Saturday, October 31, 2009

October is a good month....

Happy Hallowe'en Everybody!!

In my university days, I used to religiously attend the Great Canadian Beer Festival every November in Victoria. It was there that I discovered the Steamworks Brewery Pumpkin Ale. It was an absolute delight for the senses....smooth, rich, creamy, with just a touch of nutmeg to make you think of Pumpkin Pie! Since moving away from the Mainland, I haven't had the chance to enjoy it, but it remains etched in my memory. I guess it is that memory that motivated me to buy a local pumpkin ale last week. Maybe I should have been forwarned by the label...but needless to say, it was a major disappointment.
I suppose it won't be long until the various holiday ales start to line the shelves. Hopefully I'll have better luck. In the meantime....all you Vancouverites had better make your way to Gastown, and enjoy the delights of the season.

Armstrong Elementary Questions - last installment

What is the coolest thing you've done so far?
That's a good question! We've had lots of excellent adventures on this trip, but some of our favorites are seeing the humpback whales, the Giants baseball game, and Alcatraz Island!
Have you seen an octopus?
Not on this trip so far!
Have you ever been lost?
Luckily - NO! Well...not on the water. But I have been known to take a wrong turn while I explore a new town or hiking trail!
Do you sail at night?
When two ports or harbours are too far away, and we can't make it in one day, then we will sail at night. We take turns - one person is always awake and on watch, while the other person sleeps - we usually do three or four hour shifts.
What is the coolest sea creature you've seen?
Although I've been fortunate to see many Humpback Whales, they are still my favorite!! These enourmous creatures seem to be graceful, yet powerful - and seem to be oddly inquisitive. For some reason, I imagine them to be very wise.
Have pets been on your boat?
We don't have any pets, but we often take our friend's and family's dogs with us on board. Shima is now able to climb up and down the ladder, and Cody is comfortable jumping down into the dinghy from the deck! Not all dogs like the boat - especially when we are sailing, and the boat heels over to one side!!
Here is Amy with Shima on our old boat:
John rows Cody to the beach:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last Day

John arrives back at the boat today, after being in Canada for over three weeks to work. I couldn't be happier. In fact, I think I'll bake a cake.

Div 6's Questions Part 4

Here is the fourth set of questions from Ms. Small's class at Armstrong Elementary.

Have you seen dolphins and whales and sharks?

YES! We've been lucky to see Pacific White Sided Dolphins, Harbour Porpoises, and Humpback Whales....but no sharks (thankfully). Sharks don't become more common until we get further south. One of the most interesting things I've learned is that sea lions will sometimes lie on the surface with one fin in the air, and swim in small circles. They do this to regulate their body temperature, and it is called thermo-regulating...but it looks eerily like a shark fin from a distance! We have also been lucky to see an amazing variety of bird life.
Do you have flares?

Yes, we have lots of flares on board, and all different kinds. Some of our flares go high in the air, release a small parachute. and then float down to the surface slowly. We have others that shoot one or two red stars up into the sky and fall quickly. For daytime use, we also have orange smoke flares, to help someone find your position.
What happens if pirates attack you?

Well, every case is different, but most pirates who attack small boats like ours are thieves. So I expect they will take any money that we might have on board and perhaps some other items they can sell, and hopefully they will be on their way.

Have you been sea sick?

I normally suffer from motion sickness, so I took some medication during our traveling days and managed not to be ill. John, on the other hand, never gets sea sick, but didn't feel very well on one of his night watches.
Have you been scuba diving?

Both of us are certified SCUBA divers, but we were hoping to wait until warmer waters until we did some underwater exploring. John did rent a tank and a regulator last week, so that he could dive under the boat to change our zinc and scrub the hull. Diving in the marina. Nice.
Do you see many boats along the way? far we've seen lots of boats who are making a similar trip. This is the best time of year to travel to Mexico, so many others are going at the same time. There are even several other Canadian boats here - in fact there is a Canadian boat in our marina somewhere...but I haven't had a chance to meet them yet - it is a big marina (800+ boats).

What souvenirs will you buy?

Hmmm....I'm not sure yet!! We don't have a lot of space to store big things on the boat, so anything we buy will have to be small enough to store, or light enough that we can mail it home.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Today...another fabulous day of exploring the city...

I started at the Golden Gate Bridge, and walked south along the ocean side of the peninsula, passing through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, by amazing beaches, until I arrived at the Legion of Honor.

There, I stopped at the museum to admire (for free - thank you Sausalito Library) the artwork from various eras...but with a stunning collection of Rodin sculptures...including "The Thinker".

I continued south along the ocean, exploring the ruins of the Sutro Baths, more beaches, and enjoyed a cocktail at the touristy, historic, Cliff House.

Finally, I reached the creme de la creme - Ocean Beach - what a fabulous spot. There were surfers catching rides, windsurfers waiting for the wind, and just happy beach-goers enjoying a sunny day.

From the beach I wandered through Golden Gate Park and took a bit of time to explore the Japanese Tea Garden. A delightful, relaxing oasis. I took oodles of pictures, but would like to spend much more time here. From there, I made my way back to time to enjoy wine and cheesecake with Bob and Jane, fellow cruisers from...NANAIMO! I met them yesterday, as their boat was in the boat yard here, minus one rudder(!), flying the maple leaf. Of course, I had to say hello! Turns out they left about a week after we did, but have had a bit of stormy weather and some bad luck on their way down.

Monday, October 26, 2009

SF Open Studios

Last weekend was San Francisco Open Studios where hundreds of artists open their studios to the public throughout the weekend. I had heard that a woman I had met here in the marina would be showing some of her work, so I tracked her down to a studio in Fort Mason. (Many of the old military buildings in the city have been repurposed as artisan studios and non-profit organization offices). It was lovely to see her again and her work was fabulous - you can see her marine themed work here:

This may give you an idea of Fort Mason (notice all the sailboats in the Bay!). I also found a fabulous used bookstore in here...