Monday, December 19, 2005

We have been having trouble getting connected to the internet for the past while. I wanted to get a map of B.C. and show you all where we went on our cruise, I actually scanned a map but you could not see the outline of the shoreline very well on it so I didn’t upload it. I will work on finding a different map, but when you do not have internet access it’s kind of hard.

The past week have been beautiful here, a big high pressure system is sitting on the south part of the island and the skies are sunny and hardly a cloud to be seen. We figured it felt like May in Yellowknife, there is a bite in the air but wow is it ever sunny, and to think there are only 3 days until the solstice and then the days get longer, wow!! We have sailed for 3 days out of the past 4, absolutely gorgeous. The first two days there wasn’t a lot of wind but today made up for it.

Picture it in your mind, blue skies, dark blue water, tall green trees and in the background Mount Baker covered in snow, and there we are with our while sails just gleaming, flying along under sail. We were zipping today, winds were up to 20 knots, there were white caps all over and the waves were only about a foot and a half to two feet. The water was flying off the bow in big bursts of white waves, magnificent, what a marvelous feeling.

We are at anchor tonight, at a bay about 15 miles from our dock and when you look out the hatch you can see Christmas lights on the houseboats at the dock. It is kind of neat that whenever we feel like it we can just untie the lines and set sail and all our belongings come with us. We don’t have to make trips to the store to get groceries or put together a bag with your clothes in it; it’s all aboard, just cast off and go.

Jennifer is coming here for Christmas and the Heather and Trish and Graeme are arriving on Boxing Day. It will be super to have everyone together, I figured we’d be having a Mexican Christmas but this will be great to see everyone again before heading south. We might not see them again for quite a few years so it is really wonderful to have them all here this year. I was talking to Jen the other day and asked if she would like to sail the New Year in, she thought that would be pretty fine so now I just have to convince the Captain that it would be a good idea. I floated the idea yesterday and Barry figured it would be pretty cold but so what, I think if the weather is okay we will be out on the water.

Hope you all have a super Christmas and we will be sailing between Christmas and New Years so sometime raise your glass and think of us and make a suitable salty toast. One of the things I regret about leaving Yellowknife is leaving all my good friends and family behind, take care and have a wonderful holiday season.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

We are in Comox today. It is December and we are still sailing, oh my gosh!! We got here yesterday and we happy to tie up and plug in and get some extra heat on board. It has been a bit cool while we are sailing. We have basically decided that this will be our last cruise until it gets a bit warmer. It is an adventure but it is not truly very comfortable.

We contacted two families from Yellowknife while we were here. We met Roz Smith and Bob Hauser, trimaran sailors from Yk. They came aboard and had a look around and then very graciously invited us out to see their place, we went for breakfast, cranberry pancakes, and then sat in their hot tub gazing at the snow on the coniferous trees. Peter, Catherine, Tegan and Blair Holmes our neighbors from Yellowknife and fellow sailors, drove down from Campbell River to visit with us. It was great to see them and go out to dinner.

We are tied up with all the huge fishing boats. It is very interesting to look at them and try and figure out what all their equipment could be used for. There was a fellow that was practicing his bag pipes on one of the boats today. It was a gorgeous sunny day so we sat on the deck and listened to him playing Christmas carols on the pipes. There is snow all over the docks so it really put me in the Christmas mood, it hadn’t seemed right before because there wasn’t any snow.

We are going to head home tomorrow; we are hoping to be there by Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Our first B.C. snow, my goodness is this stuff ever wet and sticky. It was almost like slushballs, never mind snowballs. We woke up and the stuff was covering the deck and wow was the dock ever slippery. I wiped out at the bottom of the ramp, Barry being a wise person that needs a hip replacement, held on to the railing and avoided falling. I stopped and hucked a slushball at a duck, it was a mallard, I bet the stupid thing was thinking, “Isn’t there somewhere else I was supposed to be?” and I didn’t hit him.

We waited until the clouds lifted a little and then set out. I was busy on the deck trying to get rid of all the snow/slush. I was worried about it freezing and all the lines being crusted with ice tomorrow morning. I got rid of a lot of it by picking it up and chucking it overboard to my great amusement. I even tried to see if it would melt when it hit the water, but it didn’t. We didn’t stay in one place long enough for me to make any close observations or conduct any experiments, but I thought about it. The sun came out as we motored north, (do I have my radar screwed up, why are we headed this way) we went along what I believe is referred to as the Sunshine Coast towards the Sechelt Peninsula.
Once we stopped I went around with my little whisk and dust pan and swept as much slush as I could into the pan and overboard.

There are lots of gorgeous houses along this stretch of the coast, I wonder if they are cottages or summer homes or if people actually live year round in them. Some we saw looked as if they were closed up for the winter, all the blinds drawn and no smoke coming out of the chimney. There was lots of new construction happening, some of the developments looked nicely planned with trees in and around the houses, while other stretches looked as if a developer had come in and bulldozed all the trees and started building, yech, beachfront property but not very pretty stuff all crammed together.

Another day with very little wind, hopefully there will be enough to sail tomorrow. Hasta manana!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Do you recognize this place?? If you are a Canadian that was born in the fifties or early sixties you should be able to figure out where we are!!!

We went to a bar yesterday to watch the Grey Cup. It was quite a good time; if you bought a pitcher of Canadian you got tickets to the some give away prizes. Well those of you that know Barry, can figure out he is a sucker for most tickets, so we had lots of beer and got lots of tickets. We ended up with two very nice cherry red Grey Cup hats, a XL white Grey Cup t-shirt that we traded a mini Grey Cup nerf football for, an XL black Grey Cup hoodie and a mini Grey Cup nerf football, so you can see we got quite a haul. I had to make sure that Barry didn’t fall in as we walked down the very slippery dock back to Cat’s-Paw IV. There was a gorgeous view out of the bar window as well, the mountains, the ocean and a whole bunch of boats in the harbor to stare at and analyze.

Today we are stuck at the marina, it is really blowing out there and Barry decided that caution was in order and would not leave the dock. I have heard that somewhere before. We had to motor sail most of the way across the Strait of Georgia because there wasn’t enough wind and now that there is a decent wind in the direction that we want, he won’t leave the dock!!! I guess when we are out in the middle of the Pacific and there is 20 – 25 knots forecasted we will be under bare poles, hove too with the drogues out. (Real sour grapes on my part)

If you haven’t figured out where we are yet we are in Gibson’s Landing, where they filmed the Beachcombers. It is on the Sunshine Coast just north of Vancouver, Squamish is just up Howe Sound from Gibson’s. I almost had a Relic Special for breakfast today, but could not face the sausages that came with the three eggs. While we are here I guess I will go and explore the town a little more, I am not sure how much reception we will get further north so this may be the last posting for while.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

We headed off yesterday for about a 10 day trip up towards Desolation Sound, which is north of Vancouver. It rained for most of the day and the winds were light until we came out into the Straits of Georgia, then the wind picked up to 15- 20 knots. We were just trucking along. We had about 5 porpoises playing in our bow wave for half an hour. They are really something, swooping and weaving in and out under the boat and across the bow. The depth sounder picked them up and the shallow alarm went off claiming we were in 5 feet of water. I had a moment of slight panic until Barry said “There’s lots of water out here.” When the porpoises surface you here a bust of air being blown out, it was magical watching them and listening to them as they surfaced. We ended up motoring about 3:30 P.M. to get where we wanted to go before dark. We aren’t keen on entering unknown harbors in the dark.

We woke up this morning to glorious sunshine. The steam was rising off the ocean and the sun was just bouncing of the waves. I had to put my sunglasses on, we haven’t seen the sun for about a week so that was a real treat. We are headed across the Strait of Georgia at the moment; we are planning on staying overnight on Bowen Island. I was a bit chilly so I headed down below and put our wonderful propane heater on and warmed up my hands and feet. What a treat!

