Friday, July 29, 2011

From the Captain...

It's been a grey blustery day, kind of trapped at anchor.

It started this morning with a weather front moving through that surprised several boats, myself included, in that it turned the "good anchorage" into a lee shore suddenly.  It was a matter of haul up anchor and move - right now.  The electric windlass is a high priority addition.  I was in a small bay flanked on the north by the isalnd (Huahini) and on the south by the fringing reef.  when the wind changed the lee shore was way to close.  I moved down the coast to a big bay, that is deep (100') but I set the hook in the lee of the east side just on the edge of the reef in 60' and I've sat here dancing in the wind all day.  At least if I drag, it's out to the center of the bay with a mile to play with.  Haven't moved and with luck the front is just about done moving through.

It sure is a task to handle the boat in blustery conditons, in confined space and haul up the anchor.  Also, with 120' of chain out, the system is at the limit of what I can handle, especially given the poor configuration of the chain locker and hand windlass.  I've certainly learned a lot.  The hand windlass wouldn't be bad if the chain would stow properly by gravity and if you didn't have to disconnect the rode from the chain to get it into the locker.  I have nasty visions of the chain running away and being lost because of that.   I've rigged a short piece of rope that is anchored in the chain locker so that when the rode is disconnected, the chain is secured to that, so at least that can't happen - or in an emergency one can dump the anchor and 80' chain and know it's attached to the boat.  Trouble is that you need at least 100' of chain, preferably more in most areas around here.  The most rode you can use is the depth of water or else there is the risk of the rope hanging up on coral and getting chafed through - and then where are you at???

So I sat, and read, and fidgeted - and made custard with coconut milk.  Comfort food - different but OK.

I was supposed to go diving today, but the boat move scuttled that.  Perhaps tomorrow and then off to the island of Raitrea.  The decision has been made that the boat is not moving north this year - I reviewed the weather data and decided it just isn't smart given I'm single handing and relativley inexperienced in the weather I might get clobbered with.  So, the next move will be clear in few days.

Not much else, thought you'd like to hear about the custard.

Take care - all is well.

At 28/07/2011 6:49 AM (utc) our position was 16°48.68'S 150°59.50'W

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The cat, the rat and the owl

Halt, search no further... I have discovered something that is more maddening than a mosquito buzzing in your ear... Are you ready for this? A mosquito, inside your full face helmet ear pocket... buzzing in your ear. Buzzing hysterically actually... Honestly, if I could have I would have given blood and suffered the itchy bite for a whole week to make it stop!!!! 99.9% of my starship crew were concentrating strictly on coordinating the delicate balance involved in biking up a steep hill, not spinning out and keeping my front tire down.

I couldn't get my glove inside my helmet to rid me the nuisance either, so I settled for looking like I'd developed a nervous psychotic twitch. Which after 30 seconds of up close and personal, I pretty much had.

So ignoring and forgetting the uphill bits, where I most certainly was buh-hiking again... the ride down was great, we chased the golden streaks of sunlight through the trees. The ligh crisp evening air, along with the gentle breeze filtering down from the wind rustling through the tops was a welcome relief from the sauna of civilization.

My favorite part on this ride, was finishing up with an ethereal glimpse of town, looking like some magically hidden Lord of the Rings village... braving the mosquitoes long enough to take a picture and thinking 'Wow, I actually live here!'

I've repressed the last monsterous hill you have to climb to get back to the damn truck.

Sent... While in transit ;)

From the Captain...

I finally got away from Moorea, I spent a lot more effort than I intended getting things sorted out and tied down etc. before getting going.  I got away a bit late, about 5:30 pm for the 80 nm sail to Huahini, and actually sailed most of the way, running the engine only for an hour or so.  It was a lovely night sail with a steady 8 to 10 k of wind and a low sea.

Got some sleep but the stars were really lovely, capped off by a really bright shooting star that crossed directly overhead with at least 90 deg of arc in the sky.  Really neat.  The moon rose late, about 4:30 am, and then with the dawn the island was in sight.  Most of the night I was only making 3.5 to 4 k so I wasn't as far along as I should have been, but I sailed the length of the south coast to the pass and I had the hook down in the lagoon by 4:00 pm more or less on my own - there was another boat a couple of hundred meters away for company.  I was tired, so I had supper and pretty much crashed.

The weather has been generally good.  It's hot (mid to low 30's during the day), though it tends to cool down at night to the mid 20's or so.  Generally there's a light breeze on the water at least.  The forecast is for the wind to pick up in a day or so, and I want to be somewhere else when it does since there's no protection here.

It was a bit of a blustery night so I didn't sleep as well as I might have.  Had a hard time getting away because the anchor chain was wrapped around a coral head - thank goodness it was chain and not rode.  I'm anchoring with "all chain" now that I have enough - with the rode only used as a shock absorber and never more than the depth to the water to ensure it can't hang up and be cut by the coral. I moved the boat over to the "town" and got in a bit of a wander checking out the grocery store which is reputed to one of the better places to re-stock in this local. Spent the night in close quaterts with about 20 boats in the more or less official anchorage - fortunately it was a very quiet night - it's deep here.

Today was inventory day - I went through the can lockers and counted what was there and then made a list of items to bring me up to at least 6 weeks of meal components in all categories.  I still have a lot of cans of tuna and brown beans, but I was getting shy of vegetables, canned meals and fruit.

This island is a lot cleaner than Moorea, to the extent that there are even very few fish hanging around the docks etc.  It's also a lot more mercenary - I needed some water for the boat tanks and they wanted $10 - for 50 l to fill the jugs and it's not worth it.  I'm in a minor bind at the moment because the main water tank failed, so I'm restricted to the smaller tanks plus the jugs. I'm good for a couple of weeks with care and I should be able to get water somewhere else by then - perhaps rain water if the god's cooperate.

Part of the day was spent greasing bearings because coming in the engine / drive train didn't sound right.  Hopefully the grease is the issue, seemed like it since the bearings took more than expected, so I suspect the interval I was given is too long.  I'll schedule greasing every 50 engine hours and we'll see.  Hopefully it's nothing more serious like another cracked engine mount or blown bearing -- I just wish the bugs in the drive train had been sorted out before hand - I would have expected that given the age of the boat but I was wrong and such is life.  The other major chore was sopping water out of bilges with a sponge - fresh water from the failed water tank.  After sailing more of the water trapped in various crannies ends up in the centerline bilge where it can be got at.  Hopefully this is near to the last of it since it's a lot of effort to get at.

Tomorrow I'm off to Raitrea, about 10 m away.  It looks interesting and I'll go tourist for a few days.  Hopefully I can connect with some people - the yachties here, and for the last month at Moorea seem an closed minded group.  It's probably me in that I don't mix much - which is your great asset.  I've been reading  up on the Cook Islands and I just may blow past them if I keep going west - anchorages don't sound very good and there doesn't seem much to attract me on the islands.  I could be wrong.  I confess I'm not nearly as keen to be on my own as I thought I'd be - I really miss having company.  See what happens - I have decisions to make in the next couple of days.

Take care.

At 25/07/2011 3:42 AM (utc) our position was 16°43.98'S 151°02.78'W

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Go play outside!

"Do the things that matter, cause there isn't time and space to do it all"
~Johnathon Coulton

When I started fishing this summer I was going to do a post per trip, I really was. But I've been so busy out fishin' that I haven't had time to write about it... besides it'll spare you some of the gory details, not that there have been any fish guts... yet ;)

In the face of an impending storm we went out, and were rewarded with front row seats to the lightning show while the storm inched around us! It made up for the biggest/only fish I caught being maybe 2.25"... Oh yeah and I'd like to introduce you to my crazy buddy Ed!

The evenings I've been out fishing after work have felt like two different days, its incredible how driving 5 minutes out of town and just getting out on the water is like stepping into a parallel universe where my laundry is already done...

