We have been very busy and so we have neglected our blog post. Sorry about that everybody! Since our last posting much has happened so we will start by filling you in on the last couple of months. There’s been alot of travelling! We left Finn on August 7 to return to Alberta to visit family and to finish moving our stuff (in the semi trailer) back to the farm from Lacombe. We were so lucky to visit Trystan’s family (although it was brief) and we were able to catch up with Trystan’s Aunt Eileen in Kelowna on the way through.
We also were fortunate to celebrate Susanna’s 9th birthday in Calgary with her. We even squeezed in a wonderful trip to the Calgary Zoo. It was a wonderful visit with Penny, Sam, Susanna, Lance and Buddy in Calgary. Thanks Guys for letting us stay AGAIN in your luxurious camper!
We got to the farm and regrouped in time for Trystan to work a shift at Joffre and then we had to repack to get back into Calgary. Trystan and Jerome flew out to Toronto on August 13th for four days of fun and sun. Thank you so much to David, Charity, Amelia, MaryKate and Vincent for letting us stay the night at their beautiful home. Yet another wonderful visit! Trystan and Jerome were so lucky to be able to go to Toronto with Wayne, Tressa and Emma.
It was a trip that both, Trystan and Jerome, still talk about. I’m so glad that they had a great time! (They may mention their trip more in future blogs). I was lucky to catch up with Kerri over breakfast after they flew out and to help out at the farm while they were gone. Yas and I were busy sorting things out including her blindness and stabilizing her blood sugars, That has been a very long process! More of that later….
On August 18th, Patrick, Gabrielle, Mom and Dad helped us out immensely again! We cannot say “Thank you!” enough. They moved the semi trailer with all our stuff back to the farm for us. Thank you again to Kerri and Wayne for letting us park the trailer at their shop for so long. It was the end of our time in Lacombe. We all had mixed feelings about it all, realizing that this dream was truly happening! We would miss our friends in Lacombe alot and we still do. Certainly though none of us, so far, miss the rushed lifestyle of school and work!
We would spend the next three and a half weeks in Hanna at the farm….having a birthday party for my Dad, seeing the most spectacular northern lights night after night, having a wonderful time hanging out with family, working physically hard at lots of work around the farm, eating out lots at the great restaurants around Hanna and hoping to help with harvest (which never happened….it was too wet!).
Standing at Capital Hill with Gabrielle and Lucy
Trystan and Jerome also had the chance to meet Jason and Devon in Nordegg for a quick visit.
It was very difficult to leave the farm and my family behind but with the cooler temperatures and the thought of snow coming soon, we had to say our farewells and get on the way west back to Finn. We went through Drumheller on the way through to Calgary because we had detoured to go on the Bleriot Ferry. It was interesting listening to the operator talking about the number of cars that use the ferry during the summer months: 400 per day on a weekday, 800 per day on the weekend and 1600 cars per day on a long weekend. It is well worth going out of your way to see the ferry and surrounding countryside.
We returned to Summerland on September 9th and spent the next 12 days with Trystan’s family. There was no shortage of things to do there either! There was a car show with Brandyn’s Scout troop providing a BBQ concession stand, Loco Landing in Penticton, the Farmer’s Market, putting a roof over Trystan’s parent’s deck, walking in the Terry Fox Run, learning about pickleball, checking out the crazy thrift store in Summerland (don’t go there on a Tuesday!!), going to hockey games (the Young Stars tournament in Penticton) and celebrating Trystan’s Dad’s birthday. It was a wonderful visit but again we had to say farewell and get going west!
On September 21st we finally saw Finn again! Our neighbours in the marina had been keeping a wonderful watch over Finn and had even done our laundry that we had accidently left behind when we packed up to leave in August! Thank you Pubnico’s Dave, Donna and Jacob! We didn’t have much to move onto the boat but we had (and still have) alot to organize. We got Jerome set up for school and met his 4th grade teacher. I think that it will be a wonderful school year although Jerome may disagree! We’ve decided to only do school Monday through Friday unless we are travelling and miss a day (in which case we will do school on Saturdays too). It’s very hard establising a routine again with so much to do around the boat and having so many places to go!
