Monthly Archives: July 2016

TENDER TUESDAYS

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WARNING: RACE TO BUOYS AT YOUR OWN RISK!

We can be spontaneous! Can’t we? Plans changed, our expected company cancelled, and guess what? A long weekend out on our Catalina 28 stretched before us (the first one all season, where the gods had aligned us with a free weekend and a perfect wind and sunshine prediction). At least, that’s what we envisioned…

With 4 free days ahead of us, we toyed with destination possibilities and settled on the nearest – Mark Bay (between Newcastle Island and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island) – a mere 2.5 hour sail away from home! My working senior husband was exhausted from attending corporate meetings in Vancouver and his retired author wanna-be wife was due for a break herself. GREAT TIMING!

We hoped to arrive in time to tie up to a mooring buoy, and actually “vedge” for a couple of nights before a final sailing day home. The Captain visualized himself taking the dinghy over to the Nanaimo Harbour and casually making his way up to his favorite marine store, Harbour Chandler. His crew thought they’d walk the Nanaimo Sea Wall and indulge themselves on French toast and lattés at Mon Petit Choux. Obviously hikes around Newcastle and Protection Islands were also on her list.

Naturally, we didn’t get away until work was put away for the weekend and the boat was provisioned for our relaxing water retreat. Not planning ahead, we hadn’t expected the entire Island to have the same last minute plan as us! Obviously they weren’t working on summer Fridays, as every single mooring buoy was reserved by the time we arrived mid-afternoon. DUH! Oblivious us forgot this was Nanaimo’s BATHTUB RACE weekend! Remember?

NO PROBLEM! We’re old hands at anchoring, I mean, really, who needs to be tied up to a buoy?

Evidently, the Captain did! We no sooner dropped the anchor, that he spied a familiar sailboat motor by us. We had just encountered this boat tied up to a buoy while searching through the marine park. Snap decisions were made! The race to the vacant buoy was on! We’d be tied up for the weekend, yet!  (Much more relaxing when one can never rely on accurate weather forecasts!)

The anchor was pulled up and the throttle aimed forward at top speed. As we bee-lined it for the targeted buoy, imagine our surprise when we found the sailboat’s dinghy tied up to it. He was returning to the coveted buoy!

How deflated we felt as the Captain veered away in search of open water (which was getting less easy to find) in which to drop the anchor, once again. The crew casually questioned the Captain about the depth we were in, as it was obvious that we were experiencing low tide (very, very low tide!). His calm response was, ” 3.5 feet, but remember, I’ve calibrated it to always calculate another 8 feet for keel displacement.”

No sooner were the words out of his mouth, KABOOM! CRUNCH! (Oops! Maybe there was a tad of mis-calculation on that calibration!) You can feel it, can’t you? Yep, we were hung up on some flat rocks about 3.5 feet under us!

 You know the saying, Some days you watch the show and other days you are the show!

Indeed! The tide was coming in, but the Captain was anxious to free us from our stony captor- the sooner, the better. (We really didn’t want to prolong the show, now did we?) Reversing just made us KLUNK into some other stony underwater grip. Once we stopped trying to dislodge ourselves, it took maybe 2 minutes tops and the incoming tide freed us and we motored out of the bay with our caps pulled down low and our collars pulled up high. (The crew half expected to hear cheers as we motored our way out of the bay…)

KeelDamage1

Sitting on the TwoCan beside the haul out dock, waiting for morning to come to assess our damage, we couldn’t bring ourselves to call or message anyone about our embarrassing little calamity. But wouldn’t you know it? Our dear SCYC friends were on their way to rendezvous with the club’s Summer Cruise and caught the Captain’s request for assistance. They followed the entire radio exchange; of course they did! Words out and something tells me a nomination for the annual “MEMA AWARD”(Most Embarrassing Moment Award) will be forthcoming at the Commodore’s Ball this year…

The Captain is still shaking his head in disbelief. “S_ _ _ HAPPENS!@!” … Oops, forgive me, I meant to say “ACCIDENTS HAPPEN!” (Of course I did!)

