Friday, December 29, 2006

The "docks"

It is not unheard of for us to have visitors come to the top of the ramp, look down at the flotilla of boats here and be overcome with fear at the idea of navigating them. Some won't even come down.

OK, I admit that I think they are pansies, but I can relate as I used to be one of them who now takes it all in stride. I've SO been there.

My pal Brooke ripped her fingernail last night navigating the ramp in her three-inch-tangerine-patent-leather-superhero- Go-Go boots. She walked on the non-ribbed side of the ramp. How was she to know the subtle difference being the two sides? This landlubber-come-floathome wannabee is gonna have to learn the intracacies of tidal fluctuations and the perils of doing so in high heels when she comes to slum with her pal down here at the yacht club.

What? A pretty blonde in heels all covered in mud? Is she OK? Does she need help?
Settle, boys, settle. The blonde and the boots are just fine now. Stand down...

The top picture is the dock running along the starboard side of the Bowie running to my new floathouse. (Yes, my "new" float house. What a girl's gotta do to get an ensuite bathroom.) More on that on a future post.

Notice the pile of firewood on the back deck? Yes, I did split most of myself. We are doing so, right there on the dock beside, and it is here where we haul out the logs and buck them up. All that sawdust piled on the docks tracks everywhere. (docks + chicken wire = watery grave see link).

The sawdust does help against the slipperiness tho.

This next series of pictures is of Greig putting new boomsticks into place. It is really up to us to make our own docks. And we can't just pull the pick and go anywhere so we make do so with whatever we can salvage. There is a huge amount of crap that comes down this river. Log booms and docks come apart all the time and eventually, float by. Greig knows the log salvage guys and we will either tie logs off for them to come and get at their convenience or they let us utilize some stuff for ourselves.

We've had one of these in place since the grounding in October. The inside one came in last week and on Boxing Day the outer one offered itself for the cause.

So here, we have the early makings of a new dock. These logs are pretty big and grunty and Greig will put cross pieces into place and build this up. Hopefully, far more substantial one than the top picture. We have the remenants of another semi-destroyed dock and he'll recycle bits of that onto this one. It is sure to be a far better platform for processing the firewood.

It isn't all about actually fixing boats. Just getting to and from the boats can change in a moment, as the right tug, pulling the right kind of barge, at the right kind of tide will pull it all asunder.

You just never know. He's determined to make me a river rat yet!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas Everyone! Rock and Roll!

Ours is very loud as we are all playing with Bui's new drums.

Much love, Greig, Tana, Dosha and Bui

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Firewood God

Carpenter Greg, the other Greg who lives here, has decided that he is now our resident firewood God. Not to be confused with my Greig (spelt with an "i").

He has been working like mad on our stash of firewood and cleaning up the lagoon. He has installed a neat trick from his early days of working for a tree trimming firm up on the Sunshine Coast.

By placing a several pieces of wood inside the tire he can split a bunch without having to pick up the log everytime he swings the axe. No needless chasing after the chunk of wood--usually you have to fish them out of the river.

As Martha would say, "It's a good thing."

BTW, he is single and looking...females only need apply. Single dad (16 year old son), non-smoker, carpenter. Yup he can build stuff. Apply within.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


It was a fairly sleepless night from the howling, shuddering and rattling.

The only real damage to the complex was that one of the pins on the ramp sheared off from all the stress of the boats pulling at the dock. A jack-all to the railing and Russian Mike and Greig had that fixed lickety-split.

We got lucky I think. Lynwood Marina over in North Vancouver got nailed as boat houses collapse onto boats. No boats sunk from what I have heard, thankfully.

Another is coming I hear.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Batten the hatches

I couldn't get anyone on the phone yesterday. Greig is exceptionally good about calling me at least once during the day so I knew something was amiss.

It was an exciting day.

So at 4:30 in the afternoon when I arrived home, I was suprised to even see him as I knew he had to be at work for 5:30pm.

He said he "I woke up in the morning and the ship was wallowing, I had water up to the deck plates in the engine room. I loosened off the bow line to reset the boom stick and then the wind came up and we started drifting 45 degrees out into the river. Then I couldn't get the speed boat started and the cable also parted up forward. I only just got the shore power reconnected again. Put on another 20 feet to that. I haven't had a chance to even look at the phone line. It's been a day from hell. Oh yah, watch yourself on the stairs. They are all ripped apart."

As directed I went to check the bilges in the engine room and electrical room. He had had a pump in the lazarette and it looked done. My first pump in the engine room was running but not actually pumping. I have never seen that much water in the engine room and it was getting up to the deck plates. Enough water from about four or five hot tubs I think.

I rounded up another pump and got it going only to not have had the hose pop back out, dousing myself in bilge water. Yumm. I secured it off and got it going again, wondering if I should add another. I had it pumping from about 5:45 until 10pm last night when it was finally emptied.

I could hear a trickle coming in from somewhere and so I got on my hands and knees with a flashlight and looked behind a tool cabinet in the engine room. I could see where a pipe has become corroded or perhaps it burst during the last freeze and it's leaking close to the valve. Still, it didn't seem enough to have the engine room fill up with that much water so Greig is going to trace that back and find where another valve is to perhaps shut it off. I have no idea how there is even water in that pipe. More for the learning curve. That engine room is such a dog's breakfast!

So he has lots to do today. He has to retrieve that cable on the low tide and secure it back up. Reset that bow line and stern anchors. A trip to the scrap metal dealer is in order for some metal treads for the stairs to weld some the stairs back together. Then we both have to work on a charter tonight. Wish I was there to help him today.

And that storm is just a teaser. The "real" one is supposed to be coming Thursday though we are slated for more tonight.

Bring it on.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the bubble maker

Ok is the hot tub in all its full on glory, just to give you some perspective. Be mindful that we have an extra 78 feet on you and just under 26' across.

Greig has been thinking about putting it up on the bow but I think it is better there for the time being. See...lots of room. There is a better view from the bow but the deck up there needs some more work. Plus as well people would be going by our bedroom all the time to get to it.

We'd like to put a canopy or something over it but the winds can get ripping pretty hard down here sometimes - especially lately.

Greig is has also filled our unused fuel tanks with water for extra ballast. He is quick to drain it if we get a low tide and come out of the water which has been the case lately with these stupidly low tides.