We have been very lucky to have visits with Trystan’s friend Pete and getting to sail with Ray, Diana, Bella and Bill (on Opus 5). We decided to sail south on September 29th with Obus 5. We went through Dodd’s Narrows and sailed south past Mudge Island, De Courcy Island and Gabriola Island. It was three years ago that we had sailed past those islands when we took our sailing courses. It was hard to believe that we now had our own boat and were going through the perilous Dodd’s Narrows without an instructor! Where has the time gone?!
We sailed around the south end of De Courcy and came north through Gabriola Passage (we saw the biggest jellyfish!) and dropped anchor with Opus 5 in Silva Bay. We stayed two nights there (with no cel coverage) and decided to head back to Nanaimo to regroup. Food was running low and the marina store was insanely expensive. Two cans of tuna and a small box of noodles cost $14! Costco was drawing us back to Nanaimo like a homing beacon! One thing to note that being on anchor in a calm bay is the key to a wonderful restful, quiet sleep! When it’s storming though, being on anchor and being worried that the anchor will drag along the bottom and that your boat will drift up onto a rocky shoreline is clearly not the key to a good night’s rest!
We set out in rough weather and waves on October 1st to return to Nanaimo. It was raining quite heavily.
Our first hint of “action” was all the boats that were coming into Silva Bay seeking shelter….we were the only ones leaving. Hmmm….We motored onwards. After a long night of checking the anchor we didn’t have the ambition to put the sails up in the big winds so we just chugged along through the waves and the rain that was falling sideways. Trystan became very competent at figuring out how to point the boat into the rolling waves so that we didn’t get bounced around too much. Jerome was a quick learner and very competent also when he took over the wheel so his daddy could go below and check on the engine. Yas and I were a little preoccupied with nausea and uncertainty to do anything else but hug each other on the deck. Certainly being on deck with fresh air (even if its wet) in your face and watching anything except for the rolling water helps your stomach. (Make sure that you’ve eaten some food (but not too much) and that you’ve gone to the bathroom before you set out too!) As we motored along we were accutely aware of a big B.C. Ferry coming up behind us on its way to Duke Point. The ferries go about 26 knots and are incredible to watch when you are alongside them…until you lose your steering! Trystan realized that the hydraulic steering had quit and efficiently and effectively informed me to grab the tiller from down below and activate the bypass valve. It took just a matter of minutes to get things back in order (luckily the ferry had gone by without incident) and we were on the way using the emergency tiller. Thankfully Finn is a boat that seems to forgive amateurs! We were happy to get back to our dock although our docking maneuvers were pathetic that day. It seems that having a steering wheel really helps with docking! We had made it although Yas was not interested in coming back onto the boat for the rest of the day!
With repairs to do and provisioning, we have spent the last few days sorting out more projects on Finn. Trystan has been working on the steering, installing LED lighting in the lockers, organizing his “lab” in the front of the boat and just being a confident, capable skipper. He has shown incredible talent at solving problems and has so much patience with his crew. I am falling in love with him again for different reasons. The guy just keeps surprising me! It is so wonderful to have the opportunity to spend time with him again. I’m thinking that this is a big part of why Trystan wanted to do this dream. We were quickly losing touch with each other back in Lacombe with all the day-to-day routines. I think that it is a good lesson for me to slow down and embrace life. Learn to live on “island time”!
