Sunday, October 19, 2008

Bridge to Everett

Our time on Vancouver Island for this year ended with an ACBL Bridge Tournament in Nanaimo - a beautiful harbor between Sydney and Campbell River. Nanaimo was the site of a major coal mining operation that was by the Hudson Bay Trading Company. The Bastion houses a small museum that explains coal mining life in the early days. The harbor was lovely and the company was terrific. Debra and Ralph joined us for bridge and subjected themselves to our rusty play. A good time was had by all and we won master points every day. (Albeit not many master points.)
We cooked, laughed and had a wonderful time. Our friends, Sandy and Gene joined us for two dinners (cioppino and paella) on the boat.
Now we head to Everett to spend some time with Jan’s family augmented by trips to Vancouver and Olympia. Another adventure awaits.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Pretty Scary!!!

Couples who dress alike or who wear coordinating clothes have always been a pet peeve of mine. I swore that Doug would never have a tee shirt that announced "stop yelling" that matched mine that declared "I am not yelling!"
I have long prided myself on being above such things...and then I realized that Doug and I have identical light rain gear (modeled by me) AND we have two pairs of shoes that are the same AND identical rubber boots. This could morph into something really ugly. What if is creeps beyond the boat into public places? What if they start making fashionable pumps in a men's 11? Oh, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

No Red Sky at Morning

The storm passed last night. Our achorage was good but the storm was strong. It was at best a restless night with many checks of the barometer and the anchor watch. the sun rose without red and the seas are beginning to lay down. Hope to move inland tomorrow but it could be the following day. We want to be inland when the next storm hits.Remove Formatting from selection

Monday, October 6, 2008

Red Sky at Morning

As we enjoyed the last remnants of summer with Kathryn and Bob storms were brewing. The first was a gale that we weathered anchored in the Ucluelet channel. Saturday morning provided enough of a window to move part way across Barkely Sound and select a protected anchorage at Effingham Bay where the weather is eerily calm today and we were greeted by a brilliant sunrise and reminded of the mariner’s adage:

Red sky at morning

Sailor take Warning

Doug has let out additional chain on the anchor and done a strong stern tie. We expect the storm to pass north of us but a cautious captain is to be had and we are prepared for winds even though we expect none. The storm is expected to hit late this afternoon. Storms are typically part of a low that is foreshadowed by a falling barometer

1000 hours -The barometer is 30.06 and steady.

1100 hours – The barometer is 30.05 and falling slightly.

1200 hours – The barometer is at 30.04 and falling.

1300 hours – The barometer is at 30.03 and falling.

1400 hours – The barometer is at 30.00 and falling more rapidly than previously.

1500 hours – The barometer is a 29.97 and continuing to fall.

The Crab Farmer

You can take the boy off the farm but not the farm out of the boy. Two or three times a day Doug announces his intention to care for the livestock (aka crabs and oysters). He gives them fresh sea water with lots of oxygen and then plays with the crab to “liven them up”. They are learning to play or suffer the consequences…becoming crab meat!

Canada has a plethora of big crabs and catch limits of 6 per day and a possession limit of 12 crabs. Right now we have 10 (soon to become 9) in the livewells. And, believe it or not, we are somewhat tired of crabl

Friday, October 3, 2008

Last Guests and New Journey

Our friends, Bob and Kathryn left yesterday. We had a grand finale crab pull in Useless Inlet and a great paella in Ucluelet. We saw whales, gathered clams and ate well.

We are weathered in, anxiously watching for a window with no promises by Zeus that the sea will quiet soon. A gale is raging and another follows on its heels. We are not anxious to become Ucluelet's newest winter residents but we will be here until a safe passage can be had.

This will be the last regular posting to the blog since we are moving south to assist with some family health issues. If you would like further news, please email and updates will come.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Exploring Upper Nootka Sound

Our friend, Sandy, capably assisted the crew with piloting as we headed to Zeballos, a small community in upper Nootka. Zeballos sported friendly people, a wonderful totem and a fine restaurant where Sandy and Gene treated us to a good dinner. We chatted with the locals, fueled up and spent the night.

