Mesmerized

Watching the ripples in the reflection of the newly waxed hull, thoughts flood in, like the ebb and flow of the tide…

For those of you who may be new to my posts here’s a little background… sorry to our regular readers but we’ve been getting views from new places. My site allows me to see what country people are from that are checking us out. This month it’s been Germany, Finland, Brazil and Austria. Welcome aboard!!

This blog is a story of an extraordinary Skipper named Hershey who is living his life long dream of living aboard a sailboat and has found his way to the West Coast of British Columbia.  The 1st mate, Sideways Sally photographs and writes about our adventures.  The blogs to date have taken place over the past ten years of navigating and sailing the Northwest Pacific.

We’re a couple of gypsy souls who have faced some challenges to get here.  During boat projects and side jobs we’ll tell you the story of survival and overcoming both medical and personal traumas and why each day we live on bonus time.

It is the beginning of another season of summer sailing. The May long weekend started with clear blue skies and hot temps. So tempting to get out there but OMOO wasn’t ready. Instead we geared up for a short trip to warm up the engine, distribute the fluids that were replaced during the winter months (oil and antifreeze) and turn the boat around to face bow in and work on measuring the new anchor chain in increments of twenty feet.

Sideways Sally and Hershey had been waxing and polishing the starboard side hull so we were ready to start on portside. The sun set about half way from the bow to midships so the waxing came to a halt.

Time for a cockpit bbq!! With the pandemic the live aboard community had kept separated for the better part of fifteen long months. Everyone on G-Dock had been vaccinated and were adhering to local health protocols, so we felt safe to gather. With the meal came much reminiscing of collective sailing stories, laughter and cajoling as we shuffled our seating if someone needed to use the head.

It was SO GOOD to have our sailing family back aboard.

A year and a bit ago, along with the rest of the world, our lives took a drastic turn. We all have our own personal stories of living with the pandemic. When I stare into the mesmerizing reflection of ripples on the hull there is a whirlwind of thoughts. From gratefulness of surviving to the anger spawned from months of isolation cast upon me from my clients as a psychiatric nurse. With all the ups and downs between the work place and personal life, there are a billion thoughts that pummel my brain on a daily basis.

There’s nothing like the mindless physical activity of polishing OMOO to give me a therapeutic sense of accomplishment. SS is ready to go back to the trenches.

Projects and Purge

Spring cleaning started with a boat bottom clean and paint. It’s the first time in OMOO’s life with us that I was not able to do the bottom painting, which I love. I had knee surgery so couldn’t promise Hershey if I could be very helpful this year.

The yard guys at Maple Bay Marina were hired to do the work and help Hershey with changing a through hull in the forward head. (the valve that dumps the holding tank for the toilet in the v-berth) I explain these things for my prairie family.

Up she went…

Hauling out for bottom paint.

Next came the inside project clean up. Sideways Sally (aka boat slave) went to work with the Skipper’s help to sort, stow and purge tools, equipment and duplicate supplies. Surprise, surprise, we find many new items are purchased when we can’t find the old ones we had somewhere in the boat.

Before
After

Sideways can’t live or work the same way the Skipper does so we work at it together and somehow it all works. Secret is, I get alot of pleasure out of mindless activity…

At the end of the day we get to go sailing and meet other boater on the water.

Our first trip of the year is usually Clam Bay

OMOO is happiest under sail. Projects and purging makes it happen. Thank you to the Skipper for keeping the boat in perfect running condition. Your first mate is ready for summer sailing!

48North published article.

REFLECTION

The world outside and the world we create in our minds has never been more affected and connected than by the pandemic. As I sit down to write about the years 2020 and 2021 and how we are learning to live with the pandemic, I’m stopped in my tracks with thoughts I don’t want to think about, never mind write about.

Perhaps that could be the reason it has taken me extra time to post this blog. I started writing this in February when it looked like we might have an end in sight with vaccinations under way. Then the variants started arriving as disruptions to the vaccine supply in Canada occurred. We now find ourselves in a race: variants vs vaccine.