There you have it. One crazy floating treefort, come the new Ark.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Mum always said the worst things always happen past midnight.

Greig and I had worked a charter Friday evening and our usual post-cruise, wind-down technique is to go for a soak in the hot tub. It is usually calm, peaceful and quiet. It is rare time that we spend relaxing and connecting 'cos we're working flat out so much. It was about 12:30am.

Greig looked over toward shore at our neighbour Dave's boat, the Sand Castle. Dave is one of the resident bachelor/hermits. He has this wierd looking ferrous cement sailboat, sans mast with strange super structure. Greig thought it was sitting a bit funny and realized something was amiss and that Dave was sinking. So out of the hot tub he bolts to get dressed to go help Dave.

(Knock, knock, knock)

G: "Dave, your sinking!"

Dave sitting is sitting inside his boat watching TV.

Dave: " Yah, I know. I'm thinking I'd better get out of here and abandon ship."

G:"What and just let your boat sink?"

D: "Yup."

G: "No, Dave, I am going to get pumps. You are not going to let this just sink and make this into a bigger problem."

And with that Dave packed up a couple of bins of his stuff and Greig rounded up four pumps off the Bowie. He set about to keeping the Sand Castle from sinking and making a bigger headache for our landlord. He stayed up until 11am Saturday morning to ensure the pumps would stay ahead and keep it from sinking further.

With more finangling and moving, as of this morning it is now on the outside of the Bowie. Greig and one of our tenents Steve, managed to roll it over enough to patch the hole where a log had staved it in. It seems to be holding.

The fate of the Sand Castle is unknown.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

fumble fingers

It was in the plan to lay down some chicken wire on the docks to ease up on the slipperiness with this impending snow storm yesterday. I hit the building supply and dropped $30 on a 100 foot roll and had a niggling feeling stapling it to the dock may be problematic.

The package is bound up with a tiny wire and often as not, you have to cut it in several places to actually get to the roll. Well it was my luck to actually snip the right wire and as I did the whole thing rolled away and into the watery depths below.

"There goes thirty bucks..." I grumbled as I watched the bubbles percolating up to the surface of the muddy water. It was high tide too, so Greig will have to try to retrieve it at low tide with a grappling hook and if not I will have to break down and buy another roll. On the boat when you accidently drop something, you just may not get it back.

Sometimes you can pull things up again at the low tide. Greig got the outboard back, my stepladder, an old metal chair. Others things will find their watery grave. I lost a battery pack out of the cordless drill, tons of screws. Bui lost a splitting maul.

Really, you just have to laugh at the irony of it all.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

My friend Reno

This is Reno. Not a "real" dog by many people's standard 'cos he is a Chihuahua and by association, small and yappy.

Not Reno. He was one cool dog. Rarely, did he have the need to bark unless necessary. I first met Reno via my friend Sparrow a couple of years ago. Sparrow had responded to an ad for a roommate that we had posted on the craigslist. Sparrow was moving back to Canada from some time in the US. Sparrow didn't move in, and she also became a good friend.

Recently, Sparrow moved, lock, stock and Reno, to Budapest, Hungary. The only one in her family not born in Hungary, she was looking for a change in her life and to perhaps get back to the familial roots. She has been in Hungary about six weeks now and enjoying Budapest and settling in amazingly well. I have been really impressed. Good thing she speaks the language.

She couldn't take her cat Tobias with her so she entrusted to let me adopt him. Toby has settled in quite well and is loved by everyone around here too.

Reno passed away suddenly two days ago.

I am heartbroken.

He was a great friend and loyal companion. She took him everywhere. He was so quiet and easily hid and slept in her bag if we were out at a restaurant or out at a movie. He was a great icebreaker as she always seemed to meet tons of people when she was out and about with him. He was always happy to see me and have me rub his chest.

That she was moving to a strange country and had this dude by her side made me feel she'd be alright in that new land.

Reno, I love you. Rest in peace. You were a heck of a dog.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


It was quite a weekend. Marcus got the last of the hardwood down and we put away all the leftover hardwood into storage. I put up a closet by the salon door entrance, cleaned up the tools and we vacuumed. We scattered some carpets about to start to define some seating areas. The stack coming up through the middle of the room breaks up the whole space and there is a need to have multiple seating areas. Greig put the TV downstairs so that whoever wants to watch a movie is free to do so but it doesn't dominate the Salon. He hooked up the stereo again and all was beautiful.

Tidy. Clean. Free of clutter. Well, free enough for me to be at peace for once. Coats hanging on coat hangers and not the backs of chairs. I can walk around barefoot without fear of stepping on something and injuring myself.

Best of all: nobody's crap stored in the corner of my living room, ad infinitum, waiting for them to come and retrieve it. I came home yesterday to a cosy living room and had the salon and the boat pretty much to myself. I felt no need to do "chores". I lit some candles, sat down and read a book, with a glass of wine in peaceful bliss. For over an hour!!

I don't know when in all these three years that has ever happened. It was beautiful and it will happen again.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Some new links

MV Katherine Jane. Here is a link to another family living on a boat. She is much prettier than our boy ...sigh. All in good time right? They are new to liveaboard life and I wish them all the best in their grand adventure.

And reading through Jamie and Greg's blog (yup, another Greg) reminded me of stumbling across this link to the Staten Island Boat Graveyard. I found it one day on a design web site last year and had Greig take a look at it. Needless to say he was in awe of them. "Oooohhhh...coool....oooh...loookit that!!!!" There is fabulous photography to be found here. Wish my pictures were a tenth as good.

Anyhow I had been meaning to put a link on the blog to it too.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The pineapple express

We were hit with a wee cold snap last week that the weather folks call the Pineapple Express. The rain has been relentless for days. Lord is it depressing.

Presently the most leaky spot is in my sewing room -
the room I never get to actually sew in. It is slated to be another bathroom at some point. I dump out the buckets of rainwater in there sometimes three times a day. There are steady drips and not so steady ones and it is the latter which are driving me nuts. I can't see where I can stick a bucket under them but the whole floor is very wet. There must be a whole bunch of very slow ones. It is a conspiracy I think.

