Mar and Gar's Adventures

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Even Further South

Blog post July 25

It is so frustrating not to be able to post pictures when the wifi is too weak. I keep taking them and I can’t share them on the blog. I am able to post them to my Facebook page which is weird, but it is what it is.

Like I mentioned in the last post we spent a second night at Homfray Lodge. Sandpiper, Millers’ Time and Ocean Blue moved on. We got to meet new neighbors when those old ones left. We met a great couple – Herb and Willie on Willie’s Tug. It is a 31′ Ranger Tug (made just up the road from us in Des Moines/Kent). Herb and Willie are from Texas and we had a great time at happy hour talking with them and spending more time with Suzanne and Richard on the Limelight. Scott and Dave from the Lodge joined us again.

Willie has a great blog that you should check out. It is andwilliesaid.blogspot.com. They are very active with the Ranger Tug group and had been to the Ranger Tug rendezvous and were continuing traveling up north for awhile.

We left Homfray Lodge Wednesday morning and based on what Sandpiper and Another Bill had said, it looked like our secret spot down several miles might be open. It is a little nook that holds maybe two boats and it is tucked back so you come right up to it thinking you have it and BAM! A sailboat is usually tucked way back in. But we lucked out and set our anchor and stern line just in time for it to start raining. It rained… and rained…. and rained. In the middle of the raining our fresh water pump quit working so I put some big pans out to catch water. By the next morning there was over 3 inches of water in the pans.

Fortunately with the water pump Gar was able to figure out the problem and we had everything working again in about an hour.

We got up Thursday to rain and gloom. No fun fishing and we can’t prawn because we are by ourselves without Bill to use his pot puller for us, so we decided to head south. We should have stopped in Powell River to fuel up, but continued on to Pender Harbor where we fueled up and spent the night. Even with our large volume discount, the fuel was 60 cents a gallon cheaper in Powell River. Expensive lesson learned.

We really like staying at Fisherman’s Marina in Pender Harbor. They welcome you back by name. I know they don’t really remember us each year, but they keep you in their computer so when you arrive they call you by name and ask all about you. It’s a nice touch.

We took the dinghy around the corner to Hospital Bay Pub and Grill and had an OK dinner. We went to bed pretty darn early because we were planning on leaving at 5:30 in the morning to head across the Straits of Georgia. Morning winds tend to be less, so it usually works.

Well, with the tide one way and the winds the other it was not the best crossing but I have been in many many worse ones. We had called the night before and made reservations at Silva Bay Marina on Gabriola Island. We have never been here before but it seemed like a great place to check out. Because we left Pender Harbor so early we were at Silva Bay at 9:00 but the marina manager, Jennie, was there to greet us and help us tie up. This is another very friendly place. Our big mistake was not taking on water in Pender Harbor because they only have water here on the fuel dock so we are conserving water until tomorrow when we will run our watermaker while we move on to another place.

The day started cloudy but now is nice and sunny and it feels great. Just about perfect for a nap.

Sandpiper and Another Bill are further south than us. Millers’ Time is hoping to leave Campbell River super early tomorrow, weather permitting, and head this way. Darrel safely traveled back to Seattle for his chemo and got back to Campbell River mid-day today.

You are now up to date….pictures when I can.

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Heading south. Kind of….

Blog Post July 22
We are back at Homfray Lodge after 3 great days in Ramsay Arm where we got to show Garry’s favorite place to MIllers’ Time (Darrel and Robin) and Ocean Blue (Brian and Karen). Also in the group was Double Eagle, Another Bill and Sandpiper. I have no idea what the deal is this year at Ramsay but it rained again! Not the best way to show off a place! We got there Friday afternoon and it started raining that night. It poured that night but slowed enough in the morning to do some clamming and oystering. Poor Frank Keenan had hurt his back and it was getting worse so they decided to start heading back for home where he can have it checked out.

This is the first year in many many years that we won’t be heading any further north than Desolation Sound which means our annual Karlukwees Open (golf tournament) would have to be somewhere else. What better place than Ramsay Arm.

