Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Muddy Waters, redux

The freshet is running again and Brian Lewis in today's Vancouver Province Newspaper had another article about dredging of the lower Fraser River. Of course they always talk about the main channel from the Surrey/Delta docks and it is all the other channels they neglect. There other stakeholders along the mighty expanse of the Fraser and they too are at risk. It is Buck Passing 101.
"He also says the lack of secondary channel-dredging is reaching the point where it's about to impact tourism -- especially Delta's emerging plans to redevelop Ladner Harbour as a major tourist destination. "

"They want to make it attractive, with shops, parks and picnic sites. But the fact is that a Fraser River mud bank is not something that's attractive for tourists to look at."
Ladner, New Westminster, Richmond are only a few of the communities affected by it all though they are the most downstream of it all. Oops and Vancouver too...

Why oh why does it take having to swing the tourism bat for anyone to take it seriously? Stakeholders all along the river have been jumping up and down for years about this. It seems easier for the Port Authority to go picking on individual lease holders to make this right without having to do their part in any of it. It is my observation that it loves to sling the mud it refuses to take responsibility for.

Anyhow we will see how this run off will effect us for we're new in this spot. I tell you though I certainly don't have to contend with the logs that we used to at Mitchell and I don't miss that one bit.

Maybe they'll surprise me.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Floating around in the gyre

A couple of years ago, I adopted my cat Tobias from my friend Sparrow who, forty-something and single with a grown child, decided to go walkabout. Her family is Hungarian (though she was born in Canada) and thus, that was her first destination. She has since made her way back to North America by way of Italy, the Caribbean, and now hangs her hat at the Pidgeon Point Lighthouse Hostel where she currently works. Yes she's indeed a bit of a gypsy. She's been making it in the news lately for her discovery of a rig worker's hard hat that wound up on the beach near the lighthouse. She managed to track the owner of the hard hat down too and is getting some 15 minutes of fame from it. The Anchorage Daily News published this, and CBS Morning news has been calling her too.

I had never heard of the Pacific Subarctic Gyre, and this is a pretty neat map to what that looks like too.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Kitchen Chemistry 101

Many thanks to Sir Seb of the Wendy Ann II for his simple way to clean portholes, I've been putting his method to work in a solution of cola and vinegar for a week or so. Of course they say the real thing is the bomb for cleaning anything that way but I was filling up a garbage bin so I opted for the cheaper no-name variety. He soaked his for a month or so but I don't think it will need to take so long really. And I twelve or so portholes to clean-up to mount into new construction.

These came from the Bowie as we had taken them out before selling it at the end of the summer as they were starting to get ripped off by the crackheads and others over there. At the time it was best to remove them for at least we'd keep them as intact as possible, the provenance. notwithstanding, they could at least go from one WWII subchaser to another WWII subchaser. We had negotiated to return them in the sale pending that the new owner would return a few other things off the Bowie but he failed in his end of the bargain. (Of course we should have known we had yet another wanker on our hands. Did I mention that we found out much after that he was was a convicted pedofile? Yup. Really, how could we have known as we were so glad to just get OUT of there. Honestly, I couldn't dream this crap up if I tried.)

I've had stored them away in safe local and I dragged out a couple of parts the other day to finally have a go at them.


Here I started to chisel away at the old double-thicknesses of ply
before having the where-with-all to photograph.
Oh, and can I have a "YEA baby!" the new workbench?


I wanted to show just how thick that old Bowie ply was!
A double layer of REAL 1" thick. Seems true 1" ply you get these days is shy of a true inch.
Apologies for the overexposure as it was hard to photograph with the left and
hold the ruler with the right.


Cola and vinegar smells just de-lovely, and these were covered
in paint the day before.


These letters spell out Eloquent, the main charter vessel Greig CDs and engineers on and so I threw them into the sauce too. There are two sets of brass letters.
Oh how I love typography!


Here is a view after chipping away for two hours. This one is too big to put in the garbage bin though I had parts of it in a Rubbermaid bin which it stretched all to heck and I could only get a quarter of is soaking at a time.

The screws into it of course are flatheads and covered in paint. (I'd like to change those to Robertsons if I can find them to match). This is one of the larger portholes. Attempting to get a good turn on these is impossible for me as the metal is so soft and you can easily wreck the screw head. I think the sauce was doing a good job of delaminating the ply in what bits I was able to submerge. I figure I was making pretty OK time with all of it. I do enjoy picky chores like this for I putter and get in a meditative zone. Greig is dreaming up of a faster way to do all this. I had also considered doing slices through the ply with the sawzall blade and then chiselling the ply away. However, I couldn't figure out how to put a shorter blade in the sawzall as the one on it was 14" long and a recipe for me to slice off my hand.