Today is my oldest daughter’s birthday. A year ago we headed to Invermere from Yellowknife to surprise her for her 30th. I was just reflecting on how much our lives have changed in the past year. No house, no jobs, a beautiful boat and now we are footloose and fancy free on the Straits of Georgia, doing what we have dreamed of. It’s not quite as warm as I thought it would be, seeing how we were hoping to be somewhere south of California about now, but hey, we are on water that isn’t frozen and we are sailing!! We are hoping to get somewhere to watch the Grey Cup tomorrow. We contemplated buying tickets but decided our budget couldn’t afford it. We bought a GSP receiver for our laptop instead and now have electronic chart mapping. It is a very handy tool, yesterday going into the harbor we just watched on the chart and you could see the icon that was our boat creep past the shallows and make our way through the opening between the rocks into the harbor. It is really slick, thank you so much to those that made that possible. Well I guess I should go up on deck and see if the Captain needs to be spelled off or wants a hot drink!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Barry has been doing some fixing up around the boat. He was so into his work that he didn’t realize that he was marking up his head as well as the salt water pump. We are going to take our brother-in-law, the surveyor, out to see a piece of land in Sooke, just south of Victoria, on Wednesday, so it will be interesting making our way into that area.

We went to a sail repair course the other night. It was very informative, teaching us the proper way to repair a rip in your sail, and how to attach slides that attach your main sail to the boom. We were also given a list of what you should have in a sail repair kit. I am going to have to go over ours and upgrade it.

We received all the west coast charts from sailing buddies of ours that now have their boat in Cuba. This is great because charts are very expensive and we know have all the charts we will need for heading around Vancouver Island in the spring. I was just reading a cruising guide about going around the island and it says you should plan for about a month. We are hoping to head up to Desolation Sound on Thursday for about a two week trip. We will cross the Straits of Georgia and Desolation Sound is on the mainland, north of Vancouver.

Friday, November 18, 2005

I had a great visit in Yellowknife. I saw a whole bunch of friends and went for lunch every day. I enjoyed the snow the first day I got there, it was -2 Celcius and the snow was coming down in big, fluffy flakes. My grandson and I went out and made snowmen in the park, we even managed a snow cat and a snow dog. I did some Christmas baking for my family while I was there and Heather commented on how good everything smelled when I was baking., by the end of the week it was -21 Celcius and I was looking forward to getting back to Sidney. My blood must have thinned out or something, because I sure did enjoy the mild weather and green grass when I returned.

My brother is here visiting at the moment, so as soon as practical after I got off the plane we went out for an overnight sail. We had decent winds and my brother and I went for a stroll in a Marine Park once we had anchored. He and Barry had some great winds while I was gone and encounter blue skies as well on that day. Yesterday it was 11 degrees so Bob and I went for a bike ride to look at a marina I had wanted to visit and we saw a very nice boat. I was admiring it when I realized that it was another Fast Passage, glory be, isn’t it nice to be happy with the boat you have purchased.

At the moment we are waiting for the propane heater to finish being installed. We had a guy come in to assess the diesel heater and he said that it would be way too expensive to try and fix the leaky diesel tank. It would involve ripping apart the interior of the boat and it just wasn’t practical so we now have a propane heater. The fellow brought a propane line that was too short to install, he had to have a longer one made up, so we have the heater and a hole in the cabin roof, but no heat and no means of cooking, because all the propane in turned off. He is supposed to come today and finish the job, he had better show up.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

We had this state park all to ourselves, no one else around, heaven.

We had a lovely visit in the San Juan Islands. After we got to Friday Harbor we sailed about 15 miles to this island state park. A group of boaters in the 60’s had got together and raised money to buy the island and gave it to the state to be used by boaters in perpetuity. It was a lovely spot. There are about 6 bays around the island that have anchorages and they are all interconnected with hiking trails.

On the way there we had a super sail, winds gusting up to 25 knots, the boat handling it with no difficulty. We were going downwind so we had some surfing happening and the boat was dancing around in the waves, taking a little more concentration on the helm than I’ve experienced before. We found this very sheltered anchorage and plopped the anchor down without any trouble. The next day we motored around in the dinghy exploring other bays. I choose to walk across the island back to the boat and Barry motored back. During my walk I looked up and there were leaves falling, the trees are so tall here that the leaves took about 15 seconds to reach the ground, they spun and twirled on their way down, very magical.

On of the best things about this place is that there was no one else around. It was like being back up north and having he place all to ourselves, although you would see boats going by occasionally. From our anchorage you could look out and see the Straits of Georgia and I think we glimpsed the ferry terminal at Tswwassen, fortunately the wind was predicted to be out of the south for all the time we planned to be there.

On the way back to Sidney, the wind was blowing 25-30 + knots and this time we were going against it. At one point we went to tack and in moving the traveler one of the lines slipped and it careened to the end of the line. Barry was cranking it in when I noticed that the end of the traveler was lifting up from the deck, shit, something else that broke. Barry took down the main and we sailed under jib alone the rest of the way home. We had the staysail up at the time and we put on the running back stays to support the mast and away we went. We were still doing 5 knots upwind with just the staysail, so it was blowing.

We are trying to figure out how to fix the traveler. We took another part of the ceiling off in the main cabin to get at the connections for the traveler. Then we went on deck and took the traveler off and had a look at how it was connected. We don’t think it is going to be too big of a deal to get it fixed, and we are hoping that I won’t be too expensive. On a positive note we went to see the guy who installed our engine and had a few questions about some items on the invoice and we ended up getting over $800 back. That’s one for our side, wahoo!!!

I am headed to Yellowknife for 10 days to see my daughter, my grandchildren and my buds. I am really looking forward to it. I have put together a PowerPoint presentation about the boats we looked at before we decided on Cat’s-Paw to show whoever is interested. I will be staying with my daughter.

Friday, October 28, 2005

We are in Friday Harbour, WA today. We had a lovely sail over yesterday. We fooled around with the wind vane and it actually worked, we did quite well sailing up wind, but when we tried to vary our course we ran into some difficulties. It is very sensitive and will take time and careful, watchful sailing to figure it out. It all has to do with balancing your boat with the sails and getting it to sail itself and then adjusting the wind vane, or maybe to adjusting the wind vane and then setting the sails to the vane, we aren't quite sure at the moment and OF COURSE, Barry and I have different ideas about how to go about doing that.

It turned really blustery on the way into Friday Harbour yesterday and they are predicting small craft warnings to gales for the next couple of days so we should be able to get places, if Barry allows me to put up the sails!!!!

It is overcast but the temperature is still a very comfortable 50 degrees. I can't even convert into Farenheit anymore, all I know is that it isn't bad. I had a toque on and my big mitts at the wheel yesterday. Our weather cloths have kept the cockpit warmer but when you have to stand up to see what is happening infront of you, you are up above the dodger and the wind gets at you. It's like sailing in Yellowknife at the end of August, not terribly warm but not entirely uncomfortable either.

We found out how to get Internet on our boat so we bit the bullet and bought a WIFI card, which has a small antena attached and subscribed to a company that provides this service. The card apparently boosts the built in wireless capacities that the computer already has. It is a U.S. company that has stations all around the Gulf Islands and the Pacific Northwest, it is called Broadband Express. You can also buy an antenna that can be put on your mast so that you can receive a signal when you are further away. There is a station very close to our home slip so we are hoping to get away with not purchasing the bigger, more expensive attenna. YEAH, no more driving down to the Travelodge and hunkering down inside the car, illegally using their wireless service. It was getting dicey anyways, not hooking up very well and taking as long as 10 minutes to get from one message to another.

