Monday, July 30, 2007

Four weddings and a funeral

Last Wednesday was the first night of Fireworks and the next four days charters had us doing weddings each night. As a mere coincidence, Greig worked a funeral on the Island Jewel on Saturday morning so he had Four weddings and a funeral.

Alas, my wee camera isn't up to snuff for taking pictures at night, let alone fireworks. Canada's night was on Saturday and it was excellent.

Here are some pictures whilst the light was still good and you can see all the boats and people lining up waiting for the 10pm show. These were taken around 7pm.

An impromptu sail

I think I am going to test out this slide show function from for these next few posts as I've lots of pics to post.

I got home from work and Greig wanted me to ankle down as they were out on the sailboat and "Come on, let's go, let's go!!"

Weary as I was and halfway up the ramp at home felt like calling him back to decline, I am glad I went as it was a lovely evening.

Some sand perhaps?

This one's for Will. There's a second tug in behind the barge if you look close. Sorry for the obvious line from the photostitching in Photoshop. No time to fake it and make it look "natural".

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I have been waiting to post again. Wanting to do something really special for it 'cos is is post #151: not 149, not 150, but 151.

You see, I knew a couple of posts back that post #150 was fast approaching and that I should do something really special for #150 but then I forgot and next thing I new it was #151.


Well, I guess I should do something special, as I missed 150. Just like I missed my first blog-iversary last August when it slipped by me and didn't acknowledge it. Until September.

In what I affectionately refer to as "life BG" (life before Greig), I was so on top of these kinds of things. Greig says it is because I actually have a life now. Hmm...well, I guess if you put it that way...

At anyrate it has been a busy week at work on the water. Dave 1 has been building docks at home. Greig has been tearing apart the forward cabin on the sailboat. I have pictures. Lots of pretty boats and working boats.


Waiting for me to merge and upload and organize. Have a tug pulling a gravel barge for Will. Still have to merge that pic for him. At least I got some laundry done and we've some clean uniforms for work now.

The HSBC Celebration of Lights starts tonight and so out there we'll be out there working in the mass hysteria on the water looking out for complete yahoos. It is during these four evenings that anyone who has a boat in Vancouver, finally makes use of it.

The City of Vancouver is now on strike and the mess on the beaches will be awful 'cos NOBODY will pick up their garbage after themselves this evening and should leave a good mess behind to accumulate.

Be back soon(ish)!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

And another funny thing

On Saturday, as we were trying to drop the pick off the sailboat before Jack accidentally lost it, there was a huge mega-yacht out in the Bay. A big Feadship called Kisses. Beastly big and very pretty. Alas, no camera, no pic. Here is a link.

Now a Saturday afternoon, especially if the sun is shining, English Bay is a pretty busy place. There are usually a half-dozen container ships anchored out there. Off Jericho Beach at the sailing centre there is usually some kind of regatta or race going on. Plus oodles of small sail and power boats booting about. Often as not one of the many charter companies are out.

It was 3pm in the afternoon and the Queen of Diamonds was out and about too and had a big party going on. The Queen of Diamonds is one of the largest of the charter boats in town, accommodating up to 400 people. (The Britannia is actually the largest, accomodating 500 people).

Greig had the radio on and we were listening to the chatter from the port traffic.

The Queen cruised passed Kisses and not long after someone from
Kisses called over to the Queen and asked if the "Social director could turn down the music as they just were out there wanting some peace and quiet."

Appropriately enough, the Queen turned back around to head back to
Kisses and turned up the volume.

Oh to be so rich and entitled too?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Oh Dave...behave

Dave's been a bit occupied with his red boat house. He's beefing up the floors, cleaning the old logs underneath and sticking in oodles of marine grade styrofoam for floatation. He's a genius at scouring the Craigslist for free stuff and whiz-bang deals. He even though to try and salvage some logs that looked like they once belonged to a dock.

