Labor Day weekend my wife and I went sailing. We had a great trip except on the day we headed home.

The first day we motored to Sucia Island and stayed the night. We arrived late and had dinner on the boat.

Early the next day we went to Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. The harbor was crazy busy, We radioed in for a slip. The Harbormaster had to put us and several other boats on hold as he tried to find slips for all of us. He sounded like an airline traffic controller, bringing each of us in for a landing. About four boats, including ours, motored around in circles waiting our turn.

We stayed the whole day and overnight in Roach Harbor. Our boat looked tiny and old next to all the others. Most boats were in the $200,000 to $1,000.000 range. I felt like putting up a sign… “Yeah, but ours is paid for!”

There is a lot to see there. The harbor is very touristy but we had a good time. We visited the old Hotel de Haro where the manager allowed us to see the President’s Room – so called because President Teddy Roosevelt stayed there. There was also a large “John Wayne Tub” that John Wayne himself had installed because the others were too small for him.

One of the first things you notice when sailing into Roach Harbor is a little church on the hill. The Our Lady of Good Voyage Chapel performs mass every Sunday and is often used for weddings.

After visiting the chapel Willie and I took a long walk and found the cabins built for kiln workers years ago. The cabins have a wonderful view looking west over the Sound and are now rentals for the tourists.

The next day we heading to Stuart Island. This is one of my favorite islands. We tied up at a free floating dock (not attached to the land) and met a friendly man named Warren, a loner who sails Puget Sound every Summer all through the entire season.

He suggested we go see the little red school house on the west side of Stuart so we rowed to shore and walked a trail that lead to the old school. It turns out the school is still operating. It had three graduates last year.

The current school building is newer, but the original building and the teacher’s house are still there. The tiny house where the teacher used to stay (only 12’ x 15’) is now a little museum and the old schoolhouse is a library.

Though there was no one around, both buildings were open. You could even check out library books on your own. The honor system is a way of life on the island.

Along the trail we found t-shirts hanging between two trees. They were for sale to raise money for the school. Again there was no one there selling them. You simply pick out your size from a box that looks like a large treasure chest, take the shirt home, and then mail an enclosed envelop with your payment to the school. Try selling shirts that way on the mainland; I love the island lifestyle.

The next day, on our sail back home, things turned for the worst. Most of the way home was relaxed and beautiful, but about four miles out of home port I knew something was wrong. What started as a small pain in my gut soon grew worse. I laid down on the bed in our cabin while my wife motored the rest of the way in. Four miles is a long way in a sailboat going only 5 knots on a 10hp motor.

The pain got to be too much so I told Willie not to panic as I radioed for help. “Pahn-pan, pahn-pan, pahn-pan, this is the Fargone. We have a medical emergency on board.”

Bent over in pain I talked to the Coast Guard and explained the situation. I requested that they contact the Blaine Harbormaster and arrange for a EMT team to meet us at the visitor dock; I didn’t want to make my wife land in our slip because she hadn’t had experience maneuvering into the tiny space.

Two boats who heard the call came along side. The one, a beautiful big sloop, lead us into the harbor and to the visitor dock. Despite my pain, I was able to land our boat.

A security officer and a policeman tied our boat to the dock and the EMT’s wheeled me up the ramp and into the ambulance.

It turns out I had a bowel obstruction and was in the hospital for two days. The doctors told me it probably happened because I had eaten raw broccoli and didn’t chew it properly. They recommended not eating broccoli or other raw vegetables. That’s fine with me… I hate broccoli.

I got home on Wednesday and planned a solo sail for the next weekend. This got me into a lot of trouble with my wife, but that’s for another blog.

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I pushed the boat away from the dock and watched my son Guy, his wife Sarah, and my grandson Kristjan sail off to a 5 day trip through Puget Sound and the Canadian Gulf Islands.

The boat needed a lot more fixing then I”d realized. My electrician son fixed all the lights and installed a new bilge pump. We also built a safety net all around the boat to protect Kristjan.

After nearly two days repairing the boat and waiting for good weather, they finally got underway.

As I watched them leave the slip and head out I was reminded what a wonderful blessing they are for me.

I am thrice blessed as Guy’s Dad, Sarah’s Father-in-Law, and Kristian’s Afi (Icelandic for Granddad).

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Wow.This was definitely a Leuk day. The doctors tell me my leukemia shouldn’t be making me tired but something sure did.

I was up late the night before, getting to bed at midnight. But you wouldn’t think that would make me feel so exhausted all day. I finally had to lay down at 3:00pm. Slept off and on unit 7:30pm.

Then got up and felt better.

I’m not really sure what made it happen. Was it Leuk? Or am I just being old? I’m not in the best of shape; I’ve not been exercising. Maybe that’s it.

So now, having slept during the day, I’m up writing at 12:30am. Geez.

Sometimes I get the itch to write and I can’t quiet down until I express myself. I’m wide awake now and hoping by writing this post I’ll be able to get back to bed.

But I’m hedging my bets; I’ve taken a sleeping pill too.

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Harbor Porpoise

Harbor Porpoise

We went sailing tonight. The water reflected the deep blue sky with only shallow waves.

There was no wind so we motored out then shut the outboard off, drifting for a couple hours. Two Harbor Porpoises swam by.

Then, as the sun set in the west and the mountains in the east turned pink, we headed back to port.

What a great Thursday evening in Puget Sound.

Even though Leuk is lurking around making me tired and threatening to get worse, moments like these make me so happy to be alive.

Life makes the fight against leukemia worth it. Whether you live in a city, a dessert, or by the water, take time to notice the good Earth we’ve been given.

I believe the good days, especially ones like these, give me strength to get through.

Some of my readers are at later stages in their leukemia than I am. But even if you are reading this in the hospital, the biggest blessing is your family. Cherish their love. Draw strength from it.

Remember to always fight Leuk. Find the blessings all around you. Leuk can’t beat a full heart.

Godspeed all.

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Yesterday we had a short visit with good friends. They live in another state so we only see them when they travel north. That means a lot of years between times.

It seems though that friendship isn’t based on how often you see someone. Real friendship isn’t hindered by distance or time.

We had lunch at a quaint cafe in old town, then spent time at the local seaside park. It was non-stop talking until the very few hours had pasted and they went on their way. We probably won’t see them for another 5 years or more.

Their vacation took them from Martinez, California to Seattle, Washington. We live almost 2 hours north of Seattle. They drove the 90 miles to see us for only three hours then drove 90 miles back to Seattle.

It was good to see you guys. Next time we see each other we’ll be a little older, a little grayer, but still good friends.

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