We have no returned to Sidney after our sail. I did this entry in Friday Harbour, so will upload it and put in some pics from our trip and fill you in on the details of our trip later.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It has been getting progressively cooler at nights and we only have a lowly little electric heater to keep us warm. It has been doing the job just fine, but only while we are hooked up to shore power. We need another heat source. We have a diesel heater on board, which apparently are skookum, when they work, but we have not been able to get this beast to light.

It has a separate 5 gallon tank and somewhere between the tank and the furnace/heater there seems to be a leak. The furnace is mounted on a surface which is above the cabin floor and there is an opening which is about 7 inches high and 15 inches wide below it. When lying on the floor peering in the hole you can see diesel dripping down the side of the boat, you can reach the connections through holes on each side but you can’t see anything, so I thought I would try to see what I could see, kind of like the bear going over the mountain.

I got my head in the hole and then figured out I couldn’t get my shoulders through the hole, but by twisting about I could get one arm in and worm my way a little further in my quest to see what was going on with the tank and it’s connections. Well as soon as my massive chest got close to the opening, I could squirm no further, and I could not see what was leaking. All of a sudden I heard this exclamation from Barry, he had taken a picture and I started laughing, my chest started heaving and my ribs were compressed even more.

We used Barry’s nifty new pump to suck out the entire tank and there have been no more little pools of diesel under the heater/furnace, thank goodness, although the stupid, useless thing still doesn’t work. I cleaned it out the other day and Barry has ordered a new fuel filter, but even if we do get it to light, what are we going to do about the leaky tank. YIKES!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

We got the propane line installed. The stupid old line had three joins in it, so it was a good thing we got a professional to do it. He tested our propane sniffers and said he didn't think they were working. SO, that means we had a propane line with three joins in it and nothing to detect leaks, enough to make you throw up your hands and say "just shoot me". We now have to figure out how to take out the detectors and have them tested. I tried to follow the lines from the dectectors back to where they hooked up ( so we wouldn't have to cut the lines) and got as far as the engine area and then they disappeared into the nether regions below the floor boards. We left that job for another day and went up to Arbutus Ridge to check or snail mail and have supper with Barry's Mom.
We sailed down to Victoria yesterday and went to a Bluewater Cruising meeting. That was our first sight of the Straits of Juan De Fuca, there was a lot of water out there!!!! There was a couple that had been on a 9 year cruise around the world that did a slide presentation. They had some marvelous stories to tell and some great pictures. There was also a guy that stood up and talked about the education classes that they are going to have this winter. There is going to be one on sail repair, fiberglasing, and electricity. We plan to go to all of them. There is also a group called fleet 2006 which consists of everyone who is planning on leaving next year and the year after. They get together and decide as a group what kind of things they want to do over the winter and how often they want to meet. This should be another good source of info and helpful hints on where to find out what we need to know and who we should be talking to. I am really looking forward to cramming my brain full of boating knowledge. We know how to sail, we just have to figure out how to be able to repair our boat without it costing us an arm and a leg everytime something goes wrong and having the confidence to be able to say I CAN FIX this, and it is going to work and I know what I am doing.

Monday, October 17, 2005

This is our wind vane and I am holding one of the weather cloths. We got these two items from the former owner a couple of weeks ago. We attached the wind vane while we were on the hard, much easier than doing it while balancing on a dinghy in the water. 'I had to repair the weather cloths, seams were going and some of the gromets need replacing. They are now repaired and on the boat, HORRAY.
We hooked up the wind vane lines last week and then went out on the weekend to see if it would work. We think we got it hooked up right, by looking at the pictures and reading the manual that came with it. Every wind vane is mounted on each boat differently because of how the steering and the stern is designed. Fortunately the wind vane had been hooked up before, and we just had to figure out how to attach the lines. This involved me stuffing myself in the aft lazerette with Barry in the cockpit pushing the lines through to me and then put them around pulleys and leading them back through a hole in the stern so they could be attached to the wind vane. Barry got in the dinghy and we stuffed lines into the aluminum tubes so they could attach to the vane. ANYWAY, we tried it out. You have to make sure your boat is balanced with the sails when you set the vane, fortunately Cat's-Paw IV seems to sail itself and track quite nicely so there was no problem getting it balanced, then we engaged the wind vane. True to our natures, I thought the wind vane was working beautifully, the boat sailed for about 10 minutes on track. Barry thought the boat was doing it all by itself and the wind vane wasn't doing anything. We then tried other things, but the wind did not co-operate ( it was suggested that when you are learning you should sail in 10 - 15 knots) so we packed it in and went back to the slip.
We are having the propane line repaired today. A whole new line has to be put in from the propane locker to the stove. The former owner when he put in a new stove, he put an addition on the existing propane line, which is a definite no-no. We decided since it was propane and the insurance might be void if we did the work ourselves,, to get a professional to do it, besides I have an irrational fear of propane and would not feel comfortable unless it was done properly.
Barry installed a new clutch for our main sheet yesterday. This involved taking the ceiling off the aft cabin, no easy task. You have to take out wooden plugs to get at the screws and after much hammering and digging around with screwdrivers and whatnot we got to the screws and got the ceiling off. Barry then went and had an aluminum backing plate made for the clutch and we placed it in a good position on the cabin top and bolted it down. We were quite pleased with ourselves that we had managed the job, without paying anyone to help. We had a drink to celebrate that night. We went to raise the main the next day and low and behold the $#^%$*) clutch didn't work, shit, had we bought the wrong kind??? Well, we had a look at it and sure enough it was on BACKWARDS!!!! Back to the drawing board, at least we hadn't gotten around to putting the wooden plugs back in the ceiling. Barry turned it around no problem and now it works beautifully. Don't you just love learning how to fix stuff!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a lovely time with a bunch of Bluewater Cruisers this weekend. We sailed about 20 miles as the crow flies on Sat. to get to the rendezvous. We spent the weekend swapping stories and getting to know some of the other people that belong to the BCA. They have three categories of sailors, dreamers, doers and doners. We are in the dreamer’s category at the moment and we met both of the other types this weekend. One couple were on a 18 month hiatus on dry land, their boat is in Denmark and they will return after she gets to plant her garden next summer, she was so happy to be able to do that. A couple of the doners had tales to tell, one fellow expounded on his adventure, living through a hurricane in Fiji in the 80’s aboard his boat!!! The other couple told of rescuing 4 Fijians stranded at sea for 6 days in a motorboat. The rescuers became local heroes and had a party and luau given in their honor. We got some tips on how to look after our floor and what might work on getting our spinnaker pole, which is seized on to the fittings on the deck, off.

You will notice that there are no tales of woe about Cat’s-Paw IV on this trip. She behaved beautifully and we were told that we had gotten a good boat by several sailors. They knew the boat; they just hadn’t met us before!!!

We had fun, we made some connections, and we learned a few things. Wowee, I think that was what this was supposed to be about. The picture is of the boat building contest that took place. Our boat is not the beautiful one with the gorgeous leaves, but the rather very rustic looking on next to it. Our boat did finish the race, but since the boats were all tossed off the dock at the same time they clumped, and there was a three way tie for third place, so there was a re-race. Our mast started sagging and the sails got wet and so we brought up the rear in the second race, but we did finish.

I hope all of you had a happy Thanksgiving Day and that you had some good food and good company.

