- @lavermeer https://t.co/2ONCbO02VH 2018-03-18
- RT @Chiaunbae: I’m crying ?? https://t.co/r21YySh80z 2018-03-19
- RT @stalbertgazette: "I’ve grown up around seafood my whole life.” | https://t.co/7SKFHZbr2g| #StAlbert 2018-03-19
- RT @theboozephiles: Between the Sheets https://t.co/hA7PrMgq18 https://t.co/WWmNE7cYJN 2018-03-20
- RT @toxic_cute: Finished the stitching.
Now gotta tuck the excess and put a back on. ? https://t.co/xWHKopru2T 2018-03-21
- Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus – https://t.co/c1WXVOsi1s 2018-03-22
- RT @nugallao: by @hugleikur https://t.co/flHsFcx9LZ 2018-03-22
- RT @RandysVinylTap: "Bachman" will have its world premiere at the upcoming 2018 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival May 2-… 2018-03-24
- I so envy Europe's rail system. @seatsixtyone https://t.co/rZI2j2ATdx 2018-03-24
I mentioned in 2018 Wishlist post that getting our Scuba certification was something I had wanted to look into. I like the water and generally prefer to be under it than bobbing around on top so diving seems like a natural for me. And there have been several times in the boat ownership experience when being able to work on the boat below the waterline would have been helpful: checking/changing zincs, removing a tangled dinghy painter etc.. And snorkling without a wetsuit is often contra-indicated in our chilly water.
Against that I know I have control issues, mild claustrophobia and ears that don’t much like the deep end of the pool. I also remember reading Matt from Gudeon’s blog posts (SCUBA DIVING IN THE OCEAN IS FUCKING TERRIFYING) about when he got his certification in Victoria — the kind of creeping panic he experienced on his first dive is something I can really relate to. Maybe I don’t really want to do this? But why let that stop me?
The process of learning to dive goes something like this: you take an online study module (which in recent years has replaced classroom study), then do 4-6 hours of diving in a pool with instructors. After that’s done you have to do 4 separate open water dives over 2 days. If you pass you are certified to dive in open water down to 60 feet. There are several certifying agencies of which PADI (Professional Association of Divers) is the most prevalent. So I got it into my head that we could do all the school and pool work here in land-locked Edmonton and then do our open water dives on the coast this June. And since we’re going to be in one of the coast’s most beautiful places (the Broughtons), why not do our dives there?
Unfortunately there are no PADI dive schools in Port McNeill. Fortunately there is Sun Fun Divers. I contacted the owner, Steve Lacasse, who is a NAUI (National Association of Underwater Instructors) instructor and he said he could do the instruction there, using the McNeill pool, and we could work the open water dives around our sailing schedule. We’d actually get to dive in the beautiful waters of the Broughtons: cool!
But for me, the panic/fear thing was a bit of a worry — so I went back to the local dive shop’s website (Ocean Sports) and found they offered a Discover Scuba package for just $60. This got us all the gear, an introductory booklet and around 2 hours of diving time in the pool. Perfect. So we signed up and Tuesday night had our first taste of breathing underwater.
It was a great experience and we had a great instructor. Not to say I wasn’t hesitant, twitchy, mildly terrified and prone to idiotic mistakes…because I was. Leslie, on the other hand, was a natural. Afterwards she compared the experience to our first time climbing: an experience that for me it was a real hoot as I had no trouble with the heights or the gear and complete faith in the system; but for Leslie, she kept having to remind herself she could trust the gear (and me) and balance intellectual knowledge with visceral reality. Diving for us had the roles exactly reversed. There is something just not right about dipping your face in the water and continuing to breathe. And the Golden Rule of Diving is never hold your breath, so you could see how my brain might be at odds with the procedure — and it was. Leslie, meanwhile, took to the system like an eager fledgling jumping out of a nest.
But I got over it. Mostly. We started with a few beginner skills: clearing your mask, recovering your regulator, equalizing your ears, learning to use the BCD (buoyancy control device) etc. Recovering my regulator was something that took me a few tries to master since, according to the Golden Rule, you can’t hold your breath while trying to recover the damned thing. I didn’t swallow too much water.