Another night, we had just finished loading up the truck rain gear and all when on the way down it started to sprinkle a little... so we stopped by Timmy's, grabbed a coffee and visited parked at the edge of the lake until it let up a bit.  That's when I decided, one of the best things about fishing, is that you can be out fishing... without actually being out fishing.

Its funny the things we've gotten to talking about while fishing, they've run the full gamut from lighthearted to incredibly deep to why fishing is awesome.  How just the thrill of thinking that you *might* have a nibble, even if it's weeds can make you feel like you've been plugged in to 220.  Or the feeling of living on the edge when you go out with the electric motor and forget the paddle and it starts making strange chewing noises until you realize that it is literally eating it's way through clumps of lake coleslaw.

Lately you wouldn't know the days are longer... because we've been out fishin' until dark a couple times now...

Me: "Ooop hang on a sec, uhh I can't see my lure!"
Ed: "Hey do you know where we left the truck?"
Me: "Push your boop-boop button and flash the lights... that should make it easy to find!"
Ed: "I sure hope we got everything..."
Me: "I didn't see anything left behind"
Ed: "You could see?!!?"

I believe more and more that we really are supposed to "Go play outside" it's good for more than just our health.

Just a touch of respect goes a long way

 When we accept that we do not all walk the same path in life,
nor do we climb the same mountains...
and we can respect that the views are just as beautiful...
may we find that peace is not something that has to be made
but rather has been waiting patiently within us all along.

When you got on the plane, you took a little of me with you

"It's all good. I've never needed my friends close, for them to be close friends." ~Candy

Monday, July 25, 2011

Yo Ho all together...

Did my first geocache this weekend with Treasure and it was awesome!

We checked out an old day use area we never would've known to stop at... It's really kind of a neat way to discover local hideaways.

A modern day treasure hunt, and being part pirate I loved it! There was even a hint that if it were taken further could become quite the riddle...

"This one shouldn't stump you" ok so not really a riddle here, but you see the pirate gears a'turnin...

Well given the plus or minus, however many feet of error inherent in hand held devices, based on satellite positioning and cloud cover we had two options... and we found it!!!

It was soooo cool and a little bit sneaky, it was tucked under the cracked center piece of the stump which actually lifted out :) I totally want to do MORE!

Sent... While in transit ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pardon me

But your tattoo is grammatically incorrect, and it doesn't look like it's on purpose...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Current project status - Complete

Ever since I started here, I have been fascinated by the spindles... they're used only to hold the vast amounts of cable we go through, and then discarded once their job is done.  As many of my friends can attest, they've been put to all kinds of creative uses... frequently during Halloween. Pirate rum barrels, the tree circle from the nightmare before Christmas... stacked and wrapped in burlap, you get the idea.

Anyways when I moved into my new place, many wonderful people donated odds and ends to get me started... I even got a dining room table! But I didn't have any chairs. Then I had an idea, a marvelous idea, which when tested, revealed that two spindles stacked were the perfect height! Fate? I think not. Coincidence? Sure we'll go with that...

In any case a project was born: How to make functional stools, that looked cool but still retained enough of their rough edges that you could tell they were being re-used.

Some mahogany stain, a staple gun, a few screws and half a meter of cloth and Huzzah! I would like to present my "new" dining room stools!!!!

Projects remaining - unable to calculate. They appear to be multiplying like tribbles somewhat along the lines of a Fibonacci sequence.

I'm calling it Art

From the Captain...

Mom and I took the ferry to Tahiti and I saw her to the airport and away. I wish it had been that simple.

First waiting for the bus here was a trial for me - I wasn't born with patience and the bus was late and I twitched. Then it was a torrential downpour in Papettee when the ferry came in and we had to walk to the tourist bureau to try and get me a room for the night. Managed that with some coaxing and then off to the city bus to get there.

The directions weren't good, but we found the place and it was a dive but convenient. Reality set in - I was short of cash - I had "thought" I was fine but after two ferry fares and trinkets your mom bought, the lady who ran the drive was not impressed when I was $20 short. I hiked down to the airport and found a cash machine, hiked back, and got the room with no door lock, and a horrid bed (foamy on a broken spring base) but it did have a shower with hot water! I had fortunately packed a towel and soap and mom had a shower, and so did I.

The next fiasco was the nice dinner we'd planned on. The restaurant at the airport was closed, but we found a chinese place and Mom was fed. Back at the airport we sat around and listened to Tahitian school kids make music. It seemed to be a send off for a group and an organized group of 50 or 60 showed up to sing them off. Really quite neat. Anyway, mom was tired but clean and fed so I think she should have been OK for the flight.

I got back to the boat this morning. Clearly boats dragged last night and I was glad I put out some extra chain. I think Marimba dragged about 20 m or so. Anyway, after not a good sleep last night I had a fairly low productive day - I did do quite a bit of(hand) laundry - but it won't dry until tomorrow.

I was feeling a bit sorry for myself after seem mom off. I think we re-connected in a lot of ways. Anyway, one way or another I should be away from Moorea tomorrow with clean sheets and hopefully a cleaned up boat. And I finally had (count them) no less than TWO hot showers finally.

Take care

At 12/07/2011 10:04 PM (utc) our position was 17°30.21'S 149°49.34'W

This just in!

I haven't personally confirmed the validity of this information, but I have it on high authority, from a very reliable source that Mom made it home safe and sound and is currently "being taken care of by the cat."

Luckily for us it isn't the cat in the hat, so we don't need to worry about Thing one and Thing two.

On a serious note it will be good to talk to you Mom, more than a number of times I went to call you to tell you something only to realize you were more than a phone call away.

Welcome home, you've been missed :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's all about getting started

"Initiative is not given... it's taken"

Slight rearrangement of Seth Godin's quote, but I like this one better.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

24 hour tech support

Now in more flavors of useless...

Techsupport: Sam, can you please specify the password for your your website OS control panel?
Sam: umm I have it set to autofill
Translation: You shouldn't need my password to answer my question...

Techsupport: So you do not know it, correct?
Sam: I can log in, but I don't know it
Translation: I'm still not telling you my password... now, don't get distracted and think that I need it reset because that's a problem you *can* fix

Techsupport: And what password do you use?
Sam: Is there somewhere in the control panel I can look, for the version of Apache we're running on?
Translation: You really seem to be stuck on this password thing, no matter how many different ways you sneak up on this question I'm still not giving it to you.

Sam: The password is saved in my browser I don't have to type it in, ever.
Techsupport: Ok, Sam, regarding your questions on applications please kindly contact your account manager.

Sam: ok thank you :)
Translation: FOR NOTHING.
Techsupport: Is there anything else you would like me to help you with today?

Anything *else*?!?! You didn't help me with my first problem! You are smart like dump truck.

Thanks for coming out.

From the Captain's Consort

Thanks so much for looking after this for me. Dad figured we should have tried to hack off the TN but we didn't as he's so panicky about being online and the cost of it and how slow it is in loading pages, etc. The travel agents didn't respond so I'm so glad to have a computer literate person (namely my favourite daughter!) to look after stuff like this for me. I've never managed to confirm too many flights and there's never been a problem but being in French Polynesia I figured it's best to confirm that I'm coming.

Today has been a really slow do nothing day. Woke up in the night to rain pouring in the skylight so closed it. Made dad sleep against the window this time and I slept well but he was crushed all night and too hot as I got cold and snuck up against him til he was flattened against the wall.

After breakfast he went and had a nap and I read "The Far Country" by Nevil Shute. I finished the book by lunch time and have now had my last pancake from Sunday's breakfast with peanut butter, banana and syrup, YUM!

It's been gusting and raining all morning and we filled both the buckets from the tarp. The sun's come out and dad wants stinky me to have a bath so I guess that's next on the agenda. I just wanted to check the email for word from the travel agents (Not!). So it's off for a bath and with the sun coming out we may motor out to the reef for one last swim with the little fishes before I take off.

