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.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Checking in… Jan. 13th…

Now you may think that I’ve just been partying up a storm down here, too busy to check in or to write.  Not so.  I’ve been very busy as it happens, working on the projects I knew about and on some I learned about once I got started. New boats are like your new best friend. You meet, you like, and THEN you get to learn more about the object of your attraction. I’m not complaining, just explaining why my TUDU list seems to be getting longer rather than shorter.  All I can do is keep working and, for the sake of my ego, keep a list of those things I actually do accomplish (vs. those I label with “October” or  manana). Before I go on…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATHY !  You’re lookin’ good for a not so old salty adventurer..  Hope you have a great day.

As for me… I’m doing fine; getting used to sleeping in what looks kind of like a nautical warehouse (otherwise known as Shannon’s Spirit).  In case you’re wondering… no, there is no running water in the works yard (at least in the boats anyway; there are hoses here and there), yes… chamber pots are in use overnight, however, if you need it… the washroom at the end of the yard is available, … yes, you can cook (if you have propane) but then you have to do the dishes… back to no water. I’m enjoying a life of apples, peanut butter sandwiches, and BBQ chicken… and, of course, the occasional meal out with friends.

While things are pretty comfortable on board I can’t say San Carlos has much in the way of available marine parts or materials.  There is one marine store and its supplies are limited.  Its ability to order things in is even more limited.  Apparently the phrase “We’re waiting, it’s on order” is the catch phrase of the day.  Hence the need for us to have been carrying much of what we need down with us. All is not lost though, there is a radio net every morning at 0800 hrs. and one of the topics is “Swaps and Trades”.  It’s a good chance to move some of the stuff you no longer need on to others, and to acquire from others stuff you still want.  And, of course, there’s the buddy thing. That’s where friends exchange materials and give freely of things they no longer need. It all works out in the end.

Unfortunately my internet connectivity isn’t great. The marina WiFi is hit and miss (mostly miss) and seems to only come for a few seconds or minutes at a time… several times a day… without warning. So forgive me for untimely responses and/or no responses at all to your emails.  If I could figure out the photo to blog thing I’d show you some pictures… like my new “Green Flyer” (named after the old Red Flyer wagons).  It’s the bicycle I’ve borrowed and had fixed up.  Works like a hot damn… except this morning when I kind of bumped the curb (too busy talking to my friend Margie who was riding beside me) and did a slow motion crash.  I’m okay, bikes okay… just a bit of a bruised ego. Otherwise I’m really enjoying winging around on my bike. Makes me feel like a kid again… and my legs are responding to the exercise.  Seems there’s a few muscles left in there after all.  It also makes getting around so much easier.  I’m hoping I can borrow it again in October.

Well, I must get back to work.  As I sit here I can see about half a dozen projects all awaiting my attention… yikes!  I’ve only got 17 days left… better get busy.

Hope you are all well.  We’ve lost some wonderful people in the last short while.  They will be and are missed.  Take good care.. enjoy every day.  Adios, CJ

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Vancouver, BC to San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico…

Crazy or not, here I am…. sitting comfortably in SV Shannon’s Spirit in the works yard, at Marina Seca in San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico. The temperature is very comfortable and there are quite a few other cruisers here, working on their boats too. It’s been dark since about 1830 hrs and it’s so quiet it feels like we’re out in the middle of nowhere. I must admit the boat is pretty filthy, inside and out, covered with wind-driven dirt and dust.  She’ll get a good washing tomorrow before I start any of the projects.

When I set out to plan this trip I looked at other blogs, etc., hoping to find reports of recent experiences in getting from Vancouver to San Carlos.  I didn’t find any so, for those of you who might be wondering how I traveled, the following is a short synopsis of what I did and what I experienced.

Our journey started in Duncan, BC at 0600 hrs.  Kathy drove a friend, George (who was flying to Palm Springs about the same time), and I to the Departure Bay ferry.  We took the 0830 ferry and arrived in Horseshoe Bay  just in time to get soaked waiting in line to board the Vancouver Express bus.  But board we did, with all our luggage.  They must select drivers of “express” buses carefully as ours had evidently been a race car driver before taking on the big-boy buses.  The vehicle was one of those buses that are about a block long with a swing bridge at the mid-point.  Guess where I sat… and I had to cuz a very nice young gentleman (dreads and all) offered me his seat  (I guess I look even older when I’m soaking wet :-(  Anyway, when someone offers you a seat on a flying bus, and there are no others… you take it.. and so I did.  What a ride.  It reminded me of the roller coaster at the PNE, especially when he took the corners on what felt like only the leeward wheels.  Anyway we survived the bus ride, caught the Skytrain and rode the rails all the way to the airport.. very nice.  We had time for lunch together and then George was off on his flight.. and mine was delayed. A couple of long hours later I was able to board and  flew from Vancouver to Phoenix on a US Airways flight . I spent the night in a Phoenix hotel, the nearby Best Western, because I didn’t want to be travelling alone in darkness once I arrived in Mexico.  I flew out the next morning at 1050 hrs. and arrived in Hermisillo fairly close to noon. Green lights and a smooth Visa application had me out the door quite quickly. As most of you know there has been much trouble with Mexican paperwork of late.  I’m happy to report they have updated their description of what you may bring into the country, if you’re flying or if you’re driving (they’re different, but both seem quite reasonable).  If you’re interested, let me know and I’ll repeat the description herein. Now where was I?  Oh yes, arrived in Hermisillo and then had to get to the bus terminal.  That required a Taxi. There is a taxi counter inside the airport, and you go there first.  They sell you the ticket for the taxi and you then go outside and down to the right where the taxis and their handler are waiting.  Once at the Bus station I bought my ticket for Guaymas  and managed to catch the bus that was leaving right then… barely had time to hit the loo.  The bus ride was uneventful although I did get to watch one of the early episodes of Downton Abbey… in Spanish.  I arrived in Guaymas mid-afternoon, caught yet another taxi, stopped briefly at Walmart to pick up a blanket and a pillow, and arrived at the marina about 1600 hrs. Voila!!  Easy peazy.

