Thursday, September 30, 2010

Low key

I did lots today, well kind of... lots in the sense that everything takes ice ages longer to do on a sailboat.

I made pancakes, hung my guitar so it's up out of the way, handed Dad things which was always required invariably when I was in the middle of something else, rigged up my hammock in the forepeak *smiles* and did some light reading about maintaining sails and diesel engines.

Dad and I fixed the spot lamp light too, which was quite the team building experience let me tell you... We were awesome! Even though somebody stayed up until the wee hours reading about the girl with the dragon tattoo and has been running on fumes all day *whispers* and its not me ;)
At 28/09/2010 3:57 AM (utc) our position was 40°48.44'N 124°09.79'W

Words of experience

One should not to sneeze, whilst holding screws in ones mouth. Especially if they are the only ones you have that will fit...
At 28/09/2010 3:57 AM (utc) our position was 40°48.44'N 124°09.79'W

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Back to today!


I've tried my best to more or less pick up where I left off and fill everything in, including the diesel clouded details of my earlier posting. I apologize profusely for the vagueness of that last post, I was under the sleep deprived impression that we would have wireless soon and I could clear up all the details. Little did I have any idea how long it would take me to articulate it all, with even the least bit of intelligence.

Thanks for reading, and thanks so much for all the support *smiles* you probably want to start way back here... and then skip through using the 'Newer Post' link at the bottom... Gah. Sorry 'bout that ;o)

Engine update

*glowing* Guess who wedged into the engine compartment sideways and got the faulty solenoid out?!? That's right, me!

So... the deal is, the air filter was plugged with the crud from the mis-aligned fan that was chewing itself to death. But ultimately it was a wire, on the aforementioned solenoid that had busted right off. Thus causing the engine to die.

We'll be here for at least a couple more days waiting for engine bits, and working on odds and ends on the boat... but I think this means we're almost back in business!


First of all, thanks Dan! I have the wickedest brother in the entire world, he got us an awesome deal on a rental car and set it all up from Alberta, pretty much before we were done having breakfast.

Since we've fetched up in California I've been itching to check out the Ancient Redwoods, something I've wanted to do ever since I first heard about them. The Captain has been giving me a hard time about this, seeing as our family has checked out the enourmous Douglas Firs in Cathedral Grove, the Three Sisters - Spruce trees in Caramanah, and other large trees in our 'back yard' while growing up.

We spent today between the contrasting traipse through the Fern Gully-esque Redwoods, and an Earnhardt-esque rally car drive down the Redwood Avenue. I *almost* asked the Captain if he was trying to qualify ;). Fear not! My stomach having been hardened on windy BC logging road switchbacks had no problems whatsoever...

This tree was completely burnt out inside, it was freaking huge! I'm the little ant crawling out of a hole in the bottom left... Ooops sorry I meant the other left.

This is the representative 'Founders Tree', I just love how it looks like it has twisted it's way up.

I had a really hard time narrowing down just a few pictures to sum up the rest of the day... but here they are. And this is why I didn't find a decent internet connection today.

Me! On top of a DEADTREE!

Ze Captain in a cavern...

It was captivating and beautiful, and the air smelled faintly sweet... not like perfume or flowers... just old nice. It wouldn't have surprised me in the least if a fairy had landed on my shoulder, it was absolutely magical. I couldn't stop smiling, thanks so much Dad I had the most wonderful day :)

I forgot...

That y'all don't drink 'iced tea' down here in the States quite the same way we drink it way up in Canada. But it explains the waitresses double-time assesment of what I was trying to order, and associated giggles when she came up with "So you want an ice-tea, no ice... so a no-ice tea!"

White and Nerdy


Trying to get the GPS info tied into our radio modem email awesomeness, and I've been having a heck of time not getting it working. The Captain just double checked and somewhere in the 12 foot run of cable he swapped the red wire, for the black wire... *smiles* you're shocked I know, but now we've got it up and running we should start to show up on the Winlink site under Dad's call-sign VA7 DGV ... AND the lat and long should show up each time I post to my blog via email *happy dance*

Let me ask you this

Met the funniest guy in the laundry facility, and after making fun of me saying 'eh?' somewhere in my first few sentences, and 'for sure' said "Would you eat at a place called 'Forsure-burger'?" Lol I totally would and had to say "For sure!", I mean it just rolls off the tongue nicely!

Ewww cack

My unprofessional opinion is that our fuel system has a staph infuction.


Well we haven't managed to find Globaly Dynamics, but I do like that they have labelled all of the sidewalk cracks with the country name... I mean just in case you were wondering, you are in the United States. Seriously.

Tsunami boot camp

(when regular boot camp just doesn't cut it)

These signs are all over Eureka, and rather than deface a public notice sign - because I think it's funny... and then get arrested - because the state police don't think it's funny...

