’s commercial fishing industry. 

To all of these endeavours they brought a spirit of cooperation and also a tough determination that we Finns call SISU.

But it was not all hard work and sacrifice. The newcomers never built a church on the island, but their vision included a place for the arts. They soon erected a meeting place for the community which also served as a venue for theatre and music. Thanks to a gift of books from progressive Finns living in Australia, a small library was also started within months of arriving on the island.

Malcolm Island and the town of Sointula continue to evolve. From a totally Finnish-speaking community Sointula has changed to a mainly English-speaking one. But despite many changes and challenges, the dream of a better life is alive and well!

We arrived in Bellingham, US last Saturday and will continue tomorrow morning our journey down south. If everything goes as planned, we’ll drop anchor in Gambier Islands, French Polynesia, sometime in November.