So, Saturday afternoon in rain the 2014 Ramsay Arm Open took place. Last year’s winner was not there to defend his championship and last year’s 2nd place participant decided to withdraw instead of getting wet. This gave a chance for Garry to finally move up the leaderboard. Little did he know that a ringer came in. There were 6 participants… Again, I placed third, Gar placed 2nd and Darrel Miller (aka Ringer) won the tournament. He claims he has rarely golfed and Gar claims foul since his wife was one of the judges. But it was legit and the elusive trophy once again was not Garry’s.

During the tournament the rain quit and the rest of our stay there was perfect weather.

Sunday Garry and I cooked a big Sunday brunch for the whole group… not one thing healthy for us in the whole breakfast. Several bottles of champagne were involved, also. Many thanks to the boats that contributed the bubbly!

After a brief rest Garry decided it was time to attempt kneeboarding. Using Bar Bill (Another Bill’s tender) he made it up his first try and once again said “I am not going to be doing this when I’m 100”. Brian Kelly decided to give it a try and after one interesting attempt got going great the second time up. Both kneeboarders need to work on their dismounts, though. Lots of splashing and tumbling involved.

We left Ramsay Arm Monday mid-day and came back to Homfray Lodge. We were fortunate that Scott and Dave got creative in the docking so by med-tying (stern to the dock) we got all five boats in. Both their mooring bouys were used, too. A full house for them plus all their cabins are full. There is a huge group from Seattle with a large boat, their tender and then a few cabins filled. Lots of kids having a blast in the water. There was one little boy – maybe 3 or 4 – dragging a kayak down the dock so he could go kayaking. It was so funny. But he got it down to the adults and he got to go in it. They kept him on a rope and pulled him around.

We have a huge happy hour/appetizer night with new friends from the Limelight (a 47′ Bayliner from Victoria) and Scott and Dave joining us. Tons of food and we had early birthday cards and candles for Robin to blow out. Her birthday is Wednesday when she will be in Campbell River by herself, as Darrel flies home that day for chemo on Thursday.

We are staying again tonight at Homfray Lodge (today is Tuesday). After that we are truly up in the air. Without going to the Broughtons this year everything is off schedule.


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Misc tidbits

Questions have come up about our dinghy and how it is doing. Well, we have learned we can survive without reverse but it is not always easy. And we have learned the the motor doesn’t like to always run that good. But it is running.

It tried to find its way back home last week when we were back at Sidney Bay. It untied itself and was drifting away so Bill took me out to capture it.

Gar and I also hiked up an old logging road when we were at Sidney Bay looking for wild blackberries. We couldn’t find blackberries but picked a lot of black caps – enough for a pie. I picked berries with a swivel head…. there was lots of evidence of bear in the area so I wanted to make sure I was at least one step ahead of Garry if one decided to come our way. You don’t need to be fast, just not the slowest.

I mentioned prawning has not been great. To make things worse, we had a mishap with our pots and pot puller and the pot puller and it’s bracket are at the bottom of the inlet. We saved the pots but now have be extra nice to Bill or Frank if we go prawning again because they have pot pullers.

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Big Bay Revisited

Blog Post July 17

We are back in Big Bay. We have been waiting for good friends Robin and Darrel Miller to get underway from Des Moines to join us, but between boat problems, Darrel’s chemo, more boat problems and more boat problems we were concerned if they would make it up this far.

After some repairs in Ganges, then more parts and repairs in Nanaimo, they crossed the Straits of Georgia yesterday in horrible seas – at least 6 footers – in their 24′ boat, Millers’ Time. It was a pretty nasty crossing. They stopped in Westview to fuel and and instead of stopping decided to keep on slogging to hopefully meet up with us. We knew that they were across but would have completely got it if they decided to just stop and relax, but all of sudden they were here! Tired and sore from hanging on and from the stress, but here. Then a couple hours later Frank and Trish Keenan, in their Tollycraft Double Eagle, pulled in. They had been following the progress of Millers’ Time and wanted to spend time with them, too.

We celebrated with happy hour and the last of our steamer clams. Later after everyone had dinner, the managers of Big Bay came down with a banana cream pie and they stayed and we all had dessert on our boat. We are all so impressed with what a great place this is to stay.

