Meow On A Sailboat

Look at meow! I’m on a sailboat! No we didn’t buy a new boat. I just borrowed this one for an impromptu photo opp. Whenever we’re at the marina to clean Minstrel or to socialize with their friends, my humans  let me outside somewhat by myself. So what did they expect I’d do? Sit around on the deck of our boat and be content to just look at my surroundings? Ha, silly humans. So when I spied this little sailboat with the green canvas I thought to myself, “how fun would it be to send my good buddy, Bailey Boat Cat, a photo of me on a boat like his!” …and here I am.

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When my absence was finally realized, which didn’t take long, over she strode all mother-hen like to shush me back to our boat. But when our eyes met and she realized where I was, in that instance I knew she thought the exact same thing I had. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out the camera and the photo session began. Of course I went with it. My plan was working.

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And there you have it. I came, I saw, I conquered….and I was ready to get off. I hope you like my photos Bailey. Now, what ploy can I come up with to get on that boat over there….

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Writing 101 Day 14: Write a post that takes place during one single day. Recreating a single day doesn’t automatically mean describing every detail. This assignment is very much about editing — and focusing on the right details. Zoom in even further, limiting yourself to just one hour of your chosen day.

Oh Those Sneaky Geese

“Ahoy?” During my deck patrol I heard a suspicious sound and went to investigate. There was definitely something swimming around in the water at the back of the boat.

No answer, but there it was again!

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Maneuvering closer I repeated: “Ahoy?!”

Still no answer. My curiosity got the better of me and I just had to look….

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Oh it’s just those marina geese sneaking by on their sunset tour. Maybe they think I’m one of them and want me to join them, or maybe they’re trying to taunt me into chasing them. Either way, I’m not getting in that water!

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Writing 101 Day 13: Play with word count. For those who’d like to aim for a specific word count, take a look at some 100-word stories at 100 Word Story, or Reader’s Digest list of winning 100-Word True Stories, then take a stab at your own.

I’m So Gull-ible

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The weather, forecasted to be gray and rainy, unexpectedly turned out to be sunny and dry. After our Remembrance Day Service at Belcarra Regional Park yesterday, we returned to our Marina for a bit of an afternoon dock party. The humans set out their deck chairs, furnished a few deck tables with appetizers, and enjoyed the glorious afternoon together.

I was almost allowed to roam at will, but the humans were a little further away from our boat Minstrel than I was comfortable with and instead I started trespassing on a few boats in between. That ended with me getting closed up inside Minstrel for the rest of the day, which was okay because it was my nap time anyways.

But what really caught my attention just before then was the dock leading the other way, along the marina’s breakwater, that was standing room only for a flock of seagulls. My oh my, if I could only join that party! I did try. I lowered my body as low as it would go and almost floated across the dock as I skulked towards them. Unfortunately they have really keen eyesight, and as if on cue a large section of them closest to me just flew up in the air, only to land a little further down the dock. They weren’t ever going to let me get too close. Mom didn’t like the look of the big mess of fresh runny poop they left behind and shushed meow back to boat before meow, or her, could step in any of it. But what a rush though.

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Here on the west coast of North America we have the western gull (Larus occidentalis). Did you know that an older name for gulls is mew? In German it’s Möwe, Danish måge, Dutch meeuw, and French mouette. These gulls typically live for 15-25 years. One of a gulls favourite food are mussels which are readily available to them at this time of year along the docks at the waterline. They carry the shelled morsels up into the air and drop them onto hard surfaces, a method used to crack them open. We are constantly finding empty black shells, and sometimes crab shells, all over Minstrel’s decks. Clever, but messy birds.

My human said she had read a rather humorous news article about a lady in Paignton, Devon (a small town in England) who reported having about 50 golf balls dropped on her house one summer by seagulls. They probably saw the balls as potential food, but then gulls see most things as potential food. Clever yes, but not so smart.

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Writing 101 Day 10: So far, we’ve found inspiration from our own experiences, images, words, and more. Today, let’s quietly observe the world around us and write about what we see. Find a spot where you can sit and observe for at least 20 minutes: a bench at a park, shopping mall, or museum; from inside your car in a parking lot; or even a place close to home, like your front porch. Ideally, it’s a location where you can watch action and interaction in a setting (between people, wildlife, weather, etc.) Don’t be afraid to take risks! Your response can be purely nonfiction and be an exact report of what you see, or a piece of creative nonfiction that uses storytelling elements (like point of view, pacing, and dialogue) to shape a more dramatic narrative.

