Sunday Summary #9 - August 2019
Same Same But Different:
Maybe we should rename this category. Rather than a Sunday Summary, Monthly Summary would be much more fitting. Or in case of the English version it should be “Someday Summary“. Wait, that’s kinda catchy!!! We might just change the name….but I’m getting side-tracked here. We really wanted to keep the English Sunday Summary fresh, but to be honest: this little Weekly started, because we needed a more efficient way to keep friends and family back home up-to-date. So we kept going with the German version and dropped the foreign lingo for a while (nothing personal guys!). It’s just a lot to translate for a relatively small audience and we’ve been pretty busy with, uhm, traveling and stuff ;) We are thinking about a new english category though with tips & tricks, how tos and lots of practical advice based on our “expérience Voyage”. ;)Until then (we are working on this right now!), we just wanna get you back on track.
A lot has happened since the last summary (..holy craps, that was in December 2018!). Well, we traveled the South Island of New Zealand, left for Hong Kong and met our old sailing crew from our Thailand-Australia trip. Together we sailed from Hong Kong all the way to Japan. We arrived in May and stayed for one month. This weeks Sunday Summary starts in Tokyo. I’ll keep it short, promise.
So let's take a quick look back at the last few months:
We spent the whole month of June in Japan: we saw Mount Fuji up close, camped in the rainy mountains near Showa and at the beaches of the Miura Peninsula and explored our beloved Tokyo with our little companion Charlie the Terrier (@charlemagnetheterrier) . Above all, we spent a lot of time on the yacht and helped Jace (our trusted Skipper) to whip the ship into shape for the next crossing. We love this country and are pretty damn sure we’ll be back someday - there is still so much to discover here! But at the end of June we had to say farewell again: our next big trip lies ahead of us. The crossing of the Northern Pacific slows down our daily routines and makes us forget the weltschmerz for a while. It’s good to be back on sea…
FROM JAPAN TO ALASKA - 3 1/2 WEEKS ON SEA
With a new crew on board and brimmed fridges, we set off in bright sunlight in Yokohama. The first thing I have to say about our 3 1/2 weeks on the Pacific: We had one of the best crews you could ask for! Kari (NO), Colin (US), Marina (DE), Jo (DE), Mitchell (NZ), Jace (AG) and of course Mean Captain Rick (US) - Thank you for everything! It just sparked between us and the general mood was fantastic on deck. The same applies to the food: everyone who worked in the galley brought their A-game, so one delicious meal followed the other. There was Sushi, American Apple Pie, Saffron Pasta, Thai Curries, Mexican, Indian, African and so on - all made from scratch on a rolling vessel! Because of that, everyone was a few pounds heavier when we went off board (to be precise, I, Anna, reached my highest weight ever 😱). Aaaand we received one of the biggest compliments from the captain: If we could always cook for him, he would immediately become a vegetarian! 😭
And the weather? Well, it could have been better... The first 2 days were pretty awesome: a light breeze pushing us into the right direction and sunshine that made everybody hang out on deck, even if it wasn’t their watch time. And then a sudden change of weather and we wouldn’t see the sun for the next 3 weeks. We actually escaped a big fat storm but still had to deal with fog, rain, high swells and cold temperatures on deck - that's not how we imagined summer. That didn‘t change our attitude though and inspite of the rough weather and the major detours we were lucky enough to spot many dolphins, whales and numerous seabirds as well as huge luminous patches of white, green and blue plankton lighting up on the surface of the sea at night while we cut swiftly through the waves. Such a storm has its advantages, too: we were able to sail as fast as never before on this yacht! On watch we passed the time with a cup of tea or coffee, good music and great podcasts, deep conversations and some legendary dance performances in foul weather gear (if you are more interested in how to score such a crew job and how the everyday life on the open sea looks like, write us a comment, maybe we can write a separate article about that).
In conclusion: we fell in love with the sailing life once again and can't wait to set sail with our favorite crew.
And then the first island of the American continent peeks out of the dense fog. Green, steep slopes reach out of the water and here and there snow-covered peaks are visible in the distance. We are finally in Alaska! After 3 weeks on sea the feeling of seeing land again is electrifying. Our first contact with the USA is Adak, an island at the far end of the Andreanof Islands. After weeks at sea the sparse landscape seems so decadently lush with colors and structures, as it can only appear after a long foggy voyage out at sea. The time seems to stand still here and the grassy hills with their glaciers and waterfalls seem abstract and unreal. Unfortunately, there is no chance to go on land here and we can only touch the dock to make ourselves aware of the fact, that this is indeed real. We are only here to refuel and since there is no immigration office in Adak, we are not allowed to leave the ship…illegal immigration and stuff - everyone knows this isn’t a joke in America. When we left for the mainland I take my beard off. It helps me not get stuck at customs.
After 5 more days, we officially arrive in Alaska! We get another stamp in the passport, stock up in the small town of Ketchikan and continue for 2 more days through the deep sounds and fjords of the Alexander Archipelago before we arrive at our final destination: the state‘s capital, Juneau. We clean the ship for two days before the owners arrive and celebrate with the crew in the bars and pubs of Juneau, before we head out to the glacier lake to spend 3 days camping with Kari. We visit the mighty but slowly melting Mendenhall Glacier and encounter 3 black bears as we trek through the woods. Our time in Alaska is short and we need to keep on moving. Our house sit in Canada is waiting.
After saying goodbye to our beloved crew, we quickly get back on another kind of vessel: we take the ferry from Juneau to Prince Rupert (it’s a 26 hour ride through amazing scenery) and then the train across British Columbia to Jasper. Camping out there gives us a taste of the stunning nature of Canada, even if it’s grey and rainy. After 2 nights, our journey continues by train to the city of Vancouver. The sun is shining again and we meet up with a friend from Stuttgart (who now lives in Colombia). Finally we can enjoy summer in shorts and flip flops! We fall in love with Vancouver right from the start, only the prices for accommodation are shocking. We heard it’s expensive here, but this is crazy! We try to contact numerous people on Couchsurfing, but we just get super polite declines. That’s why we are relieved when we finally arrive on Pender Island for our first Canadian house sit. The last 2 weeks we took care of Venus and Katie and lived in a beautiful former B & B.
The last few months have been quite eventful, so we currently enjoy the simple life. We fell in love with this small island close to the American sea border. We live in a spacious, beautiful wooden house on a hill between native cedars and maple trees. Dave and Tanja ran a bed and breakfast until half a year ago but are now retired. And because they love to travel, we now have the opportunity to settle down here for a while and take care of their two wonderful doggos Katie and Venus. The entire house is (as you would picture an old school american B & B in the countryside) full of all sorts of knick-knack and the rooms are each furnished according to a specific theme. Of course we opted for the nautical "Captains Cabin", guess we can‘t say goodbye to the life at sea just yet. From the cute weekly market to the many beautiful forest trails and the excellent local products (fruit, chocolates, cider, wine, great cuisine, ...) - island life is just the thing we need right now!
Highlight of our stay here was definitely a visit from our buds Michael and Melissa. The two live in Phildaelphia and have visited us for a long weekend. You can’t imagine how good it feels to meet friends you haven’t seen in years and just talk 3 days straight! However, our time here is already coming to an end and tomorrow we will head back to the mainland. There we will spend the next 2 weeks in Vancouver, but more on that in the next Sunday Summary!