Monday, May 23, 2011

Pier Street Sunday Market

Farmers’ Markets spring up all over the West during the growing season, Spring to Fall. No doubt they’re found year ‘round, all over the world, but I just visit a few local ones along the NW coast. In Seattle our neighborhood Columbia City Market draws crowds on Wednesdays, 3 to 7 pm, from mid-April through mid-October. Most years I will catch the final few days, but I’ll think longingly of what I’m missing in town while we cruise north. There is always a diverse crowd of patrons, a wide variety of interesting food choices, amazing produce from local small farms and eye-popping displays of colorful flowers. La Medusa, a Columbia City restaurant located less than a block away from the market, offers a 3-course Wednesday Market Menu featuring seasonal dishes from the best of the day's products. I've occasionally been inspired to do the same.

Campbell River's Pier Street Market, another favorite of mine, has just begun its ninth season. It operates 9 am to 2 pm on Sundays from May to September. Pier Street has a unique setting, located at the edge of the business district along the Island Highway and adjacent to a city marina and fishing pier, some open beachfront, a maritime museum and a glass-blowing studio. Rain or shine it’s a lively place with tempting food and unusual products, live music on a portable stage, street musicians, artists and artisans of all types. Like most farmers' markets, this one offers a lot more than vegies. Where else could you find fresh eggs, B.C. buffalo meat and sausage, hand-spun wool, fresh seafood, ceramics, jewelry, local Indian arrowheads, baked goods, and decorative henna hand tattooing side by side? I could go on and on, and still not capture the charm and positive energy of this market.
I forced RL to leave his engine room project and join me on a recent visit to Pier Street. I knew he wouldn't want to miss the experience: street musicians, craftspeople, unique products and food vendors aplenty... no surprise I mention the food, right? We began with beef donair wraps, savoring the taste while we listened to old bluegrass tunes from a 3-man band. Then we toured the market, visiting with vendors we knew from previous visits and meeting a few new ones.

 Our market visits have been...




...sometimes surprising,


...and always seem much too brief. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

The New Computer

The boat has a new computer. Who would imagine that those six words, just one simple sentence, could bring such happiness? Just ask the Capt. This new Dell computer is an updated, more powerful version of the old machine, so all of the sensors and components should recognize each other and communicate with very few tweaks required. They did, for the most part. There's a long story about the wild, runaway mouse, but that's history now, just another boat story.

I have learned a new computer term, and No, it wasn't any salty language from the Capt as he conversed with the balky machine or several foreign tech support centers. I had never heard of a "dongle", and now we own one. It's a little thingamajig that fits into a USB port and is used by some software companies for authentication and security purposes. Read more about dongles here and here if you really care, and view a variety of the devices here. Who thought up that name? was it the same fellow who named widgets?

We continue to carry stacks of paper charts as backups in case of computer failure, but it's comforting to know that the upgraded navigation program, autopilot, GPS, depth sounder and radar interact as they should and provide reliable data. And now they do. 
Installing the new computer in the skinny cabinet opening
Note the beige monitor on the left side of the helmstation in the photo above. It was an ugly old relic, it's images dimming and losing contrast, growing harder to read in bright sunlight, (and did I mention ugly?)  Add a Part B to the computer project.
 Adding the new computer monitor

An older photo showing what's in the dash behind the monitor 
New monitor installed and waiting for its base coverplate 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Spring Outfitting

Storm clouds moved in on a typical Spring day in Campbell River, just one of many storm fronts to roll through between glorious moments of blue sky and warmish sunshine. This was a day to work on inside projects. 

Spring outfitting ashore might mean buying some new clothes, or maybe exchanging dark winter accessories for brighter, more colorful items for the home. On a boat spring outfitting is more like Spring cleaning. It means getting the vessel ready for cruising, checking out systems and equipment, provisioning, removing all signs of winter layup and the opportunity to clean, clean, clean.

Many activities are scheduled by calendar days or hours of use, all recorded on the VMS (Vessel Management System). VMS is a computer program that tracks the maintenance schedules for things like zinc replacement, oil changes, filter replacements, periodic bilge pump testing, safety checks, etc. After eleven years of use the Capt and VMS have fine-tuned the project schedule for Rhapsody.

Spring fix-up activities have shown up all around the harbor. New, colorful signage went up for dockside businesses…

 …and even the local feral cats spiffed up in the sunshine.

The scheduled projects are moving right along, but “Surprise!” We now have a slight delay, waiting for the delivery of a part for a new, not scheduled fix-it project. It’s always good when repairs happen in town, at a dock, with mechanics and UPS service available. (Dee’s note: I enjoy the extra time for more walks ashore and visits with our Campbell River friends.)