Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday July 27 - Tennis and Desmonds

This morning we treated ourselves to sleeping in and I think we are finally adjusted to the local time. Bella was up long before us and down watching a movie, while Becca was the last to wake up around 9:30. We had a lazy morning and Bella and I went for a walk while Becca had her morning nap.

We spent a lot of time over in the apartment side of the house were there is an air conditioner and even enjoyed our lunch there. After lunch Dean and Bella went to play tennis. After Becca woke up and had her lunch we walked over to join them. Just the 5 minute walk there was enough to have us dripping with sweat due to the humidity in the air. I had forgotten how bad it could be and we are not adjusting well. After a few games we walked back to the house and got ready to go visiting more family here in Truro.

About 2:30 we arrived at my cousin Kelly's house. We got to see both of her boys - Vonte and Noah and Bella had fun playing on the trampoline and dressing up with their daughter Olivia who is 5. They had a chance to play a lot while Bella had been visiting her grandparents. Becca was pretty good playing on the floor with toys, but after a while we could tell that Bella was getting sleepy (read fussy) so we decided to head out. As we were leaving Glenn arrived home from work and we were able to visit with him for a bit. We made tentative plans to go out on Thursday night - without the kids!

When we got home Becca and Bella both fell asleep immediately. Dean quickly joined them and I finished my book (Salem's Lot) up in our nice air conditioned room.

Sunday July 26 - Beaver Bank

This morning we did a fairly good job of adapting to local time and we were all up by 9am. Bella of course was up the earliest having already adjusted to the time change and Becca had only woken once in the night. We ran out to Shopper's Drug Mart to get some essentials for Becca. We then drove around for about 20 minutes trying to find a Starbucks. I finally called Dad and he informed me that Truro doesn't have a Starbucks. We were disappointed, but will look forward to it when we arrive in Halifax.

When we got back to the house Dean took Isabella to play some tennis, while I put Becca down for a nap and then baked some chocolate chip cookies. For anyone who has ever had my cookies, they turned out quite differently here than at home and I was quite disappointed because they are usually one of my best treat. I had lots of volunteers to eat the first batch and I saved the rest for the potluck.

Around 3:30 we left Truro to drive into Beaver Bank. It was a great afternoon. We got to visit my grandparents on my father's side and my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Barry. They had even set up a little kiddie pool for the girls to play in. It was the first time any extended family had met Becca and we were proud to show her off. After dinner Dean took the girls back to Truro and I stayed with my family.

At 7pm we went to a drive in church service at the Bedford Baptist Church. You just park in the parking lot and set your radio station to 88.3 and you can watch the service which takes place on the front steps of the church. It was a very special occasion because my Uncle Barry was giving a testimonial of his relationship with God and it was very well received, we were all moved by it. We drove back to Truro to find Dean enjoying a beer and a good book and both girls in bed. Of course on closer examination Bella was still up playing in her room and Becca was crying...but Mommy to the rescue and everyone was soon settled.

Dean and I decided to call it an early night and headed to bed around 10pm (after enjoying a nice piece of rhubarb pie!).

Saturday July 25 - Arriving in Nova Scotia

This morning we got off to a great start. We were all up and ready to go, waiting for the cab by 9:30. We arrived at the airport by 10:15 only to find the longest lineup for baggage drop I have ever seen. Our flight was scheduled to depart at 11:15 with boarding starting at 10:40. We finally got to the front of the line at 11:02. It seemed that there were 4 Air Canada flights leaving within 5 minutes of each other and that is what caused the backup. They delayed our flight because everyone else was waiting in line too.

We finally boarded and took off, and Becca was quite a trooper. She hardly made any sounds and she napped for about an hour. For the rest of the time she sat on my lap and played with her toys. She is certainly becoming a seasoned traveller.

