Sunday, May 17, 2015

No, we haven't dropped off the planet....

Hello everyone,

You could be forgiven for thinking we'd taken wing and flown off to some uncharted place.... somewhere that doesn't understand currency, mean dogs, paper work, home inspections, renovation challenges, that water 'always' runs down hill... even if your house is in the way (no we didn't have a flood), and somewhere without communication and technology.  Sorry I haven't written for a while.

We have been busy; very busy.  It feels like we work from dawn till dusk... but we are slowly moving forward, toward the place where we can dust ourselves off and carry on enjoying life, sailing, gardening, and just plain hanging about with our friends.  Sounds marvelous doesn't it?  We think so.

You know we bought a house and moved in on March 2nd.  From then until May 5th we have been living on plywood floors and using our camping chairs and dishes (with a few additions here and there) and a borrowed blow-up bed; and we have had workmen (painters, plumbers, floor layers) in and out of the house much of the time. While that sounds rather uncomfortable, it's been pretty good.  We've had a chance to get to know the house and property better and to make wiser decisions re the priorities of the renos' we had hoped to complete.  Suffice to say by May 5th we had a fantastic drainage system in place, new carpets and flooring, fresh paint on the walls and a few changes to the gardens and yard completed; and we now sit surrounded by boxes of gear we hadn't sorted before packing up the old house.  It's amazing how much 'stuff' one (or two) can collect over a life-time... and it's crazy how some things (that look like absolute garbage to someone else) can feel like such treasures of days gone by.  Like Dosey.  Oh, never mind, I expect you've all got a stuffed pink cow you nursed through years of your childhood....  You know what I mean.

Like all of life there have been some celebrations and some trials over the past couple of months. One of the neat things that occurred is the retrieval of our little dinghy... the one that we bought in 2005 and then carried aboard Shannon all the way from Victoria to the Sea of Cortez in 2011.  During that trip it sat semi-inflated, lashed to our bow, while I scrambled over it.. jumped on top of it.. abused it in many ways... yet he was still there, ready to go when we arrived in La Paz.  'Dobbey' as he was named (after the famous house elf) served us well during our explorations of the Sea.  The first year we left for the season he was deflated and shoved into Shannon's not-so-spacious interior.  The second year he was deflated, wrapped up and tied up with rolls of shade cloth and yards of line... and then strapped onto Shannon's cabin top. Then, to add insult to injury, he was dragged off Shannon, lashed onto the top of Chuck (you remember Chuck the truck) and driven north, back to BC, where he was then unceremoniously dumped into the workshop/garage of a good friend who didn't mind keeping him for us until we found a home.  Well, we picked up the little dinghy last week and carefully unwrapped him in our back yard. I'd figured he'd be crispy and cracked in most of his folds....but, no, to our grand surprise he unfolded very well. While scrubbing him off (he was covered with wind dust and road dirt) I did hear a tiny hissing and discovered one small pin-hole on the port side rear pontoon.  That is the ONLY one discovered so far and Kathy has already done a fine job patching it up. This morning we're taking him down to the water in preparation for a short outing on Mojo. I must tell you I am very impressed with this staying power. In case you're interested, the dinghy is a 2005 Aquapro 8'6" with an aluminum bottom.  You've seen photos of it on the blog and I can tell you that, so far, it has handled up to a 4 hp, 4 stroke Yamaha outboard with no difficulty.  It's also a delight to row as the aluminum hard bottom has a good keel to it and, overall, it's quite light to carry.

Princess Sophie is doing well.  She is definitely getting older..sleeping more and less inclined to play with her toys... But, she is healthy, she is happy, and she's really enjoying her yard, her short daily walks, and of course...most of all... her garden chair. Kathy and I are also well, albeit a little tired with all the unpacking.

Tomorrow, all going well, we're going to take a few days off and go 'floating' on Mojo.  Probably not far, but the change of pace will be great. Oh, did I mention? The little ship Mojo was actually together enough to participate in this years Sail Past for the Maple Bay Yacht Club.  She was a long way from the prettiest ship there, but she strutted her stuff, enjoyed a brisk sail around the bay and managed to pass the Commodore's platform without hitting it and with a sharp release of the jib, a snap of a salute, and a sound retrieval. What she lacked in looks, I believe she made up for in performance.  

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying early summer. I know we are and we count ourselves lucky that we are into our new home and already looking forward to a full summer. Take good care out there. Enjoy, and 'live' every day.

CJ










Monday, March 9, 2015

Finally... A new address...


Still out there?  Waiting patiently for some news... any news?? Sorry for the lengthy pause...