The feelings are real. I feel like the things we all learned to do, like wearing masks, following arrows in the grocery store, social distancing, washing our hands for a full two minutes, only seeing family and friends via zoom (the list goes on and on) are trivial.

And yet, those things are not trivial, they protect us from becoming sick, or dying.

The tragedy of losing someone and the burden of caring for those who became ill are things I only hear about, or watch in the news.

As I watch 2020 slowly fade in the rear view mirror, and turn to face 2021, very slowly my feelings become my thoughts, rambling around, looking for a way out.

Refection

Waves of broken dreams

the first wave spreads across the ocean

to each new continent, another explosion

no visible barrier can stop an invisible foe

The wave keeps coming

we watch and we wait

how to stop it… we don’t know

Mother Earth watches

her spirit weeping,

tears burning

scars

deep upon the people

hard learning, faster to find

the puzzle pieces that heal this time

reflection

March 21, 2021. I’m sitting in bed in my land home in Vancouver, B.C. Canada, listening to the drizzle of rain and the splash of passing cars while I reminisce about 2020. I’m reading this post from a year ago and thinking of all that has passed by. This was the last time I went for a walk before Arthur took me down (arthritis) and how I’m now enjoying a new knee and looking forward to taking that walk again!!

When the Sun Comes Out

We were only waiting for this moment to arrive…

Sideways Sally and Sunshine

After the long winter months of living in a waterfall on the West Coast, the spring sun is immensely welcome. Dock chairs are dusted off and where one or two gather, soon there are five or six.

Happy Hour on G-Dock

Micha, Ron, Mikey, Lora, Lisa

and of course, Shelby

Safety is an ongoing big deal, after a year of living with the pandemic, we are starting to see the light at the end of this very long, dark tunnel. So we sit, distanced but close in spirit as we crack open happy hour.

In the distance, the sounds of machinery coming to life in the boatyard as preparations for the summer boating season commence. It’s a yearly activity, but each time is like the first. The anticipation of spanking clean boat bottoms, waxed hulls and completed repairs lifts the mood even in the moodiest of times.

The promise of letting the lines go, to fill the sails under a warm sun in a fresh breeze is all the motivation sailors need to toil in the lengthening days. So we prepare and take pleasure in doing some boat gawking of those on the hard, while OMOO waits her turn to be lifted out of the water.

Along the docks planters spring to life with daffodils, while snow drops cover the ground in a white blanket, beckoning the summer to draw nigh.

There’s a renewed sense of cheer and happiness in choosing this lifestyle. We take a leisurely stroll along neighboring marinas and marvel at the boats that are docked in the bay.

Strolling the docks at Genoa Bay

Friends and strangers start to wander the docks and stop to say hi or chat awhile. There is nothing like lounging in our cockpit and doing an impromptu meet and greet with people dreaming of the boating lifestyle, or neighbors walking past on the way to their boats with arm loads of supplies for whatever project they’re working on..

One may be surprised at the devotion of boaters. The love we have of caring for and maintaining our vessels is a sign of the joy we experience as we prepare to wander on the highway to the world. It’s the experience of freedom we feel as we harness the wind, which takes us away to new and old mooring fields.

Sideways Sally pages coming soon…

Living on the bed.

Since John Lennon and Yoko Ono there has never been anyone that has perfected living on the bed like Sideways Sally and the Skipper. We are the perfect example of laziness.

Take breakfast for example. The Skipper fills the thermos with coffee, makes toast and boiled eggs and delivers it all to the picnic blanket spread out on top of the quilt. He climbs back in bed and we enjoy peeled and mashed eggs on toast laden with marmalade. YUUUMMMM.

We sip our coffee while watching PBS “Nova” which is always fascinating. We learned about the first chemist who invented cortisone, which is pretty personal for me and my arthritis. It’s so amazing what this man accomplished but what he also endured due to racism. Have a read!!

https://www.biography.com/scientist/percy-julian#:~:text=George%20Washington%20Carver%20was%20an,of%20uses%20for%20the%20peanut.