A day of rest


So I crawled out of bed after crashing for 10 hours, and stretched... deciding that I was starving and felt like I'd tried to wrestle a momma grizzly bear into a unitard. We headed up to the marina restaurant where I proceeded to inhale a french toast and bacon breakfast, washed down with coffee... and then upon the return of the waitress ask "Can I have another one of those please?" Understandably she did a double take, and covered her surprise with "That was so good you want another one?" ... yeah something like that ;o)

The omgsofreakingawesome part

Suddenly out of the fog, emerged the distinct outline of a lighthouse! No... boat. Lighthouse? Nope definitely, maybe a boat. IT'S THE US COAST GUARD!!! As per our contact schedule, they'd come out to meet us and tow us in over the bar. It was around 8:30 pm, the fog had socked in, and short of our compass and the AIS chart plotter thingee showing us as a little triangle marker near shore... we had no idea where we were, and it was starting to get dark.

From that point on, everything kicked into fast forward.

We dropped our remaining sail, they pulled up and evaluated yelling directions and questions back and forth.

It was absolutely incredible watching that guy handle the coast guard vessel. Twin screw, diesel but it must have had the rudder right behind the prop... he drove it like it had a nozzle. He could make it dance, and look like it was one of those little tugs they use to push the logs together... the ones you can't flip upside down, they always pop up again.

Within a half hour we were set up to be towed in, and every ounce of my attention span was focused on man-handlling a surfing beluga whale through an 8 foot swell doing 7 to 8 knots (slightly more than hull speed) spray flying off the bow.

It. Was. Awesome!

I had to use my entire body to steer, but more or less had it under control by the time we got to 'The Bar'. The Bar is where sediment builds up between the river and the ocean, forming a shallow spot where the waves build up, and break. Anything that is kinda icky, gets really nasty over the bar, which has a rather narrow channel to enter through. Conditions over the bar were worse with around 9 foot swell, and more fog. It was closed to all recreational vessels less than 30 feet in length... and everyone else was to check in with the Coast Guard providing direction of travel, and number of people on board.

This is the part where I'm really, really, really glad they towed us in. Firstly we never would've made it in on sail. Secondly we never would've been able to follow the channel all the way in, it was so foggy sometimes you couldn't even see the glow of the next marker.

Riding in behind them was awesome! It was such a rush through the bar, one second all you could see was the light at the top of their mast, the next it was like we were being lifted up onto the shoulders of titans! A fleeting feeling of being on top of the world, and thenit would suddenly dissolve into a struggle to surf my beluga whale down into the trough and not end up sideways! (that would be very bad) Only to do it all over again! *smiles*

I can't tell you how long we did this for, it seemed timeless, I can only tell you that at some point we were through the bar, and steering became easier... a lot easier, and I began to notice things outside of the orange light on the back of the vessel I was following.

A brief glimps of the moon rising, and the big dipper... a mental note that we were heading NE... a green glow where the channel marker was... the corresponding red glow... red right returning *check*... a pier... the silouette of an entrance statue... lights that were slowly resolving themselves into solid shapes out of the gloom... and the most wonderful smells, a very strong woodstove smell, and I could smell earth, like the dirt beneath your feet, and grass and it all smelled so fresh! :)

The Coast Guard pulled us up into a side tow which was pretty cool, and then neatly walked us into a bearth at the Woodley Island Marina. They were absolutely fantastic, everything went like clockwork, nothing was rushed... it was cool just watching them work! One of the girls Michelle was from Hawaii, and assured us that it was beautiful and we should still go there, despite our 'reconsiderings'.

Finally we were settled in, next to a boat load of beered up fishermen, one of which was a semaphor guy, ex-navy. "Welcome to Eureka!" The weirdest thing was stepping down onto the dock. You know, it's true? That part where you don't immediately have your land legs when you get back to shore. It was like your whole body was anticipating, and trying to compensate for a deck change that never happens. Customs and Marina Security met us at the dock, and everyone was super awesome, especially considering it was now 11:00 o'clock at night.

Best 50 cents I've ever spent, on a hot shower.

Whale tale *wavies*

We finally saw whales, close enough to the boat to get a decent picture AND I had time to grab my camera!

Paranoid Jack Russle on Speed

After my nap, the fog rolled in in earnest... I took over steering again, and the Captain, having not slept for goodness knows how many hours... well in any case here's the conversation we had... I kid you not ;o) I'm not going to lie, I have a bit of a 'lack of emergency response' that is until after the emergency is over. I don't get excited when something crazy is happening until I've had time to think about it all, so that's not to say I don't react... I just don't overreact as quickly...

Captain: "I should turn on the radar!"

Me: "... okay Dad ..."

Captain: "There's a vessel just up ahead, off the port side! It's less than three nautical miles away!"

Me: :,,,, uhh I guess I can't see that far then..."

The Captain very much *irritated* comes up on deck... and then rushes up to the bow and leans out, like that extra 30 feet *and a half* will allow him to see the ship through the pea soup. All I could think was, *sigh* Are you kidding me? and I really, really hope he doesn't fall off... cause then I'll have to put the boat into the wind, haul him back on board... and it'll take us forever to get going again... and then he'll be tired, wet, cold *and* cranky... I know that's horrible of me, but I was thinking these things, because I'm sensitive like that ;o) After a few minutes he stomped back down below and continues mucking with the radar, having confirmed that I really could not see this vessel that was bearing down on us.

Captain: "OMG there are a whole bunch of ships just off the port bow less than a nautical mile away!"

Me: "... uh huh... did you remove the wave clutter from the radar? Hmmm or maybe it's rain... the manual said it would pick up weather..."

Captain: *irritated* I know that!

