Friday, December 25, 2009

SV GIRI at winter anchor Kits Beach



Christmas Day. Phoning my father and wishing him Merry Christmas. Good to hear his voice. My brother and sister in law and nephews all setting down to turkey out east. I'm glad Dad's already got the 2010 Winter Olympics jacket and really likes it. Adell thanked me for the Scottish shawl but said the guys didn't know what to make of scottish ski n' doo sock knives made from 6000 year old bog wood and adorned with silver celtic crosses. "To defend yourself with against infidels, rogues and such, " I cried.


My Christmas duty done, I got back to the stowing of the boat. Too big a task requiring too much bin sorting and stowage so I bungeed everything down with several cargo bungee cordage I'd bought from motorcycle stores. I cleared my deck by throwing what I didn't need onto Tom's convenient boat and tarped that down. Ready to go, I thought to call the Chevron Fuel Dock. The coast guard kindly picked up my call and got back to me that indeed it was open.


Checking oil, opening the thru hull sea cock for water cooling and then starting the engine to clouds of black diesel smoke. Water spouting out the back. No surprises. I love my Yanmar diesel. It's just been so dependable. Untying the lines tying me to Tom's boat I shoved off with my foot before putting the engine in gear.


Amazing! I was doing it. Actually leaving dock. The most difficult moments. Courage and determination and finally doing it. I was motoring out in Coal Harbour. I love my Dodger and windshield. On deck it was cold with the windchill.


4:10 and the Coal Harbour Chevron Fuel Dock was closed. The Coast Guard told me they had no gas and were putting in a new fuel dock. Supposedly they were still supplying diesel but I suspect they closed early for Christmas day. Who could blame them.


I didn't want to miss the outgoing tide to get under Second Narrows so hoped I had fuel. I've 50 gallons in one tank and 35 gals in another. I'm not sure which one I've been drawing on and am not sure I could switch them before I got air in the system. I'd turned off the diesel heater in anticipation of fueling and didn't fancy bleeding an engine. I usually have more diesel than I think. There's no guage. Boats and motorcycles. We're supposed to keep a record. Zen and the art of sailing.


It was good to be in English Bay but night was falling. Beautiful too see the lights like so many fairies or fireflies all around the harbor, the big ships ablaze with lights. I had my red and green navigation lights on but there were no other boats about. That's a real joy of winter sailing and boating. Going under the Second Narrows I'd slipped on my Survival Suit but out in English Bay I stripped it off, too warm and a little overkill for the calm sea and pleasant night.


Anchoring off Kits was a dream. Only 15 feet depth and two other sailboats already there before me. It was calm and I put out lots of anchor chain. The VHS Channel 3 weather report said at worst 15 knots SE winds overnight and in the morning. I'm protected here on the south shore of English Bay.


Anchor down I got the diesel heater going again. My Siamese cat loves me again.


After that I shut off the engine, closed the through hull for the night, and shut off the autopilot, depth sounder and unplugged things like TV and VCR to save on batteries. Then I found the anchor lantern and was glad to find the kerosene fuel as well.


The Vancouver Police Boat came by while I was hanging it from the shrouds. "Everything okay," they asked really neighbourly.


"Yes, just anchoring for the night. Hoping to get diesel at the fuel dock in the morning." I called back.


"Beautiful night to be out, " he said. "The fuel dock in False Creek is closed. Coal Harbour has diesel and so does Mosquito Creek."


"What about Thunderbird Marina, Fisherman's?"


"They may be open, tomorrow."


"I tried Coal Harbour but I think they closed early for Christmas. I'll try Thunderbird. The worst thing that could happen is I could have to use the sails."


He laughed then putting his police boat in gear, called . "Have a good night."


With the anchor out, the lantern on up top, the cabin cozy and heated I settled down to cooking potatoes and Brussels sprouts to go with the left over Rosemary Chicken I had. Angel the cat was happy to join in the chicken. Santa Cruz Ginger Ale, Black Plums and an Aero chocolate bar completed a fine repast at anchor. Outside the cabin window the lights of Grouse Mountain Ski Hill look like a earthly Orion's Belt.


Reading Seaflower by Julian Stockwin, tales of pressed navy men in English tallships and cutters fighting the French and Pirates in the Caribeean Seas.


A different Christmas Day for sure. Pleasant with accomplishment and jolly to be off the dock and resting at anchor. Sleeping at anchor on the GIRI has to be one of life's rare treats. I am truly blessed with the gift of life this very fine night indeed.


Merry Christmas.




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