Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Grabba Java! Finally – An Update

It has been far too long since I updated the blog.  After the loss of Winston I buckled down into my studies, at the Western Academy of Photography, to complete the near impossible amount of assignments due and about to be assigned.

Also since Winston’s passing in March, life has been somewhat of a whirlwind. I am not sure if it was by design or whether it was unavoidable to get me to today.

In any event, if I had updated it would have read something like this — what did I get myself into?  The students at the Western Academy of Photography have amazing talent.  The instructors are awesome.  What!  Another assignment? We have too much on our plates already.  The deadline is when?  So soon! Well, you get the gist ….

Rainy day in Laura Cove, Desolation Sound, B.C.
Today, (August 14) as I begin updating my blog, I am anchored in Laura Cove.  This is a little cove that is near the famous Prideaux Haven in the famous Desolation Sound, east of Campbell River.

Today it is desolate, perhaps the reason it is called Desolation Sound.  Laura Cove is socked in with low clouds and fog.  The rain is relentless. At times it falls in torrents and sounds like thunder on the canvas of my sailboat.  My little dinghy, which yesterday had no water in it, is a quarter filled with fresh water — this is so much water that the plastic fuel container is floating.

The mountaintops are non-existent, in fact the mountain across Homfray Channel, a mere 1.6 nautical miles away, is non-existent.  It feels like I and the few other people in this cove are the only life on earth.  I feel safe. 

April 2013

At the beginning of April I fulfilled a two-week internship at the Comox Valley Record under the guidance of editor, Mark Allen.  For me it was an amazing experience with not a moment to catch my breath.  I was thrown in, feet first, and enjoyed every moment.  Having lived in the Comox Valley until my early 40’s it was not uncommon for me to bump into people I had not seen for 20 years.  My stories were published and to my delight garnered favourable attention.

In the early part of 2013 I wrote a profile article on Barbara Hodgson, the net controller for the Great Northern Boaters Net.  This article was published in the April edition of Pacific Yachting, the magazine of the Pacific Northwest with subscriptions world-wide.  She has sent me many an email, with gushing comments of how much people have enjoyed the very accurate description of both her and the net.  Thank-you, Barbara!

At the end of April, our school packed up and went to Tofino for four days.  I had the delight of having
Elley perfecting her shot.
school-mate Elley Li as a travel and room buddy.  Elley is from Hong Kong and her delight at things I take for granted opened my eyes.  Skunk Cabbage took on a new art form when two women with cameras circle the skunky plant analyzing angles and light.  Thank you Elley for your fresh inspiration and all the laughs.

While in Tofino, instructor and photographer Garth Lenz, introduced me to places I had never been before.  While shooting with a crowd of people is not my thing, it was great to have Garth to critique my work on site so I could immediate carry on with new tips for perfection. 

The last four months of school consumed my life.  Besides writing and photography, our class of six had to put together a magazine.  I was the designer.  I knew it would be a challenge but I took it on to reap the rewards of learning Indesign, a desktop publishing program.  Learn I did!

Stunning Skunk Cabbage
The magazine is called EthosEthos was my learning curve to publish my own portfolio — a requirement of the Academy. I am proud of Ethos and thankful for instructor Felicity Perryman.  Felicity is also a designer at First Choice Books, Victoria, B.C.

For a very long time I have had the goal of donating Ron’s eyeglasses to the Third World Eye Care Society (TWECS).  I also had the intent of following his glasses to the country and the person who receives them.  With Winston now walking with Ron, I was free to contact TWECS to see if this was something they were interested in.  I would volunteer, photograph and journalize the journey of his glasses. The response from the organizer was a resounding YES!  I will be heading to Ecuador in late October.  Words cannot express how excited and elated I am to have this opportunity.

May 2013

May was pressure month at the Academy.  Deadlines, deadlines, and more deadlines were sneaking up on us for the numerous assignments due in May. The almighty portfolio stressed out each and every student, regardless of the program we were in.  It was due in June but the process of choosing pictures and articles was time consuming and daunting.  We did not know who the judges were, which meant we hand no clue as to whether they would like our work or NOT!

Also in May my daughter, Meghan, was due with her first.  May 11th to be exact but, as we all know
One contraction at a time ...
babies choose to enter this world when they are darn good and ready.  I was on high alert for the call that Meg was in labour.  Since my two births were very quick — four hours and two hours — I knew there was a chance I would not make it from Victoria to the Comox Valley in time. My grab ‘n go bag was back and stored in the car.

Oh and to let you know, Meghan had chosen to have her baby at home with midwives instead of a doctor at the hospital.  This was going to be very different for me.

