Category Archives: Sailing

Gone Sailing

We’ve spent the last week sailing in the Gulf Islands with our little 25 ft C&C boat, Nesika. My parents joined us, chartering a 39 ft Island Packet. It’s a swanky ride. And then for a couple days, my brothers and one sister-in-law hopped aboard.

Marc, Gabrielle and I started out on Thursday morning, around 8:30am, making our way up Trincomali channel to Wallace Island. It is a marine park and a great little anchorage. There used to be an old settlement on Wallace so there are a few fruit trees, an old house and the foundations for a couple more. An old rusted truck and tractor lay retired in a field near the green marine park water pump. Pears and apples are little nubs on the neglected fruit trees, buried between the crowding firs. The garden boxes are mowed over now but when I was a kid and we visited here on our family boat, they held lemon verbena and two kinds of mint. It was sad to find the herbs gone.

There is a structure, roofed but open otherwise, that boaters left evidence they were there. Carved boat names hang from every beam, strung down from each other like a ladder. Some folks have become very creative with their signs, making the letters out of shells or crab claws or ribbon. We found our old boat’s name on an old piece of bark my mom carved maybe 10 years ago. Acappella II, and she did a fine job of it too.

The next night we headed to Pirates Cove on Decourcy Island. Pirates Cove has a notorious character and a jaded past. A guy who history refers to as Brother Twelve (my dad says his real name was probably Bob the Builder) had a cult on the island. It is said that he buried gold on the island so when we were kids, we spent a lot of time trying to find his stash. Unsuccessful, we thought we’d return for another try. Actually, we didn’t dig for anything but enjoyed a nice walk instead.

At Pirates, our old sailing friends Roger and Karen joined us on their 33 ft Rawson with Karen’s nephew and his girlfriend. Now, it was a party. They fit 9 in a small zodiac and looked like they were a tour.

The next day, all three boats headed about half an hour away to Whaleboat passage. The weather was cooking and Whaleboat provided great swimming with a nice current flowing through to wash out the tidal scum.

Now it is just my parents and our little boat, anchored in Burgoyne Bay, Salt Spring. We enjoyed a day inside their ritzy charter reading and drinking tea as the rain washed the salt from our decks. Gabrielle had a jolly jump in their spacious cabin and enjoyed some Nana and Grampa time.


Sailing with a baby is quite different than when Marc and I have gone out alone. We’ve pulled the jib out a couple times when she’s sleeping or strapped in her car seat on the cabin floor. But otherwise, we haven’t been able to sail though they haven’t had a lot of wind to warrant it anyway. The other sailing we’ve done previously with Gabrielle, she liked being in her ergo carrier most of the time and would happily snuggle there for up to 6 hours. Now, she is too busy for any sort of sitting around. She will jump with her jumper strung up to the boom. She will play in her car seat for short stints while we anchor or raft up. But it’s definitely been more challenging sailing with a baby aboard. One person is basically on baby duty, while the other skippers the boat. Neither of us are quite experienced enough yet to single-hand the boat. But when we look wistfully at the other boats around us, sails hoisted, we comfort ourselves by saying “At least we’re out. At least we are still on the water with our baby.”

We’re sitting in the cockpit, baby asleep, drinking our hot cocoa and basking in the last bit of a shamefully short summer. And even now, we zip up our hoodies and smell the hint of a change in season. Mast lights dot the bay like stars as we say good night.

Day to Day at 35 weeks

This is my belly at 35 weeks. I am wearing my fabulous maternity jeans, $2 at the Nu-to-U Thrift store on island. And my mom’s Indian sweater that she wore with all three of her pregnancies. Funny story about me procuring the sweater. I went up to visit my parents right before they moved houses and they had a big box of stuff that they were going to get rid of. In the box was this sweater. I scooped it up and my mom said to me “I wore that sweater with every one of my pregnancies.” And that visit, we sat in my mom’s bathroom, as I bemoaned the fact that Marc and I had been trying to have a baby for a bit with no luck. Little did I know, I had a little baby growing in my womb even then. I went home a couple days later and took a pregnancy test and it was Positive! I love this sweater for the family lore, for the fact I get to wear it pregnant, and for how it keeps me warm when we’re sailing in October.

