A Passage to Peace – Sailing the Lorenda

Choppy waters, a brisk wind, the odd spot of sunlight and a “cosmopolitan crew”.  What perfect autumn conditions for bundling up and heading for a sail through the Canadian Gulf Islands.

The Captain invited five of us aboard to settle into position on the 15-ton gaff-rigged yawl, Lorenda – built, owned and manned single-handedly by this captain, Don Mellor.  As shown in the link’s photos, when all sails are unfurled, there are five billowing sheets powering this sleek 40-foot vessel.

Having said goodbye to Ganges Village, we are heading out of the Harbour.

Dianne, Don’s childhood friend from days in Montreal, now lives in Kansas.  She and I sat in the aft deck.  We had a clear view of the Captain as he moved about the vessel with the grace of a ballroom dancer – preparing, shifting, engaging and tightening lines.

Three other guests, Tom and Kath, from Seattle, and Tom’s sister, Kath, from Rhode Island, sat on the forward deck.  They rode the rise and fall of the bow and bravely took the brunt of the wind.  As gusts became more biting, one of them would scurry to the storage bin and hand out more warm gear.

Far enough out of the Harbour, Don begins to prepare the mainsail. Kath, from Seattle, has the wheel.

The round trip from Ganges Harbour (Salt Spring Island) to Montague Harbour (Galiano Island), with a tea break, took about 4 1/2 hours.  Tom or his wife, Kath, took turns at the wheel while Don moved forward to set or lower sails.  Otherwise, Don managed the boom and trimmed the

Dianne's been warned about the boom and is slowly being draped in sail.

mainsail while sitting behind the wheel.  A good wind meant only we only needed two sails, the mainsail and jib.  We set a good pace over the dark, choppy waters in both directions.

On the way home, Tom and the two Kaths joined us in the aft deck.  We hunkered in, warmed by good company, and regaled each other with fascinating, personal and hilarious stories that can only be born of seasoned lives.

Once the Lorenda was secured at her familiar slip, Don, Dianne and I easily agreed to have dinner at the closest and warmest dining room.  It seemed strange to say goodbye to our fellow crew members as they dashed off to their reservation at a more distant location.

Dessert was at my home.  The day before, I had picked blackberries.  I warmed them to their peak flavour.   Generous dollops of Greek Yoghurt enhanced the taste of those deep purple buds of juicy nirvana.  Conversation turned to sounds of  “nom nom” and bowls were scraped clean.

The best news of all?  The Captain accepted a second piece of my Banana bread.


Don hoisting the mainsail. Kath doing a great job at the wheel.

Lines from the boom (at his feet) and the mainsail (port and starboard) are managed by Don as he takes over the Wheel again.

Coming towards Montague Harbour on Galiano Island.

Imagine sailing in this boat! The colour is one thing that would put caution in the heart. The skull and crossbones are quite another issue! See the plants and the stove pipe? Smoke rose from the chimney and the smell of food cooking was heavenly. Fresh ocean breezes create an incredible appetite.

This Blue Heron is likely fed by many. He stood on the dock like the welcoming committee until he realized we were more hungry than he.

After tea (crew) and ice cream (Captain) at Montague, we headed back home. Don had to re-set the sails so Tom took the wheel.

After sitings of seals, a heron and eagles, after much good camaraderie and after a few spots of sunshine to entice our enthusiasm, we arrived back in Ganges Harbour - just a little sad our trip was over, but looking forward to dinner.

The good Captain, a man of few words, made a decidedly fine gesture by accepting a second piece of my banana loaf. Next batch, he may find a loaf on his hatch - one way to say thanks for adding beauty to my life.

46 thoughts on “A Passage to Peace – Sailing the Lorenda

  1. How FUN! Your photos remind me of a very COLD day on the water during a windjammer cruise we took in Maine one June.

    The first day, with no sun, we bundled up in jackets, sweatshirts, wool sweaters, scarves, mittens, hats . . . and still ran down to the wood stove to warm up every 30 minutes of so.

    The next day, the sun greeted us and the layers came off . . . and flip flops came out.

    Aah . . . that’s better.

  2. This is delightful, Amy. Thanks for sharing your adventure. The photos are also pure joy. I especially like the heron. Looks like he knows just what he’s doing. And the baked goodies! Yum! Of course he agreed to seconds! 🙂

    Happy days to you, Amy.

    Thanks for all your visits and kind and warm comments.


  3. How beautifully you have captured our day Amy! I was amazed at our Captain’s skills, not at all an easy task managing that boat. It was a wonderful day ending with good food for our tummies and your gracious invitation for dessert at your place. The berries, yogurt, and banana bread soothed our palates and the fellowship warmed my heart. I miss you both already, but now at least when I think about you, I can see you both in the place that you love so much. This visit was so wonderful for me.

