Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Yes, we do yacht deliveries

The Malacite, one of Accent Cruises other charter yachts, has been moored beside us for the last two months. Now that summer cruising is upon us, it needed to come down the river to Granville Island, where our friend Len is scheduled to do some interior repairs and renovations as well. Then it will be ready to pick up a few charters this summer.

Dosha's friend Payton came along for the ride and between the two of them pretty much were at the helm the entire way.

I took some pictures and then fell asleep downstairs. Something about the overcast day, the lull of the engines and the genset just knocked me out for a wee cat nap.

This is Arrow Shipyard. They are on the south side of Mitchell Island.
Here is the River Eagle pulling a log boom with the River Star just behind him. For those readers not from the Vancouver area or BC for that matter, the Fraser River has booms like this all along the river edges here.
Here we are passing a section of the new SkyTrain bridge which will be crossing over the western tip of Mitchell Island. We're hoping it will have as much or more clearance as the Oak Street and Arthur Liang Bridges otherwise the Dos Amores won't be able to go under it. At this point, it sure doesn't look as tall.

The Captain let his daughter drive, and Payton too.
Pretty neat experience for an 11-year old. Greig was there ready and guided Payton into the Public Dock at Granville Island. She took it slow and easy. I think it is something that Payton will remember for ever.

It is Birthday Week around here

Somehow, as if by magic, Bui, Dosha and Greig are all celebrating birthdays this week.

Dosha turned 11 on Friday, June 22. Yikes. She's already like a teenager.

Bui and his dad share the same birthday. Bui was born on Greig's 22nd birthday. How is that for magic?

Bui is now gone for the summer to Alberta to his Grandma's. Her partner John is putting him to work doing construction. A lacky he will be? He is keen to make some money this summer. Though he'll be working a lot, John is going to take Bui to get his learner's permit, take him up flying and perhaps get Bui into ATV racing of some kind apparently. We're going to miss him and fully expect him to come back taller than the old man.
Dosha is probably spending most of her summer with us here. She was hoping to visit Grandma Caroline up in Whitehorse but the price of plane tickets set me into sixty-pink fits again.

Either way, she'll have a great summer, especially since big bro isn't on the scene.

Nell threw a joint B-day party on Saturday and we stopped in before work and had a nice surprise, as Big Bui and Chris, Greig's Dad and brother showed up for the party too. Though Greig is adopted, it is amazing how much he and Bui look alike!

Addition: My mum was telling me about my cousin's nephew. My cousin Don, has a heavy duty construction business. He trained his nephew Tyler on all his equipment the last few years. I was amazed to hear that Tyler, who is now 16, is also working out in Alberta, and is working as a foreman. 16 years and is already a foreman. Unbelievable.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The picture says it all

I came home from work and found this on the fridge. Hmm, I wonder who could have put it there?

Three guesses and the first two don't count.

Whatever you say Ma...

...but I can totally take him down.

Friday, June 22, 2007

What the...?

Yes, Mercury is, in retrograde. I dunno what happened to all the pictures on "More of that thing we do part 2"

Something weird is afoot. I will re-post with recovered pictures.

As soon as I get a 'round tuit."

Friday humour

Medieval helpdesk

Whoever said...

that "technology would revolutionize our lives" needs a good slap upside the head.

Of course it would be too easy to find a new cord for the digital camera, my camera the Olympus FE 180 is too special. Nope you need a card reader. Which is just as well as they tend to transfer faster anyway. "OK, I thunk to myself maybe I'll pick one up at London Drugs, they probably got the stuff. Save me having to shlep all the way over to Kerrisdale Cameras in Kitsilano or the Source (or Radio Shack as I will forever refer to it as.)

This Universal 21 in ONE card reader is a piece of crap and does not live up to it claiming to take my wee camera card. BUNK! The card doesn't fit in the slot at all. Now I have to go back to LD and then over to Kits to pick up a darn card reader.

Sheesh. You'd think the brain trust on these things could come up with something universal and standardized. Then that would defeat the whole, "buy more crap we really don't need that fires this world wouldn't it?"

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Blog-us Interruptus

I've been fighting, once and again, with the internet connections at home. I have a bunch of stories I am wanting to write about but just can't get to it all for the usual plethora of reasons, our unstable internet connection being one of them.

