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SEPTEMBER 2004

Dear Friends,

I never look forward to haul out time, and since we had not had Taleisin out of the water for almost two and a half years, since leaving Mar del Plata in Argentina, I knew we were in for some hard work this time. We had dried her out in Puerto Montt, Chile about 18 months ago, to scrub and put on new anti-fouling, but by the time we got to Canoe Cove near Sidney on the big island of Vancouver, it was early July and Taleisin had a garden growing below the water line. Her topside paint was definitely worse for the wear also. So from the time we were lifted out of the water by very careful travel lift folks, we spent seven days sanding, touching up, sanding some more. The weather was wonderfully cooperative as were the folks at Canoe Cove. The Pub, only 400 meters from where Taleisin sat, had good light meals, James Turnbull who does the electrical work here, Basil Drinnan, the yard manager were among the folks who helped us get set up with scaffolding and supplies. They were interested in a trick we use to make cleaning and prepping the bottom easier. While the boat is still wet, we use sand (in this case bought for $4.00 from the local builders supply), and a long handled scrubbing brush, to remove the growth from the bottom. This acts like sandpaper and is the reason we have never had to wood the bottom down as it wet sands the bottom and gives a good bonding surface for the next coat. We use International Brightside one-pot poly paint for the topsides and found it was in pretty good shape after almost 14,000 miles of voyaging. Did a test on varnish last time we put a coat on the transom. On the top four strakes we used Captains varnish, on the bottom ones we used Epithanes. After 16 months of sailing through the tropics, then cruising in the Pacific Northwest and wintering in Victoria, the Captains was definitely in better condition - ready for a fresh coat with just a good sanding. The lower strakes needed to be sanded down through about two layers, touched up and refinished. Came out looking great and convinced us to stick to Captains.

Bill Garden is still designing boats at age 87. He lives at a lovely spot, Canoe Cove, british Columbia where we hauled and painted Taleisin in July.

Taleisin glowed brightly when she was re-launched. Within a few days we set sail in glorious summer conditions to wander through the islands. First stop, at Otter Bay on Pender Island, I set my crab trap about half a mile from where we anchored and with a can of cat food as bait caught three nice sized Rock Crab in three hours. Sailing northbound, with a full moon and spring tides, I found studying the local tide atlas a real necessity. By choosing to go a an extra two miles inside of Prevost Island we managed to have eight hours of tide with us and arrived off Porlier Pass just after full flood. It was a great sleigh ride, three knots of tide with us, a ten knot beam wind, whirl pools and over-falls, but we got only a few drops of water on deck and once through had a grand lunch of fresh crab, homemade cocktail sauce and two kinds of salads. With bright sunshine, the snow capped mountains of the mainland gleaming, a few sails on the horizon and a following breeze, we made for Silva Bay, a favorite watering hole for sailors from Vancouver. We did manage to arrive just as the long holiday weekend began, locals complained of the crowds, but we have seen busier anchorages. Nice thing about the crowds is they gave the local pubs a reason to hire good bands so on one night we joined Tony Grove who runs the local boat building school to listen to a rollicking rock and roll group, and the next went to the pub at the far end of the island to hear the British Columbia Champion fiddle player Yvonne Hernandez, set the place afire with her Irish jigs, blue grass tunes and some toe tapping River dancing.

This is the north end of Gabriola Island. Tony Groves who runs a boatbuilding school on the island, took us to see his favorite spot, the Galleries, natural wave sculpted rock.

Locals tell us this has been one of the driest summers in memory, for us that means wonderful weather for our next plans, a meander north towards Desolation sound and even better crab fishing.

Two weeks later: Well, the joke seems to be on me so far. We have been around Jervis Sound and now Desolation sound for over a week and learned the water is so warm the crabs have fled south. Now I wish I had a prawn trap for I watch those who do, pull up lovely large prawns from 300 feet of water just outside each anchorage. Sailing north was great, light south east winds most of the way, lots of passing traffic to wave to, no one interested in racing so no pressure at all. Had a lovely stop at Pender Harbour, which used to be a logging and fishing town, but has now turned into a place for Vancouverites to retire and keep their boats. There we met Robert Lawson whose story we tell in the Cruising Tips this month. He gave us a list of favorite spots in Desolation and he should know as he has not only cruised, but worked up here. Also had a grand visit with Bill and Lyn Charlton who are from Vancouver, and have been out cruising on their 35 foot Lord Nelson cutter for eight years. They 'had to' return home for the birth of their first grand child and decided to buy a very small cottage here at Pender for later. Currently their boat is in Thailand awaiting their return to cruising. Both Bill and Lyn are teachers, and to add interest to their cruising life they took jobs as English teachers in China for eight months and left their boat on the hard at Puket. They earned enough to cover all the expenses and give them a chance to live in China. Both agreed it was one of the highlights of their lives.

In New Zealand they call it Honesty shopping, here in the Gulf Islands of Canada we just call it delightful, unattended stands and small shops with a box for your payments.

Today we are lazing about out at anchor in Cortez Bay on Cortez island, 50 degrees plus north and almost too hot. Larry has been doing a bit of touch up on the paintwork, in preparation for three wooden boat festivals starting the end of August. I am doing some paperwork (seems to follow me around.) We are amazed at how many cruising powerboats and sail boats there are up here, yet the bays and waterways don't feel crowded, the black berry bushes still have good pickings (and they are getting ripe and juicy right now) and the local fishermen and residents still have time for a chat. Wonder what interesting folks we'll meet next as we meander further up the sounds over the next few days, remembering not to be too ambitious as the winds have a tendency to drop off to very light for much of the day.

Tony and Larry are walking along a rock shelf at low tide. The big log you see in the foreground is just one of thousands that can float off at high tide and present a definite hazard in a fresh wind and lumpy sea.


As Horatio Hornblower always said, "Keep to windward!"

Lin and Larry




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