Thursday, December 8, 2011

AFT - After The FUBAR

Here in La Paz the party has continued for the past few weeks. We had a warm up session one day on Excalibur with cocktails and enough appetizers to last a week or two. But then it seemed like a good idea for Oriana to host a supper party next door right after. And the guitars have been as busy as ever. See how that sea lion turned his head just to hear Bill play that Hendrix track - it was "Little Wing" of course, one of my favorites. One day we headed out for the islands and the wild life. In the bay at this time of year there are whale sharks feeding on the 

abundant plankton; we managed to locate a couple of these docile creatures and drift along nearby while Kay from Thor swam alongside this 40' largest fish in the sea.Then up to Espiritu Santo island to check out the sea lion colony while bold folk 
swam with these inquisitive creatures. Here are some photos of our travelling companions in recent weeks - Bill and Kay on Thor, Susan and Andy on Maggie May, Lili and Don on Lilipad, Doug and Stephanie on Tango, Ron and Kathleen on Boundless Grace, Jan (the greatest air guitarist on the trip - see photo) and Vicki on Oriana, Rick and Liz on Bonaventure. And many more. We will be seeing you down the road soon in the next port I'm sure.
So, on to the forward plans. In the short term we have decided to leave Last Mango here in Marina Costa Baja, La Paz for a month while we head to England for seasonal family visits. In mid-Jan we will be back on board and heading down the Mexican coast. For 2012 we have revised our plans; after considering the options we have shelved the long voyage to New Zealand. We are now going to head for Panama and through the Canal, then up to Florida and the East Coast. It is best to keep one's plans flexible................

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


In Cabo I had some work to do. There is an excellent shipyard there and I was in and out like a yo-yo. I had some issues with Tender 1 motor/fuel supply and so they sorted that out. And we needed a new exhaust bracket and they were all over town looking for the spare part. I am indebted to Lugger Bob and Bill from Thor; we had a wrestling session with Johnny trying to fit a bracket that nearly is just an eighth of an inch that makes all the difference. In the middle of all this Ed and I (the FUBAR band) were settling on the tracks we were going to delight the Fubaristas was a busy time. We took our guitars to the party that night but the band were led by one precious guy who really didn't want his gig hijacked by us.........I know enough band craft to know the negative signals.
We got things fixed/patched up (put the old bracket on!) and headed North with the gang. The scheduled stop was a marina newly built where the fleet was to anchor since the slips are not in yet. Late in the day one of the first boats there was following a panga in and went aground in only 5 feet at mid tide. Whoops........after getting free and clear the messages were resounding around the way were we going in there; most boats were over 6' draft. We pressed on and got into Bahia de los Suenos after dark, some anchoring challenges for us all off the beach there. It is a great anchorage and wonderful beach; the resort is something else.

The next day we scheduled our impromptu guitar
concert. Ed (co-chair of the Fubar) is a great country singer and had also had been corrupted by me to learn some Santana and Eric Clapton. It was quite an afternoon. Black Magic Woman blasting out to the fleet, what fun. No wonder Ed looked worried - but it was absolutely fantastic, what a warm up for the party. We went ashore and to the Train Room at the Gran Sueno Resort - yes - model electric trains......for a truly excellent party and supper.
We moved on eventually and headed for La Paz, Mexico, our final destination, and the capital town of the Baja. What a great marina and what a nice town. The marina complex here has all you need. The town is laid back, quiet, one of those places that has whatever you need but it is not in your face. There is no street hassle; the tourists here are a required commodity and need to be nurtured.

And so we are at the end of the Fubar. A great Thanksgiving Dinner and thank you to Ed and Don, our Co-Chairmen. You did a great job. A thousand miles of new friendships and new horizons, not to be forgotten for many a year. Thank you to our crew, Iain and Sandra. And to the Admiral for putting up with me. And to Barb at Hatton Marine for getting Johnny's new exhaust bracket here in only 48 hours. Wow.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Fishing Was Good!

Well here is one happy camper! Iain with his first fish. Yes it must be very difficult for a Scotsman to admit that he didn't learn to fly fish for salmon either in Scotland or Canada but it was great to see that ear to ear grin when the flashy dorados started homing in on our lures. We had pulled out of Turtle Bay at a leisurely hour for the 231 mile run south further down the Baja. A beautiful moonlit night and in the morning we were set to traverse The Ridge, a 100-fathom bank where fish congregate. The lures went out soon after dawn and then it got really busy. We had four lines out at one point and then cut down to two because it was hard to keep up. The zipping of those reels sent us into a frenzy of
activity pulling in the other lures while someone took on the next dorado. We had already caught a couple of smaller ones and also bonito but today's harvest was a 5-dorado bonanza including a couple of good bulls. I was trying to remember all the tips for processing these fish; I think the trick is to make a shallow incision around the whole side filet. Then pull the skin off from the head end. It is then easy to cut to the backbone and cut away the filet, with some tidying around the ribcage. I managed to get them prepared pdq on our stern filetting table before we anchored in Bahia Santa Maria for a well deserved night's rest.

The next day we had a short 29 mile run to Bahia Man O'War. There is a small friendly fishing village and they had organised a fish fry for us. Great tacos and plenty of Tecate Light Beer............oh well, you can't have everything. At least there was a lot of fish!
We also had our introduction to a Dinghy Poker Run. Yes, exactly, what is that?? Well it all boils down to running between three designated boats in the anchorage and answering Nautical Trivia questions. It just so turned out that our Number Two tender (aka "Prawnbasher") turned plenty of heads, it is not often you get a Portabote among the Nordhavn planing dinghy-ites. And we were lucky with the Trivia...........and, Iain is an expert poker player! Well, here we are with our winning grins at ending up with a Straight Flush and first prize, thank you to West Marine for the sponsorship. 