We arrived at the airport and were greeted by my parents and Isabella. It was great to see her again - she had been visiting in Nova Scotia since August 16th! All of our luggage arrived and we picked up our rental car without incident. We are driving a Toyota Corolla which is a great car, but much smaller than we are used to. We drove into Truro and enjoyed a nice evening snack of Greco pizza. We finally got the girls to bed and settled in to sleep ourselves around midnight.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4 - Poet's Cove to Sidney

This morning we had planned to wake early – around 6:30am and start sailing right away because we had to have the boat back in Sidney by 10:00am (roughly). I had my alarm set for 6am but Becca woke me up at 6:40 so obviously I had slept through it. I awoke to Bella in bed with me and Becca, and Dean not on the boat. I left Bella sleeping and took Becca up on deck to have her breakfast. Dean returned, he had been up at the washrooms and he said it was so quiet he didn’t want to start up the boat and wake everyone else up in the marina. Rachel and I headed up to the washrooms and decided that even if it was loud, at least there wouldn’t be people around to watch us.

Bella woke up and got dressed and joined us up on deck. Dean got us all prepped to leave and we backed out of our slip without any issue and we all did a great job. Rachel and I were commenting on how much more work we did than we had expected. We are both covered in bruises. It was a nice morning. The weather was calm and there were no other boats on the water with us. Once we had motored a safe distance from the marina we set the sails. It was easy by now and it went off without a hitch. We saw quite a few dolphins from a distance however we couldn’t see much detail. I’m telling myself that one was actually an orca because I really wanted to see one – and you can’t prove one wasn’t.

We all took turns at the helm, and had a nice light breakfast. Since we didn’t have time to cook we had muffins, juice, granola and yogurt. I even had Dean show me how to use the stove while we were moving. It’s a special stove called a gimble stove which means it stays upright as the boat moves. This added a whole new level of stress to the gas stove as I boiled water and it was rocking. But they must have known what they were doing when they made it because it worked fine and didn’t spill any water. I had Becca on the floor of our cabin which was right beside the galley (kitchen). There is a lip going into our cabin so I could sit her in about a 1 ½ x 1 ½ square with some toys and she can play, see me and not get out. She pretty much officially crawled yesterday so there’s no stopping her now. I’m slowly figuring out this baby on a boat situation.

Becca was a little fussy this morning and I tried putting her down for a nap, but it wasn’t successful and she cried for quite a while. Eventually I got her up again. She was happy to be up with everyone again, and after she calmed down she started rubbing her eyes so we tried the nap again and this time it worked perfectly and she went right to sleep. We enjoyed more of a quiet morning. Bella spent some time with us and some time down in her room playing on her bed.

As we got close to the marina Dean called Island Cruising to confirm our slip. We still had to go fill the boat with gas (like a rental car it needs to be returned full. We took down the sails which again went smoothly. We had Rachel at the helm while Dean and I were on the lines since the main sail had to be taken down and flaked (folded side to side like an accordion) and although I knew what that meant, the only way to get it to Dean’s standards was to have him do it with me. We motored into Van Isle Marina to get gas which was neat. You just pull up on the dock and tie up the ship – Rachel and I are becoming pros. Then a station attendant came up and asked what we needed – we said diesel and he brought us a diesel hose which looked exactly like what you would see at a car gas station. Dean filled the boat – legally you have to fill up your own boat – and it came to $20 – after 4 days of motoring around that was all the fuel we used. I was quite impressed.

Next we motored over to the Port Sidney Marina which is where we would dock our boat. Rachel and I were really nervous about this part because we had to return the boat exactly as we found it which meant we would need to back it in, and it is a small space. Remember how stressful getting out of it was and how we had to push off of the other boats, and this time we wouldn’t have a professional helping us. Picture this: the marina has one long dock with many shorter ones coming out of it – similar to the letter E but in this case it had 8 short lines coming off. Along each short line about 20 boats would park down each side in twos. We were so excited, because unlike our docking experience last night, today the other boat in our slip area was not there so we had lots of room. Dean did a perfect job and even if the other boat had been there it would have been fine. A lady walked over to help us grab our lines but Rachel and I climbed off and she just looked at us and said “Well you don’t need me, that was perfect.” I couldn’t help but tell her it was my first time. She was impressed. We weren’t too late, it was around 11am.