I kept steering and scanning for the 'flotilla' that was about to overrun us. Moderately unconcerned because we were fully under sail... so like a little kid, everyone else (short of tankers) is supposed to go around us.

Captain: *sheepishly* I heard a little voice from the cabin "I think it was picking up ducks..."

I had just come to the same conclusion as we were passing a flotilla size group of Murlettes, *nodded* and saved my smile for later ;o)

The beginning...


So here we are, Sir Haven't Shaved Since... when did we leave? ... and ... Lady At Least I've Stopped Nyarrfing.

Steering by hand is exhausting, and to top it all off being hove-to was just as noisy, everything was either creaking or trying to beat itself to death. I woke up to Dad tired and frustratedly trying to coax tenths of a knot out of a fickle wind, and took over hand steering.

I then incredulously listened with bated breath as he radioed in to the US Coast Guard and requested assistance. I felt a little like a kid in the emergency room at the hospital with my head stuck in the back of a chair or something equally silly. We hadn't discussed it really at all, I'm not really a morning person per se, and so there I was hand-steering and trying to digest what was happening. I mean yeah, our engine is dead... and our batteries are dying... but uhh we've got 3 months of food and water on board, I'm sure the weather will have changed before that runs out!!! Not to mention the deep cycle batteries for the electric outboard, I mean if we really need the radio we could hook it up to that no? It's not like we're going to hit anything, well not at speed in any case right now... it would be more of a gentle nudge... and yeah we're tired, but we aren't exactly in any sort of 'distress'...

I was incredibly relieved when half an hour later Coast Guard dispatch came to the same conclusion, and set us up on a contact schedule to check in our coordinates and keep an eye on our progress. I think this more than anything calmed the Captains nerves, as I know he was a little concerned that he hadn't been able to check into any of the HAM nets due to our deplorable battery condition.

Gradually the wind picked up and we crawled our way towards Eureka California. I pulled a 7 hour hand steering shift, *frowns* for whatever reason I have no idea what Dad was up to... probably feeding me...

Galloping dawn

This picture does not do it justice... it looked something like I imagine a wild herd of white stallions might if they were caught galloping through a shaft of sunlight.

Whale farts would be faster


The chop and indecisive wind turned into glass and less wind, so we gave up and went to sleep. See that darker patch near the horizon? Yeah, that's right, a little bit of wind... but nooOoooo not where we are. Maybe this is what the Captain wanted all those beans for... in any case, he still couldn't convince the engine to resume duties.

It's so calm, I think we've found the secret Northern Doldrums... had some 'time' to take more pictures though, and I promised someone I'd take pictures of everything. So here's a self tailing winch... pretty fantastic piece of equipment actually!

Coolest thing evar

(well until the next coolest thing evar... seem to be a lot of 'coolest's' these days)

As if to make up for an entire day of frustration... we just saw a whole bunch of porpoises, they must have been eating something, because at one point they were right under the boat! But they were jumping out of the water chasing stuff and doing all kinds of cool aerobatics!

Like all the way. Out of the water!

Note to self

The only thing harder than peeing in a bouncing boat at 20 degrees of pitch... is trying to unwrap saran wrapped toilet paper.

Seems to me zippy bags would be better in this scenario too hmmmm?

*glares at Mr. Saran Wrap*

*shakes fist*

Well shortly after my post that we were having engine troubles... the engine resigned from its duties and from being part the crew. It just up and quit, no black smoke, no sputtering just stopped. There was too much chop causing the autohelm to bounce back and forth between 'nyarfing' and then freaking out that we were too far off course to correct for... thus forcing us to steer by hand. We do have a wind vane steering thingee on board too... but despite the exciting amounts of chop, there wasn't enough wind for it to work either.

To make matters more frustrating, the wind was having a cereal moment... (you know when you're standing in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, and even though you will probably get the same kind you usually do, it takes you like 15 mins to look at all the options before you go with your tried tested and true brand?) In short, it was changing direction as fast as a kid you're trying to potty train that's running around with no pants on.

Random Trivia

This criss cross contraption across the arch serves the sole (and very important) purpose of preventing the Captain from falling off the back of the boat.

No seriously.

More Captains have fallen off the backs of their boats whilst uh 'inspecting the backstay' than anything else in the middle of the night ocean.

Monday, September 27, 2010


For the last cryptic post I made, I am attempting to compose something understandable out of the whole adventure.

As Aaren said, blame the diesel fumes ;o)

HUGE Thanks to Aaren for some much needed changes on the blog!

Greetings from the new guy

Hello to Sam's family, friends, and followers. With Sam's permission I've been added as an intern junior assistant co-editor to this blog. I'll be assisting Sam in keeping it up to date with the best experience possible for everyone following her grand adventure. You won't see or hear from me much (I'll be behind the scenes), but if you need to reach me I'll be reading the blog daily and I'll jump in if needed.

First things first, Sam and her dad are safe in Eureka California getting some repairs and restocking. It sounds like another great adventure but I'll let Sam tell the story herself. If you can't figure out her post from earlier today blame the diesel fumes.

I hope you like my quick update of the page. Here are the cliff notes on the changes...
  • Links to tracking maps in the top left corner (see where they are in the world).
  • Comments down the right side, read other readers comments and participate yourself.
  • A touch more color, photos, and sprucing up.

