Then and Now… WOW

JULY, 2018

Crew change in Port McNeill  with Ken our faithful crew coming aboard so Sideways Sally and the Amazing Janaye with her Mom Jackie could catch a ride back to Vancouver with Tanis, the other half of the Ken crew.

MUGGED BY HUMPBACKS!!

Well, the East Coast Skipper had seen alot of big whales in his day,  Right Whales in the Bay of Fundy, Humpbacks off the coast of Newfoundland,  but never this close up.  He also took many, many friends out sailing on his Tanzer 22, and had great times which make great stories.  Sideways Sally has heard them all, but my favorite is when he was out with a certain friend who’s name is changed to protect their identity.  “Charlie” was always keen to join Hershey on the water, and since he’d been out quite a few times, the skipper felt confident one fine, calm afternoon that Charlie could take the helm while he went below decks to make a cup of tea.

The skipper is very happy when people come aboard and show interest and share his love of sailing.  He was feeling life was quite perfect that afternoon, nothing is more luxurious than sipping  tea in the cockpit in the sunshine.  Giving Charlie his last minute instructions to go on either side of the fairway buoy that was just ahead of the boat, the skipper thought it was all very straightforward.  As he was below letting his tea brew there was a loud “thud” and a sudden jolt that sent the tea flying.  Looking out the hatch he immediately saw that Charlie had ran smack into the buoy.   The skipper shouted, “either side was open and clear, why did you hit the buoy?”  To which Charlie replied, “I couldn’t make up my mind which way to go.”  Luckily there was no great amount of damage, just spilled tea, so away they went.   The skipper still scratches his head when he tells this story now.

Sideways Sally is determined to put a secret camera on board when the Skipper and his mate Ken go out adventuring.   She really needs to know how they manage to do everything just fine without her.  This year they had a wonderful time eating chili several times a day for days in a row,  (which Tanis had prepared ahead of time) so why cook if you don’t have to?  They also manage to anchor safely then drink beer and play chess to their hearts content, not always in that order.   No one is telling them when to get up, clean up, or how to do stuff, and it’s a happy, messy men’s world at sea.   It’s not all smooth sailing tho, and it’s normal to have things break on a sailboat.

This year they broke the throttle cable, but no panic, they were able to motor into Forward Harbor and put the anchor down, then put their heads together to jury rig a solution.    Ken and the skipper go way back to working together in the window business in Winnipeg Manitoba.  Hershey was the engineer and Ken was in quality control.  What two better minds to fix problems!!

In no time they had a line running from the fuel throttle inside the engine compartment, up through some plumbing tubing through a hatch to the cockpit,  and taped in place with electric tape, then tied to the rail beside the helmsman’s seat.   All the skipper had to do to run the engine was pull on the line running to the throttle which is spring loaded, and he could control the speed of the boat while under power.   It felt and looked like he was holding the reins of a horse, YEEHAW!!

No doubt this was all done with alot of laughs and alot less time without the instructions and suggestions from the 1st mate.   They truly have a good time with their trips together on the water.

This year they were in for a special treat.  They were SO thrilled and scared shitless all at the same time, to get mugged by humpbacks.  This is the day every boater dreams about (OR NOT).  Ken especially has always wished to get the experience of being close up and personal with some wild life since his boating times are once or twice a summer as timing allows.  His wish came true and he caught some great video of humpbacks “mugging” OMOO barely more than an arms’ length away.

What a show these large humpbacks put on,  coming over to OMOO who was stopped with the engine off as soon as they saw the blows.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU KEN FOR SHARING YOUR VIDEOS ON OUR BLOG.

NOW WE CAN HARDLY WAIT FOR NEXT SEASON!!

 

Then and Now with James and the Amazing Janaye – July 2018

 

IMG_4242Along came James, Harold’s  son, and there were many hours spent on the Tanzer 22 getting James acquainted with sailing from the early age of two while still in diapers.  Through the years James brought friends aboard and appeared quite content to occupy his time playing games with his friends or reading.   Harold was under the impression that James was not particularly interested in sailing but none the less it was a way to spend time with his son so Harold always encouraged James to bring as many friends as he wanted.  James took lessons, then enjoyed the sailing dingy Harold had bought for him.

 

 

One day to Harold’s great surprise James announced he wanted to do everything on the Tanzer to get her ready for a sail.  Harold asked if he needed his help and James replied, “No Dad, I’ve watched everything you’ve done” and was very capable of getting the boat ready for setting sail.  “This brought tears to my eyes” is Harold’s memory of that day.

