Circumnavigating Vancouver Island on the Schooner Pacific Swift, BC
The night before setting sail with SALTS (Sail-Training Society) is spent holed up in a hostel in the coastal village of Ucluelet—and it's terrifying—this must have been how Jim Hawkins felt the night before the Hispaniola sailed. You had to take a boat—a ferry from the mainland —just to get to the boat. The first two days are spent seasick and miserable. But you raise the sails while singing Haul Away Jo. At anchor, you string up a rope from the yardarm and swing into the blue. During storms, you stand at the bow and jump when the Swift jumps, watching the ocean swell over the rail. Beach bonfires on deserted islands; nighttime rainforest hikes to Hot Springs Cove, accessible only by boat or plane, sightings of gray whales and storm-petrels.... When you’re not on watch, you lay on the Swift’s warm deck, close with your crew. You came for yourself, but it’s them you will remember. It's impossible to keep track of time. By the time you dock in Victoria, dry land seems to sway. You have found a new dimension.