About Us

Welcome to our blog, describing our voyage aboard the two BRAVO's; the first boat a Kelly Peterson 46 with homeport in Seattle, Washington. The second is a Boreal 52. We headed south in 2010, and have been voyaging in one form or another since. Cheers, Adam and Cindi

"As for me, I am tormented by an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts." -Herman Melville, 1844

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

AND THE BEAT GOES ON!!! Under Lockdown in France (and updated BRAVO photos)

Albeit it's a slow beat indeed!!!   As many of you know, we're here in Treguier, France, a small town in NW Brittany, and the home of Boreal, the builders of new BRAVO.

BRAVO was launched on February 18, and we moved aboard about 2 weeks ago. There is still some work to do, but it's getting there.  Everyone from the boatyard has been great to work with, trying hard to get all completed.  She's a complex boat, with an amazing amount of detail.  We've been using the time to settle in, and store the gear that we shipped from both the US and old BRAVO in Australia.

Unfortunately, this Covid-19 virus has stopped us, and Boreal, and the rest of the world in our tracks.  Though we're living aboard, we've still not even been for a test sail!!!   Amazingly frustrating.  France is now on full lockdown, in it's 8th day.  So everyone is confined to their homes; in our case, the boat.   The nearest supermarket is only about 1 km from here so a nice walk. And there's a health food coop right at the marina.   (we try to only go to the Coop, as they only allow 5 people in the store at a time). Trips to buy food or exercise are allowed, but you need to print out a form to show police if stopped. Otherwise a €38-150 fine, makes for an expensive baguette!  Exercise is limited to 1 km max from home, walking or running, and for a maximum of 1 hour away from home per day.   We can't even use our brand new folding bikes, which arrived the day before the lockdown started.  Sometimes, at low tide, we do "laps" of the marina ramp.  The spring tides here are over 10 meters, so the ramp is a good workout.  But it takes 50 laps to equal 1 mile!!!!!

Someone wrote on the ramp, about midway up "Cheer up, Sir Edmund Hillary, you're 1/2 way to the top"!!!!!

A low spring tide.....happily we're tied to the very outside end of the dock, so we always have water under us!!!

Things keep getting tighter here...no recreational boating of any sort is allowed in the country. Marinas are all closed, as are marine businesses.  We've even had two visits from the gendarmes to see why we are on the dock!!! We told them the boat is our home, and they said ok.  But we're the only folks in the whole marina!  Literally!!!  If we go to get groceries, we need to go solo.  As far as DIY projects, I need some parts for all of them, and all marine stores are closed.  Also need a bit of fabrication by Boreal for the watermaker install, but they're understandably closed for the foreseeable future.  Lousy timing indeed!!!

At this point, our plans for cruising this summer are pretty much on hold.  It's impossible to plan anything, really.  Though the country is locked down for 15 days, with about 1 week to go, everyone feels that it will be extended, possibly for weeks!!!  We wish we were allowed to leave the dock with the boat, but the rationale is that in case of a need for rescue, folks could be put at risk.  Applies all recreational boating, whether it's sailing, fishing, kiting, even kayaking or paddle boarding.  Hopefully this strict approach will have some effect.  We learned a few days ago about our little district here in rural Brittany (a popular summer holiday retreat). 4 cases went to 12 overnight. All from Paris, who had escaped to their 2nd homes the night before the lockdown started!  We have no idea what the local count is now.  We're glad to be the only folks allowed in the marina, and we're all the way out on the end of a long dock!!!    About as isolated as you can be!

So that's about it from here.  We are healthy, and really want to stay that way!  Yes, the lockdown is definitely boring.  But as cruising mates Peter and Ginger on IRENE, now quarantined in Turkey said, it's not much different than being on a passage, but with internet, and more sleep between watches!!!  The new Bravo is absolutely beautiful, we're thrilled with the way she is turning out.  Not bad digs to spend in isolation.