Take care and don't worry about not responding to emails. I mainly sent them as reminders to myself about my trip as I haven't been able to keep up with my journal and I don't want to lose the details of the holiday. That and I wanted you guys to hear about things in case you decide you want to come here sometime yourselves.

Take care. I'll try to call you Friday evening after work if I'm awake at all. Love you lots.

Love and hugs,
At 12/07/2011 10:04 PM (utc) our position was 17°30.21'S 149°49.34'W

From the Captain

Sounds like you had a good weekend of biking etc. - and tea biscuits to wrap it up. Keep up the exercise and fun - keep alive - and yes it is good be alive.

Had a good snorkel on the reef with Mom yesterday, and the evening was calm so we stayed out there - but I was a bit suspicious so I took the tarp down. Good thing - it blew hard starting at 10:33 pm! Anyway, sat on the hook and danced but the anchor didn't move. I still worried and checked frequently - using the MOB function on the chart plotter! It was still blowing in the morning so when Mom got functional we motored in and set the hook in the calm of the bay. Mom got some more sleep -and among other things I got a bath. Did a run into town using the dingy and the electric outboard - it worked well which was a treat.

It's been good that Mom came - we've done some reconnecting etc. I'll see her via the ferry to Papettee on Wednesday, I'll have to overnight there and get back to the boat Thursday, and hopefully Thursday afternoon I'll be on my way to the next island - about 60 miles (12 hours) away - leaving in the evening means I'll arrive in daylight when it's easy to see and navigate the pass.

I want to check that spot out, then move onto Bora Bora and then to the Cook Islands which requires a couple of days passage. After that "I'll see" - I suspect I'll end up in NZ early and work on the boat and enjoy life in a marina. The alternative is to substitute Fiji for NZ. Current plan is to head back to BC starting next spring in three legs - NZ to around here, here to Hawaii, and Hawaii to home. Each leg requires about 3 weeks of sailing and then time to visit between legs. I could be convinced to spend some time between leg 1 and 2 messing around in the islands if someone(s) wanted. Let me know.

I'm tentatively planning on being in BC for some skiing etc. and Christmas. Not sure what the dates will be, probably a couple of months. I should leave NZ in March, so a lot depends on how much boat work get's done before I leave.

Anyway, I feel like things are moving again. Mom has been here and it's been good but I've been sitting much too long. I'm feeling better about the world in general.

Take care - be happy and have fun.

At 12/07/2011 10:04 PM (utc) our position was 17°30.21'S 149°49.34'W

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Always start at the beginning

Some days you just need someone to listen long enough, for your subconscious to chew through the cotton straps and smack some sense into you.

Dear Mom

I'd say because I love you it's 1:30am and I'm still up confirming your flight details through bleary eyes and stuttering fingers... Relaying important tidbits of information to you a world away where 24 hour internet doesn't exist, and even patchy 28k modem service is stretching it... I do, love you that is... but I'm not gonna lie, I got distracted updating my blog, and checking my email.

I am so self-diagnosing, and dubbing this obsessive compulsive email checking disorder (OCECD) I can't *not* check it... and it's even harder not to answer it once it's sitting there in my in box...

I'm going to bed now.


Good night, tomorrow the morning light is going to do unspeakable things to me, and I don't think I have any dead days left... maybe I could get a doctors note for OCECD (the D *is* for disorder).

Look before you leap

"Just look where you want to go, and the rest will follow"... the rental shop girl said to a couple of girls who had never ridden downhill before.  She was giving them some advice about riding the berms around corners, and I spared it little thought, other than a half smile in anticipation.

To be honest I was a little nervous, and a lot excited... This would be my third time riding downhill, and I was doing it without my best sports friend. Although I swear: she will be the death of me yet, she's the best confidence booster I know.

Little did I know when I heard it that morning, that the phrase would drift and weave through my thoughts all day. Bouncing and echoing around until it ended up in some dark crevice up there, where it turned around three times, curled up and sank in. Such a deceivingly simple phrase, that can be applied in much broader strokes... to life.

Look where you want to go, and the rest will follow.

Where was I... The day of riding? Well with a little skill, my enduring disturbing lack of fear, some blind faith and a whole lot of luck... I survived ;) It was absolutely fantastic! I ripped up the trail, I totally nailed some features I never would have been able to do last year and it was SO TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!!! I flew down the mountain, *whispers* and only over the handlebars twice... and once was on account of a mud pit that tried to eat my bike, I wrestled it back of course ;)

I even did a beam that was longer-than-I-realized-when-I-started *and* three guys were watching! I only let one tentative curse escape near the end when I didn't think I was going to make it... but I totally did *smug smile*... If I had been walking away, it would have been some strut let me tell you ;)

The weather was pretty much perfect, a sprinkling of rain to keep the dust down, and enough mud puddles to make it interesting and get me and The Fury sufficiently dirty. I got to go play outside, and I loved every second of it *smiles*

Today, I have hurty bits on top of hurty bits, but I know I earned every single one of them along with the bruises in the strangest place from my handlebars. I'm not really sure when they got close enough to my legs to bruise them... but they managed.

I also listened to that little inner voice when it said "Dude... we're done, and if you try to pull that *just* one more run down, I'm going to throw you off and beat you within an inch of your life." I couldn't hear it until it yelled at me, with the pain and stiffness cutting through the cusp of the wave awesomeness I was riding down, but after that I surrendered gracefully.

Monday, July 18, 2011

From the Captain's Consort

Wow! Only 2 more sleeps til I fly home from Moorea. I can't believe I've been here for a full month. Last night was another rough night. We were out in the lagoon after a beautiful swim just before sunset and the moon was still bright in spite of being past the full moon. I made a lovely supper of chicken salad in papaya and Dad decided it would be okay to stay out the night and it was calm and quiet until 10:33.

We'd gone to bed early due to the swim when the wind came up and really howled through the rigging. Dad had taken the tarp down so at first it didn't seem too bad but as the night progressed it got worse and worse. Then a torrential rainstorm drove water through the window beside my bed leaving a puddle on the windowsill. Talk about driving rain! I find all the cracks in the windows on the boat to be quite scary although they don't seem to bother your dad at all.

With dad and his CPAP snuggled up I managed to get some sleep but we woke up by 6:30 due to the wind. After breakfast I tried to convince your dad to row to shore to book a room for Wednesday night in Papeete or else go for a swim but he was too tired and stressed by the continued howling of the wind so at 9:30 we upped anchor and motored back into Cook's Bay. Glassy calm and hot in the bay.

Dad got the tarps back up to provide some shade and after a bite of lunch I had a nap (noon til 2:30). As I said, I was pretty wiped by the boat tossing around all night. Woke to find dad dressed and raring to go for a walk (he'd had a bath again and felt good). Got him to dig out the little electric outboard for the dinghy and took off around the bay to the point near the lagoon. Very nice and quick way to travel but hard to sit as I had to be leaning forward to get the proper weight distribution.

Headed back to the dinghy and reached it at 5:20. Dad got pretty twitchy as sunset is at 5:30 but there is about an hour of dusk. Motored back by 5:40 and got Gerry on the radio while dad unpacked the dinghy. I gather summer is not really on the coast yet in spite of it being mid-July. Anyways, I'd better go and make supper (although I made supper and did the dishes last night). Looking forward to home. Take care of yourselves.

Love and hugs,
At 12/07/2011 10:04 PM (utc) our position was 17°30.21'S 149°49.34'W

I want to make a difference

Well I may never be a hero.
I may not always do what's right.
But when I'm standing at the crossroads
let me walk with you towards the fight.

Maybe a word of kindness
that falls not upon deaf ears.
A smile, a touch, a passing glance
something to calm your fears.

Its okay if I never meet you
and I never see your face.
I want to be the friend you need
there just in time, in the right place.

