Mar and Gar's Adventures

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More Short Stories

Shopping Carts and Loonies

It isn’t about the money, it is the principle of things.  In Campbell River when you shop at the large grocery store by the marina you put a loonie in the cart to unlock it and use it.  A loonie is a Canadian $1 coin.   When you return the cart to the right place the loonie pops back out at you.

We did come major shopping the other day so used the cart to go back to the boat.  We were moored at the far end of a long dock.  Person after person tried to be helpful saying they would return our cart for us.  Garry kept saying no thanks.  Since we were going out for dinner in just a bit we would return it.  About 30 minutes later we are just sitting in the boat and some random guy comes down the dock and walks away with our cart.   Garry was not happy!  It was our cart and our loonie!  He didn’t run after him but it was close.  I just kept laughing at him.  After the exchange rate it was only about 75 cents but he kept saying, but it is the principle!!!  


Inlets, Arms, Bays, Channels, Straits, Sound, Sea, Ocean

Someone asked the other day when we were at Denham Bay what the body of water in front of the lodge was called.  It happens to be Cordero Channel but it made me stop and think about all the different types of water we travel on up here and what the differences really are.  I looked some up because I really didn’t know.  In my mind I picture what they each are but the technical descriptions are at times confusing.  I guess next time when I am asked I will just say salt water.


Unusual Neighbor

We decided to extend our stay in Campbell River until Sunday morning.  It doesn’t happen often but we are across the dock from a very anti-social couple.  Usually boaters are chatty and helpful and friendly.  The boat across from us is American.  It has Washington stickers on it but the port of call under the boat name is a California city.  It is an older boat and an older couple.  The boat is about our size and nicely kept up.  We have been here almost 3 days and they have never said hello or anything.  When they are out on their bridge they turn their chairs so they don’t look at us.  Yesterday they started closing their side curtains on the side that faces us.  Very very weird.  We keep hoping they will leave and we will get a new friendly neighbor before we leave on Sunday.


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Catching You Up

Captain’s Log

Here is a quick overview of our places we have been since leaving Denham Bay.  

First I need to mention that a Des Moines Yacht Club boat, Esencia, swung by Denham Bay on our last couple of days there.  We convinced them to spend a night with us on the dock.  There were six on board. Here is where you need to connect the dots.  The owners are Jeff and Cathy Landstrom.  Jeff is our son-in-law Jason’s boss at United Motor Freight.  Dick and David Frederickson were also on board.  Dick is Cathy’s dad, Davie her step-mother.  Cathy’s sister Sandy and her husband Dan were also on board.  Dick is one of the founding members  of the Des Moines Yacht Club back in 1957.  It was like old home week for many of us.  Theresa grew up boating when we cruised a lot with Dick and Davie so there was much reminiscing.

When we left Denham Bay we went to Sidney Bay in Loughborough Inlet for 2 nights and stayed on Dane and Helen’s dock.  Esencia joined us for the first night and then they left for Blind Channel and were hoping to be in Lagoon Cove or Echo Bay on that Thursday for Dick’s 89th birthday.  There were gale warnings in the Johnstone Straits so I hope they made it without problems.  Esencia is a large boat so should have been fine.

We left Sidney Bay and headed further up Loughborough to a little anchorage for 3 nights.  Prawning was very good to us there! We now have nice supply of large ones in the freezer.  We also had a small black bear swim by our boat, climb onto shore and meander through the bushes looking for berries.

We spent one night on a no-longer- used logging camp dock our last night in the inlet with more successful prawning then headed to Frederick Arm for a night.  We found another no -longer-used logging dock to stay on.  We were only a few miles from Denham Bay so took the dinghy over to say hi to Pete and Sarah.

While in Frederick Arm we saw something unusual.  A nice size twin engine turbo float plane came in and landed close by us.  Then from out in the Channel and at full speed came a jet ski.  It picked up a person and the headed up the river at the end of the estero (estuary).  When the plane took off if looped around and looked like it was going to land on the lake up the hill, which I think is where the jet ski was going.  Sure made me curious.  

We left Frederick Arm and headed to Campbell River where we have been for a few days.  We stayed at Discovery Harbor Marina for 2 nights.  It is super close to the stores we needed and has a good laundry for boaters.  Now we are at Fisherman’s Wharf Marina which is just a few miles away for a couple of nights.  When we leave here we will just be meandering to various places until nephew Dennis and girlfriend Michelle get here in their boat sometime around the 28th or 29th.


