Friday, June 22, 2012

To High Adventure

Summer in the Pacific Northwest is the equivalent of idyllic spring in most other parts of the country. Temps rarely hit 90. In fact, this year, thus far, we've hit 80. Once. In May. It's rained since, but hey! It's been warmish rain... Never fear. The sun will return after the 4th of July. It's just the way the Jet Stream toys with us.

When the sun returns, the felines will recharge their solar cells. I'm obligated to take them outside on the dock multiple times per day for their sunbathing pleasure. It's possible I work on a little vitamin D at the same time. Between September 15 and April 15, IF the sun comes out from behind the clouds, the angle at which the sunlight hits the atmosphere means that people cannot derive any benefit (vitamin D) from the sun. Between April 15 and September 15, the number of days the sun comes out from behind the clouds means that Seattleites take supplements. But it also means that when the sun does shine, the sun burns can be awesome in their intensity.

At the summer solstice, the sun doesn't set until 9pm and rises around 4am. That's a lot of hours available for sunworship. Compound that by water activities or heading into the mountains for treks across the glaciers and you can get sunburned *inside* your nostrils from the sunlight reflecting UP. Thing is, most people on the western side of the Cascades (where the weather remains coolest and cloudiest the longest) look forward to their Red Badges of Proof of Summer Fun.

For me, it's all about the water. Mountains are great and all, but after Mt. Rainier tried twice to kill us (ask me one day, I'll tell you. There's even a moral to the story) we went off vacationing in the mountains. Now, it's all about that far shore. Places to explore. Things to discover. Even if it's just a surprisingly fabulous restaurant in an itty bitty town somewhere. Or a sculpture garden in a farmer's former cow pasture. The peace of sailing across the water under the power of the wind can't be beat. It's a great way to tie up just enough of the conscious brain to allow all kinds of weird and cool ideas to percolate up from the depths. Some of the story ideas I've had the most fun with showed up that way.

Wildlife encounters are great when you're a sailboat, too. Undersail, you don't make that much noise in the water - no engine to frighten everything away. We get to see the otters teaching their babies learning to swim, the sea lions and harbor seals will come right up to the boat to check us out (this drives the cats insane when we're at anchor - they're just sure they should be able to go after those things swimming so close to their boat!). During one particularly rainy summer's day, we found ourselves in the middle of a pod of porpoise feeding. Two juvenile Orca joined in, taking advantage of the bubble nets the porpoises were creating. Then there's the shoreside wildlife, because why go explore distant shores if you aren't going to go explore??


  1. What a cool post. I'm even more enamored of your boat life than before!

  2. One point to remember before you rush out to buy your boat: Cats get sea sick.