Here are a couple of pictures for you hardcore boat nuts. Barry wanted you to see our awesome skeg hung rudder and on the right is our new depth sounder thru hull. Yes it actually does stick out that much!!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

This blog is for those of you interested in our boat repairs. We have it out of the water on the hard (as we boaters like to say), it is up on stands that keep it upright when on the land. These stands do not belong to us they are the boatyard's property and you pay to have your boat hauled out and they set it up on the stands and then you pay by the day that your boat is in the yard having work done on it.
We have had a new depth sounder installed, so now we will be able to breathe a little easier when we go into strange anchorages and just have a chart to go by (although I did remember that we had bought a portable depth sounder and for the last while at an achorage we have been going up to the bow and taking readings on the depth as we get close to where we want to anchor, that was a little less hairy). They have fixed all of the big blisters that the surveyor had identified and now we await bottom paint. The guy said it would just take him two hours to paint the bottom so we figured we would just go ahead and pay him and get it done properly.
Barry and I have been struggling to attach the Monitor Wind Vane that came with the boat. The former owner did not keep it on the boat because he was afraid it might get bumped at the slip. It is pretty close quarters in there and if you are not careful you can quite easily run into someone. I haven't managed to run into anyone yet, but after my first quite successful dockings, my last two have been rather ugly. The slip next to us is empty now and for some reason I am not quite judging the distance and my trajectory very well, I haven't damaged anything but IT WAS UGLY!!!
Anyway back to the Monitor Wind Vane, where it is attached to the boat it's pretty hard to reach and I (being relatively tiny, compared to Barry and much more flexible) get to stuff my aging body into tiny spaces to try and put nuts on bolts. We all know how mechanical I am, but believe it or not after Graeme, my potential son-in-law, told me I just had to remember that doing up was clockwise and undoing was counter clockwise, I managed to thread 16 nuts on the correct way without trying to do it backwards once. Do you think that means I am cured??? Back to the wind vane, it is all attached now except for two bolts that need to be replaced on the outside because the thread were either too long or too short. NOW we just have to figure out how the damn thing works. It has more ropes and pulleys than any piece of machinery is meant to and to top it all off, no two boats are set up the same to we have to try and figure out how the previous owner set up this one. Fun and Games.
We are hoping to have the boat back in the water by Friday so we can attend a Bluewater Cruising get together for Thanksgiving. If we don't get in we will have a lovely dinner with Barry's Mom, that is where we are staying until the boat is back in the water. It sure is nice to have somewhere to go when we need to, a warm, friendly house with a bathtub, I don't know where we would go if we couldn't stay here!!!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

We are in Bedwell Harbour on Pender Island at a cruising get together. We finally made it to one, yeah. We have met lots of very nice folks. This weekend was organized by the Victoria Cruising Club which is a power boat club that has been running for 50 years. They invited along the members of the yahct club that we belong to, so we decided to attend.
The resort is only about 10 nautical miles from our slip so we sailed over on Saturday afternoon, after Barry did his 50 hour oil change on the motor. The oil change went well, we learned how we should do it better next time and so far there is no oil spewing from the engine so he must have done it correctly. Just after we arrived there was a cocktail hour appetizer party and everyone just mixed and mingled and chatted for the rest of the evening. We were admiring another boat on the way back to Cat's-Paw and the folks inside invited us aboard and we had a lovely chat with them. They had a J30 and the fellow is a very keen racer, so we swapped tales most of the evening.
This morning they had coffee and cake out for breakfast and people wandered by and visited over coffee. It was super to meet this bunch and hopefully we can make some connections with a few couples. It's great to hear everyone's stories about how they got involved in boating and what they are up to. The resort it gorgeous. We went ashore this morning and wandered around. There is a pool available for us to use once we'd paid our moorage and there was a lovely internet area on the third floor of the main building. We didn't look around too much more but it will definitely be worth coming back for further visits.

Friday, September 30, 2005

I am sitting in the cockpit with my floater jacket over my head so I can see the computer screen. It is another gorgeous day, warm and sunny, although there are patches of fog about. Last night we stayed in Silva Bay just off the south coast of Gabriola Island. It was a lovely spot and there was this huge yacht that was anchored beside us. Wow, was it a beaut, probably about a 60 footer with triple spreaders. Barry took a
picture so you can see what we have to put up with down here, the money literally floating around the B.C. coast is just phenomenal.

There isn’t much wind but since we don’t have an agenda, other than we have to be back in Sidney on Oct. 3 for our boat to be pulled out of the water, we are just ghosting along enjoying the view and the sunshine. We are headed south now and will make our way back towards Sidney, depending on the wind we will just head back there or perhaps we will go and spend some time in the San Juan Islands if we get a bit more wind so we are moving a bit quicker than we are now.

As we were headed out of Nanaimo harbour this boat came up to us and got quite close and I noticed a girl taking pictures. I couldn’t figure it out, I know the boat is gorgeous but really pictures, and we weren’t doing anything stupendous or stupid that was worth taking pictures of. All of a sudden, the skipper yelled across that he used the own the boat, it turns out he and his father were the original owners of he boat and had finished all the insides of the boat. We told him we loved the inside and that we were just new owners, the third ones of the boat. It really is a small world isn’t it.

If you are not interested in boat jargon, skip this paragraph. When we first got the boat we bought a lovely 8 hp 4 stroke motor to go on our dinghy, an Avon zodiac, 9’ 6” in length. The motor was great, the dinghy got up on step with both Barry and I in it and we would be able to go anywhere in it. WELL, live and learn, we tried to get it up on the boat. It was too heavy for us to lift, although we did manage to get it onboard for one trip, but did not even attempt to put it on the dinghy as it was too heavy to lift out. Then we decided we needed to devise some system to hang it off the back of the boat. Well, our boat has a canoe stern, so there are no right angles to attach stuff to, everything slopes inward so we got a ¾ inch piece of plastic, called starboard and Barry fastened that on the back with U bolts. We winched the motor onto it and it was JUST TO HEAVY. In a big sea it would have shaken the pushpit out of the deck and then we would have been in a pickle. So, we swallowed our pride and went back to the dealer and traded in the motor for a smaller lighter (at least 30 lbs lighter) 2 stroke, a 5 hp. It should still get the dinghy up on step with one person in it and it should be light enough to attach to the deck. The only catch was the guy didn’t have any in the store, so we don’t have a motor for the dinghy on this trip which is a bit of a pain. We do have two paddles though and Barry and I have managed to co-operate enough that we have gone ashore a couple of times with the paddles.

Next week the boat is coming out of the water and we are having a new depth sounder put in and having a few blisters fixed and a sea water inlet that is leaking repaired. After that the boat should be in fine shape, most of the instruments will be in working order and all the sails seem to be doing there job. Unfortunately on this trip we have been beating into the weather going north and south, so haven’t gotten to test out its downwind capacities too much. Oh well, there will be another time.

When we stopped for the night, the light was so lovely; I jumped in the dinghy and went to take pictures of Cat’s-Paw at anchor. We had the place all to ourselves for a change. Just before dinner I was reading in the cockpit and I heard this noise it was like someone expelling a lot of air, I am pretty sure it was some kind of whale, it was a pretty distinctive kind of sound and I did see a fin on the surface to the water, although nothing else. Seals surface quite near the boat on occasion and yesterday at the anchorage there were two otters playing around in the water fairly close to the boat. We had seen what we think are dolphin fins a number of times but have never seen the whole animal.

Then after dinner we went ashore and wandered around on a deserted beach, with driftwood and sandstone all over. We walked up to a point and there was a lovely sunset, it really is beautiful in this part of Canada.
Barry and I decided to go on a shakedown cruise. We have a week to ten days where we don’t have any workmen coming down to fix anything on the boat and the forecast is for absolutely beautiful weather, + 24 during the day and + 10 or so at night, what more could you want for a shakedown cruise. We decided to head north.

