The Call of the Wild

Old longings nomadic leap,

Chafing at custom’s chains;

Again from its brumal sleep

Wakens the ferine strain.

The verse at the beginning of The Call of the Wild (written by Jack London in 1903) captures the feelings on board Distant Drummer as we returned to the water after five months of winter in Canoe Cove. Our re-launch yesterday went well but not without a couple of hitches, of course. There was a leak at the rudder post gland which needed to be tightened and more packing added. There was also an air lock in the fresh water cooling system in the engine which took way too many hours to figure out but finally today we are on our way. I can’t wait to cast off the lines and get back to our cruising life.


The re-launch of Distant Drummer after five months on the hard

Last week we were lucky enough to borrow a car from our friends in Maple Bay which came in really handy for getting everything done in order to be ready to get back in the water. Hauling provisions, transporting propane tanks and jerry cans of ethanol-free petrol (neither of which can be taken on the bus unless you’re a suicide bomber!) and all the other little last minute tasks were made much easier. Thanks Steve and Carolina.


Barrels of whiskey at the Victoria Distillery in Sidney

We also had time for a couple of outings. We visited the Victoria Distillery in Sidney (it’s amazing that we hadn’t found it before) and had a tour of the factory before sitting down to quite an extensive tasting. BC has a strong culture of liberation when it comes to alcohol, with small independent breweries and distilleries creating craft beers and premium spirits. Originally the Victoria Distillery only produced only gin (regular and oaken, yummy!) but have since expanded to include vodka and rum, eau de vie and a delicious chocolate liqueur. It was a warm and cozy place to shelter from the rain!


View of Sooke from Whiffen Spit, at the southern tip of Vancouver Island

On Tuesday we drove down to Sooke which is a key-hole harbour close to the southernmost point of Vancouver Island. In the small town there we noticed several shops selling cannabis, we haven’t seen that elsewhere on the Island. Sale of marijuana is currently permitted in BC for medicinal use only but legalization for recreational use is on the way, as it is in many states in USA. We had a breezy walk on Whiffen Spit, a sand bar which almost blocks the entrance channel into the harbour, and then enjoyed lunch in a great little bistro called “Route 14”. Great Caesar Salad!


A little gin tasting in the bar at the Victoria Distillery

Our next blog will likely be posted from US territory as we need to leave Canada to file our tax rebate applications. We will spend a few days in Friday Harbour before we return to Canada and head over to Van City.



  1. Bruce’s avatar

    Lovely post Suzy. Did Neil end up adding a barrel or two to your provisions? So what are your plans for the Summer?


  2. Stephen P. Johnson’s avatar

    I just happened upon your webpage last week. I used to crew on the Drummer back in the 1990s. When I moved away from Seattle, to attend grad school on the east coast, the owners decided against breaking in new crew, and sold the Drummer. She is a great boat, many happy memories.



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