Victoria sailing adventures on southern Vancouver Island are highly recommended. Cruises offered by Blackfish (see Marine Recreation page) are ideal for enjoyable instruction, those on M.V. Thane are a little more frivolous.
Martin took a three hour sailing trip on the Tall Ship Thane and these photos are from that occasion. Doubtless Blackfish will provide similar joys. Certainly it was a joy for us that day on the Thane.
We cast away from our mooring in the Inner Harbour of Victoria at the daily summer departure time of 1.00pm with 18 of us aboard. As we passed such sights as the Empress Hotel, BC Legislature and the Johnson Street bridge Sue, the Mate, went through the Transport Canada safety drill. Passing the Songhees development a float plane landed (top left) and Len, the Captain, guided us out to the open sea. Then the three sails were raised by Len and volunteers and the engine was cout out.
The only sounds were the lapping of wave, flapping of sails and quiet conversation. The weather was glorious and scenery lovely. No wonder Frommers described this as "The best way to spend an afternoon in Victoria". Very leisurely we slipped by the Fisgard Lighthouse (above right), Fort Rodd Hill and the Esquimalt Lagoon. The world and its pace were left behind (thank goodness no one had a cell phone switched on). As we approached rural Metchosin Sue encouraged us to be more adventurous.
We were not all mere passengers; Sue offered the chance for fun and adventure. On the left you see Martin at the end of the bowsprit with Pam (sister-in-law and husband George) in front. We could hear nothing from the boat, in a world of our own. Later the chance came to climb the rigging - your intrepid host is seen here halfway up a Tall Ship!.
We appreciated feeling at home on Len and Sue's home. We sipped wine (their wineglasses, our bottle) with a picnic in quiet contentment. Len and Sue are a very big part of the enjoyment we experienced. Both are great fun and both knowledgable and concerned about the marine environment. Do read the story of how Len found the hull and built "Thane" over five years, with many parallels to Joshua Slocum and his "Spray" (a story you really should investigate about the first single-handed world circumnavigation in 1885).
Approaching the harbour entrance we were passed by one of the Eagle Wing whale-watching vessels. Len intended to stage a pirate attack on one of the ferries, the Coho, but it was delayed so another passing boat was fired at by their little, but loud, cannon to laughter all round. Re-entering the Inner Harbour of Victoria BC Len told us the history of some of the moored boats until 18 happy passengers disembarked at the Causeway near the little Harbour Ferries.
It had been a wonderful, memorable afternoon. Do plan to have time to do this if you can, we'd be glad to make the arrangements.
Victoria's Country Retreat ... serenity near the Butchart Gardens
(Victoria sailing page)