Last night we had a snack of cashews before we ate the remains of a rotisserie chicken sliced up for sandwiches. Also a very easy and elegant meal to have while living on the bed!!

This may seem like a very weird lifestyle to most but we’ve come to appreciate the simplicity of living in small spaces. It works especially well when the world outside is stormy and dreary, and staying under the quilt is so delightfully cozy.

Join us on the living on the bed challenge and we could share and compare the adventure!! WE DOUBLE DARE YOU. hehehe.

When not living on the bed Sideways is usually out globetrotting with family and friends, enjoying Miriachi Bands under the Mexican sky, scuba diving or sailing under the summer sun with the Aussies.

COZUMEL WITH NIECE JACKIE AND FRIEND TRACEY (videoing)

SOUTH OF PERTH YACHT CLUB, KAROLEEYA CREW – RACING RETRO H-28 SAILBOAT

This living on the bed edition is brought to you by the excellent team of Dr. Lisa Howard and nurses at VGH/UBC who replaced my decrepit knee. Unbeknownst to me I was informed prior to surgery that I would have a partial anesthetic so I was awake for the procedure but numb from the waist down. I wanted to watch but that was a no go. As I laid there draped I could hear all the machinery working away. My favorite part was hearing my surgeon say, “its a great knee, she’s gonna love this knee.” The whole thing was over in half an hour!! Because of Dr. Howard and crew I’ll be back out there dancing and jumping around on sailboats in time for summer sailing. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!

The Skipper has been treating SS like royalty through the first week of recovery, making me feel very lucky. He is a willing, patient and humorous companion and personal assistant.

We’ll be back to OMOO and our G-Dock family, enjoying visits post pandemic sometime in 2021!!

Lovely and serene – Maple Bay

2021

I don’t even know how to start this year’s first blog. But I may as well start with the Skipper’s corny joke this morning as we’re getting dressed to jump in the car and head up the Sea to Sky Highway.

“I don’t even know Howe Sounds???”

We’re feeling strange as we travel out of Vancouver across the Lion’s Gate Bridge. We’re going over the bridge, not under it like we’ve done a dozen times on OMOO. Neither one of us has been past the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Landing but we’ve spent days in Howe Sound sailing and anchoring off Gambier Island or docking in Squamish and walking up to the brewery.

So it’s a start to the firsts of this new year, this breath taking view along the winding drive between the mountains and the sea. Sigh…

We stop to enjoy the afternoon at Porto Cove Provincial Park with some friends who have lit the fire in their campsite. I know, camping in January?? Several of the campsites have tents set up and cooking shelters. IN JANUARY!! I’m close to 20 years on this coast and it still catches me by surprise.

Most of the trips we make by boat to the islands do not allow campfires, so guess how excited I am to be sitting at a campfire!! After dark the hotdogs came out and I was in for a yummy treat. I know, I know, but hotdogs on the fire are a big treat for this prairie girl. We went home smelling like wood smoke and it felt soooo good.

You may be wondering why we’re together in a car driving around the mainland? Well, Sideways Sally normally spends January in warm places, like Mexico and Australia, this year’s holiday is gonna be a little different.

I’m having a morphine holiday while I have my knee replaced. May as well right? Since we can’t go anywhere anyway I figure it’s good timing. Everyone I know that’s had a knee replacement ensures me the new knee is way better than the old one. And who doesn’t like morphine? It makes EVERYTHING go away.

So here we go 2021, looking forward to dancing again… when covid is gone.

Sunsets and Seascapes

Christmas feels like a non-event this year since it’s a different kind of crazy stress this pandemic has thrown at the world. While I ponder in the silence of my bubble, the memories flood in.

Memories of my childhood Christmas pageants at church, followed by brown bag treats or oranges and nuts. Rushing home in the darkness to sit under our brightly lit tree, listening to Grampa’s stories of his memories. Staring dreamily into the hanging decorations that feel like old friends.