We are in Nanaimo at the moment, we took three days to get here, the first day out of Sidney consisted of very light winds and sunshine. The second day we picked up some decent winds near the end of the day after fighting wind and currents most of the day. Those currents are killers, catching you when you least expect it and not letting you get where you want. We were playing chicken with those rather large ferries that cross from Tsswassen to Swartz Bay and I’d just had enough, we started the motor and got the h out of the way. We spent the second night in a very small anchorage called Retreat Cove. We set out a stern anchor so we wouldn’t swing onto the shelf and spent an uneventful evening there. The third day we had super winds and just flew up a passage, against the wind the whole way but who cared about the current, we were going fast enough it didn’t matter.

Today we hauled anchor and headed for Dodd’s Narrows, a very narrow tidal passage, that is know to be treacherous. Thankfully our boat did its thing and went whistling through the Narrows with no problems. We motored towards Nanaimo and decided to try out the Straits of Georgia and see what the boat could do.

There was 25 knots of wind and about 4 foot seas, great stuff! We had to reef down to the second reef and roll in the jib so about an 8th of the jib was showing and the boat loved it. On one tack it just went, the waves must have been quite favorable, on the other tack the boat slowed a knot and fought with the waves to make any headway. Neither Barry nor I experienced any seasickness, which is a really good thing and the boat was a peach in those winds. Barry says we just have to remember to reef early, whatever. It was a blast being out there with the huge container ships and the ferries bashing into those waves.

We headed back to Nanaimo to get some groceries and hopefully get a few more charts so we can continue northward for a few days. The thought of going out in the Straits of Georgia and just heading for Sidney is very appealing to me, either way we are going to have some fun.

We really miss all our chums in Yellowknife, I get terribly sad when I hear the other boats on the radio calling each other and I have no one that I can call. No longer can I be the scourge of the airwaves, damn, I will have to do something about that. I guess that’s what you have to deal with when you move away!!!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The frustrations of trying to repair and make changes to a 20 year old boat are sometimes quite overwhelming. Yesterday we tried to get our diesel heater going. We put about 10 liters of fuel in the tank and then tried to light the stove. Well after nearly burning off my eyebrows lighting the methyl hydrate that we are supposed to use to heat up the element so that the diesel will burn nicely we discovered that we think the tank was leaking. There were pools of diesel fuel under the stove that we soaked up with Scott paper towels. Then we went and pumped out all the diesel that we could from the tank. This involved shoving a hose down the pipe and having a leaky pump suck up the diesel. Well we got diesel on the deck on the cockpit cushions and on my nice shirt. YUCK. We went inside the boat to see if we could discover where the leak was, if it was just a fitting or if the tank is defective. After taking off a piece of the teak hiding the tank and scrunching our bodies up inside the cupboard in the bathroom and forcing our hands through a small hole in the bulkhead we concluded that the tank might be leaky. We are hoping to have it pressure tested to see if it is indeed the culprit. If that is so we will probably just put in a propane heater and BOAT (break out another thousand). We were so discouraged that we went to DQ and drowned our sorrows in ice cream.

Oh, by the way we got the transmission fixed, just a loose connection, and we now have a working VHS and our SSB radio seems to send and transmit and our auto pilot works we just have to have the hydraulic pump that it uses rebuilt because it leaks oil like a sieve. We are planning to have the boat hauled out in early Oct. and have a new depth sounder thru hull put in, so after that we should have a fairly safe boat that we should be able to enjoy.

The one aspect of living down here that we are truly enjoying is the weather. It has been gorgeous lately, sunny, plus 19 or 20 during the day and only about 10 in the evenings. We listen to the weather and chuckle every time we here the temperatures in Yellowknife, the weather has been atrocious up there this past week.

My uncle flew in from Washington State to visit with us yesterday. We took him out for a brief cruise which he seemed to really enjoy. Our daughter Trish and her SO Graeme will be arriving tonight for about a 3 day cruise. We are hoping to hoist Graeme up the mast to repair our deck lights and also get some tips from him regarding our electrical system (he is an electrician), We are looking forward to having some fun with the rather expensive toy we have purchased, as I often put it we are going to go out and play.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hope everyone had a super long weekend. Ours was adventurous and torturous in that we had a super sail on Friday afternoon, stopped at a small harbor and let out the anchor, and then I was waiting for Barry to back the boat up and set the anchor and the boat refused to go into reverse. Our brand new transmission seemed to have decided it only wanted to go front wards. Don’t ask me how or why these things keep happening but they do. Barry spent a couple of hours trying to fix the problem. When he was finished we had forward and neutral but no reverse.

Soooo, instead of going up to a different harbor and going to a rendezvous our yacht club had organized we spent Sat. in this smallish spot watching all the boats come and go and spying on the BEAUTIFUL houses that were around the bay. That’s one thing different about sailing around here there are more than rocks and trees and wildlife to look at, some of the homes on the waterfront are absolutely spectacular. Sometimes looking at some of them I think they must have more money than brains because they build so close to the cliff edge or so close to the high tide mark. Hasn’t anyone down here heard of global warming and the effects of erosion? Okay, okay, I’ll get off my soap box.

On Sunday we consulted the tide tables and listened to the forecast and figured out where we planned to go next. Once we had almost got there we decided that we had gotten there too quickly and we didn’t like the looks of the weather that was headed there so we turned around and went somewhere else. The weather caught up with us and dumped, I mean DUMPED, a whole wack of rain on us, not tiny gentle little drops, huge smacking, popping off the water drops. What a way to get wet in a hurry. Then since we were going against the tide and the wind had died to next to nothing after the rain storm, we motored to the spot we planned to stay the night.

WELL, there were tons of boats all closely anchored together (another difference when you are sailing down here, you can’t just go into a spot and have your pick of anchorages). We decided that without a reverse gear we didn’t want to go rumbling through all those expensive looking boats, so we high tailed it back to Sidney, giving that new engine a real workout. We didn’t want to have to return in the dark, we are having enough trouble figuring out where we are during the day, all those stupid little islands look the same. Anyway on the way back there were some lovely cloud formations and I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Barry is becoming frustrated with all the stuff that is going wrong and is being nostalgic about our smaller, uncomplicated Catalina 25. I told him that if he wanted he could always go back to Yellowknife for the winter and get a job and live with Heather.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I have to tell you guys this one. I had taken my bike out for a ride and rather than lock it up and walk down to the boat, I rode my bike along the dock and down to our slip. The docks where we moor have big long fingers which are quite steady and don’t move up and down a lot. Then off these fingers are smaller docks called slips that go between the boats. The slips are quite tippy and when we get off our boat the slip rocks back and forth a bit.

Well, when I came up to the boat there was a guy at the opposite slip working on the front of his boat, so instead of putting my bike on the more stable finger, I put it on our slip, I just put the stand down and left it there and went into the boat. Barry in the meantime wanted to get off the boat and stepped on to the slip and YUP you guessed it. SPLOSH, there went my bike, down to the bottom of the sea. YIKES, my family gave Barry and me those bikes for our twenty fifth anniversary, what was I going to tell them!!!!

Barry got a boat hook and tried to touch the bottom and no luck, it was high tide and it was about 25 feet deep. Then he came up with the idea of dragging the bottom with our stern anchor. So here’s Barry, with this line in his hands, dragging the anchor along the bottom of the ocean between our boat and the slip. He kept thinking he’d hooked it and pulling up the anchor, but no bike. FINALLY he hooked it and up came the bike from the deep, spewing sea water out of every part. It’s a good thing we both still have our senses of humor because what else could you do put laugh about it. The only casualty seems to be the brake light that is only supposed to come on when you push the button; it wants to stay on constantly.

