Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Progress in the neighbourhood

We'd been a bit worried that the new SkyTrain Bridge for the expansion of the Canada line that is crossing the western tip of Mitchell Island wasn't going to be tall enough for the Dos Amores mast to clear it. We thought in typical Canadian fashion someone forgot to check the heights of the neighbouring bridges and we'd have to do this great journey up to New Westminster and out the South arm of the Fraser and out at Steveston to get out into the chuck.

(Looking east up the Fraser with Mitchell Island on the left and the new span coming into the right side from Richmond)

Well, they got it right and when Greig, Dave 1 and Rhianna brought the Lucky 7 up, it cleared with a couple of feet to spare. Whew!

So any sojourns out to the chuck will happen on the lowest part of the outgoing tide and we should make it under all three bridges without too much trouble.

(Part of the new span coming across from Richmond on the south shore of the North arm of the Fraser near River Rock Casino)

Monday, August 27, 2007

It was a bit of divine intervention

I am now and have been sick for a few days with some kind of virus that has me feverish and without a voice. I am trying to take it easy and finding some retrospection in the events of the past week. It has been something else.

Flash's family arrived after a long day of traveling last Wednesday. We offered to do a burial at sea for him and they kindly took us up on our offer on Friday. We had thought there would only be perhaps a dozen people. However, it soon became apparent that we had to move it from the 40' Trojan onto the Eloquent, the usual charter boat Greig and I crew on. A last minute call to our regular Captain Jorgen had him johnny-on-the-spot to help us out.

Karen 1 and I had gone into the Granville Island market before we left to get some flowers to throw into the ocean. There were about 22 of us I think. I never really did a final head count but it was to be a most beautiful and blessed event.

Jorgen took us out into English Bay, in between Point Atkinson and Point Grey. Betty, Flash's Mum had asked me to take charge and I was honoured to do so. Not having officiated over a funeral, let alone a funeral for a friend, she was totally OK with me winging it. I had thought, well, we'll gather everyone around in a circle and perhaps we'll all say a few words if we choose to do so and then we'll dispose of his ashes.

We had started the "ceremony" and Greig and I had said a few words. I think someone else was about to say something when Greig spotted the whales off the port side of the boat.

In the five years that we have been out there we've never seen a pod of Orcas before. Clearly it was divine intervention on Flash's part. It was, after all, his funeral and since he was not one who liked to talk about himself, he was apparently uncomfortable with us talking about him now.

Out to the bow and toward the whales we went to watch. Jorgen pointed us toward them, albeit very slowly. There were a couple of other sailboats out there too. We were in awe and pretty speechless over it. It was a glorious day! And there were whales!

We watched them for a bit and then Greig took Flash's mum Betty, his brother Jeff and his wife Courtney back to the swim grid with Flash. I told Betty we had chosen a single yellow rose for friendship in the bouquet and she took that for a keepsake. Others to take some blooms from the bouquet to toss them out with Flash to say goodbye.

Karen 1 played "Gone in a Flash" for everyone. Alas my video of it is quite abysmal. It is simple and beautiful and very poignant. I hope to put a better video up of it at some point.

Everyone was so moved by all of this and the appearance of the whales. Flash was taken from us all so quickly and has left a great impact on all of us. We'll never forget him. There will never be another Dave 3. Any other Daves will be apportioned 4, 5 etc.

Exhausted and overwhelmed with the events of the day, we came home to a voice mail from Evil Mark, albeit a very scratchy and weak voiced, not unlike myself at this present moment. He was touching base and out of ICU. We popped into see him after dinner and were delighted to see how well he was doing. He's been having some pretty trippy dreams and apparently in one of them I had run off with one of the male nurses! (Gee I hope he was really hot wish I had been there for it!) Although still very banged up and considering all he has been through and yet to face, he is healing amazingly well. He's a scrappy bastard. Go Mark!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Healing slowly

Mark is healing slowly and still in ICU. They are trying to get his lungs in order and he's still quite sedated. No visitors for him yet and that is OK. Whatever it takes to help him heal.

The police finally found Dave's mum. She is apparently coming in today from Ontario. We've not heard from her yet but they kindly gave her our contact numbers. Maybe we'll see her today.

We're going to do a small memorial on the sailboat and a wee jaunt up the river. Karen 1 has written Dave a song. It is simple, lovely and poignant.

Friday, August 17, 2007

We're feeling pretty devastated around here

Well, as it turned out I came home to some very sad news.

This is Dave 3, aka Flash. Dave moved in a couple of months ago as a temporary measure. He was waiting to move into a house he just bought in the Surrey area. He was self employed and had his own 5-ton truck contracting and doing deliveries for companies like Sears and Ikea.