Becca was now awake so we brought her up on deck in her carseat and Rachel and I packed and cleaned up down below while Dean hosed off the outside of the boat. There were a bunch of last minute things that needed to be done like taking off the bedding, packing up the supplies they had given us etc. I found this part a bit stressful because Becca was fussing and we were trying to get everything done and we were all rushing around. When we were pretty much all finished Dean walked Rachel up to the Island Cruising office where she got a ride to the airport (she had a 1:30 flight). I took this opportunity to give Becca her lunch. When Dean returned we were greeted by Larry the company owner and he did the checkout with Dean going through a list. It turns out that we were supposed to have gassed up the dinghy motor too which we hadn’t realized. I think Dean just didn’t care any more about that dinghy and was finished with it. All was good so we packed up our gear and said goodbye to the boat.

This time we were smart enough to grab a cart, especially since we didn’t have Rachel to help us carry it all. It was a long walk back up to the office where they let us leave our stuff for a couple of hours while we waited for our flight. We walked along the water and found a nice restaurant where we stopped in for lunch. Bella had chicken strips and fries, Dean had amazing clam chowder and a burger, and I had a fancy appetizer of seared tuna and a shrimp BLT. Becca enjoyed some bread from Dean’s chowder, but did not like his dill pickle. It was a great lunch. By now I was feeling my sea legs kick in. I hadn’t noticed any other time we were on shore during the trip, but today every time I walk or sit down I start to feel like I am swaying and it makes me feel quite nauseous. It reminds me of how I felt after the Edgewater trip I did years ago. Dean noticed it too, but didn’t say anything. After lunch we walked around Sidney for a bit, I had Becca in the snuggli and she was happy as a clam. (Really are clams happy?). At 2:30 we headed back to the office and they drove us to the airport in a nice spacious minivan.

We had no trouble checking in at the airport and we were a bit early so I fed Becca again and Dean and Bella went for a walk. We boarded the plane and as soon as we took off Becca fell asleep in my arms and Bella fell asleep leaning against me. I was thrilled and took the opportunity to fall asleep too. Surprisingly I didn’t feel my sea legs on the plane due to the motion so that was a nice treat. We landed in Clagary without incident and got our luggage. The weather here was about 15 degrees and thunder and lightning with rain. I was glad that wasn’t the weather we had in the Islands.

It is nice to be home and both girls were happy to go to bed in their own beds. We need to give a special shout out to Rachel because we obviously could not have done this without her. The next time we sail Becca will be older and I’ll know what to expect so hopefully we will be able to do it on our own, but people are still welcome to come with us…but check with Rachel – Dean will definitely put you to work and it won’t be a relaxing suntan trip! Thanks for reading and feel free to check back again starting on July 25 when we head to Nova Scotia. Bella actually gets to go early on the 16th to spend some special time with her Grammie and Grampy which she is really excited for.

Friday, July 3, 2009

July 3 - Montague Harbour to Poet's Cove

Becca slept through the night on the boat! But then being rested she woke me up at 6:30. It was actually really nice once I was up. I took her up on deck to give her breakfast while everyone else was still asleep. She was very content and I even had time to go down and make a pot of tea. Again I was really impressed with myself that I could work the stove without waking anyone. I had two cups of tea and a great “West Coast Trail” Muffin we had delivered to the boat that first day. I have to describe this muffin – it was great! It was the base batter of a carrot muffin but topped with nuts and seeds and raisins. It was such a beautiful morning, the water was so still and the temperature was just right. After a while I heard Rachel get up – unfortunately with quite a case of sea sickness. Because we had been anchored all night, the boat was able to drift around so it was not nearly as stable as the night before.

Bella woke up and came to join me up on deck and shortly after that Dean got up. I made a yummy breakfast of french toast which unfortunately Rachel couldn’t enjoy with us. Around 9:00 we started taking up the anchor. I needed to stay at the helm with the boat in neutral while Dean went up front to bring in the anchor. He just had to press a button and winch pulled it in, but this time he had to wash the chain as it came in So it took longer than it did to put down.