On the weekend, one of the visiting little rotters got a hold of the cable for my digital camera and it has gone walk-about. (The cable, not the kid). Such a PAIN in the butt-inski! Some people's kid's eh? I am sure it was one of Mark Q's kids as they are the type to pick it up just 'cos it is there and hang on to it and just drop it somewhere. I am sure it got dropped in the river or on a dock somewhere. Its the kind of thing that only holds a finite amount of interest in the first place and when that ends, it ceases to be bright and shiny. Bui and Dosha are well and truly enough to know better and even when they were that age such a thing wouldn't have been interesting to them.

In the meantime I was booting about looking for a place called Port Hammond, BC, where the Dos Amores was built and I stumbled upon Rog 45's lovely photo gallery on Flickr. There are some lovely shots of the Fraser river, most of which are further up river and East of us.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

More of that thing we do, Part 2

Coming in to the "Creek" otherwise known as False creek we pass Vanier Park. Vanier Park is home to the annual Childrens' Festival and the tents stay up for Bard on the Beach. The area is also home to the HR McMillian Space Centre "the Planetarium" and the Vancouver Maritime Museum. There is also a dog beach nearby and on a windy day like this day, oodles of kite flyers. The most unique kite I have seen here is the one in the picture. Too fun!

We also pass the Coast Guard dock as we come under the Burrard Street Bridge. If there is time we go "up the Creek" which is actually a dead end full of rocks, fibreglass and overpriced condo-minimums. This pic is of the Burrard Bridge in the foreground and the Granville Street bridge in the background. Over to the left of the photo is a big yellow building which is Bridges Restaurant, (delicious if you want to pay $20 for a burger) and our home base is right in front, or below depending upon the tide. That blue boat is the McBeath, the main boat for the Vancouver Police who police the waters here along with the Coast Guard, and often provide supplementary back up to them at times. The main Coast guard vessel here is the Osprey. (Sorry no pic or link it was apparently doing stuff).

Still there are lots of pretty things to see and gaze upon. Aquabus/False Creek Ferries are the two companies providing water taxi service here. The False Creek Ferries think they own the water and often as not end up cutting right across our bow and have done so many, many times. These two companies provide service up and down the creek and have their own turf and docks in which to do so. They are cute as all get out and quite fun to toodle up and around the creek in.

The main draw on Granville Island is the Public Market. Glorius food is right! There are loads of other specialty shops as well but there are lots of veggie markets, fish mongers, floral shops and a host of other things too numerous to mention. I LOVE IT and it is one of my most favorite places to visit. GI is also home to the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.

Here, sailing in front of previously aforementioned condo-"minimums" is the Sunset Bay, another local competitor's charter yacht.

There are a few floathomes moored here and slips very, very rarely come available and don't come cheap. Location, location!

The big white yacht is the sister ship of the Eloquent, our charter yacht and the yacht from which these pictures were taken. It is called the Crystal Spirit and along with the Eloquent and the Golden Mistique (aka the Golden Mistake) are all foam core yachts built by local builders, the Parkers.

Well, we're turning around even though there is more of the Creek to see. This tour is over for now and I'll post more on other stuff further up the Creek again.

I'll leave you with a parting shot of the Eloquent's bow as we head back to the dock. Here we are looking west with the Granville Bridge in the foregound, Burrard Bridge in the back and English Bay waaaay in the back.

How's that for a start Tugster?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

That other thing we do

I haven't written much about the things we see out on the water during our charters. Greig sees some neat things just because he is out there more.

Most of the time when we are tooling about English Bay, we're cruising around the various bulk carriers and container ships that are parked out there. If one was to look at a map of English Bay there are marked spots in it for all the big ships. It is really one big parking lot.

Occasionally you'll see something remarkable like Le Grande Bleu or other uniquely large shipping vessels. A couple of years ago Paul Allen's Tatoosh was in town. (ARRK...Pretty Boats!)

