Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hey! Who's bright idea was it to park that Lightship there?

Oh ya, it was Greig's!

We knew Kent was coming with the Lightship. It is the same length as the Bowie and is a bit heavier.Ok, lots 500 tons heavy.

I arrived home to see my wee float house tied up way up and away from the rest of the boats.Brock paddled me over so I could get changed into my grubby clothes as that beast was comin' in. It wasn't coming down the river very far and Kent and Mary had hired two tugs for the adventure.

It went of quite well. Well, except for the fact that Dave's welder, my green Hitatchi drill and Greig's big grinder somehow got knocked off the Meat Locker and ended up in the drink.
So Dave didn't have a good day. I am disappointed about the drill - I didn't even know it was over there either. However, the silver lining is that Mark Q says he can fix the welder as he is a whiz -bang with resistors, capacitors and all things gidgy-widgty of that ilk. As long as he's got the parts he can fix it he figures.

There was probably about a dozen of us on hand to help guide it all in and get all the lines out and attached. When we brought the float house back, Greig wanted me to keep my view and in no way wanted it to be sitting BEHIND the Lightship should it let go and crush the floathouse. So we got me wedged as my rough illustration goes.

We got me re-connected with hydro and water and by the time I went to bed last night I was prepared to wake up for the bow of the Lightship to be crushing my stern. And
I was so darn tired I was a bit beyond caring.
However Greig, trooper and with the strength and fortitude of Hercules, stayed up all night to keep an eye on the ship and observed how it settled on the low tide. (It tilts out to port. Not good. Could be Bowie crushing.)
He finally came to bed at 6:15am and somehow managed to pull the ship back about 10-15 feet.

By himself. Yup, 500 tonnes, out there, by himself. That's my crazy Viking for you.

So here is my new "view." For those who aren't in the know the knobby thing on the black thing on the left is the Lightship and that's where it's anchor chain came out.

Yes, does it blocks all the natural light, thanks for asking. I feel though that I am now moored up all the way up river in New Westminster for all the hiking I have to do to get to the float house.

I think the Lightship could be moved further back to where the Kathy Ann is sitting in the lagoon. I know there will be lots of junk that will float under my hull and get wedged up against the dock between the ships and that won't be good at all. Plus the long dock behind can still be put ahead to process firewood and other stuff.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I was having sixty pink fits..

Which is not unlike a meltdown. Yesterday afternoon when I came home, I had great plans to do domestic stuff like making salad dressings, fruit salad and maybe some soup. Maybe I'd go as far as figuring out the how to light the pilot light on the Partnership's propane oven too and wouldn't that be neat! There's some sweet potatoes that are going meeting their Waterloo in my Roasted Garlic, Red Onion and Sweet Potato soup. I was going to do all of that AFTER I took an hour to have a cider and sit in the sun and read for a whole half hour or so.

Yah, that didn't happen. Greig was at work, Roger and Mark Q were hard at it prepping more docks for the Malacite to arrive for today.

Nurse Karen informs me that "Kent, (the owner of the Lightship #76) called, is bringing it by with a tug at 5pm tomorrow. Should take about 30 minutes to tow it over." (Side story: somebody rammed it last week. All for another posting however, so more about me.)

"AAACK!!!" There goes my evening.

I got in touch with Greig at work to warn him that the Lightship WAS in fact, coming tomorrow at 5pm. I did this as he usually has several plans to accomplish one task at anytime. Giving him ample warning enables him to think about things and come up with six different plans which he shares with half a dozen people individually so we're ALL well and truly confused.

He shared plan #1 with Roger and Mark Q.

He told me plan #2 and proceeded to throw me into a panic. Then I found out about plan #1 after I got off the phone I was confused and scared and further confused and scared about how to do plan #2 when I heard of plan #1.

It involved:

1. taking a really filthy, mud-encrusted line that is soggy and about 2" in diameter off Dave's "new" boathouse and replacing that with an equally difficult line to tie though not as filth but at least dry. Why I couldn't leave Old Muddy where it was and use Old Stiffy instead, I still don't quite understand but...

2. scrambling around for chain (no he doesn't know where any spare chain is off-hand just look around - akin to looking for a needle in a haystack.)