Like Flash from the Incredibles!


*crashes out sleeping*

Like Flash from the Incredibles!


*crashes out sleeping*

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Five more minutes


Good morning sunshine! These are the five minute lyrics that popped into my head after being woken up for the 'just before dawn watch'

Give me five more minutes...
I don't wanna get up
Five more minutes...
Could you grab me a cup
Of five more minutes...
I'm so nice and warm
Five more minutes...
don't wanna face the dawn.

My blankets are warm, the air is so cold
Just give me five minutes, I'll love you forever?
There's no motivation, let me finish this dream...

Five more minutes...
I swear I'll get up
Five more minutes...
only one eye's still shut
Five more minutes...
I'm almost awake
Okay, okay!
I'm up for goodness sake!

Now that I'm up, I'm glad I was here
I've seen the sunrise for another year
There's only one thing that this doesn't change...

I'm afraid that tomorrow will be much the same ;o)

It's around 7am and we're at N 43.30.211 and W 127.28.401

Excuse me while I kiss this can of beans

So much for our grandiose plans of really good dinners with all the spices we brought. We've regressed to warming up beans out of a can...

I'll say one thing for the open ocean air though... that was the bestest tasting can of brown beans *EVAR*! <-- that is super extra emphasis on the evar.

Come to think of it, the only thing that hasn't tasted like the bestest evar... is the oatmeal, it still just tastes like, well oatmeal. *shrugs*

Scenic Route to California


Well true to form, and making life interesting, we've got crud and water in our spare keel diesel tank... So we emptied out the back lazarette and topped up the main tank with our spares. Yeah that's right, the ones at the *bottom* of the lazarette of course ;o)

Now you would think that since people have been sailing the iron main (diesel engine) for many many years before my time, someone would have devised a clever way to easily separate the cack out... well there are a couple ways, but none that we have implemented.

The Captains initial idea is to break the line 'somewhere' and pump fuel into one of our now empty jerry cans... let it settle, and then pour it back into the tank minus the cack. The Admiral is a little leary of this idea, as it sounds suspiciously like we'll end up with diesel all over the inside of the boat... and that smell just never goes away.

Therefore the Admiral has proposed draining the tank through the filter bit a cup at a time, where the line is already broken, and you can *see* the cack. Don't you fret my pet, I'll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime we're heading towards California, hopefully pull into Eureka clean the tanks out, fuel up again... maybe do some laundry *fingers crossed*

Around 1:20pm were at
N 45.16.608
W 128.05.877

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I think I found my sea-legs. I was beginning to worry that I'd forgotten to pack them!

Now that I'm not *arfing* everything within an hour of eating/drinking it's really quite pretty out here! It definitely makes me feel small, every direction you look there is ocean all the way to the horizon, it's pretty crazy too some of the swells are so big that for a second they stick up *past* the horizon!

Yesterday while I was on watch about 5 porpoises came by to check us out... I say about 5 because they are so quick they were hard to count. They were zipping back and forth in the bow wave, I mean if they were kids, they'd totally be the kids that played in traffic. It was amazing that they never ran into the boat or each other!

It's about 8am... and we're sitting at N 45.16.889 and W 128.06298 the Captain just let me have a fabulous 10 hour sleep, and other than being stiff all over I feel fantastic!

Lats and Longs

I think this is where we were yesterday... (09.21.2010)
46 05.705N 127 36.442W

Monday, September 20, 2010

We survived

Made it out the straight just fine, and were greeted and sent on our way by 4 or 5 pairs of whales! Blowing and tail waving and even one breeched :)

After that it got dark and there was nothing to orient on, it was pretty weird, you mostly had to look at the compass and trust it was working.

We turned South this morning, from around N 48.27.587 and W 126.54.898 we were doing doughnuts in the lack of wind... nobody really cares if you do doughnuts in the middle of the Pacific :)

Bleary eyed and little nauseous we survived our first couple nights out in the open ocean. The last couple days have been a complete blur, even with the Scopolamine patch I'm just starting to feel human again.

My core muscles sure have been getting a work out though, as we amble our way south in the general direction of Hawaii, it feels kind of like trying to sit on a mechanical bull. Lots of fun once your stomach and your eyes agree that everything is where it should be.

Its around 1pm and we've made some progress though as we're now, N 47.35.349 and 127.12.942

I have a joke

What do seasick pirates say?


"Nyaa" *ARF*

Yep I won the booby prize, dry toast and diluted gatorade water. I don't feel so bad though, even the Captain was a little green around the gills, I'm not sure he'd admit it if he chucked his cookies...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Put me in coach... I'm ready!

I'd like to thank M&M the previous owners of Marimba 2 for all their help, words of encouragement, and lending us their car. It made everything that much smoother and less of an ordeal, as I'm sure you've seen we don't need any help with causing or finding excitement :)

Here she is at the fuel dock... fully loaded and ready to go. There's a catch in my voice and excitement in mah belly.

Even got a whoop out of the Captain as we pulled out into the straight!

Holed up

We have slowly motored our way down the inside passage, and already seen some really cool things. We live in a beautiful place, and it's hard not to think maybe we're a little crazy not to take the time to explore our own back yard a little more.

