SO LONG SEPTEMBER…

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See you next year!!  Thanks for some great sails across the Strait.  Yup the Salish Sea gave us some perfect winds on our travels.  That’s the best part about a change in seasons – WIND!!

We scooted across to Maple Bay via Clam Bay and landed in for a Dutch Birthday.  The Dutch do these celebrations right.  There was an abundance of family, friends, great food, awesome music, and dancing.   Thank you Fritz and Brigette for having us to your fabulous party!!

The Skipper surprised everyone when he got up and grabbed the lovely local boat detailer and broker, Bon for a jive.  What fun!!  To answer your question, cause I know your all wondering, the Skipper won’t dance with SS cause she wants to lead…

But along with the fall wind comes the drop in temperatures and FOG.  It’s spooky, beautiful and dangerous.   When it’s thick as pea soup SS gets out the horn and sits at the bow when underway.  When the fog starts to lift it’s pretty safe with the radar and AIS.

We were off the dock at False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf for our last time this year.   After dropping off a treat to the amazing staff, Turk and crew for always fitting us in to their busy harbor, we pushed off.   The winds were NW 15-20 KN with gusts.  Once out of English Bay we set the sails for a broad reach and away we went with wind and sun, HEAVEN!!

Since our destination was flexible we took advantage of the wind direction and headed for Tumbo Island Marine Park, a sweet gem and a forever favorite.  It was rock n’ roll from the swells on the Strait  when we arrived, but it settled down for night.  We woke up to thick fog and no wind so we decided Browning Harbor was our next stop.

Along with a boat party for work mates and visits to favorite anchorages, Hershey and Sideways made the most of our second summer.

Luv it when we get together with colleagues and their families.

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Hello October blog sort of soon with lots of changes to report for Sideways Sally and it’s all very good.  Thanks for joining Hershey, SS and OMOO once again.

Rainy Day People

Here we are in a water fall in Vancouver but enjoying the company of old and new friends and listening to tunes.   We left sunny Maple Bay for one last trip to Vancouver for OMOO this year.   We had another great sail across and still can’t believe our luck with the wind on these crossings.  It was a three hour sail right into English Bay and it was so enjoyable we didn’t want to stop!!

Just before leaving Maple Bay we were refilling our propane tanks when Vic who was so helpful as always, discovered a leak in the hose fitting, so we couldn’t use the stove until we got it replaced.  There wasn’t the right fitting available so we’re on the hunt for one.  However, we can use the microwave under way or when plugged in at the dock.  On our usual stopover in Clam Bay we heated dinner in the microwave while motoring into Clam Bay and reheated it on the engine.  The Skipper always has creative solutions!!

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We got up at sunrise to catch the slack at Porlier Pass and shared it with a tug and log boom.  That was a first!

add video of tug

 

Winds were SE 10-12 knots so we set the sails for a broad reach and got comfy.  Winds were forecast to build to 20 KN but it never happened.  At one point gusts were up to 18 KN so we reefed in preparation.  OMOO sails better upright so we scooted along at 6.5 knots, happy as can be.

 

Jacques and Brenda, whom Sideways met taking Power and Sail Squadron 10 years ago, drove in from Chilliwack in a downpour.  We have a tradition of a visit at Fisherman’s Wharf and getting fish and chips from Go Fish.  We’re SO glad you guys made it in again this year!!  Especially cause we got to cuddle with Milo!!  We really do need to get our own dog.

Fred the Fireman came out to entertain Milo, but Milo wasn’t so sure about him!!

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SS couldn’t wait to introduce some special people to the Skipper so look who came for dinner!!DSCN2187 (2)

Thank you Steph and Jason, we’d LUV to have you come back for a sail and keep you for crew!!  We had a long discussion on how to handle sea sickness and Jason and the Skipper both suffer.  So I guess it will be me and you sailing the boat Steph!!  As we found out already, the guys won’t have any problem finding things to talk about, it’s all about engines and fixing stuff!!

So rain never stops people from boating and things are busy as ever in False Creek.  SS gears up and goes out to check things out.  The neighbors are strolling the dock and comment on the New Brunswick flag hung on our boom.  Especially the ones from PEI!!  These East Coaster’s flock together when they land on the West Coast.

SUMMER FRIENDS

We’ve had a few visitors in our shorter than usual summer.  SS is doing her best to pack in some guests aboard OMOO  while we have a bit of summer left and as always, it is a great pleasure for all.

This is nothing new for us, but this summer had a special feel to it.  After the Skipper’s life threatening event and hospitalization for 5 weeks, it’s such a BIG relief to get our life back to normal.   We are so, SO THANKFUL  to be getting our sea legs back and being able to entertain guests again.  We’re still recovering so the Skipper paces himself and SS has taken extra time off work to recuperate.  It’s all been a little stressful!!

