My wife, Mary, and I had this trip on our to-do list for about 10 years when we finally teamed up with another couple (good friends of ours) to make the dream a reality. After months of careful planning, we sailed out of Road Town, Tortola, in the BVIs via Sunsail charters for a seven-day adventure in paradise.
We took this trip for several reasons: to avoid driving through Chicago, which is especially difficult towing a trailered boat; for fun because I’ve never been on a cruise before; and because it might be our last chance to ride aboard a coal-fired Great Lakes steamer.
The night before, we went down to the pier to watch the ship come in. That’s really the only way to get pictures of the whole ship.
During our five-week sail, Solo, Fern’s Giant Schnauzer, gave us many opportunities to go ashore. We often had trouble finding suitable access and thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to know in advance which marinas and anchorages are dog-friendly?” We decided to take notes so other boaters would know where their dogs could romp down a trail or check out an easily accessible beach.
We categorized marinas and anchorages as either “dog-friendly” or “not dog-friendly.” A dog-friendly marina required nearby shore access as well as a substantial beach, walking trail or logging road for dogs to stretch their legs. Most of the locations we rated are in the Broughtons, the area north of Desolation Sound between Vancouver Island and the mainland, but a few are on the fringes.
Typically, we followed routes suggested by the charter company, always returning to the home marina within a week or two. Quite often, especially on the last day, our course would be directly into the wind, requiring beating, motoring or both.
“Wouldn’t it be nice,” I had often suggested, “to have our very own boat so we could have the freedom to just sail with the wind?”
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