3.tie up to a tree on shore and then wrap around the stack on the Bowie where we've got at least 100 of open water between said points requiring several of us to string it over

4. dropping the two bow lines off the Bowie; disconnecting the internet and shore power cable off the Partnership from the Bowie and bringing the Partnership around to the port side bow of the Bowie. Then tie it off to the bow of the Bowie and to the docks Roger and Mark Q were in the process of building. No there is currently nothing to stand on their either, 'cos they haven't built that part yet.

5. Move the logs and detritus that has gathered in between the crap docks up forward between the bow of the Partnership and the Bowie.

6. doing this all RIGHT NOW, COS THE TIDE IS SLACK and we aren't going to get this opportunity again until tomorrow night when the lightship arrives. Quick, quick!

Namaste...deep and cleansing breath...please come to me.

To hell with #1, 2, 3, 4 and 6.

So chose #5... Where the heck is my pike pole now? Oh that isn't the one. Where is MINE dammit? Why can't people put things back when they use them? Oh that doesn't look at all safe to stand on that in my flip flops. Oh lookit that big rusty spike, nope there's three actually. Those will go through my foot quite nicely it will, it will. I just gotta stick the pole there...No I am not, It's entirely rotten that bit. How the hell can I hang on to that? Ok, I'll jump over there and pull on it. Oh my, that freshette is running hard isn't it? Ooh, there that's a nasty log, where did those log salvage guys go who were just buzzing about? Typical men, never there when they'll be of USE...grumble, grumble, bitch, bitch....Oh there are two big stumps in there! I can't get those out! OYI my shoulder!!


"Well I didn't mean for you to do all of it! You just want to know what is going on and I think you can do anything but that doesn't mean you HAVE to." He tells me an hour or so later with me on the verge of tears.


So I then opted to do what I actually felt capable of doing which was hauling on the other logs and stuff that had gathered against a dock all of which will be in the way for tomorrow (today).

Soon, I had Roger, Mark, Nurse Karen, Troy and Steve hauling out logs that would make friends the Husqavarna. We pulled out one beast that was about 30-40 feet long and had only about a foot out of the water. With a rope and pole it took four of us to pull it out in three sections.

I had to avert my eyes as Roger cut it up with the chainsaw. Barefoot.

Nothing like the thought of someone losing a foot to top it all off.

I finally just decided closed my eyes until it was over. Just a typical day around here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Apparently some find us inspiring... Dave, the Mad Canadian.

Dave is so inspired, he found himself another project. Yup, like us, one semi-submerged box wasn't enough. He found himself a "free" boat house that got pegged by a deadhead.

Free it was. Free he isn't. One day he may even get something with a MOTOR. It may have a seized motor but having one is better than not having one. Well then again, the POTENTIAL to motor is probably the ticket perhaps?

When it came in a couple of days ago it had no floor. He's been scrambling to get a floor in.

Which is a good thing he's gettin' on it as we've already rented his room out. Dave, ya got three days!

He just can't help himself

Ok, there are a couple of things going on here.

The outboard is Roger's, in the light blue shirt on the left, and yes, the motor fell in.

But between Roger, Greig and Steve they pulled it out again. I missed it all as I was out on the milk run. Thanks again to Karen O for the pics.

The other thing is the boat they are in. Yup, it is new, to us. Greig is getting our pal Randy's old outboard which is getting serviced at Lordship Marine and he swung by there yesterday. This boat was there on its trailer and it followed him home. Marc Q wants to buy the Green Goblin and, well, it was $200 ON THE TRAILER and all the lights on the trailer WORK! Its nice and stable and the plan WAS to put Roger's outboard so runs to the beach should be about a half hour. The Goblin is a thirsty dude and we have no trailer for it.

Supervising at the back is Steve's pal Greg from Antigonish, Nova Scotia. (We call him Greg 2 since Carpenter Greg has temporarily relocated to Lions Bay for work.)

Sheesh, Marcus was right. This is the Ark. Two Marks, two Karens, two Gregs...If we get another Tana I swear to god I am buying $500 in Super 7 tickets.

Now we'll have to come up with a name for this new one. Its blue, very stable and lacking seating of any kind. Any suggestions?

Oh and apparently there is another one, aluminum on a trailer for $500. Needs work but...

Yes and I know they are cute but...

...they are perpetual poop machines! The baby is so sweet but Mum and Dad are so hissy.