It has been a little damp... and it's been more than wonderful to have foul weather gear. Best. purchase. Evar!

I'm not sure how much my camera will take before it resigns from the crew... but until it does hopefully I'll get some more wicked pictures!

This is uhh "Burial Point" I assure you it would be a little hard to bury anyone there, unless you brought your own material. This is also where we saw a couple pods of porpoises, but they're shy... by the time you'd seen them, blinked and tried to point them out they were gone again.

So the weather has changed, and we're sitting in the last hole short of the open ocean in Sooke. Waiting for this front to blow through, as currently all the wind is going the wrong way...

"You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails" ~Unknown

This wait provided an opportunity to catch up with some old friends of ours, we had a wonderful dinner with them and the bestest most awesomest dessert ever. The last fresh peaches of the season with custard and whipping cream and a baked yum on top. I'd like to thank T&K for the visit, but more importantly for the reminder that you *can* do a little bit of everything. You don't have to be one thing in life, it's okay to dabble ;o)

In the meantime we are taking the opportunity to storm lash everything. I'm sure our shake down cruise will teach us differently. Hmmm that's probably why it's called a shake down cruise eh?

Keep your fingers crossed, I think we're going to take our best guess at the weather shaking through! The Captain is understandably nervous.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Coming to you live aboard Marimba 2, we're just off Little Zero Rock and I literally just got the HAM radio to email working *happy dance* I'm such a nerd ;o)

It's official, we're on our way. Over.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No arguing with the propane sensor

Of course there is a propane leak alarm when the pilot in the oven is turned on and not lit. *doh!*

Still working on it...

Gahhhh we're hopefully leaving Victoria tomorrow... just waiting on some spare halyard parts, which with any luck will be ready this afternoon.

I'm sure there's a t-shirt in this somewhere... I just haven't thought of the right wording yet ;o)

Got the stinky egg smell pinned down to overcharging the battery, I don't recommend it, it stinks. Basically what was happening is the charger was taking the signal from one battery and charging a different one, so it was never reading full... and overcharging the other one.

It's been super cool so far though, wore my foul weather gear all the way down. The misty grey fog spitting rain never stopped so everything was damp, but I'm a wet coast girl anyways ;o) Saw a couple pods of porpoises, and a bunch of otters!

Got the radar reflector half up today, and I just want to say that I make climbing the mast look better...

Friday, September 10, 2010



In other news, we've determined that none of us can understand Doppler... you know when someone is walking away from you and talking.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Free beer tomorrow...

We're also leaving tomorrow... again...

Those last few loose ends are the hardest to grasp, and even harder to tie into any knot that holds.

The funny for the day though, was the realization that not only were we crazy to try and leave today... but completely delusional. So Dad broached the subject by asking how I felt about leaving on Friday the 13th. I shrugged with a nonchalant "Sure, sounds good to me"... until Mom pointed out "Isn't the next Friday the 13th in July or something?" upon which I, the Admiral, immediately retracted her support.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Slackers unite! ...tomorrow...

I'm procrastinating and checking my email, and I have to say it has been truly overwhelming the amount of support and well wishes I have received in leaving on this trip. I've gotten more hugs, and blessings and good thoughts sent my way... it's just incredible. The last couple days have been a roller-coaster of emotion (cause I'm sensitive like that), and its heartwarming to know that I will be missed while I'm gone.

I should be packing clothes... I think I'm putting it off because I have so many clothes that I *want* to bring, but I know I don't have room for them all. Especially with all the other important things I'm bringing, like my guitar... and my art stuff... and my camera... and books... and a football... you know necessities ;o)

*shhh* I'm hoping the Captain doesn't notice how much lower in the water we're sitting after I get all my stuff stashed away on board *grins*

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. ~Mark Twain

Oh right, and travel plans right now are to do our shakedown cruise on the way down to Victoria, where we will check out of customs. Then down past Cape Flattery, WA, United States and "turn left"... at which point we will head to Hawaii. This will be the second leg of the shakedown cruise and the longest period of open ocean for the rest of the voyage. See most people do a few weeks shakedown cruise *before* they go somewhere, but if we don't leave now we may never leave.

Last shopping...

Mom totally helped me with the last big shopping trip, it was so great, because honestly it would have taken me like 8 hours... I would have had to wander up and down every single aisle, and then back to the first aisle because I missed something... it would have sucked.

Between that and my ADD kicking in, it was perfect though, Mom took the list and was all "LEFT!"... okay grab two of those... "RIGHT!"... down here, "Hey! That's not on the list!", and "Well get this at the other store"

We even went to a few different stores, where I would have ended up trying to buy it all at one place and probably would've spent several hundred more dollars in the process...

Thanks Mom, what started out as a very daunting task turned out to be not so bad after all. It's comforting to know we're not going to starve or get scurvy, at least for the first bit of the trip.


Ha! I was just telling Mom I just had to enter the stuff I just stowed... and she said "What?!!? Stole?!?!" No Mom 'stowed' as in put away.

Maybe we are descended from pirates ;o)

Fuzzy on the inside

Sometimes cats let their self absorbed reputations slip a little, when they know you need a warm kitteh in your lap for a few moments. But they try not to let on by purring and pretending they need scritches.

My brain terminal reads...

