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long ago summer cruises had meant something in the questions they asked when we got back; “Had seen whales?” Yes, in fact we had, starting with magnificent sight in South Sound of a Humpback leaping skyward some 40 times and ending in the San Juans with the sighting of Orcas in Rosaio Strait. That story brought back memories


of when we, as a family, first encountered whales. We had just left Roche Harbor, through Mosquito Pass, on our way to Haro Strait for a day of whale spotting. I had told them not to get their hopes up too much because it is not as if you could say that at ten o’clock there would be whales, well in this case you could say that for at exactly ten o’clock “Thar be whales.” They remembered that for the next few hours we were privileged to observe one of God’s most majestic creatures. Ah! but that seemed to be the


extent of there memories. More than ever we wondered if we had done the right thing those many years ago. We tried for just one more year


being boatless, as we had sold our last boat shortly after ending our five month cruise. It didn’t work, for in the


fall of 2005 we picked up a small, 23- foot pocket cruiser and started planning for the next year’s cruise. We realized the sea was indeed in the blood and it made no sense to fight any more. On that summers adventure,


though not as long as our 2004 cruise, we nevertheless had a most enjoyable time, enjoying some of the best weather we had ever encountered. Three full weeks of sun and good winds. As before it was just Teresa and I, as the family was even more involved in their own lives, their own families. Then something strange happened


on our return. It was during a family BBQ that new questions were posed, questions that at last hinted at whether we had done the right thing way back when. “Did you go to the 4th of July parade in Lopez?” As a family this had been a regular stop on all our summer adventures. “Remember that family on Lasqueti, did you get that far north? Remember when that guy jumped naked into the bay one morning? Did you get to Friday Harbor and buy JoJo’s? How about Newcastle, wasn’t that a great walk around the Island, remember cutting that squid apart?”


As the evening progressed more


and more we saw the answer we sought for some two and a half decades unfold before us. By including the family in ALL our summer cruises, we had truly embedded many, many fond memories–memories of whales, memories of special events, of walks through the green woods and yes, memories of even breakfast sandwiches on a ferry ride to Seattle. If I can impart any wisdom gained


over the last couple of decades while cruising with the family, it would be this: DO NOT WAIT, GO NOW! Put off the bigger boat, use what you have, and use it now. Remember we started out with four kids and two adults on a 21-foot sailboat. The time you spend together, as a family, when your kids are young (you tend to loose them after 15 or 16 ), will be the best times of your life.


Yes, we finally did receive our


answer. It was and is the best family decision we ever made. It brought us closer then and the memories still bring us closer today.


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sanjuansailing.com 1-800-677-7245 • Bellingham, WA • school@sanjuansailing.com 48° NORTH, JANUARY 2011 PAGE 63


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