Thursday, at 8:30pm, there was a very bad accident on the Granville Street Bridge. I read it on-line on CBC news this morning and thought it a horrible scene.

I came home after work yesterday and Donovan, who has his own boat here and has worked with Flash from time to time was lamenting how he had been unable to get in touch with him all day. They were supposed to work together that morning.

About a half hour later, Evil Mark's brother Chris showed up to let me know that Mark had been in a terrible accident and wouldn't be home for a few days.

"What accident?" I asked of his brother Chris.

"Well, you probably heard about it in the news today," he replied.

"Not the one on the Granville bridge where the driver was killed," I asked.

"Yes," he asked

"Oh god, Flash. Flash must have been the driver killed" I thought. Donovan can't reach him and that just isn't like Flash. He is so solid and spot on reliable. " Oh, God, no. How is Mark? What can you tell me?"

The accident had occurred around 8:30 Thursday night. They had to use the Jaws of life to get them out. My calls to the Vancouver Police about it haven't been returned as their policy is to not release information pending notification of next of kin. But we're sure it was Dave. Mark had a crushed spine, blood in his lungs and was on a ventilator. He's had spinal surgery yesterday afternoon but the surgeons thought he would be OK. Time will tell. Hopefully they will let us see him soon.

I am frustrated as I have dropped the ball on one of my 'round tuit' lists. I try to maintain an emergency contact list for all who live here in case something happens. I was going to update it again this weekend. And I have no information on his family at all. Of course, the mailbox on his cell phone is full.

So for all the freaks and drunks and pains in the butts who stumble across our path, we find gems like Dave Franey. He made an impact in our lives. He will be sorely missed.

Bug Man - the crazy post update

There was this guy who moved in a few months back for a very short time. We refer to him as the Bug Man. While I would never say he seemed "normal," he was eccentric and well, they all have their eccentricities. His was just a wee bit more so because of this hat that he wore. With at the net around it. I thought he was allergic to, well, bugs.

The "but" in all of it was that he drove a spanky new BMW motorbike. Figured he could pay his rent at the least.

The net it turns out was to prevent him from being attacked by the energy worms or whatever the hell they were. Figured he suffered the same illness as Howard Hughes. He had obsessive compulsive disorder. This was something else altogether!

And at first I didn't care so much as there was stuff being organized in the work room. However, upon closer inspection the things getting organized were done in such a way as to make no sense whatsoever.

He went by shapes and colours and then he'd tie things up with a piece of string so you couldn't get at the necessary item. Example: a yellow handled screwdriver, yellow flash light yellow electrical box and tied up with a string. Sometimes there would be a completely incongruous item in the mix like a squeegee. I would look at the bundle and think..."Hmm... I get the yellow items but the squeegee? 'One of these things is not like the other'". Made no sense to me.

Oh and he was a vegetarian and opted out of the food plan. Opting out and then eating the food is, well, theft. Period. This is a BAD thing as it gets the other roommates upset and then I gotta deal with it, 'cos I am MUM.

One day I came home and he was frying up bacon. I asked him what was up. And he then proceeded to ignore me. This got me just a bit upset. Now this Aquarian, she can put up with a lot of stuff but do not disrespect me or ignore me when I am talking to you. And don't freakin' LIE to me. And don't dis-me 'cos I am the "little woman". Greig may be big and burly but I am the hammer - the velvet hammer.

We also discovered he was going into peoples rooms and taking things. Things not necessarily of great value but people's stuff. I mean if they didn't want it it would be out in the open. But it was stuff from their rooms. Evil Mark's Saskatchewan Roughriders flag, a bunch of this green netting from Carpenter Greg that they use on construction sites when they hoard the leaky condos. My riding crop, and no though I don't actually ride horses, it was a gift. It was creepy and just the icing on the cake so he got the boot. It was a hard boot too as it was the night when we had all those storms and the docks came apart and WE COULDN'T PHYSICALLY GET HIM OFF THE DAMN BOAT!!


Fast forward to the end of July. He shows up again, now six months past, and claims he has a meeting scheduled with Greig. Now he took a real shining to Greig. Partly because Greig actually LISTENED to him and all his crazy talk. Like I always say, no good deed goes unpunished. "Geez, Greig, I loved this place. You and I really connected. We BONDED!!!" he wailed when he left. I am sure he wept.

"Whatever buddy," I muttered. "BEAT it!

He had made no appointments, no phone calls. Just shows up out of the blue and starts bringing weird stuff. He came at odd ours; sprayed gravel over the cars with his bike; got into altercations with EVERYONE as he just refused be straight with anyone with what it is that he wants.