Happy Halloween, Twenty Fifteen

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Halloween Boat Cat
Yup, Floating On A Ghost Ship
Has Risen Again

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This photo was of me sitting on top of the settee cushion at window level on our boat Minstrel as we were leaving our marina, but the background scene in the window was of an ugly oil refinery, so we were very pleased with how a little cropping and a couple of photo effect apps totally blotted that aspect out. First we uploaded the iphone photo into PHO.TO and selected the Realistic Photomontage-> Catoptromancy effect. It needed a bit of a frame finish so then we uploaded it Pixlr.com and applied the Wave effect and Tiny Frame.

And I couldn’t resist a quick Halloween Haiku to go with it. Happy Halloween 2015!!

A shout out in honour of Penelope, The Cat From Hell who designed this pumpkin for me last year!
Thanks again Nellie!

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Finally A Furiend in Garden Bay

IMG_3327After considerable scrutiny upon our arrival I was satisfied that the dock master had given us a suitable spot. A welcoming committee was waiting to help secure Minstrel to her starboard side dock assignment. The fleet had all returned and regrouped once again at Garden Bay Marina in Pender Harbour for the last two days of the cruise before heading home.

After we were plugged and settled in, human dad left to set out the crab traps. Meowee, crab! Now wouldn’t that be a special treat to end the cruise with.

IMG_3338IMG_3339Remember on day two when I was looking for a furiend in Garden Bay? Well guess who’s here? Tucker! Tucker likes kitties, and I like him, so I immediately jumped off the boat onto the dock to say hi to my old furiend. The teddy-bear faced bichon frise is getting along in years but is still very photogenic and has been featured in the squadron’s past three annual Pets and Wildlife calendars that human mom has printed. I’m in this years too, of course. I can show you the 2013 photos that have been uploaded to Flickr where you can meet some of my other squadron furiends. I’ve got to get the 2014 photos uploaded soon, which has been on my “to do” list since January. Does that list ever get done!

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Gauging the Sea Conditions

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GPS Motion X app for iPhone. Marina top left corner, waypoint marker for geocache in yellow.

There was no cellular service in Gorge Harbour but human mom checked before we arrived and knew there was a geocache in the area. The marina had a strict check out time so she only had about an hour to kayak over to the island, find it, and return before we had to leave. She had manually put the GPS coordinates into her iPhone Motion X app as a waypoint, and was able to navigate offline to the location. The GPS works without cellular service. Unfortunately she couldn’t find it because she forgot to write down the clues. She’s sure she would have found it if she had a bit more time because she was very close. She’ll try again next time.

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Gauging the weather conditions the old fashioned way.

As we left I checked the air and the sky to determine what kind of travel day we were going to have. Even humans used to rely on observation, patterns and folklore to avoid being caught off-guard by the elements before technology was around. This is how I do it. First I determine the direction of the wind on my whiskers. Easterly winds, which blow from the east, can indicate an approaching storm front; westerly winds mean good weather. Strong winds indicate high pressure differences, which can be a sign of advancing storm fronts. Then I take a deep whiff, close my eyes and smell the air. In a low pressure atmosphere, plants release gases, generating a smell like compost and indicating an upcoming rain. I also check for humidity. You can feel humidity, especially in your fur. If it’s curling up and getting frizzy, then the humidity is high, which tends to precede a heavy rain. Lastly I watch what the birds are doing. If they are flying high in the sky, there will probably be fair weather. Falling air pressure caused by an imminent storm causes discomfort in birds’ ears, so they fly low to alleviate it. Seagulls tend to stop flying and take refuge along the coast if a storm is coming. Birds get very quiet immediately before it rains. If you practice these methods you can become very attuned to reading the sky and air to gain the ability to predict the weather quite reliably. I was quite confident that the seas would be favourable as we headed East to Grace Harbour.

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Looking south on the Strait of Georgia heading east.

Just as I thought, the day turned out spectacular for the 3 1/2 hour cruise to Grace Harbour; a flat calm sea and a blazing sun. The humans got quite a bit browner after today, especially mom in her bikini. We met up and rafted with the 4 other squadron vessels that had left a short time ahead of us. Human dad headed off with his fishing gear again while human mom kept cool in the water with the other humans. Before long he was back with a couple more pink salmon. He’s my hero.