And the Red Spoon Diaries continue!!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Don't you just love that picture of Barry at the helm of our new boat. Isn't the boat a beaut? Can you see how bright and sparkly the new main is, it is really something.

The bottom picture needs a caption, ANN, ENJOYING THE CRUISING LIFESTYLE.
I am on my back in the stern of the boat in a little entry way that allows you to get a stuff you have to fix. At the moment I am changing the old rusty bolts that secure the steering pulleys. I even managed to figure out which way to turn the bolts using a rachet, Barry had to keep saying, "Ann, it's counterclockwise, and righty tighty, lefty loosy" it's a good thing he has patience built into his character.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Well, our first cruise is over. All alive and accounted for, no new dings in the boat, all is well. We were out for a total of three days of sailing. We had a whole bunch of different weather, sun, rain, wind, calm and lots of beautiful cloud formations. We anchored three times, the first two very successfully, the last time, not so successful. It (of course) was in a harbor full of boats and rich Susie Q in her 55 foot motor yacht had her head hung out the portal watching our every move. I discovered that backing up a 39 foot boat that has a skeg hung rudder is difficult, we didn’t hit anyone and I managed not to yell out loud, although there was a lot of very angry loud whispers. I decided that I needed to practice backing up so when we left that anchorage this morning I practiced. I still couldn’t make the boat go where I wanted to.

I did manage to get some pictures of Cat’s Paw IV under sail today. I zipped around in the dinghy while Barry sailed on. We were right where all the big ferries go just after they go through Active Pass on their way from Tswassen (sp?) to Victoria. I think I got some good shots. I will have to download them tomorrow.

I have caught a bit of a cold so was feeling a bit under the weather today, so I went below to have a nap. Barry was sailing, then I heard him put on the engine and then about 10 or 15 minutes later Barry is hollering to me to wake up. So I got up and went to see what he wanted. He says he has lost steering, there had been a rather load clunk just before he hollered at me. I go up and sure enough, you thrilled the wheel around and nothing, it just went round and round and was no longer connected to anything. Barry says he has to go down below to see if he can fix it, meanwhile I am trying to figure out where we are, the main is up and we are being blown towards a big red bouy that looks cemented in, YECH!! Barry is stripping off his rain gear and preparing to try and figure out what went wrong when I said, didn’t we have a emergency tiller. Sure enough, we found the emergency tiller and Barry, being the observant careful guy that he is, new exactly where we had to attach it and voila, disaster averted,

We took the main down and motored the rest of the way home and got safely back to our slip. Then we called someone to come down to the boat tomorrow and look at the steering if Barry can’t get it fixed by the afternoon. Oh, the joys of owning a 20 year old boat. but heh, its better than no boat, WAY BETTER. We don’t plan on going anywhere for the next few days and our daughter Trish and her better half, Graeme are supposed to come to visit soon. He is an electrician so we will put him to work as soon as he arrives.
The Top Ten Joys of Learning about a New Boat…. in no particular order……

1. This boat actually slices through the water, unlike Cirrus which kind of bounced around on top of it.

2. Cat’s Paw has an inverter, which means, miracle of miracles. I can plug 110 stuff in and it runs off of the battery, who knew.

3. We have beer holders in the cockpit.

4. You can’t manhandle the sheets and just pull on them, you actually have to use a winch and even go to the second speed, the pull of the sail is too strong for the first speed.

5. You need mega muscles to winch in these sails, holy mack, we worked up at sweat just tacking twice.

6. This boat has a mind of its’ own, yesterday the depth sounder refused to work, we turned it on, we turned it off, we turned it on, we turned it off, we tapped it, we swore at it, NOTHING, today we turned it on, it works, GO FIGURE!!!

7. There are 39 feet of living space and we are not sure where to put everything.

8. The boat basically steers itself, you can take your hands off the wheel and it just keeps going in the same direction it was, majestically, magically, moving along.

9. If you are tired you can go down below and lie down and sleep, you don’t get tossed around, you don’t feel ill, it just lulls you to sleep, like being in a hammock.

10. It has an electric windlass, need I say more.
Yippee-i-cay-eh, yippee-yeah, yahoo, yeehaw and any other sounds of joy and happiness that you can imagine. We are on the boat at anchor at a place other than our dock. Wahoo!!!!

We got the boat back on Thursday, Aug 25 in the afternoon, the engine was installed, and the fuel tank was installed, whew. That afternoon I ran around like mad getting the new sails that were still at the sail makers, a new main, a new staysail, the cleaned and repaired furling jib and the recut cruising spinnaker with a new sock. My, my, my it was like a whole bunch of Christmas’s and birthdays all rolled into one day.

We had to put the inside of the boat all back together after we got it back from the mechanic, stuff was all moved around and put out of the way so it didn’t get dirty and they could get at everything. Then we had to figure out how to put the new main on and where all the lines went. There are 6 pulleys at the bottom of the mast and figuring out where the main sheet, the boom vang sheet and the four reefing lines went was a learning experience, but we are still married and the main flies beautifully. The main just crinkles when you touch it, Barry says ”Listen, you can hear the sound of 100 dollar bills”. I never thought I would have any complaints about a new sail, but man is it hard to manage, it doesn’t want to fold any which way, like our usual old sails do and it is HUGE, so flaking it when you take it down is a major wrestling match, but oh well, I guess I’ll just have to get used to that, hee, hee, hee J

We were ready to leave on Friday about 3:00 P.M. and we motored out and then put up the sails. What a thrill, we were in our new boat and we were SAILING, after 2 months of waiting it was heaven, then the wind died, so we turned on our new motor and listened to it purr as it pushed us nicely through the water. We had a successful first anchoring, no hitches to speak off, no screaming and yelling at each other which is always the sign of a successful anchoring.

The next morning we awoke to beautiful sunshine and WIND, and it was my 50th birthday. Man, we had a superb day, the wind came up, there were white caps and the boat performed like a trouper. We hadn’t forgotten how to sail, we even managed to put a reef in our new main and life was good. (We did however manage to loose the second reefing line in the process, so now we have to figure out how to thread it back down the boom.) What a gorgeous way to spend my birthday, we sailed from 1000 hours to 1800 hours, we only had the engine on when we tried to sail through these narrows and we figured out the current was pushing us backwards. When we arrived at our destination we popped a bottle of champagne and had barbequed steaks and potatoes and carrots in tin foil. Heather had sent us some Back Eddy’s seasoning so everything tasted absolutely delicious.

Today, Sunday, we are going to sail somewhere else. I hope to get out in the dinghy and take some pictures of the boat under sail. We haven’t tried to get off and on the boat from the dinghy yet so that should be another new and exciting experience. There is no boarding ladder of any kind and we figure we are just going to have to step off the side. I don’t see it as a problem, but Barry is pretty leery about it. Hopefully I will have some pictures of us under sail to show all of you. We still have a huge list of things that we need to get repaired but we have basically decided that we can’t leave this fall, so there is no rush to get stuff done and we can take out time and have fun getting to know our boat. I wanted to do a man overboard drill yesterday but Barry wouldn’t let me, maybe today I will have more luck with that today.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Boys are Back in Town
Bruce, Barry's twin brother, decided to make a lightning visit to the island so he could visit with us. He has just returned from a 6 week, 600 km. adventure hiking the Pyrennes (not sure of the spelling) in Spain on a trek called the El Camino. He arrived yesterday, Monday, Aug. 23, with his two grandchildren aged 7 and 10, and will head back to Alberta this evening. We took them down to see Cat's Paw today and she is almost ready. The minnow nets got another work out on the dock and the older kids actually managed to catch some minnows, a worm like thing and a small crab.
Barry heard the sweet sound of the engine purring away today. It is installed, as is the fuel tank, now they just have to finish off rebuilding the V-berth to fit around the new tank, this involves some fibreglassing, so that takes a few days to cure. They had to cut out the old fuel tank because they had built the boat around the tank so were unable to take the old fuel tank out the entryway. The new tank is smaller, we are unsure at this time how much smaller it is, but it is in. The fellow working on the boat said maybe Thursday, so I am hoping that the boat will be ready for Friday so we will be able to sail on the weekend.
We got the boom gallows back from the fellow that made it for us, instead of the $150.00 he quoted us, (which I thought was terribly cheap for a solid piece of teak) it was almost $400.00, but it looks lovely and I am in the process of finishing it. It is suspended in my mother-in-laws garage so that I can put a coat of Seatol on it all at once. It seems to working quite well, so far!! We pick up the foam bed we had made for the aft berth tomorrow and the new sails are all finished and are just at the sailmakers waiting for us to pick them up. So cross your fingers and your toes that the boat will be ready by Friday and we will be out sailing around and getting up to our usual mischief over the weekend.