Teaching sailing has always been an informal passion of the Skipper’s and this summer we had the awesome surprise of having a lovely young lady aboard who took to sailing like a fish to water.  THE AMAZING JANAYE came from Manitoba with her Mom Jackie (niece to the 1st mate) and set sail from Port McNeil to Sointula on Malcomb Island to Blackfish Sound and back to Port McNeil.  In the few short days aboard, Janaye advanced from novice sailor to experienced deck hand and crew, asking all the pertinent questions and understanding the answers and directions in a heartbeat.  She helped tie the lines when docking, adjusted the fenders, and even reminded us when we needed to move the fender step from port side to starboard side at the dock.  While at anchor she asked “what do we do if we start to sink?”  So we got out all the safety gear and explained the EPIRB, the waterproof VHF, the flares, the emergency food and water and explained the reasons why we may need to abandon ship, along with all the safety mechanisms on board to keep us afloat.  Janaye and her Mom seemed reassured we would be safe in case of disaster.  (We were anchored within the bay at Port McNeil at the time but wanted to keep their first experience safe and secure)  Coming from a 10 year old from the prairies the questions were extremely appropriate and showed us the wheels were turning and she truly wanted to gain knowledge and understanding.   The Skipper was THRILLED, and before the first sip of morning coffee Janaye would ask “Harold can we play chess?”  and they were off.  They got along like long lost friends and life on board OMOO was a dream come true for the Skipper.

 

 

Thank you SOOOO MUCH Jackie for bringing us your delightful daughter to spend some time on the water.  Looking forward to your next visit on OMOO.

Here’s Janaye’s story of her trip on OMOO.

 

 

PSS… She’s adorable and she gets an A for effort on the anchoring (35 ft depth so 120 ft of chain down).

 

THEN AND NOW

Then and Now 3

THEN

Reaching adulthood, Harold graduated high school and got a job at a pickle plant in Sussex, New Brunswick.  He was saving money for university and started that fall in St. John then went to UNB in Fredrickton to get his Bachelor of Science in Engineering. He worked the summers, first painting houses and then got hired by Warnock Hersey testing bitumen at the Irving Oil Refinery. Then tested concrete when the company set up a lab in St. John. After his 3rd year he tested bitumen at an Imperial Oil Refinery in Halifax.

Sailing was still a priority but he didn’t get back to St. John often since he didn’t have a car. Once, he took the train and went sailing again. After 4th year Harold got a job at Fraser Pulp Mill in Edmunston, N.B. in the engineering office. After graduating in 1971 at age 23 engineering jobs were hard to find close to home so he took a job in Labrador at Wabush Mines which was an iron mine. The job lasted two years, and he did not enjoy it but it was good experience. He was foreman in maintenance, and the equipment was huge.  By now he could afford a car, and since it was a very isolated location he put his car on the train to get in and out. There was good skiing and he often went night skiing and could view the northern lights.

He’d saved enough money to take a trip back to Holland in 1972 to visit his grandparents. His cousin Hessel was married by now to Selma. Hessel worked on the family tulip farm and had built a forklift that would attach to the back of a truck. The forklift was for lifting boxes of tulips. Hessel was approached by an owner of a silage processor to make some forklifts for him, which was the start of further development of fork lift factories, pattening the product and shipping them all over the world. The machine was called the Kooi Ap (the family name, ap meaning monkey in Dutch) and was later sold to Telladine then Moffat. Now these machines are seen everywhere. IE – on the back of Home Depot trucks.

The engineering gene was strong in this family. Although Hessel had trained in horticulture, he experimented all the time. Hessel later built a sailboat that could walk up the beach. He had bought a 30′ steel sailboat with an unfinished hull and deck. The first thing he did was cut off the hull at the water line, then welded on his own hull and a keel that would split in half and would come out like wings to form two platforms that would hydraulically walk up the beach so his kids could step off the boat and play close by.  Harold’s connection to Hessel and his family had a big influence on his life and he thoroughly enjoyed spending time with them.

Harold left the Wabush mine after his 25th birthday and looked for a job in St. John. He was hired by Lockwood in Moncton, as a plant engineer in window manufacturing. This afforded him the means to buy his own sailboat and in 1975 at age 27 he bought a brand new – right from the factory, Tanzer 22 #1017. He sailed on weekends out of Schediac (lobster capital of the world). He sailed up and down the N.B. coast and to P.E.I.  He named his boat Joshua after whom he thought was a loyalist ancestor. People would ask him if he’d named the boat after Joshua Slocum who was a famous sailor (1st man to sail around the world). Coincidently, there is a Harold Upham in California who is also a famous sailor (for extensive sailing trips) and he also named his boat Joshua. These things are known due to the internet.

Many things were learned on these sailing trips. On one trip to P.E.I. he blew the Tanzer logo and number off the sails from sailing in too big a wind. He also found out the lockers in the cockpit were not sealed or waterproof when his gas tank started banging around when they were taking water in over the side of the cockpit. He bailed in a hurry to stop the boat from sinking.

