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Boats

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Get busy living, or get busy dying.

Stephen King

My apologies that posts have been somewhat erratic of late. Things have been busy!

I posted some images from the Victoria Classic Boat Festival two years ago. I make no apology for posting more this year because I think that the boats are gorgeous and the inner harbour extremely photogenic.

Next time round I will provide an explanation for all of this ‘busy-ness’ and a proper catch-up…

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid

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Having been out for a significant chunk of the day on Friday last (not returning home until around six o’ clock of the evening) I realised on our return that I had not yet checked the mail.

Now – for our first month in this house, back in 2015, the post was still delivered to the door. Ever since then we have been obliged to scamper along to far end of the terrace to the new roadside mailbox stack – an ‘improvement’ to the service which has naturally been planted in quite the most inconvenient of locations. These days I usually break out the bike and cycle up the road: Friday being no exception.

As I went to get my bicycle from the store in which we keep all of our outdoor equipment I glanced – as is my habit – out to sea. I was immediately taken by an unusual pattern of marine movement; an odd assemblage of a not insignificant number of assorted vessels. One gets quite used to the tracks that boaters take across the bay and this unusual gathering of craft – some eight or ten of them – was definitely not normal. Something was up.

We live up on the hillside above Highway 17 (the Pat Bay) at a point at which it follows the coast quite closely (a little below the uppermost ’17’ on the accompanying map) on about the same latitude as the top end of James Island. It takes less than five minutes to ride down the hill and to cross the highway on the pedestrian bridge to get to the shore. Coming back up takes a a little longer as one might expect, for the gradient is quite severe.

As I rode along the terrace I could see that the cluster of boats below was still extant, though now moving slowly southwards down the coast. Curiosity got the better of me and I decided that I just had to ride down to see what was going on. Once I reached the waterfront I could see that the craft had arranged themselves into a broad U-shape between the shore and James Island – a stretch of water called the Cordova Channel. There was clearly something unseen at the centre of this formation.

Image by djmboxsterman on PixabayA little patient watching and waiting revealed the answer: a pod of some five or six Orcas! My best guess is that the boats were trying to guide the Orcas out of the channel into the open ocean, thus preventing any of them becoming beached in the shallows around Cordova Spit.

What a stunning and beautiful sight! Inevitably I had neither camera nor mobile phone with me (hence the splendid stock image accompanying this piece) though I very much doubt that I could have got any decent shots in any case.

This is not a sight that one sees every day. Had anyone suggested – ten years ago – that on a Friday evening in August I would have been watching a flotilla of small boats shepherding a pod of killer whales past the bottom of my garden…

…I would have had a good chuckle!

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Now that the wildfire smoke has dissipated – from the coastal regions of southern BC if from nowhere else – much of the Salish Sea and its surroundings have sprung back into their normal summer focus… with bright sharp colours and sparkling vistas.

A trip with good friends on ‘Dignity’ to Sidney Spit provided an opportunity for some relaxed photographic reconnaisance:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid

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The ship called ‘Dignity’ is enjoying her sabbatical at Westport Marina in Tsehum Harbour to the north of Sidney. Renting a slip there means that more time can actually be spent ‘messing about in (one particular) boat(s)‘ than would be possible were she to have to be launched afresh each time she goes out – and the prices are really very reasonable this year.

I have also taken the opportunity to do some tinkering – tweaking idle speed and fuel/air mixture for example – so that she now runs as she should at slow speeds. This makes navigating through the maze of channels and marinas that comprise Tsehum Harbour a whole lot easier than it was before.

Taking the boat out on my own sadly means that I don’t get the opportunity to take as many photographs as I would like whilst out on the water – which explains why most of these were taken in the marina itself.

This is Sidney by the Sea:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidReflections…

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidShipshape!…

Photo by Andy Dawson Reid…though we all have our own ways of doing things. Now – which do you suppose would be my preference?

Photo by Andy Dawson Reid

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The beautiful summer weather has finally arrived here in BC just in time for us to entertain long standing friends from the UK. I have seized the opportunity to take a short break to bring them up island for a visit to Tofino.

First – however – from Port Alberni a trip on the much loved ‘Frances Barkley’ down to Bamfield and back. The ‘Frances Barkley’ is a working ship and makes stops all down the Alberni inlet to deliver the post and all manner of other essentials to communities that have little or no road access.

Here be photographs…


Photo by Andy Dawson Reid
Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid

This is one cool way to collect a delivery…

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid

No fisherman’s tales here. This guy looks pretty proud of his catch…

Photo by Andy Dawson Reid

…and here is the ‘Frances Barkley at Bamfield.

Photo by Andy Dawson Reid

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“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

William Arthur Ward

As posited in this entry in the ‘captain’s log’ of but a few tides back the good ship Dignity spent the past month berthed in a snug slip at Westport Marina – the which lies on the east coast of the peninsula but a little to the north of Sidney.

As was almost inevitably the case we did not get out on her as much as we would have liked (the weather broke, life got busy, etc, etc) and upon the brief voyages that we did essay we found at least one important job that needs to be done in short order (replacing the raw water pump. Boating people will know that this is not a good place to have a leak!).

That having been said much was learned and fun was had. The Kickass Canada Girl was introduced to the delights of Sidney Spit on a sunny day (as well as to the boat!) – my brother, our dear friend (and constant ‘bailer out’) from Saanichton and I supped ales at Port Browning on Pender Island (alcohol-free in my case – boo!) – and I discovered that I can conn my way into and out of a marina on my own, in addition to being able to take the boat out of the water single-handedly.

