part one of “what happened to our cruising plans 2022….”
also known as ”soooo much stuff”
I can’t honestly say we have been cruising – I don’t think one forty-four hour crossing to another marina constitutes cruising if you remain tied to the dock at said marina for a few months. Sadly, that’s what happened this time around, initially because of the various issues that arose on the trip over to the mainland, and then the ensuing difficulties encountered dealing with them. But then we (and I mean the “Lawrence and his brother” we) decided that the time to sell their parents’ Denman Island property is Right Now! Which made sense, in a way. Getting the hard work done now rather than leaving it to later in the summer indeed gets it over with, and means we may have a little bit more time in the sea. Maybe..
Once we made up our mind to go back to BC, after discovering a way to fly to Abbotsford and pick up our truck and camper, saving us rental costs etc…. We just did it. Quick visit with the kids, then up island to Denman, where we were immediately immersed in dealing with 30 odd years of two people growing old and NOT dealing with the stuff they accumulated and continued to accumulate.
Memo to self: write up contract for husband and have it notarized: “I will go through our stuff yearly and dispose of everything I can. Sign here please…..”
Two copies, one for him, one for me… I’m guilty as charged myself.
So the first week of Island life was sunny and remarkably warm and we were credited with dragging some Mexican weather back to the pacific north west. Both brothers had brought numerous flats of boxes and wrapping paper and blankets, so we all just dug in and started the process. Empty boxes were soon filled, as we all grabbed things and asked “do you want this? Do I want this?do the kids want this?” With only a few “I want it!” “no I want it!” moments, we packed a huge amount of stuff with relatively little fallout. There was also the “free store” boxes, and the “drag it to the end of the driveway” pile and of course the “throw it in the pickup and take it to recycling or the dump” pile. The other mission of course was to deal with the many years’ worth of home made wine that had accumulated under the house and in the “wine room”… not too much of a hardship with the last five or ten years worth of wine but I hesitate to try anything much older than that.
The end of the driveway pile astounded me. Unwanted items would be taken up to the main road, and the next time we went up and added another few things, everything was gone! Word got out and the islanders were on the prowl! We were ecstatic… we called it collecting karma points. It was mostly small stuff, but there were a few big furniture items, some of them pretty nice but just too much for us to try to store or flog. Happy islanders! Plus numerous boxes stuffed with treasures were taken to the Free Store, adding more points to our karma bank.
We also did a little chain-saw renovation. When half the house is a true log cabin and something isn’t quite right, it’s handy to have a brother who has an electric chain saw and knows how to use it… as well as the other tools necessary to finish the job. And many many feet of lumber squirrelled away in various places, some of it actually taken from trees on the lot. There were other jobs, like switching out the tiny bar sink for something that actually fits a few dishes and pots…. Dusting the ceiling, not for the faint of heart…and choosing the right steak to go with the dusty bottle of Chateau neuf de pape found in the wine cupboard (Lawrence’s job!)
The next week saw crappy weather, and Paul had to go back to work. Unfortunately I had moved to outside pursuits, cleaning out the greenhouse and trying to make a dent in the garden shed. We had a painter lined up, who started on Monday, so we could only work where she wasn’t. We went back and forth about the carpet ( original ellow shag feom the old log cabin), and whether or not to pull it up – eventually we left it. The house now seemed huge with hardly any furniture inside, and when we moved scatter rugs and washed the floor in the great room everything just glowed – clean warm white walls, free of the many paintings that used to cover them up, made everything look updated and inviting.
Eventually all good things must end and we had to go back to Mexico… ( do I detect note of sarcasm?) Brother Paul came back for the weekend to finish what we had started, getting the place ship-shape for the photo shoot.
A few days before we were scheduled to go back to the mainland I came down with a very sore throat, so we had to take a day off from cleaning to go onto the big island to get a Covid fast test, not as easy in British Columbia as it was in Mexico. I was negative but I arranged with my daughter in law to have another rapid test ready for me to take when we arrived on the mainland. She is a public health nurse who gives vaccines as a job so she also arranged for me to get my booster – that was a huge bonus. I was declared Covid free and boostered on the same day! We also enjoyed an amazing charcuterie dinner courtesy of Andrew and Adrienne… and more cuddles with grand puppy Brie!
Then it was time to fly back to the boat. We unloaded numerous boxes, paintings, and some small pieces of furniture, carefully shoehorned away in the camper and back seat of the truck, into our storage locker which for some reason we never have been able to give up. Yup, I’m still thinking of writing that contract…. If not for my sake then at least for our kids’!