Short Stories

Inflatable Life Jackets

inflatable life jackets do work.  Just ask Garry.  He has a one that looks like a man’s vest.  It has a co2 cartridge that will inflate the jacket…. even if you are not really expecting it to happen.  Like maybe you are out fishing, you get a fish on and the tab you pull to inflate the jacket gets caught on something in the boat.  Soon everyone on the boat with you hears a high squealing sound as you start looking puffier and puffier.  Deflating the vest takes some work and even more work is finding where you store the replacement CO2 cartridges.  But it is nice to know it works.

Bears Do Swim

There is nothing quite looking out your boat window and seeing something in the water that looks like a stump of wood, then realizing it is a black bear swimming about 50 feet from you heading to shore to go munch on berries in the bushes near you.  The question that remains is where did the bear swim from?  

Compound Boo-Boos

  1. Your crab pot line and miscellaneous gear falls in the water as you are tying off your stern line.
  2. You use your grappling hook to try to recover the crab gear for 2 days with no luck and then you accidentally let go of the wrong end of the line to the grappling hook.
  3. You use a fishing pole to try to find the grappling hook.  Bingo!  It works!  But then you get the fishing line wrapped around the prop on the dinghy.  
  4. You depart anchorage without crab gear but lucky that is all that is left behind.


Family and Friends

It has been a crazy and fun-filled six days with family and friends that we brought in to stay with us at the Denham Bay Lodge.  We rented all four cabins, plus a room usually used by summer workers and had four staying on the boat.  There were 16 altogether counting Gar and me.  Garry’s oldest and middle sons, their wives, granddaughter Demie, my daughter and her husband and their two little girls and five other very good friends.  Seven arrived on the 3rd and the others on the 4th.  All were gone by the 9th.  Boy, did it get quiet after they all left!!

Denham Bay Lodge has a really cool system.  Each cabin has beds and a bathroom but no kitchen.  There is a huge communal kitchen area that probably gets a little crazy when cabins are rented to different groups because you share the refrigerator and you share cooking space so have to stagger cooking times.  Since we had everything rented for most of the time we were able to take over the whole kitchen area.  It is equipped with all dishes, pots, pans, silverware, cups, utensils, BBQs you could ever need.  There is an abundance of spices and seasonings, so you just bring in your food.  It was a challenge to try to pack the boat for that many people for 3 meals a day and I didn’t get it 100% correct for sure but we didn’t starve.  There was an emergency run to Blind Channel Resort by a few of them for additional supplies and more adult beverages because those were going fast. 

We had ever type of weather imaginable with the most beautiful sunset on the 4th of July.  After sunset we had a thunder and lightning storm.  There was a fair amount of rain showers but also enough sun and warm weather to enjoy also.

Peter and Sarah own the place and Peter does salmon fish guiding. Between him taking 3 at a time out and using our dinghy everyone who wanted to fish could.  The fishing wasn’t real hot but everyone still had fun with most catching a nice fish.  The ladies did the best until the last day.  Barb caught a 17.5 pound chinook (king) on the first day and Colleen caught a 21 pounder the next.  On the last full day there, Richard beat them with a 22 pounder.  What was interesting was that the majority of the chinook were a white meat not the usual pink.  It has to do with their diet and genetics from what we could find out.  

We did some crabbing up Frederick Arm with limited success. It would have been a bit better except for the ‘crab incident’.  Two novices (Jason and Tracy)went to pull the pots and came home with 6 nice ones.  The only problem was that they weren’t sure which was a male or female and they kept the females and let the males go.  Oops!  Had to let the girl crabs go and then we couldn’t get anything until the very last morning when we got 6 keepers.  Whew!  They were cooked quickly and a couple got to eat some before catching their flight home.

Peter took a 5 of the group on a boat/truck/jet boat ride up a river to a waterfall and to look for grizzlies.  No bear were spotted but I heard the trip was great and incredibly beautiful.  Next time I want to take advantage of that adventure.  I was told to bring lots of bug spray though!  Mosquitos were really bad.

I think the most fun night was pizza night.  Pete built an outdoor pizza oven and Sarah makes up pizza dough.  I made homemade pizza sauce from Robin Miller’s mother’s recipe and had taken lots of toppings plus Sarah had some also.  Everyone made up what they wanted and Pete cooked them.  Amazingly, the two little ones enjoyed their pizza.  That was unexpected because they are both particular about what they consider good pizza.  Isabel ate two that night and Natalie ate one so it was a big success!

Most nights ended with a bonfire and adult beverages, Crown Royal and Fireball  being the most popular.  We never got around to s’mores.  All those fixings are still on the boat.

