Boats And Mountains

‘Thane’ A spray replica gleams under the love of new owners. Built in the mid-80s, this boat has become a Southcoast icon. She recently visited the docks at the Ladysmith Maritime Society.

We’re moving into the doldrums of early summer, this time with a short heat wave. Well, that is heat as defined by our coastal standards. I saw 34°C yesterday on my thermometer. The forecast strong NW winds did not come. The air was hot; it felt good to me. The streams have already dried up, all the open grassy knolls are brown, I fear for what may lurk in the fire season ahead. I’m tinkering on little jobs on the boat which go so much better when it is dependably dry. Unfortunately dry also comes with the intense heat of sun reflected from the calm water around the docks. In two more days it will be officially summer. While I work, touring boats come to the dock, full of happy laughing people. That’s always a rub when the sweat is running into your eyes.

Fresh paint on the cabin top is the beginning of the facelift project. It can be called, “Putting lipstick on the pig.”
Finally! A transom ladder to make getting out of the dinghy much easier after clipping into the davits. It has been a bugger through the years.


I am wondering what the future has in store. I ache to untie the boat and go on a jaunt but finances, or the lack thereof, are preventing that. Often however, when things appear desperate, it can be a time just before a great adventure or opportunity begins. So like the little boy locked in the barn, I’m shovelling all the manure aside because, with all the shit, there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere! The scene fades with the old Lyle Lovett song “If I had a pony, I’d ride him on my boat….”

Salvaged winches newly installed to help hoist the dinghy on the davits. Such decadence!

Two days later it is now officially summer solstice. The days will begin getting shorter again. Any day now we’ll see our first Christmas ad. Haaar! Speaking of ads here are two products I’ll mention. First is something new to me called “30 Second Cleaner.” It reeks of bleach but whatever else is mixed into it does indeed work miracles. A sail cover which was embedded with black mould from the wet north coast did not respond to any of my efforts. With a bit of this stuff it was looking like new in five minutes and that included a prolonged rinse. So it was whoohaw for me.

By Cracky! Deep-cleaning Simple Green. The windows were old but clear the day before.

The other product must be familiar to nearly everyone, the liquid that cleans everything, is environmentally-friendly, you can even drink it they say, the concoction smells good and won’t harm anything. It’s a cleaner called “Simple Green.” I’ve been removing the frames around my plexi-glass boat windows to repair and paint them. I sprayed the organic gorp beneath the frames to remove years of muck. It ran down over the windows but heck, it was “Simple Green” so I didn’t even think of rinsing things down. Two days later, I returned to discover the effect as noted in the photo. The windows were old but craze-free before. It “Cleans everything by cracky!”

A great way to deal with a problem, a Turkish wine. I couldn’t resist the label. These guys have been making the stuff for several thousand years. Very, very nice!

Now, $800. later, I have all the new plexi in hand, not to mention the bedding compound, the cutting and installation after the unpleasant job of removing each old windows and prepping up for the new. There are also lifelines to replace and stanchions to upgrade. It’s all expensive and unpleasant work and won’t increase the value of the boat one dime but I’ll feel better once it is all done. These are jobs that have been on my “to do” list since I bought the boat seven years ago. While I am at these jobs, I may as well paint the cabin-sides; there’ll never be a better time. For once, all this work requires making no new holes in the boat.

Look Ma, no computers! An antique Hercules diesel idles beautifully where it is nestled in a gorgeous x-navy gig. It is elegantly simple.
Old as me! A 1952 GMC 3600. Original paint! Beauty eh? Wish I looked that good.
NO AIRBAGS! But…there’s a deluxe push-button AM radio, two spot lights, a sun visor and factory-installed signal lights.

My incentive for all will be a cruise for a couple of weeks once I’m done. I’ll be as broke as a church window once the face-lift is done so of course it’s a great time to go. Yes, I’m looking for crew. Vamanos!

Moo Noon.
On the way to the mountain. This old farm boy can never resist good looking cattle. These are a Scottish breed, Aryshires.
A view from Mount Prevost over Mount Maxwell on Saltspring Island.
Looking down on a falcon. Taken hand-held with my new-used 500mm af Minolta lense. The bird was about 500′ away. What a great lense!
Under The Volcano. Mount Baker from Mount Prevost.
Fog on the far side of Victoria Airport. It was a harbinger of the coming rain. Note the boats fishing in Saanich Inlet. It is now pouring as I post this blog.
Hanging some old friends. These sandals died today, the worn soles finally came unglued. I’ve trod the desert , the beaches of Mexico, and many other magical miles in these. I wonder if anyone will notice them hanging up there twenty feet in the air.
Yes, there will be flowers.
Wild lilies on the mountain.
Stinging Nettle Flower
The glory of summer. Sweet peas and Chickweed.
Yep! More Indian Plums. Fully ripe now with an ant standing guard.
Twins! Two spring fawns and their mom on the road down from the mountain.

Sunday morning, one window done. It dawned to prove the weatherman correct. There was a 40% chance of rain. I know how to make that 100%: just start prying a window out of my boat. Sploosh! On top of Mt. Prevost a few hours later, we looked out on a grand vista; the Cowichan Valley. The plaintiff calls of a steam whistle echoed up through the forest five hundred feet beneath my toes. It was the little locomotive at the Forestry Museum in Duncan a few miles away. Then came the chatter of a Peregrine Falcon, soon spotted sitting on a limb far below the high cliff where we stood. It was magic. After a rest, a warm gentle rain began to spatter down. It felt great after the clamber to the top. We began the steep descent back to a parking area down the mountain. The boat is calling.

Dinghummer! Harmless and properly named a Crane Fly it is also know as a Mosquito Hawk or a Daddy Long Legs. This beast is a sure sign of summer.

The Prince of Darkness is a gentleman.” -William Shakespeare.