After the skills bit and some practice kneeling, and breathing, on the bottom of the shallow end, we left it behind and glided slowly to the bottom of the deep end. You have to take long steady breaths (a lot like yoga) and try to equalize the pressure in your ears every meter or so — NAIT’s deep end is around 4 m so that’s at least 4 times. Again, I had trouble keeping up and was having to really work at it: my ears started to hurt before I achieved equalization and I was always playing catchup. But eventually I got it so it was comfortable. On the bottom, the instructor threw a small toy torpedo at us and had us pass it back and forth for a bit. It’s a great device because it forces your brain to concentrate on things other than not drowning and remembering to breath, and helps prove to your subconscious it’s all going to be ok.
An hour and a bit later we left the pool with my tank nearly empty and Leslie’s still half full—a sign, said our instructor, that I was a bit more anxious than she was since that uses up more air. Leslie had a huge smile plastered across her face. I think she liked it. Me? Well it didn’t kill me, I didn’t panic, and I really do want to try it again. But I am still not sure I could commit to adding the salt water ocean, the dark, fish, currents and cold into the mix after only a few more hours in the pool. Maybe I should just take this intro course six or seven more times… 🙂
It’s an odd experience: as unlike swimming as BBQing is like using a microwave. Surprisingly (even after they tell you), there is not much crossover between swimming and diving. Even the act of maneuvering underwater with all that mass and using only the fins has very little in common with swimming underwater normally. And all the while you are expelling bubbles and breathing in compressed air, feeling the pressure of the water on your body in a way that is subtly unlike anything you have ever experienced, and operating in 3 dimensions which you suddenly realize you don’t actually do when swimming. If you are like me, every time your concentration slips from doing it, back to thinking about it, you have to wrestle with a sudden urge to head for the surface. Which, thankfully, I managed.
And there is the quandary. We’d like to try again. And I have a reasonable expectation I will succeed. So we can go ahead and commit to this year, spend $540 apiece to get certified in Port McNeill although this will eat into our cruising time, run the risk of me not really wanting to complete the course in such a short period of time, and mean we are adding another grand to this year’s expenses, which might not be our best choice. Alternatively we can do the online/pool stuff here for around $399 each, gain more confidence and wait until we are in Nanaimo again to spend around $200 to $300 for our open water dives, which, money-wise, is a worse choice but at least spreads the costs out over two years. We can also wait until later in the summer and try to do the open water dives in a local lake, completing everything here in Alberta. Or just let it go for a year or two…
So we still aren’t sure if we want to commit to doing our diving certs this year, but I am pretty sure we are going to give this a go eventually. Leslie just enjoyed it too much.
- RT @Rainmaker1973: Liquid nitrogen puffs and Dragon’s Breath: desserts that give you dragon breathing powers https://t.co/61MBEHwbl0 [sourc… 2018-03-11
- To Do 2018 – https://t.co/PpIxGYQ88l 2018-03-12
- RT @theboozephiles: Vesperado https://t.co/HNEhyWwiO8 https://t.co/BNRutG3Not 2018-03-13
- @EarlJWoods I don't know why this made me laugh out loud and think of you…but it did. https://t.co/rWL79Nd7q3 2018-03-13
- RT @AccessCopyright: Recently, Alberta publishers through the @ABbookpub released a statement speaking out on behalf of Canadian creators &… 2018-03-15
- @littlewhitemoon https://t.co/GasDfyRlc5 Don't tell M! The river otters are getting into the act now 🙂 2018-03-15
- RT @leafcutterguy: If you know anyone looking for a job on a farm, let me know. Full time, permanent with excellent benefits. 2018-03-15
- RT @Nanaimo_YCSS: I liked a @YouTube video https://t.co/NmNgntbPUl Gulf Islands Sailing, British Columbia, Canada, August 2015 2018-03-15
So the 2018 sailing season is rolling around and it time to consider, or reconsider, the things I might want to get done this year. Perusing last year’s list I notice I hardly added anything from my wishlist. In the end it came down to cost and convenience vs necessity. We are starting to get used to this once-a-year cruise idea and our priorities have shifted a bit. The “toys” are slipping down the list and small conveniences don’t seem to be as important anymore.
