Monday, May 30, 2016

Making Lemonade

Woody Allen once said, "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans."

I've been told that several times over the last ten years when many of our plans went sideways.  It was good preparation for our long awaited boat trip through the San Juans, Gulf Islands, and northward.

Roger has been traveling a lot with his new job and had flown in from Poland the night before we launched the boat.  We had invited our Sunhaven Road neighbors from Calgary, Annette and Dwayne Majcher, to join us on the boat for a few days in the San Juans along with our friends John and Laurel MacPhail who just moved their boat to the west coast.  Our plan was for the six of us to spend a few days exploring the San Juan Islands, then we would cruise with the MacPhails heading north through the Gulf Islands eventually meeting up with other Sunhaven Road friends, Heather and Don Moe to do Desolation Sound and the Broughtons.  It all sounded so fabulous.

The Majchers and MacPhails had never met, but immediately clicked and we all set off for Roche Harbour with well stocked boats and great spirits.  Annette and I even started singing the theme song to Gilligans Island and I dubbed her Ginger, while I was Mary Ann.

Left to right:  John and Laurel MacPhail, Roger and Heather Kinley, Annette and Dwayne Majcher
First stop - Roche Harbour

We cleared customs in Roche Harbour and then went for a walk through a forest to a Mausoleum  made by John McMillin who was a Mason.  It is a very strange place - bordering on creepy.  We had been there years ago but wanted to return as part of the tour and were glad we did.

There was a special ceremony being held by the Masons when we arrived, but we were allowed to walk around before it started.

Entrance to the mausoleum. 

The chairs are crypts and hold the remains of McMillan's family
The partial column represents unfinished business

Built in 1886, Hotel de Haro overlooks beautiful gardens and the marina.
After lunch on our boat, we headed to Reid Harbour where we were to spend our first night.  As luck would have it, we were able to tie up to our favorite floating dock at the head of the bay.  It was a gorgeous afternoon, a seal was sunbathing on an adjoining dock, and we were ready to pop the first bottle of wine before having dinner that I was going to prepare.

And then we heard the bilge pump.  And a large amount of water splashing out.  Roger quickly lifted the engine hatch, and said, "We've got to get the boat out of the water".  There was something in the timber of his voice that made me realize we were in trouble.  He got on the phone to our marina to ask for an emergency pull out, but they couldn't as it was the May long weekend but they gave him another marina to call.  They said they could pull the boat out at high tide at 11 a.m. the next morning.

As we quickly prepared to leave, I rushed down to the fridge and wrapped up some beef tenderloin steaks, and vegetables so the MacPhails could still have dinner!  We headed back to Sidney with one engine which took over two hours.  It was a relief to tie up to a slip, but knew we still had 18 hours to keep the boat afloat.  Roger rushed to Home Hardware and bought and installed another bilge pump to act as a backup.  The Majchers went off and found a hotel, and on my insistence, they returned for dinner.
It was a beautiful night back at Van Isle
It was comforting and fun to be with them as we monitored the bilge pump with it's rhythmic click and splash that happened every few seconds.  While the sound was annoying, it was a relief knowing it was working.  It reminded us of the constant drone of the generator in our camp in the Kalahari - it was a pain listening to it, but the silence, while welcomed for a minute, meant we had no power.  Silence isn't always golden.

Dwayne and Annette were calm and helped us pack up as much as we could in case.....well, in case the boat sank.  Amidst it all, we kept laughing knowing that we were safe and it could have been so much worse.

My mother, who taught me how to entertain would have been proud that despite the threat of the boat sinking, I made dinner of beef tenderloin steaks with blue cheese butter, glazed asparagus and mushrooms (with Annette's help) and french bread.  It was a feast.
Roger and I "napped" with our clothes on and by 5 a.m. Roger was making coffee and deciding to check out where the marina was he had to go to.  "I don't want to leave you here", he said, but I assured him I would be fine.  But after about 15 minutes, I started wondering if we were listing, so got up and prepared to jump out of the boat if need be.

When Roger returned he said he found a closer marina that advertised emergency haul outs so called them at 7 a.m.  The owner assured him he could do it at 8:30 a.m. and it was a relief knowing we would be out of the water sooner than later.
Relief - thanks Vector Marine!!
Upon inspection, it seemed like there was a domino effect of what happend.