Here are some photos of BRAVO, including the launch, mast stepping, and a few interior views:

Launch Day:
Launching these boats is a rather amazing process.  At the yard, it is put on a trailer.  From there, a tractor pulls the boat about 2 miles to the launch ramp at the marina.

Final wash down before the parade begins.

Maneuvering one of the tight round abouts.

Backing down the launch ramp.....Yikes, not for the faint-of-heart!

A tight squeeze past this sign.....no problem!

Boreal firm partner Jean Francois Eeman checks for engine cooling water is running before the final push into the river.

Our new home.  Though we didn't know it at the time, we'll now likely be here for many more weeks to come.

Stepping the rig:

Usually the rig is stepped as soon as the boat is launched.  In our case, a few final rigging touches were needed, so the rig was stepped a week later.

Rig arrived by trailer from the yard, where the crane was waiting

A well rehearsed team, they've done this many times before.  Second from the right is Jean Francois Delvoye, architect of these boats and one of the two partners in the firm.

All went smoothly, as here the mast is lowering down into place

Interior shots:

Many have asked what the inside of our new home looks like.....here she is:

The "doghouse".  Truly one of the great features of all Boreal models, here is the perfect place to be on watch in snotty weather.....warm and dry!!!

Main salon

Galley in the background.  We're very happy with the stainless steel counters, a Boreal first!!!  Centerboard is housed under the cushion on the left.  Electrical gear, including the 600Ah lithium batteries, live under the cushion in the foreground.

Door on the right leads to the port aft cabin.

Starboard aft cabin.  We wanted some major changes in this space, and J-F Delvoye did a terrific job with it.  The idea of this cabin is as an electrical/utility/storage space.  On the left is a 2 drawer freezer.  The space aft of that can either be used as a bunk for an off watch crew, or storage.  Storage is below.  Center aft is the white sound enclosure of the Northern Lights genset.  On the right are 2 cabinet doors containing electrical equipment.  Usually Boreal mounts this gear in the engine room, but we wanted it moved out to keep cooler....again, JFD, working with electrical guru Brice from T.E.E.M. came up with a terrific design.  A heavy Sailrite sewing machine is on the floor in front, and will be secured well!!!

All of the electrical detailing and installation is a work of art!

Port side aft cabin

Terrific workbench separates galley/salon from forward sleeping cabin.  Refleks diesel heater on the right is wrapped internally with copper tubes, which circulate hot fluid to radiators throughout the boat.  Sharing the hydronic loop is another diesel heater, by Eberspacher, to provide heat when the boat is heeled over sailing, when the drip fed Refleks should not be used.

Forward cabin.

Looking aft from bed.  Door on left goes out to the salon past the workshop, the door on the right is the forward head.

Forward head

Sunday, October 13, 2019

OH CANADA!!! More British Columbia Rambles

After a couple of weeks in Seattle to regroup following our Vancouver Island tour, we headed back up to British Columbia for some more hiking and exploring.  We started out in Central BC, heading up through the Okanagan Valley with friends Rich and Laura, who were camping with their Sprinter van and trailer.

Good fun, we got to do some nice hiking in Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, and got our feet wet in bear country.  Like most of BC, the area is popular with both black and grizzly bears.  Since our pop top camper has soft, hypalon fabric sides on the pop top, there are some national parks where we were prohibited, only allowing hard sided campers.  (though really, if a hungry grizz wanted in to ANY camper, he'd open the aluminum sides with his claws like a can opener.)

Never did see a grizz, though we did see fresh evidence...

And black bears were a common site, on the trails, in the campgrounds, and on the roads of BC.

After Glacier Park, we continued east to check out mountains and glaciers of Yoho, Lake Louise, Banff, and Jasper National Parks.  The Canadian Rockies are absolutely spectacular and unique mountains.  Unfortunately, they are really being "loved to death".  The crowds are intense, and no backpacking can be done without permits, which have been reserved months in advance...not Bravo style!  And the weather in early summer this year really sucked.....rain or threat of rain most days we were there.  We did a few hikes in pouring rain, but it got a bit old.  And, of course, rain in the hills meant for more tourists in the towns of Banff, Lake Louise, and Jasper.  But we did manage a few hikes in decent weather, and they were amazing!!!