Whether is on the dock in Maple Bay or off the dock and into the wind we LUV LUV LUV filling boat with friends!!

Click on photos for full view and captions.

 

Our first day sailors were flat landers from Manitoba!!  We sailed out of Nanaimo in a pleasant and steady NW 10 Knot breeze which was perfect for first time sailors.  It wasn’t long before one of our guests took to the wheel to get a feel for the wind in the sails.  This is a BIG THRILL for the Skipper, he loves teaching people to sail and see their enjoyment with OMOO’s performance.   So our good friend and crew Tanis, got her 65th Birthday wish from us, which was to take her family sailing.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TANIS!!  Many more sails to come again next year!!

Click on pics for captions.

 

Usually we meet Clay and Kim out on the water in their beautiful Hans Christian SV SUNDOWN,  and we did cross paths once in Active Pass.    We met on land for the first time ever, which felt very different but awesome because we took them to the SAND BAR on Granville Island, met their son, and had a great time.  Check out this pirate!!

Kim and Clay jumped on board for an adventure for the last four years.   We crossed paths with them at Ocean Falls and went hot tubbing in natural springs till the bears got too close.  We met up again in Bella Coola and joined forces to climb the great mountain road – by 4 wheel drive that is…  We’ll be meeting up again on land since these sailors are turning back to turf in their beautiful state of Colorado.  Sundown is an absolutely beautiful Hans Christian which was immaculately maintained if you know of anyone looking for the best value per boat foot!!  Check out their website.  https://sundownsailing.com/

The Skipper often says, “The end of one party is the beginning to the next when Sideways Sally is around.”  Well he’s right, but this time his flat land friend Barb from Winnipeg joined us for 3rd trip on OMOO and we were treated both by the pleasure of her company and great sunshine.  She has been a wonderful friend of the Skipper’s for 15 years and one of his biggest supporters when he needed to recover from surgery.  They went canoeing on the river back then, and now we are very happy when she fits us into her travel plans.  She usually spends the winters travelling to Africa and other third world countries.

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Then of course we had her family aboard when her brother made a surprise visit from Oregon.

 

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Barb’s brother Paul, Barb and niece Meagan chat with the Skipper

Well it’s a rainy day in Vancouver and we’re in between summer and winter.  It’s like living in a waterfall!!  So SS is off to forage for food and wine in foul weather gear.

Thank you as always for enjoying our blog.

Taking Care of Business

One day in the life of OMOO:   While living in Vancouver, our lovely vessel took us on a trip to Indian Arm.  This route is extremely interesting and extremely busy as it takes us through Vancouver Harbor, a very large working harbor full of barges, tugboats, freighters, pleasure boats and bridges.

After all the summers we’ve spent in Vancouver, SS and Hershey have gotten used to some favorite anchorages to head to after a busy work week.  We thought we planned to  go back to Gambier Island when we drifted closer and closer to Stanley Park and kept heading around to Lion’s Gate Bridge.  SS says, “hey, let’s go to Indian Arm, we haven’t been there for a long time.”  Checking for slack tide under Second Narrows Bridge it was perfect for 1 hours’ from then.  Great timing!!  We’ve always sailed whichever way the wind blows.

The city is a totally different view from the water, and just as spectacular as from land or air.  The seawall around Stanley Park is teaming with cyclists and the cruise ships are at dock at Canada Place.

 

Further along the harbor the working boats are in action.  There’s a freighter being loaded, the tugboats are moving barges around and there’s alot of action on VHF channel 11.  Unfortunately we weren’t tuned in, thinking we would continue to monitor channel 16.  OOPS, big wake up call when we needed to call a tug we were overtaking who didn’t see us and cut us off at the pass.  Little known fact, the Skipper struggles with a bit of road rage so SS had to pull back the throttle to slow things down, knowing we weren’t gonna win that one!!

OKAY, on to Second Narrows Bridge, which is a railway bridge which has to be lifted so we can fit our 60′ mast underneath.  SS called the bridge operator to ask for him for a lift which he immediately obliged to and away we went.  Things quickly change from commercial traffic to pleasure traffic and we’re swarmed by sea-doos.  WHAT A RACKET!!

We make our way past crab-pots, kayakers, more see-doos, and poorly marked crab pots with one  being attached to a floating cushion.  Seriously???  We only know that cause we tried to retrieve a free cushion!  UGH, a cushion on a line to a crab trip…  WHATEVER, that will learn us.

When we round the jut-out of Belcarra Park we are delighted to see the anchorage free of other boats and set in at 180 feet of chain for a beautiful sunset and a quiet night at anchor… just what the Doctor, or Mother Nature ordered.

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We’re back out the next day and were ordered by the Vancouver Traffic Control to wait out a barge being towed under Second Narrows Bridge.   While puttsing around and trying to have a look at a refinery, we were again directed to stay out of the way of the working tugs towing barges.  These guys are busy looking after business!!