The next morning we were on our way again and the lines were out in the late afternoon over another fishing spot in the Baja Fishing Atlas..............this time I chose the biggest lures in the bag, what was going to try to eat these? Within an hour there was a huge zip from the starboard reel. I grabbed the rod and there he was, a long long way behind the boat, my first marlin. He looked big, although he was a way away, and he came again and again out of the water, dancing on his tail, trying to shake off the hook. Eventually I had brought him fairly close to the back of the boat. I had the reel on full drag but he wasn't ready for a clean release, he just dived powerfully right under the boat and was gone. I stowed the rods; we couldn't top that. We had a quiet evening under way. Our night watch routine is now well rehearsed; we leave the Admiral to the owl spot from 9pm to midnight; then me until 3am; Iain takes the watch through dawn until 6am. Through the night the FUBAR fleet of about 30 boats closed on the point at Cabo and we were taking care with speed and heading as the group bunched for the point. At dawn we suddenly met a lot of traffic! Every sportfisher in Cabo was pouring out of the harbour coming straight for us; the marlin rush hour was on. By 0745 we were in our slip moored against a long line of touristy restaurants and bars. Yes, it was time for a leisurely breakfast on the Malecon right behind the boat, followed by a couple of hours sleep.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

To Mexico on the FUBAR rally

After two busy days working with our crew, Iain and Sandra, we headed out of San Diego at 0530 underway for Ensenada, Mexico. It was a good trip; the log records 8 blue whales and a dolphin pod. We had already pre-cleared into Mexico and so all we needed to do was moor at our slip and head off for supper. It was great to see friends Kevin and Anna on the next dock with their Nordhavn 62; it was hammering down with rain and Kevin kindly shuttled the six of us to the Brazilian restaurant. A few caipirinhas later everything was looking good!

We took on some fuel at Ensenada since it is cheaper than in the US; the fuel dock gets a truck a day - 5,000 gallons - so they were hard pressed to deal with the thirsty FUBAR boats - 40-odd boats getting a thousand gallons each................anyway, we survived a bit of rationing. There was plenty of time for us to explore the town, and we were pleasantly surprised. Plenty of good restaurants. Very friendly and courteous people. A wonderful famous bar which has been there since 1864. An HSBC Bank. And an internet access SIM card from Telcel which worked first time (ran out pretty quick however).And our first en-route rally function, there was a communal supper so we were able to meet up with the folk who had been to the seminars and find more travelling companions. Probably around a hundred and fifty people in all.

After getting our Mexican paperwork we were underway for the long leg to Turtle Bay, some 290 miles, and the first overnighter. We were sort of travelling in a long convoy so there was plenty of radio chatter through the night. Weather was calm and there were more whales, minke and grey, and the odd turtle. Turtle Bay was quite a sight with the FUBAR rally boats all arriving and getting their anchors down. Actually the village there has seen better times - there used to be a cannery here but of course that went out of action and now the villagers survive on fishing. At this stage of the rally the weather forecast started changing for the worse and captains elected either to run from the storm or go to the beach party at a local bar and ride it out here at anchor. Pangas took us to the shore; the skill of the drivers was pretty impressive since they needed to land us at a rusty old ladder on a fixed pier. After the tacos and margaritas the sea had come up even more and the pangas ferried us back, with great difficulty, it was a major effort getting on board. During the night the storm was relentless; it was reassuring that we had set the anchor hard and laid out a hundred and fifty feet of chain. And in the morning, the storm had passed.

More later...........

Friday, October 28, 2011

Briefly home to Panama and back

We had reached the point that we had cracked most of the preparations for voyaging further South so we booked our flights and went home to Panama. That gave rise to another list of things to do! Honestly life can get so complicated these days. I blame the internet and the technological age. It seems that we are now capable of multi-tasking and constant motion every minute of the day. Or perhaps it's just me?

It was great to see our apartment in such good shape and well looked after by our support team headed by the Thermo Queen herself. And we were curious to see the view from our apartment of the new Luxor Towers building across the street - well here it is. Not too bad! Thankfully our city vista is largely intact, at least until the next thicket of skyscrapers gets built. Panama City had changed even in the six months that we had been away. The diablo rojos are largely gone, and people now wait for a scheduled Metro Bus service from a bus stop! They are already building the Metro (Subway, Underground, Tube). There has been considerable progress to distance Panama from the Third World over the past few years; let us hope that successive governments here will continue the process. The economy has been growing at near nine percent over the last four years but perhaps there will be a slowdown in the growth rate, I am not sure. We seem to be completely insulated from the economic problems around the world; I presume it is the immense demand generated by business migrating away from the neighboring countries with political problems (Venezuela, Mexico).

On the Monday we stepped up the pace and I went off to finalise my Permanent Residency papers. It has only taken three years after all! Then we went to HSBC. While we were away our relationship manager changed - or left - and we were left incommunicado; just one of the pitfalls of itinerant lifestyles - you really do need to be ahead of the game in planning how to organise things from afar. I then went to another of my un-favorite places, yes, the phone company. These companies are the bane of one's life - Cable & Wireless (Panama), AT&T (USA), Rogers (Canada) .............managing our accounts effectively is a trial. (Soon we will be off to Mexico and I will have the pleasure of starting a new relationship with Telcel.) Other visits were the water company (easy) and the car insurance (easy). And then our doctor, and no we do not need any more vaccinations! We also dropped into collect our mail and found the usual bundle of things we had dealt with months ago. But there was the odd little gem in there that had got under the radar. A refund from AT&T, I should get that framed. Unfortunately the admin of one's life is relentless and never seems to get any easier; but at least I can whinge to you all about it!

It was delightful catching up with friends and our timing was brilliant, the annual Felipe Motta wine fair. The ticket is $20. There were about 300 wines on taste from 50 suppliers around the world. Susie and I wrote our tasting notes all over the book (yes the writing did deteriorate over the evening) and the next day used the $15 voucher from the ticket to buy a few bottles of the wine that we had selected for the grand sum of $5 a bottle, the net cost was notalot. The amazing thing is that the wine market in Panama is so young, and so vibrant, and the producers are so keen to get their product in and established. Competition at its best. And there is no excise duty; now that is my kind of shopping. Moving on............I will pass over the Proprietarios Meeting for Edificio Crystal............we went to the Ancon Theatre and saw a hilarious play, great fun. And then off for the weekend to the beach. Plenty of guitar playing and some excellent margaritas.

I was motoring through the emails on Monday morning and found a blog posting from another Nordhavn 55, "Just Believe", who had just arrived at Flamenco and were going to transit soon. I went down to the marina to meet them and see if there was anything we could help with. We ended up going to one of our favorite restaurants, Manolo Caracol, for supper to which we were very kindly treated. Jim and Julie hail from Texas and they have a ranch with zebra, donkey, elk and other critters. Just your ordinary Nordhavn owners then!

So here is today's photo selection from our apartment in Panama and one of Susie's masterpieces 'Canned Heat', which was selected for an exhibition. I am afraid the photo does not do it justice, it is approximately 5' square. Susie seems to be working on quite a number of pieces at the this space.