We then steamed on to Tahsis, another village. Tahsis had a nice resort but lacked the scenic charm that we had experienced in Zeballos. It was a fine place to share a Corona, however. We are sad to leave our north journey. We need to be in closer contact due to some family issues and are heading back to Tofino and Barkley Sound and then will likely head up the inside before ending this summer adventure.

Breakfast Surprise

Two major themes have arisen regarding breakfast. The first is to utilize leftovers and the second is to limit the number of dirty dishes. Typically, we will combine leftovers from the previous night and add scrambled eggs. We then roll the mixture in a burrito and have a wonderful breakfast and no dishes.

They dish varies with the nature and availability of leftovers. When the leftovers are light, we will peruse the canned goods and add whatever. Doug and I discovered a tasty combination that we would like to share. Heat ¾ cup leftover paella, chop the leftover steak from dinner, note that we are low on eggs and check out the canned goods. Add 1 can of hot chili con carne and heat. Roll in a tortilla and enjoy!

Humpback Whales and Sea Otters

After fishing Nootka Bay for one last time and catching one coho we headed toward Friendly Cove. We soon put our engines in neutral to watch a pair of Humpback whales hunt. Humpbacks summer on the west coast and winter in either Hawaii or Mexico which leads me to believe that the entire group fully understands retirement!

Humpback whales average 48 feet in length and are25 to 35 tons. They are baleen whales who primarily eat small schooling fish. Whales are identified by their blow and their fins. Occasionally they will show their tails on a deep dive or do acrobatic breaches. Unfortunately we have been so spellbound with these activities they are not among our photos.

Following the whale show we were entertained by a group of three sea otters in Friendly Cove. Sea otters were hunted to near extinction for their fur. Sea otter size is closely related to the abundance of food. Typicially, a male will be five feet in length and weigh 70 lbs. They are key to the health of the inlets because they eat sea urchins which would decimate the kelp beds if not controlled. Kelp beds are important not only for my unappreciated salad recipes but because they provide nursery shelters for young fish.

Sea otters eat and nurse their young while swimming on their backs. As they entertained us they porpoised, rolled and curiously looked at us. They have been protected since 1911 and are not uncommon in Nootka Sound

Nootka Sound: A Brief History

Nootka Sound is a deep harbor with a wide entrance that accommodated ships and was claimed by nearly all who entered. Spain controlled the Northwest from a 1494 treaty until the final Nootka Convention of 1794. A stained glass window (see photo) commemorates the historic occassion.The treaty was worked out between the Spanish Captain Bodega y Quadra and Captain George Vancouver. Captain Vancouver was so impressed with the Spanish Commander that he offered to name the island Quadra Vancouver Island. A stained glass window commemorates the historic occasion.

Powerful Mowachtaht Chief Manquinna promoted traded with all traders with skill and diplomacy. A primary reason was to fund his lavish potlatches which increased his power in the region which he did with skill, diplomacy and, if necessary, force. One trader, John Slater of Boston was foolish enough to insult Chief Manquinna and that resulted in a massacre of 24 of the 26 men on the Boston. The remaining two men were kept as slaves for two years. The chief was brought to justice at the request of one of the slaves, John Jewitt, who insisted that action would promote an endless cycle of revenge.

Currently Friendly Covenow has a picturesque light house, aNative American cemetary, a Mawachtaht family and a historical church. Few natives have good things to say about the missionary influence. It was interesting to note that the church now reflects the native culture while the traditional Christian artifacts are housed in a alcove above the sanctuary.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Gold River Exchange

We exchanged our guests, Denise and Jim for new guests, Sandy and Gene in Gold River. Machalat Inlet which we followed to Gold River has depths of up to 1200 feet and bears a striking resemblance to Lake Chelan. Gold River used to be an international port with a booming pulp mill. They now have a log sorting yard.

