Saturday, October 16, 2010

davit and tender, Ling Cod & California

Hi All

Here is an update since the last log back in July on cruising and other adventures from Susie and me. Once again, welcome to new recipients of Last Mango’s Captain’s Log. And all please note; this is my new email address.

First the land-based update. Visiting friends and family in Europe was a lot of fun; it was so good to catch up with close family and squeeze in as many stays with friends as was possible. Very grateful for the loan of Mum’s car to assist in the logistics. Managed to get to Devon, Yorkshire, the Cotswolds, France and even cross into Spain for lunch, which is getting to be a habit (a good one at that). And not to mention Brighton and Hassocks. Thank you to everyone for putting up with us popping in out and around. And sorry that we couldn’t quite see everyone, we will try hard again next time.

We were pleased to see that the boat work list had been thoroughly tackled by Philbrooks at Van Isle Marina, Sidney, BC. It was time to throw a few more boat units into the hole in the water (I am sure you all know the definition of a boat). Worthwhile, because we have some useful improvements on board. Power management is one of the important issues on any boat and we now have more intelligent charging and management of the battery banks. We have 11 battery banks on board (4 main, 1 engine start, 1 gen/wing start, bow thruster, stern thruster, 12v comms, 12v aft and tender) and believe it or not we have 11 battery chargers/alternators as well as the generator to handle the different systems, provide back up and to handle different types of shore power. We needed also to service the davit and tender, make repairs to some topside bodywork,  and get some improvements done on the water systems, plumbing, and propane system on board. Last but not least we wanted to get the cockpit set up for something very important – yes, fishing!

From Sidney we crossed the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver.  Thank you to Doreen and Bill for looking after us so well and supplying the Canadian Thanksgiving celebration. Susie got to know some of the highlights of Vancouver including the Museum of Anthropology, the Bill Reid Gallery, the Indian quarter and the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (David was networking the IBA). Last Mango was enjoying the hospitality of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club at Coal Harbour, a fascinating floating town power boating facility. The weather was pretty wet and horrible but then it brightened up considerably and we made a run up the Sunshine Coast to Pender Harbour to explore and check out the fishing. Success!

On the left is a Ling Cod but careful measurement showed that it was under length for keeping so it became a catch and release day. But what wonderful weather; the sea was so calm and we fished around the reefs and islands at the entrance to Agamemnon Channel. The smooth waters also gave us an opportunity to test out the prawn trap puller, and dinner swam in to our traps overnight, it is amazing what a couple of cans of cat food will attract. You might wonder why we have a trap puller, but when I tell you that we dropped the traps in 400 feet of water you will figure out that it is an essential piece of equipment! Also observe in the prawn picture that I am sporting a microphone; it is very useful for Susie and I to be in close communication when retrieving the prawn traps – Susie is driving the boat and she puts me right next to the floats and we can fine tune the boat position and ease the retrieval process.

Pender Harbour is a great music centre; we had missed the Jazz and Blues Festival but I had an excellent pub jam session with a great blues band. Even played an Allman Brothers track – memories of our band back in university days (no James, it wasn’t “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”!). Once again, as with all our travels, we continue to meet so many great people everywhere we go, either in the communities we visit or fellow cruisers alongside. People are just so very kind-hearted, we are never short of the offer to borrow car keys or meet up for breakfast or a pot luck supper. We crossed back over to Vancouver Island and spent a few days at Nanaimo sitting out a storm and preparing for our last trip this season to Last Mango’s winter berth in Degnen Bay. It was blowing 20 knots on the way here but our ride was absolutely fine. Thank you in advance to all at Rooks’ Haven who will be looking after things until we return in the New Year.

So, here are the forward plans; I know that some of you are going to come and visit so this will help with the choice of location. We leave Canada tomorrow and will be travelling for a while finally arriving in Panama on 8 November. Winter visitors will be very welcome, we are wide open even at Christmas. We will be in Panama until 2 March when we fly back here to the Gulf Islands. The first port of call in March will be Seattle for a maintenance visit. By April we will have started our passage to Alaska; we’ll probably turn around somewhere suitable (Glacier Bay is one option) and head South again in June. While we are in Alaska, flights to come and visit with us are probably best via Seattle. After returning from Alaska we will head back down the Western seaboard to California to prepare for travels to Mexico and beyond. And remember, plans can change!

Best wishes to all

David and Susie

“Last Mango” Nordhavn 5508

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