The big “issue” for me has always been power. We took almost 2 months off to cruise and, while I admit that we would have preferred to stay and extra night or two in a couple of anchorages, it turns out we had enough battery power to get the most out of most of the anchorages. The early spring weather worked in our favour as we tended to spend 2 or three nights in a place rather than being sucked in my sun and warmth and trying to eke out 4 or 5. And contrary to expectations the winds were light so we motored enough to keep the batteries charged up without having to resort to marinas too often.
But, be that as it may, we do have a few things to work on this year and a few new things I want to investigate. Being over a 1000 km away from the boat is a pain.
- The crew at NYCSS replaced the oars on the dinghy and they were too long—rowing was almost impossible…and we like rowing. A couple of minutes with a hacksaw will fix that…if I remember to bring my hacksaw.
- I need to check the automatic bilge pump. There was a lot of water in it when we went for that short rainy cruise in October last year. But I didn’t have time to check the switch. I mentioned it to NYCSS but I don’t know if they looked into it.
- A rubber seal on port aft locker was coming off. A bit of glue will take care of that.
- The hydraulic arms on the fridge and freezer lids were shot so NYCSS removed them for safety reasons. I bought two new replacements and need to install them.
- The 30 amp power cord has a burnt end. Which is a pain because we were super careful with it and never had an issue. I guess this is just one of those “charter” things we will have to just swallow.
- One of the board supports under the settee had broken loose so the lid sagged. Some glue and a clamp or two will fix that and prevent it from worsening.
- I want to measure up my sinks and see if I can get my wood-working brother to make me some custom cutting boards to fit in them.
- I really want to check my VHF antenna. I read about a few DIY tests and if necessary I would like to get a SWR Meter. I had replaced a connection below the mast a few years ago but there was a lot of corrosion and while I get decent reception I am suspicious its not as good as it could be.
- I really want at least one 12v or USB plug on the binnacle. And while I am at it why not add some to the aft cabin, v-berth and at least one more in the salon. I did something similar to NorthWest Passage before we took her down south so why I haven’t done it for my own boat I really don’t know.
- I have been working a lot in stained glass. Why not do a custom piece for the boat? So I would need to find a place and do some measurements, maybe make a template or two.
- I want to finally trace & document all the navigation-related and NMEA wiring. It is no use sitting here dreaming if you don’t actually know what is in place on the boat. I spend a lot of time dreaming about adding some cheap wifi… (http://en.usr.cn/Wifi-Serial-Server/WIFI-RS232-RS485-Ethernet-Converter.html).
- I am looking into acquiring some kayaks. NYCSS rents them for somewhere around $150/week which makes me conclude I should just buy my own because it will be cheaper in the long run. Or should I try SUPs (stand-up paddle boards)? I just think some of the more isolated and picturesque anchorages might be nicer to explore by kayak rather than dinghy. Maybe I can rent them out when we aren’t there?
- I noticed last year the transducer speedo wheel had a broken paddle. I talked to Ian about it and he said he might have one kicking around. Otherwise I need to grab the spec’s and spend some time find an affordable replacement.
The Dream list…
- PADI dive certification. I would really like to get the course and pool work done here and then do the dives on the coast this year. It’s a long shot due to costs and scheduling but it’s something that has been on the bucket list for a while.
- That pesky portable generator. Still on the list. Still waffling. I have been hearing good things about Ryobi’s and they are a couple hundred less than than the omnipresent Honda’s and Yamaha’s so you never know, but it is so unlikely.
Reading other people’s blogs and watching others YouTube videos I realize we really did luck out with this “turn-key boat. When I sift through Yachtworld dreaming about my “forever” sail-around-the-world boat I realize how much investment we would have to make just to get all the stuff I have been slowly coming to think of as “normal.” I think my next post is going to be about all the things I love about Never for Ever and all the stuff she has.