Vancouver Harbor Control did request that we pass it on to all our boating friends that it is the law to halt all transit under Second Narrows Bridge until cleared for commercial traffic.  Being a 42′ SV versus a 100′ barge being towed by a monster tug, that made alot of sense to us…. we promised to pass that along.

Have a look at the beautiful harbor and inlet of Indian Arm.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Arm

MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME

Five, count them, FIVE trips across the Strait in August!!  We are back doing what we love!!  The Skipper is back in fine form, and Sideways Sally is cheering him on in every way.  This kinda explains why I haven’t been on here lately.

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OMOO has never been happier.  She has taken us on some of the best sails of this decade, she knew we needed it!!  Now take a look at this!!!  IMG_E6262

Sideways Sally did her homework and got OMOO and Hershey geared up early to leave Vancouver and catch the flood out of the Fraser River and get pushed across to Active Pass.  It was Sunday morning and Vancouver was asleep so we had False Creek and English Bay to ourselves, well except for some crazy fishermen bouncing around in the swells.   0600 Hours and we are off the dock at Fisherman’s Wharf. Forecast is for 15 – 25 NW winds and away we go, YIPPEE.  SS couldn’t wait to get out there.

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The bay was pretty rough as the swells had built overnight with the low pressure system moving over South Coast and we were in for a rodeo!!  English Bay is shallow, with depths of 40 – 60 feet till you get past the buoys marking Sand Heads.  The standing waves which are tidal current against wind were building to 3-4′ and OMOO slammed through it.  “That should knock some dirt off.” says Hershey as we hit hard and spilled his coffee.  “HOW RUDE!!”  We were just happy we didn’t have extra guests aboard as it tends to scare them.

We’ve experienced these conditions before at Haida Gwaii so we know OMOO can handle it.   The Skipper on the other hand, gets sea sick so takes 1/4 gravol to keep it under control without going to sleep at the wheel.  Our breakfast for this type of ride is boiled eggs made early and then egg salad sandwiches while under way.  It’s a feat of it’s own to get food prepared in these conditions so the simpler the better.

We reefed the main to 2/3 sail once the swells started to calm down and set the course.  To control how much sail comes out of the mast I hold the furling line on one winch while pulling out the main sail on the other winch.  Winds kicked up to 25 -28 KN with some 30 KN gusts and we were smokin’ along with just the main sail  with a broad reach at 7 – 9 KNOTS.  That’s kinda fun!!

Half way across the Strait winds calmed down and we pulled out the jib.  We were two hours early for slack tide at Active Pass so we dawdled abit before entering, brought the sails in and watched and waited for some ferry traffic.

We only had to dodge one ferry just coming into Active Pass as we were going out, so we hung out in a corner out of the way.  SS had a little panic attack when the Skipper picked a spot right beside the reef with a danger marker on it.  As always we had a debrief about it when things calmed down.   I always know I’m in safe hands with the Skipper at the wheel, I just haven’t had all the experience he has in all different situations.  Have a look at the chart of Active Pass, and pics of the ferries passing eachother.

Montegue Harbour and Active Pass

https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/active-pass-british-columbia.html

The next crossing was a little smoother with steady SE winds heading back to Vancouver from Nanaimo.  The skies told us we’d have a great day for a sail and we did.  Red sky tonight, sailor’s delight!!

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Next morning was bright and sunny with SE winds steady at 15 KN.  We lolly gagged the morning away and got off the dock at noon.  

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OMOO is amazing at 30 degrees close hauled, she skims across the water at 6-7 KNOTS.  We can’t believe our luck with the wind again.   We were steamin’ our way and 5 hours later we’re pulling into the dock at Fisherman’s Wharf.  

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Tea time and Vancouver is in sight.  All of the five trips back and forth from Maple Bay to Vancouver were done with 37 engine hours and one tank of fuel, averaging 6 nautical miles to a liter of diesel.  Our green energy uses the engine power for generating the electric pressure cooker while powering into anchorages, while the auxiliary heat ex-changer dries and warms the boat for extra comfort.  The solar panels keep the batteries charged so everything keeps ticking  (since replacing our starter battery that fried itself the batteries have never worked better)!!

Not only are we the happiest sailors on earth to get a bit of summer weather near the end of August, we are still recovering from a life threatening medical crisis which kept the Skipper in hospital mid-June  to mid-July.  We have to pinch ourselves.

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Friday in the Bay

IMG_6085 (2)It’s pretty sweet being in the bay on a beautiful evening.  Even if everyone is leaving us…

We’ve never been the one’s left behind, but we don’t care, we’re just happy to experience our lovely home on the water again and take in the sights, sounds and smells of marina life and the nature around us.