I want to save a life.
I want nothing left undone.
But if my time is limited
then let me finish, just this one.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


With deft skill gained from years of practice... The ketchup just exploded all over me!!

From the Captain's Consort

Well, today was a total rest day.  Even though I was tired and slept much of yesterday, today was rainy and extremely windy and we turned it into bath day and sleep more day.  We filled the two black buckets twice over with rain water it was bucketing down so hard for short periods of time.

The wind was in spurts with big gusts heeling the boat over at times but okay as it's daylight.  The bay is full of boats with 16 at last count and earlier today we had some excitement when one of them dragged which caused the boat he was heading for to sound it's horn.  The guy put power on, hauled anchor and moved right away from where he'd anchored.  We're on the opposite side of the bay so no worries about crashing into anyone.

 I wanted to go for a row and a walk late this afternoon but dad convinced me more rain was coming and didn't want to get wet so we just sat in the cockpit and talked and watched the rain fall and refill the buckets.  We got the end piece of tarp up over the stern so we created a tent over the cockpit and we were able to bathe outside.  Lots more room than the foot of the stairs and a lot easier to manage.

So, dad brought up the topic of Christmas.  Yes, I know it's only July but for the first time in a long time, he'd like to spend Christmas with his family and is looking forward to it so he wants to know what everyone's plans are.  So, as soon as you have some foggy clue as to whether or not you're available, let me know and I'll coordinate.  Dad suggested we join him in New Zealand for Christmas but I pointed out that spending $12,000+ to get the four of us down there made little sense.  He agreed so he's back to floating the idea of renting somewhere like a condo at Sunshine so you guys can go skiing and Ben and I can get caught up on our reading or something.

Take care of yourselves,

Love and hugs,
At 12/07/2011 10:04 PM (utc) our position was 17°30.21'S 149°49.34'W

Friday, July 15, 2011

From the Captain's Consort

Dearest kids

Well, dad's rigid stairs underwater work great!  Yesterday we went for a swim in the lagoon and I got out of the water just fine.  Learned something this morning.  Never go swimming before breakfast!  We spent the night in the lagoon under a full moon with the white sand under the boat shimmering in the moonlight.  Fantastic!

Yesterday was mostly a washout as after our swim we rowed to shore to find the whole town shut down for Bastille Day.  Talked to shopkeepers today about it and their response was "It's some holiday in France."  Anyways, no chance to get groceries or anything else except fruit.  Their were a number of fruit stands open and the one by the pharmacy had soursop.  It's a huge melon type of fruit with bristly warts on the outside.  Inside is a white pulp with big black seeds (similar to watermelon seeds but bigger and fatter) which the lady insisted I taste from her spoon.  It has a nice sour flavour but they were too big for just your dad and I to eat them so I didn't get one.  Instead I got a pineapple and some bananas.  My flavour of ice cream for the day was kiwi.  I didn't enjoy it as it was quite sour which was a surprise.  I've never found kiwis to be a sour fruit.  
Back to this morning.

When we got up the wind was gusting and there were black clouds in the sky and dad thought we might have to head back into the bay so to get my swim in we dove in right after we got up.  Swam part way out to the reef.  Lots of neat fish but a bit rough going as the wind had whipped up white caps in the lagoon and there were lots of jet skiers tearing around as the cruise ship was in the bay.  Not as relaxing as some of my other swims.  Got out of the water easily.  Only swam 1/2 hour though as when I hit the water jumping in I got a charlie horse in my right calf muscle which meant that I wasn't able to kick too well.  The water was colder than usual and so I couldn't stay in as long.

We got chicken breasts at the grocery so I'll make one more chicken salad in papaya before I go.  I love that meal.  Too bad I can't have it at home.  It's lovely on a hot day.  Went to a small store in the mall and got myself a locally printed pareo (pareau) which is a length of cloth the ladies wrap around themselves like a dress.  I haven't figured out how to fasten it so it stays up and will probably use a pin with it when I get back home and only wear it over my bathing suit so if it falls down I won't embarrass myself.

Made stir fry chicken and rice tonight with fresh carrot and a pineapple sauce that was cooked crushed fresh pineapple.  Very yummy!  Wanted to make a sauce but couldn't find any corn starch on the boat to thicken it so just cooked the pineapple.  Dad cranky because dinner was fancy and late and I shouldn't have started the meal that late but I didn't know I was in charge of supper.  Oh well.  Communication still needs a lot of work.

 I had a headache after I woke up and it's only now gone at 8:30, I think because I'm wearing my neck snake.  What's a neck snake you ask.  Well, it's a small cloth snake filled with silicone gel which you soak in water and it swells up and then you tie it around your neck and the evaporation of the water from it cools you right down.  It's fabulous.  A real lifesaver in this heat.  Keeps my brain from overheating.

Anyways, dad's back from sulking on deck so I'd better go.  Take care of yourselves.

Love you lots,
At 12/07/2011 10:04 PM (utc) our position was 17°30.21'S 149°49.34'W

From the Captain

Got in some more snorkeling in the lagoon yesterday and today.  Mom finally saw a couple of rays today, from the boat.  I was in the water but since the depth was only 8' and they went under the boat she had a good view.  We left the head of the bag this morning to anchor out in the lagoon, with the intention of doing some shopping in the village, but the place was shut down - yet another public holiday.  Managed some ice cream for Mom though.  I had a good swim.  We're sitting tonight in the lagoon and it's calm, with the full moon and really pretty with the clear water.  The scene kind of gently shimmers with the shadow of the boat on the sand below.  Almost magical.

Take care
At 12/07/2011 10:04 PM (utc) our position was 17°30.21'S 149°49.34'W

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summertime awesome blues!

Can't keep up to the girl *mockingly* "who's the slowest uphill rider evar..." *ahem* I would like to formally call bullshit... I was definitely b'hiking while they were still climbing a hill steep enough to luge down.

Slowest uphill rider evar: "Hey Sam, how you doing back there?"

Me: "Me? I'm still alive ;)" I think I must have left my lungs in my other back pack though... and I'm pretty sure my bike has rocks hidden in it's pockets... Because seriously, if it doesn't we really need to get out more... that beer is going straight to its shocks, you might as well apply it directly with a syringe.

But for serious, this made it all worthwhile, may I present... the summertime backyard!

Somehow with a late start we avoided the multiple torrential downpours and got a wicked ride in. The dust was under control, the trail was well packed and there was a gentle glacier fresh breeze... It was perfect.

I found myself driving home with the hugest grin born of contentment, you know the one that covers your whole face and lights up your eyes from the inside *smiles*

It could just be the hot tub talking, but right now I feel fantastic!!!!

My aren't we just a little ray of golden frakkin' sunshine today...

*shakes head*

It is taking every thread of discipline I posses in my body not to let my face register my thoughts, that are silently screaming "YOU'RE A FRICKEN IDIOT" mixed with disbelieving eyebrows that you are even bringing this up.

I have no idea why your computer is doing that, truth be told I don't particularly care... and I *really* don't want to spend the time it would take to chase it down and figure it out. Partly because on top of that I don't want to waste the time it will take to explain it to you.

How do you like them Sam I am?

Thank you skype for adding a little spice to an otherwise normal conversation...

Between the little voice and the slight video lag, I thought "hashbrowns, eggs and bread" was "someone naked in bed"

Sent... While in transit ;)

Maybe we should form a committee...

It drives me crazy when someone makes something far more complicated than it needs to be... and some of my frustration leaks out the edges of my usual sunny disposition.

Its kind of like even the *word* committee having redundancy and excess in it... two 'm's, two 't's AND two 'e's?!?! I mean really! That's like three letters just hanging around being moral support. Basically they are doing nothing, except backing up the letter in front...

From the Captain - Tough Day...

All is fine. Spent some time snorkelling today and Mom got tired out.  Managed to get her onto the boat between some of that light cord wrapped around the stern hand rails to provide some friction, plus a sling step and a boost, she got back on the boat.