He took the fair Rhianna out with him on a re-con mission the other day. Alas, he put the fuel line on backwards somehow and of course starved the outboard for fuel What a guy! He had his work boots on so Rhianna, goddess that she ever is was in her shorts and flip-flops and hopped in the river to pull HIM along. Yes, I too think there IS something wrong with this picture. Although he was on his way to work, Greig fired up the other boat to rescue them. He threw out a line and Dave promptly lost the paddle in the process. Oh look, and where is Rhianna again? Trudging through the squishy mud barefoot. For Dave. Again.

Better catch this one Dave. I think Greig is close enough to you now.

A brief bit of fun before work

They've been working on the sailboat the last couple of weeks, giving it some paint and a lick and a promise. I haven't been much help there as my shoulder is so nackered these days. It's black hull is now a midnight blue. Greig painted the deck an aluminum silver. It's pretty reflective and glare-y and a wicked spot to get a tan. I would have prefered he'd kept it the cream colour though.

Thursday to Saturday morning was a bit of a scramble as his Nibs was chomping at the bit to take the sailboat down to English Bay for at least a couple of weeks this summer. In doing so we may wedge in some time to actually USE it. I got most of it relatively clean and tidy for the voyage. We haven't had much time to outfit it with supplies yet and that will take time and several visits to the thrift shops for sheets, kettle, coffee maker etc. We'll add stuff as the more we stay on it the more we'll figure out what we'll need.

Saturday morning we left on the low tide so we could make it under the bridges, and hopefully in time for our 5pm shift. Our friend Colin dropped by with his dad on Saturday morning so they joined us in the trip down the river. Little did they expect they'd get a boat ride when they got up that morning. Colin used to work for Accent Cruises too but signed up for the Canadian Forces some time ago and has now finished his training. What a glorious day!

Nurse Karen, Roger, Jack and Ryan joined us too. Yes, I did forget my camera with Greig rushing me to get on board with all our stuff. We arrived in just enough time to try and set the anchors. Alas, Jack lost the anchor (it was a lovely Danforth), cutting his finger in the process as it slipped out of his hands. I guess it wasn't attached down below in the chain locker and Greig was pushing on the it at the helm to try set it Without hesitation Roger was johnny-on-the-spot diving over the railing to try and retrieve it. Oh if it was only a floating line on it! Greig could see it in the water about two feet from Roger but there was no way Roger could see it despite it being so close.

Our second anchor was a bit too wimpy. We dragged our anchor for at least a mile or two overnight from Kits Beach to Jeherico beach. Sunday, we did a mad dash back home to pick up the car and head to the Mariner's Exchange in Steveston for more anchors and a big heavy schwack of galvanized chain. We found another Danforth. (Greig's convinced he and Dave can make some of their own anchors for the price of them.) I wasn't about to endorse spending money on a "new" one when the used ones are dear enough.

There is little opportunity for much "R and R " during this time of year, as this is the busiest time of year for us. I mean even less so than usual. We have to grab the impromptu moments of fun when we can. I realize now June 30th was the last day I actually had "off" from both jobs. I suspect it is going to be mid-August before that happens again as the charters are finally picking up.

I am pretty weary already.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A local news warning about log booms

And while I am on the topic of log booms and in consideration comments from the previous post, I found this lead story on the CBC/BC site this morning.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Three booms and a kaboom avoided...barely

The other evening up Mitchell Slough came a very long log boom with three tugs on it. We're just on the tip and as this boom was coming out of the slough they met up with another long log boom a bit longer than them. On the heels of that one on the south side of Mitchell Island was yet a third log boom being hauled up the river. The sport fisher managed to dodge his way through the me lee.
Here you can see the Mitchell Slough boom and tugs zipping about to avoid the other two booms. At one point Evil Mark and I had counted 15 tugs out there, plus quite a blue streak of dialog coming across the water from the tugs. Oops. At this point you can see two tugs on the Mitchell boom...