I came home after work one day and after a dozen or so sightings from others, there he was. I asked him his business. And then he ignored me. He pointed to the gate implying he was expecting a package. Knowing this to be a lie and it was a probably a package he planted, I got irate, tore a strip off him and ran him off. Well, for a couple of hours anyway.

Evil Mark opened the package and with a bunch of magazine articles was a souvenir Pierre Elliot Trudeau watch. It also just so happened to be Evil Mark's birthday and just about the best birthday present he ever got. He has viewed it as an apology from Bug Man for stealing his football flag.

The next morning a red Cadillac was in front of the gate. There was a big dog club/stick on the trunk and five white utility candles melted on the trunk over the gas tank. In nail polish, X-318 was painted on the trunk pointing to the lock. Exodus 3:18 perhaps? What does it mean? Why five candles? Why pink nail polish. What is with the club? What the hell is in the trunk? OHMIGOD!!!!

And they shall hearken to thy voice: and thou shalt come, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye shall say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath met with us: and now let us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.
So we called the RCMP, and they said that they had already been there at 3am, as one of our other roommates spotted him up there at the time and called it in. They ended up towing the vehicle away and said they would take him in for a psych assessment.

The next day there was yet another note advertising a garage sale and a hard to find place to get the goods. He was arranging for the vehicle transfer and by appearances, wanted to give Greig the car as the keys for it were in the bag. We were of two minds. Maybe he really is going on a journey into the wilderness, or he is about to off himself. Hello, ringy, dingy....RCMP? How's that pscych assesment going?

Perhaps the candles over the gas tank were indicative of candles on a cake perhaps? This gift of a red Cadillac? What is the subtext? C'mon all you crazy boat people. Translation!

So, it is just another typical day at the Mitchell Island Yacht Club. God help what I am about to go home to now.

Most days I feel like this cat.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More of Rhianna's adventure

You can find more pictures of Rhianna's journey to bring the Lucky 7 home here.

Last evening, they moved it westward and so she is now tied up behind Dave's boathouse and next to me. Dave is building more docks and there will be more boat shifting going on again soon too so I don't expect it will stay there for terribly long. I am OK with that though as Rhianna will be an excellent neighbour and she really doesn't block my views.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Links

I have added a new link in the sidebar to the Kat Kam. It is a hobby not a service per se. The Burrard Street Bridge is in the foreground and you get a neat perspective of English Bay and all the tankers parked out there. The West Vancouver shoreline is over to the right, with Bowen Island in the middle background.

The 'spit' of land to the left of the Kat Kam is Jericho Beach and Spanish Banks and UBC. I just found there is a web-cam for Jericho Beach too so I will add that as well.

Rhianna found a herself boat too!

Yup - a free boat.

Last week on the craigslist, Rhianna found a free boat. Now let me couch this with the fact that Rhianna doesn't live in our little compound. She has a life and home beyond us and just happens to date the Mad Canadian. She/they are building a blog for Dave's boat house here.

We assisted in the quest for said dreamboat over the weekend in between shifts and cruises. In the end, tied up for a short time out against in English Bay with the Dos Amores. However, a swell-y day in the bay proved to much for the cautious one and our intrepid Captain decided to shuttle the Lucky 7 up the river to the yacht club. Thus, overnighter was in order. I trumped his crew, Rhianna, Dave and Evil Mark down to meet him after work.

They brought it back up the river and I guess it was a bit dodgy coming around Wreck Beach at 2am as there were some mighty swells and no moon to speak of.

The Dos Amores is not charging her batteries, in spite of the fact they are brand new and so Greig is going to put a Colinator on it. A Colinator, aka alternator, is his name for these alternators that his friend Colin builds; they are simple and bullet proof apparently.

Here is the tale of the Lucky 7 in Rhianna's own words. There is a lovely picture in her slideshow of the Attessa, owned by Dennis Washington of Seaspan/WMG. #16 of longest yachts in the world she too has a hot tub. On the swim grid tho. So very pretty it is. It has a helipad like the Bowie's too! Oh ya, not that you'd want to land a heli on our deck yet but you could one day.

And so, because no good deed goes unpunished, we're spreadin' the insanity of this boat building/renovating thang on and on and on and on...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

There is something thing about marinas and boats...

What is it about boats and marinas that attracts such extreme elements social dysfunction?

We see the gamut from alcoholism, drug addictions, mental and personality disorders from schizophrenia, obessive compulsive, to extreme anti-social behaviour and others who are just pure and simply utter a**holes?

