– What are you doing Nelly, studying the cruising guide? You know our season is over, don’t you?
– Ah, but I’m reading the Desolation Sound and the Broughton Archipelago! That’s the plan for next year, right?
We are certainly looking forward to going home, reconnecting with our families and friends. We are making plans for fine dinners and interesting trips. But deep down, we consider the coming months as just a pause in our Pacific Northwest project.

For now, we should prepare to leave before dreaming of coming back. Bellingham is – again – our base. We spend days cleaning everything, inside and out, including the canvas enclosures that came with the boat, but we don’t use. It’s quite an undertaking to extract them all from the flybridge cover, pressure-wash and brush them clean on both sides; it takes hours to hang them in the wind for drying, and store them back.

I try to finish a few improvements and repairs that are still wanting attention. Meanwhile, Nelly prepares the tanks and fluids for winterization, compares our various check-lists, books hotels and transportation for our trip back to France,

We do find the time for a warm farewell dinner with the Bellhaven Yacht Sales team, topped by a glorious sunset. Dear friends, thank you so much for your unfailing support, you’ve not seen the last of us.

Now we can head for Anacortes. Our old friends Mark and Lynn, whom we met on our Great Loop, have arranged to include us in a series of family reunions in the Seattle area.

We are honoured by their visit. We exchange experiences and memories, ideas and plans, and they drive us around, a rare opportunity for us to discover the country in a way we rarely can from the water.

Finally, North Harbor Diesel in Anacortes hauls out Brittany Belle. They pressure wash the hull, drive the boat a short way to the parking space that has been booked for us, and block her for the winter.

We have set aside three days to finalize our preparation, and to discuss with the boatyard about the maintenance and improvements we want to order from them.

I sand the rudder and the propeller. We work hard to make sure the boat will be well ventilated against the risk of all kinds of mold, mould, mildew, fungus, etc. We spend a whole afternoon in a huge laundromat to clean, dry, and vacuum bag all the bed linen and personal effects that we are leaving behind.

With a lot of work, but no stress and right in time, all the check-lists boxes have been ticked, the boat closed, the keys deposited with the boatyard, the storage paid for, the work instructions confirmed… we have done a good job. It’s time to say goodbye. But be prepared, we are coming back!