Sailing into the “New Normal”


Sideways Sally thinks  about everything, all the time. When she thinks about the new normal, she’s feeling very grateful that social distancing is not that much different than when they are out travelling up and down the coast. They are self contained, self sufficient and when going to remote areas, don’t often see people anyway. So there Covid-19, you can’t bother her!!

Most of the beauty of living and travelling on a sailboat, apart from the thrill of sailing, is the sights along the way. After the second night back in Clam Bay, which we visit often, the Skipper whispers to SS just before falling asleep, “so tomorrow I’ll sit on the port side and you sit on the starboard side.” OK, she gets it. It’s time to go see something new and feed the wanderlust. Off we go again, haulinng anchor and heading out of the bay. Motoring north we take Gabriola Passage at slack tide and turn into Dogfish Bay on the east end of the passage.

New to OMOO and crew it turns into one of the best anchorages yet in the Southern Gulf Islands. It is well protected from the NW winds by Gabriola Island and tucked between Valdes and Kendrick Islands. The bottom is sticky and there was no problem holding on the hook. The current coming and going from the passage added to the milieu, swirling more, being pushed back and forth with the force of the water from Gabriola Passage. The tide rose and dropped dramatically, exposing the exquisite sandstone formations on the east side of the bay, and the beach which grew substantially at low tide.

Mother Nature finally gave in to a good weather break and the temps soared to mid-20’s. Out came the toys, SS pumped up the paddle board and headed off to tour the bay. Then out came the hammock and she swung back and forth, the view  constantly rotating as OMOO swings on the hook. The sunshine and the breeze drifts over OMOO, lulling her into a lazy happiness. The Skipper pulls the boom far over to port to give the solar panels more exposure to the sun, his joy rises along with the amperage feeding the batteries. Next he’s up on the deck with a bucket of soap and water washing off the solar panels and checking the increased voltage. Up and down, up and down, getting his exercise just squeezing every ounce of power he can out of the May sunshine.

There are half a dozen other boats anchored in the bay, all shapes and sizes. A boater’s favorite activity is to inspect all other boats, so evening happy hour and boat gawking go very well together. The third day most boats have left the bay, the clouds return, decreasing our solar power so it’s time to move on. Clouds and showers are in the forecast so SS called Nanaimo Port Authority to check on the status of what’s allowed on the dock, and found out as long as boaters have not been out of the country in the last three weeks, that they were accepting transients on the dock.

Rounding Gabriola Island on our way to Nanaimo, SS is on the wheel and hears the raucous barking of Sea Lions on Entrance Island. One can usually smell these large animals long before hearing or seeing them but the wind was in the opposite direction.  Getting closer, and cutting the engine to drift by and observe the large colony is spectacular.  At one end of the island  there are much larger males, while in the middle it looks more like mama’s and pups. It’s quite amusing to watch young pups try to climb up the rocks and slide back down with a big sploosh, and try again. More big males are guarding the opposite end of the island, barking and growling, protecting the herd in the middle.


Being a prairie girl, Sideways Sally is always amazed at the sights and sounds on the water. For a few hours, nothing but the ocean and it’s inhabitants occupy her mind, and it’s a very welcome respite of the worries of our times, Covid-19 and “the new normal.”

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