There has been no cell service for days but use of the expensive public phone informed Doug that his inverter was now in Tofino. His stormy expression turned calm with the second message that the wayward inverter had been delivered to Gold River.

You may be puzzled about Doug’s high level of anxiety regarding the inverter. For a moment just imagine disconnecting your house from your local provider of electric current . Next imagine setting your house adrift at sea prepared to make your own electricity to charge your engine batteries, run the stove, the fridge, the heating system, the vacuum flush toilet, and provide light for reading. With no inverter those things would not happen. Hence, the inverter is critical to a safe voyage and a happy first mate. Therefore, the capture and installation of the inverter emerged as a big priority for Capt. Doug. Glad to announce that is running perfectly. Thank you, Captain Doug!

Good Times/Bad Fishing

The coho are late this year with only 6% of the run in Nootka Sound. The stories of barely being able to keep up with the netting are not to be found. The Snowhawke has not been kind to her guest fisher persons. Nicky caught a few small rock fish, Jim caught a little lingcod, Seth did catch a nice 19 lbs king. However, regardless of the fishing the company has been wonderful. We enjoyed our time with Jim and Denise and thank Jim for his hook tying expertise.

Jan is getting more proficient at making Paella in an electric fry pan. Had fun gathering the seafood for our dishes.

Back to Hot Springs Cove

Jim and Denise arrived and we prepared to move from Tofino to Nootka Sound. Jim, their sons and Denise’s father had fished in Nootka several years ago and everyone looked forward to the new adventure and heading into the more remote north. We stayed the first night in Hot Springs Cove for a second time. There were no rains that had cooled the Hot Springs down and it was considerably hotter this time. The walk was just as beautiful and we look forward to our Nootka adventure.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Doug’s Fashion Statements

The other morning Doug created a new fashion ensemble. He is expecting at any moment a plea from Neiman Marcus for his consultation services.

Doug had paired his favored navy long-sleeved tee shirt that commemorated the 23rd annual Chatanika Lodge Outhouse Race with his moose jammies. In truth, the colors were not bad…the red lettering on the shirt was in the same tone as the red in the moose jammies. The blue tones did well together. However, color is no longer enough for Doug’s increasing sense of design. He brought fashion to a new level when he paired the befuddled moose emerging from the outhouse with the moose pattern on the jammies. A whole new concept is offered to the industry.

And what of the world of diving fashion? A whole new look!

Crabby in Tofino

It is Friday and we waited for the new inverter to arrive at Vi’s Place for two hours. The truck was late and, guess what! The inverter is in Nanaimo with the earliest possible delivery on Monday the 8th of September. Unfortunately we will be in Nootka Sound. Even calm Doug is becoming exacerbated. He planned to install the inverter PRIOR to our Nootka trip. Just a few hours on the phone to reroute it to Gold River. Another week of babying our failing inverter will be okay.

The best news was our crab pull with 15 crabs that included 11 keepers. Our joint limit is 12 and we had best get eating. Good thing that Jim and Denise will arrive tomorrow. It will be our traditional crab all-you-can-eat dinner on the first night.

Life with a View

Tofino is interesting and a fun place to spend time. We have become acquainted with the people who live on the floating home behind us. Karedwyn used to teach English to junior high students now she is an astrologer and metaphysician. We are not quite sure what is metaphysician does but I am certain it is interesting. Her partner is a stone carver and a bronze sculptor. He is quite talented. Their studio is eclectic and stylish with her paintings in brilliant turquoises and sea greens. Business for both of them seems brisk.