- RT @StatCan_eng: We’re trying to reach former Survey Operations (SSO) employees, you have worked from 1985 to 2013. They may be eligible fo… 2018-03-04
- RT @simongerman600: Awesome #infographic shows who owns who in the big wide world of the web. So many surprises for me. I had no idea about… 2018-03-06
- RT @theboozephiles: Blood Orange Margarita https://t.co/XWnWLNBXzg https://t.co/rBcLomliTu 2018-03-06
- RT @simongerman600: #Manufacturing as share of all jobs in #USA peaked during #WWII when industry supported the war effort. Constant declin… 2018-03-06
- RT @simongerman600: The Dutch East India Company was the largest company in #history. #Infographic shows the DEIC was as big as 20 of our l… 2018-03-06
- RT @simongerman600: Pope density #map: Countries by number of Popes born within their modern borders. Is this the most #catholic map you’ve… 2018-03-06
- RT @simongerman600: How Many Countries Are There in the World? I'm being asked this question quite frequently. The answer is of course "dep… 2018-03-10
- RT @womensart1: Anna B Ehlers, a Tlingit of the Chilkat tribe, Alaska, skilled master weaver #womensart https://t.co/thOJHfnrSb 2018-03-10
- RT @mycandacejean: Hey Twitter I'm on a mission:
The woman in this photo was an attendee at a 1971 International Conference on Biology of… 2018-03-10
- Day 25: the humble harbour seal. One of my favorite cruising buddies.
#stainedglass #Phoca#vitulina #copperpatina… https://t.co/PSdQSjDzKI 2018-02-25
- Day 26: Desperate for inspiration and running out of time the artist eyes the cat toys speculatively…… https://t.co/E3ND49A6PQ 2018-02-26
- RT @AlbertaViewsMag: "The 'Alberta Advantage'—low taxes—was made possible by high oil revenues, which have evaporated." https://t.co/N0WRVK… 2018-02-26
- RT @mark_pniewski: @khaxan @iainsproat @ollie_wildman … https://t.co/XqgC9frc6X 2018-02-26
- Day 27: She sells sea shells… #stainedglass #suncatcher #sealife #shells #challengemyself #onedayleft… https://t.co/eUtkTxRVCq 2018-02-27
- RT @theboozephiles: Harvey Wallbanger https://t.co/QnC708TQyD https://t.co/7H0JrvYzFY 2018-02-27
- RT @Malboury: We moved into new offices, but this wall has been left open for a few weeks now. I knew what I had to do. https://t.co/kRQcqM… 2018-02-27
- RT @CarterRyanMain: We?Love?This?So?Much! Thanks @FDSceneChanges for bringing @CartersArt to life size! @bridgetryan #publicart #loveit htt… 2018-02-28
- RT @PadraigBelton: The response of a woman called Carole, whose nurse told her at her age she should have a bar in the shower. https://t.co… 2018-02-28
- Day 28: I’ve only encountered a few #wolves in my life and hope to encounter more. And with that, February is over… https://t.co/3ASXOYg4Hq 2018-02-28
- I just can't… https://t.co/inb7C84jTL 2018-02-28
- RT @ABbookpub: Independent publishers respond to provincial governments' legal attacks on Canadian creators and publishers: https://t.co/e3… 2018-02-28
- RT @lavermeer: Delighted to receive my copies of the forthcoming #novel THE HOME FOR WAYWARD PARROTS by @darusha. I’m so pleased to have be… 2018-03-01
- RT @NYS_StonesBYard: Our certified marine technicians are ready to help! Call us at (250)716-9065 to book an appointment! https://t.co/5ft2… 2018-03-01
- We have a plan! – https://t.co/q7UDovU8fq 2018-03-02
- Cat sitting. Now with sitting cats. https://t.co/05VUEBL7p2 https://t.co/i9XTN0of3q 2018-03-02
- RT @moodvintage: Medieval cat’s paw prints on manuscript c. 1100s https://t.co/DBS3j8BmsD 2018-03-03
So we’ve booked off our time for the boat…and guess what! We’ve got enough time to make it to the Broughtons without killing ourselves, so as of now that’s the plan.
