Tuesday, October 04, 2005

October 2005 Summer Update

our kids, Paul, Brenda & Rhonda in front of the condo

It is amazing how fast the summer has passed by. When we arrived home in May, we were concerned about what we would do to fill our days, no jobs, no boat, no home...we were afraid that time would just drag by. However we did find that all this time and freedom from the above provided opportunities we had ignored in the past.

First decision, where would we live. We had sold our large family home before leaving last year and purchased an 1100 sq. ft. condominium bungalow townhouse. We had the builder finish the basement, so the condo had 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, plus a finished rec room and an unfinished area. When we left last fall, it was not in our plans to return to Canada for the summer. But since it is well known that sailors plans are made of jello or written in sand, our open ended Caribbean cruise was being interrupted by a visit home. But after a winter of living by herself in the condo, Rhonda, our daughter the nurse, was being joined by Brenda, our daughter the new engineer, and Eric, Ross's cousin who had returned to college in Barrie. All of the above we settled into the 3 bedrooms, and planning to stay for at least a year.. It seemed unfair to disrupt their room arrangements, besides we were the last to arrive. We got the pullout couch in the unfinished area on the lower level. We did manage to get back our own bed, when we re-arranged the furniture. We plan to be absent as much as possible this summer, so it will work out. (Paul, our son going to university in Toronto, had a job in Toronto and stayed there for the summer.)

As soon as it was made known to the residents in our old neighbourhood that Ross was back in town with time on his hands, he was in demand as Mr. Handyman. He had more work than he wanted, without advertising. The income certainly helped preserve our cruising funds. Living on land is expensive!!

Getting the truck back to Andrew and Bronwen (Nammu) was easy. Early in July, they arrived in Buffalo and arranged to have their boat trucked from there to Vancouver. So we drove both their truck and our car there, about 100 miles. There was no difficulty getting Namuu imported into Canada. We had a wonderful meal in Niagara Falls, watching the tight rope walker cross from the hotel to the Casino, before everyone returned to Barrie. Bronwen's family (the Sibbalds) had founded Sibbald Point, just across Lake Simcoe from Barrie, and she wanted to check out the family homestead. They were welcomed and embraced by long lost family members so their trip was a great success. We heard that everyone and Nammu made the trip across Canada successfully and now they are restarting their land lives.

Steelaway anchored in Covered Portage Cove, KillarneyFor the last two weeks in July we were treated by Kathy and Pete Franklin to a cruise of Georgian Bay and the north channel on Steelaway. Pete & Kathy had trucked Steelaway to Florida, spent the winter with us in the Bahamas, and then trucked her back to Penetang this spring. They had not spent much time in this area, and we were eager to show them our old stomping ground. We had a fabulous time exploring Killarney, the Benjamins, Bad River and the Bustards. The weather was wonderful, and the anchorages beautiful. For more pictures check out North Channel Picture link.

This sailing trip was followed in August with a week canoe camping with Bev's sister and her husband, Kathryn and Ron and their friends in Massassauga Provincial Park. We had canoe camped extensively in the early 1990's and it was this experience that directly led to our sailing endeavours. Canoe camping had introduced us to the joy of getting out on the water, the peace and quiet to be enjoyed on beautiful islands, wildlife and nature you just can't appreciate in populated areas. But canoe camping is a lot of work, carrying all your belongings over portages and sleeping on rocks. So we decided to see if sailing would provide all the benefits, plus allowing us to have a soft bed. The rest is history. Spider Lake, Massassauga Park

We had not been canoe camping since 1994, and we were anxious to see if after eleven years of luxurious sailing, we could deal with the vigours of the camping experience. Kathryn had arranged this trip, so that we would only have one portage to get to our campsite. We used this site as our base camp, day tripping from there, eliminating the need to strike camp each day, and carrying all of our goods with us. The weather and nature cooperated, treating us to an abundance of owl, loon and wolf calls each day and night plus Northern lights...another first for us. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip, handled the portages without difficulty, but the rocks were still hard! Ross & Bev on portage

Kathryn & BevOver the summer we have enjoyed visits with Bill & Jeanne from Planktos. They had sailed north from Fort Pierce, spent a few weeks cruising Georgian Bay, and are now on their way back to Florida. It was great to see them. We also went to Toronto for drinks with Dianne and Ted on LeBouclier. Ross had helped Ted in Georgetown "jerry rig" a windlass motor to get them home, and then went down to assist with the installation of the permanent solution.
Bill & Jeannie
Bev, Dianne, Ted & Ross on LeBouclieWe kept busy in September creating our new website, and watching the hurricanes terrorize Alabama, Louisiana and Texas. We feel very sorry for those affected, but are happy that so far Fort Pierce seems only to be getting a lot of rain. We are anxious to see how RAFT has survived the rain and heat. We will find out soon.

We will be leaving for Florida October 12th, depending on the weather...sailor's joke, and expect to be in Fort Pierce by the 15th. Then the work to clean RAFT up, put her back together, and get her launched, will begin.