Tuesday, July 10, 2012

SV Giri English Bay

We left dock late Friday night motoring across Coal Harbour to clear First Narrows after dark.  We then motored across English Bay Kitsilano.  At night everything was different. I've come here a half dozen times at night using Vancouver Yacht Club as a point of reference for finding Jericho where I usually anchor off the beach.  I've heard the Vancouver Folk Festival from there a couple of nights enjoying the eclectic music as it wafted across the water.  It's on next week though so I couldn't use the music as a navigational aid.
This time though there was construction and build up along the shore new to me so I became confused, fearing running aground on Spanish Banks.  That's how I ended up turning about and  anchoring  with a forecast of NW 10 to 15 knot winds with lots of rode out at 25 feet depth off Kitsilano Beach. I was sure of Kitsilano Beach recognising the pool where I'd had many an enjoyable time swimming outdoors.
It may sounds strange but night can be spooky on a sailboat watching a depth sounder and trying to be certain where exactly one was. It didn't help that I was working off a little map with no shore line detail but then I once figured out I was at Saturna Island in the middle of the night by going ashore and reading the location on the post office door.  GPS has certainly made it easier to avoid making mistakes about islands but here I was confused about beaches and I didn't have pin point gps locations for each of Vancouver's many varied and lovely beaches.
Laura, Gilbert and I awoke to a brilliant sunny morning off Kits Beach and simply stayed. I'd had vague thoughts about fishing but lying about reading, puttering and cooking seemed more in keeping with this rare sunshine experience in Vancouver.  Half the city seemed on the beach from the festive sounds we heard across the water.  I cooked Scottish porridge in the morning.  One evening I barbecued elk steaks I'd marinated and we had those with caesar salad. I'd bought cold cuts, Montreal Smoked Beef and such from this magnificent deli grocery on Commercial Street.  That with their multi grain organic bread and polish mustard from Lonsdale North Vancouver made for real scrumptuous lunches.
Both Laura and I read detective novels.  She was reading a Grisham while I completed a William Lashner.  Then I read a fast moving read, Afghan Assault, by Alan Caillou, a screenwriter for  Bonanza, Rat Patrol and Man from Uncle.  I couldn't help but appreciate what a clean writer Caillou was, typical of the unadulterated fast moving adventure writing of his day. The book was written in 1972.  I picked it up at BookMan in Chilliwack one of my all time favourite second hand book stores.  Canadian troops were in Afghanistan at the time and Laura and I were enjoying the Combat Hospital tv series, an excellent Canadian British  military medical drama. I saw this pocket book last winter and thought it would be a good summer  'boat' read.  Through fiction I find it's often enlightening to learn in a relatively enjoyable way something of the history, geography and such of a place. Thanks to the internet now I can Google wickipedia and look up more bits from Wickipidia as I move along in the novel. Afghanistan has been a country of war and tribes forever. Alan Caillou captured that sense of constant strife, tribes fighting each other only to turn on outsiders back to the time of Alexander.  The story was of Tobin's "Private Army" which in the early 70's certainly predated Blackwater. Caillou  described well the new challenge of guerilla warfare, security and intelligence in tribal countries.  A quarter century ago and not much has changed to my mind based on what I'd read in "Outside the Wire",  Kevin Patterson and Jane Warren's collection of  real accounts of the most recent Afghanistan war.
Working in the high stress and tragic world of drug addiction I appreciate the well intentioned but failed attempts at the  eradication of poppy fields in the east and coca plants in the south. It's no different than the attempts to contain the multi billion dollar cannibis agricultural business of British Columbia.  Well intentioned but by Harvard studies a dismal lack of success.  Drug courts and treatment have been the mainstay success in addressing drug addiction.  Narcotics Anonymous and other abstinence measures are the treatment of choice but Methadone Maintenance is probably the best of the harm reduction models. That's the area of medicine and psychiatry I now work a couple of days a week in.  It's not easy but any success is so rewarding.
The War on Drugs begat the War on Terror and we can only hope that there is greater success through this approach since terrorism is definitely more of a threat than even the all powerful psychosis inducing "BC Bud". Crack is the real tragedy I deal with these day. That and crystal methamphetamine.  Those are really wicked grab you by the throat and hold on vices.
After days of dealing with the repressed anger and entitlement that comes along with drug addiction, all that 'displaced anger' with the 'pusher', spilling over onto the treatment team,  I was glad to have a couple of days of bouncing about at anchor lounging in the sun reading.  It reminded me of a summer day as a kid in the back yard with a friend reading comic books.  I relaxed again though had a series of text messages dealing with a severely disturbed youth, who at 30 has less intelligence and emotional maturity than most teen agers.
I actually thought about putting the dinghy in the water and making a run over to Granville Island for a "break'.  Such 'active' thoughts didn't go far. Just like I thought about lifting the anchor and sailing about English Bay with all the little boats sailing in one of the weekly regattas or  joining the sailing races that went on around us.  I thought of raising anchor and fishing too.  But reading and barbecuing like the folks on the beach across from us got the better of me.  I did just about nothing and didn't even feel too guilty for it.
I did read some of William Gibson's collection of  articles in his book "Distrust That Particular Flavor."  Reading some of that and a chapter of Christian Theology by Erickson was all the more 'serious' reading I could do.
My brother phoned about my father's difficult night. He rallied once again and we were all thankful that Dad in his 90's dodged another bullet.  I'd read psalms for a while after the phone call always finding psalms a sure antidote for stressful times.
Gilbert did his business on the front deck of the boat, easy to pick up once dried. The new wind generator Jim installed this spring worked according to spec.  I was able to charge Laura and my phones with the little Onos double palm size collapsible solar panel charger I picked up at Mountain Coop for around $70.  Amazing little bit of portable tech for hikers and such. It a really well conceived and designed and worked best with Laura's Blackberry . We used the Honda 1000 generator to charge the lap tops and phones too.  I can run things off the engine battery as I did the night lights.  I've lots of power and with the alternator can charge the ship batteries, 8 deep cell marine batteries with loads of power. There's the new wind generator and my ship solar panels too. However, It's just like I found in Mexico when I was cruising in the hot Sea of Cortez. One would rather not use the main engine for charging because it warms up the cabin.  Better to use a little generator or even better a portable solar panel for cell phones.

