Pender Harbour

We’re here in Pender Harbour after a great sail from Nanaimo. I would post some pictures, but it seems that the pub internet we’re on doesn’t like downloading pictures. I’m not 100% sure that this post will download.

In any case, all is well, Technical difficulties are over with, for now at least. I’ll post more another time, but skippers out there – do you know where your heading sensor is? I was wrong about the location of mine, and that, and a can of spray lube, caused all my problems

We had a great time in Nanaimo, complete with fireworks. We thought that they were in honour (I’m spelling Canadian) of our arrival, but we found out they were really for the annual bathtub races. And then we had a great dinner and a great time with Ilsa and Buzz last night.

Tomorrow we’re off to Princess Louisa Inlet, and after that probably Desolation Sound. I’ll post more another time, complete with photos,  if we ever get a real internet connection.

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Technical difficulties, Part II

Health-wise, I’m fine and back to “normal” or whatever passes for normal these days.

The technical difficulties are with Rinpoche. Faithful readers may recall the fuel and head issues I had on last year’s trip north. Those problems have long since been solved, but new ones have popped up to take their place. And I guess that Murphy’s Laws extend to boats as well, with a minor modification. Anything that can go wrong, will. Especially if you’re on an extended trip.

This time it’s the navigation system. It appears that my heading sensor has either died or lost its mind. The chart plotter works, the radar works, and I have course and heading arrows, but none of it works together. The plotter charts function, but the orientation is not correct. The radar radars, but it doesn’t overlay on the chart. The heading and course vectors are all over the map. As a result, it’s hard figure out exactly where I am, and the auto pilot will either have me spinning in circles or send the boat 90 degrees or more off course. That means hand steering all the way, which on a rainy day like today is more than a bit annoying. Thank goodness my old-fashioned compass works.

We’re in Roche Harbor right now, the scene of the fuel issues of last year. I called Raymarine in New Hampshire yesterday for support, but they limit hold times to 20 minutes and then ask for a number to call back on. They promise a return call within 12 business hours. Great. It’s like calling Comcast. Why are all these help lines the same? Are all tech companies evil? I called the local marine service shop here, and even though he was friendly enough, he didn’t have anyone who could troubleshoot the problem with me. He did give me the name of a company in Sidney, BC, about 10 miles from here. I talked to someone there, and they do have the technology to figure this out. Today I’ll try to do an initial calibration (as if it were a new installation)  of the sensor. If that doesn’t work, we’ll head to Sydney and let the pros take care of it.

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Due to unexpected technical difficulties…

We left Seattle by boat yesterday as planned, but turned around an hour and a half later due to technical difficulties. No, it wasn’t the boat. Rinpoche is fine. It was these little buggers -stonesFor a size reference, I put a penny in the cup with a filter in the bottom. The gravelly-looking things are kidney stones. You may have heard stories about how painful it is to pass these things – they are all true! Women with their childbirth horror stories have nothing on me! It’s hard to believe those little things put me in here for a few hours last night -erA little morphine killed the pain, and drinking a lot of water flushed those little bastards out this morning.

So now I’m back to normal, but just to be sure, we’ll wait until tomorrow to try again on our northern boating adventure.

With a bit of luck, the bill for all this will disappear into the ozone while we’re gone. I hate to think what a few hours in ER and a CT scan will cost with my super-duper high-deductible catastrophic insurance plan.

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Now that was fun!

Yesterday evening was a gorgeous evening in the way that makes gorgeous Seattle evenings the best anywhere. Unfortunately I have no photos to share – I was too busy racing. It was a great night for another installment of the Downtown Sailing Series. As you may recall, my last venture ended up with us in 3rd place out of about 45 boats. We had a great start and a good crew, and we were near the front most of the way, getting to the clubhouse before there were even any lineups for hot dogs and beer.

Not so last night. The winds were 8-12 knots from the NW, so we had a broad reaching start. I decided we should fly the gennaker, but since we had never done this before in “racing” situation, and since half the crew had never done it before at all, and since the last time I did this, we had a really violent round up, I wanted to do a practice run. We were running short of time, but we did it anyway. All went well setting and snuffing the sail, but I had a hard time getting back to the starting line in time, and as a result we started about 50th in a class of 54.

As we crossed the start, we set the chute, and we started making up for lost time. By the time we got to the first mark, we’d passed several boats, and passed even more on the next leg, a run downwind. At the next mark, we snuffed the chute, and settled in for a long upwind leg. Rinpoche sails really well to wind, so once we got the sails trimmed properly, we started picking off boats like they were standing still. We passed a few more on the last leg, and ended up 11th out of 54!

By my reckoning we passed about 40 boats, including a few “friends” who said “bye-bye” to us at the start. Very satisfying indeed. Great thanks to my ace crew of Roger, Rainer, and Lee.

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It was a good weekend

First of all, thanks for all the birthday wishes. With the wonders of modern technology, it still amazes me that I can get birthday greetings from all over the world from people I haven’t seen or talked to in years. Facebook and the internet can be evil at times, but they’re pretty good most of the time.

It’s also pretty good of the powers that be to have Canada Day, Independence Day and my birthday all within a week of each other. It makes for a good party time. We didn’t do much special for the 1st, but we kicked off the festivities by taking Rinpoche to Poulsbo for the July 3rd fireworks. We rafted up with ten other boats, most of which were occupied by former SSYC members.

ssycalumniFor those of who aren’t familiar with SSYC, it’s the Seattle Singles Yacht Club. I hung out there pretty regularly from 2003 until I started hanging out regularly with Megan (who was never part of the club). But there are a lot of good people still in the club, and lot of “graduates” of the club. Or maybe “failures at the single life” is a better description. However you describe them, I’m glad we’ve kept in touch over the years.

Then on the 4th we went to a party at the house of former neighbors. They have a fabulous house with pretty good views of the Lake Union fireworks. Again, it was good to see old friends.

And then on the 5th, we had an open house/birthday party at our new digs. We had about 40 people show up, and our new place certainly absorbs people a lot better than the old Fremont digs. Here’s a shot of Megan and me and the cake.

my62 (1)

One of the (few) cool things about summer birthday parties and getting old is generations of kids playing in the yard.  They too had a great time.

kidsplay62bdThat’s Elina in the middle, looking for someone to smack with her foam noodle.

So now it’s back to our “normal” life for a while.

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No, this isn’t a take-off on Jon Stewart’s Middle East rants.

Today is Ste. Jean-Baptiste Day, a national holiday in Quebec. What better way to celebrate than with a mess of poutine.

poutine13And a home-brewed Light Braun Haus Ale to wash it all down.


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Saskatoons at Peshastin?

Holy cow! I’ve been really lax with blogging lately, and then I feel inspired to do TWO in one day!

Megan took me to Peshastin Pinnacles today to take a short hike and look at the rock faces. She has some plans of making a rock climber out of me, and I guess that’s only fair since I’m doing my best to make a sailor out of her.

Anyway, here’s one view from the Peshastins.

peshastinThere are lots of different faces of varying difficulty – some already bolted for sport climbing, and others where you’d have to lay down your own protective devices. It looks interesting, and I think we’ll give it a shot on one of the easy routes if we come out here again next weekend.

But the most interesting thing to me were all these berry bushes lining the trails. There were literally thousands (OK, hundreds) of them.

SaskatoonsIf we do come back here next weekend, I’ll be sure to bring a pail to pick some of these Saskatoon berries. They should be perfect by then. Megan has promised to use her pastry expertise and make me a Saskatoon berry pie, just like Mom used to make back in the Old Country.


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