We have been anchored for four days waiting for our new inverter to arrive. Shipping is never easy but across international borders is quite complex. Doug has been in daily contact with the company and the shipper trying to pinpoint exactly where it might be. He has developed several new friends who have taken his plight with seriousness. The long and the short is that is has finally arrived in Vancouver, BC and will be delivered on Friday. It has been on a journey…it was ordered from a Vancouver, BC company, shipped from Fremont, California via Toronto for cusoms clearance and now is back in Vancouver. The part about clearing customs in Toronto ispuzzling since they have custom clearance in British Columbia also.

But while we wait, the view is lovely.

Friday, September 5, 2008

A New School

In the old school I greeted the staff and students following Labor Day. This year I greeted a new school…of Coho salmon.

Hot springs Cove

For many years Hot Spring Cove has been a favored destination for boaters and with good reason. A planked forest walk follows the shore for two kilometers wending through a beautiful old-growth forest. Although the historical planks have been removed, cruisers have taken up the custom with the new walk carving boat names and dates.

The hot springs includes a cascading fall of hot water and pools that stretch down to the sea. A nice treat for tired shoulders.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

John Quixote and the Quest for the Oyster Giant

It was a brave soul who ate the first oyster. And what makes a perfect oyster? That question has long been debated by oyster afficionados and no clear answers have emerged. Each oyster area has a particular flavor that is influenced by minerals, temperature and salinity. Oysters require a lower salinity than is typically found except near streams.

The only oyster that is native to the Northwest is the small Olympia oyster that requires approximately 275 oysters to the pint.

Other types of oysters have been successfully transplanted that include the Pacific Oyster, the Eastern Oyster, Kumamoto Oyster and the European Oyster. There are several ways to cultivate oysters and the most typical in this area seems to be a suspended culture. The oysters are protected from the many natural predators such as sea stars.

Pacific Oysters can grow as large as 12 inches.The pickens were easy on this lovely oyster beach. John, in his quest for the largest oyster, seems to be the winner. That oyster may need to be sliced. I actually have a group omlet recipe that calls for an oyster weighing 1. 5 lbs (about one kilo) the quest goes on.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The-People-with –Their –Backs-to-the-Mountain

Our friends, Nicky and John, are long time mariners that have traveled from Nova Scotia down the East Coast to the Caribbean. Currently, they are spending a second season in Belize near the Rio Dulce.

The first and last night we visited Ahousat. The name means where the people-with –their –backs-to-the-mountains live. We explored the village enjoying the dugout canoe that the band had taken to Victoria and on to Seattle last year. The band’s totem was very interesting. The top figure tells that this is an eagle clan. Directly below the eagle is a whale’s eyes and his tale is at the base of the totem. I am not certain of the significance of the man. I would recommend The Forest Lover by Vreeland as an excellent fictional account of the great Canadian artist, Emily Carr. Ms. Carr was understanding and supportive of the First Nation’s people and there is much interesting historical and cultural information.

Four boys from the band visited the boat and insisted on meeting the skipper. We had been warned not to leave the keys in the dinghy or we were likely to provide an opportunity for the village boys to play and practice their skipper skills. They use a small hot springs not far from the boat and regaled us with tribal songs. It was hauntingly beautiful.

A Happy Place

We wanted to share with you some additional photos of our friends and family and the good times that we are having together.

The boat is a happy place full of harmony and sharing. We are blessed to have such good people to share with.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Looks Aren't Everything

We left Tranquility Inlet for the technical assistance provided by Xantrex to wayfarers with inverter issues. With a need to run our generator for 8 hours and then talk again with our new friends, we found a pretty little anchorage near Tofino sheltered from the winds in three directions.

Everything was perfect…until the max ebb when we were reminded that looks are not everything. Beautiful Riley Island that had so courteously sheltered us from the winds shot heavy current on either of the boat. It was as if Davey Jones had risen from his locker to drag our anchor chain back and forth across the bottom. With each swing I peaked at the trees to ensure that they had not repositioned on the return trip. Early in the morning we ordered the new inverter and are spending tonight in God’s Pocket. It may be raining in God’s Pocket and not so pretty Davey Jones does not live here!