Memories of Prairie Christmases. Piling into the car, kids delighting in watching the wisps of frost clinging to tree branches sliding past, glittering in the snow and sunshine. Arriving excitedly to see Gramma B’s sign all lit up outside her door saying, “Dear Santa, Ben, Malena and Chelsea are here!!”

Memories of long tables set in living rooms, surrounded by siblings, and our children in fancy dresses and itchy sweaters. Snow scrunching beneath our boots as we head to the hill, dressed in warm puffy jackets and pants, racing down on sleds with shrieks of glee. Laughter floating across the valleys

Memories of the first Christmas aboard my tiny sailboat Nomad, decorated with live holly, rocking gently in the waves washing into the bay. The boat fireplace casting a magical glow around the cabin. In OMOO with our optics lit tree blinks softly while the wind whistles through the rigging.

Memories of nursing in the hospital over the holidays and the comradery of work families, a bond that never ends. The memory of the generosity of patient’s loved ones bestowing cards and mountains of chocolate treats on us.

The memory building in all of us of Christmas, 2020, creating an experience shared around the world. A time like no other, bringing heartbreak and sorrow to so many. A simpler, strange time of staying apart. A time of fear, of uncertainty and of strength to persevere. Of gratitude for the wonders of science and the history of medical research and cures for diseases around the world.

From our small bubble to yours, we hope with all our hearts that we will all be in a better place in 2021.

Harold and Ruth

Saturday on Granville Island

Between the flower pots and the bakery the Busker sings a lovely French melody that matches the mood today. After all the rain this week colors jump out, while a little summer sunshine hangs off the changing leaves.

The work in the boatyard never ends.

The Pirate Ship is loading up with some tipsy grown up kids who are out for some fun in costume in a pretend world.

All aboard!!

We haven’t been out to enjoy any favorite restaurants, so SS brought a five star meal to the boat. Sirloin steak, smothered in mushrooms and onions, with a potato pouch and corn on the cob, and the most delish bread, all from the markets on Granville Island. I’m never leaving!!

With our amazing views between the bridges and the best marina to spend time at in Vancouver, we are ever so grateful for this month of transition from our summer sailing to our winter homes. We love you False Creek, Fisherman’s Wharf and Granville Island!!

So Sideways Sally will try to blend into the city for the winter, getting through this pandemic like everyone else, just keeping on keeping on.

False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf – A Hidden Gem in the Heart of Vancouver

Check out my second of three articles in 48North

A taxi driver who’s never been to Fisherman’s Wharf descends on Fir Street into the amazing views of False Creek and Fisherman’s Wharf. “I never knew this was here!” he exclaims.

It’s a joy to be sitting in the back seat listening to the Cabbie on a drive from work to the marina, as the expansive panorama opens up once passing through the gate. There are SO MANY varieties of boats, from working fishing boats, to luxury yachts, to derelict boats grandfathered in for live aboards.

Every year OMOO berths at Fisherman’s Wharf for part of the summer season to deliver Sideways Sally back to the working world so she can fill the piggy bank for the next adventure. Every year the kind and professional staff find a spot between the permanent and transient boats where we call home for a few weeks.

This year was different, as it has been for everyone. The pandemic is still in full swing, and traffic has changed on the water. The folks on the docks are few and far between. There’s some traffic in and out of Burrard Civic Marina next door on race nights, but nothing like the hectic, crazy throngs of kayakers, paddleboarders, sea doos and barbeque boats that normally transit up and down the narrow channel of False Creek.

Thank you Turk the Wharfinger and all the lovely staff at Fisherman’s Wharf for another welcoming stay. OMOO and crew have grown very fond of you and your amazing facility over the years.

PS. The book exchange is the BEST on the West Coast!!

False Creek from the walkway to Granville Island
OMOO berthed in her slip with a great view of downtown.
False Creek boats and sky scrapers.
The view from “The Lagoons” which is the condo complex between Fisherman’s Wharf and Granville Island.