Sunday, January 20, 2013

We lost a special guy today…

My dad was pretty special... don't get me wrong...  he had his good days, his bad days… and a whole bunch of days in between.  He could be a bit of a bear when he was younger… when we were kids… Might ‘av been his time in the Navy.. during the war… WWII.  Could have been the days and weeks and months he spent with the ‘youth of the day’ as a high school teacher.  There are many you know… many fellows who remember my dad from their high school days… They remember him as a tough guy who was pretty smart… and who had some reasonable advice on what they should do with their lives.. at least those first few years out of high school anyway… and several of those fellas.. well they ended up in the police force didn’t they.. making something of themselves.. doing something with their lives.. hmmmm, wonder if I got the same advice they did.. a few years later?

And, I've heard from a good authority that our Dad had just as many mentees or followers or folks that looked up to him... on the naval side of things. Most of that was before my time... but there is no doubt the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve played a huge part in his life. Anyway, he was a guy who knew what was right… he had his limits, he set the standards, and he pretty much demanded we all  tow the line... which, in the end, turned out to be pretty good training.

Bottom line… my Dad lived from May 9th 1923 till January 20th 2013… (89 1/2 years)… That’s a very long time.  And during those 89 years, his life… his sense of humour...his adventurous spirit, his sense of…  I don’t know.. what’s right and what’s not right...  him… he... The Father… the Great White Hunter… Tom… Ted… and Taddy Dumb Ellsworth…  he touched us all….and we will never forget. 

Nor will we forget the bond between Mom and Dad…  High School sweethearts, married young, sailors from the start;  Mom and Dad shared a love most never find. Together, they created a life for their children that was magical in some respects (Christmas Eves for instance), terrifying in others (“Do you think it’s time to take down some sail??” asked the father…) and all-encompassing always… (a place at the table, no matter what… no matter when… with love).  These were our folks.. our Mom and our Dad.. and… we pray they are now together….  finally…. up there somewhere… with the wind at their backs, the sails well balanced… and the setting sun drawing them ever closer to a new horizon…..  we loved you then, we love you now.. we’ll love you forever….


Monday, January 14, 2013

Thinking of you…

Today’s been a good day…(actually that was Saturday; email’s been down for a while)  I not only applied the second coat of Cetol onto the cockpit teak combing, but I also finished servicing the 5th of 8 winches.  As I was pulling apart the pieces of that last winch I got to thinking about my friend George.  Now there’s a guy, who’s as busy or busier than most of the folks I know, yet he still took time out to help me learn about winches.  Thanks to George, I’ve just managed to un-stick, unclog and turn functional some winches that haven’t been used in years on Shannon.  Now…. they even click when they turn!  That is something I wouldn’t have accomplished with such efficiency if it weren’t for the help of my friend.  Thank you George.  So then I turned to put away my tools and I bumped into Shannon’s three beautiful companionway boards. They still look as good as the day they were created… and they were created by another friend, Larry.  And if that wasn’t enough, Larry also helped (well mostly did) create our beautiful cabin table… Thank you Larry, they’re all still working just fine. Thinking of Larry reminds me of another Larry, a fella who came out of retirement to work with me and to provide his expertise in recreating most of Shannon’s electrical systems… and, while this might of been partly business, he gave a lot more than most would have…. It takes a hearty guy and a compassionate guy to be willing to work for two months in temperatures hovering around 5C…  thank you Larry H.

Even now, two years into the journey, there are still people stepping up to help, just like we step up to help others along the way. In our case, folks like Tom and Jeanne (SV Eagle) who supervised the care of our truck when it returned from repairs (after we had left La Paz). Thank you Tom and Jeanne. And the fellows from Dock 3 at Marina Palmira, who gallantly hoisted Kathy up the mast to make repairs.  Thanks guys.

So I guess what’s happening here is that I’m acknowledging this journey, this opportunity to explore different countries has come about as the result of the effort of many…not just Kathy and I… but many folks who stepped in to help and make it happen for us.  There’s another kind of folks too and that’s you folks…. the people who take the time to follow along, to read the Blog (not always my best writing, but at least an update of how we’re doing) and to check in from time to time to say '”hi”.  That means a lot to both of us.