On May 14th Meghan had texted me that her water broke BUT I did not see the text until I felt like somebody was poking me to wake up.  Wake up I did at 3 AM.  OMG!  I was sure I had missed the birth.  I frantically texted and was expecting nothing in return.  I did however get a reply that nothing was happening and they had been trying to sleep.  I hopped in the car, drove, and arrived at their house at 6:30 AM to find that still nothing was happening.  We all went to bed to get rest for the great event about to unfold.

A beautiful and perfect girl child is born.
By 10 AM labour had started.  Midwives and a doula arrived.  Meghan’s husband, Blair, was calm and cool.  Me, I just wanted to take her pain away but soon realized that was not going to happen and Meg would have to get through this one contraction at a time.  They came fast and furious.  I followed Blair’s lead and helped coach.  A few good hard pushes and Aibhlin (pronouunced Avlin) Willow Eddy was born at 1:11 PM on May 15th

It was an honour and one of the most rewarding experiences I have had.  To attend the birth of a grandchild is truly a gift. Ladies, if you ever have the opportunity to attend a birth I highly recommend it.  This was my second time. An  The first was for my cousin 16 years ago. I cried each time as if it were my own baby.  

I stayed with Meg and Blair a few days before heading back to the Academy to catch up.  Blair reassured Meghan that they would all be OK when I left.  That was so cute.

Back to the grind, I had focus on the portfolio.  It was tough to pick articles – would they (the judges) like my topic, would they like my writing style, would they like the pictures that accompanied the articles?  Would they like my photographs?  The Academy instructors were great.  While they didn’t exactly tell you which ones to put in, they did explain why they like the pictures they did.  Once my articles and pictures were chosen, I then had to lay it out — I chose magazine style.  My experience with the class magazine Ethos and Indesign proved to be invaluable.  It came together beautifully. I chose to have it printed at First Choice Books because I trusted Felicity and the people she worked with.  As it happened Felicity was on vacation so I worked with Sol.  I must say that I was very proud when I saw it in print.  It was my baby — now over to the judges. 

June 2013

The judging took place then the portfolios were up for public display at the Comfort Inn, Victoria, B.C.  It was the first opportunity the students got to see each other’s portfolios.  There is an incredible level of talent that comes out of the Western Academy of Photography in both programs; the Written Image (journalism and photojournalism) and Pro Photography. 

I was very excited that two of my all time best friends came to help me celebrate and graduate — Leanne and Cecilia.  We had a lot of good laughs and I have to admit it was one of the few times that have laughed so much since Ron passed away.  It reminded me how much I miss laughing. 

The graduation ceremony was a modest but fun event.  Apparently the judges liked my work; I won an award for Best Portfolio, Best Major Feature article and Best Social Impact article.  All the focus, dedication, and frustration paid off.  In the end, I had to believe in myself and in my choices.

With my new education and experience I felt as though I genuinely was starting a new chapter in my life.  I still did not know what I was going to do. I just knew it was a fresh start.

A huge heartfelt thank you goes out to my family and friends for their understanding, support and encouragement during my ten months at the Academy

Grad was June 19 and on June 20 Cecilia and I booted Leanne off the boat – Ok, it was not how it
Sunset at Mongegue Harbour.
sounds.  I was taking Cecilia (via Ta Daa) back to Vancouver and I had to leave Victoria at a certain time so… Leanne too had to leave at a certain time to drive back to the Comox Valley.  Cecilia and I overnighted in Montegue Harbour and on June 21 we had a fantastic sail across the Salish Sea, also known as the Georgia Strait. 

I knew I wanted to spread Winston’s ashes in the ocean.  Crossing the strait was the perfect time.  I sat at the stern of the boat let his ashes drift away.  I then toasted Ron and Winston with a drink of fine red wine before offering the remainder to the Salish Sea in their memory.

Granville Island was our destination.  While there I got the boat hauled and painted, zincs refreshed and some tie-downs installed on the bow of the boat.  The tie-downs were in anticipation of purchasing either a kayak or stand-up paddle board.

Cecilia and her husband Dave joined me for a few days when I left Granville Island.  We returned to Montegue where we met up with Len and Giselle on Did It.  We had an incredible amount of fun and laughs not to mention fabulous food and wine.  We moved on to Ganges where Dave and Cecilia departed Ta Daa.  I stayed a couple extra days to visit with Mom (my adopted Mom) and Bud.  They are the greatest couple with the best stories. I love visiting with them.  Then it was off to Maple Bay for a wedding!