There are way too many stories to tell and lots of pictures I can’t share until good internet.  We are currently in Sidney Bay on Loughborough Inlet and will stay in the area for several days.  We are thinking of heading to Campbell River the first of next week to provision up again and do laundry and be on a dock with electricity for a night or two.  Oh, and maybe a restaurant for dinner????? 


Ramsay Arm, Mira Slovak and Hydros

 Just before we left on vacation I bought the hardcover book and then the audio book, A Race To Freedom, The Mira Slovak Story, by David Williams.  If you were a hydroplane fan in Seattle in the late 50’s and early 60’s the name Mira Slovak is a familiar one.  He was a pilot for a Czechoslovakian airline and escaped Communist Chekoslovakia in 1953 by stealing a DC3 with passengers (some also were defectors) on board.  He was given asylum in the United States, and over the next several years he became a crop duster, then Bill Boeing Jr.’s private pilot, and his hydroplane driver when Boeing got a race boat.  It is fascinating to hear about his desire and long journey to become a United States citizen.  It was not a quick process, taking many years but his high profile escape worked in his favor.  Anyway, we are really enjoying the book and I think the narrator for the audio version is really good.

You are probably wondering why I am blogging about this.  Bear with me and I will try to tie it all together with Ramsay Arm.  But first we have to go way back in time.  Kinda like on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and Mr. Peabody and his Wayback machine.

I grew up on Columbia Beach Drive on Whidbey Island, a short walk to the Clinton Ferry.  Our road was mainly a summer cabin road.  During the winter we were one of a few year round residents.  In the summer there were families and kids everywhere.  Moms and kids would be at their cabins for the summer and the dads would commute for the weekends.  In the late 50’s and early 60’s we had the only TV on our little end of the road so come Seafair time we were very popular!  Our place became the potluck place to watch the hydro races.  I remember my favorites.  I loved Hawaii Kai because it was a cool name and was pink. But I loved saying “Bardahl does it again!”  And I alternately loved and hated Bill Muncy.  I remember when it was close to a heat one of us would yell to the neighbors “ Five minutes to the Five minute gun” and everyone would come inside to watch the heat.  Eventually others got a television and we weren’t as popular, but boat racing still was.

One of my college roommates was Louise Benaltabe and her family home was a short walk to the Stan Sayres hydro pits on Lake Washington.  I would go there at Seafair and between heats we would head down to join the thousands on the shores of the lake but we would run to her house to watch the heats because we could see better on tv than through the crowds of fans.  

Garry was raising a young family on the early 60’s.  For a time he worked for a glass company that shared a building with hydro racer Bob Gilliam.  Garry and his first wife Sharon were at Gilliam’s shop one time the night before a race.  Mira Slovak was there.  Garry’s oldest son David was just a baby and Bill Muncy was tossing him in the air and catching him.  He also remembers doing some glass work out by Shilshole when Bill Boeing Jr. bought 2 condos and was connecting together to make one large condo.  

Both of us were huge hydro fans growing up and eventually at the young age of 57 Garry started racing limited hydros.  I won’t bore you too much with his exploits other than he was inducted into the APBA (American Power Boat Association) Hall of Champions twice and his retired 1 Litre hydro is on display at the Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum in Kent, Washington.  

OK, OK, back to the tie in to Ramsay Arm.  Ramsay Arm is way up in the middle of mountains, trees and not much else in Desolation Sound, British Columbia. We have been going to Ramsey Arm for at least 26 years.  There is not much communication with the outside world other than your VHF radio, but in these days of technology one could have a satellite phone or satellite tv if they wanted to…. we don’t have either.  Oh, and we have XM radio now which is great.

One year, many years ago, I got really clever and decided to tape some KJR radio music to play in our boom box when we were up there.  I figured I would just pop the cassette in and we could hear local radio including commercials, weather and all.  It worked well and it was funny to hear the same tapes over and over.   Garry usually could take more vacation than me so he would be up in Canada and I would fly up with Theresa on Kenmore Air.  One year I was still home for Seafair races and taped them for the heck of it.  

So picture this…. a couple of years later there were several boats of us all rafted together at Ramsay Arm and it was early August and Seafair race time.  I found my old cassette and popped it in.  People were amazed!  How did I get radio all the way up here?  How were the races going??  It really was pretty funny!

A couple of times in the past few years we have been in Ramsay Arm when good friends Jeff and Cathy Landstrom were here on their boat Esencia.  They have satellite TV so we were able to watch some of the racing on their boat.  The sad part is that these days little of it is broadcast.  It is a dying sport in Seattle but we will always have the memories.