> Segmentation fault. Core dump

Don't ask me to remember anything right now, because if I do something else will fall off my stack, and I don't want to forget to hide my stash of zip-locked toilet paper.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Putting the *boom* in the kitchen

We are in the process of assembling our spices for the trip, and raiding Mom's supply... when just as she was pointing out the bay leaves, she said "Up there behind the black powder"

*chuckles* "I didn't know you kept black powder in the house Mom, can we take that to trade with the pirates?"

"Yes" she responded with a dry roll of the eyes.


The smell of a freshly washed hoodie that my brother gave me because "It looks better on my than you"

Stressed? Who me?!?

You could cut the tension around here with a knife. We're dervishly running around trying to sort some order out of the piles of chaos... bring this, leave that... are we ever going to need it? How bad will it be if we don't bring and *do* need it? What else are we forgetting?

Out of all the chaos though, I'm getting excited. This is the really for real go time!

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Epic Bridge Modification

I don't know if I can handle any more family bonding...

Dad said this would be an all day job, he wasn't making it up. The morning started out perfectly normally. I followed around after him with my cup of tea waiting for him to give me directions, got the car loaded up, picked up my little brother... and the two of us slept most of the way up Island to Campbell River. At which point the truck finally said "Forget it, it's labour day... I no workee!"

... and we awoke pulling into the gas station to "oh $#!*&... I've got no clutch", so we did the drowsy to awake "which way are you trying to go, we're ready to push!". Well all I can say is thank goodness the truck had been cleaned out because it's still bloody heavy!

I would like to take this moment to thank all the people who *do* work on labour day, even if it should be called 'no labour' day. We regrouped over breakfast and were able to rent a 4x truck, have them pick us up at the gas station, and have the clutchless truck towed somewhere.

We made it up to the job site with little ado and as we started... so did the rain. This is where I grew up hiking, how can you not fall in love with the place?

By the time we were done we'd broken a 1/2" drill bit, bruised a couple knuckles, were covered in mud and dirt... and wet enough, that well our panties were wet. I know that might be a little bit of an overshare... but you're really not that wet unless your underwear is.

I was wringing water out of my sweatshirt by the time we got back to the truck... and not just a little bit of water, it looked like I'd fallen into the creek or something! It just goes to show that true to our upbringing, and lessons learned over the years my little brother and I had *both* brought a full change of clothes that were nice and dry in the truck.

There is nothing better than putting on dry clothes at the end of a very, very, very wet day.

I think for the first time in history Dad didn't have spare clothes, so Mr. Nopants got to sit in the back of the truck and borrow my sweatshirt. I'm sorry Dad I really shouldn't laugh, the number of times you've lent me your spare fuzz or even the one you were wearing when I was cold... well it was nice to finally be able to return the favor. Even if we're going to give you a hard time about it forever ;o)

We ended up in Walmart buying pants, somehow we picked the right size, and the girl didn't check that I wasn't 'David Vincent'... and that the signature D... something scribbles... Vin ... scribble didn't match the one on the back. *phew*

What you call a woman on a shining steed? Mom! She drove the Vangina all the way up to Campbell River to pick us up. We stopped for dinner before everyone wasted away and I had the best burger and beer special, curled up in the back and proceeded to sleep the rest of the way home.

My Mom has this thing with numbers... like how many of the same ones show up on the odometer. Well lets just say, rather than take the car home when we picked it up, and get away from the generator fumes in the trunk... she drove the Vangina just so she could see octuple sevens. I'm not even kidding you.

Weathers changing, it's time to go ready or not. I think tomorrow is the last big shopping trip, fresh food, maybe pack some clothes... try to find somewhere to cram everything. *shakes head* here we go, I'll try to keep you posted!

Found this at the trailhead... my little brother was most disgusted with me ;o)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Family Bonding

Today I realized that our family isn't like other families. Yes I've realized this before, this is not a new idea for me, but today maybe more than any other it was very apparent.

I was excited today because my little brother was coming over to 'visit' ie: we needed him to help mix cement for Mom's radio tower. We spent the entire afternoon together (the two least experienced cement mixers doing the mixture) shoveling, clanking shovels, poking, prying, dumping, wheelbarrowing and dumping.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

As if that wasn't enough excitement, we cut down a tree that was close to the house because it will interfere with the radio antenna. So back to that 'safety first' thing... this time we had my little brother spotting, I was driving the truck with a cable attached through a block and back to the tree that was being cut down, and Dad was operating the chainsaw.

Despite some trouble with the chainsaw... again, and it being the longest amount of time its ever taken to cut a tree down in the entire history of tree cutting. Everything went as planned. Even if someone almost set the clutch on fire... it was definitely stinky and smoking. In my defense I was supposed to keep tension on the wire and then drive when it fell, but honestly it took

Sorry about your clutch Dad, I guess you can blame part of this one on me too.

Now you can't leave a perfectly good tree on the ground! So we began the well rehearsed process of turning said tree into firewood. Everything just clicked, we've done this so many times before, and at one point when I was throwing firewood at my little brother, we had to stop and laugh. This is our family bonding at its finest.

Some of the best times we've shared together have involved being wet, dirty, sweaty, sticky with pitch, tired, full of slivers, sore and in fear of incurring an injury.

