Well it’s Saturday morning and Carmen’s not here. So it’s appropriate we are headed to ‘Desolation’ Sound. I turn to my instant cup of Nescafé French Vanilla and add an extra scoop of sugar for its sweet, sweet comfort.
I got an email (albeit a very short one) from my mom. They passed us last night on their cruise ship on the way back from Alaska. They disembark this morning in Vancouver–a trip that took us 5 days.
Today is more groceries, but we will likely have to take a cab because of the distance and L’s stalwart refusal to mush like a sled dog. See what a PhD does to a person? We also have a Skippers’ meeting and a social planning meeting at 5. Leslie wants to go to the skippers’ and I want to go to the social but since it’s more feasible for me to do the skipper thing (since I did the legwork) we might have to toe the traditional gender lines…sigh.
Other than that, we might try and find a toaster, I might do some laundry or there might be some napping. Who knows what exciting adventures a day in a strange port might bring…
We grabbed showers and I washed out some shirts and skivvies. Then we grabbed the shopping list and headed up the hill on foot. The hill itself wasn’t too long but the walk tuckered poor L’s trigger points all out. She stopped at Safeway whilst I continued to the Canuck Tire and the bank for toasters and cash. On the way I noticed a Save-On and texted L. She decided to abandon the dirty stinking capitalist Safeway for the nice, revolution-friendly, right-thinking Save-On. Or something like that.
Then she got lost. For the 50 billionth time in our relationship I waited and waited and texted and called and started walking back and waited and worried and now I guess it’s obvious she must be dead or kidnapped by white/PhD slavers. What else could it be!
So it turns out she said “meet you here,” not “meet you there.” Huh. One little “t” makes a difference, doesn’t it? I’d eventually rechecked my texts and discovered that rather than lost, she just plain had no intention of coming. Now an editor would look at her phrasing and mark it up as ‘unclear’ but I’m not an editor–although funnily enough she is. So I guess we will just leave it at my mistake and move on.
Even though she’s done it before. But as I said, I’ll move on. Yup. My mistake. Move on. Moving on…
Anyways, we managed to pick up supplies and called a cab for the ride home. Delivery would have been $7 and we would have to wait till 3. The cab was $8.60 plus tip and we didn’t have to walk back. All is good.
Back in the boat we squirreled away the groceries in all the nooks and crannies. Including our newest crew member: a fresh potted basil we’ve (I’ve) named Carmen. That done, we planned our next and most important expedition: booze!
Down the path and up the hill, we first popped in the chandler and grabbed a wool touque because I think we (I) might need one. Tuesday was cold. Then we raided the booze store and loaded up. Beer, cider, wine: we got enough for a few nights if C was along, but it should last us the first week of the trip.
Back at the dock the Corus, a monstrous 50′ sailboat and our lead boat, was now docked two fingers up. So they’re here. I guess this is all a go.
Lunch, a beer and I decided to wash the boat while Leslie decided to refresh her memory on how to make toast. After I made Leslie toast, I went back to washing the boat. PhD’s and Toast: my next children’s book.
Boat clean, I went for a walk. And I finally met Larry. Nice guy. We chatted and discussed the squeaky belt as well as the uninflatable inflatable. He agreed that the inflatable needed inflating and the belt shouldn’t be squeaking. Like I said, nice guy, but not looking to volunteer help. I didn’t press him because it was easier to deal with it myself. But in a Sam vs Larry knockout round, Larry wouldn’t last a minute.
And that’s all I got to say about that.
I wandered over to Corus and borrowed their air pump and now suddenly our dinghy inspires a (small) bit of confidence. On the way back I complimented a fellow on his boat, the Half Moon, and he invited me aboard. It’s a late 70s Albin although I have already forgotten the model and I’ll have to look it up. A mid cockpit with both a wheel and a tiller, it was one of those well-designed, well-thought-out packages. He likened it to the old Volkswagen Westfalias and he was absolutely right. The same economy of design and simplicity that produces quality rather than curb appeal. A boat to remember.
Relaxing ensued. At 5 we headed to the Corus to find the meeting was changed to 6. Back to the Shearwater. I whipped up some oil and vinegar, a smidge of garlic and a pinch of sugar a la Moosh and then added sliced baguette for the required appies.
