When the going gets tough . . .

. . . the tough plan a vacation and start a new hobby in connection therewith. In connection therewith? Lordy I do need a hobby. And a vacation. Last year I went on a gourmet cooking vacation in Tuscany. I’d always wanted to go, and it was a fun trip. But I realized that I’m definitely more an outdoors girl than a museum girl. My favorite parts of the trip were my walks in the Tuscan countryside and the day trip to the coast: Cinque Terra. The day I turned 49, I was in Florence. This year, I’m going to top that. But alas, I won’t be going exactly on my birthday because the trip I want to take isn’t offered on my birthday. It’s offered in the late summer and early fall when the salmon are spawning. Why then? Because that’s when the wildlife viewing is abundant. Which means I’ll need a good camera. Which means I’ll need to take a class to learn how to use it properly. The class starts in two weeks. Just enough time to pick one out and get somewhat familiar with it.

Here is the description of the sailing trip from the website. I wanted to link it, but I couldn’t get it to this exact part. The tour is with Emerald Isle Sailing.


Sailing between Bella Bella, B.C. and Ketchikan, Alaska

Finding the right words to describe the Great Bear can be difficult. Experiencing its raw, primeval beauty firsthand can leave the explorer indelibly changed. It is the largest remaining expanse of temperate rainforest left on the planet. Largely unknown, it is quickly emerging into the limelight as the battle to save its ancient forests from clearcutting intensifies. Its dramatically beautiful mountains, islands, and river valleys are home to grizzlies, black bear, the rare white “Spirit” bear, wolves, and a vast array of other wildlife and plants.

The Great Bear lies roughly from the north end of Vancouver Island on the central B.C. coast up to the Alaska border. We plan our trips here to be in prime areas for wildlife viewing during the summer salmon runs when hoards of wild salmon return to their pristine rivers of birth, attracting bear, wolves, eagles, ravens, and others to the feast. Join us as we silently glide upriver in the electrically powered inflatable to quietly witness this ancient ritual. Watch salmon lay their eggs in the river gravel after their far flung journey. Feel your pulse quicken as a majestic grizzly plunges in and emerges with a silvery meal. Back on the mother ship, be quick with your camera as a humpback whale breaches nearly out of the water close by. Feel the hair on the back of your neck tingle as a pack of wolves howls from under moss-draped ancient cedars around our protected anchorage.

I’ve been thinking about this trip since I heard about it from a colleague who took the trip this past September. My two favorite things: sailing and nature. I grew up sailing with my dad. And I grew up in nature with my dad, spending time at our cabin in Ontario on Lake Superior. The last trip I made there was over Labor Day 2011–the last year my dad went before he died. It was nearly a yearly trip for me. This year, I’ll spend Labor Day sailing on the Pacific Coast, viewing the wildlife in a different Canadian province. My dad would have loved this trip. It is my tribute to him. I’ll be going right about the time he had his brain surgery last year. He died a month later on October 18 at 6:00 a.m. sharp. It still impresses me that he managed his last heartbeat at the top of the hour, just as the dawn was breaking.


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