Here are a few shots from the weeks in the Rockies.....

Mt. Temple

Red umbrella at Moraine Lake

On the Iceline Trail, one of the most spectacular alpine hikes in Yoho National Park...or anywhere, for that matter!

Town of Banff, from top of Tunnel Mountain

An evening at the Jasper train yards...

Storm brewing on Mt. Athabaska

Anyone remember Rocky and Bullwinkle?

Here in rain mode, Dirt Bravo 2 (DB2) has been a great touring rig for us.
Here we've deployed the "mozzie box", clipped to the awning.....great to keep the little bastards at bay.

After our time in the Rockies, we turned our windshield to the north west, driving through Prince George and many small towns on our way to Stewart.  Stewart is right on the border with the dead end town of Hyder, Alaska.  Kind of a whacky deal, really.  There is no border crossing here into Alaska, because there's simply no where to go aside from the little semi ghost town of Hyder, and the mining roads above it.  But Hyder is famous for its salmon run in July, and with the salmon come the bears to feast.  It's one of the most accessible spots to watch the spectacle of bears catching their salmon.  We last saw this at Brooks Lodge in Alaska many years ago, and we were eager for a repeat show.  Unfortunately the salmon hadn't shown up yet....."any day, now", said the park rangers.  We waited for three days, and in that time only one salmon was spotted, not enough to generate much enthusiasm from the bears lurking, no doubt, in the dense forest surrounding the river.  

The weather was a bit gloomy, but we got to do some great driving along the glaciers on the way up to the mine sites.

But it was a beautiful spot nonetheless, and we enjoyed watching a mother hermit thrush feeding her three babies, which had hatched over the 2 days prior to our arrival.

We couldn't hang out forever in Hyder waiting for the salmon, though, as it was time to meet our friends John and Kathy on their trawler Mystic Moon.  We first met J&K in the Galapagos in 2013, and leapfrogged with them across the pacific.  After Australia, they went on to SE Asia, Japan, and Russia, before crossing to Alaska.  They spent last winter in Sitka, and were bringing Mystic down the BC coast for a major refit in Washington State, to be done this fall.

It was great to see them!  Leaving DB2 in Prince Rupert, we had a terrific 10 day trip, cruising the beautiful BC waters around to Kittamat.  From there we hitched a ride to Terrace, where we rented a car for the day to go and fetch the truck where we'd left her.

It really felt fantastic to be back on the water again, for the first time in at least 6 or 7 months.  The salmon and halibut fishing was terrific, crabbing could hardly be beat, wildlife amazing, and life aboard Mystic Moon with mates John and Kathy was just simply great.  It made us remember just how extraordinary the cruising is in the Pacific NW, and we know we'll enjoy it again one day on new Bravo.  Here are a few shots of our time aboard Mystic.....

Another sweet anchorage

Navigating in pea soup fog....ah, life in the Pacific NW!!!

48 lb halibut, yielded 25 lbs of tasty fillets!!!  (photo by Kathy)

Juvenile bald eagle

Came across this sweet fishing cabin on shore.  Someone had sketched some native drawings on the walls inside, this one of an orca whale.

The wildlife was amazing.  Bears were often seen on the beach (here a mother with her three cubs).  We heard wolves howling at night, but unfortunately didn't see any while we were there.  And, of course, the whales were always a treat, often coming up close and personal, to be sure!!!

A pair of sand hill cranes.

Cheers!!!  Another halibut feast!!!

All in all, a great 2 months in beautiful British Columbia!!!   Saying our good byes to John and Kathy, we headed down the road towards the US border.  We had a ferry to catch to get to our niece Elizabeth's wedding to Evan in Port Angeles!!!   

Next, on to Wyoming.....