Later on he moved the boat to the St. John River at St. John Marina. He was on the river every chance he had, also leading to lots of learning.  One time he went on the wrong side of a buoy and slid the boat straight onto an old barge and found himself and Joshua lying on their side until the tide came up a bit and the boat slid back down.  Another time he had to tack quickly while sailing under the spinaker ,to get out of the way of an oncoming ferry, he beached the boat, so he took the spinaker off and they were able to shove the boat back into the water. There were many, many days of joyful sailing and running aground regularly. There was a deep drop off at the river’s edge, allowing Joshua to sail close to shore, close enough to pick the flowers, but then the river would suddenly be shallow and they would run aground. The river was warm so Harold would jump in the water and push his boat back into the water and keep going. There was no depth sounder or radio.  Often times friends and family came out on weekends when everything went right!!

One holiday Harold took the opportunity to sail on a 125 yr old schooner off the coast of Maine with 15 other passengers. This was alot of fun, he remembers being the only Canadian.

No physical symptoms of Marfans developed during this time, other than Harold was unable to develop strong muscles. His grip was always good, which he feels was from sailing, and his work was not physically taxing.  He lived on oatmeal, peanut butter sandwiches and sardines. He tried learning to cook which was “hit and miss” He’d took Power and Sail Sqaudron Courses so would grab a Sub Sandwich and eat it in the parking lot before attending a course.

NOW

Blind Channel is a welcoming spot for fuel and a few provisions. It has a current running through which either helps or hinders boats from docking. The wind and current weren’t in our favor but with a little help from the dock hands and crew of the other boats we might hit we tied up in a mix of rain and sun. The next morning was foggy but it burned off by noon which is when we needed to leave to hit the slack tide at Green Point rapids, then catch the current through Whirlpool Rapids and land in Forward Harbor for the night.  While getting off the fuel dock at Blind Channel when Grant and Lesley from Maple Bay were tying up so we waved hello and goodbye.

In Forward Harbor we found our next door neighbors from Maple Bay anchored, or rather they saw us coming in and yelled a hello while we were anchoring. It was a fun visit aboard “Gypsy Spirit” that evening, with their salmon chowder and our chili with homemade bread and some lovely wine. We learned something new from Chris and Susan, that KY Jelly can fix anything!!  Apparently the lube is effective for more than what it is intentioned!!

Off we went the next morning into Johnstone Strait with forecasted gale winds but we got lucky and were out and into Port Neville before the winds got going. We explored the inlet and went through the narrow channel into upper Port Neville which has good holding in a protected anchorage. There were some old pilings and logging equipment on shore and other than that we had the inlet to ourselves. The NW gale did blow up that night and we could hear it overhead without any waves building so we were very comfortable.

One thing about an anchorages like this is it gets so dark, especially with a cloud cover, that we sleep very well and wake so rested.  Back out into Johnstone Strait in 8 knot winds. We’ll take it!! First a whale watching boat came by and pulled alongside close to ask if we’d spotted whales anywhere, the passengers all waving at us. That was a first, we usually watch the whale watching boats to see where they are to spot any whales. We had not seen any so away they went. A little later they caught up to another whale watcher and found the pod of Orcas. We watched for awhile from a distance then continued on our route to Port Harvey.   A pod of dolphins visited, swimming in the bow wave, always delighting us with their company. SOOOO beautiful.

We reached Port Harvey and tied up mid-day, ordered our home made pizza – George’s specialty (the marina owner) and took a little walk up the ramp to a lovely bench looking over the bay. We learned later that the industry in the bay have been expanding against by-laws so Marina owners George and wife have taken their opposition to the Supreme Coart of B.C. So, things aren’t always as peaceful as they seem here in these remote islands.

Off the dock just as Susan and Chris from Gypsy Spirit arrive, we say hello and goodbye and head up Chatham Channel to Tribune Channel and enjoy a sail under light winds and more visits from Dolphins. They say hello very briefly as they are obviously in the middle of fishing, then dart back to their side of the channel foraging for food.

We anchored in Kwatsi Bay in low cloud. We are in one of our favourite spots as the dolphins come in for night and we watched them in the morning.

The biggest thrill of the trip happened the next day, as we motored past Trivet Island, we were hailed on the radio, asking more details about OMOO (size and make). Then the person on the radio announced they were the previous owner. Switching to another channel so we could talk more Harold talked to Denny on Jersey Girl, whom he had so hoped to meet at some point. As the boats got closer we cut the engine and went of deck to say hello. They said they were very emotional seeing us as they loved OMOO and only had to give up sailing due to aging and being unable to manage the climb in and out of the cabin. They were on a 60′ yacht.

We were able to ask why they named her OMOO and Denny said exactly what we had researched, OMOO is a book written by Herman Melville and means “Wanderer” in Polynesian. What an awesome chance meeting on the water. Later at Sullivan Bay some other boaters who met Denny and his wife at another marina, said they were telling them of our meeting with tears in their eyes. We could tell by all the extras on OMOO that they had put alot into this boat, and I had relayed to them a little bit about how the Skipper being an engineer had kept everything in great condition.