Tomorrow most of us are moving on to Ramsey Arm. Then we are not sure what, but Darrel needs to be in Campbell River by Tuesday for a flight back home for chemo then back up again. There is so much up here they want to see and hopefully the good weather holds so they can enjoy all the beauty up here. Plus Darrel is a fishing addict. He and Bill Lande went out at 5:00 a.m. and came home with a salmon that will be dinner tonight, I think. Bill caught the fish, but Darrel cleaned it. How did that happen???

Sandpiper has been to some other anchorages so we have not been in contact quite as much but when they learned Millers had made it up this far decided to come join us. There are six boats in the marina and Des Moines Yacht Club is five of them.

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Phone booth and prawns

Blog Post July 12
Prawns, at last, kind of

We left Sidney Bay to travel so a very remote little anchorage hoping for some prawning success. Another Bill came along with us. But before we really left the Sidney Bay area we went across the inlet to what we call the “phone booth”. There is a strong phone signal from a tower over at Kelsey Bay many miles away and if we bob in the water we are able to text, check messages, check emails, etc. It was good to find out what was going on at home and with fellow boaters making their way toward us.

So we anchored early afternoon and the guys put out the prawn pots. They have had so many disappointments that they decided not to check them until the next morning.

No disappointment but no jumping up and down. We both got some prawns and will be enjoying them for sure! There is just not the quantity we have had in the past.

The results of the new prawn pot vs our old style. The new one is out performing the old one by about 3 to 1 so far, but it is weird. Sometimes the pot that got some prawns is empty the next time. It is really hit and miss. I can tell you that we are not unhappy with the new pot. If the prawning was better we could give a more definitive report.

I have a grading method I use for the prawns. This comes in super handy when I freeze them so I know what I have in each container.
Salad Shrimp – the really small ones that are barely worth the effort of cooking and peeling.
Medium – better for salad than the itty bittys.
Large – great for snacking and in fettuccine, etc.
XL – extra large – great for everythiing
XXL – double extra large – be selfish and keep them for yourselves. No sharing!

It has been very very hot. Even though the winds have been strong on all the straits when we anchor we are always trying to stay out of the wind. Well, we have accomplished that for sure. On Saturday, in the shade, it hit 102 degrees and not a breath of wind. Unfortunately the water was not looking clean enough to swim in so dabbling the feet was as much as I would do. BUT I realized I had taken my ice packs from the chiropractor in case of any back strains, etc, so I grabbed them out of the freezer from time to time and Gar and I enjoyed a little respite from the heat. He did learn that putting it on the head caused an ice cream headache, though.


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Sidney Bay

Blog Post July 11
Recap of the last few days… After we left Cordero Lodge we traveled a huge distance (OK – a little one) of about 12 miles to Sidney Bay in Loughborough Inlet. Dane Campbell and Helen Piddington live in Sydney Bay and lived there for years, raising their family, living very cleverly and successfully in a remote area that is not always a forgiving place to live. They are talented individually and I probably don’t know the half of it. Helen is a published author of two books of living up here. The Inlet is her first book and is all about their life here. I need to read it every few years to not only refresh myself on their story but it seems like every year I learn more about them and the book makes even more sense. Helen’s second book is called Rumble Seat and it is the her story of growing up in Victoria, B.C. Helen is an extremely accomplished artist and did all the illustrations in her first book.

Dane is a very clever man who knows how to do pretty much anything with next to nothing. He has his own small saw mill that Garry has to see every time we come here. He can build, repair, create, log, prawn, crab….. you name it.

Both are generous people. This year as we were leaving he ran out to our boat in his boat with a gift of fresh prawns for a snack later. They felt bad because prawning had been so bad. Even in front of his bay where we are usually successful we snared not a single prawn.

We stay on a floating dock across the bay from where Dane and Helen live. They collect moorage from boaters that stay there. It is a great secure place when the winds are blowing like they have been. Sometimes we are the only boats there and other times we meet new boating friends.

As usual we were here on Helen’s birthday. It just happens to be the timing of our trip each year. I know she is in her early 80’s but I can’t remember the exact age. She and Dane look great each year – this year I think even better than last time.

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