We are now back in San Diego. "Last Mango" is in the final stages of preparation for our departure to Mexico. We have another week here to get ready and get our crew briefed! Providing they have recovered from Felipe's wine offerings............

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Serendipitous Moment

Happening upon something one does not expect..............

A friend had suggested a Mexican restaurant near San Diego Old Town, El Agave. Guess what it is famous for. We had wandered around the Old Town for a while but then the mission grew strong and we were looking for El Agave. In the end we asked four times for directions and, finally, there it was way out of range several blocks away. Why did we make such an effort to find this place? Going to be worth it? Well, after a good house margarita things started looking up. The menu was looking good.........I strolled around the restaurant in my usual restless way and found a table by the window where we could watch the sunset, getting better with every sip I can assure you.

So there we were. Here was the view to the inside:

   A thousand tequilas........the guy was quite a collector. The restaurant walls were lined with display cabinets, hundreds of bottles everywhere.

We took to our table. And suddenly, the Admiral said: "Oh my God" - or words to that effect. This is what she had seen in the display absolutely right next to our table:

The serendipitous moment. The great mystery is solved. Yes, the name of our wonderful floating home is enshrined as a brand of tequila. And not just any brand, Jimmy Buffett's own developed variety, Margaritaville "Last Mango". After all, he did write a song of the same name and also named one of his boats "Last Mango". And he had a Nordhavn at one time............

So: analysis. Was it fate that led us to find the restaurant and sit at that particular table? What if we had never seen the display? Are there times when one has missed these opportunities and never known how close they were?


Sunday, October 9, 2011

San Diego and The List

Since our arrival in San Diego we have been slogging our way through the punch list. Looming departure from the ready availability of everything to do with boats seems to spur one into full preparation mode; I have been living up to my reputation to the Admiral of being "List-Man" numero uno. Within a day or two of our arrival we had lined up our projects and started the plates spinning on their poles.

The generator now has a new starter motor and the old one has been rewound for a spare. I had succeeded in my mission to get the wing up to the 50 hour level and that triggered the "large" service after the run-in period. My escapade with the bow thruster in the 'Charlottes required a review of both thruster drive connections and  replacement of worn parts. The flirtation with varnish for the teak rail around the cockpit has come to an end; that has been stripped and simply sealed; there is just too much fishing activity for pretty varnish finishes to survive in our cockpit. The sub-zero freezer drawer has now been meticulously re-engineered by Eddie and shouldn't ice up like the Antarctic any more. Stanadyne - diesel additive - was found by yours truly at a very reasonable price on the internet and we probably have enough on board to trade our way across the Pacific rather like Captain Cook's beads. Chevron's oil production peaked this month and much is residing as ballast downstairs, along with various other necessary fluids, found at very reasonable prices on the net. We drove up to Irvine and "slept" in the Handcraft Mattress factory; an extended period on board deserves replacement of our current pallet with something really comfy. Talking of Irvine, home of Intellian, we are installing a satellite communications platform so that we can remain in email and voice contact without depending on shore-based systems. Tim at SeaNet Inc is our comms guru and deals so patiently with me as I tiptoe into the 21st century. Chart research has been done and we are on course for Navnet chips; MaxSea downloads, and paper back-ups. Admin has been tackled with my usual gusto; we have our temporary import permit for Mexico; fishing licences; special Mexican insurance, crew list in espanol.......... And on the shore power front, I have decided to go with the ASEA shore power management system. I crunched the math and decided that connecting to alien shore power in a Tahitian marina would beat running the generator every day. What else can I bore you with? Spare parts orders from our internet-based maintenance system run by Wheelhouse Technologies. Watermaker service. AC service. Honda outboard service. Oh yes, and a new bank of starter batteries. Mere detail............

All I can say is thanks to Keith and all the team at Driscolls for their diligence in looking after Last Mango. We do enjoy being here on Shelter Island.
The yard is opposite the Marlin club established back in 1931. They have decades of records on the catches made; unfortunately the one in the picture was not able to be released and it made it to the public weigh station at the Club. We will make every effort to make sure that any sailfish we may hook up are released in good shape. Shelter Island was a mere mud bank in the early 20th century; now it is a haven for every conceivable supplier of yacht services. The harbours are full of ocean going yachts and the serious fishers who migrate south soon when the hurricane season ends.
This home made ravioli was served at Il Fornaio, in Coronado. It received a "Best Ever" Admiral rating, and my scallopine was as good as I have had in Sicily. This part of California has developed so rapidly over the past 150 years; prior to that these lands were explored or annexed by Russians, Portuguese, Spanish, Mexicans.........In the early 19th century the Roman Catholic church owned 90% of settled land in California; after the war with Mexico, California was part of the Mexican Cession transferred to the US. The population of California then was boosted firstly by the Gold Rush and also homesteading Confederate soldiers after the Civil War. Susie and I were desperate to get out of town for a while and so we took to the hills and went to Bed & Breakfast land in historic Julian, a couple of hours away. Up there in the sunshine we walked around this charming little place famous for Mom's apple pie and local cider. In 1860 the town was founded by two cousins who needed to head West to find a home after the war. Even walking round the town today it seemed little had changed, except that the gold has run out.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

PMYC Homecoming

Well here we are. We had called ahead and asked if Last Mango would be able to squeeze back into the friendliest slip on the West Coast, and Alan was right there waiting to give us a hand with the lines, thank you Alan. What a trip we have had, nearly 6,500 miles since we left the club in April 2010. This time we knew that we would fit in the slip, thanks to Sparky's "measurements" last year, and so Susie and I were happy to just get right on in there, after all there are those eighteen inches to spare. It was a great homecoming for us and we were able to catch up with the many characters at the club and make more new friends. Our thanks to Mike for introducing us to the club in the first place, and to the current Commodore, (another) Mike and his other half Candy, for being just, well, so wonderfully accommodating.
We are struck by how hard working all of the officers of the club are. The club opens well before we start to emerge and folks are always there until late. Susie and I wanted to make sure we made our small contribution so here we are doing our Officers of the Day. Yacht club pours, Margaritas, Bloody Marys. And that was just the breakfast session! What a great experience for us, we so enjoyed running the bar for most of the day. Alas, we had to move on after the weekend and so I had to run the club gauntlet of whether I could extricate us from the slip without crunching into the neighbouring docks, yachts and tenders. Hopefully the watchers put up the metaphoric "10".
So, I need to report on the FUBAR preparations. We are booked on the rally, leaving for Mexico on 7 November, and we did actually make the two-day prep seminar at the LBYC. This is a very well organised rally and we covered a lot of ground; getting one's vessel ready for travel, first aid and safety, routes, charting and navigation, fishing and regulations, and the Mexican tourist board even attended and cleared us into Mexico. All we need now is a blender and the right ingredients! And of course, our crew, Iain and Sandra. And, importantly, I have teamed up with one of the co-chairs of the rally and we now have our scratch FUBAR 2011 band. Ed has put together the set list and it is going to be fun!

