Thursday, May 31, 2012

Water Taxi as Nursery

I've written before about our dockside neighbor, Way West Water Taxi, and the colorful people and interesting freight they transport every day. Recently it was the colorful freight that caught my attention. Truckloads of nursery plants were unloaded in the parking lot, wheeled down the ramp in hand trucks or carried by hand. Load after load of pots, flats, hanging baskets and trees began to pile up. This colorful mix stacked along the main dock waiting for a packing wizard to figure out how to fit this large volume of squishable cargo inside a small space. I felt certain it would take more than one workboat to carry that quantity of nursery stock. The main dock was so well decorated that I hoped it would take several days.
Photo: plants hung overhead, filled the seats, aisle and luggage racks
But no, the plants kept disappearing into hatches, into the cabin, into spaces I couldn't see. In no time at all the dock was empty, not one bit of landscaping left. How do you fit truckloads of plants into one workboat??? I went to the Way West website and read about 5000 lb. payloads and large storage capacity, but that still seemed like a lot of nursery stock to fit into one boat. Magic perhaps?

Photo: Dave doesn't look worried, he knows it will all fit... somewhere
Photo: there was plenty of room for plants, passengers, luggage, freight, a driver and a dog

Friday, May 25, 2012

Seen Around Town: Pier Street Sunday Market

Campbell River's Pier Street Sunday Market celebrated it's 10th year anniversary this month, and I couldn't imagine a better way to spend a few hours in town than wandering about the grounds with my camera in hand. I was eager to capture the flavor of the market in photos. So where are the pretty pictures? Well... I was easily sidetracked on this photo shoot, w-a-y too busy enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes of the market on a sunny Sunday to focus on photography. 

I enjoyed chatting with the vendors, some of whom I've come to know over the years. "You take the same shot of me every year!" protested one restauranteur. "Hey, you're back in town!" welcomed another with a smile. 

Could you resist sampling smoked salmon, local honey, or any of the other items available for taste-testing? I couldn't. I sampled and purchased several items. RL loved the flavorful Orchard Honey and sweet little loaf of lemon bread that I brought back to the boat. The assorted Island produce was tempting as well, some of it as eye-catchingly colorful as the floral bouquets..

People-watching is a a favorite spectator sport, and the market draws an interesting blend of locals and visitors. Recognizable languages heard include Canadian English, British English, American English, French, German, Russian, Japanese and a handful of others I couldn't place. Young street musicians dotted the sidewalk along the waterfront, spaced just far enough apart to command their own audience, entertaining the crowds that passed. It's nice to have a pocketful of loonies and toonies to acknowledge their efforts.  

It might take several more follow-up trips to the Sunday event to better capture the essence of the market, the wide assortment of farmers, craftspeople, food booths and other vendors. I'll be ready for another photo visit when we return in Fall.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Seen Around Town: the Garden Center

Anne planted my 2012 herb pot

When you can't bring an entire garden onboard it helps to have a pot or two of plants to brighten things up. This herb pot holds rosemary, cilantro, Italian flat leaf parsley, dill and oregano - flavorful herbs that will certainly brighten up our dining in the months ahead. The herbs will benefit from the long hours of sunlight as we cruise farther north, and will typically have more than enough rainfall to keep them happy. Indoor planters hold geraniums for color and a tub of basil to keep the cook happy.

I could spend hours wandering the grounds and greenhouses at the Campbell River Garden Center, wishing I could have one of these and these and more of those... This nursery offers happy plants, so healthy and well tended you can almost see them smiling. I did stroll around while Anne cheerfully potted up my selections, noticing that staff and customers were smiling too. What is it about plants, flowers, sunshine and Spring that boosts our spirits?

Seen Around Town: Pirate Days

Ahoy there, matey.

Arrrrrrrrrrrgh! there be pirates roaming the docks! Pirate Days brought out all manner of pirates to celebrate the event. Pirates of all ages enjoy the varied activities year after year. I spotted an official treasure chest at the boatyard, a lineup of kids at the face painting booth, quite a crowd inside at a reptile show (pirate snakes?), and heard positive reports about the colorful costume contest, a deck-swabbing competition, barbecue on the dock and an ongoing series of rides for families on Capt. Jack's whale watching RIBs... all that and more. Discovery Harbor was the place to be over the Victoria Day weekend

Sunday, May 20, 2012

One or Two More Projects...