I built a rigid step from some wood this afternoon so that will get used tomorrow.  It puts a couple of steps below water level and that shold solve the issue elegantly.  Plan B today was to fill the dinghy with water so it was awash, let her haul herself into that and then step from there to the boat.  Then I could bail the dinghy out - and it would provide a test of whether I got enough floatation built into it!

Not much happening - tired.  Between the rowing, the snorkeling ( and towing the dinghy along behind while Mom was sight seeing underwater), rowing to shore to shop, and building the ladder - I'm bushed.

Take care.

At 12/07/2011 10:04 PM (utc) our position was 17°30.21'S 149°49.34'W

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Leathers and feathers

Last night we found a baby birdie, in the middle of the bike trail... looking a little stunned, and a whole lot grumpy... Not seeing a nest to tuck him back into, or anywhere up out of the way to put him we brought him home.

My friend looked after him last night, with hopes of taking him into the SPCA today... except they don't open until noon (or take wild birds for that matter) and she had a job to get to. A phone call later and I had found him a place to stay, offering to transport him during my break.

I grabbed my spectacles, testicles, wallet, and watch... glanced over my shoulder to make sure I hadn't forgotten anything... and then it hit me. My bike helmet sitting there on the desk, looking all full-faced and sexy. I rode. to work. this. morning... *sigh* Luckily a wonderful co-worker lent me her car for the ten minutes that would've been 40 on my bike.

*shakes head* I'm such a meatball sometimes, I can't believe I forgot that I'd ridden to work this morning... I mean who does that?!? (other than pregnant women of course ;)

From the Captain's Consort

Sitting in Cook's Bay listening to the wind flap the tarp and bouncing around a little in the bay.  It was a rough night as Dad got up a few times to take down tarps, rescue stuff in the cockpit from getting wet (we had rain as well) and listening to the wind howl in the rigging.  It always seems louder at night.  The plus side is we can't hear the traffic or dogs or roosters on shore.

Mother Nature decided we needed a boat day and she's right.  We've both had a bath, washed our hair and done laundry which is drying rapidly in the sun and wind.  I've answered an hour's worth of emails, almost finished reading the book "Second Generation" which is set in WWII and feel somewhat caught up although I know I need to update the ham log and my diary is spotty at best.  With the wind the sun isn't too hot which is nice.

We had a fabulous day yesterday (or at least I did).  Dad got up early and rowed to shore before 9 a.m. to get more water and fuel.  I made breakfast and we had a leisurely breakfast before motoring out to the lagoon by 10 where we jumped in the dinghy and rowed out to the reef.  Saw more amazing reef life including some orange peel nudibranchs and dad collected a lovely conch shell (empty), a couple of empty clam shells and a weird shell like thing I'll bring home for identification.

Went to another snack bar where dad had an espresso and I had my scoop of ice cream (vanilla caramel).  I've just got to try lemon, pineapple and an unknown flavour before I'll be through their variety.  After, Dad went down to the lumber store to get some wood to build me a stair to get up the back of the boat.  We used the milk crate to climb into the dinghy again this morning but it was trickier close to the reef where the swell was strong and the crate kept washing away before I could step on it.  Also, I can't swim around the boat in the lagoon as the handy billy really doesn't work well.

While dad was at the store I visited "the White House", former governor's mansion turned into a store.  Unfortunately either because they built on boggy ground or the rain we had yesterday, the store was swarming with mosquitoes.  I got a dozen bites and gave up and went out to the street to wait for dad which was hot but not buggy.  I may go back to the store, though as they had some interesting local stuff not available in the stores in the little mall up the road.  I'll just make sure I'm covered in bug juice next time.

After we got back to the dinghy, dad rowed down the shore a short ways to the pharmacy where there is another fruit stand and got a half dozen limes, (I love lime juice in water down here), a giant grapefruit (apparently it was medium size!) and a dozen bananas.  They're regular bananas like the ones we get back home.  Not the neat tasting orange flavoured ones which we got at the little fruit stand near the mall.  Then we headed back out to the boat in the rain.

I tried to get dad to follow the local fisherman out through the rocks to the main channel but he could do it better so we spent 20 minutes crashing into one rock after another!  Finally he gave up and tried to go out where the locals had gone out guessing at where the channel was and we lost only a small amount more of paint and gelcoat.  That man is so stubborn!

Reminds me of a little girl paddling around the bay with one oar going in circles and insisting "I do it myself!"  Too bad he hasn't outgrown that stage.  I don't know if that ever happens.

Take care you guys.  Love you lots!

Love and hugs,
At 12/07/2011 10:04 PM (utc) our position was 17°30.21'S 149°49.34'W

From the Captain's Consort

Dad is snoring in my bunk so I guess I'll make this short.  Had a windy night last night and dad and were squashed up in the main bunk so neither of us slept that well.  After breakfast we motored out to the lagoon and dad rowed us out halfway to the reef to an area with a lot of coral and boulders which is where all the sea life pretty much hangs out.

Snorkelled around for about 45 minutes until I got a faceful of seawater and couldn't see because my eyes were burning too much.  I swam back to the boat and by playing porpoise I was able to pull myself partway up the ladder but needed a boost to get on the boat stairs.  Dad spent the afternoon building wooden boat stairs to hang below the last step on the back of the boat so I can get myself in hopefully.  If so, that will be great.  I don't stay out as long as I'd like because I'm always afraid I'll be too tired to haul myself up onto the boat.  It happened when I was 28, it could happen again.

Saw lots of neat stuff including a fish whose colours changed with it's position in the ocean and a pair of clams in a boulder one of which was turquoise and the other purple/blue.  So amazing!  After the swim I was too tired to go to shore to shop and the wind came up and dad got worried so we went back into the bay.

Later in the afternoon we rowed to shore against the wind, had our coffee and ice cream and got meat and carrots for dinner and another 750 ml jar of Nutella (the fourth since I got here and I barely eat the stuff but dad keeps getting it for me!)  What a goof.

Had a good chat with Gerry this evening and got a contact with a ham in Long Beach California who was surprised to be talking to Moorea on his little wire antenna.

Listened to drumming while I made dinner.  I think the locals had a show going for the tourists at the Bali Hai Club.  A little sorry I won't see it but not enough to make the effort to get out and go.

Finished my book while dad fiddled with emails so I can't find any of mine in the program anymore.  Glad I've emailed myself copies of stuff on gmail.  Music is blasting across the water.  I'm going to settle down to Eureka again.

Take care.

I'll be home in a week.  Hard to believe.

Love you lots,
At 12/07/2011 10:04 PM (utc) our position was 17°30.21'S 149°49.34'W

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My mother...

Dearest Sam

Yes, we looked.  No popcorn or caraway.  And the grocery here only sells microwave popcorn which is a drag.  No microwave on the boat.  Take care.

Love and hugs,
At 12/07/2011 10:04 PM (utc) our position was 17°30.21'S 149°49.34'W

And my response...

Lol mom you should still be able to open the bag of microwave popcorn and cook it in a pot the old fashioned way ;)


Awesome is being able to make a huge mess in your own living room, because you can ;)

It's all over the floor too *smiles*

Monday, July 11, 2011

Creative juices got flow

May I present... the doughnut bun, and bruschetta FTW!

Well they were certainly flowing last night. Now I'm sure this is a common problem in households across North America, and perhaps elsewhere... But what do you do with leftover doughnuts? Look no further, you can now use them as hamburger buns!

This could be the next big marketing campaign... Doughnuts, not just for cops or dessert anymore ;)
But seriously, cut 'em in half... Toast them cut side on a pan until crispy... Oh and make sure anything squishy isn't close to the hole, or it will try to use your nostrils as an escape route.

The things I do to support imagination, although it wasn't bad... You could probably skip the ketchup, the sugar on the doughnut makes you realize just how much sugar is in ketchup...

And that's just weird.

I ask you...

