Early Christmas with Prairie Family

Prairie family arrived in Maple Bay on a foggy west coast day.   Some travel plans were thwarted when the float planes were grounded in Vancouver, which caused a one hour  door to door trip to turn into a twelve hour adventure by car, skytrain, an almost float plane trip that taxied out into the harbor for take off before being called back in due to fog,  then a bus to the ferry and finally a drive into Maple Bay from Nanaimo.   Better safe than sorry!!   FOG- IT’S EVIL…  I’ll be looking into helijet for these winter trips.

We took the gang to Butchard Gardens on a warm winter night with only an occasional drizzle.    It was a treat to spend time in such a magical setting and a highlight for my oldest sibling Harry who has spent several years on staff and loved showing us around.

Again the fog was dangerously hovering over the Malahat on the drive home.  As we cautiously drove along  my  second oldest brother Rudy commented that “it would be really nice to find a straight road with no trees.”  At this point I  started pondering the trips I’ve made on black ice on those straight roads and -30 when you step outside your vehicle.  I started to like the fog again.

We finally got Herb and Rose up on a float plane out of Maple Bay for a quick trip to Ganges and back when the sky cleared on Sunday.   We’re sipping coffee in the float home when Herb spots the plane that has just landed.  He said,”I wanna get on that plane,” so a phone call later and away they went.


In the afternoon we were treated to tea and treats at our family friend’s Linda and Dirk.  We grew up with Linda on neighboring farms on the prairies.  It’s always a fun walk down memory lane when we catch up with them and  some of the sibs had not been to previous reunions so there was lots of ground to cover.

As we made out way back to the marina we spotted the “Carols Afloat” from the Maple Bay Yacht Club.  It was a calm clear and warm night out and it gets really “Christmassy” watching and hearing the decorated boats playing favorites and calling out “Merry Christmas” to all as they cruise past.

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Back at the float home Chef Kelly was preparing an amazing dinner –  Paella – with chicken, chorizo sausage, prawns, mussels on a bed of rice, all flavored deliciously and enjoyed by all.  THANK YOU KELLY AND JEN!!!   Kelly was back in the morning to cook  a frittata and pancakes for us.  I’m sooooo happy we met those many years ago on our motorbikes!



It was awesome to have my prairie family here with my west coast family.  Thank you all for coming.  We had a very enjoyable time.

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Left to right – back row: Harry, Dirk & Linda, Kelly, Harold, Jennifer, Irene.

Left to right – front row: Herb & Rose, Barry, me, Rudy

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“Family is Family” by Kasey Musgraves is my favorite song to play after a family reunion: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6p5mfBHZuE

Next stop, Christmas with my kiddos, can’t wait!!

November Sunshine

I never get tired of the view from the office towards North Shore Mountains and False Creek with it’s stunning back drop of high rises and reflections of the sun rising and setting.

Vancouver broke a record for days of sunshine this November and it truly was a treat to experience, especially through a month of work and work outs and not visiting OMOO or the Skipper.


BUT,  December is here and there’s some catching up to do with family and friends in lovely Maple Bay.  This is a fav winter scene from our home on the water.


So thanks November, for your sunny kindness!!

Awe-inspiring Autumn


There’s some new beginnings this October for Sideways Sally… after getting off the boat (OMOO I miss you!!) I had changes to make, and it’s become awe-inspiring.

adjective: awe-inspiring

Arousing awe through being impressive, formidable, or magnificent.

“Michelangelo’s awe-inspiring masterpiece”

First of all, I switched the B&B I’ve stayed at for 5 years to a brand-new beautiful house with a gym in the garage. The owner is an impressive 80 year old woman who looks and acts 60. While she was helping me drag my luggage up two flights of stairs I saw how fit and strong she is. She gave me inspiration to get into better shape. I hired her trainer and got to it.

I found Dolores when I was between moving from my rented room at Cambie B&B onto the boat last spring and boat projects were delayed due to damaging winter storms that held up the repair shops for longer than expected.  I took to airbnb and found my new winter home.

The new digs gave me another part of Vancouver to explore. The neighborhood is near Shaughnessy which is home to streets lined with beautiful trees guarding historical mansions of brick and mortar. Not much further away is the VanDusen Gardens which is paradise to wander through, so colorful this time of year.

Over the five weeks the skipper was in hospital in the summer I ate my stress. A pizza, a bag of chips, washed down with a bottle of wine really packs on the pounds. One of the specialists I see put it all into perspective as I struggle to get my back pain under control. He said, “Imagine carrying a 25 lb backpack around all day.” That would hurt, and I was hurting myself.

My new routine included a new job!! I switched from 12 hour shifts to 8 hour shifts in community mental health. I left the setting of acute mental health and rotating shifts. I’ve never worked Monday to Friday in my entire career. This was traumatizing to say the least.

Six weeks in and here are three things I love about this job:

a) I love my clients wherever I work so that part didn’t change.

b) A sunny office, with autonomy to arrange my day to juggle the needs of my clients. I’m an old pro at multi tasking and it makes me happy. My computer station includes a sit-stand desk top, so I can get off my rear end as needed.

c) I get out and about, I either walk, take transit or grab a car-share to wherever I’m meeting my clients.

My case load is 60, about 40-50 are stable at any given time and 10-20 may be in crisis or need extra support to deal with what is going on in their lives. Sometimes they require hospitalization, to see their Psychiatrist, or a change of medication. I can be helping with getting applications done for health coverage, disability or simply handi-dart. I can be doing therapy with a young 20 year old with childhood trauma.  You name it, I do it.

It’s never the same day twice.

It’s a big change for me not to go see the Skipper and Omoo on my days off, but between work outs, grocery shopping for healthy food choices and getting rested from the work week, the days fly by. 

We did have a rendezvous on land in Nanaimo over the November Remembrance Day long weekend, met family and friends for dinners and had NOTHING to do in our hotel room. It was perfect!

I’ve booked vacation times in 2020 to give me some longer weekends, a trip to a warm beach, and time off for sailing.  

 SO… I think I can do this!!



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!!


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!

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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!!


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.


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!!

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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.


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.



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.