Thursday, July 29, 2010

Boy + Brand new Bike (like, as of yesterday dinner time) + Blackberry bush

E- Back to the future

Outdoor movie nights have become one if my favorite events of the summer. With Les away on a retreat all weekend, the kids and I hooked up with some friends from Vancouver who just bought a place in Point Roberts and had a barbecue before watching Back to the Future in Diefenbaker park. With the movie not starting until 10pm, I was pleased to see that all our late nights training had paid off and the only dead-weight I had to carry to the car was Lucas.

E- midsummer scenes

Lucas' fashion sense developing at a young age-Lederhosen
Granville Island water park wars
The last day of camp

E- Under to over confident in no time at all

Back from our trip and enjoying this perfect, rain-free July! Les has been busy writing every day while the girls have been going to camp in Point Roberts. They have tie-dyed shirts, planted community gardens, made seed bombs and washed cars. Today, in celebration of the last day of camp, we (Lucas and I came) walked about three kilometers from Maple beach to Lily Point over the sand flats and had lunch on the sand.

We've fallen into the familiar summer life with lots of ice creams on hot afternoons, watersides at Splashdown, backyard slip and slides, sprinkler on the trampoline, inflatable pool on the deck, time in the hammock and some late, late nights.

Luc rode a two wheeled pedal bike for the first time today. Despite the fact that he has had the balance skills for a long time, he hasn't wanted to move off of the like-a-bike. In fact he was in tears thinking about trying the pedal bike because he was convinced he would fall. When he finally decided to try it, Luc was instantly successful at doing it on his own. Ten minutes later he was riding around the parking lot unsupervised asking if we could go back to Vancouver so he could pedal the Sea wall.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

E- Sucia

With Les in constant writing mode, I decided to head out with the kids for a night to Sucia Island. The marine park island is only about 2 hours from Point Roberts, so there was plenty of light even though we didn't leave until 5:30pm.  Not surprising for the Friday of a long weekend, all the docks and mooring buoys were taken, forcing me to practice anchoring solo in a tight bay....which I am pretty sure provided some good entertainment for those already secured for the night because my anchor kept slipping in the mud.....and I still don't really know what I am doing. 
Leaving Point Roberts

Walk at sunset

Saturday morning island exploration

Molly proved a good enough paddler for us not to row the dinghy in circles as we went to explore the island at sunset. This morning we went on a three kilometer route that took us to a couple of beaches and campgrounds before circumnavigating the island and returning home in time for dinner.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

E- Vancouver

Feels like a really big city

Convenient dinghy storage
My Dad helping me anchor in False Creek

E- Powell River, Pender Harbour, Gibsons, Vancouver

Reluctantly leaving the Copeland Islands, we headed off in the early afternoon for Powell River, where we enjoyed one of the best pizza's we've had in a long time.....or maybe it just seemed that way because we had been mostly living on the remnant scraps of food left over in the boat.  Got to love all the preservatives in those hotdogs! 

With almost perfect weather and a relatively problem free trip, we have had a great introduction to boating.  There are lots of little boat improvements that could make life more comfortable, but for the most parts they are just minor.  However, storing and keeping food cold is a pretty big one.  Anybody who has had a prolonged camping trip with a big cooler knows what I am talking about.  The cooler starts the trip clean and cold and the food is well preserved.  Shortly the ice melts, water starts creeping into the meat bags and butter, inevitably ground beef "juice" leaks into the mix and the whole thing looks about as appetizing as the septic tank.  

It was almost sunset by the time we pulled into the Pender Harbour resort and marina.  In the morning I took the kids to the pool while Les did more writing.  She really did a great job of getting up early most mornings so that she could have 6 hours of writing done by noon, and still be around to enjoy the rest of the day with the family.  Jim, Jacquie and Patricia Hall met us in Garden Bay for a tour around the Harbour and then lunch at the pub.  With a late afternoon departure and strong headwinds, we only headed down the coast for an hour before we pulled into Buchaneer Bay on Thormanby Island.   It was hard to tear the kids away from the beautiful sand, so once again we didn't eat until after dark, which is almost 10pm at this time of year.  

Lunch with the Halls at Garden Bay Pub
Pender Harbour touring too long for Lucas
Sunset on Buchaneer Bay

Monday, July 19, 2010

E- Desolation 2010

View Desolation 2010 in a larger map






E- Water and fuel don't mix


These blog posts are a little of of order/date....but I had my hands full at the time.  Bryan and I filled up the tank completely this Spring and our boat doesn't exactly burn it quickly...perhaps as little as a gallon an hour.

Usually this fuel efficiency is a really good thing, but when you discover water in your diesel, suddenly getting fuel out of the tank is a new priority.  With no logistical back up source of power, having clean fuel is particularly important on our boat.  After making enough noise that the engine wanted cleaner fuel, I decided to oblige on Cortes, before we went any further into the remotes of our province.  I really didn't want to end up in a dangerous situation with no power on this trip, so my only option was to get rid of the fuel.