The mechanic reported that one of the engine's bellows was pierced by a small piece of wood that allowed seawater to enter, which caused the gimble bearing to seize and break, which then got it spun around by the U-joint, which broke the plate going through the stern, which mounts the motor to the leg. You don't need to know boats to know it was bad. The other engine was fine and the mechanic suggested we contact our insurance agent which we did.

We felt badly that the Majcher's trip had been aborted, so decided we should make a Plan B and join MacPhails in Anacortes as originally planned.  So, we jumped in our car, took the ferry to the mainland and drove to Anacortes for 2 nights and spent the days with MacPhails on their boat.

The six of us joined forces and we ate and drank well.
John and Roger sharing a few laughs

Blondes really DO have more fun!
Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes - home to some beautiful yachts.

We went to stunning Watmough Bay for lunch and a walk.
MacPhail's boat is in the background beside a tree that is growing horizontally from the cliff.
John ferried us back and forth from his boat to the shore - a true Maritimer and happy as a clam on the water.
The gang having a drink on the beach
Next stop was Friday Harbour so we took the ferry there and planned on meeting up with MacPhails.  While we were waiting for them, we rented a three wheeled buggy and two mopeds and explored San Juan Island.  We never stopped laughing.
Dwayne and Roger on their "hogs".  Love the flags on the back of their bikes!

Annette did a masterful job of navigating the roads.  Once, when we needed to turn around, Roger and Dwayne just picked up the back of the buggy and pivoted it which just made us laugh even more.

Dwayne was regretting wearing shorts so I offered him my blanket.  He thought it was an accident waiting to happen, so decided to brave the chilly weather.

The boys
Our last night in Friday Harbor was spent on the MacPhail's boat where Laurel and I made dinner.  It was another feast of wild Pacific prawns, Kobe beef, vegetables and cheese bread.  We all agreed you couldn't have gotten a better meal in a 5 star restaurant --- and certainly it wouldn't have been as much fun.
Feast fit for a king
John and Laurel aboard "Skip to my Lu".
We returned to Sidney and spoke to the mechanic again and found out it was going to be very expensive and take 2-4 weeks to fix.  The insurance agent requested photos and later that day they called Roger to say our insurance would cover the costs. You are never sure how good your insurance coverage is until you have to make a claim.  Well, Beacon was great to deal with and after 20 years of boating with no claims, we were relieved to get the news.

We said goodbye to the Majchers and MacPhails - grateful we have such wonderful friends who are fun and able to adapt to plans that going awry.  There will be more boat trips in our future, and we will look forward to exploring this stunning part of the world with the four of them.  There are definitely more adventures to be experienced.

After a quick trip to Parksville we then continued our Plan B holiday by driving to Bothell to celebrate Magnus' third birthday.  Anette's family was there, and we loved hanging out with everyone.

Magnus going for a spin in his new truck - a gift from his mom and dad

In preparation for camping season, we bought Magnus a camping chair, lantern, binoculars, bug house and some books.
He is a happy little boy with a great sense of humour and we adore him.

Fun with RaRa and Magnus
Magnus' birthday was held in a beautiful park near their house.  Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate, but the kids didn't mind and we enjoyed meeting Brad and Anette's friends.
Lego was the theme of the party with everything LEGO!
Brad made huge bubbles which were a big hit with the kids
The birthday boy
After the party we headed to Idaho.  We're very lucky that we have such a wonderful place to come to.  We're usually here by now, and the grass was really long and needed a few passes on the lawnmower to get it looking like it should.  It's been great seeing all of our neighbours, and catching up on what's happening.
Parts of the grass were 3' tall!
24 hours later and looking much more like it
Roger will be heading off on some more business trips, and I will probably stay here for most of the summer.

All our planning went down the tubes, but in the end it really didn't matter.

We lived to tell the tale and no one got hurt --- we had a fabulous time with good friends with more Depends moments than I could count -- we were able to celebrate Magnus' birthday with him and our family --- and we are at one of the places we love.

I'd say we are doing just fine.

"I believe when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade...and try to find someone whose life has given them vodka, and have a party."
                                                                     Ron White







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