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 August 2018




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Background image - The view through a porthole in Vancouver one morning


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Monday August 20th 2018

Today A few showers ending this morning then clearing. Hazy. High 22. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Clear. Hazy. Low 7.

I'm up at 0520 and getting ready for the day.  I have an unusual situation.  I have five students and two parents on board, too.  It turns out the parents are quite experienced, so I wonder exactly how I am going to proceed. All indications are that the group gets along well together, are co-operative, and have good attitudes.  That is very promising.

It could be hard teaching with observers, or not, but there is a lot to cover.  Whereas on a course, the trip is strictly centred and paced around the lessons, but this was booked a charter with lessons.

It is easy to be distracted and spend time with the parents that should be spent with the students. so we'll see how this goes.  I'm told the kids are all good learners and have read the material.  If they have retained it, I'll just have to go over the core material quickly, make sure all the exam questions are covered and work on the sailing skills.

Quote of the Day
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
Dr. Seuss

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Tuesday August 21st 2018

The plan was to cross the Strait, but the winds up to twenty knots were predicted and that is higher than ideal for a basic course for non-sailors.  Nonetheless, the men insisted, so we crossed.

Sure enough, the winds did get up to 20 and a bit more,and we had one on board turn green.  She did not throw up, however, and braved it out. 

The smoke was so thick we could not see either side of the Strait while crossing and only could see Porlier for  the last mile or so.

Once through Porlier, I let the students sail a bit and experiment, then we sailed into Clam Bay and anchored.  Most of us had a swim.  Water was 68 F.

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Making coherent entries is quite time-consuming. Things became very busy and totally ignored the diary for a while. 

Wednesday August 22nd 2018

The morning was bright and smoky.  Bob M., another instructor, phoned from Vancouver to find out the conditions here.  His clients were balking at coming over due to the reports of extreme smoke.  I reported at least a mile of visibility.  I don't know what they decided.

I had my students examine the charts and plot a course out past the rocks and shallows and estimate the distance and arrival time for Ganges, our destination for the night.  They co-operated and soon had a plan that worked.

They got us safely out and then we set sail.  That was interesting.  The winds were light enough that decisions were not pressing and the students had time to think.  We wandered down the Channel in the general direction of Ganges, sailing a bit at first, but we soon found that we needed to motor most of the way.

We diverted into Fernwood Point to do some docking practice, but the dock was occupied and we proceeded on.  As we motored on, I covered various topics on the course and the students learned to assess where we were on the water by lining up landmarks and and comparing their findings to the chart.

We arrived at Ganges Bay mid-afternoon.   I phoned in and got my favourite place on five dock on the commercial wharf.  Then everyone went for a stroll.

Luu gave a passing fisherman a beer and in return he brought over some crabs.  We all had crab meat and as they say, a good time was had by all.

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Thursday August 23rd 2018  

The smoke had cleared a bit by morning.  We spent an hour or more doing docking at the pier, then left the marina and motored out of the Bay, headed for The Secretary Islands. The smoke became so thick at that point we could hardly see shore but the students plotted a safe course up the middle and across and I was impressed.

We explored Wallace Island, stopping at a cove and venturing in before deciding that it would be too shallow when the tide went out later and proceeded to Princess Cove.

Princess Cove is long, thin and deep.  From the entrance, it looked full with little space, but we ventured deeper and found a spot near the south end where we could shore tie.  That took a little fooling around as I let the students figure the process out, but we eventually were secured.  Everyone except Isaac and I went hiking.  We stayed and went swimming.

The others returned and we had supper and sat around chatting.

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Friday August 24th 2018

This morning, the students were responsible for checking the currents at Porlier Pass and charting a course informally for Snug Cove.  We idled out of the Bay and they sailed towards Porlier, with an hour and a half to spare.  Their sailing was still pretty weak and we wandered and time was lost to the point where there was concern we would miss the slack -- the time when the currents in the narrows weaken.