And this third tug making some adjustments...some lovely logs got away and he had to turn back around to retrieve it.
And shortly after all this kerfuffle, the Sea Witch was not far behind, pulling on some more logs that had gone astray. Seeing them haul without much freeboard always trips me out a bit even though I know it is a grunty little thing.
We all were quite entertained by it all.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Not just whittling away

This is Alison Dave 2's new friend . She's a real carver, not a Carver. Hailing originally from the province of Saskatchewan, she trained with other native carvers on the coast style. She is soon to be Dave 2's new bunkmate (yup, that is Dave on the left - my mum thinks he's hot) and our new roommate. Let's hope they won't kill each other up there in the bow of the Bowie.

She is tickled as with all the logs that jam up against us and therefore a plethora of material for her to hone her craft upon. Dave 2 is excited as she is going to teach him as well.

I have to say that it is so wonderful having more female energy about. For so long it was only me!! Oh the men are behaving so much better and we seem to be purging the yahoos and the negative energy. It wore me down so. Now, there is myself, Dosha, the Karens, Heather, Kat, Alison and Lynn, though I think I see Lynn about once a month as she works so much at her various businesses.
The cedar chips make great fire starter. We should soak the stuff for the BBQ as well I suppose.
Clearly she is working on an owl. She is still learning and was very proud that she got the nose on the middle of the grain.
She hadn't quite finished it the other day but I hope she brings it back so I can photograph the final result. She already hauled out a chunk of log that she is planning on carving into a big eagle. So wonderful. Click on the link to her name at the top to take you to the Appleton Galleries site.

A zippy trip to Pitt Lake

On Wednesday, we took the "new" boat out after work to go explore Pitt Lake. Pitt Lake is a tidal lake, about 24 km long and quite deep. At the south end is a dyke and path of channel markers as this end has substantial shallows. At the north end of the lake is a logging camp. Further beyond that (20 km) up a logging road there are some undeveloped hot springs.

There was some property for sale we thought we'd have a boo at and we'd also never been up there and since it is more accessible by water than roads, zipping along 40 knots and dodging deadheads was the order of business. We only hit two.

My friend Laurie told me that she and her husband used to canoe up on Pitt Lake quite a bit and that the wind usually kicked up in the afternoon and it got quite choppy. She was correct.

Here we are entering the main arm of the Fraser at New Westminster. The cranes here are part of the North Fraser Port Authority. The yellow building on the right are offices for Transport Canada. One of the captains who works on the charter vessels works out of here and drives the survey vessel they use to chart the Fraser and other bodies of water throughout BC.

There is a big amalgamation afoot of this, the Fraser Port Authority and the Port of Vancouver merge into one which will now be the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. Should be interesting as to how the politics of life on the water here will change as a result.

Here behind us are three bridges, the SkyBridge connecting New Westminster to Surrey, a train bridge and the Patullo Bridge, often called the "Bridge of Death." The city New Westminster on the right.
Here we are approaching the Port Mann Bridge which connects Coquitlam and Surrey. This is the main bridge and is part of the #1, or the Trans Canada Highway. It's a bottleneck. One of the secrets of commuting in Vancouver is to never have to cross a bridge.
Here we are now on the Pitt River which dumps into the Fraser River on the west side of the Port Mann Bridge. The building in the photo above is the clubhouse for Swaneset Golf Course. As we zipped up the river, I tried to take as many photos as I could but bouncing along at 40knots is difficult enough, let alone ensuring pics aren't too blurry.
Still on the river. There were lots of people out water skiing on this section of the river.
Here are some homes along the shores of the river. Pretty spot. I think these are accessible by roads in the Coquitlam area still. We have to go for a drive up here one evening and explore.
Here we are entering the south end of the lake. It was quite choppy and there were deadheads everywhere and it was exceptionally difficult to see them.
Looking back to this lovely snow-capped mountain. Gee this looks so much like home on Kootenay Lake. (Of course Kootenay Lake is about 100km long and the beaches are also minimal and usually covered in rocks and gravel vs. sand).
This is an area on the western shores called Williams Landing. I had seen some property advertised on Landquest for some larger lots for sale, we actually saw an open house sign down on the dock for this house below.
This older couple have a Pan-Abode log home for sale. There are two buildings on it and the second is more of a shed and house the genset and other tools and such. They have a smaller cabin down on the lake which was their parents and are selling this as they prefer to spend their winters in Mexico. So for $550k for a boat access only cabin. The floathouse is also a Pan-Abode and I really like how he had stained the logs on the outside.
Heading south and going home.