We carried on to Sullivan Bay, feeling very VERY lucky about our experience and so happy to be where we are, in a life where dreams come true!! Sullivan Bay is a lovely posh marina run by American float home owners. Everything is done up beautifully and we thoroughly enjoy our stopover. The next morning we are lounging in our dock chairs enjoying the surrounding view while waiting for slack tide at the Narrows to enter Drury Inlet. We meet and chat with our neighbors, Peter and Helen. Peter is celebrating his 82 Bday today and we wish him Happy Bday. Then ALOT of big power boats pull in, obstructing out view and as space runs out on the dock, we run away to get the quiet anchorage across the way until slack tide.

We find Drury Inlet to be quite desolate, even the little marina in Jennis Bay has been abandoned. We anchored in behind a small island which gave us protection from the wind and had another dark peaceful night. Next day we woke up to low, low tide and alot of exposed beach on the bay. We researched the time for slack tide to get out thru the narrows and I will now describe what I am going to call a “Pseudo Slack” and I have promised the skipper to blame this on the chart plotter. It turns out we went against the current at a very dangerous time, having to dodge debris, weeds and underlying rocks between whirlpools and 7 knot current. We got pushed around alot and crawled over to some back eddies where we were going 9 knots with the current suddenly, and then back into the whirlpools and junk. What a stressful ride. I would call it thrilling but my mind was busy thinking of all the possible things that could go wrong, like a log popping up and hitting the hull, punching a hole through the fiberglass, or getting caught in the rudder or propeller and wrecking it, making us lose steering or power.  That along with it being dead calm so we could not have sailed back out of the narrows. I also wondered how would the dingy respond in this situation if we had to abandon ship.  Where was my knife in case I have to cut the lines to the dingy quickly??  Well OMOO did not let us down, but got us through safely.  Both through the narrows and our stupidity for not figuring this out accurately.  WHEW, were we happy to get back to calm waters and an uneventful trip across the Queen Charlotte Strait to Port McNeill.

Here we are, another week of adventures, all intact, just like it never happened!!

THEN AND NOW

Then and Now 2

As Harold grew into his teens, the invites to go out on boats continued. At age 12, Al Trafton took him out on the family’s wooden 40′ sailing vessel. Al’s wife, son and daughter were there, and Harold remembers Mrs. Trafton cooking their evening meal, the smells wafting up through the companion way, teasing a very hungry crew.

The intrigue of sailing grew and Harold couldn’t get enough.  At age 13 Harold’s father bought an 11′ Japanese fiberglass Cat boat, a monohull with one mainsail. Harold and his Dad sailed on Bell Isle Bay up the St. John river. The first trip out was most memorable, “when we swamped it after about five minutes.”  We pulled the sail down and paddled back to shore.

After a couple of years his Dad bought a 16′ sloop, a McVay fiberglass sailboat which they named Wejari, a name that combined Harold’s sisters’ names, Wendy, Janie, and Rinte. When asked where Harold fit in, in reference to the name, he stated, “I fit right in the boat, we had alot of fun with that boat.” The family mostly sailed on the St. John river and on holidays sailed it to Prince Edward Island and camped in two tents.

In 1964 at age 15 the whole family flew for the first time to Holland. The flight took 13 hours in a Locheed Constellation. Everyone got sick since the plane would not fly very high and experienced constant turbulence. “It was awful, and I thought I was going to die. Everyone was throwing up.”

The next year Harold few back by himself on a DC8, which was much more comfortable. He worked on his grandfather’s farm where he drove the one cylinder diesel tractor.  Once when he was raking the hay (a machine that turned the cut hay over to dry it) he got the wheel stuck in the mud, but his Uncle Hessel who was only six years older helped him get it unstuck.  Their friendship grew with the time they spent  together and this became a very meaningful relationship.

The sailing continued with the Dutch relatives with Grandfather sailing the Frisian Lakes on a wooden 18′ sloop. The most memorable thing about this experience was sailing the same level as the reeds along the shore, because the water table was so high.

Harold thoroughly enjoyed working with the machinery, and watching his Grandfather invent a tulip sorting machine.

Harold grew very fast during his teen years, so fast he had stretch marks on his legs. He became very thin. Ever since he was little, when he got upset his heart would squeak. His parents took him to be checked out by their Doctor, who sent him to a cardiologist but nothing was done.  Little was known about Marfans Syndrome back then although in the 1800’s Dr. Marfan had discovered what was then called the”Spider Syndrome.” (google)

It was quite unusual to be so tall since all the Uphams were known for their short stature, even to the point of having to place their coat hooks at about waist level to most people. Harold’s father was 6’1 and Harold grew to be 6’4″. This became a bit of a challenge when it came to fitting on small boats!

DSC_9136
Dad, Harold, Janie on Dad’s lap, Rinte and Wendy

NOW

DSC_9140
Toba Wildernest Marina at sunset.