Is this not the awesomest colour of duct tape you have ever seen?!?!?
Of course it is!!

One helluv a woman

Last Friday was the memorial celebration of life for Grandma Fay, and while she was not my Grandma in the sense of bloodlines... She taught me, that don't matter a lick.  At a birthday party of hers not too long ago, she was curious why her Chosen Son wasn't there. Someone made the mistake of saying "Grandma we thought you'd just want family for your birthday"... Heh. She tore a strip off of them, with an indignant "Don't you *dare* tell me who my family is!"

She always told it like it was.

She was and incredible lady, I was once lucky enough to hear a little bit about what life was like when she lived on a trap line. It was hard. Hard in a sense we can't even comprehend anymore... They hauled their own water, got up and fished in the wee hours, and had it canned and hidden under the floor board before the games warden got up and did his rounds.  Once she shot a cougar from the front porch with the 30-6 when she was maybe 100lbs soaking wet. As she said... "It was me or him" Despite all that though, not only did they survive... they lived!

One of my favorite personal moments, was when I won a 40 pounder of Crown during Grey Cup at the Legion. Now I don't really drink that much... Heh. Okay you got me, I really don't drink that much *Crown*, but my other Mom pointed out that Grandma Fay would appreciate it. So I went over for a visit one day, she greeted me as always with a big hug and a kiss... I presented it to her, and she said with a huge grin "Well what a nice surprise! That deserves another hug and a kiss!" *smiles* She also told me my timing was about perfect as "they'd just run out this morning and hadn't had time to go get more."

Some of the stories that came up during the memorial were great, and give you the tiniest glimpse into who she was... She was so much more though, to so many people, evidenced by the number and diversity of those who came to pay their respects and raise a "little glass of hell"...

The MC Dan told us that recently when his father passed away, they did a family gathering which Grandma Fay attended despite her family *and* the doctor's wishes.  He said to her "I know you pissed off a lot of people to be here tonight, but you know you didn't have to come for us to know you love us right?" Well she looked him dead in the eye, and with iron in her voice said "I don't give a damn!" then sweet as peaches said "Now would you be a dear, and put some of that whiskey in my cup there?"

We all call on family in times of need, and closer to the end, well this was no exception. (Helen is one of Fay's sisters.)

Grandma Fay: Helen! Helen, come quickly! It's time to go!
Aunt Roxie: Go where Mom?
Grandma Fay: Heaven, we're going to heaven.
Aunt Roxie: But Mom you can't take Helen with you...
Grandma Fay: The hell I can't!
Aunt Roxie: Heaven isn't *ready* for the both of you yet!

At this point Grandma Fay grabbed Aunt Roxie's arm, and said: Roxie! If you don't let her go RIGHT NOW, I'll tan your ass!
To which she replied: Mom if I thought you had it in you right now, I'd gladly take the whoopin'!

From the Captain's Consort

Dearest kids

What a day!  Dad decided to get fuel and water at 11 a.m. and rowed to the fuel dock across the bay and brought back 80+ litres of fuel and 40+ of water at noon. (mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun - Gilbert & Sullivan)  Then we had to pour all of it into the tanks standing on deck in the sun and heat.  Yerk! 

After we had lunch and motored out of the bay back into the lagoon.  Still quite windy but not as bad as yesterday.  Swam from the boat out to the rocks near the reef and saw tons more fish, tube worms, conch, clams, etc.  The funniest part was that after I dove off the boat into the water, I realized the reason my mask kept filling with sea water was that it was sliding down my head.  Took it off and dad adjusted it but then I had to put it on in the ocean.  Dad offered to hold me up while I put it on.  The only problem was that I'm so buoyant my legs kept floating up under the boat while I'm trying to hold my head out of the water to get the mask on.  Dad's trying to hang onto me and keep me somewhat upright (at least my head up, anyways) and I'm having a laughing fit so hard I can't get the mask on.

We finally got going but I ended up getting dad to tow the dinghy along since I was still having trouble clearing my mask and snorkel without getting my head up above the waves.  Spent about 1/2 hour observing the sea life then swam back to the boat. 

Now the real fun began. 

Dad had rigged a handy billy to haul me aboard or at least give me a hand up onto the bottom step.  First he had me put my legs through and put it behind my thighs (you can see what's coming Sam, can't you?).  He hauled on the rope and lifted my legs up out of the water.  Unfortunately the rest of me was hanging upside down getting bumped against the stern of the boat with no chance of a handhold.  We repositioned and tried again, again and again. 

Finally I got myself with one foot on the bottom step and tried to climb out of the water.  Again my wet hands slid right down the ss railings and I couldn't establish any friction to continue the climb.  Again I was shrieking with laughter and I'm sure the boat next to us thought there was a drunken lunatic aboard.  Oh well.  A few refinements to be made for sure. 

Why your dad seems to think we shouldn't test these systems ahead of time when I'm not pooped out from a long swim is beyond me but there you go. 

Motored back to Cook's Bay as the wind in the lagoon was gusting again by late afternoon and anchored right off the Catholic Church.  Hopefully hear some lovely hymn singing tomorrow morning.  As your dad was pooped right out I got to make dinner again tonight (3 nights running, I don't like where this is going)  When I suggested your dad make dinner, he offered to take us out.  (sound familiar?) 

Right now he's snoring out in the cockpit.  I can hear him over the fan in the inverter by my ear so you know he's loud.  Dinner was interesting.  I made sweet and sour cabbage (hey Sam, where did you hide the caraway seeds?), ham (cheese on mine), fried leftover potatoes and carrots from last night's dinner and fried fei (local name) which we think was a plantain but tasted kind of like yam, very sweet with lime juice (very nice mix of flavours).  The ham you get out here tastes like real smoked ham and is dry with lots of flavour not watery pressed stuff like we get at home. 

Anyways tired and still need to clean up.  Dad stuffed the leftover ham in a tupperware with no lid (sound familiar?) and the dishes still need doing.  My neck is stiff and I'd like to watch a couple more episodes of Eureka before bed.

Love and hugs,
At 22/06/2011 4:08 AM (utc) our position was 17°34.86'S 149°37.09'W

From the Captain's Consort

Dearest kids

I made supper the last couple of nights so Dad is doing dishes.

It's funny, we're sitting at the end of Cook's bay on Moorea and listening to the disco music blasting out of the Bali Hai Club (it being Friday night) competing with the boom box from the beach at the end of the bay where the locals are having a beach party and except for the temperature (very warm) it feels we could be sitting in the Gulf Islands back home.

We spent the last couple of days in the bay as it's been dark, windy and wet.  This morning we snuck out to the lagoon and while it was sunny and hot it was also very windy.  We rowed ashore for fresh fruit and groceries and the usual ice cream (I tried and didn't like nougat) and coffee.  I learned that if I bring my own cup for ice cream, they knock about 13 cents off the price.  I was getting ice cream in a cup until I realized they were charging me an extra .40 for a cup I just threw away!  Live and learn.  I tried getting a cone but the waste bothered me.  I'm glad I've sorted another solution by bringing my own cup. 

After we got back to the boat, dad went for a swim and brought me a beautiful conch shell to look at.  Wish I'd thought to take a photo.  Also, saw a turtle swimming in the lagoon although too far away to get much detail.  It looked like a piece of rubbish until I noticed it had what I thought was a fin sticking up but dad told me was a flipper.  Quite neat.  Bright red and yellow in colour which is what had me fooled. 

After his swim we motored back into the bay which was calm and dad worked on rebuilding the chain cover he made a few days ago.  I read and snoozed as my tummy was upset by too many bananas.  Made an amazing supper if I do say so myself.  Scooped out a fresh papaya, sprinkled with lemon juice then filled it with cubed chicken breast, grated carrot, mayo salad, carrot sticks and fried potatoes.  Scrumptious.  Something I'd never think to try at home but the propane stove is so quick that cooking potatoes to add to a cold salad dinner is no big deal.  Very tasty.