Back again and heading into New Westminster again. Oh look! Its the Penac, the Canadian Coast Guard Hovercraft.
There it goes back up the river, frothin' and churning. Very cool. Wish I had one of those.
Oh...pretty and calm...we must be close to home. It is usually calm on our part of the river of an evening.
Here is the swing bridge opening up as we've passed beneath. Guess they are opening up for these guys.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A bit of freelance work

Next to the four main yachts we work on on Granville Island, is another small charter company called Blue Eyed Charters. Owners Scotty and Maureen have the Island Jewel. They asked us to work one of their charters for them so that they could attend their son's soccer tournament in Nanaimo as his team had made it to Provincials. There would be kids on the cruise and could we bring Dosha too? You bet.

Karen 1 came along for the ride. She'd never been to Bowen Island either and we put her in Bui's crew shirt. Bowen is pretty much a bedroom community of West Vancouver anymore and becoming a very expensive enclave of, well, all of "that." The island is serviced by BC Ferries and the Queen of Capilano makes about 15 return trips a day. I didn't get any decent shots of Snug Cove as I was too busy hearding the group. There is a shot of Point Atkinson and Lighthouse Park.

I did get this pretty shot of these nasturtiums. I can't help it. It is the gardener's daughter in me.

We had a group of Saudi doctors on board with their families and they are repeat customers for Scotty and Mo. They were all going to UBC Medical school on scholarship and it was a good bye party of sorts as some were heading back to Saudi as they had finished up. There were lots of ankle biters, the youngest at 3 months to about six or seven.
Dosha at the helm with Dad guiding her.
On the left of the photo is the Bowen Island. In the centre behind the white boat is Anvil Island and to the right Whytecliff Park and around in behind is Horseshoe Bay, a major departure point for BC Ferries to various island destinations. We are pointing up Howe Sound toward Squamish and Whistler.

Greig was inspired by the bowsprit on this beautiful sailboat and wants to do the same thing on the Dos Amores.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

George Reifel Bird Sanctuary

On Saturday, I opted to not do chores and corraled Dosha and Karen 1 in a trip to Westham Island and for a walk around the George Reifel Bird Sanctury. I needed a brisk walk and some fresh air and thought the morning cloud would perhaps burn off. It did. I wish I had worn shorts.

We generally come down to Westham Island to pick pumpkins. It is often as not quite foggy in October and you can't see anything. There are generally thousands of snow geese in the farmer's fields, though at this time of year, the Mallard ducks are most plentiful. Gee, I wish I knew more bird species. Saw one wood duck and some other fowl creatures too.

One of the pretty marshes in the sanctuary. I stand to be corrected but I think this pretty plant is actually purple loostrife and is considered a noxious weed. Anyone?
One of the best shots of the outer marsh. You can see the cranes of the Delta port off in the distance at Robert's Bank, a spot where they unload some of the container ships. Sometimes you can see one of the ferries leaving the terminal at Tsawwassen (ta-wass-en) for Vancouver Island or the southern gulf island here.
Karen introduced Dosha to that much forgotten childhood pastime of grass bugling. I totally forgot I used to do that as a kid too. Couldn't seem to do it again tho'.
This is for Shenella, the kid's mum.
And last, but certainly not least, the perfect sign for Greig. (Both of these were spotted in a Ladner restaurant).