Jerome has become an incredible dingy and sailboat operator and is working so hard at school (once he gets past all his negotiating). Our neighbours on Pubnico kindly loaned us many movies to watch and Jerome has discovered two more favourite movies: “Aliens in the Attic” and “G-Force”. I think that he has watched both movies about 200 times each. I think that he would strongly recommend both movies to all of his friends back in Alberta. He is also enjoying the “Outernet” series of books. There’s 6 of them and he is enjoying them immensely. He is also learning to look around and see what’s out “there”. There are islands, herons, fish, crabs, seals, otters, cool shells, rocks and logs and so many different types of boats. There is another classroom just outside the hatch and it’s wonderful for any 9 year old! Jerome wanted to mention to Ryan that he was just looking at the pictures that Ryan made for him for the boat. Thank you Ryan for drawing those! Jerome wants you and all his friends to keep watching the blog because Jerome wants to do his own posting soon.
Yasmin, despite the diabetes and the blindness, is living life fully. We are still trying to stabilize her insulin. This means that every week or so Trystan and I have to stay up for 24 hours and check her blood sugars with a glucometre. She’s certainly not enjoying being poked every hour for 24 hours but she’s coping with it. After we establish the glucose curve, we have had to increase her insulin and do it all over again in another week. We are hoping that we will have the amount of insulin figured out soon and she can start putting some weight on. She has gotten quite skinny and has been losing alot of fur because of her diabetes. Her blindness is a challenge for us not her…we have to make sure that she has either her PFD or harness on her. This has saved her butt twice so far. Once, she stepped off the dock and we were able to fish her out with her harness handle after she finished swimming her laps around the neighbour’s boat. The other time, she jumped down into the hatch and the harness caught her. Ridiculous Dare Devil Dog! She’s not letting any of it slow her down. She is a wonderful inspiration for all of us!
As for me, my biggest accomplishment is learning to bake in a diesel stove. Jerome says “this is great!”. So far, I’ve made cookies and muffins and they were wonderful according to my crew. I just read a book that said that a boat’s galley is usually long and thin unlike the ship’s cook. Hmmm….I have also managed to figure out the size of bedding needed for our weird (size and shape) mattresses and to sew some plastic mattress covers for our aft mattresses just in case the hatch leaks and the bed gets wet.
Finally, last Thursday we managed to survive a a crazy night of stormy weather. The winds got up to 48 knots from the southeast….right into our boat. These are gale force winds and certainly it was not much fun to be on a boat. Trystan did a fantastic job of tying us up to the dock. It was just too bad that the dock couldn’t stay stationary….that night was interesting and not for the faint of heart. It was something for all of us at the marina to talk about the next day. I think that Finn is having a good chuckle at our expense.
Some last thoughts from the island…
Why is it so dark on the island at night? It seems to be ridiculously dark and worse during rainstorms during the night. Its darker than being in the middle of a field at harvest time during the night back at the farm. Anyone have thoughts about this or is it just that I’m developing nightime cataracts?
Here are some great places to visit while around Nanaimo from our point of view….Newcastle Island, Dingy Dock Pub, Gina’s Mexican Restaurant, Bowen Park, the Harbour Walkway, the indoor rec centres and Maffeo Sutton Park. Our neighbours in the marina, Sherry and Brian, also have very interesting boats that you can rent. Check out www.vanislandrec.com We haven’t tried them yet because we have our own boats to figure out but maybe next summer….
Here are some very cool boat names that we’ve noticed around Nanaimo just for laughs….
Tide ‘N Knots, Rick’s Cafe, In a Meeting, Vitamin Sea, She Got the House, Odyssea, Rudder Nonsense, No Patients, and Scrumpit (for a wee little dingy that we saw). People around the world certainly have a sense of humour!
Here is one tip from a beginner sailor….do not wear pants or shorts with buttons or any sort of decoration on the butt. There is so much woodwork on a sailboat and your butt ends up in the weirdest places. Buttons, buckles, rhinestones and other decorative butt fixtures will scratch everything that comes in contact with your aft end. That’s not good. You will get voted off the boat.
Have a happy Thanksgiving to all of you. Embrace life and those around you. Love to all.
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