So, back to reality. We departed Los Angeles and headed south, a night in Dana Point, Nordhavn headquarters country. After another day here we are in San Diego, to start our preparation routine for further travels. To put things in perspective, we have allowed ourselves a few weeks here to ensure that we cover as much ground as possible in preparing Last Mango for onward travel and probably a couple of years through and across the Pacific. Electrical power access, usage and generation has been on our minds for the last few weeks. Specifically we are looking at the best way to access and utilize non-60 cycle dock power (outside North America); our house battery bank needs replacement; and our starter motor on the genset needs replacing. We will also work through the extensive shopping list we have put together for maintenance, spares and purchases, improved offshore communications, charts and guides.

The FUBAR rally starts on 7th November and runs to the 22nd November when we should be in La Paz, more or less at the foot of the Baja. We had been thinking of pushing on to Panama for Christmas and then departing across the Pacific via the Marquesas but have changed our minds. Much better to save thousands of miles and have a leisurely cruise around the northern Pacific waters of Mexico including the Sea of Cortez; we can then join the Puddle-Jumpers and depart straight for the Marquesas from, say, Puerto Vallarta in March.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

That Pigweed event

We were under the Golden Gate bridge just after dawn for our run to Monterey and the conditions were good; a long cautious turn to the south to avoid swells in the shallows in the "Potato Patch" area. Monterey Harbour was busy for the weekend and it was difficult to allocate us a slip, so we ended up on the end tie just inside the harbour. The swell during the night was extreme, and the constant barking of the sea lions in their playpen just a few yards away was just too much, so we hurried to friendly Moss Landing in the morning for a far better mooring option. That put is in a great position to rendez-vous with our best friend from Panama, known to all as K.A.P. It just so happens that in her youth she attended high school with the queen of Chualar Canyon who has a wine label called "Pigweed". Let's deal with the name first. The Californian goosefoot plant was called "chual" by the indians and "lambs' quarters" by the botatinists...........the common name is "pigweed".
JoAnn and her husband organise a substantial fund raising event for the benefit of troops in Iraq. Friends and friends of friends turn up and enjoy one humungous party with music, dancing, food................and, of course, that wonderful Pigweed wine. All we need to do is participate in the good cause (this year's target was $10,000) and we actually bottle the year's production. The bottling line deals with something like 25 bottles a minute; being on the production line took me back to my college vacation work at the Royal Forest factory, Gloucestershire, bottling Ribena! As you can see in the photos one needed to apply quite a degree of concentration to the bottle-filling process, especially by the time we had got onto the red which was later in the day. By then the effects of the white had mounted up! If you lost concentration the siphon effect of the supply dried up and you had to suck the wine through..............this meant that just everyone on the bottling line had a great time!

We had a fantastic day, and our thanks to the wonderful Pierce sisters who made it such a memorable occasion. We ensured that we got completely lost on the way back to the boat, not even the diligence of the designated driver could quite negotiate the twists and turns out there in the California desert. We eventually stopped and asked the way and got perfect directions to Moss Landing. Our good Samaritan then announced that he was an unsighted person, well, that was just another memorable incident of a great weekend. And by the way, if you find yourselves in Moss Landing at supper time, you will need to go to Phil's Fish Market and Eatery for dinner. One of those classic eateries. It is a large fish warehouse and market, with room easily for a couple of hundred people to eat. No table service, you line up at the counter to put your order in with the kitchen. The food is fantastic and the place is packed; the prices are remarkably low. Some people just get it right.

I had been monitoring the weather twice a day and calculated that Sunday night was a good time to round Point Conception. Kathy came aboard and we headed south. The cruise was absolutely fabulous with perfect weather and sea conditions. The swell subsided and seas were 0-1'; wind less than 5 knots. Sunset was followed by moonrise, and we had moonlight all night. Just at the Point, we had a beautiful sunrise. By the late afternoon, after a 236 mile run, we were tied up at Channel Islands Yacht Club, Oxnard, another very hospitable place.

So here we have - Sunset, the Full Moon, and Sunrise. And flat seas.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Oakland Yacht Club, Alameda

Here we are at OYC and the picture on the right shows our friends from S/V Estrellita tied up at the guest dock in front of us. They took only six days to sail here from Tofino, Vancouver Island, and they found the sun. With the right weather, everything is possible. OYC's hallmark is to be the "Friendliest Yacht Club on the Bay" and we can vouch for that. Once again we have met great people here and look forward to catching up with them on the airwaves or in a distant place. Also next door is the Encinal Yacht Club, again a great place to meet up. New friends the Rossi family were kind enough to take us out to Berkeley one evening to broaden our horizons and we hope to see them later in our travels.  Alex showed up unexpectedly from his Alaska trip to make sure that we didn't miss the award winning noodles made while you wait at the Ark Chinese restaurant, Alameda. I also recommend the great food at the India Palace.

