26 March 2012 | Sidney BC
12 May 2011 | 16 29.36s 151 45.41w
03 May 2011 | French Poly
01 April 2010 | Revillagigedo Is/ San Benidicto
26 March 2010 | Puerto Vallarta
01 March 2010 | Puerto Vallarta
Travels with Luke
11 March 2016
Travelling with Luke is like travelling with a Rock Star, you have to see it to believe it.
Mexico was another level. The Mexicans could not get enough of him. Bonito Perro Grande is what they would say,( Big pretty dog).The local drunk at Carneval hugging and kissing him, the beautiful Senorita underneath our restaurant table making a fuss over him and getting her picture taken with him, or the circle of kids petting him and taking his picture. He most often gets a reaction from people and often it`s funny or touching. The street vendor in Cabo who wanted to borrow him and we would split the prophets; Peppy the Chihuahua who became sexually aroused ( most Mexican male dogs are intact) and Peppys owner offered to get a stool; or the passer-by that swerves to stroke him as they pass. I decided if you want a picture of Luke I get a picture of you and Luke but I didn`t carry out my plan. One night on our way to the Malecon and Carneval we passed the Naval base near Marina De La Paz. It was almost dark and the sentry was at his post guarding the entrance. All we could see was 2 eyes, a hard hat ,and a gun barrel from above the concrete posting. Next thing we knew out came a phone/camera and hanging over the top he asked if he could take a picture of Luke. That would have been quite a picture, Luke and soldier complete with AK47.
Sometimes it can turn into a gong show. Bahia Pichilingue, a lovely spot north of La Paz and quite a few Mexicans out enjoying this lovely spot on a Sunday. There was a professional photo shoot taking place out on the point. A lovely young model in scanty bikini was parading back and forth followed by 2 cameramen doing their thing. Occasionally she would duck behind the rocks and come out wearing a different bikini. Being one who appreciates beauty I thought Luke and I should go for a closer look. Soon after arrival Luke was surrounded by kids and adults, a number wanting to get his picture. I thought I better get out of there and a parade of kids followed us back to the parking lot.
Luke is such a good dog. I could take Luke to visit the Queen. One of the pictures I regret not having taken was Luke patiently waiting outside the typical Mexican tienda, brightly painted in Pacifico yellow and blue, while Elizabeth and I picked up groceries. All I have to do is tell him to stay and he does.
I rarely put Luke on a leash. We don`t do leashes. Walking the streets of La Paz he would stay just ahead of me taking in all the smells of Mexico. The many neighborhood dogs , a lot of them behind gates, would come bark bark bark. Luke would pass and ask himself, What`s his problem??? Crossing the street I just have to say his name and he comes to me where I can take his collar.
Our Luke is a lot of fun to have along. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful companion.
Galerias de Santa Teresa
29 February 2016
Cathy came and sat at our table and told us of the trip she had booked and was looking for someone to join her. It was a trip I had in the back of my mind since 1988 when our family drove the Baja in our chevy van. I had heard of it at that time and it sounded very interesting. After thinking about it for the night I said sure count me in. We planned to meet in Rice and Beans RV, San Ignacio on Thursday a couple of weeks later. Fast forward a couple of weeks and we were unloading the camper off the truck and setting Elizabeth and Luke up beside the lagoon at San Ignacio. I was going to take my truck as the drive into San Francisco de la Sierra ( Rancho San Francisco) was 7km of very rough road. After registering and getting our permits from the Museo beside the Mission at San Ignacio, Cathy and I were off. The road in was 35km of lovely paved road into the high Sierra and yes, 7 km of very rough road. After being in Mexico and taking a number of rough roads you are always re-evaluating what comprised a rough road. This was a rough road. Making contact at park headquarters at Rancho San Francisco we proceded to Rancho Guadelupe another 3 km across the high Desert were Francisco our guide was waiting with 3 mules and 2 burros saddled. Francisco had ridden for 5 hours, burro trail ,from his ranchero at Santa Martha to meet us. Packed and we were off by 12:30.
The first 2 miles took us across the high Baja sierra with lovely vistas eventually coming to the rim of Canyon Santa Teresa. From there our trail dropped most of the time very steeply and a couple of spots we had to dismount as there was danger of the mules falling. Believe me when there is danger of them falling it is steep and slippery. These are unbelievably sure footed, calm steeds. The trail switched back and forth across the wall of the canyon as we made our way to the canyon floor. Unbelievably in the very bottom of the canyon there was another Ranchero. Talk about isolation! But Francisco carried with him and spent a lot of time talking on his 2 meter hand held radio. There was almost constant chatter as these isolated rancheros visited and kept in contact with each other. Interesting blend of old and new tchnologies. Our trail on the canyon floor led us across rock and winding our way through house size boulders. Camp after 4 hours on the trail. Francisco unsaddled the animals while we set up our tents on the only sandy patches available. There was nice water coming out of the rocks. Lovely. The animals were turned loose to forage. A horse wouldn,t of survived there but the Mules/ burrows did fine eating anything from dried up palm fronds to orange peel. The sounds of the bells rang through the night from up the canyon as we enjoyed a lovely fire.
