March 24, 2012 , Terrence Bay, Lower Prospect
Today Dave and I decided to do some exploring, on land, in our own backyard. Whoa, what ??
We were heading to Polly's Cove, a hiking trail just a tad before Peggy's Cove. We had even packed a snack and some coconut water to quench our thirst (nothing like getting ready for our future caribean travels !)
The reason we got sidetracked, is that four summers ago, when we were sailing on Dave's then lovely Illihee II, we spent a wonderful night in Grovers Cove, where we had hiked by some waterfalls. Today we were driving by, on our way to Polly's Cove, Dave did a double turn and hmm, mentionned that those "rocks looked familiar" and so we did another double turn and went for a look-see. Now only a "true" sailor would understand this term "the rocks looked familiar". Maybe, given that I knew exactly what Dave was talking about when he said that, could I be that much closer to becoming a sailor-ess ?
In any case, that's how we got sidetracked. We parked in a very small area just off the road, and found ourselves in this waterfront park, stumbled on the boardwalk littered with benches everywhere and stopped for a moment at the gazebo. We started reading the interpretive panels and discovered a very interesting piece of history that neither one of us knew anything about.
On 01 April 1873, the sail and steam fueled SS Atlantic was on its 19th voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, (from Liverpool (U.K.) and on its way to New York (U.S.), needed to refuel and was heading to Halifax to replenish its coal supplies (why did it leave UK with not enough coal?). The (typical) stormy seas and foggy nights of Nova Scotia had the Capt fooled (and there seems to be a bit of question as to the Capt's actions), thinking he was near Halifax, zigged when he should've zagged, and so in the wee hours of the morning, the ship smashed into some underwater rocks off Marr's Head...
It was considered "the worst marine disaster off the Canadian Coast prior to the Titanic". Of the 952 people on board less than half were saved. Lifeboats were lowered but were mostly washed away or smashed by the rough seas. The ship quickly filled with water and rolled over on its side. All the women and children died including 2 babies that were born on-board during the voyage. One child survived, a young boy by the name of John Hindley. The few survivors owed their lives to the very small and brave community that kept the frozen bodies alive during the dark and cold night. Many divers spent weeks diving and recovering the bodies. One newspaper tells an interesting tale : that one of the found crew was discovered to be a woman instead of the man that she was pretending to be - (s)he had served as a "common (male) sailor" for 3 of the SS Atlantic's voyages. Shiver me timbers !!
There stands a commemorative monument, erected in 1915, on a mass grave for the unidentified victims of the wreck.
As Dave and I meandered off the beaten path, we came across more gravestones laying helter skelter in the bushes, enough to shiver me timbers and hush us into solemn pensiveness. What is it about discovering a bunch of gravestones that gives one the creepy crawlies ? Either way it was an interesting detour and a wonderful day spent discovering a little piece of history in our own backyard.
On a side note, the offer and counter offer fell through and our house is back on the market, so we came home after our adventures for (another) thorough cleaning, getting it ready for more showings !! And it's back to the books for this "true sailor-ess" for the upcoming reviews and Coastal Navigation exam this week.
Keep your fingers crossed, shiver me timbers !!
Photo: One of the descriptive panels fond at the Heritage Site aptly named "Cry of the Sea". As always if you've liked SV Banyan on Facebook, you can take a peek at a few more pictures.
March 21, 2012 , Halifax
This widely popular and well known idiom cannot be mistaken for anything else but the infamous words of Capt Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Having spent the last few weeks watching reruns, and yes, Le Sigh, SV Banyan is, admittedly, a huge Trekkie fan, this idea of "making it so" has somehow resonated with me. Capt Picard, in First Contact, succintly explained that in the world of the future, dilemmas and strife have disappeared, and the ultimate goal of (wo)mankind has become to strive to continually better ourselves.
This combined with the recent events in our lives...