I also fell and cracked the back of my head coming out of the hot tub on the frosty deck the other night. I think I suffered a bit of a concussion as I have been really headachy, irritable and have had some short term memory loss. I think the memory thing is a bit on the improve now. I badly bruised my right elbow and I have three bruises on my lower back.

The roof where this is leaking was glassed last year and Greig was still perfecting the technique. His pours were too hot so there has been some severe cracking and is now using a different fibreglass matting. It was a costly lesson unfortunatly as we easily spent $3-4000 K on that roof.

Luckily his technique has gotten much better. You could say it was becoming a thing of beauty even!

Still, the idea of becoming an Australian citizen is growing on me as it usually does this time of year.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Oh soothsayer....

My friend sent me this link from the google earth
blog of where NOT to buy real estate in the future in the ever bubbly real estate market of Vancouver.

So, when the ocean levels do rise, maybe living on a boat won't seem so stupid to the rest of the world (ROW).

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Marcus's skylite and the new biffy to be

Here is a lovely perspective from the roof down onto the bow and looking up the river.

In the foreground is the new "skylite" over Marcus's room. There is plexiglass all around it and the front bit opens and there is a "get-out" ladder. There is a nice amount of light now going into the starboard room (to the right) which we are in the process of turning into a new bathroom.

We picked up a strip of lights at the ReStore ($5) and a fibreglass shower pan ($25) from Jack's New and Used. The height of that space is only 6' so a purchasing a new Neo-angle type shower unit was going to be way to tall and we'd have to cut it down. So rather than spend that kind of cash ($400-900) on something that we'd have to wreck to make it fit, we are ,
as usual, improvising.

For the walls I am going to put up some arborite and having a smooth surface like this will make it easy to clean. I have to get the tap/shower assembly for all of this yet. I have a vanity and a set of taps but no sink. Greig is figuring out how to set up the drains for the shower and the vanity and how to tie all this in. I have talked Greig into putting down tile on the floor so I saunter out to Jack's again and pick up a whack there. It is a small space and tiling is pretty easy.

I am also happy that we have fixed most of the leaks up on the foredeck. There is one blasted leak just up by the winch that we can't seem to repair. This drips on Marcus's bed of all things and it seems to be under it somewhere. ARRGH! It is no longer leaking in the bedroom just forward of this skylite though. Sigh.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Since Jimmy and Hugh have left we now have this big lagoon on our starboard side. There is supposed to be a fishing lodge coming in to take their place but as yet it hasn't showed. We went aground on Saturday night and discovered some interesting things about our fair ship.

The first and second pictures here are of the bow and you can see there is damage down in the lower left. It is clearly quite old. Our current "natural" water level is the grey strip there.

When we first got the boat, Brian said there was seepage in the bow. We have a bilge pump up there (Mark's room) and it comes on pretty fairly regularly - I think about once a week or so. Here is why. It looks like the bugs had started to get at it at one time too.

Regardless, at 2am when we were inspecting all this, Greig and Bui decided to hose off the keel to document the condition of what is normally below the waterline. As you can see it is in pretty great shape. I can see that seepage by Bui's hand when I am inside and on the other side and it is so nominal considering the rest of the vessel and what it COULD be.

(Apologies at the poor lighting. Thecamera can only do so much under dark conditions we could only use of a trouble light and the camera's flash for lighting.) I hope this has given enough perspective. Though it is hard to see there is a ladder hanging off the ship by Bui's head. By the time I finished shooting these pics the tide had must have dropped another foot. The dock they are standing on was hanging off the ship! I had a difficult time climbing back onto that ladder to get back up and fortunately Bui rolled over a chunk of log left on the dock for me to get additional foot hold on.

I put my foot to just graze the top of the water and guess-timated that the nose was about five feet out of the water from normal. I am 5'7" and it was well above my shoulder height.

Last night we went a ground again but listed more than the night these pics were taken. Actually all the boats and the float house were stitting a bit high. We woke up at 3am to and could feel a good 20 degree list and ship creaking and popping. Doors were having trouble opening and when we did get them open some wouldn't close again. The boat went through a fairly good twisting and so we thought it would be best to stay awake...just in case. Greig drained the hot tub to remove any extra weight and a couple of hours and all was right again when the tide came back in.

We moved in a big boom stick today to keep us out from shore a bit more and Greig has put out a stern anchor and adjusted the bow anchor as well. I think that big boom stick stick will keep well us out now.

The beavers are just loving the lagoon. I am listening to them thrashing and hissing about out there as I type.

Ah...the life of us river rats.

Monday, October 02, 2006


Price of a "new" fridge...$50. Price of girlfriend not whining about the old piece of crap fridge: PRICELESS!!

I was fit to be tied with the old one. It leaked down the back of and sometimes into the crisper. Then it would overflow onto the floor. One by one shelves began breaking. A couple of weeks ago the side supports finally went and so there was only one real shelf which was the shelf that suspended the crispers and it was beginning to go. You couldn't open the crispers as the jugs of milk were just too heavy on that brittle shelf. I finally lost it when I knocked over a jug of ice tea trying to make room for a bowl of pasta salad.

I picked it up via the craigslist from a lovely girl named Amanda in Richmond Sunday morning. Gosh I love the craigslist.

Isn't it pretty? It has shelves and everything and nothing is broken. It makes ice too. Nothing leaks and it is PERFECT. I don't care that it isn't new. It is bigger and it is white and it is CLEAN!

And he says I am high maintenence. I'd say keeping me happy is quite easy really.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Business trip to Texas yields much progress

I came home from Texas to a Salon torn apart. New sub floor and flooring in a smattering of places, furniture akimbo. Greig and Marcus got busy when I was away.

"I have heard seven 'Wow's' so far" said Marcus.

“Wow,” again I uttered.

“There’s eight,” said Marcus.

Hugh and his Gypsy Traveller, moved out when I was away so we've a big lagoon where it used to be. I had taken the rest of the week off and helped Greig haul out old weed-infested docks, submerged logs and other junk that had lodged itself between the boats. Rolly, the landlord was bringing in a dozer boat to churn up the sediment to push out the muck that has settled beneath all of us. We are making ready for a fishing lodge to come in and sit on the inside of us. Don't know exactly when that is coming though and it won’t be there year round either.