The island city of Alameda has a gentle pace of life and we brought out our folding bikes to ride most days. There are reputedly the highest concentration on Alameda of Victorian homes which escaped the 1906 earthquake in which an estimated 3,000 people lost their lives. At the time a figure of 375 deaths was fabricated by government officials who feared the truth would hurt real estate prices. Of course that sort of thing doesn't happen today.............of course not. Here are the photos of our bikes ready to ride and another photo of them folded and packed to stow in their cubby hole in the engine room.
Here also is our photo of one of those iconic San Francisco streets, you know, the ones that go up, then up,
then up even more. And you can imagine those police cars coming careering down just like in the old TV series. Yes, we did all watch them, you had better own up. One day we took the BART over to San Francisco from 80 degree Alameda to 65 degree San Franciso; the Admiral was particularly keen to view the bojagi-inspired exhibition at the Museum of Folk and Craft Art. Now I know all about Korean wrapping cloths; if it is educational it is good, right?
We have done boat chores and homework also and are ready to depart tomorrow at 0530 for a long run to Monterey. I have been watching the weather forecast twice a day all week since we have first tomorrow the San Francisco bar and later in the week, the "Cape Horn of the Pacific", Point Conception. I have been monitoring the forecasts for the two buoys Point Argello and Harvest, that is where we will be Sunday night if all goes according to plan. It is essential to get this weather right. You will remember our caution in the down transit to California and that we reckoned we just crept under the wire before last week's gale. S/V Gypsy Soul were not so lucky, the Coast Guard rescued these experienced sailors early Friday morning in 30 ft seas and 60 knot winds; a hatch was stoved in by the seas and they were unable to cope with the amount of water coming aboard. Prepare, prepare, prepare and then be cautious. And good luck would also be very useful.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ben's Guest Blog from San Fran

We've arrived in San Francisco from our roughly 56 hour run from Newport, OR!  Recall that we were trying to squeeze past Cape Mendocino before the serious weather moved into that infamously tricky point by Tuesday night and Wednesday and we were able to do just that.  As we approached the latitude of Mendocino Sunday afternoon, well off the coast about twenty miles, the USCG weather reports curiously started giving forecasts for less severe weather in the near coast range (0-10 miles) than for the offshore range (10-60 miles).  Go figure!  So we changed course slightly and maintained a 6-8 mile cushion from the shoreline through the night.

Although this was the right move, it didn't mean that we escaped one hundred percent of the rough stuff - a 'near gale' joined us for dinner and stayed for the sunset.  Thirty knot winds and seas of 8-10 feet, both following us from the north luckily, made for a moderately bumpy ride for a while.  It seemed as if the cockpit was going to be swallowed up by each approaching wave, nearly cresting onto the swimstep (see photo).  Nothing the stabilizers and an extra pillow (to keep from rolling out of bed!) couldn't handle, and by mid-day Monday the seas had calmed to an easy 3-4 feet, perfect for our passage under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Besides that slight weather hiccup, the transit was more or less straightforward and easy.  Noteworthy for me, however, was one of the most memorable birthdays I've spent, complete with one of Susie's famous three-layered carrot cakes!  (If you're planning a birthday, try to schedule it while you're on board Last Mango - you won't be disappointed!) 

Now in San Francisco Bay, we've stopped at KKMI Boatyard for some troubleshooting of the house battery bank which doesn't seem to be holding a charge and to look into the anemometer (wind indicator); it's nonfunctioning forcing us to use more primitive devices such as the 'door-ometer' (the arm strength required to open or close the pilothouse doors under the force of the wind).  Hopefully we'll be able to move on to our planned mooring at the Oakland Yacht Club tomorrow, where David and Susie will stay until next week before they head further south. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time onboard Last Mango and I'm deeply thankful to my hosts for their hospitality along the way.  I'll be following the blog as their journey continues and will be wishing I was going the full distance with them.

Written by Ben

Friday, August 26, 2011

Washington to Oregon

Mercifully, our time in Port Angeles was brief. Since we had a free afternoon the waterside trail beckoned but, although the burghers of PA have tried their best, it will probably be a while before the trail is truly scenic - the smoking towers of the paper mill do tend to dominate the landscape. In the morning we were delighted when UPS delivered our precious hydraulic system part at 1000 and within an hour it was fitted by our guest engineer, Ben. Excellent! So, it actually took less than 24 hours to diagnose the problem and get the part shipped from the Californian manufacturer. It is a shame that Last Mango can be brought to her knees by a $150 switch 2 inches long but if you want the stabilizers to work................. such is boat life.

By midday we were on our way again up the Strait of Juan de Fuca. On the right is our view of the water - not a bad day at all! Glassy, smooth, perfect. We headed to our last anchoring stop, Neah Bay, before we head round Cape Flattery and turn South. Looking forward at the weather, I could see that the most difficult part of the trip is going to be Cape Mendocino, California; from midnight Tuesday the wind forecast is in the 30 to 40 knot range so that certainly is going to mean we have to have crossed the San Francisco bar by then. So, first thing yesterday morning we were on our way at first light and headed out and round the corner.
And here is what we encountered straight away - fog. Visibility was around a quarter of a mile so we watched carefully for the local salmon boats on the radar. The fog cleared around noon. Afterwards the weather got better and we had a good run down the Washington coast. In the late evening, first watch, there was some traffic some 20 miles off the Columbia River, then the traffic died out as we headed South. With three of us on board, we can neatly divide the nine hours of darkness into 3 three-hour watches; 2100-2400; 0000-0300; 0300-0600. In the morning we cruised down the coast and headed into Oregon and one of the less menacing bars to enter, Yaquina River, Newport. I had been recommended this stopover by another Nordhavn owner who has his home port here. On the Oregon Coast, all the ports are on rivers and each river has its own sand bar. The bars are impossible to enter in rough conditions and can be difficult to enter in good conditions, especially on an ebb tide. It takes some planning and listening to the weather and the bar condition announcements made by the Coastguard, along with a study of the tide tables.
Ben and I are here at the most important bar! It just so happens that the famous Rogue Brewery is next to the marina. And we can vouch for the IPA which is called 'Brutal"; I have a worrying feeling that is what it feels like the morning after. In the morning we are going to leave as soon as we have the flood tide - sometime after 0600. The weather at Mendocino is up to 40 knots from Tuesday pm so we are going to get out of here and head South; we have a two-nighter run to San Francisco and should arrive there Monday evening - I have booked us a guest slip
at our favorite yacht club, Oakland, for a while to recover.
We just have to wait and see what the weather gods are going to throw at us. We have a small craft advisory here in Oregon for the next 36 hours which we believe we can cope with.  And we have a situation where the offshore waters (over 10 miles offshore) should be better than the inshore waters. And we have the deteriorating situation at Cape Mendocino. We hope to get through the area before the problem develops. this space.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Port Angeles Diversion

Half way up the Strait of Juan de Fuca we have diverted to Port Angeles for an unscheduled engineering stop.

