Mar and Gar's Adventures

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Westview update

Our luck with weather, wind, waves and places to stay just continues to be perfect. We enjoyed Westview so much we spent 3 nights there. It was surprising to us how quiet things were considering the upcoming holiday and the fantastic weather. We took advantage of Safeway’s few delivery of groceries to our boat. We walked there via what locals call Cardiac Hill, shopped and made arrangements for delivery in early afternoon. We then walked to Canadian Tire and did a little shopping and walked back down Cardiac Hill. The walk is about 1.2 miles each way.
We fueled up Friday morning before we left. Diesel was $1 a litre plus 5% gst, but factoring in the exchange rate we figure it was about $3 a gallon. We were underway by 8:30 a.m. and in Desolation Sound by 10:45. Close to Refuge Cove there is a nice area to drag a hook for bottom fish so we fished awhile and caught a nice fish for dinner. Then miracle of miracles one of our favorite anchorages was empty. It is a tiny little bay that will hold about 2 boats. It hasn’t been open the last few years so we were jazzed. It is about 1.5 miles from Prideaux Haven Marine Park. When we carefully went in to anchor we found 3 different lines (ropes) from trees down the the shore that people had left for convenient tying of a stern line. We picked the best one for us and settled in nicely. I could hear a stream behind us and when Garry checked it out he found someone had made a little dam and sank a long 2″ hose that a nice volume of clear, clean water poured out of. We tested the water with our tester and it read perfectly safe to drink. 

Garry put out the prawn pots fora good overnight soak and the first pull Saturday morning was pretty good. Others pulls over the next couple days just marginal. But the long cod fishing was nice so ling cod chips, prawns and fries were dinner one night.

Cell phone coverage was only one bar but that was good enough to text with people. Just no phone. It was strong enough to check Facebook and emails, too.

We left our little bay Sunday, July 2nd, but first we took a dinghy ride over to Prideaux Haven, Melanie Cove and Laura Cove. There was a total of 31 boats in the 3 anchorages. In the busy part of summer that number will be way over 100 boats. Way over!

We cruised very slowly through Homfray Channel and because we were going so slow I spotted some new pictographs on a rock wall that I had never seen before. We were too far away for a good picture, though.  

As we passed Homfray Lodge we reminisced about staying there in the past. This year the dock is only for guests of the cabins and lodge and the prices have jumped. We didn’t see any activity, but the place looks great. Just past the Lodge a logging operation has started again after several years with no activity.

We paddled a little further to Atwood Bay. Again, we completely lucked out. There has been a small float in the bay that doesn’t say No Trespassing so when available we and others traveling along with us have tied up here. But it hasn’t been available for a few years. This year it is empty and not another boat in the whole bay. The float has many fun improvements since we were there last. They made the float a little larger, added a covered area with wooden benches. There is a pretty nifty fireplace, tons of cut wood, and ink e corner of the float there is a solar powered fish cleaning station. The solar charges a battery that runs a water pump to a hose. The power also operates a couple flood lights for those who clean fish a night. Back to the covered area – there is some overhead storage where this is a table, an umbrella, insect repellent, toilet paper, canvas chairs. All your creature comforts!  

We had been there about an hour when a black bear came out to meander the beach behind us. He left for a few hours but came back later for another stroll. A sailboat came and anchored in the bay and other than the bear and the sailboat it was just us.

We stayed two nights. We had semi-successful prawning and no luck fishing.

On our second day we took the dinghy down to Homfray Lodge. We stopped at the logging camp first and chatted with the watchman. All the loggers had the holiday off so it was just him and one other guy.  

The stop at Homfray Lodge was interesting for a couple. We got the scoop on the latest developments there but another boat came in while we were there. It was a guy who owns a couple cabins/buildings and a dock that we pass every year. He was testing his new super fancy 31′ rigid hulled boat that cruises at 60 mph comfortably. He is from the States and seemed like a really nice guy. He told us any time we wanted to stop there and walk around it would be fine.

