7:16 Reminiscent of France

I awoke with a start … a start of the generator, that is. And since I was up anyway and not having much of a good hair day, I decided to head for the showers.

A nice hot shower and back on board. We talked it over and decided to head for Saturna Island and the winery there and to end up in Ganges. After housekeeping and engine checks we fired up the diesels and got ready to cast off. At which point we realized we needed to fill the water tanks. So we switched off and filled up.

We decided with the light wind I would cast off and walk the boat back, then turn 90 degrees into the finger behind. Then I could go forward, turn 90 degrees to starboard and slide between the aluminum boat and the 50 footer. Oddly enough it all went as planned.

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We headed north(ish) at a stately 10 knots and up Saanich Inlet we went. Eventually we turned east and ducked between Sidney and Portman Island. The we rounded the south of Moresby Island and South Pender before turning north into Plumper Sound. Along the way we spotted a couple of dolphins (or porpoises). Alas, they had better things to do than follow us around, so the glimpses were momentary.

About 5 minutes out we rounded Croaker Point and surveyed our destination with binoculars. The dock was open so I elected to head there. The wind was perfect and all I had to do was bring the boat parallel to the dock and we gently bumped the fenders and the crew stepped off.

Dock, Walk and Booze

After we tied up we grabbed our stuff and headed up hill along the track. Eventually a sign said bistro and winery 15 minutes ahead. It started to remind us of our trip in Burgundy. Up, up, up, slog, slog, slog. Eventually we crested the hill and descended down to the winery. As we came around the edge of the buildings, C spotted the ‘complementary’ rosemary and started to help herself. That’s when it really started to remind me of France.

A lovely young man spotted us as we entered and said the magic words: “Would you like to taste some wine?”

So we sampled some tasty Rieslings, a lovely Pinot Gris, some bruts and even a not-quite-port. We picked up a few bottles for home and stepped away from the bar some pretty happy campers. It really was eerily like the day trip we took in Burgundy — except for the ride, that is. On that fateful day the lovely young man offered us a ride back to our boat and Leslie and and C blurted in unison “No thank-you…” before I could say “Sure!” I’ve been mad at them ever since as I had to hump multiple bottles of wine over hill and dale in the oppressive heat of the Burgundian countryside. At least this time no one was offering …

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We decided to stay for lunch. We enquired about oysters but no luck. The lovely young man did offer to call his wife currently on a shopping trip to Victoria to pick some up if we were willing to stick around for dinner. We demurred. L and C had tomato soup and I stayed safe with a BLT wrap. Delish! After we settled up we saddled up and started the slog back to the boat. It was a lovely day although we could see some clouds on the horizon. About halfway back L said jokingly that full disclosure demanded she tell me that the lovely young man had in fact offered us a ride back to the boat. I smiled and said, “Ha-ha.” She replied, “No, I’m serious.”

After C pulled me off of L’s half-gnawed ankle, I took a breath and enquired as to why, for the second time, L would turn down a ride whilst we were in the middle of nowhere with heavy bottles of wine? Her answer was, of course, nonsensical.

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Anyway, we eventually reached the boat and since the wind was pinning the boat so helpfully against the dock, we summoned our holo-Tim and decided to pivot off a stern line. Surprise, surprise, it worked out wonderfully. We set course for Navy Channel and steamed away. Since the weather looked a bit dim I stayed inside and it was a pleasant hour and a bit to Ganges. Leslie chickened out and phoned ahead to Salt Spring Marina to reserve a slip; the VHF scares her, I think. But we got in a pole dance or two on the way and the now famous crack spread move was applauded by all.

As we slowed down on the entrance to Ganges we radioed that we were coming in. We’d requested an easy slip and they gave us Alpha 8, a bow in, starboard side tie. I elected to back in with a port-side tie. Well, that was a mistake: first off, they had misinformed me as to the proper tie so we had to scramble to switch over. Next I lost all sense of what I was doing and tried to back around a 90-degree corner to expected results. I managed not to sideswipe the Bayliner 4588 ‘Rhubarb’ by jumping on his deck and pushing off. Our neighbors were out in full force to help, and among the 6 or 7 of us finally managed to get it on the right dock and relatively stationary. Boaters are nice people. Even the guy behind us only offered a small smile when I apologized for the show.

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First up was a beer at Moby’s and our long-sought-after oysters. The brochure said they were a sure bet for fresh sea food. Nope. Not even on the menu. So L resorted to reading a Salt Spring brochure and then phoning around for oysters. After a quick call to Greg at OysterCatcher we discovered they had two bays of oysters available. So we chugged our beer and marched off to town.

After we snagged a seat on the deck at OysterCatcher I skipped down to the public dock to check it out. I left instructions to order the oysters and one of whatever C was drinking; she’s usually pretty reliable. I came back to Raspberry Mojitos. Sigh. You can’t trust girls. Anyway, the public docks are a bit cheaper but rafting is mandatory.

Back at the bar our oysters eventually arrived in a bed of ice with horseradish and champagne mignonette. C and I prepared ourselves and slurped. You know what? They were great! So great in fact we bullied L into trying some too and ordered another 6. Still delish. C and I tried our last ones au natural and I have to admit they weren’t half bad.
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We stopped in at Thrifty’s on the way home and stocked up on butter and mustard. I blame Tim for using them up so quickly. 🙂 Back on the boat it was meat time. We’d bought some inch-and-a-half strip loins and were looking forward to dinner. C whipped up some fingerling taters with stolen rosemary and garlic and we popped them in the microwave to get the cooking started. After we transferred them to the BBQ, it was time to conjure up a delicious tomato salad with cherry tomatoes and to prep the meat.

While the BBQ was BBQ’ing our neighbour from Rhubarb stopped by to chat. Apparently he was a huge Bayliner 3885 fan and wanted to reminisce. Eventually he wandered home and the meat hit the hot, hot grill. After the application of perfect grill marks as per C’s usual style, we anxiously awaited the finished product by sucking back wine and whining about being hungry.

Dinner was excellent. Super excellent. I have to commend Grace for teaching her baby girl the right way to wrangle meat; my stomach appreciates it :-). Although I suspect there is a certain amount of native talent involved. But in the end I don’t care as long as I get to eat.

Sated and full, I retired to the aft deck to catch up blogging and watch a glorious mauve sunset.

What a wonderful night.
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