At that point, they suddenly realised they had read the time wrong and forgotten to convert to DST, so we had another hour. The dads and I had known all along, but my policy is to let the students figure things out and only intervene if there is risk of harm or we run out of time.  I continue to teach as we go, but praise any successes and ignore small errors.

We reached the pass at the same time as tug was pulling a huge log boom through, an indication of good timing.  There was plenty of room for us as well.

We went through, then sailed a bit, motored a bit, then sailed again as we approached Howe Sound. I put them through the various points of sail, jibing, and tacking until all had had several tries, then we entered Snug Cove and tied up at my favourite spot, A10.

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Saturday August 25th

This go-home day and this afternoon is exam time. Looking out the entrance, we saw smoke and calm water, but the weather apps showed wind further out.

We walked the boat back along the dock and Isaac took the helm.  He spun us around and we motored out. Once clear we did some crew overboard exercises under power.  I figured they would find sailing the pattern too tough until they learned the basics.

After they made all the usual mistakes and understood the difficulties, we tried it under sail.  The the wind died and we motored to False Creek.  We had a bit of extra time, so we practiced anchoring for a while.  The big lesson learned was to put out enough chain to allow the anchor to grab.  Too little pulls up and pulling up is how we  retrieve an anchor. They are designed to hook into the bottom with a horizontal pull, so to get anything near that a scope of five times the water depth is needed to be secure.

We then went to the fuel dock, filled up, and I took the helm for the last little distance and be sure not to end up the trip with a bad docking.

When we arrived, Vaughn, a Cooper dock man, was shouting orders from the dock and when we pulled into the slip was ordering my crew around from an adjacent boat, causing a huge distraction.  We managed to land and tie up, but it was not as neat as I had planned.

Next, I handed out the exams and sat around for 75 minutes while they wrote. While I was marking these tests, the students wrote the PCOC exam.

I had expected to review the PCOC  -- Pleasure Craft Operators Certificate -- in advance of the exam, but the client was eager to get it all over, so they wrote it cold.

Everyone passed both exams.  All did well on the Basic Sailing exam, but they all just barely passed the PCOC. 

Then they insisted I go to have a drink with them and I went to the office and returned later to the boat to sleep for the night.  I was scheduled to catch the buss and Skytrain to Sidney early in the morning to deliver Camino back to Vancouver.

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Sunday August 26th

I was up early and walked to Anderson to catch the #50 bus to the Olympic Village Skytrain Station.   The Skytrain dropped me at the bus stop and the 620 bus immediately took me to the ferry. I had breakfast on the ferry and at nine-thirty Dawn met me at the pick-up point.

At Port Sidney, I boarded Camino, and waited for the diver to clear the boat for departure.  Fabian and Magdalena, two young cleaners from the dock staff joined me and we cast off.

The day was smoky and overcast with a bit of rain now and then.  The little bit of wind that there was came from ahead, so we motored.  They took turns steering, but after a while were relived to learn that there is an autopilot that would hold the boat on course.

We had enough wind to sail once we got to the Fraser and sailed as far as the Spanish Banks, then motored the rest of the way.

On arrival, the crew cleaned the boat and at six Colin and Genny drove us to the ferry.  We arrived around nine and I took the bus to Fifth and Beacon, then walked to Cassiopeia.

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Mon August 27 2018

I'm recovering from my adventures here at the dock in Sidney today.  I took the boat over and fueled up and pumped the waste tanks, then returned.  Then I studied door sets for a few hours, trying to be sure that I order the correct one.  I have had the wrong ones before at a cost of $300 and the lack of one is a blight on an otherwise almost perfect boat.

I received word that the registration replacement application was finally approved, so that is done, too.

I had lunch uptown with Rick and then mostly chilled for the rest of the day.

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Tuesday August 28 2018

I went down the dock and looked at a solar panel set for sale on nearby boat, then bit the bullet and ordered the door lock replacement for Cassiopeia.

Then I did a bit of varnishing on some woodwork that was looking a bit poorly and swapped outboards so Rick could take mine to a boat on Thetis island that had one that was being sold.