Monday, August 15, 2005

We returned to Sidney on Sunday and discovered today that we have a new engine in, but no fuel tank!! We have to wait some more, my limited patience are wearing very thin. There are a couple of projects that we can do this week. Our sails are in, the rigging is done so as soon as that BLOKE gets that friggin fuel tank done we can sail, I THINK. If my husband comes up with another reason that we can't go test out the boat that we have now owned for 6 weeks I think there will be war, or should I say WAR!

On a happier note her are some more gorgeous pictures from the Queen Charlotte's. We scouted out a few places that we could anchor once Cat's-Paw is in shape.

Friday, August 12, 2005

We were supposed to leave the Queen Charlotte's on Wednesday and head back to Sidney. We called the fellow who is putting in our new motor and the word was that the boat wouldn't be ready until at least Monday. SURPRISE, SUrPRISE, SURPRISE! So, to make the best of the situation we changed our tickets and we aren't leaving Masset until Sunday.
What a good decision, it has been marvelous here. We are becoming quite proficient at catching crabs, and even took a break from it today and ate the ones we had netted yesterday, they were just as good today! We had a chat with the people that have been looking after the house for Barry's sister and in the course of the conversation they asked if we enjoyed eating salmon. Well what could a person say but "of course". They gave us a Coho which apparently are running now and later on asked if we would care to have some halibut, so now we have a choice for our dinner, crab, salmon or halibut!!
They also told us about how to get to some remote beaches so today we drove out to the east beach that runs up and down the Hecate Strait. The vechicle we are using has 4 wheel drive and it is a good thing. To get to this beach you drive along a paved road, which turns into a gravel road, which turns into a narrow, windy gravel road, then you drive out onto the beach and continue on down that for about 7 or 8 kms. Then you put the truck into 4 wheel drive and proceed along a very narrow sandy trail about 400 meters above the high tide mark. This trail is very soft sand and the vegetation is tall grasses right beside the track with 1 to 1 and 1/2 meter spruce trees crowding into the track, soon you find your self slipping and sliding along the trail just hoping that you don't meet another vechile. If one came along you would have to reverse for 500m to 1 km until you could find a place to pull off so someone could pass, fortunately we didn't meet a soul.
On the east beach the waves rolled in, it was close to low tide so there was about 200 meters of beach before the driftwood was piled up. Behind the driftwood the sand dunes stretched up to about 30m high, when the tall trees were growing. We arrived on the beach and it was bright and sunny, but just off the coast was a rolling layer of whiteness, then the fog rolled in. One minute you could see for miles and the next you could only see for about 100m down the beach. Barry and I wandered down the beach for about an hour, hunting for agate. Barry, of course, had way more success than I did, but I did manage to collect a few lovely pieces. Later the fog lifted and we sun tanned, read and I played around in the surf. Life doesn't get too much better than this.
Tomorrow we plan to head out to the west coast of the islands and visit the Pacific side. I am really looking forward to that. We have to travel on logging road and it hasn't rained for at least 4 days so we should be in for a dusty trip.
I am hoping the boat will be ready to be sailed by the end of next week. I think that this is a good possibility. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Queen Charlotte Islands are really quite amazing. We arrived on Wed. after flying from Victoria to Vancouver and then up to Masset, the northernmost community on the Queen Charlottes. After driving around town and heading to the local Co-op, both Barry and I agreed that it reminded us of Inuvik. There is a lot of housing that was built for the military, that reminds us of the fourplexes in Inuvik, although they aren't painted nearly as brightly and the grocery store was almost a dead ringer.

Wed. afternoon we drove out to a beach called North Beach that goes on for miles and miles. The road just ends and then you are driving on a beach, unbelievable! That evening a friend of Barry's sister dropped by and gave us some freshly caught and cooked crab, what a welcome to the Islands. I kept saying we should keep some for lunch the next day, but we just kept eating until they were ALL GONE!

Since then we have driven down to Queen Charlotte City and seen where the ferry from Prince Rupert lands. We also went back up to that gorgeous beach yesterday and fished for crabs. This involves putting on hip waders and wading around in knee to hip deep water in the surf with a net in your hands keeping an eagle eye out for crabs. I managed to catch a little wee critter that we had to let go because it was too small. Barry actually saw one that was big enough to catch but he said it was going about 60 miles an hour sideways and being retired he just wasn't fast enough to catch it!! (Barry hardly ever reads my musings)

Today we headed down to SANDSPIT, yes you read it right, Sandspit, BC on Moresby Isalnd, to watch logging days. We arrived in time to watch the horizontal chop, the vertical chop, the burl races, the nail drive, the axe throw and much, much more. They were serving salmon burgers and ice cream and we had the a super nice day. On the way home we stopped at the Sandspit Harbour and chatted with a fellow in a Hans Christian Catarina, I believe he said, that was up from Oregon. The sailboat was about 50 foot plus, a real beauty. They had been in the National Park at the south end of Morseby Island and were headed up to Ketchican, Alaska. As we drove around town we realized why it is call Sandspit, the whole town is located up and down one very long sandspit.

The weather here has been alway cloudy and it can rain for short and long periods of time. We carry out wet weather gear with us everywhere, it has been warm though and the only reason you put on your raincoat is because you feel yourself getting sopped. One day we went for a 10K hike to see a old shipwreck that was washed up on a beach in 1928. That is the furthest Barry has walked since he quit running and he wasn't in too bad shape the next day. He has also been walking any beach we encounter with his head down hunting for agate. He has found quite a few lovely examples, I, myself am still hunting for my first agate. You never know I may find one yet.

We do not have our softwear available to download any pictures, I will add some later.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Cat's-Paw IV without the boom, without the boom gallows, without sails, waiting for the new engine.
Well, we got kicked off our boat yesterday! The mechanic who is fixing the engine told us we could have access to the boat and work on while the motor was getting changed, but yesterday his father, who owns the chandlery next door, told us that we couldn't be on the boat because he didn't have insurance to cover us. I totally understand that, but you remember that aluminum bridge that the traveller is attached to that I was trying to paint.

WELL, we had just finished scraping it for the THIRD time (because I had bought and put on the wrong kind of paint) just as I was finishing putting on the primer coat that needs to be covered within 24 hours, the father comes up and politely tells us to GET THE HELL OFF THE BOAT!
Well, I was stupified, there was no way in hell I was going to scrape that thing AGAIN, and once I said something he said it was okay for us to come back and finish off whatever we had to, so we painted the blasted thing, it is now a thing of beauty, but requires a second coat, and because of the long weekend I can't get back on the boat until Tuesday. Probably by that time the tape we put on to hold down plastic bags to cover up the deck, (so I don't get paint on it) will be welded on to the deck and it will take mucho hours to get the stuff off. I HATE THAT ALUMINUM THINGY.