So, in all the churning and shoving from Phil and his dozer boat, the shore power pulled away twice and shorted out. The second time is pulled apart it actually melted a bigger hole in the new main junction box Greig had put in this spring. Thank goodness Greig was home at the time. He also had Phil help reposition the anchor that got pulled around as well I believe. Oh, and the land line for the telephone is down so we have no phone, or internet for the time being. Telus is supposed to be coming today to repair the line. So, with all the chaos in the salon I have dismantled the computer. The plan is to re-hang all the lines there so maybe we won’t have cables and cords hanging down from the ceiling. (Wa-hoo!! The things that make this girl happy….)

I laid out some more sub floor for the Salon on Sunday so we can finish laying all that hardwood. The existing floor was weather deck and pretty shot so we just decided tackle it like a big silly puzzle and hopefully it won’t suck when it is done. Frankly, I am so tired of the old one I am so happy as it will be so much easier to clean!

I hope Greig takes down the stovepipe in Mark's room today as we have to match it up with stainless steel for the downstairs stove. He is going to need the fire on there soon, so I hope I can pick that up today before dropping Greig off for Captain's school.

Yup, that is what I said. Mr. Milne is paying for Greig to get his 60-ton ticket at BCIT's Pacific Marine Training Institute. I have long since thought that Greig should get his Captain’s papers but it wasn’t high up on his priorities. However, now that the boss is paying...Well, I am anticipating coming home to him face down, asleep and drooling over “the regs.”

And in other great news...Marcus got a job! Mr. Garlick has pulled him in to work on the crew for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. They are putting in some very long hours but it is nice to see Marcus working again. Gosh, maybe next he’ll be start dating again. I know, I know…baby steps.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

How humid is it?

It's so humid...

"My elbows are sweating," exclaimed Tracey whilst we were trying to flag a cab, "this isn't going to be good."

it's like a sauna here

I have escaped from a cool and rainy Vancouver, BC for a very hot and humid Austin, Texas. Whoo-wee is it humid. I don't even remember Hawaii being this humid but perhaps my memory is short. And I didn't pack enough skirts.

My workmate and I are here for the University and College Designer's Conference. We met a fellow conference attendee on the plane and he happened to be staying at the Crowne Plaza too so we hitched a ride and I navigated for him. Jared is from Oregon State University and works for their Foundation/Alumni Association. It was a dead give away on the plane when he started telling a collegue on the phone, "They cut off my artwork, they must at the very least keep that text there at the bottom of the page! I don't know what is wrong with these people?!" Or words to that effect to which when he finished I said, "'re a graphic designer?" And Tracey and I chuckled along with him, shaking our heads in professional sympathy.

But we have to hit the mall. I forgot floss, my toothbrush, moisturizer and my camera of all things.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Right up in the bow is Marcus's room, or "suite" I guess is a better description. There are three "rooms" to it, the pointy part of the bow, a room just aft and a third one aft again. This third room (see red star) is where he kept his computer. Beside that there is a hatch in floor and there is the second chimney for the downstairs woodstove in Mark's room. Just off of this we have another space that we have designated for another bathroom.

Greig has been working on this spot for the time being. It is right below the new skylight/solarium/forward ladder. He designed it based upon the old framing from where the big gun used to sit. He put in some new port holes (blue ovals on the side). Also, there will be a ladder up that skylight going up onto the forward bow deck.

Marcus's room still leaks and we've been glassing the deck above to stop the leaks so that he can move his bed from the salon part to up into the bow like the pic here. Then he'll have that "salon" space for reading, physics research and more importanlty playing WOW (World of Warcraft). Where his computer used to sit, will be an access point for that bathroom. Currently, though I missed it on this rough illustration, there are watertight doors on either side. Greig intendes to eliminate the watertight on the starboard side and put in a window and more natural light for that bathroom. I am on a mission to find a small clawfoot type tub to go up against that starboard wall. So I will have to keep an eye peeled for one, hopefully not made cast iron, next time I am at Jack's New and Used out in Burnaby.

So, thus the scramble to fibreglass this deck so that we stop those old leaks. (It's supposed to rain tomorrow.) Marcus has picked out this lovely cherry flooring from the stuff that Matt has donated to the Bowie and there is enough for that space at the very least I think.

Oh ya...and maybe some more electricity too so he can perhaps see in there. We dismantled the old wiring up there so the space isn't entirely wired as much as it used to be. Furthermore, he'll be able to sleep this winter and not get rained on.

I know, I know. It is all pretty ambitious! We aim pretty high around here.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Anniversary much missed

Of course I missed it. The first anniversary of this blog came and went without me. Wednesday, August 10, 2005 was my first posting. Ah well, I only missed it by 26 days.

What has changed? Fewer leaks through the ceiling when it rains. Then again it has been pretty dry lately and forecast is to remain so for a bit yet.

A couple of "new" boats. Greig had been doing a favour for our landlord in taking back some barrels for recycling and came home with a really grunty aluminum skiff. (Our old aluminum skiff was stolen when our neighbour Donovan had borrowed it, dumped it up the river and then got himself "rescued" by a tug company. When Greig went by the next day for the skiff they wouldn't give it to them, even though he had the registration for it in hand. So he went to the police, who did nothing and went back only to discover it had been "misplaced". What kind of a loser rescues a guy and then immediately steals his boat? That is his old skiff with Greig at the tiller taken a couple of years ago.)

At anyrate this skiff is probably better and more stable than the old one pictured anyway, so such is this silver lining I guess.

The cats have gone too. Zaboo went missing and Arial just left. She's been spotted next door over over at Canada Scaffold. Richard, one our former tenents, works there now and kindly has been on the look-out for her for me and took over her food dish and cat food.

As Bengals they were just so close to being feral anyway. It wouldn't surprise me to see Ariel saunter back one day and sqwack, "Where in tarnation is my food dish!". I haven't been able to catch the little witch anyway. They were lazy, lay-abouts as pets go, and you can only expect "so" much ambition from a cat but...c'mon!! Thou in retrospect I guess they aren't so not unlike some of our former tenents. Feed me and I MIGHT be NICE to you and let you pet me.

We've put up a "twitchy-cam" as Daniel calls it to keep an eye on the comings and goings on the docks. Some stange stuff has been going on so this way we can keep a better eye on things when we aren't there or when everyone is sleeping.