Bridgette and Max, our resident Mallard Ducks are all fine and good. They don't poop quite as much as the Canada Geese and they are quite cheerful. The other day Bridgette came walking right into the living room on the
Partnership to let Greig know she needed her fix. The Ewoks (aka Mark Q's kiddies), and others I assume, sprinkled birdseed on the ramp here. The problem is, this ramp is en-route to the Partnership and the other evening I slipped on a pile of green do-do.

"This, will not do" I vowed. "I have to nip this in the bud." So I decreed upon high that the sprinking of the seed ON the traffic areas of the dock an extreme no-no.

I took the garden hose to Mumma and Poppa goose to let them know they are not welcome at the MIYC. Hissing at the kids and others, which is what they do, is fine but they ain't gonna do it here.

I like watching the geese, on the OTHER SIDE of the river. It seems to have done the trick as the geese have been keeping their distance.

Thanks for the picture Karen!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

So pretty

There's been some dock building goin' on.

So nice to not navigate semi-submerged things that just happen to be floating on the water.

Dave 1, Steve, Mark 2, Troy, Brock, Greig and a few others have been at it for the last week or two.

Tick, tock...its all getting better.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Where there's a boat there's a story

The Dos Amores is a steel 44 foot ketch (44’ at the waterline and 52’ to the bowsprit I believe). It arrived down at the MIYC sometime last winter. “Wayne,” as we knew him as, pulled up looking for moorage. Said, he’d been in touch with the landlord and “hadn’t we’d been notified?”

We hadn’t.

So for the first month or so he had to walk through the Bowie to get to his boat. This annoyed many of us to no end. He was a strange duck, a big talker. Suffice it to say he was fishy and the boys decided to call him “Narc Wayne.” His reputation as a bit of a of a wanker became more true as time went on. One day a few weeks ago he showed up and removed a bunch of belongings from it.

The following week, we had a visit from the REAL owner who’d been looking for him and the Dos Amores for sometime. " Wayne" sent him back the keys and told Graham where to find the boat. Graham, showed up the following week, wanting his boat back. “Wayne,” was errant in paying his hydro. Greig and I were both at work when Graham and his family showed up, and the boys wouldn’t let him just take the boat as they knew “Wayne” was in arrears with his hydro.

“Wayne” or “Norm” as Graham knew him as, made a couple of payments on the boat and disappeared with it. Graham had been in touch with him from time to time but Norm always dodged him.

Graham, somewhere in his early 50s, had inheritied the boat from the father he never knew. His father, now deceased, showed up one day a couple of years ago riddled with cancer and said, “Son, I’m dying and want you to have my boat. I’ve money to cover my funeral expenses.”

Well the old man died and there was no money for a funeral of any kind. The old gent also managed to saddle the son he never knew with a mountain of debts to boot. In the one closet downstairs “There were 200 three-piece suits stuffed in so tight that you couldn’t wedge your hand in." Graham told us. " He had several hundred silk ties and over 40 pairs of shoes not just your average kind of shoe but shoes that run $400 bucks a pop. He had lots of money for shoes but never was there a dime to his kid(s). When my wife and I emptied it out there were some 60 bags of clothes and that boat came up three inches higher on the waterline.”

He wanted $28,000 for it. Fair price for a world class steel sailboat but we couldn’t do it and thought Graham wouldn't have much problem getting that for it. He came back with an offer we couldn’t refuse and so, with help from Karen O, we've secured the boat with terms.

“It was immaculate when we handed the keys over to Norm, aka “Wayne”. The railings were gleaming and varnished, it had all fresh paint, we did a haul out and new zincs two and a half to three years ago.”

The main mast is broken below decks and the mizzen is gone though the boom for that is still on board.
Dave and Greig braced up the mast with some 1/4” steel plating and bolted it all into place on Saturday before the Sunday sail. “Wayne” had taken it up on a trip up Desolation Sound back in February and he surely couldn't have done that trip without the sails. We think he may have broken the mast then. Probably misscalulated the mast height in going under one of the bridges. That would be easy to do.

The other good thing is pretty much most everything else works just fine.

Greig, Nurse Karen and Roger brought it back up the river from False Creek yesterday. Roger and Nurse Karen had stayed on it overnight in the Creek. The had the sails up and were doing seven knots in English Bay however, coming up the river was a very slow affair as it took them four hours doing at most three knots.

