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.