We often see the cruise ships heading out under the Lions Gate Bridge just before we cross the shipping lane to get to the West Vancouver shoreline for the dinner cruises. Often as not our destination is lookie-looing at the waterfront homes over there and pointing out who owns
what and most of what is rumoured to be owned by this person or that one I think is pretty much local urban myth. I mean Oprah supposedly has a home over there but I have never seen here anytime I have been by and why the hell would Oprah buy a home here in Vancouver for goodness sake? Hmm..Hawaii, yes. Italy, yes. Vancouver? Blargh. Sounds like a big pile of something to me. But I digress...

So, for my friend Will of Tugster, I am endeavouring to journal the things I see when we are galavanting about. Here is the Esperanza, heading out to who knows where on some mission for Greenpeace. She went by us on Sunday afternoon at a good clip and by the looks here destination was up the BC Coast somewhere.

There it goes...Point Atkinson is in the foreground with the light house and the point in the background is Bowen Island's Cape Roger Curtis.

Here is the big APL Coral coming in to the Harbour at quite a speed by the size of the curls coming off the bow here. I am told the ships start to slow down as they go by Victoria and it takes them all that distance to slow down.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

This is Bob Crane. Ok he is a blue heron but I just love watching him on the hunt. The muddy banks are all sprouting green shoots from the cottonwood fluff and the ducks have been nibbling at that stuff like mad too.

Bridgette and Max have been round to visit but I haven't given them any bird seed so I think they are a bit done with me at the moment.

Now as long as Toby doesn't get too ambitious an attempt further swan dives and attacks from this vantage point I think he'll survive the summer.

Friday, June 08, 2007

What is your typical weekly grocery bill?

My very good friend Grace in Calgary sent me this interesting link on Time's website called "What the world eats."

It is a timely subject for me as I am the one who does the bulk of the grocery shopping for what is now about 16 of us in our little complex. $100 in groceries doesn't go really far here and we supplement it by bring home quite a bit of leftovers from the charters. Some days I find I spend more time at the store fetching this and that than I do getting any "real" things accomplished.

I endeavor to buy little in the way of pre-packaged items. It may be a bit passive aggressive but when I cook, I cook for a crowd. If I buy stuff that are one-offs, like Kraft Dinner, pork n' beans, or cereal, then they are more likely to feed themselves rather than consider the needs of the group. Also, I didn't grow up eating "KD" and I much prefer homemade mac and cheese to that glop. I can guarantee it that if I buy a whole bunch of cereal we go through milk like the dickens and that is the first stuff that will get eaten above all else. As Grace noted, "I didn't realize how international Kellog's Cornflakes were!" Me either.

There are a few of us that do the bulk of the cooking for the group and we casually rotate between us. These days it is mostly Steve I think, as I am starting to be home of an evening less as the charters get busier. It is all I can do to keep up with keeping things relatively stocked. It is completely impractical for everyone to buy their own food as we just don't have the room no can we afford the hydro to run too many appliances. Now that we have another working kitchen, it is becoming more convenient for me to make up batches of salad dressing, barbecue sauces and soups for a crowd. Plus I know I am finally saving more money as there is more latitude for me to take lunches to work again where there just wasn't before. The cafeteria at the College is getting less from me these days. Yipee!

Sunday night had us bringing home at least two and a bit of those large Costco Veggie platters that had been left on a cruise. I made a batch of veggie soup PLUS a marinated vegetable salad which I have brought for lunch a couple of times this week. I had put an ice cream bucket full on the Bowie fridge and I know it is long gone now.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The threat is easing

This cooler weather has them predicting that we won't get it as bad as previously anticipated here on the coast. They are getting it up north however and City of Terrace is currently cut off completely. Next week we should see some serious lows in the tides and the outflows of the freshette are likely to be running pretty strong.

I just worry about stuff happening when we are there and we aren't available to dig in and help. But we've a good crew strong and men and women these days that aren't afraid to haul on a line when they are needed.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Flooding in northern BC and the West Kootenay

Well there is flooding up in Prince George, where my brother and his family live and over in Terrace and Smithers too. My family is not in danger as they are well above the danger zone. Still, if we follow the river we live on up into the interior we'd come to Prince George eventually. The Fraser, for those of you who don't know flows through Prince George on it's way to the coast.

The rising waters of the Birkenhead River is forcing the evacuation of homes on the
Mount Currie Reserve. It is north of that "little" ski town of Whistler and further a field of the community of Pemberton. It is one of the most beautiful places in the province I think.