We motored out of Montague Harbour and I put Becca down for a nap. Unfortunately we had no wind. We tried putting up the jib sail, but the winds just weren’t in our favour – averaging around 7 knots. We did get to see a seal up close. We saw him playing and drove over close and he let us circle around him and I think he was as curious as we were. Bella decided she was tired and wanted a nap also, and Rachel was asleep so it was a really nice time for me and Dean. We took turns at the helm and even put up and down the jib sail by ourselves. We saw a dolphin and another seal but they weren’t as friendly as the first one we had met. The girls all stayed asleep until we arrived at Poet’s Cove, however Rachel woke up to help us dock.

When we approached Poet’s Cove we needed to call in on the radio to get our slip assignment – we were 37. Docking was a bit stressful. We got there just in time to be the only boat entering a 2 boat slip however while we were getting ready with the fenders etc. the other boat showed up and docked first. Now instead of having lots of room we had to fit in between a dock and another sailboat. We didn’t hit them, however we came pretty close. This time I waited to get off and didn’t fall – which was thankful since lots of people were watching us and we even had a staff member helping us. Rachel and I pulled on the lines to get to boat lined with Dean yelling at us to pull harder – not trusting that we already had the boat secure. The staff member kindly came and tied up my line for me since I had no idea how to do it. Success! We were docked – it was 1:30 and we had the rest of the day to relax.

I made sandwiches for lunch again and used up the last of the cold cuts and cheese. We snacked on chips and pretzels knowing that we didn’t need to save any more food. As soon as we docked we started talking to the people who had docked just before us in slip 36 and they also had a 4 year old, a little boy named Logan and he and Bella became friends. After lunch we headed up to the pool. Isabella was so excited, she had been in her swimsuit since she got up and even napped in it! Rachel stayed back on the boat but the rest of us went up to the pool. It was pretty nice. Bella and Becca both had their life jackets on. Bella swam all around and jumped and splashed and had a blast. Becca didn’t really like being in her lifejacket and once I took her out and sat her on the stairs in the water she had a blast splashing around. Becca and I headed back to the boat where I got her down for a nap and Dean and Bella came back about 20 minutes later. I got out the computer and was so excited to finally have WiFi after days of writing and no way to post. I finished typing up yesterday and downloading some pictures. It was nice and relaxing to just sit out in the sun and enjoy the stress free day. Rachel laid out with us while Dean sat up at the bow of the boat and read a book. Bella spent a lot of time up there with him, and even carried out a nice cider cooler for him. Since we weren’t driving again the drinks started a little bit earlier today.

At 5:30 I gave Becca her dinner in her car seat again and then she snacked on pretzels while we continued to just hang out on the boat. Eventually I walked up with Becca to the gift shop where I bought a new zip up fleece with the Poet’s Cove Resort and Spa logo on it. I had been really cold the last few nights and I don’t have a fleece that zips so it was great. It was 60% off so I got a great deal. At 6:30 Dean, Rachel and Bella went back up to the pool while I got Becca all settled and into bed. I started making dinner and everyone else got back around 7:15. Tonight we had green peppers, candied carrots, pan fried potatoes with bacon and lovely halibut steaks which we cooked on the barbeque with orange slices all wrapped up in foil. It was very good. We had another lovely bottle of red wine along with some sparkling water. After cleaning up down below we came back up on deck and noticed that the barbeque had fallen upside down – it is just attached to the railing at the back of the boat. It took Dean pushing on it with two tea towels and Rachel pushing on it with rope to get it back up how it should be. We’re still not sure what happened there. Dean suggested it was because the fish was too heavy (he has had a lot of wine), but I agreed with Rachel’s explanation that the heat probably caused it to loosen.

After dinner, Bella watched some Smurfs on our portable DVD player and we made popcorn. For the second day in a row – not sure I mentioned it yesterday – we spilled wine on the boat. This is a big deal because it stains the wood. We did the best job we could cleaning it up both times and I think it will be fine, but it was still frustrating. While we were eating dinner Dean mentioned how glad he was that nothing bad had happened to the boat at that he won’t lose his damage deposit. Rachel and I both immediately looked at him and told him not to say that yet since we still had to sail back tomorrow – I think that’s why we spilled the wine. Another interesting fact is that you are never supposed to clink glasses on a boat because it is bad luck. Of course Rachel and I didn’t know this so the first night when Dean made a toast we all clinked glasses – we blame the dinghy on that clinking.