So here is the scoop on Homfray Lodge. There was a caretaker who filled us in. The Macey brothers are leasing it to someone who is in the process of buying it. If all goes well it will close in few months or so. The buyer owns Pacific Coastal Cruises and he plans on bringing in one of the cruise ships twice a week and they stay a couple of days. As of the day we were there they had not had anyone stay in 16 days. A cook and housekeeper were supposed to arrive this week, but it was so strange to see no one there on the dock or as guests. The caretaker said there were lots of unhappy boaters who have stayed in the past but the current arrangement is you have to be a guest of the Lodge or rent a cabin to moor your boat there. And even then it is $2 a foot for moorage. The next few years will be an interesting transition to watch.


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Sunny in Westview

We have been blessed with great weather and water so far. It is guaranteed to not always be that way so when we get it we truly are grateful. It can be a matter of a day or two that can make all the difference in the world.

We left Ganges Monday morning for the short three hour cruise to Silva Bay on Gabriola Island. When we were in Silva Bay last August there were protests about the government plan to start anchoring large freighters on the west side of the island as overflow for ships going to the Port of Vancouver. Well, it looks like they didn’t win their fight. There were 5 large freighters anchored in Trincomali Channel near Porlier passage. There is great concern about potential damage to fish runs and the local residents are continuing to voice their concerns.

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Freighters anchored

I was looking forward to going out to dinner at Silva Bay but the restaurant is under new management and closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. And the little morning coffee stand isn’t opened much yet. Everything starts to pick up starting this weekend with the upcoming Canada Day celebration on Saturday and the holiday Monday.
Tuesday morning the weather reports indicated a pretty good crossing of the Straits of Georgia starting around noon so we did some chores and then some waiting. Around 10:00 I looked over at the entrance and saw a large and pretty new power boat hard aground on the rocks at the harbor entrance. It was a beautiful Mainship, at least 40′ long. It had been moored near us the night before. If you don’t read the charts and books carefully it is easy to misjudge the two markers that you go around. The captain of this boat decided he was to go between them, not around. When we left at noon the only thing keeping it from going over was a huge long rope tied to shore. The tide still had 3 more hours to go out when we passed it. I wonder how much damage was done. This is the 2nd grounding we have seen there in 4 years. No wonder they named the rock Shipyard Rock. The local Shipyard gets lots of business!

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Hard aground

We timed our crossing of the Straits of Georgia perfectly. The most wind we had was about 12 knots and occasional 2′ waves, but mostly 1 footers. We did have to deviate from our planned course because military activity area Whiskey Golf was active. That is where the Canadian Navy does practice torpedo stuff. The Coast Guard and Navy were busy chasing off boats (all sailboats on this particular day) who had not paid attention to the multiple ways to check on the radio about Whiskey Golf. Trust me, you do not want a helicopter hovering over you and a big gray Navy ship heading your way!!!  By the time we were getting close to Texada Island we were in nice calm water with an occasional small swell.  There have been lots of logs this year, though, probably due to the high tides that have happened.

Our plan was to go to Pender Harbor for the night, go out to a nice dinner and then head to Powell River/Westview the next morning for a night or two. Well, the water was so calm and the weather for Wednesday wasn’t supposed to be quite as nice so we just kept going and arrived at the Westview Harbour Marina at 5:30. We are currently on a great dock in the south harbor and are probably going to stay until Friday morning. We took the time to put up our shade bimini on the bridge today. We usually wait until we get this far because if we get in high winds it doesn’t do so good. So rather than chancing the damage we just wait. Now we can sit on the bridge, out of the sun, and watch all the activity in the marina.
Tomorrow we will walk up to Safeway and stock up on things. I just found out today that Safeway will deliver for $6, but free for seniors!! We just go shop, they store until the afternoon and then deliver after 4:00. At least what the sign on the bulletin board said so we are going to give that a try. The store is a decent walk away up a steep hill. Last year we took a taxi back because we buy too much to carry. There is a free shuttle but it doesn’t start running this summer until June 30th.
Oh, we did go out to dinner last night. We didn’t want to walk far so we went to the bowling alley where there is a restaurant and bar named Strikers. I had one the best French dip sandwiches I have ever had! Tonight we are going out again!!! Woo hoo! I think we will go to Snickers. It is steak, pizza and Greek food.
Right now it is relaxing time for me while Garry washes the boat. I will be out there in a bit to wipe railings down.