It was the best 'Welcome Home' I could have imagined, I forgot how much I like the smell of chainsaw.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

You like boat, yah?

We got one window put on the boat... and assorted other randomness, but the big job of the day was hauling 'The Other Boat' and putting her up on blocks in the front yard.

Interjection - if you know anyone who wants to buy a 27' Vega... "I give them good deal, yeah!" :)

It was cool watching the whole process, Don, the guy who was driving the trailer was great. Its a good thing he's a professional though... cause I still thought it was a little sketchy at this one point. The only thing holding the front of the boat was this one little piece of wood. Right there. Yes that one that doesn't have anything attached to it, and is straight up and down... and its a blustery day!

But that's how you do it so you can get the trailer out from underneath. And obviously he'd done this once or twice before because it worked like a charm. Here they are being supermen and holding the boat up while they put the blocks in. I held it up by myself, but *someone* had to take the pictures and provide moral support.

Here she is, all supported... the trailer is out, and we only put one new pot-hole in the driveway. We were pleasantly surprised when due to luck or circumstance all the lengths of board we used fit as though someone had measured them. Thank you, it was muchly appreciated.

It's pretty crazy having a boat in the front yard... especially where it is, off to the side of the driveway. On the way out of the house, you feel a little like you're on a collision course. On the way back in though, it feels like you're about to be run down!

I tried to convince Mom and Dad that they should get a motion sensor attached to an air horn put on it... so when you drive by the running lights come on and it honks at you.

I thought it was hilarious... they didn't think it was that funny.

Safety first

Started the morning clearing the tree branches back from above the road, so there was a little mis-communication, and a little yelling but we got it all sorted out. See I was under the impression we were clearing the trees for 'the truck' as in the yellow bomber (the Xterra)... somewhere along the line through my zombie-like-haze I was supposed to have telepathetically figured out that it was for the truck hauling 'The Other Boat' out here... *lightbulb*

So picture this, the Captain was up at the top of an extended ladder trying to get a chainsaw to start, sidenote: it might have had water in the fuel. Now our family is all about safety first, so I was the 'spotter'. The spotters job is *not* at the base holding the ladder... no, I was safely out of the way of any falling debris, be it the tree branch, the ladder, the chainsaw or even the Captain himself.

The spotters job is to watch the ensuing chaos and yell really loudly if anything happens or *looks* like it might cause bodily harm. As you might imagine this is a pretty tough job in our family, since you have to adjust the point at which you yell to a higher danger level than 'standing at the top of a ladder with a running chainsaw cutting branches'.

Basically someone has got to be leaking before you start to holler, but it's okay I know first aid.

Not morning people

So I was telling Dad that I woke up with a leg cramp this morning...

He said "What about your latest crap?"

I'll give him credit for most of the letters being in most of the right places. Sometimes its just better not to talk to your family in the morning ;o)

So much for sleeping in...

Its like the committee that runs my body stayed up partying and then someone got the bright idea that they should pull the fire alarm... but being unable to *find* the fire alarm instead settled on pulling muscles. "Everyone grab a muscle and pull! Yeah that one over there too!" and the ones on the side lines cheered them on yelling "SEIZE! SEIZE! SEIZE!"

At which point my entire left calf muscle seized. In my irrational semi-comatose state with no one manning the bridge, it felt a lot more like "Noooooooo! Opposite muscle, opposite muscle, stretch it out, touch your toes to your knees... don't let it cramp all the way because you'll never get it unstuck!"

"Yesss! She's waking up! Quick pretend you're asleep, and act like nothing happened!" *giggles* "Shhhhh!"

Friday, September 03, 2010


It seems like a million years ago and another lifetime that I was working in Vernon, the change from work life to getting a sailboat ready for blue water cruising life has be so drastic and so complete. The two are not even comparable. I've been spending 12 hour days running around getting parts, crammed into holes trying to get bolts onto nuts with my eyes closed whilst every second you spend only makes it hotter, and yet I've been loving every second... well except when the vaccine I took kicked my butt today, but then I had a little nappy-poo on the sails and felt much better ;o)

Every job we finish crosses one more thing off the list and gets us one step closer to sailing. All of this right now, the final preparations, the last minute running around and drop ship ordering things is hard work, but the light at the end of the tunnel is sailing off and having everything stowed neatly where it should be. I really really really really for real hope we don't forget anything important. I do have a secret stash of chocolate and rum though, just in case ;o)

I thought I was tired yesterday. I'm now more tired all over than I thought possible. I feel a little bit like I did the first week of treeplanting, each day you think your body hurts all over... more than it has ever hurt before. You think that it hurts 'the most', that it can't possibly hurt anymore, that is until you do another day.

Our bodies are incredible things, they get tired and they hurt... but they keep going long after your mind has decided that it can't possibly do anything else. At some point, you switch over to some ancestral subroutine and finish doing what has to be done. Yeah you're exhausted when you're done, but you're still done, you didn't actually fall over and die the way your mind had convinced itself that it would.

I'm so knackered, its exhausting to type... like I'm not even kidding you. But, I will finish this post for you Internet, because I'm swell like that.