After leaving Toba Wildernest Marina, where we met many other boaters at the evening happy hour, we headed for Frances Bay to position ourselves for an early morning start up Bute Inlet.

We were hauling anchor by 6am and as we passed Bartlet Islet we had a “blow” alongside our starboard bow. Harold saw it and yelled”whale.” I immediately grabbed the camera and got onto the deck to take pictures. There were two humpbacks who circled OMOO and swam under us and circled again. This went on for about 20 minutes, and was SPECTACULAR!!

DSC_9181

In our experience so far, we have seen many humpbacks but they always seem very illusive and disinterested, sounding very deep when they are spotted and swimming far away. These two seemed very friendly and curious, almost too close for comfort.

As they left, they gave us a whale tail wave.  What an immense thrill we had waiting and watching them swim and then surface the other side of us. This all happened as the sun was coming up over the mountaintop and glimmering in the water where the whales swam… pure magic!!

DSC_9197

We continued up Bute Inlet, hoping to catch the inflow wind, as per guidebooks. I thought I’d read the winds were inflow in the morning and outflow in the evening, but this morning the wind was opposite, with a 20 Knot outflow wind gusting to 30 Knots as we rounded some of the points.

It’s a 35  nautical mile long, winding inlet so we hugged the lee shore when possible to take advantage of the current which was in our favor and stay out of the wind at least part of the time. No sailing today, too bad.

The wind abated as we reached the head of the inlet where the heat intensified and brought out the horseflies in hordes. By the time we anchored it was all we could do to combat them with our squirt bottle of vinegar. They go crazy when you spray them with vinegar and leave as fast as they come in, but we were quickly losing the battle.

We anchored in the shallowing mud flats and got below quickly to put up the screens so we could open the hatches to catch  some cool breezes coming off the snow fields and glaciers. The horseflies covered the outside of the screens while we sat inside, comfortable with the solar panels supplying power for our fan, blowing cool air out of the bilge and the fridge, keeping our beer cool.  Other than the pesky flies we had the inlet to ourselves, at least on the water. On the shore on both sides the loggers were busy.  One side of the harbor held the camp barge, about the half the size of a football field,  for accomodations, cooking facility and helicopter pad, while the other side was active with chainsaws and equipment moving the fallen timber. The helicopter was busy at lunch time taking the loggers back to camp, with several trips overhead. It all quieted down by 5 pm, and an even cooler breeze sent the flies home as well.

This was our chance to enjoy the views from the cockpit. The majestic mountains surrounded the harbor, making one feel like a very tiny part of the grander scheme of things. The grandeur of the hanging glaciers mixed with the wildness of the sheer cliffs and crevices paint a picture of abandonment, except for eagles, bears and cougars that roam, foraging for food.

We checked the depth sounder again and seeing that it would be too shallow for low tide, moved OMOO out to a deeper spot with 30 feet of water under us.  It’s tricky anchoring at the head of these big inlets, as you can see on the chart below, it shallows quickly, going from 130′ to 22′ then to 2.5′.   Feeling  comfortable with our position, and the calm conditions, we set the anchor alarm to warn us of any movement and retired early.

DSC_9260

At 10PM it was like someone flicked a switch, and we heard the far off howl of a fierce wind coming down the inlet. Within minutes the waves built and OMOO was at the rodeo. The skipper went up to check the depth sounder and the wind speed to find gusts to 40 knots and 12 feet under us. The wind had blown us onto the more shallow mudflats, with the tide going down. The plan was, if the anchor chain let go, which was highly unlikely, but possible due to the blasts of wind and wave movement, Harold would start the motor and head over to the logging camp for temporary moorage.   We had experienced winds like this before, at anchor in Crescent Bay, in Haida Gwaii, and the Rocna anchor held then so we were confident in the Rocna, BUT ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

We prepared for all night anchor watch, making coffee with the hot water we keep in the thermos, ready at any time.  The skipper took the first hour, while I,”as an exercise only” prepared the ditch bag, checking all the essentials, including the EPIRB, waterproof VHF radio and flashlight, flares, knife, water, food and enough medication for a week for the skipper.  Then I rested, although there was little chance of sleeping, to prepare for my turn on anchor watch.

Just before 1AM and my turn, someone hit the switch and the wind died as fast as it had come up. Setting the clock alarm for 6AM to check where we were at at low tide, we fell back into bed thanking our lucky stars that we didn’t have to pull an all nighter.  When we woke at 6AM  we had returned to where we had anchored and the depth was 30 feet. WHAT A RELIEF!! Back to sleep for a few more hours before hauling anchor and heading back down the inlet on emerald green seas, enjoying the beauty surrounding us and feeling comforted knowing the boat and crew were prepared and able to continue exploring the long inlets of the Broughtons, our destination for this summer.

