I just finished migrating this site to a new platform – using its own WordPress hosting (paid) rather than the free blog hosting at WordPress.com. If you see anything seriously broken, or didn’t get your email subscription transferred, please let me know!
Previously I had been using free WordPress.com hosting because I didn’t want the blog to become an expense taking away from our cruising funds. But the downside of free hosting is they run their own ads (from which they take 100% of any revenue) and those ads have become increasingly obtrusive in the last couple years.
But, thanks to readers using our Amazon affiliate links (which are the only form of advertising I get anything from) to buy boating supplies we’ve written about, I now had enough money to pay for web hosting. So this means you get to read the blog with no ads now! (except for inline Amazon product links, which you’re free to use or not, and don’t affect your cost at all).
Blogs can be a surprising amount of technical work if you want to keep them looking good, and this took a few days of work. In theory, moving a WordPress site should be as simple as clicking a few buttons to export/import – however it doesn’t do 100%, and there are some bugs in the code, so the reality is quite different from theory. It made me realize just how much content is up here.
- Of 176 posts (since December 2014), about 60 had to be semi-manually updated with a script.
- I have 1,370 photos, of which about 100 had to be semi-manually refreshed due to an import bug.
Coming Up on 1 Year Since the Pandemic Began
Since we’re approaching one year since pandemic lockdowns started in Seattle, it’s bringing back lots of memories – and stark contrasts in how the thinking then differed from today.
At the end of March last year, we had no permanent moorage and were beginning our northbound cruising season just as the region was locking down and the Canadian border closing. There were toilet paper outages at the grocery stores as we were provisioning to make our boat self-sufficient for extended cruising in remote places, and our shopping trips were much more stressful.
Then Washington State Parks closed, eliminating some places like Blake Island which we would normally rely on in the early season. And some marinas like Port of Port Townsend closed to transients, making it more complicated to refill our water tanks or use shore power. (see: Quarantine Cruising Weeks 1+2: Life on the Hook).
Since we had no land home or home port, we relied on informal word-of-mouth from other boaters about which ports were welcoming or not. (see: Life at Anchor: Coronavirus Thoughts Going into Month 2). We had plans to sail to Alaska, but those plans were put on ice due to the border closure and uncertainty of the pandemic. Each month we waited with anticipation for the 21st / 22nd of the month when the border closure was slated to expire, only to have those hopes dashed when it got extended a few days beforehand like clockwork. In retrospect it’s easy to see the closure would last a very long time, but at the time that wasn’t so easy to forecast – many thought the unprecedented closure would lift sooner (see: Impacts of US-Canada Border Closure on Cascadia Region Boaters).
Around April, residents in the San Juans were shaming and castigating boaters who might think of coming to the San Juans to get away (see: MV Freedom’s YouTube). My 48 North article on good anchorages to shelter in place got retracted (!) because a couple vocal voices in the San Juans thought it was reckless to suggest isolating on your boat, since one of the anchorages mentioned happened to be in the San Juans. How quickly that story changed though in the summer when thousands of charter boaters arrived from around the country, and yet Covid levels remained at zero in San Juan County for several months.
Now a year later we understand more about how the virus spreads and that it probably wasn’t necessary to close outdoor parks, mooring balls weren’t spreading covid, and boating is actually a very safe pandemic isolation activity. Vaccines are being distributed and boaters have reason to believe this year will be very different than 2020.
However, the Canadian border remains closed to Americans (it’s not closed to Canadians, who can cross either way for non-essential purposes as long as they go by plane and are willing to quarantine for 2-weeks on return – however Canada is apparently trying to stop that).
A Trip Down Memory Lane: Favorite Posts from Prior Years
In the meantime, I’ve found consolation (and torture) in re-reading some of my past blog posts. It’s reminded me of how much we love BC waters, how much we lost in 2020, and how fortunate we are to live near one of the most beautiful boating areas in the world. Most of my favorite posts come from 2018 and 2019 since those were our first two years of full-time cruising (and 2020 was a bust).
- The Central Coast of BC (especially Calvert Island) has been a perennial favorite:
- Our Johnstone Strait transits are always very memorable:
- May 2019 downwind northbound run: Sailing Johnstone Strait on the Southeasterlies
- July 2018 downwind southbound run: Taking the Johnstone Strait Express Train
- May 2018 mostly downwind northbound: Sailing Johnstone Strait in 2 Days – What a Wild Ride!
- Our Dean Channel exploration in 2019 featured amazing weather, great sailing, and remote exploration with no other boats present:
Our main sailing season typically starts in late March / early April, so not far away now, but I don’t want to put any plans up until it’s closer. Last year I wrote up our plans to sail to Alaska and then that all fell apart as things quickly changed in March.
I’m not sure whether I’ll blog much this year. Honestly I’ve been pretty depressed about the BC situation and didn’t feel motivated to write much when it felt like sailing became (briefly) an illicit activity, and when we’re still not permitted to cruise in the waters we want to cruise in.
However I’ll at least write about our plans eventually, and can hint that naturally they involve Alaska! More on that in mid/late February.