Thursday, November 24, 2011

Glen's dad

We’ve been thinking a lot about Glen’s dad, Carl Roger.  Carl passed away a few days ago at 82.

Glen and Donna’s dad was a character. He was an adventurer, moving from farming in Saskatchewan to the brand new town of Kitimat, BC, built by ALCAN to smelt aluminum. He hunted, fished; he was a star hockey player on the local team. He was a fireman and later became a fire chief. Dad retired early to live on a houseboat on Shuswap Lake in Salmon Arm where he continued to hunt and fish and charm anyone who knew him.

Until he was 74, Carl lived a fulfilled life. He was funny, intelligent, stubborn, and opinionated and the life of any family gathering or party. He was the local handyman – he could fix anything. He built the most wonderful toys for his grandchildren – playhouses, kitchen appliances, ride on trains, rocking horses, a boat with an actual outboard engine. Not everything was a success - once he burned down our patio when a fish-smoker malfunctioned. He blamed Glen.

At 74 he suffered a devastating stroke that took away his independence. He spent 8 long years in care – and, with the luck of the draw with the Roger family genes – his stroke was augmented with dementia.

So his 8 years in care were uncomfortable and undignified. Every once in a while he would get into an argument with the staff when he came up with a new, ingenious way to make his life easier. “Drill a hole in the wall, attach 3 feet of rope and then I’ll be able to use my teeth to help steady me when I try to stand up!” The staff, of course was worried about the wall but his teeth were too far-gone to worry about.

So we experience mixed emotions with the passing of Glen’s dad. We celebrate the heroic, adventurous life he lived, and we sigh with relief that he is no longer uncomfortable and humbled by his condition.

Caught a huge mahi today, Dad! Must have been 15 pounds!

Carl and Glen - 1955

Fire Chief Carl - 1967

Glen, Carl and Brad celebrating Carl's 80th

Friday, November 18, 2011

Toes in the Sand

So here we are – with our toes back in the sand in the Bahamas.
Just before we packed up from Stuart we ran into Barry and Susan from Nighthawk.  They live in Chilliwack and although we had never met them we’ve seen their boat in previous years.  Once in awhile they shop at Clancy’s on Whatcom Road near Abbotsford and had talked to the owner (Mike!) about sailing in the Bahamas.  Mike said he has friends (us!) who sail the Blue Pearl in the Bahamas and they said, “Oh yeah, we’ve seen the Blue Pearl!”  So it was kind of cool to meet them standing near the fantastic boaters’ lounge at Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart.

Loading school books for the students at Little Farmers Cay

Last minute provisioning at nearby Publix

Now, at the risk of running on at the mouth – we love Stuart.  The old town has such character and like so many other Florida towns, the A1A is dotted with malls so you can get any thing you want.  Lots of folks get their boats in the water at Indiantown and just come down the river for several months at Stuart.
St. Lucie Inlet - see where we went aground, George?
But our path takes us far beyond Stuart and so on Wednesday we set off for West Palm Beach.  We try to avoid the Intercoastal Waterway as it is boring and obstructed with bridges that have to be waited for, and then passed.  This, though, might have been a better route than the one we chose.  The waves weren’t big but they were spaced just nicely enough to keep the Blue Pearl significantly under 6 knots and so we banged and crashed our way to the WPB inlet – rather then glide down the boring ICW.  Boring is better than crashing.
Anyway, we gassed up and headed over to our spot, just south of Peanut Island, prepping for our 4:30 start the next morning.  We connected with Doug and Lisa on Carefree over the radio.  They had never crossed and were comforted to go with such seasoned veterans as us.
So we left at 4:30 – crossed without much fuss – and arrived at West End at 2:30.  (Check our SPOT locator to see our check-ins along the way.)  We had to motorsail.  The wind was light and variable but that is what a “weather window” is – an opportunity to get across with a minimum of discomfort.

The Blue Pearl enjoyed a refreshing shower... a couple of times.

