Sailing in a different Direction

This is the last blog post for sv Good Rain.

It has been a great run for 90% of the time, absolutely no regrets as I have had amazing adventures over the past three years and truly never ever thought I would  be as challenged as I was.

It most certainly had been a love/hate relationship with sailing but I grew to absolutely appreciate what true sailing means.

I must honestly say that I will and do miss my sailboat.  I miss the feel of the water while sailing, the quiet, the wind, the exploring, the continual learning – for it never does stop, the planning, the weather, the care of the boat, I will genuinely miss all of it.

I enjoyed sharing my experiences and decided to start a new blog, the new page is: Flashforward2019.com

Why Flash Forward?

I had been visiting my son, he and his partner had been watching a series called Flash which is a show about supper heroes.  They fight villains from alternate earth’s and in different centuries. An interesting concept, going to an alternate earth and time, watching your past or seeing your future.  Scary on both accounts.

Now I must Flash Forward and see what the future holds. Looking forward to traveling, cycling, kayaking, visiting family and possibly a long overdue trip to the east coast.

Thanks for visiting.

 

Ghosts of Christmas Past

It is as the title might suggest, December and Christmas day is not far off; although if you are a Costco member you know when the real Christmas Season begins – October 1st!  The ghosts and goblins of Halloween cower in the corner.

This brings me to the subject of Christmas lights. Last year while we were in San Diego around the time of Halloween, I purchased two sets of stringed lights that were in the shape of small white ghosts. I never did put them up and discovered them while cleaning up the boat this year when we arrived back in Mexico.  Halloween was over but no matter, I strung them up inside which provided a nice soft glow.

It is now December and my ghosts remain in place.  I refer to them as my ghosts of Christmas past but in a good way, no Scrooge story to be told here.

I love Christmas! My memories as a child, waking up to find that the presents that I saw before going to bed had now incredibly grown to double the size or more.  It was truly wonderous.  I still remember how I felt, utterly and completely stunned and wondered if some of those presents even belonged to me. Way into my adult hood mom and dad would still have many presents under the tree and the wonder never ceased.

Yes, the never-ending Christmas music in stores will get to me and yes seeing decorations in October for sale really irks me but I still love Christmas and all that it means to me.  It is not the religious meaning, never has been. It is the putting up of the tree, decorating, stringing of lights, friends, family, baking the sweets/cookies/bars to bring out each evening, sitting down exhausted from the holiday cooking, finding that one gift that expresses the love that sometimes words do not and the quiet evening before Christmas enjoying some old favorite movies.

Then Christmas Day!

The opening, ripping of paper, the noise level increasing as each gift was tossed to the next person.  Mom did not believe in the gentle quiet opening of gifts, she wanted things to be lively and therefore would begin throwing gifts in the direction of the person’s name.  She was so much fun, loved being in tune and in touch with the times, tough as nails, loved to laugh at herself, would give me whatever I asked for (never did ask for anything) and loved me unconditionally.  I miss her dearly.

Dad on the other hand, well he really did not appreciate so much fun and noise, quiet and sedate would be more his cup of tea but he knew, get it all out of the way and then back to normal.  It was not until I was in my forties that I began to appreciate my dad and his stoic ways. I rebelled constantly as a teenager and for many years against his conservative ways for not embracing or understanding the new. His had made his way through some very tough years as a child and then as an adult, all of which shaped who he was.  He was a good, sound, logical thinker who loved me unconditionally and provided excellent counsel when asked.  I miss him dearly.

While being in the warmth and sun of Mexico is welcomed compared to the snow and cold I remember from younger days or the rain and clouds of Vancouver Island where I reside now – I would trade this in a heart beat to step back for that one day to be with all those who are no longer here, to catch one of those presents, sit down to a table brimming with family and food.  The lights on the tree with ornaments that were made by small hands and lovingly saved over the years, to the crunch of my feet in the snow, the clear cold night sky and the quiet that stretched around the world.

Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year

 

In memory – Mom, Dad, Charles, Dave xo and Sophie cat

Lost in Translation

Words are a wonderful thing.  I have not always been fascinated by words.  It wasn’t until I entered into the profession of nursing did I truly appreciate words.

Medical terminology completely hooked me on how the words sounded, where they originated, how the combination of two words created one, how they would describe a medical condition or give instant meaning and understanding to the situation.  In the immortal words of Spock – fascinating!

We diligently took Spanish lessons on arrival to La Paz, spent a month in class four times a week.  You would think our understanding and language skills would be passable. Well, not so much.   We did however speak as much broken Spanish at every opportunity and always were received with understanding and helpfulness from the locals.  This certainly gave me a new perspective and deep appreciation for those who have immigrated to a new country and their struggle to cope with a new language.

Technology has been indispensable.  Translation apps have helped enormously what with the practice of words and inflection.  I would practice a sentence such as “where are the soups”, only to be given a puzzled look.  My pronunciation was off and so the meaning and sentence was basically meaningless. It takes practice, practice and more practice and the only way is to keep diving in.   Numerous times I have asked – “how do you say” and with great delight you will be instructed in the correct pronunciation.   Most people are very forgiving and appreciate the effort.

