Friday, June 20, 2014

Nuptials and Trap Count

Leaving the boat in Long Island NY we've flown to Winnipeg Manitoba for a few days to attend the wedding of Cassandra's old friends Dominique & Danny.

The wedding was a beautiful beach ceremony on the shores of Lake Winnipeg followed by reception in a community club house. Huge admiration is due the happy couple for having a frugal DIY affair. Invitations designed by the bride. Hair & makeup done by Cassy. Ceremony officiated by father of the groom (one day licence). Decorations; lights strung from the rafters, burlap table runners with strips of lace, antique tins with prairie flowers. Instant photo booth built by the brother of the bride. This was a smart wedding! Simplicity at its best and great time was had by all!

Winnipeg is the only city I've ever seen who's local weather report includes mosquito level readings. Cloud, temperature, wind and trap count! Known as the “provincial bird” mosquitos can become so bad that the city will “fog” a larvacide city wide to kill the eggs and combat the insect plague. There are twenty four traps set-up around the city and if the average trap-count is reaches 25 and the maximum count in any one trap reaches 99 the city will start fogging! As you can imagine there is some health concern around publicly spraying chemicals over houses, yards, parks etc. Any home can request a buffer zone which means the spray truck will momentarily shut off its jets as it passes that address. I have yet to see the actual fogging but I have experienced the bugs and let me tell you it was very unpleasant. By far the worst was waiting in line at the local ice cream parlour. Thirty people doing the self-slap dance or occasionally tapping each other to get one. Winnipegers seem somewhat accustomed to it and have come to terms with these bloodsuckers. There is a lot to say for Winnipeg; the wonderful people, rich cultural landscape, sports, etc. and I remain a huge fan but these mosquitoes are just the worst.

We also went to Sky Zone trampoline world!! 


Three queens

Good old Eaton's

Barn Chic

With the groom

Ohhhhhh I'm gonna drop a move!

More cowbell!!

Pedestrian bridge underwater
Post wedding re-cap dinner

My "I'm getting eaten alive by mosquitos!" smile

High flying! We got 60 minutes from 6:00-7:00 (note the time behind above)

And I'm done... with 48 minutes to go

Just done.


Ninja angel


Flying starfish

I know it looks bad...

... actually ends bad... for me.

Father's Day indian restaurant

Spray baby spray!!

Friday, June 13, 2014

You know you're a red neck when...

You know you're a redneck when you have many of your possessions laid out on the front porch and lawn for all to see. We've all seen it driving by; old washing machine, tire rims, a couch, old truck. Well the deck of a live-aboard sailboat is often similar. Before Topanga became our home her decks were clear and clean. Since moving aboard the deck has been filled with a wide variety of things, things that are just too big or inconvenient (or dangerous) to fit anywhere else. Now there are boats out there with less stuff on deck than us but let me tell you there are boats with a lot more too! On our deck we have our dinghy, generator, five gallon jugs (diesel x2, gas x1, fresh water x2), one folding bicycle. Plus when we're at anchor, docked or moving in vey calm waters we have Dexter the Dog's two foot square path of astro turf.

The important thing for on deck storage is to have everything lashed down tight so nothing falls off when we're flying along heeled over at 30 degrees. We use ratchet straps for the dinghy. The jugs are held with industrial rubber bands to a wooden board secured between stanchions. The generator is strapped and locked to the base of the mast. The folded bicycle (in protective bag) is squeezed tightly between the jugs and the dinghy with a strap running through the bag handle. The doggy pad is tied with a bowline knot to a stanchion. The other important thing is to have everything protected from saltwater because they will get splashed A LOT. You really don't want salt water getting into your diesel fuel!

Then in our cockpit we have a variety of other things always out; binoculars, fishing rod, dog water, food and toys. Sigh.

Our front lawn ya'll

Fender board

Dog toy, brush, lure and oarlock...

Fishin' Rod

Garden light and binoculars

Always under foot

Some reminders for me at the mast

What redneck yard would be compete without Old Glory flying proud

But check out some others... there's a boat under there somewhere

We're both using the physics of lift

Gone fishin'

Jones Beach on Long Island NY

Thursday, June 5, 2014

On the Hook at the Hook

Been moving fast up the coast! Wind pushed us to take the Dismal Swamp route up the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) instead of the alternate Virginia Cut route. This is the only portion of the ICW where you have the choice of two possible routes. We had taken the Dismal Swamp on the way south and were planning on trying the Virginia Cut on the way north but weather made it a lot easier to head for the Dismal Swamp again and we felt that the Virginia Cut was probably not worth fighting it for. We spent the night docked free at the Dismal Swamp Visitors Center, which is weird because it doubles as a highway rest stop so we had plenty of people gawking at us and our boats while they stretched their legs.
The second lock master was super friendly and really impressed us with his ability to actual play a tune on a conch shell!

In Norfolk Portsmouth we again had free dockage right downtown. It's remarkable how living on a boat your home can have such a variety of scenery. One night we're in a lush swamp land the next we're next to high rises and aircraft carriers (literally). We visited Norfolk proper more than on the way south. Steakhouse restaurant, bar, movie & dinner at the Commodore, america's oldest theatre (you actually eat at tables during the movie).

We had a weather window through the Chesapeake bay and up the Atlantic coast to Cape May NJ (southern tip) but en route the window extended and thus we decided to also extend our passage another day & night all the way up to Sandy Hook NJ (northern tip) where we now lie comfortably at anchor, just a short hop to NYC and Long Island. This was our last major ocean passage and likely our last overnight. The end of a chapter.

We're now a little ahead of schedule so we'll recover & relax a little bit here, then, in a few days we'll head over to Long Island to see my sister, brother-in-law and darling little niece all of whom I've been missing dearly throughout the voyage.

Visiting Long Island means parting ways with Pierre-Luc & Isabelle on our buddy boat Oceane. We've travelled many many miles together and shared so many great times with these two. We celebrated Pierre-Luc's birthday with breakfast on Topanga. We are sad to split but we'll see them later this summer either in Montreal or Quebec.

Up the lazy river

Crystal blue Bahamian waters has turned to poo brown

Just kidding, he's still never helped with the lines. Freeloader.

Taco night aboard Oceane

The whole boat was blanketed in these little bugs. The buzz outside was scary.

Immortalized forever on the lock wall

Like Dexter's a cameo

Cassy made it so clean I could shave in it. But I won't cause that would mess it up again! 

Dismal Swamp Visitor's Center dock

Doh! A deer! A female deer!

Come one, come all, marvel at those who travel really slowly.

We're so urban

Oceane and that very pretentious aircraft carrier. Ah the 1%...

Awful movie, great thatre.

Date night. Cause we haven't been spending enough time together...

Always, always check your blind spot

Let me sleep on your head

Toto, we're not in the Caribbean anymore. Booty call!

Like any respectable redneck we like to have our stuff all over our front lawn.

Last ocean sunset. Thank You.