Yup, that’s right. We have almost the whole month of June to use Never for Ever ourselves and we are finally heading north again. We visited have the Broughton Archipelago twice —once with a Cooper Boating flotilla in 2014 aboard a charter boat and again in 2015 right after we boarded Never for Ever for our year-long seabbatical. And we have been itching to go back because it is chock full of culture, wildlife and oh so much nature.
So the plan (and it is still a plan right now) is to board around June 4 and sail north like the dickens to get past the tidal rapids as soon as feasible and then slow down for a leisurely tour, hitting some old favourites and hopefully ticking some new ones off the wishlist.
Things to do before we go?
What might interfere with that basic plan is that I have a few things I kind of want to do out on the coast and they will take time that I am reluctant to give. L and I want to take the test for our ICC certification (International Certification of Competence ) because some day I am going to go sailing in Greece and Croatia and increasingly a lot Mediterranean countries are looking for some sort of official certification.
I also want to look into getting our PADI dive certificates. We can do the course work and pool dives here but we would still have to do our open water dive. And I am really leaning towards doing the whole shot out on the coast because we could get the drysuit qualification at the same time for just a little more cost.
And then there is the Hunter Rendezvous (June 7–10 at Thetis Island). The timing sucks if we are going north, but we have been telling ourselves we wanted to go again and it really was a fun weekend.
So where to we want to go back to? Here’s the list of our favourites that qualify as must see’s in our books:
- Kwatsi Bay, Sullivan Bay and Pierre’s at Echo Bay — three “resorts” that are chock full of boaters and fun and make up part of the quintessential “Broughtons experience.”
- Waddington Bay — a stunning anchorage in the archipelago proper that we visited with the flotilla (and therefore stuffed to the gills with boats) and I would love to spend more time in.
- Alert Bay — this is a ferry ride from Port McNeill and the U’mista Centre is a must see for everyone. And in our case, a “must see again.”
I have been reading through other people’s blogs and flipping through Waggoner’s and started on a long list of potential spots I want to visit. But the following have been on this list for years.
- Shoal Bay & Telegraph Harbour — these are technically on the way up. Shoal Bay has been getting more and more attention and I would love to visit this idyllic little spot before it becomes really popular and some of the charm rubs off. Telegraph Harbour is a place we have been to by car and I just want to be able to say I sailed there.
- Jennis Bay — another one of the quintessential “resorts” in the Broughtons but one we haven’t made it to yet. Tucked up Drury Inlet past Stuart Narrows it takes a bit more timing and effort to make it to. But it’s on the list.
- Glendale Cove (Knight Inlet) — this cove is home to a grizzly watching outfit. Need I say more?
- Booker Lagoon — I don’t know why I have always wanted to go to Booker Lagoon. Maybe because it’s a lagoon and I am from the Gilligan’s Island generation? Regardless I do and I fully intend to. Its supposed to be beautiful.
On the Maybe List
The rest are on the list mostly based on research and other’s journeys. I am open to suggestions, so if you have any, add them to the comments. I will also leave a list of places we have already been (and may go back to) just for your edification.
- Blunden Harbour (in Queen Charlotte Sound) — I hear it is wonderful and peaceful.
- Goat Island (Crease Island) — near enough to Village Island for a dinghy visit?
- Nimmo Bay — is hidden behind some faster water and also home to a really fancy resort. But we just want to visit the bay and hang on the hook for a while. We’ll save the spa for another day.
- Joe Cove, Eden Island — sounds like a classic Broughton anchorage.
- Laura Bay (east side of Greenaway) — Convenient location with a lot of recommendations.
- Greenaway Sound (trail to Broughton Lake) — the old resort is now gone but the hike is supposed to be fun.
Cordero Islands, Blind Channel, Port Neville,Port Harvey, Lagoon Cove, Potts Lagoon, Growler Bay, Village Island, Shawl Bay, Ladyboot Cove, Tracey Harbour, Claydon Bay, Turnbull Cove, Pot McNeill, Sointula