“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

― Albert Camus

Fall Leaves on the water.
Fall Leaves

It’s hard to imagine now, that only a couple of months ago it was so hot around here that the mere thought of putting a sweater on, never mind turning the oven on was horrific, . Now we’re starting to turn the heating on, thoughts of casseroles surface in my head, and where ever I go normal things are now offered in pumpkin spice flavour.

We’ve just returned from a long weekend celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving up at our club’s outstation at the end of the Indian Arm. The weather was fitting for a season in transition. Every hour or so it changed its mind on what it wanted to be. Misty, cloudy, rainy, sunny, misty, cloudy…. By the time you got clothing appropriate it had changed again. This is all fine with me, because basically I use a weekend away cruising as an ongoing excuse to wear fleece, preferably from head to toe. So the more changeable the weather, the more it sounds like time to crack out the fleeces to me!

We had some friends on board which included a friend for A. So spirits were high from the crack of dawn. (which is about when the giggling from the forepeak would start.) to the end of the day (which is about when the whining would start.)

What a perfect weekend, in the perfect place to relish the autumnalness of the world. If you don’t know, Indian arm is a long fjord that stretches north from Vancouver. The mountains tower vertically 1200 meters up either side in steep granite walls creating a natural impasse from urban encroachment. To this day there are no roads to the end. During the rainy months waterfalls are abundant including the spectacular Granite Falls which is on the other side of the inlet to us. The view from our outstation seems to constantly change. One minute the clouds are lounging casually on the tops of the mountains, the next they’ve turned brooding and moody. I never get bored of watching them and It appears to be my perpetual quest to take the perfect photo.

Indian Arm
Moody Clouds
Clouds with a happier disposition.
Clouds with a much happier disposition.

Our outstation is a century old Inn that boasts a roaring fire to take the chill and dampness out of anyone who makes the typically chilly and damp trip to the end of the arm and this weekend it was made better by the wonderful people who hosted the Thanksgiving cruise and all its merriness. (Caution: a lot of Pumpkins were harmed in this process.)

Pumpkin arival
The much hailed arrival of the pumpkins.

Speaking of transitions. A. Is another year older and is more able to roam around the property with his buddies on his own. It’s nice to actually be able to sit in front of that fire place at times instead of following him round and round and round…. Which is all lovely until one realises that one has become lackadaisical. On one occasion I found him and a friend about to start a game of darts. A hole in the head is probably not a great idea when you are a few hours away by boat from the nearest hospital.

Speaking of danger – it was not a good weekend to be a turkey. Over the years club members have refined a particularly innovative way of transforming the 14 Thanksgiving birds into roast deliciousness. They deep fry them for 30 minutes and then seal them in a tin foil lined polystyrene case where the retained heat finishes the bird off. The result? Perfectly cooked, juicy birds. With not a hint of that ‘deep fried greasy’ taste.

Deep fried turkey
Deep fried turkey

One of my favourite past times at the inn is hiking. It’s been such a dry summer that the stream that comes down next to the inn had run dry so we set out to walk up the river bed and reach the illusive bottom of the ‘spray of pearls falls’  that we’ve made so many failed attempts to find.

Turns out that water makes the whole ‘flowing down the river bed’ thing look easy. It involved a fair amount of scrambling over slippy rocks but after about an hour’s work we finally made it. Little A. Kept saying all the way there “I’m slow, but I’m going to do it.” He has a stubborn streak in him (can’t think where he gets that from.) and he loves hiking, but it was a real accomplishment for him to finish a hike that was challenging for adults.

String of Pearls Falls, Indian Arm
Finally made it!
Mr. A doing a remarkable job of climbing over slippy boulders.
Mr. A doing a remarkable job of climbing over slippy boulders.

Well, after three days of merriness, tractor rides, pumpkin carving, and as much ping pong and pool as any one could possibly stomach it was time to come home, and with that time to put the winter tarp on the boat and get her set up for winter.

Last year I spent a lot of time talking trepedatiously about sailing in the winter again, a year on there’s no trepidation. Being on the boat in winter time is different to summer but no less comfortable. After living on the boat this spring, I know the boat and am looking forward to cosy trips away, there’s no comparison to winter sailing on our new boat to the icy cold ‘character building’ winter cruising  on our old race boat…. that’s a transition I’m very happy about.

Kids riding the pumpkin express to the pumpkin patch.
Riding the pumpkin express to the pumpkin patch.
A. on the Pumpkin Express
A. on the Pumpkin Express
Pumpkin chaos
Pumpkin chaos
Straw fights with friends.
crazy Straw fights with friends.
Time to call it a night.
Remarkably, by the end of the day the kids were so tired they actually fell asleep without giggling for hours.
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