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Working so hard


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Hi from the High Seas

Our summer boating adventure started on Saturday, the 24th, an absolutely gorgeous day to be on the water. We had stayed on the boat Friday night and fueled up first thing in the morning. We were out of Des Moines at 8:00 a.m. on the dot.  Our first excitement was passing downtown Seattle and seeing a humpback whale spout then flip his tail and go down. Passing along the shoreline of Shoreline I was texting with good friends who were looking for us through their binoculars. We waved at each other but were really not able see from the distance. Our next ‘wave-by’ was passing my mom at Clinton on Whidbey Island. She was out clam digging at the extreme low tide so we waved at each other as we cruised on by. Our last ‘wave-by’ was to good friends on Camano Island. I was able to see them waving their shade umbrella at us from way up on the high bank.  

We stopped for the day at Deception Pass State Marine Park. There is a dock with shore access, some mooring buoys and two floating docks not attached to shore that can hold several boats, depending on their size. We were happy to see plenty of room and we had one of the floating docks all to ourselves for the night. We were pretty surprised how few boats were out on the water and at the marine park considering the record setting heat wave!

There was a little excitement late afternoon. First a fire truck with lights flashing shows up. A short time later a small fast boat came in with a young woman who was having some sort of medical issue. She wasn’t wet so had not fallen in. She did not appear intoxicated but needed help walking. Next an ambulance showed up. After about 45 minutes everyone left but she was not transported. My guess is it was heat exhaustion/heat stroke…

Sunday morning we passed under the Deception Pass bridge. The current was running at about 5.5 knots with us so we really flew through. The water was almost the calmest I had ever seen out in the Straits of Juan de Fuca and Haro Strait. The biggest problem was navigating around tons of whale watching boats off of San Juan Island. We saw nary an orca.

It was such a good day we decided to cross into Canada a day earlier than planned. We cleared Canadian Customs quickly at Bedwell Harbor then headed to Ganges on Saltspring Island. There was plenty of moorage on the Port Authority docks so picked a good spot and tied up. We were going to go out to dinner but most of the items were seafood and we didn’t want that since we would be catching our own soon. I told Garry we could BBQ burgers and go out Monday when we go to Silva Bay marina on Gabriela Island.

Which brings us to today… Monday…. we did a little shopping in Ganges at the grocery store and marine/hardware store and took off for Silva Bay. There was a little more wind today and quite a bit when we got to Silva Bay. They are so friendly and accommodating here and it is a great place to be when we want to cross the Straits of Georgia. The bad news is the restaurant has changed hands and is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Just my luck. So I have something out of the freezer and maybe will go out tomorrow if we make it across the Straits. I will keep checking weather but Tuesday afternoon looks like a possibility. 

The boat is running great. After 3 years of frustration our depth sounder is working correctly. Believe me, that is a very good thing! The port engine is still having issues when we are docking but it is not as bad and Garry has gotten good about how to deal with it. Our new sun shade on the back deck is really nice.

That is it for now.  Stay tuned for further adventures.


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Not Normal (For Us)

This has been a very different spring for us.  We are enjoying the luxury of not doing tons of maintenance on our old place while running around like crazy trying to get our boat ready for our annual trip to Canada.  Instead the boat is almost ready, the dinghy is ready and Garry is already working on remodeling the new motorhome a little on the inside.