You would be forgiven for thinking we'd scored seat
​s​
on one of the new, private 'flights' to the moon...  Given my propensity for typing (oops,
​j​
ust dated myself... make that
​'​
hitting the keyboard') at all hours of the day and night, what else could have wooed me away from these magical keys?

​L
et's just say
​ we've been busy.​
Not only do we have a new address, but we
​have​
 also moved
​ in​
.
​ We're not fully installed yet as we still have some painting and flooring to do... and ​
​our furniture and belongings will remain in the care of the moving and storage company until we're ready for them.  But we, the Princess, four camp chairs, a low profile marine cocktail table... AND a couple of duffle bags full of clothes - have moved into our new digs. Oh, and there might be just a few boxes and bins of stuff that have tagged along and are stacked in the 
garage
​.

​We're really happy with our new home.  It's best described as an older but very well maintained rancher with a basement and it sits on an almost flat .48 of an acre of land.  We're in a quiet cul de sac and look across the street at a small neighbourhood park. We're right in the area we had hoped to live; not far from where we were, but in a much flatter area and with a little more room to breathe.

Let me share with you a delightful moment.  You may recall our Princess hasn't had the best of years.  And, although she's doing very well, she has become a little jaded with the lack of a steady address.  In fact, the other day when I said something about going home... she just rolled her little eyes...  "Home, she said, Which one this time?"  Anyway, last Tuesday, when we opened the front door to our new, empty home... she rushed in ahead of us.  Head high, eyes sparkling, little tail wagging she woke up right before our eyes.  With a big smile on her face she set off to explore.  She literally ran down the hallway ahead of us, checking out each room as she went... popping back into the hallway to keep her eye on us, and then running on to the next room to check it out.  I thought she was going to feint when we showed her the backyard. Typical poodle.. she thought she'd walked into the biggest salad bar in the world.  Caught her trying to eat her way through the yard (not possible).  She was so excited she ran in circles on the grass... just beside herself.  She was one happy little girl when she flopped herself down at the end of the exploration.  "This, she said very clearly, shall be my new home... and I love it".

So my friends, there you have it.  We've been off the air waves, but we've made progress... finally.  It feels good to be settling in... it feels darn good.  We all needed to take a break and spring is a beautiful time of year to be getting to know a new address.  

SV Shannon's Spirit is doing well.  She had a pretty major leak coming in from a starboard stanchion that has now been repaired and she is rests peacefully in the storage yard, waiting for the new season next fall.  We're sorry to have had to miss a sailing season... but it seems we have done some good work here at home.  It's all working out.

Thank you again, from the bottom of our hearts, to our friends and family who have been so supportive as we've worked through some pretty tough decisions. We are so blessed; by life and by friendship. 

We hope you are enjoying what spring weather you can.  I'm feeling just a little guilty when I look out the window at the daffodils... with the knowledge friends in the east may miss theirs completely by the time their snow drifts melt away. 

May the warm winds of March and April bring smiles to you all... adios for now.  CJ



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Had a good time, but glad to be home....

Hi everyone... I arrived home last night safe and sound. I am pretty tired after two days of traveling but so very glad to be home. Had a good time working on the boat and SSpirit seemed to enjoy the attention. We'll post some photos when we have time. Hope all is well with all of you... Enjoy your day... CJ



Sent from my iPad

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Winding down...

It's lunch hour here at the ship yard... a very humid and muggy lunch hour (we're expecting rain); and I'm just taking a moment while I wait, to check in. Tonight's my last night sleeping on the boat. I move off to a nearby condo tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to miss my little, nautical, messy cave. I've grown accustomed to tripping on the wobbly floor board on the way to the heads, banging my knee on the rolled up dinghy as I pass, and peering out the small windows trying to see... each time a big tractor towing a boat rumbles by. The drivers are very skilled and can wheel a huge sailboat around like it was a Dinky toy (for those of you younger than me... Dinky toys were cool and not what you might think). Those of you my age or older know exactly to what I refer. My English racing green sports car was my personal favorite.

I've spoken to a few of you and admitted that I'm tired and ready to come home, and that is true; however I do want to say that I am so glad I came down. So glad to have spent several weeks getting to know the SV Shannon's Spirit, and also glad to have had the time to make some repairs and improvements. This is a great boat (still small enough I can call her little... especially when you see her lined up with all the other beauties down here :-), and I'm really looking forward to actually heading off to continue our explorations on her. Anyway, I'm glad I came and I'm also happy it's time to come home. I've been missing my 'family' and it's time to rest up and knuckle down at home and find some new digs for the spring. I also have several projects already waiting for me... And quite a few more I'm bringing home with me.