Backing up a little on the story, on Monday morning we set off from Gabriola at 0600, first light. The weather had changed significantly and we were heading into over 20 knots of South wind. It was a Small Craft Advisory all day (Last Mango is not a "small craft" - Ed) and further up the Strait of Georgia there was even a gale warning. The seas were fairly flat but wind streaked. We had an easy passage into US waters and went into the routine changeover from Rogers to AT&T (for our internet and telephone) and swapping the courtesy flags. The weather actually got worse and worse and at the Friday Harbor customs dock yours truly was soaked by the driving rain. But our day was brightened straight away when the familiar figure of Officer Tarantino stepped out of the CBP shed, looked at us and immediately said "It's the Panamanians!". Since we already had our cruising licence (issued in Alaska) and already had our visa waiver stamp (from Seattle on Friday) there was, unbelievably, no paperwork at all. Knock me down with a feather. Just the usual questions, like do we have any of that Cuban rum Sir? Er, no. And we didn't have any peppers or tomatoes to cut open either. Ten minutes later we were on our way to Anacortes dodging the San Juan ferries, which I think actually have a location round some headland or other where they multiply in secret. On the way to Anacortes we wandered into a procession of Grand Banks who were obviously on a rally. In line, all with AIS on, faithfully following their leader. I stepped on the revs and rather unfairly did my 10 minute WOT (Wide Open Throttle) routine just before Anacortes and smartly tied up at the fuel dock while they all circled hopefully. Just to answer your question, yes, a GB will always need fuel. But what they didn't know is that I had not fueled up since Alaska! And that I still had over a thousand gallons in my tanks! But I am afraid that they did have to wait while I loaded up another 1,250 gallons. And the price..........had gone down by nearly half a dollar since April, so that was a good surprise. That fuel dock is the second busiest, apparently, in the United Sates, does a massive turnover of fuel. So it is (a) fresh and (b) cheaper than other places ($3.50 per gallon). While we were fuelling our crew member arrived - good timing to assist with docking in our slip in the marina since the wind had increased even more. Ben Lee is our crew - a very bright engineering graduate with a lot of hands on Nordhavn experience; in between advanced college courses at present.

This morning we started off on our 86 mile course to Neah Bay; the weather had flattened out totally and things were looking settled at least for the first part of the trip. But, at the first engine room check - carried out every two hours while under way - we immediately noticed a leak of hydraulic fluid from the stabilizer manifold. There have been the occasional drips here before but this is different; it is a persistent leak. After some inspection and observation we checked out the manuals available on the internet, and then called the TRAC service contacts to discuss the problem. The consensus was that the low pressure monitor was probably compromised or ruptured inside, and that what is now a small leak could easily worsen and become a massive leak as the system runs under 1,200 pounds of pressure. Not taking any action is not an option; the part needs to be replaced. It is really a question of whether we do this now, Neah Bay, somewhere on the Oregon Coast, or San Francisco. Having looked at the weather report for the Cape Mendocino Buoy, round which we need to pass in a few days, I want to be able to rely on my stabilizer system! So we have ordered the parts (thank you to Ernie Romeo from Trac for his most helpful assistance) and diverted to Port Angeles to await the Fedex delivery hopefully tomorrow.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quick England trip and Goodbye Canada (sob!)

Yes, this is unmistakably London. It is August 2011 and as you can see the recent public disturbances were nowhere near Tower Bridge I am pleased to say. Susie and I wanted to get to England and catch up with family and friends; we started in our old stomping ground in London and had a few days strolling round old haunts and a leisurely walk in the City to places where I used to work way back. It was high tide on the Thames and we happened to be near St Katherine's Dock; it reminded us of our first Nordhavn viewing about six years ago. Time has certainly flown since then.

Our timing was pretty good since the first weekend was Susie's brother's 60th birthday party. Steve is a great collector of fine wines and there was a concerted but failed attempt to make inroads into the collection. A great time was had by all, and we even had an extra day to recover which was a bit of a bonus.
The wildlife photos in England are a little harder to come by but this year Bev's tortoise harvest has been exceptional as you can see below. There are many more stll to come from the eggs; the hatched little fellows are wonderful in minature - see the 50p coin in the foreground of the picture.

Off to Devon we went with Susie's grandaughter to see my parents who are keeping very well. There was very important news to deliver - they are going to be great-grandparents and I am going to be a grandparent! No doubt there will be more news on this in due sometime in early 2012. Well, although our England trip was fairly short, it was wondeful to see all our loved ones and make plans for the future as regards various visits to the New World to see us. Yes!

While we were away the emails kept flying in relating to various future plans; life's admin does seem pretty relentless. It is probably my fault, making life as challenging as possible. And it is important to do some advance planning; unfortunately, when travelling far and wide by boat, a lack of forward arrangments can leave you stuck somewhere. Metaphorically of course. On the return trip, we flew from London to Seattle and stayed a very comfortable night at the Red Lion Airport Hotel. And there is a great place for supper nearby, the 13 Coins (check the frittata). Entering the US by airplane means that we qualify for visa waiver and will be able to take Last Mango down the coast to California for the next three months. So there was some method involved. After a night in Seattle, we had a 33 minute flight to Vancouver and a short hop by seaplane to Gabriola. Today we have cleaned the boat inside and out, done the pre-departure checks in the engine room, examined the route and the tides. I have been looking at the weather on windfinder, passageweather, buoyweather, oregon weather, every weather I can find ......... today there is a small craft advisory in the San Juans, and the weather at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca is unsettled. But it looks better for Wednesday so the fingers are crossed that we can round Cape Flattery and head South. Tomorrow we have a 66 mile run from the Gulf Islands to the San Juans to Friday Harbor then Anacortes. Familiar territory for us and we are looking forward to this terrific adventure of taking Last Mango to Panama over the next four months.

It will be very hard to say goodbye to Canada. We can't believe that we are actually leaving. We first entered Canadian waters on 22 June 2010. In the last year we have made many, many new friends here. And we have travelled three and a half thousand miles. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Our memories are full of happy times, beautiful places, and wonderful people. Thank you to all our friends in Canada; we have so much enjoyed our visit to this wonderful country.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Chilling out and Forward Plans

We had a chilled time in Victoria; in fact we always do! There are good walks along the water to Fisherman's Wharf, along with clams and mussels for lunch at Barb's. One evening we found good Indian food at JR's Curry House, it goes down well especially after the Hop Circle IPA which you can find at the Sticky Wicket. Then there are the book shops in Victoria; a seemingly endless supply of secondhand books to browse through; our bookshelves are getting nice and crowded. We very much enjoyed our few days but finally it was time to move on. We had picked a day when the wind was going to be 30 knots; we backed carefully out of our slip since the wind was already up in the harbour.There were only a few boats out that day, the cruisers we saw had no stabilizers and were being steered from the flybridge - no thank you, Last Mango nosed through the hefty seas no problem. We had an appointment to keep; I had been monitoring the main and gen hours carefully and we were coming up to a significant service for both, so I had called Delta Marine in Sidney to get everything checked over. We would have been quite happy to change fluids and filters but I wanted some expertise to do the valve clearances and all the other things on the 1,000 hour list. Johnny did appreciate the attention, after Kane had spent two days with him one-on-one, he was really purring. Thank you Delta Marine for a job very well done.