Really, there has been lots of progress in spite of the stupid drama that goes on. We should have cameras all over the place so nothing ever gets missed. You can't invent this stuff and I know I couldn't if I tried. It just happens.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

More fibreglassing (and the hardwood keeps coming)

Not to much exciting pictures to post as Greig is trying to get as much fibreglassing done while the weather is still holding.

I started cutting a hole in the foredeck where the big gun used to sit. I had started cutting out the rotten deck there as I thought my foot would go through it. I had begun with the idea of just patching it back up again for fibreglassing but Greig decided to "finally put in a skylite." The framing for the spot is an interesting shape and I doubt I could buy a skylight "off the rack" to fit the shape he has created. So it will be off to a glazier to see about having a piece of glass to fit the spot instead - perhaps some safety glass would be the best choice. Nothing like making a hole first and then trying to look for something to fit it. That would be too easy and besides this is more challenging and interesting.

Matt keeps bringing home the hardwood flooring and so we are scrambling to get ahead of the fibreglassing so we can put the hardwood down and get that out of the way. At the rate it is coming we are running out of safe (ie not leaking) places to put it until we can actually put the stuff down. We aren't about to put down fresh flooring where we KNOW we have water still coming in.

So a hole in his roof is facilitating Marcus to re-configure his room and make it more of a sweet "suite", and put another bathroom up by his room.

As luck would have it I am not scheduled for any charters this weekend so I plan to screw down plywood decks to make way for more fibreglassing. Robert has put a new roof on the Sea Ferring yesterday so I hope to tackle that this weekend. It is scheduled to be hot here so if I can get enough done for G to get some more glassing done before the rain comes Monday I will be a happy camper.

Maybe that is niave to think I could get that organized but that's my plan.

Oooh...and check out this YMS for sale.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

pieces of summer

In the four years or so that Greig and I have been together, it is kind of a wee mission of mine of have some kind of quintessential summer photo of the kids.

Here is one from one of my favorite spots on earth. There is this wee trail up behind the house from my parents. A group put this in about 10 years back and it is a 20 minute hike up to this lovely viewpoint overlooking Kaslo. I used to hike it a couple of times a week as it is such a great morning workout.

So here is the view from that spot. Dosha was a trooper. Sideaches kept plaguing her most of the way up and down.

This is the view from the spot of the Village of Kaslo, BC and of Kootenay Lake. There Lots of smoke in the air from forest fires.

It is a pretty cold
lake that doesn't warm up much for swimming though my friends Bub and Steph kindly had us out on their boat for some tubin' fun.

It's where my spirit roams.

Monday, August 28, 2006

HMCS Calgary

As tiring as it is to be working a full-time and a part-time job, working on the charter boats is really the only time I actually get to meet new people.

We were pleased to have Commander Kelly Larkin CD, SSM, of the HMCS Calgary on board the Eloquent to attend as MC to the wedding of his friends Rob and Neela.

So if it is back again at Canada Place, we'll take Kelly up on his offer of a tour. Nice to know our troops are in the care of such nice human being.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stylin in their new uniforms

Occasionally, Greig is able to take the kids to work
with him on the Eloquent. And one of the best ways to ensure they can come more often is to deck them out in some uniforms and make them crew. So off to Claymore Clothes to outfit them. They were so excited at the prospect of putting on the uniform and going to work that they asked Greig when they could go out again next with him.

Last week there was a charter with Scott from Blue Eyed Charters to Bowen Island so they went along. Turns our Scott and Greig really needed them so they actually HAD to work.

"My feet hurt," whined Bui.

"Its my legs that are so tired," said Dosha, "and guess what? I made some new friends!"

The uniforms -- they were a total hit and they each made
$20 bucks in tips. Welcome to working for a living kids. There is more to come.

Top photo: Miss Dosha
Middle: Bui
Bottom pic: Bui, Greig and Dosha on the Bowen Island wharf

Monday, August 14, 2006

How to golf on water and not loose your balls

Swinging away on the left is Matt and his caddy, Mark

Inspired by the Golf Lady across the river, the boys decided to try their hands at hitting a few across the water.

But they kept losing their balls...

Not to be out done by this small detail, they decided to affix the ball to the end of a fishing line so that they can reel the ball back in after every shot.

It is a pretty good system by all accounts I hear. They only lose the occasional ball apparently.

Pleased as punch with his ingenuity, Robert, left is pictured with ball and rod in hand.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

unbelievable gifts

In less than 48 hours we received two amazing gifts.

The first was the return of Troy and Sidney.

The second gift was the pickup load and a half of hardwood and laminate flooring courtesy of Mr. Garlick and it is his insistence that we use as much as we can all over the ship. He works at a hardwood flooring warehouse and they were clearing out broken and mixed packages from their inventory. There is a lot. A WHOLE lot. Bamboo, oak, walnut maple, engineered, thin, thick, light dark.

It is going to be a bit of a puzzle to sort out what can go where and will we have enough for one room etc. So I guess we'll tackle the bedrooms first. They will all be different. It will all be much more easy to maintain too as the existing floors are in various states of deterioration.

Needless to say we're quite floored.

A man and his dog

The last week in July, before I left for Kaslo was a bit of a melancholy week. Troy and his pooch Sidney left for Alberta. We were all sad to see him go, "You're always welcome here. If you ever want to come back we'll boot someone out you," I told him with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.

So off he went to the oil patch, mumbling about derricks and helicopters.

Oh to my surpise to come home from a very long drive from the interior to see his shiny truck. Apparently arrived at 3am that morning, scaled the fence.

This time, Greig said, he had been mumbling about pipe wrenches and rednecks.

Welcome home Troy and Miss Sidney. Happy day indeed.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Another wooden ship

Kaslo, BC, my home town, is home to the SS Moyie, the oldest sternwheeler in the World.

I had promised Greig that I would take the kids to see it again.

From the Kootenay Lake Historical Socity's website:
"When the Moyie was retired in 1957, after a 59-year career with the Canadian Pacific Railway's BC Lake and River Service, she was the last operating passenger sternwheeler in Canada. She is in a surprisingly complete state for a vessel with such a long service record.

The Moyie was ordered originally by the CPR for a planned "All Canadian Route" to the Klondike. When the bill authorizing the essential railway link failed to pass the Canadian Senate in 1898, the CPR began to dispose of its fleet of vessels, and the Moyie was shipped by rail to Nelson for service on Kootenay Lake."

