Friday, July 3, 2009

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.


  1. Laughing out Loud! Love the way you tell the stories! Glad the girls are getting in the grove. So proud of Bella! Hugs to all!

  2. Hence the term "Swear like a sailor"!