Sam you've created a bad habit for dad.  Now he has to have a drink before dinner every night.  Tonight was beer, most nights it's rum and orange.  He blames you!

We've been watching and enjoying Eureka every night for the last few nights.  With the wind howling through the rigging, it has been a good distraction.  Dad needs some new episodes and new stuff to watch.  He didn't think to ask for anything but if one of you comes down to help him sail home please load some new material for him to watch.  With nights being 12 hours long down here, there's a lot of time when you can't go ashore or work on the outside of the boat and really, who sleeps 12 hours?

Take care,
Love and hugs,
At 22/06/2011 4:08 AM (utc) our position was 17°34.86'S 149°37.09'W

From the Captain's Consort

Well, today was a lost day.  Yesterday we rowed out to the reef early (9 a.m.) and spent a couple of hours snorkeling around and looking at all the magical reef fish.  I had a ball until I swallowed a bunch of seawater and filled my mask with seawater trying to clear it.  (I've obviously forgotten all my SCUBA lessons completely!)  I climbed easily back into the dinghy by placing a milk carton on a rock and then climbing in.  Wish we'd thought of this a week ago!

Sat in the sun a while and let dad swim around then rowed back to the boat towing him and him towing me.  Dad has rigged a handy billy to lift me from the water which we haven't tried but I think will work.

Had a nice lunch at Chez Didier a little snack bar next to the grocery.  Went to another snack bar and I had a passion fruit ice cream and Dad had coffee, a standard treat for the two of us.  I'm trying to work my way through all the flavours except coffee at the snack bar. 

After, dad went to get his wood and I went window shopping.  Lots of neat stuff but most of it is made in Indonesia or other south pacific countries and in no way makes me think of the islands.

The wind howled all night so I snuggled up to dad and slept til about midnight when I woke him thinking the boat had moved.  It hadn't but the wind howling was so loud, dad took down the tarp covering the cabin so it wouldn't beat itself to death.  Not a lot of sleep for either of us so we motored into the bay again this morning. 

After breakfast we fiddled around and finally rowed to shore by noon only to find all the stores closed (everybody shuts down noon til 2 pm).  Found a dead baby swordfish in the dinghy, I guess he was blown in last night. 

Spent the afternoon talking about various ideas for retirement travel and dad's wish list for a bigger boat.  I cooked chicken cordon bleu without the ham for my supper and just chicken for dad with potatoes and string beans.  Nice if bland.  Everything on the island is so fresh provided you buy local like the string beans and pineapple.  Such a treat compared to home.  After supper we got a little rain squall and got some drinking water; dad has rigged a hose piece to the tarp which funnels the water into water jugs.  Pretty neat.

Love and hugs, Mom
At 22/06/2011 4:08 AM (utc) our position was 17°34.86'S 149°37.09'W

Sunday, July 10, 2011

From the Captain on "Lifting Donna"

Before you go much further with thinking about getting mom into the boat, I want to let you know the problem is under control.

First - I rowed mom out to the reef and she had a "magical" snorkel, and got back into the dinghy without mishap by standing on top of a plastic milk crate (that you got in Nanaimo) that was placed on a coral 'rock' in shallow water.  She's pooped and after a good lunch followed by ice cream on shore is snoozing.

 Meanwhile, since the loop of rope with the hose for a foot hold / rope ladder didn't work for her because it swings under the boat I've ruled out those solutions. I dug out the "handy billy" - a 4 part tackle - slung from the radar arch.  A piece of 3" webbing makes a seat and I can easily lift her out of the water.  She's tried it as is, and it works but is uncomfortable, so we'll try it with the red life cushion but if that's not adequate I have a piece of wood that will make a more solid seat - but I can easily lift her up - so for now the problem is dealt with.  Indeed, she may be able to lift herself out with this rig - I can - since the lower double block has a cam cleat so you can haul on the free end and get a 4 part advantage and lift yourself up, the cleat belaying you while you move your hands.  Sort of slick.

In the long term, if it makes sense, I'll get some ss fabricated that can hook into the existing rail and onto the lowest step to provide one or two fixed steps below water level - which is all that is required.  This could support a sort of swim grid if necessary - we'll see.

The islands are nice but very civilized.  The cruising community is interesting as people but the focus is on visiting places mostly to look at people artifacts and cultural stuff - which is fine but not a huge focus for me.  I like the uncivilized and frankly while I'd like to get to the remote islands of the world, I'm not convinced I want to pay the price of the long passages in the stormy high latitudes.  I'm a wuss I guess.  So, I'm debating NZ or just going back to BC to nose around the coast and the wildness there that I like.  Other areas have similar wild places but I could focus on BC without missing much - certainly my confidence at getting places is much increased so this trip has been very worthwhile and I've seen and done a lot that I would not have otherwise.

  Sitting in the lagoon, it's calm, the water is very clear and you can see each little fish under the boat (8' of water over sand).  About 20 great flavors of ice cream (and I can't have any - I tried a sorbet and paid - I think it must have been made with just "a little" cream)  It's warm.  Mom's happy and a pleasure to be with - a treat.

Love Dad
At 22/06/2011 4:08 AM (utc) our position was 17°34.86'S 149°37.09'W

Saturday, July 09, 2011

More of my back yard

This is what the weekend is for... Reading 'The Notebooks of Leonardo DaVinci' on the beach.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

It isn't what you look at that matters, so much as what you see

Summer has arrived, and I mean fashionably late sweeping into the ball room while glitter and confetti descend to the sound of singing virgins ARRIVED! It's HOT, and usually we're used to that here in the sunny Okanagan but this year we didn't exactly get eased into it. It was more of an unceremonious dumping.

I'm not complaining though, because it was pretty neat last night. I felt like a little kid biking home under the street lights... Standing up as high as I could on my pedals *high five*ing the tree branches I could reach, wind pulling at my t-shirt...  sucking in deep lungfuls, thick with the scent of recently bloomed flora.

For a few moments after passing under each streetlamp, I watched my shadow... arms spread, take flight out and away from me... it was timeless and magical and my own little piece of a Peter Pan adventure.

There really is magic everywhere, you just have to look for it! *smiles*


I f&$%ing HATE that (word) - I want to burn it with the fire of a thousand suns. I want the person who first thought of that word to step on a lego every time they get out of bed. Every day. For the rest of their lives. ~z2a forum post
How's that for ruining every day for an eternity in Hades? Oh the uncensored emotion, evoking a gut wrenching grimace born of personal experience. I love it!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Happy Canada Day!

My body feels like it has been reset... after a weekend of extremes it has somehow rolled with it and taken the average... almost a calm after the storm, when the tornado has blown through and you're standing in shock looking at the wreckage wondering what you're supposed to do now.

Last night, that first real hot shower after the weekend... was bittersweet. That hot water feels so good washing off the blood, sweat and sunscreen that has literally bonded itself with the ball dirt into a second skin... but watching it run down the length of the tub and out the drain, well it about saps your remaining energy and you come down from the high of the weekend...

 Not only did you leave it all out on the field, every muscle in your body spent, every ounce of energy reserves used up... but mostly you realize that the friends you reconnected with, and the new friends you made... are people you wont see again, until the next ball tournament. You have to take the good times from the weekend and pack them up and use them to gently fill the aching space left behind.

 It occurred to me, that tournaments aren't always about playing ball, they're a reunion of sorts. When you get that many people together in one place, all with similar intentions... you're bound to find a kindred spirit or two. I'm pretty sure it's good for the soul... because that would explain the contentedness I feel rather than the ouch I was expecting.

This is ground zero, I'm pretty sure the ouch will kick in tomorrow.

I'd like to amend this to note, the ouch kicked in but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had feared... it's great to be alive *s*

Oh right, and we came in second... couldn't find our bats for the last game, but I guess it wasn't that important because I still had a fantastic Funtastic weekend ;)

Some us are quicker than others...