A very dedicated group of volunteers have worked tirelessly in restoring this vessel and they have done a beautiful job. It is a nice draw for this small community and we are all quite proud of the volunteers and the SS Moyie.

I specifically got a bit of a kick from reading The Shipbuilder's Act signage. It is really not unlike the way Greig tackles things. Oh, except that bit about the " no power tools" and that "carefully cut" business is all just a wee bit discretionary at this point. (Have sawzall will travel.) I will post more photos when Mum comes home from camping and burns that disk that I completely forgot to do. In the meantime, here are some lovely interior shots.

(Would ya mind doing that for me Mum?)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


The kids and I managed to get out of Vancouver for a few days for a much needed break back to Kaslo. I hadn't been home in a year and a half so I was dying to get some downtime in the Kootenays.

On Sunday however, they had a big windstorm here which caused the old "Swing tree" to crash down on the power, cable and telephone lines. So the phone was the last to come up this afternoon.

Voila! Internet and telephone finally. My cell doesn't work so well here unfortunately (or fortunately).

In the wreckage, Dad found a salamander for the kids. Here it is pictured and quite friendly really. That is until they took him down to the garden and it jumped into the carrot patch.

I much suspect there should be some good eatin' in there for him!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

We are worried about Ariel

Here is Ariel, our bengal cat sitting on the winch on the stern deck last October 2005. These days, she is looking much skinnier.

Zaboomafloo, her son, or Zaboo as he goes by went missing a couple of weeks back. Think it must be a month now. We don't know what happened. I think he got picked up by a coyote or an Eagle. Or he could have just fallen in the river and met his Waterloo.

She is a different cat these days. We think she is depressed. Bui and I took her to the vet for her shots and the vet gave me a worm pill, though neither Steve and I have seen any worms and with the weight loss, well, we're both on the look out for them. So we are all trying to help her in this greif. Perhaps we need to say a mass for Zaboo. I guess it is the Catholic in me coming out I guess - something about ceremony and greif go hand in hand perhaps. We'll have to come up with something: Saint Francis a la Bengal cat.

Not generally a lap cat, she HATES being picked up. But that is changing too. She conceeds to being picked up more. She yells alot and only shuts up when she gets some attention. Before you'd stoop to pet her and she'd make a point of just being out of reach so YOU had to stretch to stroke her. She is tolerating Sidney the dog only because Sidney is the only other beast of her kind around. Now Sidney is going...

Of course Bui just thinks we should get another cat to keep Ariel company. His father and I disagree with him naturally.

And why is it the darn cat can loose weight and not me? It just ain't right.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Target practice

The collosal stupidy of some continues to amaze me.

Across the river from us are a bunch of condos. Between the buildings is a small patch of lawn. Anyhow there is a lady who likes to use us for target practice as she improves her golf swing. She is pretty good as she has hit both the Bowie and the Sea Ferring a couple of times in the last month or so. There will be people sitting outside on the back deck and she is virtually aiming right for them. I don't think she is any spring chicken either so you'd think she'd have half a brain and would know better but apparently not.

The boys have yelled across the river at her to get her to stop but she won't. I guess Greig yelled at her yesterday and one of our roommates was leaving to go somewhere whilst this was going on. I guess our roommate ended up on the other side and confronted her to get her to stop. I can only imagine what he said as he can be quite confrontational. Apparently rattled her cage enough for her to call the Police on us!

In the meantime, a bunch of us had gone out to see An Inconvenient Truth. When we came back, one of the roommates was out on the back deck eating dinner and a couple of Vancouver's finest had showed up as she filed a complaint! At anyrate, they were just following up and agreed that she was a bit nuts.

Will she continue? It seems quite probable.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Deadheads (not to be confused with the Band)

On the river you have to be on the look out for everything coming at you. Much can depend on the current but chiefly, it is the dead heads and logs we have to be on the look out for. The current fluctuates depending upon how the tide is running and it can get really ripping.

Only a few weeks ago another deadhead had got caught up in the waterhose of the Sea Ferring underneath the Pacific Express. Sometimes these devils are a bit tricky to maneouver out of the way. That one had four or five of us on it. We loosened off the lines on the Sea Ferring, untangled it from the garden hose and managed pushed it out of the way with the pike pole.

On Monday, we caught a deadhead, stuck in between the stern of the Bowie and the starboard dock. It was sitting at an angle submerged underwater.This one was about 2 feet in diameter and by the way it was sitting it was anyone's guess as to how long it really was. It also could have worked its way under the dock and somehow done damage to the two other boats behind us, the Sea Ferring, (60') and the Pacific Express (110').

The boys worked together to pull it out of the way with the come-along and the chain saw and gradually pulled it up in chunks. In the end it was about 35-40 feet in length. It could have caused a tremendous amount of trouble if it got caught up underneath the Bowie in the drive gear. Our chain saw isn't the most powerful saw out their either so it was a bit slow going for them.

At anyrate, there is a good amount we can add to the wood pile for winter.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Satisfaction not always guaranteed

I can't not be just a bit circumspect about the people that happen to come in and out of our lives because of this venture. Sometimes you hope to help others. Sometimes you just enable whatever previously bad habit they came with. Sometimes we get help. Either way, good or bad I learn something from everyone.

Today, I had help. Though I was dog-tired from a late night shift working on the Eloquent, I can't just sit and let a mess be. When I have a opportunity to tackle something I just can't sit back and ignore it. This is to my peril mind you - I don't allow myself much rest because of it.

We--Steve, Troy, Marcus and I moved another irresponsible roommates things from his room and made way for some dry firewood. So Marcus just got rid of one person's pile of crap, only to make room for another person's pile of crap. But, there is a clean and tidy space downstairs! Some firewood got cleaned up from the docks as well as the stern deck got cleaned up a bit and begun some stockpiling of dry firewood for winter already. YEA!!

Greig gets irritated at me because it seems like I am not having much fun. Well how much fun is it constantly cleaning up someone else's mess? Ya, I am sure you'd agree not so much too.