Which brings me to my most memorable translation error yet.

During our stay at one marina, the first thing I noticed were the signs with an outline of a crocodile and what clearly was a warning.  Crocodiles? Really? In the marina?  YES, and big ones. Apparently, the marina was once all land and the kingdom of the crocs.  The marina was dug out but as is the case with all creatures, their habits and territories are hard wired and so they continued to frequent their area although it was now a marina busy with the comings and goings of boats.

This marina provided bathrooms and showers.  We are not fussy (ok, I do have my limits) and all in all we were glad to have an available shower etc., BUT the cockroaches were becoming HUGE!  as in Godzilla raging through downtown Tokyo huge.  When you initially entered the hallway, it was dark until the motion sensor came on and, in those steps, leading to the washroom is when you knew Godzilla would be waiting.

I must state they were dead, on their backs, legs straight up.  In my mind however they could easily be faking it and suddenly go AHA!   In this age of fake news, they could be faking death!

In the most apologetic manner possible I spoke with a young woman at the marina office about Godzilla.

Cocodrilos is the Spanish word for Crocodile.  I loved how that rolled off the tongue and would often say let’s go see the Cocodrilos.  One wide 12-foot-long one would often spend its days at one spot waiting for the fishing boats to come in or as we thought it was most likely hoping for a tourist taco.

So, I was explaining how big the cockroaches were and could they be removed, being certain to roll my r’s (which I thought was expertly done) she shook her head gravely and said “no, I am sorry, the government looks after these”.

I was truly dumbfounded and said, “THE GOVERNMENT??” again she nodded gravely.

OMG!  There is a government office for cockroaches?  It flashed before my eyes – queuing up in a local office to voice my desire to have the cockroaches removed only to be told – “go over there, make payment, then come back, then go back there and get your paperwork, then come back here”.

A voice behind me interjected and said, “I think she means cockroaches” to which the young woman said “ah, cucaracha”, rolling her r’s in the most musical way.

Well, giggles on all sides.  Assurances were offered that the offending creatures would be taken care of and they were.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sealed up Tight

This past June we prepared the boat in order to leave it at the marina over the summer months until approximately November.  I am sure anyone reading this with any experience living down here will state that June is WAY too late to leave Mexico. The heat had increased to 30+ every day but it was the humidity that was the killer.  Take a shower and literally five minutes after walking outside you were drenched in sweat.  We finally had to buy an air conditioner, put it in the entrance way of the companionway, put cushions around the sides and then remain the entire day inside the boat until the sun went down. Brutal.

During this time the boat was readied to be left for the season in the water. I had read numerous articles on what should be done:  plug all open vents, turn off intake valves, put borax around the boat to kill bugs, disconnect all electronics, etc.  Ready the top deck – sail and covers wound tightly together with line, lines stowed, dinghy/kayaks lashed down and many other jobs.

I ended up buying spray and traps for ants and cockroaches dreading the fact that I may be coming back to an infested boat. I also learned from previous experience you do not leave canned goods sitting, the bottoms rust and make a terrible mess on a surface.  With that in mind I zip locked everything, all canned, all packed items, bedding, towels, blankets, clothing and if it didn’t get zip locked then into a plastic tub with a lid.  You would think everything would be ship shape.  Basically, it was.

However.

On our arrival back as I opened the hatch I was greeted by the unbelievable sight of mold and I do mean mold!  Everywhere.  It attacked all the wood in a thick penicillin like layer plus there was a fine coating over the rest of the interior, horrible!

The good news – not one ant, cockroach or trace of a bug in any trap or lying prone along the floor could be found.

It took several days of scrubbing with soap and bleach and even more days of taking the covers off the cushions and having them laundered, inspecting the bagged items, going through every cupboard and drawer pulling items out and cleaning the area.  Learning that although the crackers were in their own package and then zip locked, they were stale and soft.  Same with soup packages.  Also found that items stored in plastic jars such as coffee, tea, flour, oats all had to be tossed.  I had thought the plastic would keep things fresh. No.

The boating lessons continue.  Next year will be different.  Seal the boat up tight but there must be air circulating and a way to remove moisture.   We have located a solar fan that can be inserted where the chimney is – I do believe we are the only boat around with a diesel heater still onboard.  I remember we had been talking to a very nice couple in San Rafael, California last year. They came on board and the first thing they did was point and ask, “what is that?”, it was of course our heater and explained that you really do need that up in Canada. The amazement on their faces.

So back to ventilation.  Solar fan to be installed, fine mesh over the dorads instead of plugging them tight and possibly a dehumidifier if we keep the boat in water.  Our thinking this time around is probably to place the boat on the hard.

Ahh the boating life.  Never a dull moment.