I've been nursing a bad thumb for almost lobbing off the end off it with a mandoline cutting prosciutto and as it turns out, thumb. I had visions of another visit to the Royal Columbia emergency given my luck. There has been too much of that too lately I think they are getting far to familiar with us.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Shelter, skelter

I was kind of surprised it took so long for the real estate bubble to burst. A couple of years ago I used to read a blog called van-housing here on Blogger. I quit reading it for a while and a while back discovered it was now only for "invited readers." I am not so interested it anymore that I feel I need to find a way to be invited. I quit reading as it all kind of became a bit repetitious and I no longer garnered any pearls of wisdom from it. That must have been about four years ago I think and I was just starting Waterlogged. The housing issue was somewhat concurrent subject for me and still is. They were trumpeting the bad loans Freddie and Fannie were lending out and how sooner than later it would all come crashing down. And so it did.

Gee. Surpise.

A few weeks ago I came across an article on the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Click on the photo will also take you to the his web site. I think I originally found it on Treehugger or the NY Times.
But whatever. Somewhere houses got stupid big and prices out of control too. I keep hearing about million dollar homes (pool, tennis courts, four-car garages) that are going stupid cheap too ($100-200k). And in this article of a of a couple of artists in Detroit going into rather dodgy and falling down neighbourhoods and picking up shacks for $100. Bravo to them I say. Where they are starting others will follow. They will clean up the neighbourhood and build a community. (Of course one day, the prices will go up again and the gentrification will follow and the artists will get pushed out for that is the circle of things isn't it?)

But let us get back to Jay Shafer and his tiny houses and living small. (Yes, I am adding a link on the non-boat blogroll). For when I click on his larger house plans I think of the Floatie and it's hull is about 52' by 20 feet (1040 sq feet). I haven't actually measured the footprint of the log house itself but I figure with the main floor and the loft I've about 700 square feet. Heck, maybe it is more but now I am curious so I will measure it later.

He's got plans of about that size at up to 837 square feet and of a foot print of 24' x 16' and three bedrooms. Well granted it is small but I think they are splendid anyway. I see new home builds all over the Lower mainland and they are still building huge houses that pretty much take up the entire lot and all homes it seems have a basement suite which they rent out to help with the mortgage.

Around these parts the land is often more valuble than whatever is sitting on it. Still as much as I may bitch about living on a boat, it is not so much as the lifestyle as it is the amount of boats we have that I chafe against. I just don't want to be responsible for what I perceive as more than enough. I keep pushing for a simplicty that seems a bit beyond the grasp. But we are now down to three so I guess I am leading the curve? Heck living in a small space forces one to keep on top of things and cull the stuff on a regular basis. Heck it is all I can do to clean up after myself let alone anyone else. I make a for lousy minimalist even though I try to be. Still it all forces one to at least try.

Hey Matt, any chances of slapping one of these puppies up in the rents/or in-outlaws' back forty? I think I could convice mine if I smiled sweetly enough to let my folks put up one of these in the lower forty. Of course if it was on wheels would totally OK for my Pa as long as his property taxes wouldn't necessarily increase. A "non-permanent structure," in the eyes of the tax assessor would probably be a make it a go.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Poor old Dos Amores

Another guster hit the coast yesterday with winds up to 70 km/h. Here is a photo of the Dos Amores on Sunset Beach just at the entrance into Granville Island. That is the Coast Guard hive behind in the back ground. I think this is a beautiful shot. I thought they had taken all its sails off last fall. Ah well, they were thrashed anyway. I snagged this out of the Vancover Province newspaper as I discovered it on page A4 this morning. (Photograph by Gerry Kahrmann of the Province.)

The Dos Amore ran around at the entrance to False Creek. Apparently Coast Guard had it under tow at some point but lost their grip and it wound up on the beach. It went a ground in the fall too. Alas we don't own it anymore but when something does happen they call Greig.

Its new owner, one of the many "Ken's" in our life, was planning on taking down to Point Roberts, WA, to do renovations. Of course he keeps turning to Greig for help on such matters. It had a heck of an accumulation of marine growth and the $800 tag for a haul out seemed too expensive to undertake a few weeks ago. Greig suggested Ken send a diver down with a shovel. Well, Ken took a shovel to the growth whist it was on the beach yesterday and managed to get most of it cleaned off. Cross that item off the list! Greig is a bit sad to have lost that anchoring buoy out in the bay for it was a handy thing to have there especially during the Celebration of Light.

I think though, it will be coming up to Sather. When the Sea Ferring goes in the next few days there should be room for it as there now.

Ken got it foated on the next tide and Greig took off late last night to help him secure it temporarily in the Creek, (aka False Creek.) It was way too windy to even think about bringing it up the river last night. Greig had been working but they cancelled all water taxi runs due to the weather. He started his evening off to go take one of the boats for a fuel run and the swells out coming out of the Creek were so big that the wind was lifting up on the bow as he was cresting over the wave. He turned it around and came home, sans fuel. I guess even some of the tankers out in the

Well that is two for two for the last 24. Any bets on what three will be?