This I have found. Inasmuch as there are many projects I would like to start/finish/complete. Sometimes just cleaning one mess is a catalyst for some other thing to completed. And that isn't always completed by me, much to my chagrin. It would be great if I could just be content at that. Sometimes I think I should just resign myself to the fact that the best tool at hand is the broom and dustpan.

I need to learn how to delegate better.

Now where in the heck have they (dustpan and broom) disappeared to now..."ARRGGHH! Marcus!!! Where did you put the broom and dustpan now?"

"Its over by the hammer."

"And where is that?"

"You, know, it's in its spot."


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Hello Texas!

Our new friend Linda Weaver from Texas tells me we made the Herald Democrat out of Sherman, Texas. Sherman man reunites with ship is the name of the article. Click on the link to read the article on-line.

So if you are visiting us from Texas, welcome! But the vessel is 136 feet in lenght, not 60 as the article states.

We're a bit crazy up here taking on such an enormous project. But it may just be the only one left around of its kind. It is hugely unconventional but given our means it is a soloution that is at least working to keep the Bowie alive.

We were so tickled that Linda found us! Really we never expected but had hoped there may have been a few original crew members still around.

Thanks for visiting and Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

It is a smell like none other

We had another one. Another rat. I was sitting at the computer and I saw a scurrying out of the corner of my eye as he ran across the galley floor.

I got up to investigate and saw his long-tailed hiney half across the bottom of the shelf next to the sink. I realized I had nothing to strike him with except this stiff broom which happened to be on the opposite side of the counter. I quietly walked back to get it. It has a lovely long handle and a very stiff scrubby broom attachment.

I crept back around trying not to make too much noise and hadn't moved.

Extending the broom up I whacked him across the hind quarters and he scurried into the cupboard and into a slot in the paneling on the wall.

"ARRGH! I'll get you yet rat!"

That was Sunday evening.

Yesterday there was this smell. Sydney, Troy's blue healer was present at the time of my assult on the rat had been going over to that area and indicating that something was there. She has been trying to let me know that the rat was still there and I couldn't catch her subtle ways of communicating. Until it started smelling did I know for sure that I had in fact, killed it. Must have ruptured something inside it I guess.

Last night, as the smell is getting worse, armed with a hammer, prybar and a flash light I started to try and take apart the wall. I was able to pry the plywood paneling out enough to shine the flash light in to see its furry body therein. Tim assisted with shining another flashlight on the subject. So armed with the fire poker I pulled out his rotting, maggot-infested carcass and threw him in the river.

Tim and Steve thankfully took over and sprayed the area with Raid and cleaned up all the rest of it with bleach.

"E-yuk," exclaimed Dosha with a shiver "That is the second one you have got Tana! That was really gross."

Rat Slayer 2, Rats 0.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

i wanna paint

Oh it would be so nice to paint. Now that we have docks spanning the length of both sides of the ship, really the only thing I have to do is get out there with a scraper and pick away at it all.

I had started pulling staples from the walls and scraping off the paint from the wheelhouse. I have some patching to do up in the eves there. I don't know what that would be called on a boat so I call it the eves like on a house. Problem is I'd also like to paint the new undersection of the roof there too. We need to insulate the wheelhouse a bit better as there is a heck of a draft that comes from there we notice. You can also see where the heat from inside the boat meets with the cold outer air as underneath it is already looking black with mildew.

It would be nice to find a spot and just focus on it to finish it but alas that just seems such an impossible task. I start to look for a tool and then something distracts me from that and I end up doing something completely separate from what I had originally focused on. Then next thing I know an hour or two has passed and there is still that thing I had already started on up there waiting for me...

So much to do before we can even thing of making it pretty.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Alex Fraser Bridge

Here are some more photos from our river trip last week. Pictured first is the Mighty Alex Fraser Bridge - often subject to clogging during rush hour traffic down here in the lower mainland.

Mum wanted me to take lots of pics so I saw an opportunity to take some other funky shots on closer approach.

I think some will look good in Black and white, all framed up with a wide mat around them. Greig took the one below with the Malacite in the foreground.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

pity pizza?

(as retold here with a bit of creative license...)

Mat, one of our new tenants, ordered a pizza from Hometown Pizza.

Upon delivery and wanting to give a tip to the Pizza Guy, Mat found himself arguing with the Pizza guy when Mat tried to give him a tip.

Pizza Guy: "No, you don't need to tip me. I can't take it"

Mat: "No please, it is only five bucks!"

Pizza Guy: "It is OK. I know how hard you guys are working down there. "

Mat: "Whaa....? No please, I insist."

Has this ever happened to anyone else?

Thursday, May 11, 2006


My parents have come down from Kaslo, BC for a long overdue visit and inspection of our progress. They arrived Tuesday evening.

Greig had to work on towing a boat house for his employer Ken, from Ladner up to Ken's marina in New Westminster. They used one of Accent's yachts, the Malacite to do the towing. (The Malacite is an converted Canadian Navy crash boat). Greig though it would be nice to take Mum and Dad out on a river tour. So they picked us up on the Bowie at about 9:30am and we spent the day on the river.

What a treat. Neither Greig and I have been down the main arm of the Fraser by boat. We all got to see perspectives from the river we'd never seen and a beautiful day to do it. Lots of bald and golden eagles, seals, beavers, geese, swans and other shore birds. Watched a pair of Canada Geese twice defending their babies from a maurading Golden eagle.

Although I didn't count them all, there must be at least 100 floathomes here of all shapes and sizes. Mum and Dad even commented on selling their home and property back in Kaslo to get into one of these because it is so lovely. That and the idea of me living on these seems to be a bit more comforting to them because I wouldn't have to work so damn hard!!

We towed the boathouse up into the Annacis Channel. In order to make it under some of the bridges here, Greig had to scramble up to take off the mast of the Malacite. Mum was quite tickled with swing bridges and by the time we delivered the boathouse and journeyed back to the Malacite's slip it was 8pm.

I forgot to take sunscreen and burnt my cheeks. Dummy.

electrifying progress

We have finally managed to update the wiring from the old and dodgy fuse system. Yay BREAKERS!!!

We had a couple of instances of rooms and outlets going down and we just couldn't trust the old fuse system. We couldn't trace it so if Greig wasn't around no one knew what fuse to replace. Plus at $6 per fuse it was getting expensive.