Checking-in was easy – we asked for and received a 180-day Bahamas cruising permit and then settled in on the Blue Pearl.  Glen borrowed a marina bike and rode down to the settlement to buy conch salad.  While he was waiting for the salad Bumpy and his son drove by so Glen’s mission was interrupted with several Kaliks (local beer) and stories. 
After a game of crib, which Pam won by cheating, we had a delicious jambalaya, several glasses of wine and Glen fell asleep on the couch – just like home!!!
Within hours of tying up, the weather window slammed shut and we were whacked by a front with 35 knot winds. Glen reminded the marina staff of the Daring Rescue At Sea last year and received a $10 per night discount.  So we will sit here and wait for a couple of days.  We’ll check to see if John Travolta is at his West End home and head back down to the settlement for more conch salad.
After the front, we will head to Freeport to visit Bumpy and his family and then continue further south.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

On to Stuart!

We are in the final days of our preparations before we leave for the Bahamas.  We’ve got the plumbing work done.  We’ve put in the new refrigeration system.  Now that we are in the water we’ve been able to get the sails back on, canvas up, solar panels functioning, lines and sheets where they are supposed to go.  We’ve filled up with water, we are provisioned.
Happy Shopper
This will last a while!
Now we are looking at our lists to decide what to do, what to postpone and what to forget.
We moved to Stuart today.  We are looking forward to wandering around the town – Pam is aware of a couple of consignment stores that might have baby clothes and toys.
There is a weather window for next week – light winds, not from the north that might allow us to cross.  Once we cross, we’re not sure of our route.  We need to be in Georgetown by early December but how we get there will depend on weather and circumstances.
Looks like we are ready to move!

Sewing bumper covers.

Putting up the dodger.
New fridge compressor and Glen's size 11

Checking out the guard dog.

Through the St. Lucie Lock to Stuart!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh Bliss – we are in the water!!!

For the last week we’ve been climbing our ladder to get in and out – making sure we don’t run into Bob – as he works to change out the septic holding tank and lines.  He was like Sheldon the Painter on Murphy Brown – woke us up in the morning, putted around, cut, painted, glued, ripped out, installed and gave us advice.  Nice guy – at $500 per day.
Old refrigeration

More old refrigeration - holding plate - heavy
So Bob did the septic, we ripped out the old refrigeration, put canvas back on, negotiated with our seat cushion guy and did odd jobs.  Pam set up her Sailrite and fixed up our sheet bags (bags that hang in the companionway to tidy up the halyards and sheets ) and also fixed a rip in our new canvas.   Glen dithers.
Costco goodies
When we got sick of hanging out with Bob we did our Costco and Walmart runs and did $$$ of provisioning. 
Lots of interesting characters at the marina office/lounge.  Every day at noon and again at 6 or so people gather to chat and compare notes.  There are really interesting folks doing amazing work on their boats.  Some are in and out of the yard quickly – some are working on projects that will take months or even years.
In this heat, beer starts calling before noon.  At home, we have a beer once a week or when we are out golfing or fishing.  A case of beer can last a week or so – unless we get a visit from Don and Pat.  But, at about 10:30, visions of a cold, frosty glass start to overpower, the work slows down and hands start to shake.  Pam suggested trying water but Glen isn’t buying.
 Anyway, we finally got our through-hull installed, the prop nut replaced and so there was no reason to remain in the dreaded work yard.  So we are launched!!! Wooopeeee!  This boat belongs in the water. 
Home - mind the stairs
Getting out of the work yard!

Almost there!
Folks enjoyed Glen’s demonstration of all that can go wrong in backing up an Island Packet but they soon got bored after 7 or 8 attempts and started to offer help and advice.  We moved the boat from the travel lift to slip #12 where we plugged in that great yellow dock-line (the power cord) and fired up the air conditioning.
Got the new cushions so we are sitting in luxury – and chaos.  This years’ guests will be so amazed at the classy ultra-leather. 
Happy Hour
So, Pam chips away at the bright-work getting ready to reapply Cetol, Glen pretends to know a lot about refrigeration and we bob gently in slip #12.   
Pass the beer!