July 2013
Wow, time passes so quickly.  It seems like yesterday that Kirsten, Ron’s daughter, shared the news
Wedding venue at Bird's Eye Cove Farm, Maple Bay, B.C.
that her and Jonny were getting married on July 6 at Birds Eye Cove Farm.  How convenient?  I could arrive by boat.  Furthermore, the boat provided the overnight accommodation for Stewart, Meghan, Blair and little Aibhlin to stay the night. 

The wedding was amazing.  I have to admit, as this was Ron’s daughter, I knew it was not just another wedding to attend but I did not expect the overwhelming emotion of missing Ron.  I felt the emotion for Kirsten missing her father and I felt it for me. 

Let me digress — when Ron and I purchased Ta Daa we purchased First Nation's carved wedding
Kirsten, the stunning bride.
bands.  With these beautiful rings, we stood at the bow of Ta Daa and professed our love, admiration and respect for each other.  These rings meant as much to as as our traditional wedding rings and our Hawaiian wedding rings.  We toasted life, we toasted dreams, we toasted adventure and we toasted each other.  I vividly recall feeling like we were the most fortunate two people on the planet earth.  Life was grand.

When Ron passed, I gave his First Nation ring to Ryan, his son.  When Kirsten announced she was getting married I knew my ring was meant for her.  A few minutes before the wedding was to start, I made my way to the bride's room and stole a few precious moments to share with Kirsten the deep meaning of this ring - love, dreams and adventure.  Tears were plenty.  I pinned my ring to her wedding gown.  At that moment I felt a strong presence of Ron with us - everything was right with the world.

A locket with Ron's picture was wrapped around Kirsten's bouquet
Kirsten had a locket with a picture of her dad.  Kirsten was an infant at the time and Ron was laying with her on the bed, cherishing a moment with his baby girl. She wrapped the locket around the wedding bouquet so he would be with her  on her wedding day.

 The wedding was a grand affair.  Kirsten and Jonny did a marvelous job at planning and entertaining their guests.  The food was awesome and the drinks were bottomless!

After Maple Bay I made my way towards the Comox Valley.  I hopped into Telegraph Harbour the first night.  Bill and Leanne, Mom and Bud, and Gracie came in L’il Viking to shuttle me back to their place on Salt Spring Island (just north of Vesuvius).  We had a pleasant afternoon and evening visiting before Bill and Leanne shuttled me back to Ta Daa. 

The next morning I had to time my departure to safely transit Dodd Narrows (at Gabriola
Fun at Miracle Beach.
Island) and on to Newcastle Island.  I anchored for the night.  I picked up Ron and Monica (SV Windchaser based in Nanaimo) and we dinghied to the Dinghy Dock Pub for dinner.  Another great visit with good friends. 

Next stop was Schooner Cove.  It was a short hop from Nanaimo but worth it as it makes my last day to Comox just that much shorter.  I can monitor the seas and set out when the forecast is not calling for high winds off Qualicum and
Learning to bowl.
Parksville.  From Schooner Cove I had a great start with calm seas building to 10 knots of wind.  Out came the sails and I sailed from Parksville to Chrome Island, just at the southern tip of Denman Island.  The engine was needed for the trip the rest of the way. 

Comox Bay Marina is where I called home from July 10 to August 11.  I managed to visit family and friends but still ran out of time to do everything I had on my list.  I had the delight of babysitting two of my grand daughters while their daddy was at work.  Juliet, Amelia and I were busy from 0730 until 1700 Monday to Friday.  Often, Meghan, Aibhlin, Leanne and Gracie would join us.  The girls were registered in two sets of swimming lessons and did awesome.  We played mini golf, visited the sand castles in Parksville, beached at Miracle Beach and Kye
Fishing with Bill - two coho keepers.
Bay, went to a concert and a play, enjoyed arts, crafts and music at Filberg Festival and from Ta Daa had a spectacular view of the Nautical Days Fireworks.  To top it off, we went for dinghy rides up the Courtenay River and to the spit, had sleepovers aboard Ta Daa with waffle breakfast the next morning and, as usual I hauled the dinghy out of the water for Juliet, Amelia and Gracie to scrub clean.  A good time was had by all!  I am thankful I am young enough, fit enough and energized enough to send them home exhausted each day. 

I managed to have sleepovers with my daughter at her house and enjoy long hot showers (or cool in the July heat).  I got to have Aibhlin in my arms a whole lot when she wasn’t feeding.  That little one is growing like a weed and is the spitting image of her mother. 

Bullhead Derby, Comox
A huge thank you to Tara (and Tim) for delivering the Volvo to Comox.  The timing was perfect.  They were coming up for MusicFest and I had a desire to have my car since I was staying an entire month.  Tara drove the Volvo while Tim drove their van.  He though it was a perfect arrangement – he could smoke and play loud music to his delight.  You two are awesome.  If I cannot pay the favour back to you one day soon, I will pay it forward!