Goose-neck barnacles, Vancouver Island
  We left Sidney and headed north; I think Last Mango knows her way to Gabriola on her own. Pulling into Degnen Bay there was a certain eagerness to tie up at the friendly dock she was tied to over the winter. On this occasion, we will be here for just two or three weeks while we head off to Europe for a round of family visits.

Now we have a few spare days we have been able to do some planning for the months ahead. Indeed it is a luxury to have the time (and decent internet service!) to get things organized. One of the first things was to get our mail sent to us for the first time for six months. Through the four addresses we get with our Mail Boxes Etc service our mail accumulates in the local office around the corner in Via Argentina, Panama. All it takes is an email and it is FedExed to us wherever we are, and it took only four days to arrive. That was one day to go through it all and get up to date with the filing, reassured that there was very little that hadn't been already dealt with over the internet. And the magazine bank is now full once again. I even had some back copies of "Accountancy" to catch up on (no, don't take this seriously, they hit the recycling straight away! - with apologies to those that are not retired - yet).

I have now also had time to invest in reviewing Last Mango's bank of spares. In the forward hold (aka the "Wine Cellar" on some sister ships!) we carry a number of large storage boxes full of recurring maintenance items (oil and fuel filters) and some replacement parts for key systems. This is one area up for some serious review and we need to widen our spares inventory and extend the regular items - my plan is to give us a suitable measure of independence since John Deere/Northern Lights dealerships will be less frequent on our travels soon. Looking at forward plans, we leave Canadian waters later in August and head south. The first stretch is the notorious Washington and Oregon coast, known for its strong winds and few harbours, all of which can only be accessed after bar crossings timed at particular states of the sea and tide. We take on board an experienced crew member for this leg of the trip to San Francisco since we will probably have to stay well offshore for much of the passage to avoid the heavy seas - and the crab pots. Down in California we have some plans and we will take time to review our communications equipment to see what upgrades it might be useful to make. 
Scarlett fearlessly faces the raccoon........
And we will actually get to our yacht club, Pacific Mariners, in Marina del Rey. That is going to be a party!

Here in Degnen Bay the wildlife show carries on around us. From time to time a raccoon is bold enough to scout around the rocks on the shore underneath Rooks Haven but often he is detected by the fearless mother-and-son team of Scarlett and Winston. Susie and I have also been out exploring in the dinghy, there is a Sunday market over in Silva Bay where the Gabriola artisans sell their wares. We also went to dinner with friends Bill and Lyn from s/v Canik, last seen heading East from Haida Gwaii, who had sailed to Gabriola to meet up with other friends.....who knew our friends.....who knew.......(six degrees of separation theory proved again).

In the advance plan category, Last Mango is now signed up to join the FUBAR rally into Mexico in November. This is a biennial event for motor yachts and there are over 30 boats already signed up - including 8 Nordhavns - so far - so it should be quite a trip. Our good friends Iain and Sandra will join us as crew for the rally; Iain's sailing experience and their knowledge of Mexico and Spanish will be very useful. And FUBAR stands for Fleet Underway to Baja Rally, by the way, so we are not planning to be joined by Snafu, Tarfu or Fubar originals ("Three Brothers" 1944).

For advance visitor planning, after Mexico we are heading home to Panama for Christmas where we will be for a couple of months. Then, in February, we depart across the Pacific. This timing of a Pacific trip allows for about eight months' cruising across and through the islands before one exits the cyclone zone by November, when boats move on to New Zealand. For the first long leg of the Pacific crossing we have another captain with us. For the onward legs from French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Tonga we look forward to adventurous visitors!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tofino and back down "the Ditch"

He needs more room to dock!
From our anchorage in Friendly Cove we had a grandstand view of the sport fishing boats patrolling up and down with their downriggers just outside the bay. I was somewhat curious as to the salmon prospects so out we went in the morning with the hoochies and the flashers. Curiously enough, round the Point come the salmon. Out there the fishing was slow. But just outside the cove, only in 80 feet of water, we found the answer - suddenly our sounder was showing huge quantities of bait fish, and that was where the salmon were biting. Only half an hour later we had our supper (for several nights). We set off for our next destination, Hot Springs Cove, where there was plenty of room at the dock since we were a little late in the day. Just long enough for us to head off along the trail and for me to get my photo taken under the hot waterfall. 
That water is HOT!
The next morning we headed for Tofino. From reading the guides I found that
dock space is pretty limited in Tofino, so I had booked in at the Weigh West resort. Nothing to do with the fact that there is an excellent dockside pub there of course. Anyway, for those of you planning to take your boat to Tofino one day I have just this one word of advice - Don't! The current is just too tricky for comfort. At most states of the tide there is 3 or 4 knots passing along the dock. To get in there I had LM in full reverse gear; it was not a smooth operation, the only strategy was to get those docklines on damned quick! And getting out was not pretty, thank heaven it was 0630 and too early for spectators. There is a very narrow channel and shoal close by, and the current is rushing the wrong way. Still, Tofino is a busy tourist place and we enjoyed a few days strolling around the boutiques ( not me) and even going out for breakfast, now that we are near to civilisation.

After Tofino our next stop was Ucluelet, since we really wanted to walk at least some of the Pacific Trail again following on from our visit three years ago. That was the time there was a memorable dinner at the Wickanninish Inn, but that is another story. This time we docked in the small craft harbour at Ucluelet; a great place to moor up and very well managed by the harbour manager, Steve. Ukee is just the total opposite to Tofino. Very quiet and laid back compared to frenetic and full of tourists.

So it just so happened that the Pacific Rim Summer Festival was on, and Ucluelet was hosting the Rock section! I turned up for the workshop, led by Graeme, Spencer and Derek from Speed Control, a great band from Whitehorse, Yukon.