It was a good day! I hauled things in and out of the back lazarette again, and installed a shelf. We got a couple crates to store 300 feet each of anchor rode, which are now neatly coiled inside and fit perfectly. Dad got the wire bit for the boom-vang re-crimped (because it exploded yesterday) so that's done as well!

OOOhhh yeah and the big job for today was putting the manifold back in! I'm confident that octopus-slave-labour was used to install it in the first place, and I'm thinking of writing a strongly worded letter, and attaching a petition against the use of octopi in engine work.

After some interesting maneuvers (I had no idea my arm, elbow and wrist could bend like that AND still work a wrench), oil, water, grease, gunk and a little dropsy we got everything back where it should be. We also discovered that the damn alarm that has been plaguing us was the temperature sensor - NOT the oil pressure. *yippeeee!* Luckily for us we were able to scroung one from the motor graveyard inside the mechanics as nobody in town stocks isuzu parts.

We de-masted 'The Other Boat' to get it ready for storage. This is the Captain showing off his huge muscles by manhandling it into place.

It was neat taking the mast off, but a little scary, basically you have it hanging from a crane on the dock... but the boat is still moving while you're undoing forestays etc. to add to the sphincter-factor there was no handle for the winch so I was using the large screw driver. It took this moment (the one just after I took the picture below) to abandon its station and jumped into the chuck. I heard it, saw it on the dock as. it. was. rolling... managed a "$#!*&..." and got there just in time to watch it execute dive sideways and *sploosh* into the gloomy depths below.

What with this being the long weekend and all, we should be able to get our final shopping list together and under control as there will be little movement of parts due to the long weekend. Cross your fingers, we should be heading out next week...

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Pushin' dates and buttons

Well the Captain and I were hoping to set sail tomorrow. However we are not remotely ready for that... and 'The Other Boat' is getting hauled on Saturday. So we have pushed the launch date till either Monday or Tuesday.

I guess this means I should figure out which clothes I'm taking.

I should also nail down our menu and bring back some of those cans of beans... I mean honestly we have enough beans on board to have them for one meal a day until we get to New Zealand. I think that might be a little excessive.

I have also started 'the daily hair picture' which will be compiled at the end of the trip into a time warp slide show of my short all the way to surfer hair.

In other news the back lazarette has been washed, and had some loving touches of paint applied. It lovingly applied some of the paint back on me, I think this means we're bonding? We also have spare diesel tanks filled and stowed, along with spare water, and 45 rolls of toilet paper wrapped in saran wrap. I always want to spell it 'seran wrap' the way everyone says it, but I had a wonderful argument with a roommate of mine once... where we couldn't just agree to disagree, he had to prove to me that I was wrong *smiles* It was so much fun, he nearly had a cardiac.

In any case back to the toilet paper. I'm not entirely comfortable shrink wrapping the toilet paper. I know it shouldn't ever get wet, but I mean shrink/saran spare parts, or anything else... but TP? That is like the only thing that doesn't work when damp or wet... like you can't even dry it out and use it again. So I'm going to stash some TP in zippy bags, and if it ever does get wet the Captain can use the wet stuff and I'll use the dry stuff.

We're definitely getting tired and stressed, and down to the wire everything that doesn't work the first time is way more frustrating than it should be. We had to laugh today though when I tried to stow the diesel in the lazarette. The jerrycan does not fit through the opening at the same time as me... I got it part way in, and got stuck. The Captain meanwhile had moved on to other things, heard "hey... technical difficulties... Dad I'm stuck!" (that's definitely a note to self)

Large double double morning

Dad unexpectedly bought me Timmy's this morning when we ended up having to drive home again after getting in to town.


Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Odds and ends and the engine

Okay so we didn't do everything we set out to do today... but we made another dent in the list!

We took the couch to the dump, picked up some engine filters from the courier...
Worked on the engine, checked oil pressure and then ended up taking engine exhaust apart cause it was smokin' on the inside. In amongst this I polished the stainless whilst handing Dad tools. We still have an alarm going off, but it's looking more and more like a broken sensor. I mean at least it starts now, and doesn't sound like an old guy with smokers cough!

At this point Dad left me to do the oil change on "The Other Boat" while he went running around for the engine. Well the oil change, including cleanup and running it to make sure the filter didn't explode didn't take very long.

Left to my own devices, and completely unsupervised (with no standing requests). I strung up a large sheet of plastic to dry using the main halyard, then emptied and vacuumed the lazarette... no minor feat as Dad thought it would take the efforts of ten humanoids plus two! This is most of the crap from out of the lazarette... excluding the dive tanks, the propane tanks and all the spare water jugs!

By the time Dad got back I was a little tuckered, so after we'd drilled, and tapped I watched the Captain try to mount the plastic bit on the boom for the boom vang. I found a couple good places to lie down on the foredeck and be morally supportive :)

"Isabelle was heavily into frills, even the dressing table seemed to be wearing a petticoat. The whole room wasn't so much furnished as lingeried ~Terry Pratchett"

Kind of makes you want to ask the couch if it really does want to slip into something more comfortable?

Gotta get a move on

The weather has changed, there is a chill in the air that doesn't quite jive with the sunshine filtering in through the trees. A little extra deterrent to dragging your butt out of bed. I hate having to get up when your cheeks are cold and the rest of you is all warm...

Gotta go, sunlight's burning!