    • One of the difficult things about coming to this island is how it grabs hearts. When residents are asked why they came here, the answer is often the same, “I was overwhelmed with the feeling of coming home.” So watch out if there was a hint of that! I’m so glad that the visit turned out to be good for you. I think you learned that Don does, in fact, talk! Oh! My angel just lit up as I type. I think that means you are well loved! Thanks for all you gave to us! I forgot to thank you for your kind offer to join you at High Tea at the Empress. I hope it went well and that Brian captured you in 3D again. What a neat surprise.

  4. Hi Amy .. what a beautiful day you all had – the healthy outdoors, excellent companionship, beautiful views and yummy grub … looks absolutely glorious – sheer exhaustion at day’s end. Brilliant memories .. love it – cheers Hilary

    • The people were such a delight. The conversation was lively and full of humour. At one point, though, Dianne brought me to the edge of tears. Her eyes were brimming as she drank in beauty and peace. It brought back memories of how her husband and she shared this type of dip into Nature in other parts of Canada. I am so grateful we had a day to sail.

      • Hi Amy .. it sounds a beautiful day .. and at times like these we often experience those depth of thoughts and memories .. I’m sure she was feeling the same – sad, yet wonderful .. It comes over how much you enjoyed the time together, the time with Don, the sail and the whole time with friends on the boat .. be at peace with those thoughts and reminiscences .. Hilary

    • Oh Mags…I hope you have the experience at least once. It’s sooo quiet (once the Harbour planes take a break!) Sea life accept the quiet presence of a sail boat since it seems to be traveling naturally. So what we can see, feel and hear is a treat. Come for a visit and we’ll take you out!

    • You never know…I was a prairie kid who sailed across the Atlantic in the worst weather the Captain had experienced in 25 years. I was fine, but we certainly were not allowed on deck. The Captain invited me onto the bridge to watch the motion of the bow of the ship. Believe me, I didn’t think a ship could act like a corkscrew! Still I was okay. But don’t ask me to swim in the ocean! No, no!

  5. What an absolutely wonderful way to spend a day. The pictures are great, made me wish, wish, wish that I was out there on the water, too! The banana bread looks delicious, by the way.

    • It really is an incredible way to spend a day – the weather conditions simply means another experience. Being a prairie kid, I am still amazed at how the ocean is so different every day. The banana bread is full of ingredients I eat sparingly – i.e. sugar, white flour and four truckloads of chocolate.

  6. Awesome, Amy! I love all these photo’s of that stunning place – and so true about the sea breezes working up an appetite…I can smell your banana bread from here! Now I’m starving too 😀

    • Knowing Dave and you, you’d both be wanting to be sailing and diving at the same time! 😀 We used to go out on a fishing boat for the weekend with divers and live off what they found to eat – prawns, crab, scallops, abalone and we even cooked a giant barnacle. We baked the barnacle for hours and the “meat” we dug out from the center was delicious. Then…I developed this wonderful allergy to shell fish!

    • Wow, Poch – you are sharp! Don built the yawl in White Rock which is just outside of Vancouver – I think he said about 20 years ago. (Don, if you see this and it’s wrong, I can correct it.) Then Don decided to bring her over here and he’s lived aboard ever since. She’s made of cement – thus the heavy tonnage.

      My camera is a digital – a Canon Rebel. I did take a course to learn about the settings, Poch, but my dyslexia really shows up in photography. I don’t use automatic settings so I do need to refresh my setting sense! I keep confusing the relational settings…some are lower because of conditions while others are higher. It is disheartening, but I am determined to have a good camera.

  7. Pingback: Sailing The Maine Coast « Spirit Lights The Way

  8. How delightful. Your pictures highlight what you so beautifully articulate about the adventure. Reading this took me back to my own two wonderful experiences traveling through these Canadian Islands. Once, on a beautiful Cris Craft boat owned by a pair of young Canadian gents whom my 2 girlfriends and I had met the evening before. And more recently on a large…at least it seemed large to me…motor boat that we slept in for a night or two. On that occasion we visited the resort of Rosario. Are you familiear with it? Oh…I guess that’s in American waters. Ooops. Anyway, both experiences were very different but also lovely.

    I can’t believe how tame that Blue Heron is. Dianne sure is a long ways from Kansas!

  9. At this point in time I long for trees and water, peace and quiet, and waited to read this post when I wasn’t rushed for time, but could enjoy a quiet moment to read about your day and savour your pictures. I can taste the salt on my lips, and feel the wind whipping by my cheeks. Thank you.

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