Two nights ago after listening to the Mariners on XM radio sweep Baltimore I put on the audio book of Mira Slovak and we both huddled around the speaker and went back in time when racing was king in Seattle and on KING TV.  Or was it KOMO?  We are only about halfway through the book so I am rationing our listening, savoring every piece of Mira’s story.

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More Days


We had a nice  uneventful crossing of the Straits of Georgia and arrived at the Westview Marina just as it started raining.  The marina does not take reservations and when I had called about a possibility of a spot they said they ‘might’ be able to raft us off a boat which would have been fine but by the time we got there a spot had opened up so we were on the dock.  And then the skies really opened!!  It was late afternoon so we decided to save our shopping until Monday morning.  We walked in torrential rain to the bowling alley for dinner at their restaurant, Strikers.  Garry decided he wanted to bowl and since the place was empty I figured why not.  It wasn’t quite what we expected.  They have changed to a new type of bowling that I can’t remember the name of, but it goes like this…. the balls are smaller and have no holes in them; there are 6 pins each worth either 2,3 or 5 points; you get 3 balls per frame; strikes and spares are worth 15 points, plus some other scoring rules….. anyway, the alley is old and the lanes have lots of grooves and so do the balls so we will blame our scores on that.  It was really fun except we kept forgetting how many balls we had thrown.  I won 2 out of 3 games so I have bragging rights so far.

I walked down to the marina office to pay moorage in the morning and when I came back I saw Garry at the back of our boat and I saw lots of bubbles coming out from under our boat.  Hmm, I asked ‘Is  there a diver under our boat??! ‘. Well, of course.  There was one doing some diving for something else so Garry asked him to check under our boat for barnacles and how our zincs looked.  We weren’t able to schedule a haul out before we left so this worked fine.  $100 Canadian later we were all good but told we probably need  new zincs some time later this year.

Several years ago while boating in the Broughtons we had met a couple, Allison and Chuck, on their boat Sin Bin.  They live in Powell River which is basically where the Westview Marina is located.  Allison follows my blog so she said if we needed any running around to call.  We lucked out that Monday was her day off so she drove us to Safeway and the liquor store which saved tons of walking and time.  We dropped Garry off at a sporting good place and she helped me load stuff on the boat.  We enjoyed a nice gossip about everything in the area.  Allison pretty much knows everyone and everything so it was lots of fun.  Because of her help we were able to be out of our slip by check out time and hit the fuel dock.  After topping off our tanks we headed to Desolation Sound, about 2 hours further up the water.

We stopped to fish at our lucky hole that Roger Hazzard told us about several years ago.   We caught a couple really nice bottom fish in about 15 minutes then went to check on our favorite secret anchorage.  We were lucky like last year that it was empty.  It is really only big enough to hold two boats if you raft together so we were happy to see it empty. It was a really nice evening topped off with fresh fish and chips for dinner.

We left Tuesday morning for Atwood Bay on Homfray Channel and our luck continued to hold with the float anchored there being empty.  Allison knows who it belongs to and she mentioned they always welcome firewood for the fireplace on the dock so Garry broke out his little chainsaw and cut some wood on shore from a tree that had fallen a few years ago.

Another boat joined us on the float that evening.  Boomer and Alicia are part of the group who the float belongs to and were lots of fun to talk to and swap stories.  They are originally from Powell River but now live in Kelowna which is a 9 hour drive and 2 ferries away.  They keep their boat in Powell River and were doing a few days of boating.  In addition to other things Boomer has a commercial dive business and when the hydros raced in Kelowna he was part of the local rescue and course set up group.  We knew a lot of the same racers he mentioned so there were lots of race stories swapped in addition to our boating stories.  

Garry really is liking his chain saw here at Atwood Bay so we are making sure there is plenty of firewood for others when we leave.  

Garry did a little fishing and we got oysters of the beach here.  This is the first time for oysters here.  They have migrated down this way quite a bit.  

I did some kayaking at Atwood and enjoyed the peace and calm. We have seen few boats and heard few on the VHF radio.  We are heading to Ramsay Arm on Friday and decided to backtrack an hour or so to get cell phone signal to check for messages, etc., first, so I will post this without pictures until I am where I can upload them.  As Garry says, when we are out of cell phone or Internet it is like we are on the other side of the moon and when we orbit around you will hear from us again.   Usually we are on the other side of the moon longer but we are changing our orbit this year…