This is what I am currently knitting. I don’t have a pattern. Usually such projects end in utter failure but we’ll see. I heard that you can have knitted baby leggings that make it so you don’t have to take the baby’s pants off before changing their diaper. So I’m trying to knit for a baby who I have no idea how long their legs will be. Risky? Well, it’s just a little bit of wool!

This is who visited me recently. This is my sister-in-law Danielle. She’s also expecting a little bean and we got to compare and empathize with each other through our heartburn, nausea, and frequent urination. It’s so fun being pregnant with a sister!

I’ve only been able to eat apples in my last trimester. Before then, it gave me terrible stomach cramps. I’m happy to return to my apple-eating ways because it is, after all, apple season. Last year we were in the thick of processing to try to keep up with the apple production. This year, we happily go sailing on sunny days and leave the apple processing to someone else.

(I love his hat….) Can you believe that Marc and I have already nearly been married for 5 years! And not only do I still love him, but I still like him!! He still makes me laugh until I beg him to stop so I don’t pee myself, and he is still challenging me on the next adventure. I’m a lucky gal, and I know it!

I’m seriously not even trying to look intrepid! Yes, I do this naturally. I’m actually observing the sea lions dotting the shore, and sympathizing with how clumsy they look on land, rolling about, feeling each fatty flab on the rocks. Sea lions, I too feel like I am beached unceremoniously with all my belly hanging out. Please roll me toward the food!… Or the toilet…

Ok, so we picked a few apples, but no where near the harvest of last year. These are just for munching, not for apple sauce, apple juice, apple pies, apple cider. Oh, you get the idea.

Baby, do you like Prevost Island? I know you can’t see it, but there is an old apple orchard here with Dr. Seuss fruit trees with fuzzy tops. How about I make you a deal? You let me sleep through the night on occasion, and I’ll bring you hear to play?

Sounds like a good deal to me…

-That Wife-

I have a secret fear.

It nags at me. Quite silently. In that undermining sort of way.

I really don’t want to be That Wife.

May I explain? There are so many husbands out there who love boats and who love sailing. And whether it’s that the women in their lives feel the competition in the “other woman” (the boat) or if women more generally do not prefer to be wet or cold or uncomfortable, they are turned off by the boat.

Thus the boat becomes his Other Love. So he has two women in his life, She-the boat, and She-the wife.

And there are a lot of men out there who have always dreamed of sailing around the world, or to some foreign port but they cannot or dare not because of their Wife.

If their Wife lets them, they buy a small boat that they can easily single-hand and they snatch a sail here and there while the Wife gets her hair done, or meets for tea with a girlfriend. So that the wife doesn’t feel cheated on. Or betrayed.

Often we’ve heard from longing men and fed-up women, “Oh we tried living on a boat,” or “Oh we considered living on a boat” but She (the wife) wouldn’t do it, or couldn’t do it. For whatever (often very legitimate) reason.

I want to be the cool adventurous Wife that will live on a boat, that will sail around the world. Heck, I got Marc interested in sailing in the first place. His preference was canoing. (Canoing, people, is a lot of work! Sailing, the wind does it for you. Ultimately, sailing can be a bit lazy….)

And sometimes, I’m the cool Wife. I enthusiastically dove into the idea of living on a boat and having a moveable home. I love sailing and feeling the wind in my face. I love living on the water without paying the “Ocean-View taxes.”

But sometimes, I am that Wife. Sometimes I want running water, sometimes I want the lights to turn on at the flick of a switch, instead of lighting an oil lamp and carrying it from room to room. Sometimes I get sick of pouring a cup of tea, and then having to grab the counter to compensate for the ferry waves.

To be honest, more often, I’m sick of the idea of renting, of fixing up someone else’s house, of paying someone else’s mortgage. Someone at work said that they were going to clean out the gutters this weekend. Guess what? I have no gutters!

I hope Marc will forgive me for my moments of being That Wife and embrace my moments when I am the Cool Wife. I hope he realizes that I am The Only Woman, and that that is The Boat, Our Home, and nothing like Another Woman!

That is my tiny fear. Sometimes do you have a fear that undermines what you really want?

Nothing as it seems…

Ya know all those stories you hear about people who buy boats thinking that certain systems are a certain way and then when they actually get the boat, nothing is as it seemed….