Sooo, we can't get access to the boat for at least another week, after this Tuesday, so Barry and I figured we would go up and visit the Queen Charlotte Islands. His sister lives there and is off on an adventure of her own, being a contract nurse in Pelly Bay, Nunavut (now known as Kugaarut). She will be there for seven weeks so her house is empty and her vehicle is there so we are going to fly to Masset in the Queen Charlotte's next Wed. and spend a week there. It should be lovely and a nice change.

We will fill our long weekend with picking blueberries at Barry's younger sister's place and tying up loose ends that can be done when we aren't near the boat. Maybe we will even get in a round of golf. Hope your August long weekend is sunny, warm and relatively bug free!!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Theres's the old one

and here's the new one.

What a beaut, and it’s even red, one of my favourite colours, it will match that lovely pair of shoes that I have. I may even have to buy a new red pair so that I can match!

Barry is tickled pink, or should I say red about this beauty compared to the ugly old one.

Well, we have access to the boat during the mechanic’s office hours so we can work on our varnishing and we get to watch the process they have to go through to get the motor out. It is quite amazing how much of the boat they have to take apart to get the old one out, and I know you can’t tell from the pictures, but the new one is about two thirds of the size of the old one. So we will possibly have much better access to engine parts that need to be changed because there will be more room in the compartment that it is supposed to go in.

For you boat people you may appreciate the next paragraph. They have had to remove all the molding from around the hatch, they have to take off the cowling that holds the top of the hatch, they have removed all the steps from the boat except the last one so in order to get in now you have to lower yourself very carefully from the deck to the bottom step to get in. (George there are five actual steps with the sixth step being the floor, so I am not sure who has more steps!!) I am learning a lot about the construction of the boat by watching what they are doing.

I am quite happy the motor is getting done, but the amount of work still to be done seems endless and just when I think that it may be still possible to leave in Sept. I discover something that we have to do. I am sure it will end at some point. The new sails are supposed to be here fairly soon, about the first week in August so hopefully they will arrive about the time the engine is done and we can GO FOR A SAIL!!

Hasta la vista.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Heather and the grandkids left this evening. It has been a whirlwind of visiting Great Aunt’s and Uncles and Great Grandma’s, swimming at beaches, swimming holes, and pools and discovering all Sidney has to offer in the way of playgrounds. We had a great time, Grannie Annie didn’t even have time to do any varnishing!!! Grandpa Barry had to forego a few expeditions to help out the plumber repair the hot water heater and the water maker, both of which are now in fine shape. The rigger has been here off and on putting on new running rigging, all the new line looks really nice. He will be back tomorrow to put on a new traveler, the old one had an end broken off and the piece that had broken off was duck taped in place, hmmmmm.

Anyway this rigger is a really nice guy, BUT he had been a cause of a little frustration in my life. The traveler is attached to this aluminum track that is bolted to the deck and fibreglassed in at each end, anyway this lovely strip of aluminum needed to be painted after the traveler had been removed, fine the rigger removed the traveler and Barry and I used a wire brush, scrapper and a copper dish thing to take off every bit of paint. It was a thing of beauty, and then we had to decide what we needed to paint it. Well, glory be, you needed a primer (that had to be mixed seven part to one) and then aluminum or metal paint at $50 a quart to put 2 coats on.
Well, I mixed up the primer in the correct proportions and painted away, then upon reading the can it said the stupid thing was supposed to look yellow afterwards and upon further examination of the directions I was supposed to stir and shake the primer first (duh). So, I repainted the lovely aluminum thingy with what I hoped was the correct proportions, over top of the old not yellow stuff.

Then yesterday the rigger was by and said he was going to take my now primed piece of aluminum and fix it at his shop and I could paint it afterwards. I forgot to tell you that the second coat of real paint had to be applied within 24 hours of the primer. Well, glory be, the rigger’s helper showed up today and said could he attach the traveler now and I being stupefied said “Aren’t you going to take it to the shop?” Well, actually NO he wasn’t!! They were just going to do it right here after I had painted it. So NOW I had to rescrape the whole frigging thing, because it was over 24 hours since I had put the primer on. So out comes the wire brush, scrapper, well Barry says to hell with that and disappears into Sidney to get a wire brush attachment for my new toy, a wireless Dremel tool, and wham, bam thank you Mam, that aluminum strip was once again a thing of beauty, shiny and gorgeous for all eyes.

I proceeded to mix primer again, this time remembering to stir and shake thoroughly, and I repainted. It is a lovely shade of yellow and it awaits the first coat of real paint. I was going to put it on tonight after Heather and the kids left, but after carefully reading the directions and shaking for 5 minutes, as instructed, I opened the sucker and having learned from my mistakes decided I should perhaps stir it up and wouldn’t you know it there was a whack of gucky stuff in the bottom and I put off any further painting escapades until the morning after the paint had been thoroughly stirred and mixed at some wonderful paint shop.

I think that if every little job that I have to do takes as long we will never leave the slip. I am beginning to despair. Barry calls the engine guy and gets the run around “I don’t know where the motor is, I will check, I am not sure when it is going to come in.” Whatever, if you know how to run a business you had better have that motor in here PDQ and if those truckers that are holding up the port of Vancouver are involved they will soon get a piece of my mind, let me tell you.

Anyway if any of you are still with me, thanks for listening to me rant and rave, time for bragging rights for a smitten Grandma. The kids behaved very well while they were here. We got them minnow nets and when the minnows proved too elusive we got small rubber duckies for them to rescue before they floated under the dock or the tide swept them away. Cassidy lost one her top teeth while she was here, so she now has the cutest most endearing smile. Elijah was a whirling dervish, pelting up and down the dock, scaring away crows in Beacon Hill park, seagulls at Stanley Part, and blue herons on our docks. They are both wonderful endearing children and I will sorely miss them. OH MY!
Heather managed to get tan lines and relaxed and enjoyed the fact that there were NO BUGS, that there was grass and flowers everywhere and that her Dad did the dishes after almost every meal, she even mentioned that she might miss her Mom’s bossiness. Hmmm.

At the moment Cat’s-Paw IV looks a little forlorn, she is boom less (at the riggers being repaired) sail less (we are awaiting a new main, new staysail, and a cleaned furling genoa), the boom gallows is gone (Barry took it to get relaminated and was told we need a whole new piece of wood made up) the bimini can not be put up because it attaches to the now absent boom gallows. Her bright work is partially sanded, awaiting further attention, the porthole screens are in the process is being repaired the there is stuff all over the main cabin, it has been pulled out of the aft storage compartment so the plumber can repair the water maker, the rigid vang is off and being overhauled and the list goes on and on.

Soon, though, soon, her sails will be on, all shiny and crinkly and new, the boom will be back, all shipshape and repaired and God and the Vancouver truck drivers willing we will have a new engine in about 2 weeks. That will take us to the middle of Aug, which will leave us about 3 weeks at the outside to get to know our boat and get her prepared for a nonstop week to 10 day passage to San Francisco. Who knows, life will continue if we don’t leave this fall and we will have a chance to show those wuzzie West Coast sailors what sailing North of 60 is like. We’ve sailed in snowstorms before and I have pictures to prove it!!! The lady a couple of slips down was lamenting that there was 25 knots of wind out there the other day, and I’m thinking wow, that must have been a blast, and she was complaining that there was too much wind. Well, maybe I had better keep my mouth shut until I figured out whether I can handle ocean swells. Hope all is well with everyone and keep those comment coming, I love to hear from you. I miss all my buds.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Here are a few pictures. They aren't in the order I would like but am just learning and it will improve.