Mid-afternoon, I went with Dawn to the banks to complete the payment for |magic memories and when I got back Bob Hardy had come down for a visit.

I had supper with Rick at Beacon Inn and went back to the boat for the evening.

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Wednesday August 29 2018

I spent the morning catching up on email and the books, did some mpre varnishing, and drove to get a lifeline gate made up at at Blackline,.

At five, Dawn and the cleaning crew showed up with chickens and salads for a farewell cruise party for two of the staff, one of which is returning to Germany.

We crossed to the Sidney Spit and tied up there for a few hours, then returned to Port Sidney.

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Thursday August 30 2018

I slept well, but I'm still tired.  I should be packing for home, but don't much feel like it. Shane came by for coffee, then I took a ride to Canoe Cove and back with Rick in the chase boat.  We picked up an outboard there and Callum came by to say, Hi".

When I returned, I was too weary to work and had a nap. After that, Rick and I went to Fish on Fifth for lunch.  I didn't think I was hungry, but a piece of cod and some chowder hit the spot.

Back at the boat, it did some sanding and varnishing and had another nap. Then I finished varnishing and decided to go and anchor at the Sidney Spit for the night.  I'm too beat to think, let alone pack. The Spit is a nice, quiet spot.

I got out there and anchored, had supper and was talking to Bill on the phone when I heard Rick at the stern. I had suggested he come out for a visit in the chase boat and here he was. He had supper onboard of chicken leftovers from last night and we chatted, then he headed back across the Strait.  There were clients to greet.

Me, I am writing this and then I'm going to hit the sack and hope I am more in the mood to go home tomorrow.

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Friday August 31 2018

I slept fairly well.  The night was calm but I woke to gentle wind and ripple motion in the anchorage here at the Spit.

My plan for the day is to pack and catch a rise back to Alberta for a few days before returning to Vancouver to skipper several charters that will take me through to the 20th.

I really do need to be home for a while, but it seems I have little interest in being in Alberta these days, although I do want to do more skiing this winter.  We'll see how that works out. When I am in Mexico, I hate to leave and the same applies when I am here.

Packing is going to be a challenge.  I have to decide what to leave here and what I need in Vancouver next week.

I wrote and fiddled until eight, then went back to bed for three-quarters of an hour. 

I'm tracking the door parts from Germany that left two days ago and are scheduled for delivery here today.  I'd love to be here and install them --or discover an error -- but I have little faith in UPS.  Right now the package has cleared customs, but is delayed in Richmond, B.C. and a long weekend is coming up.

After that, I spent time ordering a replacement seat cushion from the US.  That took an hour to get right.  The original mfr has gone out of business, so I'll be lucky to get a colour match.

I packed, then returned to the dock around one and met up with Rick and Shane.

The door lockset had not yet arrived, but did after a while.  Rick opened the package and we discovered they had sent only one handle when the illustration showed two, rendering the investment useless pending receipt of the second one.

I wrote the German supplier, but received an autoreply that they are closed until Monday.

I loaded my things for storage on a cart, walked to the office, and Dawn drove me to YYJ.  I was early, but wanted to get there and quit thinking about it.

My flight left a bit late, which is getting to be the norm and we arrived late, but my cab was waiting.

I bought groceries in  Airdrie and drove home.

The house is damp and cool, so I lit the furnace.

I was up until midnight, updating my Windows machines.  The one I had taken along would not update on a metered connection.  The one at home had a backlog to download, too.

I remember when Windows was simple and stable, but now it has become a hydra. It is loaded with a huge amount of unnecessary 'features' and is a offered as a 'service'.  To me, it is a disservice and almost malware due to the massive size and slowness and the constant need for restarts.

Nonetheless, we need to use some operating system and it had filled this niche in the ecosystem, crowding out and starving better alternatives.  Because it is almost the only game in town, other than Apple, which is hardly any better, and because we have legacy knowledge and applications that are tied to Windows, switching is more bother than staying and putting up with the obtrusive nuisance that Windows is.

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