So we have rewired the ship and all the rooms to this new panel and have transferred the heating of the hot tub off the woodstove back onto shore power.

Now it is a whole lot less confusing.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Yea!! Another year of flight school!

The barn swallows are back! It seems we are all in agreement with how much joy we get upon their arrival. They are great at dive-bombing us if we happen upon their space on the breezeway or up on the upper deck. Over time, they seem to become accustomed to us and realize we are relatively harmless.

They are such a joy to watch and they usually have at least two sets of babies (4 each) over the summer season and often we have at minimum 20 birds chirping and dodging about.

The cats will sit at the window and chirp along with them. We do as much as we can to keep the cats from them but cats will be cats.

And to think they fly as far south as South America, is really amazing.

Above is the 2004 Graduating class of Mud Swallow Flight school.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

kerploosh- just call me Aquagirl!

I suppose it was only a matter of time before it happened to me. On Sunday just after noon I finally had a Fraser River baptisimal. And for three years I suppose I have been lucky.

I had just finished showing the engine room on the Bowie to a friend of Rod's. Rod owns a pretty wooden 36 foot Chris Craft like boat called the Hari Mai. He and his wife Faith were hanging out on their boat in the sunshine entertaining another couple. I was loathe to take Rod's friend down there as the cats have been going in there and making a mess. Sigh...boys and their engines.

After, I continued gathering up scrap wood down the docks past one of the neighbours where Greig had been cutting up chunks of wood. While on bended knee I smelt the stuff emanting from my shoe. I stood up took off said shoe and scraped the excess off with a stick. Put my shoe back on and then I couldn't right myself up again.

It was like a slow motion moment from the Matix. I knew I was going in and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. The river fortunately, was just ebbing on the slack tide so it wasn't running too fast.

Total submersion. As I was submerged it was all I could do to pull myself up as I felt my shoes filling. I had those rubber cotton gardening gloves on and I bobbed up once beside the speedboat tried to scream but I had no breath and down I went again.

I bobbed up again and gulped for some air. I pushed toward the speed boat and managed to grab onto a rope that was coming off the stern and which was connected to the dock. I took hold of the rope and pulled myself against the current to the dock, now managing to scream and hauled a leg onto the swimgrid of the speedboat. Hyperventilating, I hauled my soggy butt up onto the dock where I heaved for what seemed like a few minutes.

So back to the Bowie I trod looking like a drowned rat and panting like crazy to ebb the adrenaline and recover from the shock of the cold river.

"What the hell happened?" Rod hollered over as he saw me traversing the back deck of the Bowie.

"I, " heave "fell," pant "in," heave "the river." Pant, "I, " heave, heave, "guess you," pant, "couldn't" heave, " hear me scream."

"No!! Are you OK?"

"AM now!"

And he and Faith rushed over to check up on me. Bui rushed over to see me as he was doing his homework at the computer. Faith helped me out of my wet clothes and I hit the shower. Thankfully the hot water had recovered from Greig as he had gone to work.

I am sore today though and just fine. I am amazed at how much it took the breath right out of me though more than anything.
Really Mum, I am OK! Please don't freak out!

Apparently that is a good way to clean off the cat doo-do.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Greenport, NY

A couple of weeks ago I heard from gentleman who grew up in Greenport, NY. The Bowie was built by the Greenport Basin and Construction company in Greenport and I had done some tertiary looking about to see if the company was still around but hadn't really thought much about the community.

I thought it would be interesting to post his email to me, as it certainly gave me pause for thought on a couple of things.

Richard writes:
I was doing research on the minesweepers and landing craft built in Greenport, NY, and came across your website.

Well, now, God Bless you! Just when I have had another week of suburbia, traffic and George Dubya, and am wodering where the hell the real world went, I come across people like you. Thank you.

I grew up in Greenport (actually, in nearby Orient, but Greenport was considered "town" and Orient was considered the sticks). I now live in the burbs of Seattle.

I am assembling information on the period in Greenport from the end of World War II up to 1968. American literature has plenty of tales from WWII and plenty of tales during the 60's, but I think there is a great story in what happend to people who survived a depression, then a world war, and now faced this wonderful new world. Greenport today is a yuppie haven for New Yorkers, with no real stores. What few locals are left travel 60 to 70 miles for groceries, yet when I was a young lad in the 50's it had three car dealers, three supermarkets, two shoe stores, etc. Now, if you want some scrimshaw or souvenir seagull carvings made in Mexico, you can get it, but you can't buy a suit or get a new spark plug for your lawn mower.

I digress. As I said, I am constructing a history of sorts about that era. Maybe a novel, who knows? Greenport swelled during the war as people from the south moved there to build the 'sweepers and landing craft, and many remained behind after the war. I am fasciated by the optimism of that era, the culture that begat the pitcher of martinis at the end of the day, and consumerism.

Your website has given me the idea that maybe one of the characters needs to be made of wood and powered by diesels.

I honestly wonder everyday it we should (or I should) be doing what we are doing. Greig never questions it. His single minded focus is inspirational and frustrating as hell. Or maybe it is just obsession. People tell me how brave/patient for "putting up" with it. But I choose to be there so there you have it. We have made huge progress but everyday provides us with fresh new challenges. And those challenges actually come from other people - not so much the boat itself.

To be inspirational to others in any way is hugely supportive. Thank you Richard! And for as many people who probably think we're crazy there are just as many who think we're not. I have to get on perhaps making the Bowie a non-profit organization somehow. I really don't know the first thing about it.

Another task for the "round tuit" list.

Monday, April 03, 2006

spring forward

Here is another photo courtesy of Linda from her Dad's personal photos. Here is the Bowie (PCS 1405) docked in Honolulu. Note the big gun up on the bow. It is the only photo I have ever seen of it with the gun still in place. When you stand beneath inside you can see where it would have sat given the configuration of the roof stringers.

I went on a flury of photography yesterday. I blasted of three rolls of film. I will be posting more progress pictures as I slowly get my act together on it!

I started to strip one of the cabin doors on the weekend. We have an open room at the moment so I am able to spread out the door on a set of saw horses and putter at it. I took a heat gun to the major layers (7) and working with chemical stripper on the last layer. The door appears to be mahogany. The other challenge will be in getting all the paint off the louvered insert. It will look beautiful when it is done though!