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Three more days in heaven

July 18-20

We have spent the last few days anchored in Oak Bay on Hotham Island. After pulling anchor the night before we had planned to anchor somewhere else on Hotham, but somewhere else turned out to be not so good so we stumbled on Oak Bay and the mythical Hotham Island Yacht Club.

The bay is large and warm and often as many as 20 boats easily anchored there.

While the setting is like many other in the North Channel, the people who live on the bay make it special.

Duncan loved the shoreline and Cindy and I both Kayaked.

Elaine and Norm (no last name, please) have lived in a blue cottage on the south end of the bay every summer for the dozen years. They are retired school teachers from Chicago.

Every afternoon Elaine gets in her kayak, paddles out to every boat in the harbour, introduces herself and invites those she just met to her cottage for a happy hour starting at 5 p.m.

Bring your own drinks, something to pass and a great story. The two nights we attended there were 15-20 people and we had an absolute blast.

How the cottage got built is a story by itself. Another guy started to build the cottage by himself and as the work slowly progressed, men who would come and anchor in the bay each summer, started offering to help with construction.

Over the course of several summers the shell and other work was completed but the owner - Ray - was diagnosed with brain cancer and sold the cottage to one of the workers shortly before he died.

The new owners, Elaine and Norm, an anchored for many summers in their boat so they sold their boat and began working to finish the cottage with the help of anyone who came and volunteered.

Elaine wouldn't say but it appears the daily happy hours are payback for all the help with construction.

Elaine tries to get a picture of every one who comes to the Happy Hour - which tends to last a couple of hours at least - each photo with the Hotham Island Yacht Club sign she had made years ago for a yacht club that exists only in the ethos.


Women, it turns out, learn how to sail differently than men, have different interests with sailing than men and don't need to find a man just for them to enjoy sailing.

There is a Facebook page called "Women who sail" which is a closed group. You have to be female to join.

At one of the Happy Hours, Cindy met Becky Middleton and her husband Paul from Owen Sound, Ontario. Becky who like Cindy is a woman who sails but not a member of "Women who sail."

The two hit it off and immediately moved to a corner of the deck and started talking sailing. What amazed me was that Becky like Cindy has often been given a hard time by the men in their yacht club about captaining her boat.

Becky said that her boat was often called the "bitch" boat by men in the club when she and her two female friends take the boat out cruising. At first Becky said that she was just going to let the comment go but then decided to make the comment a motivator rather than a distraction.

She had shirts printed for the crew that say "Bitch Boat" on the front and an acronym on the back that indicates they are strong women in charge of their lives. "Babes in Total Control of Herselve"

Hard to imagine that in 2018, there are still men who feel the need to put women in their place.

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