I went up to the pool are to have a shower – it’s $1 for 4 minutes which was fine – I paid $2 and had more than enough time. I came back and Rachel was up at the bathroom – it’s easier to use the marina washrooms because they are so much larger than on the boat plus it doesn’t use our water. When we all got back from the bathroom we noticed that Bella, Rachel and I were all in our New Kids on the Block T shirts from the concert. What a coincidence!

Now we are sitting on the deck chatting and blogging – Dean is having a shower and will be back soon – we hope. He had pretty much drank the whole bottle of wine himself and was having trouble even getting off the boat without falling. He’ll be back soon and we’ll continue our chat – but I’m going to post this now. I’ll write again tomorrow once we get home and hopefully Dean didn’t jinx us with his dinner comment.

July 2 - Ganges to Montague Harbour

Today was much more successful! Becca had a rougher night than at home, however she only woke up once and then slept through until 7am. Bella came into our room around 7:30 without waking up her bunk mate: Auntie Rae. Dean headed off to have a shower while I got up with the girls and got Becca her breakfast. Rachel got up and had a shower after Dean got back while I prepared breakfast for everyone. We had a large breakfast of bacon and eggs with strawberries and muffins, tea and juice. After cleaning up (I cook and Dean and Rachel clean) we got the girls all ready and walked into town.

Our first stop was a kids store where we got a sun hat for Bella with a strap so it wouldn’t blow off while sailing. Next we HAD to swing by the liquor store for later on tonight and we also stopped by the grocery store to pick up Kleenex and ice. We headed back to the Ganges Marina and Bella, Becca and I stopped to run around in a park for a short bit, while Dean and Rachel headed back to the boat. Before casting off Dean and Rachel transferred the motor from the boat to the dinghy. Sounds pretty easy but it wasn’t. first of all we couldn’t find the key to get it unlocked from the boat. This was rather frustrating and we looked everywhere. We knew that we would not be docking tonight, but either anchoring or using a mooring buoy so we would need the dingy. We ended up calling the company we chartered to get some help and it ended up being right in front of us in the navigation desk. Once we got the key it was quite easy to unlock. It was quite heavy and took a lot of effort to get it onto the dingy. Little did we know this would be the easy part.

We did a very successful cast off and it went very smoothly. We motored out of the harbour and I got to be at the helm while Rachel and Dean cleaned up the fenders and the lines (ropes). Becca went down for her morning nap quite easily and I think she was happy to be asleep. Once we got out of the harbour we decided to hoist the sails. This went very smoothly and we were at sail for quite a while. We hove to (stopped while still under sail) for lunch and had a nice cockpit lunch of sandwiches and carrot sticks. After eating and cleaning up we got underway again and made great time into Trincomali Pass where we quickly approached Montague Harbour. We were only traveling in the boat for less than 3 hours today so it was nice and relaxing since we didn’t have to rush. We arrived in Montague Harbour about 2pm.

Unfortunately, upon arrival we were unable to find a mooring buoy. We traveled all around and frustratingly a sailboat arrived about 3 minutes ahead of us and got the last one. This meant we had to drop anchor. This didn’t phase Rachel or me, however Dean seemed concerned and had me go downstairs and get his lesson book that explained how to do it. This made me nervous, however after rereading the section on anchoring overnight he seemed confident and we were able to drop anchor successfully. It was really neat – you just press a button to lower or raise it. We got the boat and tidied up and decided to head into the park at Montague Harbour. This meant taking the dinghy into shore. We weren’t convinced we would all fit, but Dean was confident so we all donned our life jackets and got ready. A new problem arose. We couldn’t figure out how to lower the back of the boat so we could get into the dingy. Rachel and Dean were down on their hands and knees trying everything they could think of – save from using a screw driver to take it apart. Being a female/science teacher/mom I decided to go read the directions down below. I was looking for the book when Dean started yelling at me: “Julie, did you press a button?”. I had no idea what he was talking about but he kept asking me. Apparently the back just started magically lowering on its own. They then questioned Bella to see what she had been pressing and she also hadn’t been doing anything. It turns out that while trying to figure it out, Rachel was accidentally leaning on a small black button that caused it to lower. So simple. So now we know you just have to hold the little button. We could now access the dinghy so we all piled in. Dean at the back to drive, Bella on the bench, Becca on my lap on the bench and Rachel was our line girl – she was the last on and the first off to tie us up. Off we headed to the beach.