Our official To Do List is in constant flux. Whenever one project is finished, it seems another project joins the list. Setting priorities is important, but some things are really controlled by the availability of parts and technicians. Today I'm celebrating several recent successes...

An onboard Splendide combo washer/dryer has had issues over the years, and they always occur when we're remote, really far away from a big city or easy supply chain. This was the year to install a new and improved combo model. Easy to say, but there were none available in B.C. at a price I wanted to pay, during the week I wanted delivery. Bill Howich RV and Marine stepped up to the challenge. Rick H. located a Splendide in Calgary and arranged for quick shipment to the boatyard. Rosemary answered my frequent questions and even hand-delivered the invoice. Ocean Pacific carefully handled removal, plumbing adjustment and installation inside a tight space. Now that was excellent customer service from all parties
Photo: Rosemary poses with the new Splendide.
Photo: Splendide plumbing & vent pipe located in a tight space
The retractable 360-degree scanning sonar unit failed to retract while we were out of the water. Wizard electrician Todd disappeared deep down into a below-deck compartment and diagnosed the problem... something about a failed lifting bracket and broken motor shaft. Our sonar is an older model, no longer manufactured, so the parts chase must have been interesting for the Ocean Pacific parts department. Essential pieces were located in Woodinville, WA, not too far from our shoreside home, but that didn't help us in Campbell River. The morning after the parts arrived, Todd quickly had the sonar repaired, extending and retracting just like new again. 

Capt. Ron installed a new bilge pump in the aft lazarette. While he was hanging out below deck he also rewired the oil transfer pump and rerouted the wiring on other components. The newly drawn wiring diagram is quite impressive, like something out of a set of blueprints or an official troubleshooting manual.

No celebration yet on:
2 wind-snapped antennas (communication essentials)
1 dead 1-year old Dell computer (navigation essential)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why Do We Haul Out?

The expected "few days" grew into thirteen days on the hard, and we are finally back in the water, relaunched yesterday. The question remains: why do we haul out?

Part 1: Planned Activities
Hauling out is part of our annual Spring outfitting and trip preparation routine. RL visually checks the condition of the hull, bottom paint and running gear. Additionally our marine insurance company requested an out-of-the-water inspection by a certified marine surveyor this year , a once-every-five-year requirement. We anticipated a brief stay in the boatyard to accomplish a short project list beginning with power washing, scraping barnacles and bottom paint.

Bottom paint retards the growth of marine life such as barnacles, mussels, grasses, etc. No owner wants their boat to wear a hula skirt of waving green grass. This year a powerwash cleaning showed that only a waterline band of red would need fresh paint. 

Photo: hull before power washing
Zincs always need replacing when we haul out. These molded chunks of metal are sacrificial elements that reduce the corrosion on other metal components, important things like propellers, shafts, rudders and thru-hull fittings. (Click here for more information about zincs.) The before and after photos of the stern zinc gives evidence of their importance... only a tiny bit of that big chunk of metal remains on the lefthand bolt. 

Photo: the stern zinc has disappeared
Photo: a new stern zinc, installed
Photo: shaft zinc after one year of wear
Imagine what the propellers and shafts might look like without a zinc installed nearby. There are nine pencil-shaped zincs inside each of the Caterpillar engines which serve the same protective purpose, but these small units can be replaced while the boat is in the water.

The Ocean Pacific Travelift can hoist 100 tons, but it required just 36.7 tons of that capacity to move Rhapsody shoreside. It is impressive to track the slow, precise movement of that monster machine as Jeff transports boats, large and small, through the crowded boatyard and guides them into position. 

Photo: Rhapsody moves through the yard
Photo: a forest of metal stanchions wait to support the hull

Photo: adding wedges to block the keel

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Back Aboard... again

We're back aboard Rhapsody, at the dock, in Discovery Harbour Marina in Campbell River, on Vancouver Island, B.C. It feels good to be afloat once again, even if we're weeks away from cruising. This week has been a scramble of stowing "stuff" that we brought with us and organizing "stuff" that we had put away for winter storage. Cleaning, organizing and checking out systems are an essential part of Spring outfitting, essential but they don't count as fun. That comes next. We do get to stretch out muscles and limber up after a less-than-active winter. This year we can add some extra clean-up and fix-it activities to the list, the result of several ferocious storms in the area. 

We haul out at Ocean Pacific Boatyard this morning so I'll be brief and get back to posting in a day or two. Right now I'm delighted to be back on board, even as we're heading for dry land for a few days.