LOA

As of December 2017, we were in La Paz, Mexico.  It is now towards the end of March 2018 and I have returned to blog.  LOA is a term many in the working world know of which is referred to as a “Leave of Absence” and that is what I took.  Some would venture to say I took “Leave of my Senses”.  Suffice to say the sailor and the sea drew me back as the journey is far from over.

As I soaked up the rain in Victoria,BC  I scraped moss off the car, congratulated myself on the money saved by allowing mother nature to wash the car (EVERY SINGLE DAY); the Captain was more than delighted to report the daily weather – sunny skies and warm breezes.  Geesh!

While on my LOA Captain kept busy.  The boat was hauled out, the underside painted, the entire boat polished, the teak cleaned and varnished (six coats), stainless steel all polished, dingy cover made, kayak covers reworked (we have different kayaks now and the covers were too tight), stainless steel grab rails made for the hatch entrance and grab rail made for the galley. He also had a teak grate made for the cockpit but the workmanship has been disappointing and is now falling apart.

It was wonderful to return to La Paz and bicycle to town (about 4 kms one way), run errands, stop for a coffee and treat.  La Paz is not a bad cycling town.  The evenings would see groups of road cyclists practicing up and down the main street.  We found that the majority of motorists watched out for us, mind you we constantly made sure to give way, make eye contact and to always wave a thank you.  Captain had attached a squeaky toy on his handle bar and would give children, young people and construction workers a squeak, squeak, everyone would always laugh with surprise.

Captain became known for riding in and out of town and for the squeaky toy.  I was with him the day the local police had a road check going on.  They waved him over and wanted him to do the squeak, squeak, I am not kidding!

La Paz is a great place to become more immersed with the people, throw yourself into communicating in Spanish, taking a breath and deciding where to go next (or not go at all).

There is a saying – “you are not in Kansas anymore Dorothy” and it applies to Mexico as it does to any country; it looks, smells, tastes and sounds different to what we know and are comfortable with.  Being here has given us the opportunity to step back and realize how very fortunate we are.

Next stop – Puerto Vallarta.

Paradise

It is December 23, 2017 and the year is nearly completed.  It has been my habit for many years to look back, reflect and marvel at what has transpired over the months.  I never cease to be amazed as to how the year has unfolded.  Sometimes thinking, well I didn’t see that coming.

There have been years of just scraping by economically, great moments of joy and pride, there has been death and the grief that follows, wonderful friends and family and many new adventures.

This year is no different.

I had a wonderful time recounting the adventures from Vancouver Island, the Queen Charolotte Islands, down the USA coast and to La Paz, Mexico.

Have a very Happy New Year!  Soon there will be a new clean slate and it will be interesting to see how 2018 unfolds!

Check back for new adventures.

Remember:

We must free ourselves of the hope that the sea will ever rest.

We must learn to sail in high winds.

Aristotle Onassis

Baja Ha Ha 2017

After many months of planning and with great anticipation we were prepared on October 31st to enter the 24th annual Ha Ha with approximately 140 other sail boats.  What a flotilla!

The gathering area was at the north end of Shelter end and referred to as the America’s Cup area.  Slowly more and more vessels arrived and jockeyed for position.  We had been nearer the beginning but start time was still a half hour or so away so we swung around to about the outside middle of the group, which put us in the middle of the main channel.

Now I must interject a question here.  Is it us or the proverbial spin of the wheel as to the events that happened next.

As the sail past began in front of a boat filled with dignitaries from Mexico and San Diego, as horns were blasting, police boats shooting water from hoses and as we were sailing along enjoying all of this; we began to lose more and more power!  Bloody Kelp!

The radio began to call out to everyone that there was a military war ship making its way out of the harbour and all boats had to move more to the right.  This was completely unexpected and from what I could understand did not usually happen with the grand exit of the Ha Ha each year.  You don’t ask the military to change course, so no problem, we began to move right.

Now here is the bizarre part, great clouds of steam suddenly started to come out the exhaust!  The engine was not being cooled!  It is now getting to be a bit of a nail bitter and more problematic when we now receive word that an aircraft carrier is on its way INTO port.  We cannot stay where we are and if we motor across the channel chances are we may burn out the engine.  With zero options, Captain put the motor into low and we motored, barely, back to the Police dock.  We had to report to Ha Ha that we would be starting late.  From starting at the beginning to possibly a no start.

Once we were docked (back at our spot like one of the Zoolanders) Captain went over the side, freed the prop of all the kelp and then restarted the engine.  Absolutely no steam came from the exhaust, how can that be?  Kelp around the prop has nothing to do with obstructing the water intake to cool the engine.  Two totally separate situations happened at the same time.

Really??  Yes really.

What could only be determined was something blocked the strainer which allows sea water in to cool the engine and the only immediate culprit was that tenacious kelp.  Once the engine stopped the kelp dropped off the strainer (which is on the underside).  This is the best guest.

Off we go!  We are back with the Ha Ha.  We were behind the one hour, not so bad after all!

On the count of three, all together now……..HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!