Luckily, a very friendly tree faller (I guess many a giant cedar across our province might argue with the friendly tag) offered to take my fuel to burn on some of his stumps.  So, armed with only a small, slow pump and may of John's jerry cans, I set to work pumping out 65 gallons of diesel.  It took many hours, but at least the family had a nice place to spend a couple of days and I had a pool to jump in at the end of a messy afternoon.

The low point hit just after I had finished pumping out all the fuel and paying for a whole new tank when a very, very unpleasant smell wafted into the cabin.  Apparently the toilet pump settings were opposite to what we believed and our septic tank had overflowed into the bilge.  Cleaning this out was not fun and made me long for the toxic, but not so smelly diesel I was so used to pumping.

E- Meeting Stick

 I played with Jeremy at UBC when we were both 18 years old and I last saw him when I was probably 20.  His nickname at the time was "stick" and yet he recently weighed in at 285 pounds.  However, something about his mannerisms made me recognize him from across the beach on Cortes Island, even when I couldn't see his face. Our chance meeting turned into a great evening reconnecting and meeting each other's families.

Jeremy, without knowing it, had a big impact on my life.  When he failed out of  UBC in 1993, his absence provided me the opportunity I needed to become a starter who was depended upon for the team's success....and I made the most of this opportunity. Things may have gone quite differently for me at UBC and beyond if Jeremy had returned for third year.

Ironically, Jeremy is now a school principal (apparently quite an interesting job on Cortes) and finishing his doctorate in education.
Dinner with the Morrow's
And dessert too!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

E- Candy the motivator


Rowing to the end of the lagoon at Manson's landing was better than walking, but by missing the trail we ended up scrambling up a less than ideal path, all of us in flip-flops.
Everyone at the beautiful white sand beach at Hague lake was swimming and hanging out naked, so the kids got quite a welcome to Cortes and gave us lots of questions about why private parts were no longer private here.
With the promise of treats from her Mom if she could successfully serve the volleyball over the net five times, Molly showed a resolve and willingness to learn that I hadn't seen before. She patiently followed my instructions and practiced for over an hour before she finally completed the challenge and stuffed herself full of tummies from the local store at Gorge Harbour.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Right now

Above, you can see what I see right now. The kids are in Hour Three in the pool today. Yesterday we recognized a family from the girls' school who had just pulled into this little paradise (which is beginning to remind us of the Pink Palace on much as we wanted to leave and explore the rest of Greece, the lure of nightly dinners and ouzo provided impossible to escape. The rest of Greece remains a mystery). We have been here for two nights and we just booked our third. We may never leave.

It was hilarious to see the girls recognize the boy from their school. He just graduated from Grade 7 and was a bit of a star around school. In fact, Molly mentioned something the other day about how the school would seem different next year because the grade sevens would be missing and she mentioned this kid by name (the only one, actually). When he walked in the pool area yesterday and they spotted him, it was as if a celebrity had entered our midst. The air changed and the girls were jittery and on edge. When Eric went up and introduced us, Molly almost died when he knew her name.

Since then, they have been playing with him and his younger sister, but it still has the feeling of eating lunch next to Brad Pitt for them.

Lukey and Eric are playing water basketball with the boys and Molly and Finny are playing swimming games with the girls. Happiness.

For me too. I am reading Olive Kitteridge, which I am loving.

Cortes, we love you.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Landing on our feet (sort least for now)

As I write this, we are staying at an absolutely beautiful marina resort in Gorge Harbour on Cortes Island. This is my kind of boating. There is a gorgeous pool, spectacular hot tub overlooking the ocean, store, firepits stocked with huge logs ready to be lit. Nevermind that we are surrounded by four storey American behemoth soon as we walk away from the Pacific Pride we are the same as anyone else.

I shouldn't slag the boat because I am starting to feel a real affection for her. We have been very comfortable snuggled into our cozy cabins at the end of our full days. I only wish that anchoring wasn't such an unknown commodity. Eric has had a couple of sleepless nights standing guard over us to ensure that we aren't dashed to bits on the rocks. Oh, and this pesky water in the diesel problem that has us checking the engine every twenty minutes or so when underway. Other than that...

We had great couple of days exploring Manson's Landing and now that we are here, we might stay a couple of days. Beyond that, we aren't sure. I just know that I am happy to log a few hours right here by the pool, as long as Lukey can stop himself from diving into the pool unobserved and unaided...look at the third picture down. That's Eric about thirty seconds after he saved his little life. He only spent about ten seconds floundering the pool before being rescued, but a valuable lesson was learned. By all of us. Better that he stay in his happy place watching the float planes land like in the second picture down.

As for me, I'll stay right here in my happy place...poolside with a book.