A recent story of DOing by Zero to Cruising, where Rebecca taught herself how to dance with fire (you should watch the video, she's amazing !). Love their zest for life !! Another recent blog by Windtraveler is a great read as well, sharing a similar vein of thought, commenting on those who dream and dream, and those who dream and "DO" (quote unquote).
There is this idea that somehow and someway we all have the ability to create the life of our dreams. Sounds simple enough. The inspirational stories of those that up and quit lucrative jobs to be "happy-er" following their bliss. Oftentimes it is when we face the fear, and do it anyways, that we feel truly vibrant and alive and empowered. There's something to be said about leaving the relative familiar comfort of that which we know and heading out... into unknown and unchartered territory. (Although in this age of technological media, ain't much that is unknown and unchartered).
Dave and I have also, as have other cruisers I am sure, started experiencing the "you are doing WHAT ?". Sometimes it's as simple as a raised eyebrow, to outright vocal comments (some supportive, some not so much).
My daughter experienced this as well when she told people she was going to Spain for a few months. My son succintly investigated the idea of the words that we choose to speak, suggesting that, for example, in terms of high school graduates that so and so took a year "off"... Why this need to constantly quanitfy and qualify our actions... or the time doing something we want with the word "off" ?
Off from what ? Is following our dream, creating our lives, striving for HAPPYness, feeling vibrantly alive, taking time "off"?
Can it be as simple as the very idea that language in of itself, the use of words, the thinking of thoughts allow us to go from dreaming to "making it so" ??
On a totally unrelated topic, we are happy to report that we just received the first offer on our house, and a counter offer is in the works. Dave is visiting SV Banyan (aka working) on this absolutely gorgeous summer day (and yes it's only mid-March !) and we have been following our exercise regimen with rewnewed ardour (see what Spring brings forth ??) which for me entails a 10 km walk today.
Life is Good. Make it so !
PHOTO: A gorgeous pictures of SV Banyan with her colourful spinnaker. Taken last summer - thanks Mo !!
March 18, 2012 , Halifax
My daughter has spent the better part of last year working full time earning dollars to put towards her future education. Ever since she can remember, she has wanted to travel... see the world, yearn for adventure. I think I can relate to that !
A few months ago she decided to do something about this quest of hers and finally settled on an au-pair site, created a profile, and off she went into cyberspace. After a few interviews and emails and Skype sessions she found a family, or rather a family found her, the vibes jived, and the rest is, as they say, history.
As parents, no matter what, no matter when... the minute your children leave your sight, you wonder and you worry. I don't imagine that will ever change.
The best things you can give you children are roots and wings.
Today I watched my daughter use her wings and fly away into the Big Big World.
March 17, 2012 , Halifax
One of the great things about the Yacht Club that we belong to, is their wintertime Friday night dinners. It being mostly a volunteer type of club, members all pitch in to make it what it is, from marina work parties to clean up the yard parties... hmm, might this be a theme here, as in any excuse for a party party ??
During the long winter months, the Club holds Friday night dinners (where club members create and cook the meal) followed by the very infamous Beer Bottle Racing. This Friday, after too many moons of not having participated, the two Ex-Commodores of the Club, Bob and Dave, decided that it was their turn. Of course, just having attended our Thai cooking class at Fid, we put 2 and 2 together, and, got 5 !
We should do this at the Club, yes indeed. But as you can see, our "math" was a little off... LOL. What ensued was a frenzy of activity to try to make it all happen. How do Chef's make it look so easy ? Do you know how long it takes to julienne 10 pounds of carrots and I don't know how much Daikon ??
I must say that seeing the Before and After pictures, and Bob's SOP's (for the non-military minded that's Standard Operating Procedures down to the last ahem, minute !!) we managed to pull it off, with over 120 spring rolls being rolled into all sorts of shapes and sizes, the ones that were deemed unfit were quickly sliced up and eaten, all dipped in the cauldron of Spicy Peanut Sauce.
This was followed by "overflowing" plates of Shrimp Pad Thai. Extra bowls of Sri Racha adorned the tables for those who like it HOT !