So, just in case you were wondering, I’m thinking of YOU today, and I’m thanking YOU for your support and help along the way……

From all of us, to all of you…………………….THANK YOU

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cold is relative…

Hey there… here I am writing to you from chilly Mazatlan.  I know, I know… you’re saying “get over it CJ, it’s freezing here.” I just thought I’d share with you that freezing (at least the feeling of freezing) seems to be relative too.  For instance, we arrived in La Paz on October 28th.  “Great time to arrive” they said, “it will have cooled off by then.” What were they talking about??  Nothing’s normal anymore when it comes to the weather.  We arrived in 95 degree temperatures and 90% humidity.  It was awful.  What was supposed to be done in a week, took three.  It was so hot we couldn’t even function properly when we were upright and working.  But thats ok, right?… cuz we’re in Mexico!
So, now it’s January… the ‘peak’ of winter… and I have discovered why cruisers flee south for Christmas and keep going as long as they have time. We’re in Mazatlan and it’s a great place; but I have to say, waking up to 56 degrees each morning (and hearing it’s going down to 45 tonight) is kind of bone-chilling.  “This is Mexico isn’t it?” my little frozen brain cries out.  “Oh where is that blasting heat I was complaining about last month?”
But, never mind.  We have blankets and making tea in the morning thaws the thin film of ice covering everything (just kidding).  This morning we walked (or at least I did) in full length track pants and my pull over, long sleeved, fleece top.  Sophie, well she just wore her extra long curly coat (which needs clipping very soon… except I’m worried she’ll catch a cold!). They say it’s going all the way up to 70 today.. we’ll see.  I certainly hope it does as I’ve finally broken through my ‘varnishers block’ and started working on the teak combing in the cockpit.  It has to be at least ‘room temperature’ for the stuff to go on properly :-)
Now, I’m not complaining you understand… I’m just saying…  “Cold is relative..”  But you knew that…
For those of you who are wondering… Sophie and I are doing fine.  Kathy returns to Shannon on January 25th.. and maybe, if I work hard, (and that’s relative too :-) I’ll have the boat shipshape before she gets here. We’re all very excited.
So for now….  best wishes to all of you from all of us… for a day filled with joy, peace, wonderment… and a little progress… 
Adios…  CJ

Friday, January 4, 2013

a brand new address…

Hi everyone.  Well, it was time for the good ship Shannon to seek new horizons…  not too far tho’… just far enough to get away from the festive music, the very loud festive music, of the Karaoke bar, the bingo and aqua-cize games and classes, and the weddings and concert venue directly across the channel.  My ears were starting to feel like I’d been in a modern movie theatre (you know the kind where the base is so loud your chair vibrates) without my ear plugs.  The other night a friend came over for dinner, and we couldn’t hear each other speaking… and we were inside.  So… enough said.  It was time for a change of scenery and volume level. I should say though that Marina El Cid really is beautiful.  The staff are extremely friendly, the gardens and lawns are beautiful, and the facilities are very nice.  I was honest with the office when I checked out… told Gladys about my difficulty with the noise levels.  She insisted I fill out a Customer Satisfaction Survey card.. and so I did.. as gently (but honestly) as I could.  Gladys has been so good to us (even put up with my numerous reservation cancellations and adjustments as I massaged our cruising plans based on weather, etc.  Anyway, she was very nice and suggested that with feedback like mine… things just might quieten down… you never know.

The good ship Shannon, the wonder dog Princess Sophie, and myself… are now the newest residents at Marina Mazatlan…  a brief 10 minutes further into the estuary from Marina El Cid. This is a much larger marina, without the attached resort issues.  True, there is no pool but there is a well stocked super market, three very good restaurants, a veggie guy who comes at least twice a week (and I think I heard something about a shrimp guy too), some good walking I’m told, a book exchange, a laundry and showers… and happy hours on the dock (just like Palmira in La Paz, only here they call them ‘safety meetings’ :-).  I think we’re going to like it here.  Oh yes, did I mention?  It’s quieter, much quieter.

Kathy’s not here to adjust our location on Shiptrak.. and I’m not sure you’d notice a change if she did…so you’ll just have to take my word for it.  We’ve moved and we’re happy about it.

One down-side is that the internet connection here is a little more flakey than the last place… but it does exist and I shall stay in contact as much as humanly possible.   Until I write, or you, write again…… adios amigos y amigas