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.

Sunsets to City

UPDATE: 48North published the 2nd article in a set of 3 I submitted. Have a peek!

It’s been a month of transition for OMOO and crew. Sideways Sally is back to doing a job she luv luv luvs. The Skipper is into project mode and taking advantage of the city dock with extra good amperage for the tools and equipment. Along with some new boat neighbors to chat up, he’s a happy camper.

YES, we are being super Covid cautious… Masks, disinfectant, taxi to work and back, and no late night clubbing. We did brave the masked multitudes at Canadian Tire yesterday to get an air filter to tape to the fan to filter boat air. The Skipper found it terrifying until SS took him for a coffee and cookie treat. I’m not sure what scared him the most, SS driving a Shared-Modo van, dodging mad drivers, or the crazy old white guys that won’t wear masks.

The smart filter we got can read the air quality via bluetooth so our phone can tell us how we’re doing. We can’t smell smoke!! This is a good sign, the fan/filter has been proven to work over the previous years of forest fires.

Now, we sit on a Sunday morning sipping our coffee for hours, chatting with kids, grans and friends. Well, we were interrupted by the mobile poop pumper who came to empty our tank.

By late afternoon there’s some lamb chops marinating, we’ve caught up on the latest news from family, the CBC and of course, whatever social media is spewing.

Here’s some favorite sunsets, sunrises and people!!

Fisherman’s Wharf has always been good to us, we enjoy the friendly and helpful staff, and the working boats are impressive!

Whales, Dolphins and Bears

I’ve learned it’s really hard to get good pics of humpbacks.  These guys are everywhere south of the Dent Rapids, this one had a baby with her and what a show it was as we sped past them at 11 KNOTS with the current.  No chance of slowing down unless we wanted to go back through the rapids as the tide changed.

DSCN4437 (2)

The first week of August has been full of  awesome surprises.  We left the Broughton Archipelago, bidding it farewell from Lagoon Cove.  We left the most awesome sights of our summer sailing, we thought….

Preparing to go through the rapids and timing our passage as we left Shoal Bay we were accompanied by the “bullet dolpins” which is what I call these black and white creatures that dart back and forth under the bow and pop up to say hello.

The next surprise was a bear on the shore in Port Neville as we ducked out of some headwinds on Johnstone Strait.  We headed into the back roads to bypass the strong currents and winds against us and anchored in Foreward Harbor, one of our old favorites.  Coming out the next morning we squeaked past the tugs and logbooms starting their tow in Welborne Channel.

We needed some supplies so after Green Point Rapids we docked at Blind Bay Resort and treated ourselves to dinner and live music at their attractive restaurant.  YUMMY!!

We stopped in Van an Dop Inlet (pretty sure that’s spelled wrong) and then Gorge Harbor which turned into a bit of a fiasco.  A boat came in with a jib sheet hanging over the side and jammed their prop, causing the engine to cease just in front of us.  They quickly dropped their anchor just before dark. I’m sure they were relieved to hear us call on the VHF to help them solve their problem.  The next morning one of the lady crew jumped in the water and untangled the line, and the motor started right up.

Later on we were relaxing in the cockpit after getting laundry done, and our neighbor stopped by on their kayak to tell us there is a rock near us.  We fired up the chart plotter to have a look and sure enough, it’s too close for comfort.  Up came the anchor and because it was so crowded near the marina we went to the far end of Gorge Harbor where there was this treasure anchored.DSCN4457

We are at Heriot Bay and woke up to a Humpback feeding along the edges of the shallow water.  What a wonderful way to start the day!!  I can truly say the sights since leaving the Broughtons have been a very pleasant surprise.