Dessert was Bob and Christina's Very Decadent, not to mention delicious, Rum Cake.
A long day. A great day. A wonderful day. A "oh my god I can't eat another bite" as per the members' comments, and as for me personally (or maybe I speak for all of us) I dont' want to see, taste or smell anything related to coconut, peanuts or Thai !!! Pictures are posted on our Facebook SV Banyan site, if you've Liked us, you can definitely take a peek at some of the Kodak Moments.
March 13, 2012 , Halifax
We all know that it's not about the end result, the goal, the destination... it's about the authentic dance we want to jive to as we do our best to stay on the path of "getting from here to there".
But from here to there sometimes seems like a never ending path, no end in sight, doesn't it ? It's hard to relax, when you know there's so much you could be doing. It's hard to be "doing" when you're waiting for something else to happen first. It's hard to plan when there are so many unknowns that you have no control of...
So the past few weeks have had us getting the house ready for show and tell. Our home is now officially on the market and our prime directive is to keep 'er clean, constantly, for any and all calls for showings. We're just a tad "early" given the high military population in this province, posting messages are due out shortly, so we're expecting, and hoping for, an avalanche of interest soon. We're more than ready and the house is more than ready too, except for the garage where all the extra stuff went. We figure one room in the house that is not easily navigeable and empty and clean, will hopefully not prevent any potential interested parties from making an offer although we did attempt a three hour cleanup in there on Sunday and happily deposited 3 garbage bags at the curb for Monday morning pickup. We're getting there...
Kijiji is our best friend these days and taking pictures, obtaining measurements, writing descriptive ads, posting said item(s), all in an effort to sell what posessions our respective kids will not be taking is taking up much of my creative time... and then of course, replying to interested parties who may or may not show up at the date and time they said they would.... Again, we're getting there... one item picked up, is one item less to be disposed of.
We're crossing things off our "to buy" list as well, watermaker bulbs have been ordered and received, The Wirie bought and received, and the most recent purchase : batteries !! So Banyan is getting from here to there as well...
The Coastal Navigation course didn't provide the results we were hoping for. Well, not for me anyways. Dave passed with flying colours, I not so much. Gosh-darn it all, let's haul out the books and charts and calculators and erasers and start all over again as a rewrite is in the works. I figure that since I barely knew what a sailboat was 4 some odd years ago, I've come a long way, however since I hate excuses or justifications i won't get into them, bottom line is: I don't know the stuff that I need to know. Another few steps to take on this path before I can "sail" away...
PHOTO : Like Banyan sailing through the Halifax waters (taken this summer on an exceptionaly beautiful day on a lovely October Thanksgiving Day), we feel like we're "getting there"... speed don't matter do it ?
March 3, 2012 , Halifax
Celebrating accomplishments has always been something important to me. No matter what, big or small, accomplishments are meant to be noted, underlined, celebrated... it's all about making life FUN !
So, along with some friends of ours, we planned and held a surprise celebration for another lovely friend of ours. She had just recently retired, and was anxiously waiting for the big news that she and her husband were going to be grandparents. Two big changes that were happening in their lives. Major accomplishments, major changes, and celebrating a new phase of life for them, their children.. their soon to be grandchild.
Celebrations cannot be celebrated without a proper feast can it ? So knowing my love (a.k.a. obsession) with food, I decided to try something I had never done before: on the menu: "seafood lasagna" !! Not for the faint of heart. And even better, I would have a perfect opportunity for volunteer "guinea pigs"...
The overflowing dish was a result of layers of fresh pasta sheets, creamed spinach, cheesy ricotta, shrimp/lobster/scallop sauce... Calories don't count when you're having fun with friends.
Our friends brought salad, and toasted pita with hummus, perfect accompaniements. The chatter never stopped all evening (and neither did we move away from the dining room table) : what fun !
Celebrating Friends. Celebrating Changes. Celebrating Life.