Montague Harbour is a beautiful park with a beach and campground. Rachel tied up our dinghy and we got out of our life jackets and headed into the campground. It was a great forested area with really nicely treed sites. We eventually made our way to Shell Beach which was literally a beach which consisted of shell fragments. Bella and Dean walked in the water while Rachel, Becca and I sat on a log in the sun. We had a nice snack of grapes and pretzels. We took a different path back and saw tons of mini crabs in the water. Upon arriving back to our dinghy we put on our life jackets and Dean attempted to start up the motor, but it wouldn’t start. We thought we flooded it so we waiting a bit but it still didn’t work. This became a rather embarrassing task as other people kept returning to their dinghy and starting theirs with no issues. Dean was getting frustrating as people kept having no issues and the girls learned a whole bunch of new words they are not allowed to repeat. Eventually it started, and Dean hadn’t tried anything differently, we think it was just temperamental.

We stopped back at the boat to bail the dingy (it naturally takes on a bit of water) and pick up Dean’s wallet and head over the Montague Harbour Marina. We piled back in the dinghy only to have it not work again. After throwing a few more profanities at the motor it began. We got about 10 feet when it died. It wouldn’t start again and now we were too far from the boat so we just floated there. Again we found ourselves feeling rather embarrassed since we obviously didn’t know what we were doing, but there weren’t as many people around and after a few more bad names it started again. We got over the Marina and thought we were in dinghy parking but turned out we stopped too soon and were at a private slip. Since Dean had already turned off the motor, we didn’t care and just tied up there anyway.

The Marina consisted of a small gift shop and restaurant. After using a real washroom Dean decided it was time to sit in the restaurant and have a drink. It was now 4pm. They explained that they only had a dining license so we had to order food to get alcohol. Turns out they were used to this and sold us a cereal bowl of potato chips for 99 cents to go with our two beer, a Smirnoff ice and 7up for Bella. It was nice and relaxing. My drink came with a little lime wedge which I gave to Becca expecting a cute sour face, however she loved it. She grabbed on to it and continued to suck on it while we finished our drinks. It was now time to head back to the boat. Obviously the dinghy didn’t start and we had to sit in the dinghy with our life jackets for about another 10 minutes until Dean got it working. Rachel watched him closely each time and we’re not sure why it would sometimes work and sometimes not. We enjoyed this, our last ride in the dinghy and took some pictures of our boat from a distance and up close. Upon returning to the boat Dean stayed on the dinghy to do a final bailing while Rachel sat at the back of the boat and help onto the line. By the time he was finished he was about 10 feet away and Rachel joked that she wasn’t going to pull him in but that he would have to start the motor to get back. At this point we were all laughing about it and Rachel did pull Dean in. We decided that our dinghy should have a name like our boat, so we decided to name it “Jesus Christ” since Dean had pretty much been calling it that all day anyway.

Back on the Chimera I put Becca down for bed – a science now – and started dinner. I made a neat potato dish with layered thin potato slices, layers of bacon, cheese and barbeque sauce and we baked it in the oven. I am so proud of how I am not scared of the gas stove/oven anymore and I am really comfortable using it. We fried up some onions and mushrooms, barbequed some beef tenderloin and Dean made a lovely sauce with cream of mushroom soup and red wine. Bella headed into bed like a great girl and we had a really relaxing evening. We were able to put away a bottle and a half of red wine, 6 beer and two coolers – beat that Dad!

We got to bed earlier tonight, around 11pm and we all slept well after a frustrating but not too stressful for the rest of us kind of day.

