Sunday, April 24, 2011

Apr 24, 2011 - Ganges Harbour to Vancouver: Goodbye Last Mango!

Well, the day started off lovely first thing as we set off from Ganges, but quickly turned miserable as we approached Vancouver - outdone only by our similarly miserable mood as the final leg of our two week cruise was sadly completed. Cruise highlights consisted of our negotiation of three ferries in Active Pass, the log boom alongside us on which several eagles and seals had caught a lazy lift, and my personal race to actually finish the blog we started...

Heading off to the airport soon, and we must say it has been a pleasure and a priviledge to cruise in Last Mango with her illustrious crew of David and Susie. We recommend it to everyone!

In a short overview...

374.58 miles were travelled by The Youngsters; 700 Scrabble tiles were placed; 40 cans of Canada Dry were consumed; 6 Telegraph Cryptic Crosswords were completed; 32 logs were avoided, 15 Captains Logs were written and who knows how many others...; 1 Carrot Cake was consumed in 2 days; 1 boy turned 39; 67 prawns were caught and consumed; 3 Ling Cod and 1 Rockfish were caught; 60 ropes were lashed and no boats were bashed; two kayaks were paddled, with 4 miles on the kayak-ometer; 1 black squirrel was spotted; 7 mating peacocks were watched; 2 anchors were dropped; 2357 photographs were taken (759 of those taken by Jo need to be deleted); 391 rules were broken - 1 very important one; 4 crew members were initiated; 9 successful dockings were completed; 2 language barriers were appreciated; 1 8th wonder of the world was 'discovered'; 30 letters make up the names of the Last Mango crew for the last 2 weeks; 2 Engagements were announced; 1 Easter was celebrated; 0 fish caught by Paul; 17 visits to well stocked general stores, for specific items; 1 Metalpecker spotted; 4 Firewhiskies consumed by two crew members; 1 man hug shared and 1 enormously fun holiday was enjoyed.

Lots and lots of love to Dad/David and Susie for a lovely time; thank you from all the Youngsters xxxx

Apr 23, 2011 - Ganges Harbour: Hello Spring!

We were lucky enough to share the hottest day so far for the Salt Spring Islanders, as the sun rose in a cloudless sky for a fantastic day of Canadian pursuits on our penultimate day of holiday. We started with a hearty breakfast and a mimosa, before several hours perusing all the island had to offer at the Saturday market stalls. The youngsters then headed off for some breathless hiking (with matching views) before enjoying some Granville Brewery reminiscing on an ignominous park bench in front of the harbour. We were then treated, in the evening sunshine, to a fabulous BBQ by the Captain before our final game of Scrabble. The girls ended on a high, reaching the dizzying heights of 370 after a ludicrously fantastic positioning of an 'X' and a "Z" before a phenomenal 7 letter word. "Singeing" has never felt so good - even after the carcinogenic lamb consumed by Paul for dinner. A really great day to end on - in a beautiful place.

Apr 22, 2011 - Victoria to Ganges Harbour

Once again we mixed up civilisation with desolation, and cruised our way from Victoria to Ganges Harbour on Salt Spring Island. The weather was utterly glorious and we descended upon the town on our arrival, enjoying ice cream, drinks and a walk out to the point to get our bearings. Whilst Joanna cooked up her famous Fish Pie for dinner, the boys enjoyed their last attempts at fishing by sitting out on the deck with a couple of rods, looking fairly desperate, but hoping to nab a fish to throw into Jo's pie... dejected, they returned to the boat, only to be rewarded by a seriously good dinner and blueberry pie to finish. Along, of course, with the nightly scrabble tournament - a hotly contested affair at this stage in the holiday.

Apr 21, 2011 - Victoria

For our full day in Victoria, the elders relinquished responsibility for the youngsters, and left us to our own devices. We firstly, responsibly, headed for a greasy spoon, the likes of which even English builders would reject. After a quick bout of shopping (Jo and Vic then) we headed back to the tourist centre to catch our Cruise Victoria bus to Butchant Gardens and the Butterly Garden. Both were absolutely stunning, the butterflies were one of the wildlife highlights of the trip. We meandered around, got some lunch, soaked up the Victoria sun and then headed back to town for (ahem) some more shopping, and then some real shopping at Thrifty Foods. By this point we were on our knees and actually caught a taxi back to Last Mango in her berth in front of the Empress Hotel. Dad came up trumps for dinner and landed us a table at Brasserie L'Ecole which was absolutely fantastic. Wine, fries, tuna, ribs, pate - even Calvados for the Captain. After several unnecessary repeat toasts, and a heap of fries later, we weaved rather uncertainly back to the boat to - basically - pass out.