Day 2 was a day of hiking to the various cuevos(caves) in the area. Leaving at 8:30 and plans to be gone until 5. It was a full day with visiting 5 caves. The painting are believed to be around 3000 years old and of course a lot of speculation about them. Carbon dating of the caves puts inhabitation at 10800 years. Wow!!! Francisco was great with all the time we wanted to photograph and wonder at the caves and paintings. Lunch time then a swim in a lovely pool was a nice appreciated bonus.Returning to camp we discovered we had been joined by another party of 14 Mexican tourists and 4 guides.Not to mention another 25 burrows. It was an added bonus sitting around the fire with this large and boisterous group dining and acting Mexican. A real treat.
Day 3 started again with lots of Mexican food and energy as they wrangled and saddled their animals. Their trip was 2 days so they visited some caves and rode out the same day. We were on a more leisurely pace so as they hiked off we packed for the ride out. Leaving camp at 11 we followed the same trail out again. I was very appreciative of that mule hauling my sorry butt out of that canyon. Don,t think I would of been able to on foot. 5 hrs on the trail found us back at the ranchero at 4pm. Cathy and I were back in San Ignacio at 6.
A great experience. For me couldn,t have been any better. 2700 pesos ($160us) $80 each. Plus a tip that I felt was well deserved. We supplied all the food and cooking and camping gear. Francisco supplied his services,knowledge, and 5 pack animals.$8/day each for the animals and $12 per day for the guide. Only in Mexico!!! For me the pack trip and observing how the Mexicans did things was the highlight but the paintings were wonderful.
Tidal Rapids ,Coastal Rainforest/ Sidney to Prince Rupert
21 June 2012
A trip to Alaska was going to be the first big trip with Demelza but plans should always be flexible and so it was that the end of May 2012 there I was leaving my berth at canoe Cove and heading north after coming home from the South Pacific the summer of 2011. Single handing ; I didn`t really know how far north I was going to get. Elizabeth was home due to ongoing family trajedies. I chose to take the northern long route through the tidal rapids enroute to the north end of Vancouver Island. Gillard/ Dent rapids, Green Pt rapids and others was a challenge unknown in most parts of the world. Only in Canada you say. Gillard was interesting as I hoped to wait for slack at a resort owned by London Drugs. The preppy little manager insisted I leave, no exceptions, so out again I went into 11knots of turbulence and floatsam and flew downstream 1.5m to an eddy to await slack 30min later. Slack for rapids of that intensity may last only minutes so you have to get it right. Even at slack there is enough current for a 6k sailboat. My night at Shoal bay was one of those memorable events drinking beer and watching Janis Joplin concert dvd`s with old rocker/ cruisers. My stop at Lagoon Cove was a surprise visit with Bob and Pat Ness. It had been 45 yrs. Sointula was great but my friend Bob Fournier was not there. It was a surprise when Elizabeth decided to fly in and join me in Port Hardy for my passage north. Things were somewhat stable at home. With Elizabeth on board Cape caution was a beat into 20k NW but alright. Namu, a deserted cannery town was exactly that. I had heard about it for years. A testament to the good times on the coast. Bella Bella and on to Klemtu where we toured the longhouse; rain. The passage through Jackson narrows was tight, beautiful and so west coast.We had some very nice following wind to push us up Matheison Channel and a few others. Our first bears were at Kutze inlet where a sow and yearling cub co-operated with some nice photos and Lowe inlet continued with wet and cool, what we should expect but we were warm and cozy enough in Demelza; bus heater, while motoring by day, and Webasto by night. Long ,narrow Grenville Channel led us to Prince Rupert. Our timing was perfect in that we were there at National Aboriginal day. A lovely sunny day of native dancing, songs, food and Tsimpsean and Haida costumes : cedar bark hats, button blankets and elaborate head pieces.It was June 21 and I had been underway for 3 weeks.