This link to the CBC's photo gallery has been increasing throughout the day. I see there is also flooding over in the Grand Forks area, so the Kettle River must be over flowing too. I love Grand Forks for I always must stop for Borscht (Doukabor style of course.)

We fared fine overnight and last night Greig and Mark 2 tackled some of the logs that have been jamming up against the docks for firewood. Greig set out another line off the stern of the lightship to shore as I guess both it and the Bowie were moving about quite a bit yesterday.

We got a kick out of Bob Crane, our resident Blue Heron as we watched him silhouetted and tripping along the fat line that Greig had strung out on the hunt for his tucker. At first Greig though it was walking along a log that had siddled up to the rope. (No, Mum, a fat line isn't a line all covered with fat - it is just a big and heavy line about two inches thick.)

I think the worst is yet to come.

Meanwhile...over on the Wendy Ann II

I just had to ask Seb and Bee, who own the tug Wendy Ann II over the hills and across the puddle in the UK, if I could post this picture of their welder Robin. How he managed contorted himself into that nasty hole to weld bits of metal, breath and SEE is beyond me?

Yes, those are his feet at the top of the picture.

Talk about an atomic wedgie!

I though it was mad when the Mad Canadian was getting all mucky taking out the old fuel tanks on the Bowie but I know I just couldn't see Dave wedging himself into such a postion for US. Well, removing that fuel tank was mucky and S & B have it looking mighty clean in there.

And I know for a fact that there is no way in hell the Viking could ever physically wedge his very wide shoulders into such a tight spot since he is built like a "brick outhouse."

Yes, I am very impressed. Heck I wanna buy the fellow a beer for doing that.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Bracing for impact!

The flooding has begun. They are evacuating homes up in the Terrace area and areas in Prince George are on alert. I'm checking the CBC site regularly:

"As of 3am Tuesday, the river had risen to a level of 5.2 metres on the Mission gague. By the weekend, that's expected to hit at least seven metres."

Dave and Roger put out some extra lines today. One of the floats broke loose yesterday and they took care of that this morning as Greig couldn't do it as he was in school today for his Bridge Watchman's ticket.

Apparently there is a big pile of debris coming down the river at us. We're on red alert to combat all this stuff. I hope they can get a boomstick out into place in front of the Bowie and the Lightship and that we can process the pile of crap that is already there. Oh and more rain is in the forecast.

If it floods on the island, and we expect that it will, we'll have to park our cars on the other side of the river.

Good times.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The whole enchilada

Thursday evening, Greig moved the Partnership over to the west side of the boat yard. It is now tucked in on the right of this image by Dave's red boathouse and behind Russian Mike's place. My bow sticks out just enough for privacy and good views from the galley and the bathroom.

I love it here! It's quieter, less dusty and more green. I get the afternoon sun and I point west down the river. It is less bouncy and not as much current here too. Up "east" closer to the tip of island there was a lot more bounce due to the traffic on the main arm
that washes into Mitchell Slough. All weekend the sun was glowing into the house and yet it was still cool and comfortable. Still have to re-hook up and configure all the internet again and that is on the "round tuit" list.

The only problem is that the boat is sitting on the beach at low tide. Phil has to come in and do some more prop washing to get rid of some of the mud. We also had to put a pump into the starboard engine compartment as we have water coming in through the leg there. Greig has finally agreed that yes we should remove the engine and the leg too. The engine is seized and he had pulled the port engine back in November when we first got it. There are already metal boxes there to cover over those holes/housings anyway so at some point we'll pull it up on the beach and do this.

I am butted right up against the back of Mike's place (Steve is pictured here untying the Green Goblin to allow for the Partnership) but he has a delightful complement of mud swallows up in the eves which are entertaining us.

I watched a seal swimming about around an east moving chip barge and it is very fun watching the Heron hunting on the mud flats. Bridgette hasn't found her way back find me yet but I suppose that is only a matter of time.

I washed all the windows inside and out and got all the dust off plus hosed off the decks with the limited reach of my garden hose. I finally managed to make a big pot of chowder on the propane stove for the masses with leftover salmon from the charters.

I can't use my oven yet as the electronic start for the oven is knackered. I'll have to call in for help on that one. A batch of homemade bread is callin! It's been years since I've made any.