Is it something solely to do with marinas?

Is it the water itself that makes it some great equalizer? Is it because we are made of water and that it is so highly concentrated within ourselves and somehow these things are connected? Is it that the marina is just a highly concentrated snapshot of society itself and so all these social dysfunctions become much more readily apparent given the fact we are perpetually floating on an acidic substance? I know these things are there in "regular" life. It can't be solely because of the "alternative" lifestyle. Living on a boat is not a new thing. People have been doing it for a while.

Perhaps it is that, as much as people want to be on the water, we just aren't built with gills and so we aren't supposed to be there as much as we are attracted to it and are so emotionally drawn to it?

So why, or why is it, that all of the freaks and nutbars have a way of finding ME? I am hardly that special to deserve such an "honour." I smile at babies, I signal when changing lanes, I cue up patiently even though knowing when I pick the Express Lane at the supermarket it will actually be the slowest lane. I get along well with my co-workers and I like puppies too.

Where the hell is that Darwin fellow when you need him and what is this crap about "survival of the fittest?" If that were true, really, really true, then there is no way these screwballs would ever make it out of the primordial ooze and find a way to bug me and waste my time.

Honest to Pete! Some people's kids!

A former roommate, who was removed some months ago, has been sniffing around again. He's a inveterate liar and just generally in need of being scooped up into the loony bin. I dunno, pulling your old caddy in front of the gate and turning it into an alter, to me, is a cry for help. Call ME crazy. But that is crazy on a stick!

And Greig wonders why it exhausts me so. We just have very little time, nor the skills to deal with that kinda crazy. Oh I know it exhausts him too. I just am not so niave to think that I can actually "fix" them where he thinks he is in a postion to effect some positive change in some of these people. So for all the time we are actually trying to fix boats, to live on, most of the time we are in fact busy wiping asses.

"Diaper wipe?" is my new catch phrase these days. Thanks goodness my parents understand why they don't have grandchildren from me because they realize I am so busy parenting a whack of "grown-ups." I think children would be easier quite frankly.

Oh Honey...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dave's floating roof

Not long after Dave salvaged the Meat Locker #17, he found a free boathouse. Now we all know about "free" boats, etc. Often free isn't much of a deal for all the work involved. However, Dave wasn't to be discouraged, as he basically had a leak proof roof to work under. Beggers can't always be choosers and he is pleased as punch about it all and making it his mission to scour the craigslist for free stuff. Kind of like us but with much more time on his hands and less crap to distract him from his goal.

He's been hard at it shoring up the floors and the walls. He has been adding logs and Styrofoam to shore up its flotation and buoyancy. His vision is a big huge studio space where he can paint and carve with tons of natural light. So here are some pics of the work in progress.

One day a week or so ago he woke up to hear a noise in the main area and he had otters playing about and defecating on his partially built floor. A couple of days later he and Rhianna awoke to a very loud gnawing on the other side of his bedroom wall. They walked out to find one of the beavers gnawing at the logs! Rhianna got it on video tape (I will link to it when she sends it to me.)

The next morning we got up and they told Greig and I about all about it and showed us the video of the beaver chewing away. Rhianna must have gotten about 15 minutes of footage. Whilst we were standing there it climbed back up through the hole and just sat there looking at us, seemingly quite fearless. As Dave approached it closer, he jumped back down the hole and went out again. It hasn't been back since and hasn't deterred Dave in his vision.

If I had known, I would have waved harder.

Monday, in a much strange alignment of the planets we had a day off. Together. And Dosha was with us too! These things rarely happen and when they do, we try to get on to doing something fun as we must milk things for the fun bits wherever we can.

We took the sailboat out for a toot in the afternoon. Fighting against the tide and not a great deal of wind we hoisted the sails and headed out to the Straight of Georgia where we could
see the wind. OK, maybe three knots. With a gust. Not that any of us really cared that there was wind, we were just pleased to be out and doing something in the sunshine and doing it in no hurry too.

Along for the ride were the Karens, Roger, Mr. Billyard (who's moved back in again...yea!) his girlfriend Joanne and pooch Libby. Also Dosha's cousin Melissa from Pullalup, WA. She was the chief instigator of all of it, as over the weekend had overcome her fear of boats and really, really wanted to go sailing.

Local billionaire Jim Pattison has a bonny yacht called the Nova Spirit. I have taken pictures of it from time to time but somehow I miss getting pics of it up on the blog.

So when it sailed by us yesterday I took another picture. Apparently he had Oprah on board as she caused quite a stir in the news up in Alert Bay over the weekend. If we only knew we probably would have waved at them a little bit harder.