CaptainInspectingBlemishes

And the woman writing about this little teensy mishap on the water, is in the process of publishing, “WHO’S the CAPTAIN?” Perhaps when you read the AUTHOR PAGE of her nautical picture book, you might understand why this “hiccup” definitely could be possible!

I love cruising with MY CAPTAIN, how about you?  Maybe you’re the CAPTAIN yourself and have some interesting tales to share.  Remember, “misery loves company”! Share some of your stories by clicking on the LEAVE A REPLY (Enter your comment here) below the post. ( We really would feel better if you could top our MEMA moment!!)

 

 

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TENDER TUESDAYS

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MEET INSPIRATION – Instalment #3

I know… I know…. it isn’t Tender Tuesday-it’s Marathon Monday.  That’s the point, I had to write my Tuesday post today…

I want to share how easily it is for me to relate to Dave Alavoine’s cartoons, as well as being inspired. In the PACIFIC YACHTING MAGAZINE (JUNE 2016 edition of COCKPIT CONFESSIONS), his cartoon illustrated a submitted story, entitled, SHORT WHITE WATER. The minute I read it, I was compelled to write about one of our early sailing experiences going through a pass in the Gulf Islands. (I’d love to scan this published cartoon here for you, but don’t want to break copyright.Please look it up!)

Several years ago, when my husband and I had just started sailing a 27foot Catalina, we docked for the night at Maple Bay Marina on Vancouver Island. Rather than start preparing dinner, after a long day on the water, we chose to go up to the pub restaurant. While enjoying our meal, we met a personable couple that were also sailing to Silva Bay (on Gabriola Island) the next day. We hit it off with these novice sailors, who were just like us! They had just bought a 24foot sailboat for some new adventures. He was an engineer and she was a judge and they lived on an acreage on Vancouver Island with their horses. Both couples were excited about being on the  water and we had some fun (and scary) tales to share with one another that evening. As we left the restaurant that night, we agreed to hook up with one another the next day at our new destination.

I’m not sure what they did after dinner that night, but my cautious husband had his charts and tide tables out, figuring out precisely when we’d be going through the Gabriola Pass. Apparently, it’s important to time it right so that you go through during slack water, as the tide starts to change directions.   So we followed our plan, and motored doughnuts at the mouth of the pass, waiting for the exact time that it would be safe to proceed.  I decided to sit up front and watch how my capable husband would manoeuvre the ON EDGE (The naming of our first boat is another story…!) through the pass. Well, didn’t I get a surprise, as we went through the middle of those tidal whirlpools at 7 knots when all 110 pounds of me took on air? Yep, I could have flown right off the deck onto the rocks, but luckily had held onto a halyard, as we approached. Being somewhat inexperienced, once we passed through and hit calmer seas, we both felt simultaneously relieved and exhilarated that we’d made it to the other side unscathed … (Okay, I admit I had a bruised bottom!) We couldn’t wait to meet up with our newfound friends to swap stories!

When we finally arrived at dock in Silva Bay, we spotted our new acquaintances sitting on the back of their small sailboat, sipping wine. They waved and shouted us over. We were shocked to see them docked and settled in before us!  How had that happened? When we inquired how they had managed to arrive before us, when one had to wait to go through the pass in slack water;  our question sent them into convulsions of laughter! Replying between gasps, “We didn’t know about all that, so we just went through when we got there. We shut our eyes and held on when it started to look dangerous and didn’t open them up again until we were spit out on the other end!” OMG! They cracked up over our incredulous expressions- I mean, really, who reads charts and tide tables? DUH! Obviously not this intelligent, professional couple!

I’m sure you’ve been inspired by experiences or artists, as well! I’m posting a print of a painting that Dave gifted me with during a visit to his home and studio (Polaris Design). It is not a cartoon, but a historical painting of the R.C.M.P.’s “St.Roch” – the first West to East transit of the N.W. Passage. This just gives you an indication of the depth of Dave’s artistic abilities. Tell us about an artist that has inspired you to react to their work in some creative manner. (Leave your story in the Leave a Comment section below.)  I hope you’ll look up the cartoon in PACTIFIC YACHTING’S MAGAZINE (June, 2016) to see Dave’s cartoon and understand why it was such a great prompt (and inspiration) for my story.

Dave's_Painting