At night we watched an episode or two of Netflix TV.  Life is the zen detective series we're enjoying now about a falsely accused LA cop who was released and returned to the force after 12 years in prison.  A modern day Count of Monte Cristo with a twist.  The man and woman detective couple are truly endearing like Cagney and Lacey were.  Admittedly  I love being lost in the drama enjoying all the delights that a kid has hearing a story about a campfire but at the same time I 'm fascinated by the structure and making of the behind the scenes writing and development.  So much of this show is in the characters, two previously relatively  unknown actors Damian Lewis, playing Charlie Crews and Sarah Shahi, as Dani Reese, have a real chemistry together as homicide detectives. That really ignites the rather well conceived plots.  An animal rights and pharmaceutical research episode was particularly well thought out.
When i started the Yanmar diesel engine to return it overheated. I found the problem was a leaking hose on the raw water pump for the heat exchange.  I was able to fix this myself removing hose clamps and cutting away the damaged hose with enough hose left over to make a new connection.  I was also delighted to phone my friend Tom Kennedy and discuss the problem with him to see if I needed to back track the possible cause.  A brief discussion of engines lead to my simply running at reduced speed while keeping an eye on the water temperature guage. Part of my caution with the SV GIRI has been that I've had work done on the boat and these weekend outings I'm trying things out all the while waiting to fix the leaking shaft seals on the stuffingless stuffing box.
I'd calculated the passage under First Narrows to coincide with the calm waters of the turn with an inflow current catching us as we crossed Coal Harbour beyond.  Thanks to my bottom carrying an ocean of mussels and sea weed and the third reduction on my motor speed I was only doing a couple of knots going through a narrows where 5 knots current routinely is running this time of year.  A pesky but huge freighter honked and bellowed at me to get out of his way too which added to the challenge.   I, like a slow moving mouse before a monster cat turned one way at agonizing slow speed only to get another bellow before turning in the opposite direction to satisfy the monster that I was no longer to be his dinner meal.
A kind and safe docking followed.  The previous week I'd not completely disengaged the engine so had to wrestle with a 13 ton craft like a rodeo cowboy with ropes and a wayward steer. All was well when I was able to tell Laura which knob to pull out to take the boat out of gear.  Landing a ship is like landing a plane. There  are no bad landings where crew and craft are uninjured. Just some are slightly embarrassing.  This week I actually looked like I knew what I was doing. Which I suppose I do though every trip still carries that potential for adventure and all the surprises nature can and will throw at mere humans.
The sunshine and warmth sure were a treat after all the promise of 'global warming' and no tangible evidence of that here in the northern hemisphere and climes.  Given the crowds on the beach and the number of boats on the water everyone along with us enjoyed the long awaited local warming and advent of somewhat delayed summer.
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