July 1 - Sidney to Fulford Harbour and onto Ganges

Wow! The fact that I am writing this and still alive is great! I apologize that it is so long, but I don’t want to forget any of it. Today was such an experience; I learned so much. Not just about sailing, but about how to care for an infant while on a sailboat – there’s a reason there’s not much out there about it! Let’s start at the beginning.

This morning started out great. We didn’t forget anything, we got to the airport on time and everything went smoothly. We met Rachel Gregory (Auntie Rae) at our gate and all boarded together. We were on a small Air Canada plane which only had 2 seats per side of the plane so Dean was the lucky one who got to sit in row 5 while Bella, Becca and I got to sit together in row 6. Becca didn’t fare as well this flight and had a few spells of crying – mostly my fault for not bringing a big enough bottle. We arrived at Victoria to beautiful weather and again the line of Prius taxi cabs. Unfortunately, they aren’t big enough to hold all 5 of us plus luggage. A nice driver called a bigger car for us, and this time, not only did Bella get to go without a car seat, but she got to sit in the front in the middle. We thought we were on our way to our adventure until we got into the town of Sidney and found out there was a parade and most of the streets to the marina were blocked off. We eventually found a nice man who helped us find a detour.

We arrived at Island Cruising and Dean signed us in and did the paper work while Rachel, Bella, Becca and I sat outside and enjoyed the view. After checking in we began the walk to our boat. We happened to meet our Thrifty Foods delivery man just as we headed out so that was quite convenient. He knew where slip H 15 was – as far away as we could possibly get. So with Rachel carrying 4 bags, Dean loaded up with 3 bags and me with Becca and a backpack (and our delivery guy with 5 bins of food for us) we began the trek. It took about 10 minutes. Believe me that this is a long walk loaded up like that!

The boat was beautiful. I was pleased to find it larger than I had expected so lots of room for everyone. We had a really nice gentleman, Chuck, give us an orientation and sail with us for the first few hours. Rachel and I were extremely overwhelmed with all of the information, however fortunately Dean seemed to know what he was talking about. We started by putting away all the groceries. I wanted to get it all organized, but Chuck was just putting stuff here and there, but I planned to organize it later. Needless to say, I have learned where everything is it staying there. It’s pretty neat – the fridge is a little hole in the counter that you put the food down into. I took Becca up top to feed her baby food while Dean was going over stuff downstairs. I set Becca on the bench and in what seemed like slow motion she did a dive onto the floor. I managed to grab an arm which slowed her down, but she still hit her head pretty hard. I know better than that at home – why I thought I could leave her unattended on a boat, even one tied up is beyond me.

We eventually took off and Dean did a great job getting us out of our slip since the boat wasn’t going into gear and Rachel and Chuck had to push us off of other boats so we wouldn’t hit them. He gave us some great advice. Just go slow and you can’t get into too much trouble. We weren’t going to smash into anything at the speed we were going. And we didn’t hit anything. This was when I learned my first baby lesson. Becca was quite fussy and hadn’t napped in hours so I decided to put her down for a nap like I would at home. I took her down to our bedroom, wrapped her in her swaddle, gave her a little cuddle and tucked her in with some pillows around her so she wouldn’t roll off the bed and went back up top. I could hear her crying but sometimes she needs some winding down time and Dean needed me on deck. We eventually got out of the marina and motored along for quite a long time. As we started out I decided to go down and check on my still crying Becca. I went into our room and didn’t see her where I had left her! Panic! She had rolled about 5 feet along the bed and had spit up. Poor girl! Remember that she was swaddled, meaning that she had no arms to protect herself as she rolled along. She was hysterical and I felt like the worst mother on Earth! I grabbed her up and just hugged her and rocked her and apologized and after a few minutes she calmed down. I still feel guilty about it and I’m sure I will until the day I die.

Dean stayed at the helm motoring for quite a while and I was surprised that we hadn’t put up any sails yet. Chuck kept going over things with Dean and then he decided it was time to start sailing. Rachel took over the helm while I held Becca and Dean and Chuck raised the sails. They talked us through what they were doing and Rachel and I picked up what we could, but there was a lot. As soon as the sails were up the wind died and after waiting around we ended up just taking the sails down and motoring into Fulford Harbour where Chuck departed us and got on the ferry. Dean did a fabulous job docking and we were quite confident in heading out. Becca fell asleep in my arms due to pure exhaustion so I just let her sleep there for about 30 minutes before she woke up. Isabella was a great girl. She always did exactly what we asked her to do and she had a blast.