Riding with the tide we cruised along at 8-9 knots, making the trip much faster than we anticipated.  OMOO rounded Stuart Island by 3pm, ahead of slack tide at Yucalta Rapids, Gillard Passage and on to Dent Island Rapids.  It was an uneventful trip with the 1st Mate on the wheel through the rapids, just the way we like it!

DSC_9208

After attempting to anchor at Shoal Bay, dragging on kelp, we opted to tie up at the dock and enjoy an evening at their friendly pub, and a night with no concerns about wind, or dragging the anchor.

DSC_9272
On the dock in Shoal Bay
DSC_9277
The gardens behind the pub at Shoal Bay

Once again we were HOME SWEET HOME, which is wherever we are moored or anchored at the moment!

 

 

THEN AND NOW

A Sailor’s Story

THEN

Born on March 8th, 1948, in St. John, New Brunswick,  the first child to Stuart Upham and Tine Kooi, a boy sailor named Harold Hart Upham.

Stuart and Tine met and fell in love in Holland just after WWII ended. Stuart returned to Canada and awaited his bride to be.  Tine was able to find passage once all the soldiers had returned home, on a “Liberty Ship” These boats were built to bring supplies to Britain during the war, then used after the war for passenger liners. Tine arrived in New York in July, 1947, eager to join her fiance and start a new life, full of  adventure and promise.  The harbor was cloaked in such heavy fog that the ship had to wait outside the entrance for the fog to lift. As Tine stood on the gunnel, waiting anxiously and watching for Stuart, a  man approached her and asked her whom she was meeting. She replied, “my fiance,” then the man said, “oh, it happens often that they never show up.” This made Tine even more nervous while there was no sign of Stuart.  Meanwhile Stuart had been waiting for word of whether the ship had entered the harbor, and when he found out he went straight down to meet Tine.  Reunited and greatly relieved after the long separation, they traveled back to New Brunswick by train and were married shortly after.

Their new life started with Stuart resuming his job as a tea buyer and taster, while Tine cared for their growing family.  Four children and six years later, many adjustments were made for an immigrating bride. In Holland Tine’s family had always had a maid, so we can only imagine the work involved, learning to cook, clean and wash diapers!! Harold remembers his mother being very nurturing, with a European influence to her decorating which was very pleasant.

Trips abroad were arranged every few years to visit the Dutch relatives. The first time Harold went he was 2 1/2 years old. It took 10 days to cross the Atlantic by boat, arriving in London, then transiting to Rotterdam, where the Grandparent’s would pick them up, then drove across the Oflodyke (21 kms long) to their home in Friesland.

Harold’s first memory about small boats was approximately at age 5 or 6. He remembers looking dreamily at a sketch in a magazine of a sailboat called “Flying Cloud.” He mused that this would be a nice way to live. The magazine was from the 20’s or 30’s, “Dad never threw anything out.” At age 7 he found Popular Boating magazines and was fascinated by the Chris Craft boats. Since they lived in a harbor city there were plenty of boats to admire whenever the family went down to the sea.

Stuart started telling some of his friends how interested his son was in boats and it wasn’t long before he was invited to go out on their boats.  Norm Harrison took him out on “Oh Yes,” a power boat, and Dr. Murphy took him out for his first sail on his day sailor, which was a small sloop.

In 1957, at 9 1/2 the family returned to Holland, again on a Liberty Ship, the “Grote Bear.” They return trip was on the Dutch luxury liner “The Van Oldenbarnevelt,” which later, sadly burned and sank off the coast of Africa.  Reportedly, the Greek crew and owners all jumped ship, leaving the passengers behind. Luckily, everyone was rescued.

“Mom always got seasick, she brought alot of comic books for us to read”,   “We read them all the first day, but there were kids’ activities to participate in and jigsaws to build things out of wood, and lots of kids to play with.”  The children’s area was at the stern.

Click this link for a video of the Van Oldenbarnevelt.

 

NOW – 2018

Seven decades, and 8 years living aboard OMOO, a 43′ Jeanneau DS and fully enjoying taking trips up and down the West Coast of British Columbia, the Skipper and 1st mate set out for another summer sailing adventure.

Leaving the dock at Maple Bay Marina, which is home port, on June 23, our destination is north to the Broughtons.  The skipper spends his winters doing maintenance and repairs to get ready for the summer trips.  This year one of the projects took “forever” to complete, so we left anyway.  The furnace which had failed, was removed and sent away to be repaired, and the installation and bleeding all the lines of air pockets was a “nightmare.”  BUT, if we never left until everything was ready, we’d never leave, so we left anyway.  The tools and project materials were not so carefully stowed in buckets and boxes in the V-Berth.  No room for guests yet!!

Our first night we were back to Clam Bay, our 2nd home, and an easy sail within 2-3 hours. After a peaceful night at anchor we’re off to transit Dodd Narrows at slack tide, along with a dozen other boats.

