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.