New Engine for Demelza
26 March 2012 | Sidney BC
Demelza`s engine was 1986 vintage, rusty, dirty, well used and most of all used a lot of oil. She was also cranky to start so I decided to drop in a new engine. The beauty of marine repowers is that everything from front to back,alternator to transmission is brand new. I had spent little money on her engine and did not want to start pouring money into the pieces. Can`t be a big deal lift out he old and drop in the new. There where also some economic considerations with time limits as well as my planned trip north this summer where motoring is a big component. Home port of Canoe Cove turned out to be the logical choice as I wanted to get to know the crew there. Hugh and Christine had so graciously offered a place to stay which would be as handy as it could possibly be. Haul out was scheduled for Wed Feb 8. To save shipping fees I picked up the engine Tues 7 in Vancouver which meant I had to leave home by 4 in the morning. No problem, I caught the 5 oclock ferry with new engine in the back and checked into the Richards hotel. If they had only known what they were getting into! Ripping and tearing was the easy part to get the old engine out. Some engine bed firming up followed as well as cleaning, painting,and most of all improving access to the engine and hell hole area. The new beauty was already to set in. By this time Hugh and Christine had already cleaned and painted her bottom. I have been asked: how do you get the previous owners to keep working on our Baby? Pretty sweet. With the new engine in place the more technical part started. How hard could it be to align the engine, the footprint of the new was the same as the old. Next came many hours of filing, cutting and most of all lifting the engine partially out and setting in again. Many times. What i did not realize untill later is that the old engine was setting down as far as it could go on it`s motor mounts. Hugh and Christine would meet me every night with a beer eager to hear of the days accomplishments. Some days it was meger. Eventually she was ready to splash and sea trial. Yanmar Inc is like the boat engine Nazi if you want their warranty, which of course I do. Sea trials yielded exhaust back pressure issues. Out she comes again and we redo the exhaust system right through to the exhaust thru hull with epoxy and rebedding. It is all done right. In the water she goes again. Now we are into day 16 and that is every day approx 9-5:30. There were always some very nice times such as lunch at the lovely Canoe Cove Cafe and dinner at Marys. Elizabeth would ask if Hugh and Christine were ready to throw me out and I would reply there were still lots of laughs at breakfast and supper so I guess things are alright. In Demelza goes again and more sea trail with gauges and redouts on wires and tubes connected. Exhaust pressure is good but my top rpm under load is not up to snuff. My prop is the culprit so out she comes again to put on my spare prop; maybe it is different although the specs are the same. Aha, we are within 50 rpm of specs, which is rated at 3750. She humms, she is a sweet little engine. By this time I have calves coming at home and enough is enough. I had become a fixture around Canoe Cove after 3 weeks there on the hard. Simon and the boys where wonderful with expertise when needed: I had learned a lot. To top off the adventure I hauled home a O`Day 25 sailboat belonging to Mark and Heather, friends and neighbors of Hugh and Christine as they were moving to Alberta with work. I had the unit to haul it as well as some place to store it here in Alberta until they get settled.
As always it all became a bigger adventure than expected, after all she is a Boat. It will feel so good to head north with a new engine purring away. Support and encouragement from Christine and Hugh is priceless.
12 May 2011 | 16 29.36s 151 45.41w
Hot and Humid
Demelza ready to leave French Polynesia for Cook Islands. Bora Bora yacht club where you can go ashore and always find an interesting story and help from Jessica the owner. A traditional style building or Fare of thatched roof and open sides where the breeze always wafts through. You don`t sit out in the sun in this part of the world. Operation has been bruised by a cyclone in Feb 2010 and and legal matters but still a nice centre here in Fr Poly. Jessica has plans for the future: a challenge to meet the needs of cruisers charter boats and super yachts as well as Bora tourists. Wind has been very light for this part of the world. This is SE trades country.
Raiatea/ CNI Carenage
03 May 2011 | French Poly
Eileen Quinn sings of the boat yard blues. The anchor getting stuck in suckdown harbour. It is real but we are very close to getting out. It has been way too long but we have had many good times while here. A lot of socializing with some great cruisers: Jeremy and Richard from England on Raylah, Waddy and Di from NZ, Rick an American on Indecisive and many French Norweigens etc. A big challenge for me has been getting my Sailmail sorted out. Rick a computer prof from Montana with help from contacts back home finally got my drivers installed so my computer could talk to my Pactor modem. Very involved. Additions to Demelza has been Autohelm, Solar panel, new piping in the head, bilge pump switch and many small items. Peg has made the best of it by spending a lot of time in the water and hitchiking to town where she always meets a friendly helpful local. Her fluent French is huge, you speak french very well they will say. We have got away a bit snorkeling and a night out at the Taravanna Yacht club. Incredible lack of wind with even wind from the west; where are the SE trades? They are winter winds and I guess haven`t totally filled in yet here south of the equator. Quite a bit of rain and hot muggy weather. We are in the tropics. One last hurdle with a broken oar then we are off tho Bora Bora which we look out on 25 miles to the NW. It will feel good to get the anchor up and get cruising. Tomorrow!