August 2013

While in school and on vacation I maintained my writing
Raspberry picking.  Yummy.
of articles for Island Gals magazine.  It is an Island owned magazine full of articles written by Island women.  The subscriptions are world-wide.  To view a sample and perhaps subscribe visit:  http://www.islandgals.ca

I did purchase a Delta 10 kayak, small enough and light enough for me to handle on Ta Daa.  It has a catamaran hull which means it tracks well.  It has a small window for viewing whatever lies beneath and she paddles easily.  I am very pleased with my choice.

I departed Comox oon Aug 11 with the intent of overnighting in Lund while waiting for friends to meet up.  It was blowing 23 knots when I arrived at Lund many power and sail boats were seeking shelter.  No room for Ta Daa so I forged onward to Tenedos Bay, Desolation
The Slough, Courtenay, B.C. - no place for Ta Daa!
Sound.  Once I rounded Sara Point, there was absolutely no wind.  I set the anchor and proceeded to put things away and relax.  The plan was to stay in Desolation Sound for a couple of days to catch up with Dawna II -  Len and Dawna, and Kalea – Ken and Penny. 

Upon entering Tenedos, I sent an email to friends Great Escape – Lianne and Rod to see if they were in the neighbourhood.  I had no idea where they might be or if they were even out on their boat.

A fella in the bay gave me some advice on where to drop the anchor to avoid the D8
Seen better days on Salt Spring Island.

Caterpillar sitting on the bottom of the bay.  I rowed over to thank him and learned they are from Comox.  We chatted for quite a while before I rowed back to Ta Daa.  No sooner had I gotten below when I heard a knock on my hull.  To my delight and surprise it was Rod and Lianne.  They were anchored in another smaller cove in the same bay.  Aboard they came and we had a good catch-up chat and a revealing of their plans.  They invited me to join them in Gorge Harbour the next day and I accepted.  It is only three hours away and a good place to anchor.
Walking Paradise Meadows with Aunty Meg.

I have learned to follow my intuition.  When I was circling outside of Lund waiting for them to decide if I could fit in or not, I felt a wobble in my shaft.  I was previously told it was cavitation.  I knew it was not cavitation but doubted myself.  I pondered the situation and told myself that if it happened again I would have to divert to Campbell River.  Leaving Tenedos Bay, I felt the wobble again.  Not good.  I did not doubt myself this time.

I immediately made plans to go to Campbell River to have the problem inspected and corrected.  This was Tuesday and they could not haul me out until Friday.  ^%$&#*!  I felt it was pointless to get hauled on Friday.  If any work needed to be done it would not happen until Monday.  I chose to hang out in Desolation Sound for a haul-out on Monday, August 19 at 1430. 

Six months after a loved one passes away, you can apply to have a bay, cove or rock named after them.  Two years ago, I travelled to Desolation Sound with Dawna II and a few other boats.  We anchored in this little bay and had a fabulous time.  Lots of laughs and lots of tears wishing Ron was with me.  My good friend Len suggested we apply to rename the bay from Three Fathom Cove to Ron Harris Cove.  He applied soon after getting home to Sidney.  We have not had official word that it has been changed but to us it is RON HARRIS COVE.

Well folks, it is now August 20.  I got hauled out yesterday at 1615, almost two hours later
Anchored in Ron Harris Cove

than booked.  I have good news and not so good news.

The good news is that shaft is not bent, which my gut told me.  The not so good is I have to stay out of the water for a day or two while they balance and tune the prop.  It seems that a blade is out by a mere few millimeters.
Early morning wake-up call, Comox, B.C.

And… since my Mercury outboard motor crapped out on me in Gorge Harbour, I am having it repaired as sell.  This is a one-stop location.  Thank you, Campbell River!

I am truly thankful as the shaft wobble could have been much worse and much more expensive.  I will revise my plan as soon as I am back in the water and I check the tides for Discovery Passage. 

The Comox Valley is close to Campbell River.  Leanne
Ta Daa being returned to the water where she belongs.

and Gracie are coming up for a visit and some shopping.  Tomorrow Meghan and Aibhlin will likely come up for lunch.  Also, my aunt lives here and the bonus is that she is a hairdresser and will trim my golden gray locks for me. 

When you are boating, anything can happen.  Being safe and being flexible is the key. 

1 comment:

  1. I have to stop reading your blog at work! Lol so many tears, thank you for getting a photo of the locket in the bouqet, the photographer never got one for me. I have such lovley photos of you giving me your ring and I didn't post them all on facebook, I will send them to you soon!

    lots of love Kirsten