So I guess that's about it... nothing much more to report. I'll spend Sunday and Monday resting, reading, watching football (along with the rest of the US world on Sunday) and perhaps writing. Then early Tuesday I'll be on the road starting my two day trip home. There won't be much to report so you'll likely not hear from me until...well... until something juicy happens worthy of reporting :-)

So for now me amigas y amigos... adios and farewell... Take good care of yourselves? Oh, there is one more thing... Kathy reports that Miss Sophie, Sophia, Princess Sophie (PS), Her Exalted Highness (HEH), etc., etc., is doing GREAT!! AMAZING!! and, well... hot damn!! That's good news. Adios.

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, January 22, 2015

All in a day...

It's 1102 hrs. and the Norther (wind) just arrived. The mast's a thrumming and the hull is trembling... I'd heard it was coming in the afternoon so did my ride to the Lavenderia (at the opposite end of my cycling world) this morning. Glad I got back before I had to peddle into a headwind. Even had the smarts to stop for a few groceries... So I'm good now... For a few days anyway.

Just found out that my plans to move into a condo and move the boat to the storage yard on Feb 2nd need to be revamped. Seems the 1st is a Sunday and the 2nd is a holiday... So the new plan is... Move off boat on the 30th and move boat to storage on the 31st. Alas, that means I ll have to spend the 1st and 2nd just hanging out in San Carlos... Drats. Oh well, I ll must have to make the best of it.... And get busy with my work for the next 7 days....

Hope all is well with all of you.... Signing off for now and going back to work... CJ



Sent from my iPad

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My computer crashed today...literally

Well, actually it was last night. My faithful old netbook slipped through my hands on its way to the charging table. Yup, it crashed. It didn't break physically, but it is now speaking in gibberish and I've had to ban it to the "going home" bag. So, I'm afraid (or maybe you'll be glad) my highly entertaining, stimulating and hysterical posts (just kidding) will be reduced to these email format little notes for the rest of my time down here. Sorry. I'm far less eloquent when I'm hunting and pecking with two fingers and repairing the damage caused by my dragging little finger as I go along. As well, my Ipad often thinks it knows what I'm trying to say and puts words (usually the wrong ones) into my mouth. So, if you read something sometime that just makes no sense... we'll just blame the IPad for that... OK?

Work here is going well and the days are nice and warm. Not so the nights though; they are dipping down to 45 and 50 degrees... Brrrr.

Must get back to work now. I hope you are all well and enjoying your day... Take good care. CJ

Sent from my iPad

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Short History of Progress… by Ronald Wright.

Now, let me be the first to say that I am no intellect. In fact I strongly suspect I was kind of burned out by the time I retired and I’m still trying to recoup my faculties. However, I want … no I need… to tell you about a book I just read.  It’s Chucks fault really… There I was casually discussing my love of Wilbur Smith stories and Chuck up and starts talking about history. And then he starts rattling off quick descriptions of books he’s read.  I’m not sure when he had time cuz even as we’re having this discussion he’s busy chipping and painting and sawing and all sorts of things trying to get their lovely boat (SV Dream Catcher) ready for the water. You remember Margie, who was with me when I crashed my bike.. well kind of fell off slowly… anyway, Margie and Chuck have a 44’ Cal and she’s beautiful.  They have worked so hard.. redoing the entire bottom; even painted the hull sides… boat looks great… went in the water today. I shall miss them in my dusty old work yard.  Oh yeah, the book.

Well, doesn’t Chuck just sneak away into his man cave and come out with a little paper back in his hand… and he said “here, if you think you might like to learn about our history… in a hurry… here you go.”  He also said I might scare myself… and he wasn’t far wrong.  Ronald Wright has laid out, in a succinct and easily read document, the history of our species. It’s amazing; and the book covers the entire planet, refers to countless points in history where, as a species, we have yet again failed… and he shows the similarities of where we are today (his 2004) compared to where we were hundreds of years ago.  The similarities are shocking.  The potential is horrifying.  So, my friends, if you’re interested in a quick, riveting, and hugely influential ‘read’… may I recommend:

A Short History of Progress    by   Ronald Wright

I hope you enjoy it… and I hope it wakes you up as it has me.  I didn’t sleep a wink last night.. Firstly because I couldn’t stop reading… and then because of what I’d read. I’m not sure what we do about it… but it certainly has me sitting up a little straighter and paying a little more attention.  I hope you enjoy it.  CJ

PS:  I’m doing fine and working on my list of jobs.  Moved into the forward cabin… very different from sleeping on the couch.  I’m quite excited cuz Kathy has ok’d me to build another slim-line book case… like we had on Shannon.  It fits all the cruising guides and gets them out of the main cabin shelves and cupboards.  Also, a big thank you to Dennis… boat’s previous owner.  He’s continued to ‘be there’ for us and answers my questions very patiently.  Thank you Dennis and Shari.  Guess that’s all for now. Bye bye.