This time we had an almost full airplane – I scored myself a mini bottle of Prosecco because it sounded like the last flight ( Toronto) had drunk all the wine … settled in… and enjoyed the four and a half hours as best I could. By the time we arrived in PV, where we had to navigate the chaos that is “looking for a taxi that doesn’t cost 400 pesos too much ”… we finally gave up, paid 800 pesos because we weren’t walking over some unseen bridge with our huge bags… and got home in time to have a quick shower and fall into bed.
So now we are back at La Cruz, in what should be our last week as we have found a little weather window to cross up to the Sea. Unfortunately with everything happening and the weather being iffy – our plan of languishing up the sea enjoying the Baja for a few months has morphed into maybe two and a half weeks. Maybe.
We have had a few fun outing days and are cramming a few last minute dinners out with our La Cruz buddies, as I don’t feel like we got a lot of visits in, even though the boat was here two months.
Definitely it’s not been the cruise we had envisioned, and a lot happened around us that changed our plans. However it’s not like we were unhappy staying here, and even if you don’t get out and about much there is a lot to do in La Cruz that satisfies the wandering soul.
I spent a lot of time walking on the beach, searching for the perfect stone, shell, piece of beach glass, shard…I paddled out to watch whales from the solitary silence of my kayak….we spent time with new friends and old, sharing meals, wine, margaritas, and stories.
I practiced my slowly-improving Spanish on patient store and restaurant staff, trying hard to be the good kind of gringo who is welcomed back..
Endlessly beautiful beaches for walking!
Morning power walks with Fiona introduced me to many people whose names I will never remember but whose faces will remain with me – people and dogs!
We ventured further afield and discovered we could hike to the numerous “secret beaches” along the coast up to Punta Mita, ending our treks at Desilederos beach for picnics, swims, and a few beverages.
I experienced the La Cruz medical system, having developed a strange rash – no doubt something I picked up cleaning out greenhouses or old log cabins – “walk in clinic” doesn’t begin to cover it! I show him my rash, he shrugs, writes a prescription, hands it to me. I step through the second door into the attached pharmacy and a lovely young lady grabs two little boxes off the shelf and charges me around 800 pesos ( had to pay more because I used the credit card) for medication and a doctor visit. I was quite relieved as everyone told me Dr Pepper’s ( yes that is the Anglo version of his name) usual method of delivering his medicine is with a needle in the butt. Takes me back to my childhood days of doctor house calls, the little black bag, and a big syringe.
But not this time. All very efficient. However the first day I tried to get in to see him he was shut tight, as they close for a few hours in the middle of the day of course. I came back at 430 and waited until 500 but he never appeared…l did get lots of steps in wandering around that corner of town and enjoyed seeing the children coming out of school, which has finally started up again! Made another attempt the next day and he was in his office…
What he sold me seems to be working, twenty four hours later all appears to be getting better! I did google both medications just to educate myself on what I was taking, and it all seemed above board and normal.
So we are leaving, weather permitting, Sunday morning. Our plans to stop in a few new-to-us places on the way up have morphed into “keep going until we get there”. “There” being Puertos los Cabos, on the Baja side, shortening the trip somewhat so we are only out for one full night and not two. Which is nice.
After that we will wend our way north, although with the dramatically shortened time frame, north could be maybe up to San Francisco – maybe Agua Verde if we are very lucky. Puerto Escondido if the gods truly smile on us. But I’m not worried, a few weeks cruising and anchoring and dare I say fishing will be a lovely end to our 2021-2022 Northern Ranger Adventure. Touch wood. A lot of wood.
We also have a lot of provisions to eat – Costco trips tend to fill freezers even when you don’t mean to, and we have been eating out a lot lately.
Last minute boat chores have taken up Lawrence’s time, finishing the work on the wing engine even though some of the bits and parts he needed never arrived or if they did they weren’t quite right.
Yesterday he started the wing engine for the first time in several years and she started like a little trooper, and ran happily long enough to make us feel confident in her ability to perform her function should the need arise ( alternate power in case of emergency…)
Now he is adding Velcro to the roof panels that insist on coming down on our heads. This is a universal and common occurrence amongst Nordhavns, and although I am confident PAE has solved the issue and it NEVER happens on new builds, on our lovingly maintained and stately older ladies we are always having problems. The industrial strength Velcro and some well placed staples should solve the problems but I am never 100% confident it works. Time and some bashing around in waves will tell!
So we share one last bag of churros on our last night out with friends, and we are ready to leave, winding down this unusual cruising season. Time to vamonos!
It’s true what they say sometimes, boating is all about fixing your boat in exotic places… which is fine if there are churros.
( and margaritas!)