We started motoring towards Ganges Harbour and after a while Dean realized that we had encountered wind and he was excited to put the sails up again. This also went fairly smoothly. Dean did a good job remembering what to do and we were sailing soon. I started to get really nervous and we picked up speed and the boat was heeling (leaning) – Dean claims it wasn’t much but Rachel and I disagreed. We were traveling about 5 knots which was a pretty good speed. We eventually got a point where we needed to start tacking as the wind was no longer in our favour. Rachel and I eventually got this down to a science and were happy to contribute. Eventually tacking was making us take too long to get to Ganges so we decided to take down the sails and motor. Having learned my lesson earlier, I set Becca in her car seat and lodged it inot a secure spot ton the obat and she gladly fell into a second needed nap. This was when ‘all hell broke loose.’

I have not been so scared in as long as I can remember. Childbirth was more predictable than our afternoon. First we couldn’t figure out how to get the jib sail down. I was at the helm with Dean and Rachel working on it and nothing was working and I was supposed to keep the boat pointed into the wind but even turning the wheel as hard as I could was doing nothing and the boat kept feeling like it would tip over. We told Bella just to sit on the floor and not move (she DID have her life jacket on). While we were trying to get this down we kept drifting closer to rocks so we would have to stop and Dean would get us out of trouble and then continue trying to get the sail down. Finally with Rachel up at the Bow (the front) and Dean at the stern (back) they got the jib. That only left the main sail.

Dean was sick of me trying to steer the boat at this time so he took over, ordering Rachel and me to head up front and pull down the main sail. Rachel was in charge of pulling down and I was in charge of tying it up. Doesn’t sound too tricky except that neither of us knew what we were doing and the wind was blowing like crazy – trying to tie a sail that is blowing in the wind is NOT fun. The boom (bottom of the sail) kept blowing from side to side and I tried to hold it still but I had visions of myself hanging onto it out over the water, but that never happened. Bella helped by passing me the ties (I needed to keep coming back to the cockpit to get them after I tied each one on. Eventually we did it and Dean said it was actually done pretty well.

We motored along to Ganges – it was now after 7pm and we were not close and Dean isn’t certified to sail at night. I fed Becca in her car seat, a great makeshift highchair but she wasn’t really hungry. I think she was still traumatized. Eventually around 8pm we arrived near Ganges – I say near because it looked like many marinas and we couldn’t figure out which one was Ganges Marina – where we had our reservation and we first went into the wrong one, but it is a testament to how well Dean can maneuver this 34 foot boat that he just turned us around got us back on track. We tried radioing the marina as they told us to, but no one was answering. This was quite frustrating as we weren’t sure we were in the right place and where we were supposed to dock. Eventually we just found a place to dock. Dean kept warning me to get off and pull hard on the line to tie the boat and I was so concentrating on doing that that I jumped off too soon and fell really hard. I was okay, but a whole group of about 15 people were eating dinner right there and saw the whole thing. My pride is bruised. After docking Rachel and Dean went to find the staff. They found them celebrating Canada day with Beer and not really working and they said we were fine.

Now that we were docked I swaddled Becca and put her in our bed where she is sleeping soundly, and still in the same position – I keep checking. We barbequed hamburgers for dinner and had a salad. Then as a treat we heard there were fireworks. We made hot chocolate and had cookies and sat on deck for a front row seat for Bella’s first fireworks ever. She was thrilled and not scared at all. They lasted about 20 minutes which I figure is the whole annual municipal budget for Ganges since it is such a small place. We put Bella to bed which she of course resisted, but then fell immediately asleep. It was 10:30 (11:30 Alberta time). Dean, Rachel and I stayed up and enjoyed the bottle of shiraz that had been left for us on the boat, heading to bed around midnight.

Tomorrow should be a much better day as we don’t have as far to go and we seem to have worked out a few kinks today – wish us luck!