Thursday, September 20, 2012

Recherche Bay

Here we are at Recherche Bay, at the southern extremity of the D'Entrecasteaux Channel.  That's Galactic anchored to the left, and our mates on Triddar to the right.

I'm happy to follow the locals in pronouncing Recherche Bay as "research bay", though I'm pretty sure that's not quite French.  Bruni D'Entrecasteaux's expedition landed here in 1792 and 1793 - it's hard to imagine how different the world, and this place, were that long ago.

We had a great stay here on Pelagic two years ago, on our very last trip on that great boat before Eric was born.  This time around we only had one night in the place, before a south wind had us packing up and heading back up the channel.  Sailors either live by the wind, or they motor.

It was a short stay, but great.  Our friend Rob kindly dove into the water and produced five abalone, which were the centerpiece of a barbie ashore.

Those are balls of dough perched on the ends of sticks and cooking over the fire - a trick Alisa learned form a Dane at a beach fire in the Tuamotus.

Note the abalone shell bowl.  Not sure who the old guy feeding Eric is.

When it was all over Elias put out the fire.

Besides the abalone and beach fire, the other real highlight was this leopard seal basking on a beach.

I think of leopard seals as being one of the emblematic animals of Antarctica, and is was a surprise and a treat to see one here.  We figured it was having the leopard seal version of a tropical beach holiday.

Our sail back up the channel was gentle enough for card playing in the cockpit.

At Mickey's Bay we happened upon our friends John and Shirley on Dove Tail.  There are almost no pleasure boats about at this season, and it seems that we've known just about every boat we've shared an anchorage with.  Actually, come to think of it, that's literally true - we've known every boat that we've shared an anchorage with.

We all of us took a walk over to Cloudy Bay, a surf-beaten spot with a very tidal lagoon at the head that we remember fondly from our last sail down this way.  Here Elias is looking particularly glum because he's just learned what it feels like to top your boots.

Once we were back at Mickey's and pushing our dinghy Smooches out over the tide flats, Elias doubled down by finding out what it feels like to get your boots stuck in the soft sand and then fall over in the cold water when trying to free yourself.  Turns out that six years old is not too old to break into tears over falling in the water.  He regained his composure when we let him drive the dinghy back to the mother ship.

And that's the state of us.  We're now bravely working our way back to town with light and contrary winds and an engine that could have used some TLC before this trip, rather than after.

Along the way we've learned something about how two little boys can be delightful raconteurs to share a boat cabin with on one day, and scourges of the life afloat on another.  And I've also had time to reflect on the idea that just as we planned for years to shut down our life on shore and head out on this oversized marine camping trip, we'll also have to plan for years to prepare for our eventual segue back into a content shore-based life.

But more on all that later.


  1. Loved the pic of Elias at the helm of the tender! A handsome lad too.... a maternal or paternal attribute? But that clenched fist! I can feel the cold wind. Wish some of our Turkish heat could be whisked over to him. Glad it was the battery and NOT the starter motor. Take care and hugs to all

    1. Thanks, guys - must admit this particular Alaskan will be ready for the tropics (Vanuatu, we think!) when we get there.

  2. This tongue in cheek post simply does not mask the absolute joy you express in this wonderful “oversized marine camping trip.” I stand in awe.

    I too noticed the clenched fist! This is a photo that tells a story.

    Deborah Carver

    1. Hi Deborah - I THINK it's good to raise a kid who's used to every now and then clenching their fists at the elements! Funny you both mention that, I was thinking of a post along those lines...

  3. The abalone shell dish is the best!! Hey do you guys know anyone who needs an EPIRB? We have one to sell for pennies on the dollar, bought a new one only to find out it's only for the AU/NZ market, we can't register it with NOAA. Please let me know! We're sailing for PNG next week. I'm making Alisa's fruitcake today!

  4. hey Behan -- bummer about the EPIRB! we have some friends we can ask, will let you know...hope the fruitcake turns out.