We did have our boat hauled out a week ago to have the barnacles all scraped off, get new bottom paint and replace the old eaten up zincs.  This time we went to Nordlund Marine which is on the Hylebos waterway in Tacoma.   It was much more convenient than going all the way to Seattle to Delta Marine.   Nordlund does beautiful custom boats and haulout work like we needed.  They are very friendly and laid back there.  It was definitely a good experience.

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Looks big!

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New prop speed put on

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Bottom paint time

We are having a canvas extension made for the back of the boat top deck that will cover us when we are back in the transom.  This will be really nice if it is sunny and we want to sit in the shade and even nicer if it is raining and we need to go out on the back deck.  Garry has been talking about it for several years and we finally enjoy it this year.  This probably makes no sense so I will have to send you a picture of it when done.   The metal framework is done and the canvas is being cut and fabricated today.

We don’t have a firm departure date.  All I know is that it will be after Father’s Day.  All next week is the last of the shopping, haircuts, doctor appointments, etc.  Prescriptions are filled, Canadian fishing licenses purchased, passports ready…

We are really happy that Theresa, Jason and the two granddaughters will be coming up to join us for a week in August.   I booked the flights with Northwest Seaplanes.   Not only are they close to get to (Renton) but they will fly into locations other than the scheduled stops so if we are in an area that is safe to land we just give the them the coordinates plenty in advance and they will come to where the boat is.   We might take them up on that.  We did take out trip cancellation insurance because Theresa’s dad (my ex) and Jason’s dad are both in poor health right now but we are really hoping they will be able to spend that week with us.   Theresa spent most of her childhood summers boating in Desolation Sound so she really wants to share that experience with Jason, Natalie and Isabel.


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A Man Possessed

I don’t know if Garry has been a man possessed or a man obsessed, but ever since we got home from Mexico he has been on a mission to find a different motorhome.  He had been hinting strongly that he wanted me to like a new style out that is life a class A, but part class C.  I didn’t take the bait, though.  I like the style we have.

He has his reasons for hunting for another rig and I won’t discount them.  While everything pretty much works on ours it is getting up there in years (it is a 2003) and in miles.  We have done 3 trips to Mexico in it plus a few other jaunts so it really adds up.  Top that off with a complaint that I didn’t have was that towing the car trailer with Stubby in it he no longer has enough power to pass vehicles when going up mountain passes.  To that I say, boo hoo, but I guess it was a fairly big deal to him.   Something about horsepower and torque.  Yada yada yada….

So, back to the quest.  He has spent numerous hours scouring Craigslist, Ebay, and numerous other websites searching for the right motorhome.  We love the layout we have but it is hard to find.

First he found one to look at in Hadlock, Wa.  He drove over one day and told me about it that night, so on an early Saturday morning we drove the 1 hour 45 minute pretty trip to Hadlock.  He was so enamored with some of the bells and whistles that he didn’t notice the dirt, smell, and other things.  I wouldn’t even do a test drive.  When I questioned the current owner (who had only put 2500 miles on it) he did state the previous owner or owners were bird hunters.   I have no problem with hunting or hunters but my guess is they weren’t the tidiest of people.  I don’t think the upkeep of the motorhome was their primary focus.

A week later or so we drove to the Tacoma area and looked at a nice one but it was larger than we wanted and it was pretty pricey for its age.

Then he found one down in Oregon.  I agreed to an early morning drive to Sandy Oregon.  We left at 5:15 a.m. and thanks to spring break and good weather made excellent time and were at the RV lot by 8:15 – a full 45 minutes before they opened.  I napped in the van while Garry snooped around.  He was quickly back and said we would be leaving soon.  He took me out and showed it to me.  Now, we knew it had not yet been detailed but the video they RV people sent us neglected to show the four different places that needed body work.  And it wasn’t just dirty, it was REALLY dirty.   We left and were home before noon.  It was a 350 miles trip but I slept most of it.  When Garry talked to the salesman later he told him that it looked like the homeless had been living in it and then had taken it for a run around a Nascar track or demolition derby.