The weather changed suddenly from calm and sunny to torrential rain and increasing winds, so we gave up our usual plan to catch a mooring buoy at New Castle Island across from Nanaimo Harbor and radioed into the Nanaimo Harbor Authority to request overnight moorage, as did the other dozen boats coming from Dodd.  It was pandemonium on the dock in a storm, with everyone arriving at once and the warfinger running around like mad trying to direct traffic and catch lines. Everyone eventually got tied down, but the scariest moment for us was pulling around the breakwater into the marina at the same time a 45 foot American power boat that was having trouble docking and decided to back out, without looking.  We swung out of his way just in time to avoid a collision. “No slamming on the breaks out here.” Not even the woman on the stern was looking back, they were all looking forward at who knows what.

But, we were headed to the wilderness and this is all part of boating, “Anything can happen.”

OMOO loves having company and so after docking, Harold’s nephew Di and wife Sarah arrived for the evening, we are getting to know them better as they are the only relatives on this coast, and a very fun young couple to chat with.  In the morning good friends arrive to catch up, Ken and Tanis are our long term friends and crew, they help us with haul-outs and come sailing every summer. They are a total joy to have aboard.  Rick and Wendy found us while out for their morning walk along the boardwalk surrounding the harbor.  Rick and Harold met at Van Isle Marina when Harold first bought his boat, then later Harold followed  Rick to Maple Bay Marina, which is the perfect live aboard community.  It’s all good on OMOO when friends visit.

DCIM101GOPRO

We pushed off the dock later and slid over to the mooring buoys at New Castle Isl for a restful night so we could set sail in the morning.    We motored out of the harbor inside New Castle Island where there are hundreds of boats at various marinas.   It was an extremely low tide due to the Super Moon so care was taken throught the narrow channel.   Unfortunely, one beautiful new sailboat had hit or run aground, which is a disturbing sight to see.  There were a few power boats there to assist but they may have had to wait for the tide to rise to get off the rocks.

boat aground

Winds were 15-20 knots NW on the Salish Sea, and although our original destination was Comox via French Creek we quickly ditched that plan opting for a better transit with the sails close hauled heading across the Strait.   Jedediah was within sights but the sailing was so sweet we kept going.   We ended up on the Sunshine Coast in a favorite anchorage in Secret Cove. IT’S A SECRET WHERE WE ANCHOR!! (cause we managed to figure out the code for a yacht club)

WE LUV A GOOD SAIL AND WHENEVER WE HEAD OUT WE KEEP A GENERAL DIRECTION IN MIND, BUT ARE FREE TO GO WHERE THE WIND TAKES US.  WE CONSIDER THIS THE BEST WAY TO MAKE THE MOST OF OUR SAILING TRIPS AND IT’S WHAT THE BOAT WAS BUILT FOR.

Leaving Secret Cove in cloud and light winds we motored north to Texada and pulled into Sturt Bay. The docks at Texada Boat Club are inviting and very protected from the NW winds.  The walk around town and up to the pub (which burned down 2 years ago and is now refurbished and reopened) is a treat for a meal and a great view.  Next day we are again off under motor in light wind and clouds and occasional rain showers.

Lund has a destination bakery and is a treat we never miss. Every year it’s a must to stop and enjoy visiting Nancy’s Bakery for the best sourdough bread in the world. The Boardwalk Cafe for evening music and a delicious Boardwalk Burger which is their lamb burger. BUT, our most important tradition in Lund is to have a tool sorting party while listening to some good country music by Corb Lund.  We get the music going and if anyone on the dock is from Alberta they’ll recognize it and mosey on over. Harold doesn’t quite get the attraction but he suffers through two full CD’s, which causes him to sort the tools faster so the music stops. We get the V-berth free for extra company and stuff stored where it belongs once again. The final adjustments are done to the heating system so we can use the furnace in the long deep inlets where cooler winds blow down from the snow fields and glaciers. The laundry gets done and more fuel, wine and groceries are acquired so we’re set for the wilderness.

Once again we’re off the dock and away to Desolation Sound, under sail to another favourite anchorage at Walsh Cove.

We decide it’s a good opportunity to practice a stern tie, as every year we seem to forget some important steps. WELL THIS YEAR WE GOT THAT PART RIGHT. Alighning the boat so it’s perpendicular to the tree we’re tied to became a major F*#k-UP. While I scrambled ashore with the end of the stern line I miscalculated which tree to tie to, which caused us to be 45 degrees to the shore with a very picturesque rock wall that we snugged up to. We joked about how close we were stern-tied, almost being able to walk off the stern onto the rock!! This was ok when the wind stayed calm but later that evening the wind blew up and we were getting way too close for comfort so off came the stern tie and in came the anchor. We like to mix it up.