The workshop is mainly for local young musicians to play in a rock concert so we had two afternoons of rehearsals and then a memorable concert. This is the first time that I have ever actually performed "Smoke on the Water" or "Highway to Hell"! The youngsters that we played with had a great time; they had limited (ie none) live experience but after a few hours practice they were whipped into shape and shoved into the limelight! Speed Control asked me to jam with them and it was brilliant, loved every minute. Thanks guys, and good luck on the tours.

Stardom was short-lived and we headed off to sleepy Bamfield. Once again we had space at the public dock - we don't seem to have had any problems with getting space all the way up to Alaska and back. The boardwalk was good and also the short hike to Brady's Beach. We decided that we would return to civilisation and head to Victoria, so I looked at the route and the tides. Victoria is at the other end of "the ditch" - the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is a 90 mile run, so it is essential to get some help from mother nature. Once we were in the Strait, the flood tide would start running at 1144 and last until 1746 with a maximum speed of 1.3 knots. It may not seem much, but it means that our speed of 8.5 would get to over 10, much better than being knocked back from 8.5 down to 7. And the trip at that speed would be easily viable in one day - the actual journey took 11 hours. And the sea was wonderfully calm; after all, I had checked the weather. We travelled with new acquaintances on Northern Comfort, folk from Seattle. All along the Strait of J de F there were fishing boats at every headland and river mouth, just trying to catch those elusive salmon, who are all intent on getting home to spawn. Now here we are again at Victoria, on the floats under the Empress Hotel. It seems like home. Just to reward ourselves we headed for the Brasserie Ecole for supper Victoria is a city crammed full of restaurants, but the BE is highly recommended. Located in an unassuming part of town. You can't make reservations. At 630pm it is..........absolutely packed! I do love those places that just "have it", you can keep all the other restaurants in town but here the food, ambience, service, wine ..........(enough!).

We were last in Victoria 2,200 miles ago, on April 22nd. It really has been a great trip over the past few months. And we have now travelled over 5,000 miles on Last Mango. Here is some forward planning, important if you are planning a visit to us. We are heading soon up into the Gulf Islands where we will take a short break from cruising while we visit family in England. In five weeks' time we turn south and head for California; we will be in San Francisco in the first week of September and then Los Angeles thereafter. November we head into Mexico on the FUBAR rally.

A shot from the archives - Last Mango transiting Louise Narrows, Haida Gwaii. The channel dries at low tide. But is is dredged, so with a sensible level of high tide it is easily passable. But note the Admiral on the bow checking that we were in the middle of the channel and that there were no unexpected hazards.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Inland to Zeballos and Nootka

Checking on the weather at Kyuquot things were looking a little windy; time perhaps to head inland and circumnavigate Nootka Island? We headed up Esperanza inlet, a near 40 mile run to Zeballos; a place probably relatively infrequently visited by cruisers. There is a public wharf and thankfully there was enough space in the deep-enough water end. Without our bow thruster we were taking extra care docking, especially with wind or current.
Once we had tied up, there right in front of the dock was young bruin, taking his time chewing on the grass. We went exploring Zeballos, population 200. In the 1930's there were 1,500 people here for the gold rush, but it didn't last long. The remains of the town retain the old wild west character and ancient facades, and the walking trails are nice and wild. Linda at the Other Place Cafe will cook a superb breakfast, lunch or supper for you at virtually any time of day. The museum gives the history of a town which showed great promise for a while. In recent times there have been mysterious fires which have destroyed various buildings in the town; likely to be the indicator of social challenges which are endemic to the area. Although Vancouver Island has a sophisticated old colonial City - Victoria - at its southern tip, in the north and west there are tiny communities which struggle for their existence. Vancouver Island is about one quarter of the size of England - puts things into perspective; and there are some very remote areas. Our next stop, Tahsis, is another example of a community facing huge survival issues. A few years ago there was a lumber mill here and a population of 3,000. Now there are less than 300 people, and a tour of the virtually abandoned town was grim. Reminded me immediately of England.
Last Mango was docked at Tahsis right next to the Smokehouse Restaurant at the superbly run Westview Marina, run by Cathy and John. This is primarily a sport fishing lodge but they make all cruisers most welcome; the lodge is out of the town area and in its own cocoon. Dawn will handle your lines for you and cook a superb supper later. The girls will ensure that there is a steady flow of good ale to your patio table. And the fish coming in from the sport fishers were impressive; good size salmon and halibut.
The stop at Westview gave me an opportunity to investigate the bow thruster problem. An email to the Nordhavn Owners' Group gave me an immediate series of diagnostics to investigate - the experience around is such an excellent resource and it is essential to be plugged into the group which is exceedingly well run and moderated by Milt Baker. It seemed that the motor was running but not connected to the turbine. Taking the motor out I discovered that the three bolts securing the flexible coupling had all worked themselves free and were lying around the housing. Thankfully I was able to reconnect and tighten...........and we have our bow thruster again. Lack of it was good for boat handling experience but not good for the nerves.

It was good timing that there was
a "Rock around the Dock" night so it was great to play with Perry for his booking; then with Gooey-Duck Dave - a great new guitar player who is really into the old style of blues. And then we also played with Whelan, a BC lighthouse-keeper who has more stories than anyone we have yet met on this trip! On the run down the inlet into Nootka Sound we saw three bears nosing the beaches at low tide. Pulling into one small beach for a closer look we saw something else..............yes, a wolf, right there at the edge of the forest. A quick look around and he was gone. But the first wolf we have seen in the wild. We anchored at Friendly Cove, Nootka Island.

Nootka is another one of those locations full of intrigue and history which one comes across in BC. Friendly Cove has been continuously populated for over 4,000 years and when Captain Cook arrived in 1778 there were an estimated 4,000 people living there under Chief Maquinna. The little church has stained glass windows donated by the Government of Spain, to commemorate the signing of the Nootka Convention in 1790. But for that treaty, Vancouver Island could have been called Quadra and the local language Spanish. The treaty set aside Spain's claims to the Pacific North West (voyages dating from the 1490's) in favour of claims by Britain (Sir Francis Drake in 1579 and later, Cook). It has been all very well for the explorers to arrive in the eighteenth century and then the colonists to follow on later. Cook's log records a successful trading session on 29 March 1778; fifteen years later relations were fragile; Maquinna took the ship Boston on 22 March 1803, massacred her crew and seized her armoury. Issues between the descendants of the ingredient peoples continue to this day and no doubt will be around for many years to come.