So, imagine my joy when he found a motorhome in Colorado – just exactly what we want, almost.  In a very spur of the moment decision he had me book him a flight to Grand Junction, Colorado one afternoon with a return the next evening.  He fell in love with the motorhome.  He called me several times when no one was around him so he could tell me about it.  I had already run a Carfax so I knew it was well taken care of.  Soooo, he made an offer…. they countered…. he countered…. they split the difference and we are flying Sunday early evening to Grand Junction to pick it up.  They needed to put new batteries in it and do a couple things, but assuming all is as we except we will be driving it home next week.

So, the big reveal!  What is it??  Right?  It is a 35′ 2008 Gulfstream Endura.  Diesel engine, Kodiak chassis (I think).  Anyway, it looks more like a truck front than our current one that looks like a van front.  It is four feet longer than what we have now but most of that is the chassis.  It has two slide-outs and the slide-outs are deeper than what we have now so more space when we open things up.

Keep your fingers crossed for us… both for the purchase and for the trip home!

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Home Again, Home Again

I had better write now about the last of the trip before I forget things!  That seems to happen more and more these days!

When we left Quartzsite we headed to Lake Havasu and spent a couple nights with friends Bill and Jan, from Des Moines.  They rent a home for a few months during the winter.  We did some darn good eating, drinking and a little sight-seeing.  It had rained quite hard the day before we got there so things were much greener than we are used to seeing.  Bill walks down by the lake for 3.5 to 4 miles most mornings so I went with him one morning.  It is a great place to walk.  It is almost completely flat and there is plenty to look at while you walk… even fairly early in the morning there were softball games and bocce ball games being played.  People were kayaking and jet skis were starting to head out onto the lake.

When we left Havasu our intent was to travel based on weather in northern California and the Siskiyou mountains so we had days built in for weather delays but were also ready to put in some fairly long days to be traveling on the better weather days.  Based on all that we headed to Bullhead City to stay a night or two.  We stayed at a county park right on the Colorado River looking down toward the casinos in Laughlin.  We picked a dry camp area because we could be right on the river.  We were the only RV in this particular area which was really nice.  During the day there were people enjoying lunch on the river and several people fishing.

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Our motorhome as the tour boat passes by

 

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Enjoying the sun on the Colorado River

 

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The view at night

 

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Complimentary birthday dessert at Harrah’s in Laughlin

The day before my birthday we went to Harrah’s for a great dinner at their steakhouse.  It was fabulous but way too much food!   We actually took most home and had it for dinner the next night.  We did a little gambling at the Blackjack tables and made enough to almost cover our dinner and bottle of champagne.  Not shabby.  When you factor in that we ate the leftovers the next night we were actually ahead!

After two nights on the river we headed to Bakersfield, then a night in Redding.  We stayed in a small RV area in Redding that was part of a casino and had an OK dinner in the bar and gambled some more.  Blackjack once again paid for our dinners!

Weather reports showed it snowing in the pass that night but the next was to be fairly dry so we headed out fairly early.  We hit All Star Liquor in Hilt, Ca at 10:00 a.m. and filled the motorhome and Stubby’s trailer with stuff for us and several family members and a few friends.

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Mt. Shasta

By this time we caught the scent of Washington and home so we put in a long day.  We got Dale and Christy’s lake house (for those new to my blog, that is Garry’s son and his wife) to Mossyrock on Saturday night just in time for dinner.  We spent Saturday and Sunday nights there and drove home on Monday.  Saturday was a 10 hour day but Monday only two hours.

So, since we got home it has been unpacking, laundry, seeing family (Yay!!!), going to a funeral and then to our youngest granddaughter’s 4th birthday party.  We miss the warm weather we had in Mexico but thanks to some new links and contacts  I am able to follow what is happening in Kino Bay, Puerto Lobos and Puerto Penasco.   Several times a day I can hear Garry muttering things about Mexico, warm weather, fishing.  He is already planning next year down there.

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Hail at home