The skipper had a bit of a medical issue the day before (he was peeing blood) but once it resolved itself he felt SO GOOD he agreed to come ashore to Gorges Island to visit the Oyster Catchers who so enthusiastically inhabit the island with it’s gazillions of oysters.  Well, getting him into the dingy is like getting a giraffe onto a trampoline. What do we do with those 4 foot long legs?? Now, understandably, it’s one of the reasons he doesn’t particularly enjoy getting off the boat at anchor, but today he was committed to being a good scout and taking part in a little trek to the island. This all went horribly wrong after landing the dingy in a shallow approach on the rocks, where I stepped out and held the dingy in place so long legs could get himself sorted and out of the dingy. One foot on a rock and the second foot on the way onto another rock, realizing a little too late it was wet and slippery. SPLAT!! THERE WAS 6’4′ OF HAROLD FLAT ON A BED OF OYSTERS AND BARNACLES, NARROWLY MISSING HITTING HIS HEAD ON ANOTHER ROCK. It happened so fast!! Then the bleeding started, with cuts to ear, hands and knees. BLOODY HELL, there was blood everywhere. He bleeds like a siv, (due to his warfarin).  What a sight and what a shock, we both scurried back in the dingy and got back to OMOO to clean and apply pressure bandages to stop all the bleeding. We then soaked his clothes and cleaned the trail of blood off the dingy, stern and cockpit. Once we got a bit more settled down, seeing that it looked worse than it was, and realizing it could have been so much worse, we were very relieved he was ok.  He won’t be getting off the boat while at anchor again any time soon (likely never).

Later that evening we had a small fireworks show from someone on the island and it was a perfect ending for our FUST (f*#k up stern tie), BLOODY HELL dingy trip and CANADA DAY.

HAPPY CANADA DAY, WE ARE SO HAPPY TO BE ALIVE!!

Well that brings us up to today, where we now are at Toba Wildernest Marina, with a breathtaking view, power to shine more stuff and wifi to write more blogs!!

 

CLOSE AND CLASSY SAILING LOCAL

Every spring we’re itching to get out there and every spring we’re delighted all over again with Clam Bay.  A short sail north from Maple Bay in Stuart Channel past Tent Island, nestled between Penelakut (Kuiper) Island and Thetis Island, this is a spacious and protected anchorage.

One of the things we love most about this anchorage is the exposure to sun.  After the long winter months of cloud and drizzle we can’t wait to soak up some rays and Clam Bay is the place for that.  Along with abundant wildlife and an easy dingy ride through “the cut” to Telegraph Harbor Marina or Thetis Island Marina for supplies or treats, the holding is great and shelter is abundant for north or southerly blows.

Pictured below is “the cut” on an airial photo.  Click on the links.

https://mapcarta.com/24191516

http://www.telegraphharbour.com/

Omoo has been known to seek a quick overnight stop in Clam Bay while waiting for slack tide in Porlier Pass, only to extend that to three days of luxurious lazing and boat gazing at the multiple vessels that come and go, using this for a convenient stopover.

Once rested and ready to go again, replenished by the quiet nights and feasting on sitings of magnificent activity of eagles, raccoons, geese, ducks and seals, we carry on to further destinations.

But Clam Bay feels like our second home.

 

Boat Slaving

Every spring it’s shovel out from a winter of living aboard, airing out and cleaning out inside and beating the ocean back off the outside of OMOO…

Then there’s the projects the Skipper has been dreaming up and working on all winter, like…NEW SAILS!!  He says, “It was a job from hell,” getting all the measurements done and making sure they were accurate.  Thanks to all who came along on the dock with extra tape measures, string and accompanied Hershey on the deck of OMOO to get it right.

IT WORKED!!  The old sails are tucked neatly in the storage locker “in case.”  The skipper announces during a midnight chat, after all that work, that the the new main may be lighter than the old main (sail), meaning the boat slave – 1st mate – must drag it back to the boat.

If you roll your eyes in the dark can you still see the whites??

Let me explain.

Boat slaving has it’s challenges.  OMOO has to get ready for summer sailing, which means extra parts and pieces get moved to the storage locker.  This is a 4 x 6 space that acts like a giant jigsaw puzzle, or Jenga game. It towers up three sides and Sideways Sally could be buried alive at anytime under the extra sails, tools AND stainless steel collection.

Yes, the skipper is a mechanical engineer with a lot of amazing ideas and collects all the parts and pieces to make them happen.  He’s also rapidly approaching the status of a hoarder.  One of these springs his March Birthday present is gonna be a BARGE!!

TOOLS OR FOOD… We have everything we need to keep the vessel going and fix anything.  Sometimes we stuff enough dry and canned goods between the drills, socket sets, grinder, even a welder to sustain the humans.   BUT… boat safety first!!

Back to the storage locker, with a new 4 tiered shelf, the sails and stainless steel collection back against the wall, and enough room to enter, it’s once again a safe space to actually find various items.   The boat slave calmly explains to the Skipper that if he wants the old sails on board for summer sailing he will have to disassemble the storage locker to extract them.  He decides we don’t really need them after all.

Here we go summer sailing with the new rags!!!