The mainsail must be 60+ feet and so we can only bring it down the north arm of the Fraser at low tide so we can clear the bridges. The new Skytrain bridge, for new Canada line, which is due to be ready for the 2010 Olympics however, is to low for this boat to go under even on the low tide. Hmm...wonder if the brain trust on that even thought about that issue? Apparently not. Future journeys will mean going up to New Westminster, hanging a right down the main arm of the Fraser and out the mouth of the river in Steveston.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Oops, we did it again!

Really, we weren't looking to get another boat. It just fell into our lap quite literally...
Behold the Dos Amores. Summer is sure gonna be fun this year! Here it is in False Creek at the end of our day's cruise.

We took it out for a test sail today. We were a bit afraid we wouldn't make it under the the Knight Street Bridge or the Arthur Liang Bridge over by the airport but lo the tide was low enough and we made it.

Dosamore has some issues but unlike many of the vessels in our fleet it actually RUNS! WHEE!!

We hauled up the jib about a 1/4 mile off of Wreck Beach and up went the main too. Not much wind today but at least the clouds burnt off and we had a bit of sun. It was a pretty exciting trip for some of our had to nap it off along the way.
Pictured above are: Karen 1, Pearl, Dosha, Mikalea and Denis (friend of Bui's)
Nurse Karen and Roger The Quesnelle Family, or as we call them, the Ewoks: Mark 2, Jineah, Mikalea, and JJ (with Pearl our helmsman in the back ground). BTW, these kids have rockets tied to their backsides. (Talk about it takin' a village...)
Denis, Bui, Dosha, JJ and Greig on the bow as we're coming out of the mouth of the Fraser down by the Booming Grounds.
Weary crew, taking a much needed nap on the deck.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tales of the bedraggled cat

This picture was taken at dusk, but you get the idea. Tobias, my orange and white cat, ok he is really grey more than white, is stalking Bridgette and Max, our resident ducks.

We were all having a good giggle at Tobi's expense as he was getting into the crouch and quite overtly stalking the ducks.

"Tobi," we told him, "You don't have a chance as that river's running fast and you're a lousy swimmer."

Still in all it was entertaining as the ducks were kind of taunting him too and amusing the humans who held the birdseed. This was happening early Saturday evening before the big jam session of Saturday night.

We'd hosted a party on Saturday night and I made it to about 3:30am. I saw Tobi cruising around the docks then. I woke up on Sunday morning to a most bedraggled and soggy creature at the foot of my bed, covered in gravel and fur imbedded with grit. A bath was to be his destiny that day.

Troy had gotten up for work at 5:30am and had seen Toby scratching at the glass doors on the floathouse and let him in. We surmise made a run at the ducks and the ducks won the round.

Silly kitty.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Rhianna, the goddess

Most days, especially recently, I feel sore all over. I tend to not take care of myself as well as I should and when I don't I get exceptionally bitchy. It's no one's fault but my own. I push and push myself as I feel my responsibilities keenly. We've a lot on our plate, ridiculously so. I admit thought that I am a workaholic.

I have had rotator cuff issues in my right shoulder for a while and with all the wood splitting it exacerbated it as well as flared up some carpal tunnel in the wrists. The carpal tunnel is new but not surprising given how much I am on a computer. Old figure skating injuries to the tail bone has given me some chronic pain in my sitting bones, the right one to be precise. Tendinitis of the hiney. Nice eh?

Rhianna the Goddess, and friend of Dave the Mad Canadian, is a Registered Massage Therapist. She gave me a very long massage (three whole hours!!) and loosed up a great deal of stiffness. I always feel so sore on the right side as the left side is blocked and stiff and therefore my right does all the work gets overtired and sore. I have been going to physiotherapy and the massaged loosened up stuff to help with the physio. My physiotherapist therapist really made me cry the other day and this left shoulder has felt like a huge weight for days.

Rhianna, I love you and thank you!

Clearly though I need to invent a better apparatus for
I am icing my wrists and shoulder like crazy. I think I have to make some kind of pack that I can stick a zip lock bag into, with velcro to wrap around the shoulder and arm so I can be hands free to keep working. I keep trying to back to the Vedic and into yoga again. I find it is the best thing to keep me aligned and helps with my energy and pain managment. Most days, I feel pecked to death by ducks and it is impossible for me to get over there.