When I read on the toilet, and I sit too long and my legs fall asleep. ~Age 8

When I play Plants vs Zombies on the toilet, and I sit too long my legs fall asleep ~Age 28

From the Captain's Consort

Sorry to hear you lost but I gather you had fun and that's the main thing.  Sat through a gusty wind storm in the bay yesterday and didn't sleep too well last night as the rigging was really howling but it's calmed right down today which is good.

Motored back out to the lagoon and dad got a couple of swims in.  I felt poorly so didn't swim but we did spend the afternoon in Marehpa and got fruit and vegetables from a lady who has a fresh produce stand right across the lagoon from where we anchored.  We shopped this morning at the grocery at the head of Cook's bay and while we got bread for dad (there's been none the last couple of days) we missed getting chocolate (no Cadbury's in that store and I refuse to buy Nestle, I'm still boycotting them over selling formula to third world countries) and their fruit and veg were not great.

After Dad went for a walk part way around the bay while I rowed the dinghy for the first time out to the boat to put the meat in the fridge.  What a scream!  I had no trouble getting in and out of the boat as dad predicted I would but I had enormous trouble keeping the oars properly positioned and they kept sliding in my hands and turning 90 degrees so that they would be slicing the water rather than pushing it out of the way.  They never did this in unison either so I staggered across the bay to the boat like a drunk coming home after the bar has closed.  It must have looked hysterical to anyone watching.  To top it off, I crashed into the boat as I finally got the hang of rowing and didn't realize how quickly I was traveling.  Talk about rattling your teeth out of your head!

Dad has the munchies again.  He's addicted to Nutella and peanut butter and has mowed through 2 big jars in the last few weeks.  It's a good thing they have lots available for sale everywhere.  His other addiction is SunQuik drink concentrate.  Each jug makes up 100 glasses and we're on number 3.  I drink water so in two weeks I'm impressed by how much of the stuff he's drunk.  At least he's not getting dehydrated.  One thing, though that is worrying me is that his right foot and ankle swelled up yesterday and today I noticed the veins in his right calf are distended.  When we tried to look up swelling in the medical first aid book on board we found that page is missing from the manual.  Who'd have thought, eh?  If you get a chance to research this a bit, please do.

Love and hugs,
At 22/06/2011 4:08 AM (utc) our position was 17°34.86'S 149°37.09'W

From the Captain

An update:

Mom went swimming and wore her mask!  Actually saw some fish and seemed very excited about that.  Then backed off because as we got out a bit further the water was a little cooler and her foot started to cramp up.

Paddled around a bit off a small beach in the lagoon at Cooks Bay, Moorea.  It's pretty clear that will be the extent of things.  The big issue is getting in and out of the water since she can't manage the access on the boat or the dinghy. Might try putting together a harness to provide the necessary lift - we'll see.

It's warm, generally calm etc.  Today there's a katabatic wind coming off the island that is providing some entertainment - sudden gusts of 25+k every now and again funnel down the valley and into the bay we're sitting in.  Lots of anchor scope out so we just dance around a bit.  There's a bunch of boats sitting in the bay - Mom doesn't feel secure sitting out in the lagoon at night, so we move into the bay.

That's about it - the boat needs cleaning and I don't feel very enthused.  I found a home for the extra chain on the floor in the forepeak just aft of where the spare anchors are.  It needs to be secured before I go anywhere - I guess that's today's project. (I'll basically deck over the chain in that little triangle of floor space just aft of the spare anchor space).

Take care.

At 22/06/2011 4:08 AM (utc) our position was 17°34.86'S 149°37.09'W

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


Dressed up for work, and riding my mountain bike while my car's in the shop.

Not everyone can pull this look off y'know, especially with the full face helmet ;)

Monday, July 04, 2011

From the Captain's Consort

Happy Canada Day!  It's funny how the feeling of discovering somewhere new hasn't happened to me here, only on the island.  There are too many stone ruins here indicating the large pre European contact population.  Kind of ironic as we wiped them out with VD which we caught from the Native Americans and spread to the South Seas.

Drove around the island yesterday, up to the lookout near the top of one of the peaks and stopped for ice cream at the Agricultural College.  They had sherbet made dairy free so you dad tried the ginger and guava.  I liked the guava.  I had banana ice cream and soursop sherbet which is made from the fruit of the soursop which is tart but a nice taste.  Everything grown here seems to be tart and acidic.  Guess it's the volcanic soil.

Drove around the island trying to find the beach and failed miserably on the north west side.  Found the only easily accessible public beach near the airport.  Beautiful white sand and rocks covered with coral and surrounded by all kinds of gorgeous tropical fish.  My mask worked pretty well and I could see fabulously through the old lenses from 1979.  Guess for all the changes, my eyes haven't changed a whole lot.

Had lunch at a bar on the North west side of the island.  There was a tom cat sleeping on the bar when we walked in who proceeded to move from keyboard, to bar stool to bar counter top and then finally left.  Chickens slipped into the eating area looking for scraps.  Everything is open to the outside.  It's warm enough you can do that.  I had my first hamburger which was quite nice.  They spiced it with a herb of some sort, good flavour.  Prices really high and I'm trying to be thrifty but also know that I couldn't eat a whole regular meal.   Your dad had chicken with pineapple in tamarind sauce with rice and broccoli.  Very nice sauce, I dipped my hamburger into it.

Wanted to see some gardens and waterfalls but dad wasn't interested so we didn't.  The high point was the swim on the sandy beach.  Low point was the wretched mosquitoes that swarmed us after the swim; the first we've encountered.  Got out to the boat with a fierce headache and just watched the sunset with dad in the cockpit while he massaged my neck.  Had a nap but when I got up at 9:30 your dad was in bed asleep so I did without supper.  Slept in spurts and finally gave up and got up 6:15.  Couldn't get your dad moving so missed having another swim as we had to take the car back by 9:30.

Got in a set of Tai Chi on the shore which felt great.  Watched the fish feeding at the deck of the cafe of the Bali Hai hotel where we rented the car.  Great fun to watch.  Back to boat with groceries to answer emails as we seem to have internet.

Take care, love you lots,
Love and hugs,
At 22/06/2011 4:08 AM (utc) our position was 17°34.86'S 149°37.09'W

From the Captain

We'll spend a week or so at Moorea - I feel like I should take out residency here - I've been sitting in this bay almost a month - and hopefully we'll move on to another island or two - she by plane or ferry and I'll move the boat.  I'd like to get to Huahine and Raiatea because the lagoons are supposed to be really good for diving etc, and Bora Bora.  It might be possible to leave the boat at the former for the cyclone season and come back here before heading home.  It would be a lot less effort than going to NZ and back.  It's about 76 days NZ to BC, and about 48 from here.  We'll see, I'm still processing but I do know that while I can manage the long passages, I don't like them.

Love Dad

Mom says to tell you that: "the stars are all different"
 not quite but the pointer stars on the big dipper point down to the horizon - the north star is  hiding, and there are constellations etc. I've never seen.  Can't seem to find a star chart - perhaps if I get somewhere with english it would help.  Went looking for a "fish" book and one on birds in english - best I found was a place mat with reef fish pictures and their names in french, english, chinese and latin - in small print.  It's actually good because of the size and it's laminated.  Unfortunately there wasn't one for birds.
At 22/06/2011 4:08 AM (utc) our position was 17°34.86'S 149°37.09'W

Pump your brakes...

So I had full intentions of doing laundry tonight, after taekwondo... then I decided after I biked home, that I just really don't care if I run out of underwear... I've learned that sometimes you need a break, and if that break comes in the form of buying socks and panties rather than doing laundry, then once in awhile that's okay.

It's not like all the stuff I have now all fits me properly anyways.

Besides that, I can catch you up on all the fun I've been having since... um *sheepish look* game 7 of the hockey game!