I thought our biggest obstacle when we first got the boat would be getting the on-demand propane hot water heater hooked up, and the engine running. Those were our priorites. We’ve had the boat for a whole week now and we have not delved into either system yet. This is not because of lack of trying.

We have a dickinson diesel heater on the boat that we were told worked like a charm. Perhaps one of the broken charm bracelets that you squish under your heel! Yeah it didn’t work. We weren’t sure if it was because the diesel was super old, or because there were huge chunks of “grunk” blocking the gravity feed pipes, or if it was because the fan in the heater was broken, or because it was so crunked up with junk that you couldn’t even see anything past the layer of carbon. There were a lot of variables.

(This is the part where I get to brag about my husband.)

Marc got the diesel heater manual, read it cover to cover. How he has the attention span for that sort of thing, I’ll never know. Now he understands intimately and can explain every little piece to me. Yay for Husband! Do you think if there was a manual to a pregnant woman’s psyche, he would cling to it the same way? Poor guy…

Long story short, the diesel heater is working now! Yes, we have heat in our tiny floating house. This means that I can start unpacking the kitchen (or the galley, excuse me) and I can look at moving aboard. Keep in mind, there is still no hot water so I’m not rushings things here. Let’s be realistic. I am only a little princessy and I blame it entirely on the pregnancy. I prefer hot water… But I do have a propane stove that works to heat water. Camping in rainy September, I may be able to suck it up and do it. I may linger at the guest cabin with my microwave and my refridgerator, and my hot hot water… It’s so luxurious!

Anyway, I had a midwife appointment and little Wombeo is doing fantastic. Growing at a reasonable but still small size. (yay for small babies.) And he/she has learned a new trick, it’s called sticking-your-foot-into-mommy’s-bladder-to-see-if-she-makes-more-room-for-you-by-peeing. Oh yeah it’s a fun game, especially if you’re at work trying to help a client and you get jabbed and need to pee immediately!

Still no sign of Ramona. And honestly I’m having trouble keeping up the stamina to continue going up to our ex-farm and looking for her. It’s so discouraging to venture up there and see my tomatoes starting to ripen, to see the garden growing or dying and know that it’s just not ours anymore. I feel like I have to cut ties with the house so I can really get excited about the boat. But with our little kitty still possibly wandering the fields up there, when do we stop searching and move on? When is it appropriate to give up hope?

Soon I will be posting photos of the inside of the boat for your viewing pleasure. I did want to thank each of you for your beautiful comments over the last couple weeks. They have buoyed my spirits and really been an encouragement. So Thank you Thank you Thank you!

Happy Monday!

The next stage

I’m not one for settling into a predictable boring life. There is a lot I have to do to maintain a friendship with myself. For example, last year, our car was on it’s last wheels so to speak, and instead of buying a car with the money in  our tiny bank account, we bought a little boat. Still a mode of transportation, we figured. It didn’t help that our car died in the next 6 months. But things tend to work out.

My point in that story, was that I have to do adventurous things to maintain a friendship with myself. I have to be able to look at my life and find myself interesting. I like change and adventuring, unless- apparently, I’m pregnant. If I’m pregnant, I prefer being boring. I prefer nesting into a cozy little hole and piling the blankets around my head and reading classic pregnancy books like “The Guide to Childbirth” and “The Active Birth” and “Birth Reborn” and “Your Birth, Your Way.” But instead, I am tucking my instincts away, under the pile of blankets, and I am packing my house up into boxes to go to the recycling centre, the Nu-to-U and the dump. I am extracting my treasures and putting them in tupperware boxes with labels like “In Case of Fire, Please Grab First!” and “Manda’s Most Precious Possessions, to be brought into the after-life.”

And we have been avoiding small breakdowns like “All I want is frozen pizza for dinner and we have no pizza pan!” and “Where is the pepper? Don’t tell me we packed the pepper?!”

Yes moving is challenging. But, we now have somewhere to move to. Granted, we will be in limbo for a few weeks as we sort out mooring etc. But, read this: We now have a home!

This is our 47 ft home. It is sitting in Sidney, BC right now, awaiting transport, and awaiting a mooring slip at the dock on Pender. Awaiting a new adventure. From farming to sailing, we are onto a new stage.

Don’t worry, the bees will still be happening. I can’t give up my favourite spatula and half my kitchen appliances and the bees now can I?