It’s a good time to enjoy our back yard again.  A kayak out with neighbor Susan did not disappoint!!  Wildlife was abundant and the evening light was perfect for capturing some of it.  Thank you friend.

Today the Skipper is testing out his legs but gets exhausted after a few errands in town.  He’s raring to go but the body says “SLOW.”   More rest and iron rich food will get you there.

So red meat in the cast iron skillet with tomatoe sauce… fajitas it is!!

 

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Things come in threes…

Three left handed nurses in a row last week, three nurses called Sara this week, three averted disasters!!

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new digs back in Duncan

 

The Canada Day week started off with visits and treats from Kevin and Lynn, Keith and Brenda, and it’s so nice to see them all.  We think it’s just a matter of a few days now that the Skipper’s INR level is starting to come up and he’ll be home.

It all started late Tues night, Sideways Sally, being a bit of a night owl that she is, was winding down her day.  After a lovely visit in the evening with our good buddy DJ, most know him as JD on Day Dream and getting all up to date on Skipper to Skipper news,  SS returns to OMOO to find the carbon monoxide alarm beeping away at her.

Hmmm…. checking the setting, it’s low for any detection, but still detecting something.  It’s mystery as there’s no gas on, there’s nothing running like heaters etc and no reason for anything to set it off.  Sometimes these detectors beep at you if they are low on battery but it wasn’t that either.   After checking everything thoroughly and opening some hatches, SS hunkers down in the stern berth with her adrenaline pumping netfix show on Mexican drug cartels,  whaaaaat?? Doesn’t everybody watch something relaxing like this right before bed??

Well good thing I did.  Around 1 am when needing a visit to the head, the sniffer went off.  The smell of hot wires was just at my feet so I threw back the bedding and mattress to uncover the battery bank and there it was, the starter battery was frying itself.    Eeeuuuck,  and there’s acid bubbling onto the floor.  OK, call VIC!!   He’s over in a flash and disconnected the battery and helped slop up the acid and wash down the floor.  After we got it all sorted and thinking it’s all good, I went and made the bed up in the V-berth and by the time I checked on the stern berth I could still see smoke coming up from the battery.  Call VIC again, and he’s back quickly.  This time he took the whole damn thing out of the boat.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!  I luv my dock husband!!

The next day the Skipper is thanking our lucky stars  when I tell him what happened, since that could have ended up very badly.   Not only was he stuck in the hospital, but he might not have had a boat to come home to.   He instructed me to pull off the back of the motor cover and check for more acid  on the pan below all the hoses, which there was so I pour baking soda all over the place which sends up a sizzle as it neutralizes the acid.  More water, and let it sit.  WHEW!!

Scroll and click on pix for headings.

 

So… Thursday comes along and things seem ok, our good friends Richard visit with the Skipper in the morning and Ken comes by in the afternoon with crib board in hand.  I leave them sitting outside at the picnic table to go run some errands.  I come back as Ken is leaving and I go up to see Hershey.  But something is wrong, he’s gone whacky doodle.

He couldn’t remember Richard visiting, and he couldn’t remember his nurse Sara #3’s name, and he said to me, “why are you here?”   When I tell him the sequence of the day and how I’d just met Ken as he was leaving, he started to get frightened.  His worse fear is that he’s having a stroke, although he’s hooked up to heparin and taking warfarin, which is all the reasons he’s there… to avoid a stroke.   So I ask him to lift up his arms, which he can, his face is not drooping, but he’s having trouble with the date, and still thinks he’s in Royal Jubilee in Victoria.

This is really weird cause the hallway bed is definitely not the room with the view, there isn’t even a window!!  So we call Sara over who tests his arm strength and neuro-vital signs which are all normal.  She calls Dr. Gisela (our most amazing primary care GP) who comes right over to do her assessment and orders labs and urine spec.  The whole time Hershey is holding my hand and asks  the same questions over and over, and I tell him each time the sequence of the day and reassure him he’s not having a stroke.  They test the urine,  OF COURSE THAT COMES BACK POSITIVE.  (He’s been sharing the bathroom with 8 other patients)  That’s the reason for the confusion, a urinary tract infection.  WHEW again!!  Stands to reason that this would all be very upsetting.  He relaxes with the news and later gets his dose of antibiotic.

Next day Hershey is all there again, and friends Dave and Beth visit while I make a mad dash to Vancouver to get some medical treatment from my ortho-spine team for my old lady back.  (I frickin luv steroid spinal epidurals)   Out with the tequila and salonpas, in with the new back.

 

Sideways Sally is ready for anything else that comes our way!!

Mostly thinking that’s gonna be a BIG WELCOME HOME PARTY for the Skipper any day now.

Thank you everybody for all the visits, calls and treats.   From the Skipper and SS – YOU ARE ALL AMAZING!!