While we were waiting a Fisheries Cutter (a huge monster Coast Guard boat) started backing down our finger; turns out they intended to raft to the powerboat behind us. Of course they were so big they would have also rafted to us. GULP
After easing the behemoth in, the pilot changed his mind. He was worried his big bow flare might swing over in the night and crush our rail. I was worried the big f*cking boat might roll over in its sleep and sink me in the middle of mine. Different worry-sets I guess. So they eased the lines and tried again one finger over. Not sure if I’m happy or sad about that. Forgot to take a picture.
One finger over, they eventually gave up on that attempt and moved even further into the harbour. Good luck Sooke Post! It was nice chatting with you. While you tried to crush me. Talk about your repressive state apparatus!
So six o’clock found us grabbing the last half of my 1 litre local brew and a Strongbow for L, the bread and oil, and off we go for social hour. Have to say this was the epitome of what’s difficult about being social beings. Strange people, strange culture, strange place: what could possibly go wrong?
So it wasn’t so bad. We weren’t the last to arrive, but also not the first. Andrea, crew on the Corus, was one of those gregarious people who just talked and roped people in. We found ourselves perched in the cockpit and munching away, smiling, nodding and trying to remember names.
Syd is quiet. Very quiet. The Hartleys brought their daughter Shannon (probably late 20s, early 30s) and she’s got that natural frown that is bait for people like me. Make Shannon smile is now on my official to-do list. Ian seems cool, Laurence is dry, Anne is friendly and practical, the folks from Mariners Compass have a bit of a quirk to them that might prove very likeable: all in all, not the worst crowd to hang with for two weeks.
There are 30 people in total. On a boat with a prominent plate stating its max capacity as 12. Gotta love breaking the rules; we’s just one big pack of rebels.
As the gathering was breaking up Dave and Margaret from R Shack Island came up from below. Did I mention there were a tonne of people below that I didn’t actually meet? Well, there were. Anyways, they came up and we formally introduced ourselves. And then Dave started talking about something that sounded vaguely familiar, but I wasn’t quite connecting with.
In my third year of university, in a very dry and boring English course that I have completely forgotten about except for this one small instance, the prof started berating the class because they didn’t know how to write an essay as part of an exam. Eventually he finished up by starting to read what he considered a ‘good’ example of how to do it. I remember metaphorically rolling my eyes back in my head while I doodled away in my binder and thinking something along the lines of “what a wanker” at the author of said example.
The prof concluded his reading from the Book of Perfect Student by saying it was a pity that said student had obviously mismanaged his time and failed to complete the essay. “Wait a second. I had screwed up and not got my… ” Sure enough the dude had been reading my paper. I hadn’t recognized a word of it.
So back to Dave. It seems he was actually quoting me to me. It was, as L said, like something out of Harry Met Sally. My brain eventually caught up and sorted and filed the relevant data and I realized he said he’s been following along on the blog.
Hi Dave (and Margaret)
I’m so used to being the creepy internet stalker guy that I forget that other people can actually follow links too. I’d googled everyone a few weeks ago and started following R Shack’s Twitter feed. They’d followed back and I had assumed that was the end of it. Anyway, seems he found the blog and started to read along. I guess I will need to be less self-referential if I’m going to have a real audience.
In another moment of self-aggrandizement I mentioned my work on Lois’ books to Ian and he was thrilled (on behalf of his wife) to meet me. Gosh and C’s not here to deflate my head… I’ll guess she’ll pay when I get back.
So in the end, our hors d’ourvres were not so bad. Not as fancy as some, but better than the store-bought muffins. So while we didn’t win and crush, we were solid mid-pack. The people were nice all round and we left without any serious missteps.
Back aboard we opened the red, I fried up some dogs and we pigged out on things-that-aren’t-so-good-for-us. And chocolate.
Tomorrow we are off to Rebecca Spit. It seems the order of the day is boating free-for-all. Laurence passed out some info sheets and layed out his intended course and we are all to meet sometime later in the day. Talk was it was only 3 hours or so cruising, but I had it pegged as 5 plus. I’m sticking with my pessimistic view to be on the safe side.
Laurence says there is usually one good sail on his route so we will follow the inside. They are stopping for lunch at a sandy spit and I’ll have to see if my must-get-there-now brain has slowed down enough yet.
L’s doing dishes, I’m exercise my right to free speech and slurping blended Californian red and I fear very soon she intends to take advantage of me. It’s Yahtzee time.