Pictures were – as you would expect – snapped and a selection are presented below for the reader’s delectation:

Time to get her name on that stern!

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidThis is the passage between North and South Pender islands…

Photo by Andy Dawson Reid…and this is Port Browning.

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidThese shots were taken at Sidney Spit.

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidTime to head for home.

Photo by Andy Dawson Reid

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183311Well – the good ship Dignity finally hit the waters again the other evening as our dear friend from Saanichton helped me to take her for a brief early evening sea trial to ensure that all of the bits and pieces were in full working order.

She had been sitting on her trailer for a good long time and was somewhat reluctant to part company with it. Those who know about such things will attest that the procedure for putting a boat into the water at the boat launch (once in position and having carried out all the ‘pre-flight’ checks, including freeing the vessel from its carrier) is to back the trailer sharply into the water and then to brake hard. At that point the momentum of the boat is meant to carry it gracefully off the trailer rollers and into the water.

In this instance Dignity – not having dismounted for a considerable period – took three attempts. I have no doubt that as she and I become more accustomed to the procedure the operation will prove easier to effect.

She was also a little rusty from not having been run properly for quite a while, and needed to be thoroughly warmed up before going into drive without futtering out (technical term!). Once fully awake – however – she demonstrated that the Penta V8 has more than enough power to get her moving in a serious fashion. She goes onto the plane easily and handles the water well. I am not yet sure what this will do for fuel economy, but I feel inclined in any case to handle her cautiously (as one should a lady!) – at least until I have had a chance to log some statistics.

As a next step I am contemplating finding her a berth in a marina for a month, so that I may spend some serious time gaining as much practical on-board experience as possible.

So much to learn…

 

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Photo by Andy Dawson Reid
“The day you hear someone call me captain will be the day I buy a boat.”

Guy Lafleur

To all those gentle readers who were way too polite to enquire just why I had suddenly taken to posting the lyrics to songs by mid 80s Glaswegian ‘Big Music’ bands (ignoring the fact that you were probably not the slightest bit interested!) – here is your answer:

…after a year of living on these glittering shores I have finally purchased a boat! Here she is…

For those who like to know these things she is a 20ft Double Eagle Sedan built in 1978. She has a Volvo Penta 350 5.7 litre V8 inboard motor and an 8HP Yamaha kicker. She’s no spring chicken but the Kickass Canada Girl and I both recognised her immediately as the boat for us. She was pretty thoroughly checked out – a marine survey and a mechanical inspection – and she is now up at SeaPower Marine in Sidney having some bits and pieces tidied up before we put her in the water for a sea trial.

Most exciting!

The Girl was very keen that she be called ‘Boaty McBoatface‘ – in honour of the splendid(!) eccentricities of the British peoples – but she was out-voted and the ship will indeed be called ‘Dignity‘.

God bless all who sail in her.

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Image from Pixabay

There’s a man I meet, walks up our street
He’s a worker for the council, has been twenty years
And he takes no lip off nobody and litter off the gutter
Puts it in a bag and never thinks to mutter

And he packs his lunch in a Sunblest bag, the children call him Bogie
He never lets on but I know ’cause he once told me
He let me know a secret about the money in his kitty
He’s gonna buy a dinghy, gonna call her Dignity

And I’ll sail her up the west coast, through villages and towns
I’ll be on my holidays, they’ll be doing their rounds
They’ll ask me how I got her, I’ll say, “I saved my money”
They’ll say, “Isn’t she pretty, that ship called Dignity?”

And I’m telling this story in a faraway scene
Sipping down raki and reading Maynard Keynes
And I’m thinking about home and all that means
And a place in the winter for Dignity

And I’ll sail her up the west coast, through villages and towns
I’ll be on my holidays, they’ll be doing their rounds
They’ll ask me how I got her, I’ll say, “I saved my money”
They’ll say, “Isn’t she pretty, that ship called Dignity?”

And I’m thinking about home and I’m thinking about faith
And I’m thinking about work and I’m thinking, how good it would be
To be here some day on a ship called Dignity
A ship called Dignity, that ship

Ricky Ross
Deacon Blue

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Photo by Andy Dawson ReidLast Friday was not the first Canada Day that I have enjoyed in the country (I arrived for a visit on July 1st back in 2012) but it was the first such that I have experienced here as a resident. We duly made a weekend of it.

Sidney spreads its celebration over two days and features a firework display on the night before Canada Day itself. At the last minute we decided not to attend – both being somewhat weary from our busy weeks – and reasoning that we could probably see the display from our windows anyway – which we could. We thus also saw the results of the ‘computer glitch’ that fired half the display within the first ten seconds – followed by a lengthy pause before the rest of it carried on as it should have. Glad we didn’t venture forth for that!

Our dear friends in Saanichton hosted a barbecue for the day itself which was lovely for all sorts of reasons – not least of which was meeting his father (a most redoubtable gentlemen) for the first time. At the end of the evening they announced that they had some spare passes for the following night (the Saturday) for Butchart Gardens. Summer Saturdays at Butchart mean live music and – yes – more fireworks… so we did get to see some after all.

The traffic queues to get into and out of the gardens on a summer Saturday night are all too reminiscent of some of those in the UK. If, however, one has a boat conveniently moored in a nearby marina – as do our dear friends – one can sail the short hop across Brentwood Bay and up to the Butchart back entrance off Tod Inlet. To my great delight this was indeed the plan and we duly puttered our way over in style.

Boats – music – picnics on the lawns – a stroll round the fabulous illuminated gardens – fireworks! It doesn’t get much better…

Here be a handful of random images:

Photo by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson ReidPhoto by Andy Dawson Reid

 

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