Apr 20, 2011 - Princess Cove to Victoria: Welcome to Me!

We reluctantly left our beautiful cove early in the morning, slipping expertly between the still slumbering sailors in the two remaining boats. We reached Victoria by lunchtime and treated ourselves to a nice lunch on the harbourside complete with cocktails. Our mission afterwards was to find Roots, where - such tourists we are - we decided to equip ourselves in clothing identifying us as Canadians. Or, rather, Canada supporters. We then split up, the youngsters heading off in the direction of Beacon Park, enjoying a magic show on the way and encountered some impressive peacocks in the middle of a long mating ritual. After that we headed out all together to the Canoe Club where we amused ourselves watching Ice Hockey, drinking Dark & Stormy (Susie and my drink of choice) and eating fantastic burgers. Obviously wearing our new purchases (come on, we only brought hand luggage and we were here for 2 weeks!!) we were easily mistaken for Canadians. A great night!

Apr 19, 2011 - Nanaimo to Princess Cove

After enough civilisation we set off the next day towards the beautiful and picturesque Princess Cove. On our way we did a bit of wildlife spotting and lucked out on a couple of bald eagles, Rocky the Raccoon, and Sammy the Seal. As soon as we reached our gorgeous destination (all ours until a couple of sailing vessels joined us) we were all out on shore and in the kayaks, exploring the new found wilderness with gusto after a night spent in the Nanaimo metropolis. That night was Scrabble-gate, with a seriously difficult board, successful attempts at blocking and some impressive scoring. Although to be honest I can't remember who won...

David: "Don't forget boys, never piss into the wind"

Monday 18th April - Gorge Harbour to Nanaimo: Desolation to Over Population

We left Gorge Harbour in the very early hours of the morning and headed into Nanaimo for a rude awakening after enjoying pretty much deserted mooring for so long. Fortunately after a long enjoyable cruise (during which we all took turns taking the helm - terrifying) we were rewarded with a couple of drinks, some more competitive pool and - most importantly - a fabulous Mexican dinner at Gina's, complete with a few rounds of some serious margeritas. Maybe there is an up side to civilisation after all......

Sunday 17th April - Heriot Bay to Gorge Harbour: Birthday Boy

Today was Paul's birthday (21..... again) so Dan and Jo treated us all to a Birthday Breakfast (aka "All You Can Possibly Eat") at the Heriot Bay restaurant before we departed and waved a sad goodbye to Heriot Bay. Obviously, bearing in mind the boys' incredible propensity to catch absolutely nothing, it was Rods At Dawn again as everyone took to the stern for some fishing off Rebecca's Spit for exceptionally elusive Salmon. After a while everyone started blaming everyone else for our utter uselessness and it wasn't long before we set off again, the birthday boy somewhat dejected having been denied his Birthday Fish Bonanza. Susie fortunately managed to nab another Ling Cod (too small unfortunately so was delicately returned home by our on board vet nurse) and then Dan was blessed with the ugliest fish on the planet - a rockfish, which was similarly thrown back, but with slightly less tenderness. After that we cruised onwards towards the picturesque Gorge Harbour, where Paul and I (Vic) immediately disembarked into the kayaks and paddled around the serene inlet in the sun. That evening, I made a special birthday dinner for Paul, which was complimented by Susie's World Famous Carrot Cake, complete with candles and some terrible happy birthday singing.

Saturday 16th April - Heriot Bay: Spitting at Rebecca

Rising fresh and excited about the day ahead exploring Heriot Bay, we were greeted with a painful groan from the direction of the dining table, behind which Dad (David) was lying prostrate... a successful night apparently!

So the youngsters headed off in search of Adventure, equipped only with cameras and boundless enthusiasm. We walked all the way down to the end of Rebecca's Spit, in glorious sunshine and all the way back with the necessary pit stop at the well stocked (aren't they all?) general store. During the walk, Paul and Dan attempted a spot of caber tossing and Jo and Victoria succeeded in a spot of men-ignoring. When we got back Dad was successfully recovered and back in high spirits, so we set off again to the pub (there seems to be a theme emerging...) complete with guitar and amp to watch Dad jam with the local musicians - fantastic!