So here I am, all tucked in….  I’m finishing this  on Wednesday as I was too tired last night and fell asleep early.  Today was cloudy, with a bit of rain.. well, drizzle really.  Anyway, it’s all good.  I spent most of the day trying to tidy up and wipe up some of the dust inside.  Eduardo and a couple of the fellows helped me out by washing down the outside…I couldn’t even find a scrub brush, never mind the energy.  So tomorrow I will take a run at emptying each of the cabins and washing them down.  Then I can pile lots of stuff in the aft cabin and begin some of the work requiring access to lockers.  Tonight, I’m dining at a wine bar with friends who are picking me up shortly. 

So for now me amigas y amigos… adios… stay well… stay warm.  CJ

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year everyone ! And… welcome 2015.

Truth is we’re really looking forward to a fresh start in 2015.  Can’t say 2014 will go down as one of our favourites… Nope; good bye and good riddance.  Now I’m not sayin’ there weren’t some good things that happened.  Heck, there was lots of goodness. We found and acquired the SV Shannon’s Spirit, we met new friends, we sucked it up and made the move from our home on a hill, we enjoyed the addition of TT Lucy to our fleet, we discovered some beautiful State Parks in Arizona and other states. And, while it’s true the attack on Sophie was horrible and tragic… as my mom would say, there’s always something good… you just have to look for it.  So ‘look’ I have, and what I’ve found is that this horrible, despicable, gut-wrenching attack on our little dog has drawn us closer.  It’s forced us to look at what is really important to us… our families, our friends, our love, and our continuing sense of adventure. And it’s caused us to realize how important our roots are… those’d be the roots holding us safely each time we return ‘home’.

I used to say (not that long ago) home is where you lay your head at night.  Having been ‘on the road’ and ‘couch surfing’ for seven months now I’m thinking that ‘home’ is more than that.  It’s more the place you feel safest and the place where your memories and dreams are securely held. And, it’s a place that doesn’t move or morph into something different.  It is what it is, and it’s usually exactly as you left it when you return.  We will find ourselves our new ‘home’ over the next few months and we’re very much looking forward to it.  Having said that, please know we are very lucky to have so many good friends willing to care for us and we have indeed been well looked after.  We’re presently house-sitting for friends in Maple Bay and really enjoying their cozy house and the views over Maple Bay…. spoiled we are for sure.

Now then… what’s next?  Well I’m writing to let you know that for the next month… Kathy and Sophie will hold down the fort here in Maple Bay and work on Sophie’s recovery.  She really is doing better, gaining strength and confidence every day. I, on the other hand, will flee this BC winter and return to San Carlos and SSpirit (as we call her for short).  My goal is to complete some of those jobs we had hoped to do last October but were forced to abandon.  They include working on the heads system to make sure all parts are functioning as they should be and secure.  I’ll also replace the hoses if I can purchase more down there. I’m going to replace the air vents for the main water tank and the holding tank and I may install a deck fill for the forward water tank. I have some very precise measuring to do as well…. for a full size salon table, possibly a larger holding tank, and some pull out shelves in one of the two port-side hanging lockers. I’m hoping to improve the metal housing of the windlass motor and set up some kind of protection for it and, if I have time, I’ll empty out the anchor locker, clean it up and mark the anchor chain. I have a little work to do in the galley as well.  There’s a small crack in the Adler/Barbour freezer bottom and some damage to one of the bulkheads caused by the old water tank air vent leaking back.  There are several smaller jobs as well… if I have time.  I think I’ll be keeping pretty busy for the month I’m there.

It should be quite exciting.. this trip to San Carlos on my own.  I’ve been travelling with Kathy for almost16 years now and I’ve grown very comfortable with her planning skills and guidance as we’ve moved through different countries. Now it will be up to me (and my poor Spanish) to find my way from Vancouver, to Phoenix, to a hotel, then to Hermasillo, to the bus, to Guaymas, to a taxi and finally to San Carlos. Phew! I know I’ll be fine, and I’m way too old to be nervous about travelling… so bear with me while I whine just a bit :-)  I’ll write when I can (and as long as my little net book allows me to). 

Please accept best wishes from myself, Kathy and Princess Sophie… for you and your loved ones… and the year to come.  May it be everything you have dreamed of… and more.

Adios (for now).  CJ