See, even when I am trying to do nothing the brain is zipping along, giving me new chores/projects to do.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Vote on it

Like everyone else in the world who has to drive a car to do anything we were bit flabbergasted last week when we put gas in our pickup truck. Of course, we can't put in the cheap stuff, it has to be premium and at the Petro Canada over on Cambie, proceeded to watch Greig's head pop off at the $1.38/litre price. Stark contrast to the price of B4 Biodiesel of $0.96/litre.

When I first met Greig he drove a propane truck and we've had a few propane fueled vehicles since then. When we first started dating the price of propane was $0.28/litre and and then jumped up to $0.69 (not long after Nine-11). Now the propane is back down suddenly to $0.49. I am just waiting for the next jump back up which I think will be close to a buck a litre.

So, if the price gouging has you steamed up to go to and express your ire with just a click of a button.

AHHH..feel better? I know I do.

Addendum to orginal post:
The CBC confirms it: Canadian are being gouged at the pumps. I especially like that bit about "the government having to pull its head out of the sand."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Lightship revealed

OK...TA DA!! Here are some of the best pictures of our tour through Lightship #76. She is a mess but not a mess like the Bowie was. Now THAT was a MESS. I think it is pretty cool that it is one of the three oldest lightships left. Coming around the bow.

A view from the bow, looking east up the Fraser River.

The wheelhouse

The wheelhouse window frames are brass, as are the buckets they slide into. Don't know if that is the correct term for those things. Someone correct me if I am wrong. I am sure there is some fancy shmancy nautical name that goes with those.

Behold the lovely wodden map table. The Bowie's was similar but made of steel. We took it apart to make more room for Dosha as on the Bowie it is her bedroom.

A little vignette.

Decrepit lifeboat

The windlass, which is about the size of a Volkswagon.

The interior of a section of the salon. Same brass portholes as on the Bowie.

Behind this wall is a bathroom. Note the lovely curved wood panels. Some parts are rotten but worth salvaging or re-doing.

Another steel wall on the main salon level.

Steve and Kent entering the Rudder room. The decks above are currently open to the elements.

Rudder room, note the hole in the steel in the middle of the picture. It only seems to have a few cancer spots.

A bunch of crap in a room that sits below the rudder room. Memories of the Bowie here but no where near so bad.

Checking out the Engine room, the heads are currently off the engine, I recall it is a V8 Catapiller that has replaced the original steam engine. Note all the natural light coming in from above.

The Hercules compressor

Hmmm...can't remember where this room was but the panelling is in good shape.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Tooting about

I have been negligent in my postings as I've just not had time to blog these last couple weeks as it is that time of the month and charters are kicking back into gear for the season.

The week before last, Greybeard and I had gone up river just a bit from us to check out the lightship moored up there. It is for sale and kicking keels, is a rather date-worthy endeavor. (Tugster had tweaked my interest in lightships with his post on the Nantucket Lightship which I've had a link to for some time.) This boat had been down at Celtic Shipyards for years and when they took that apart last year it moved just up the river from us. We can see it from Mitchell Island.

Over Greig's shoulder is the Maudi Morgan, former Relief Lightship #76. (click on the links for more history on Lightship #76) It is one of the oldest wrought iron lightships still in existence, built in 1904 and though in need of extensive renovations, it is utterly amazing. I have a "shwack" of photos to post on it. It is roughly the same length of the Bowie but much wider and roomier inside. They've got the same portholes and there is tons of light coming into the interior of the vessel. I found it kind of funny as when we were tooling about and checking it out, those KJ folks were snapping pictures of its sister ship, the Swiftsure. These two ships came around the Cape Horn together, alternately towing each other to conserve fuel. At one time it had two masts and they've since been removed.

I wish we had a video camera on Kent when he was taking us about. It has been in his family for many years and his knowledge of the vessel and all its workings is quite extensive. It would be a shame if this vessel isn't preserved somehow and that it can "pay" for itself. $30k could get you a nice lightship in need of repair.

It was a treat. Much like just floating down the river was afterward with the outboard motor shut off and drifting on the current. The freshette was ripping us along. The song birds along the shore serenaded us and we watched the bullying of a Golden Eagle by several crows as we came up to the tip of Mitchell Island. Alas, those pics came out too blurry to post.