Expo 86! (+31 years)

We made it to Vancouver!

It’s been a few months since the last entry. We are still alive and well and are now underway albeit slowly! We have been busy getting many projects done and leaving many others for later. Spring came late in Nanaimo….with the rain, cooler temperatures and overcast conditions, it made it hard to get going on the much needed work topside.

One of the biggest projects that was completed was Jerome’s schooling for Grade Four. We finished all the curriculum and some other extras in the middle of May and met with Jerome’s wonderful teacher, Mrs. Fujikawa, to finish up for the year. It was an excellent year but it certainly made it more challenging to do school work as the weather warmed up. It was a good lesson for us to make sure we work harder and faster when the weather is colder so that we are done when the warm weather finally does come!

The new anchor has arrived!

We had some obstacles to overcome too. One ongoing and important “project” is trying to stabilize Yas’ blood sugars daily (she does get the same amount and type of food each day, at the same time with her insulin but her degree of activity does vary). Overall she is very healthy and seems to be very happy. Dr. Summa and the staff at Benson View Vet Clinic in Nanaimo have been such a wonderful help since we first went there last July. Yas has been a diabetic now for almost a year and it doesn’t slow her down at all. She has learned to adapt very well to the boat: “telling” us when she is too hot, too sleepy, hungry, wanting to go topside and so on. She loves dinghy rides, swimming in the ocean, rolling in green grass when she finds it and exploring new places with her incredible sense of smell.

Another huge obstacle that Trystan worked hard at resolving was upgrading and installing a new solar system on board the boat. Its done now and has been more successful than we had hoped. We run everything we want -lights, fans, chargers for the computer and the phones- you name it, and we have yet to use more than 5% of our gross battery capacity which actually translates to something more like 15% of the functional capacity but that’s still pretty great. The big test for the whole system will come when we are sailing at night. We won’t be producing power when the sun is down but we will be using quite a bit running all of the navigation lights, radar and the radio. (We don’t use the lights and rarely the radar during the day)

We overhauled the engine before setting out too. It was a pretty minor job because Steve and Ilene left it in such good shape. It basically entailed an oil change and some fuel filter changes which, while very different to working on a car or truck, are really not that complicated. They’re sort of “self-instructive” too. Trystan thought he had the fuel system properly bled but when we went to warm up the engine it ran for about five minutes before stopping due to air in the fuel lines. On further investigation there was another “bleeding” screw that he had missed! The only other thing that we have to figure out now is why the engine tends to run hot when the engine room is closed. It may be that we will always have to run it with the engine room doors open but right now we also have to have the companionways open. That’s OK now because we’ve been running in ideal weather but when the storms come we’re going to want to have those giant water-below-decks-conduits closed! When there is time, we’ll pull the heat exchanger apart and clean it up, maybe that will help. (Our engine is cooled by a heat exchanger – the coolant diffuses its heat out to the sea water through the walls of the exchanger)

Just before leaving for Vancouver, we stayed on anchor at Newcastle Island in the Nanaimo Harbour. We’ve mentioned it in prior entries… it will always be one of our favourite places.  A huge step for Trystan and Maureen was watching Jerome take the dinghy solo from Finn to the docks on Newcastle. Jerome did it with no problem and with an incredible confidence that his parents lacked!

Vancouver was interesting, Trystan has always wanted to anchor in False Creek near the Science Center and, although we were stopped by the Cambie Street bridge (the bridge is too low for sailboat masts) we did get pretty close! The David Lam Park nearby was a great place to go ashore and walk the dog. Jerome also discovered that he loves Frisbee and we spent a couple of evenings there playing Frisbee in the field. We had a couple of interesting forays into the city. We re-provisioned at the “underground Costco” and walked in to a couple of less desirable areas looking for used book stores. Jerome is trying to collect all of the TinTin books and Trystan is trying to get the remainder of the Patrick O’Brians. We saw the CPR Engine 374 and the layout of the Roundhouse in Yaletown (Engine 374 pulled the first transcontinental train into Vancouver on May 23, 1887).  Chinatown was a bit disappointing and doesn’t compare to the one in Victoria.

We were lucky to meet up with Darren, Oreola, Lars and Olin at the Granville Island playground a couple of times and we had dinner together there the second night that we were there. Lars and Olin brought Jerome a gift one night. A green kayak which now hangs prominently on the lifelines and gets used just about every day! We also got to visit with Dianna and Ray and Bella at the “giant jellybean park”. We mostly listened to Bella and Yas bark at and bully the other dogs at the dog park! What fun!

We visited the Science Centre at the old Expo 86 site the first day. It was prohibitively expensive but its hard to complain about a science centre! There were so many neat exhibits there and a section on Canadian inventions including insulin, skidoos, and wonderbra. We visited the Maritime Museum too.  Curiously, the Maritime Museum is pretty unwelcoming to mariners! There is no place to leave your dinghy within a couple of miles even though they have a ton of space at the dock right out in front of the building. After I got over my bitterness though, it was a pretty cool museum – as much fun for adults as kids.  One very interesting exhibit there was the RCMP ST ROCH. It was the first ship to conquer the Northwest Passage in a single season, the first ship to travel the northern deepwater route, the first ship to sail the Northwest Passage in both directions and the first ship to circumnavigate North America.  It was in service 1928-1954.

After a week in Vancouver we finally weighed anchor and set out for Gibson’s landing….