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Hanging around the fish cleaning table, watching the 2 freshly caught salmon get cleaned and filleted.

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Going to Gorge Harbour

IMG_3166The raft-up separated slightly this morning with 3 vessels heading to Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park, and 5 heading west to Gorge Harbour; about a 3 hour cruise for Minstrel. The water was calm and a pleasure to boat through. The skies were showing patches of blue, and the temperature was maintaining it’s warmth. I’ve quite taken to sleeping now while we travel; it helps passes the time very comfortably.

Before I knew it Minstrel was tied up to the dock at Gorge Harbour Marina. The main dock sections were double wide and it felt like land. But before I knew it, I was tied up too. Mom read a sign further up the dock that advised guests that all dogs had to be on a leash while on the dock. So when human mom saw me wandering off the boat, she wasted no time in putting my harness and leash on me. Wait, I’m not a dog!

This place was rather uneventful for me. In the afternoon, the humans went swimming in the pool, then to the restaurant fur dinner with the other humans, so there was no opportunity fur catching a fish or some prawns today. I’ll just have to catch them in my dreams fur now.

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Purring in Pender Harbour

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Looking for furiends at Garden Bay Marina

Day 2 at Garden Bay Marina, and I thought I might get bored when the humans leave me on board to go socialize with the other humans. There aren’t many furiends for me to greet this time. My dear furiend Skipper, a seasoned boat dog, passed away peacefully last December, and some of the other humans with furiends aren’t with us this trip, so I’m it.

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Playing with a dragonfly

But then, what looked like a small bird flew in the cabin and I couldn`t resist the urge to catch it! I chased it all over the boat, up onto the counters and spilling debris onto the floor…what a mess. Later I learned it was called a dragonfly.  Then there were these buzzy hovering yellow & black striped bugs called wasps….they don`t play nice so we don`t like wasps. Thankfully the humans have these special paddles that zaps the wasps dead when they touch it.

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Cool evening purrs on deck

The weather has been sweltering hot this week. We’re having an abnormally hot & dry summer this year and water restrictions are in full swing…water restrictions? How can that be with all this water around me?! The evenings are a bit cooler and once the sun ball goes down, it`s very pleasant to sit out side after dinner. Tomorrow morning we set out to an anchorage we were at last year called Prideaux Haven, in Desolation Sound. =^,,^=

 

Green Boating

Photography 101 Day 11, Colors can stir emotions within us, tell stories, and transform our images. Today, use one color to add life or drama to your shot.


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Pop of Green Floor Sign, Vancouver Boat Show

 

For over fifty years, the Vancouver International Boat Show has been, and still is, one of the best ways to find the latest & most innovative boating products on the market. For a modest entrance fee, boaters have access to free seminars put on by boating experts including hands-on skills training, and free 30-minute power or sailboat rides to get a taste of the boating life. The Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons is there too teaching boaters about being safe on the water. 

What about keeping the water safe? In our boating play ground called the Strait of Georgia (or Salish Sea) on the Pacific West Coast, which provides us with some of the most pawsome cruising waters in the world, there are over 350,000 boats! Meowee, that’s a lot! And we need to make sure we minimize our impact on it especially in high use areas such as marinas, anchorages and marine parks. Boat shows are a great venue to learn more about sensitive areas, birds, fish and other critters that depend on our waters. The Strait of Georgia Alliance puts out a Guide to Green Boating. As a green boater, you pledge to:

  • Manage your sewage responsibly.
  • Take care when fueling.
  • Use bilge filters or bilge pads.
  • Maintain your boat.
  • Use environmentally friendly cleaning products & bottom paint.
  • Dispose of all wastes properly.
  • Keep learning.

The next Vancouver International Boat Show will be held January 21-25, 2015 at BC Place Stadium and Granville Island. Our squadron has added the boat show as a cruise destination to our cruise schedule.  The marina we dock at is nestled on the waterfront of the vibrant Yaletown neighborhood and is a daytime hub of activity in the southeastern part of downtown Vancouver. It’s surrounded by parks, patio restaurants, urban apartments and modern condos of residential towers with spectacular views. The Vancouver sea wall passes right along by the marina and is one of the docking places for both the Aquabus and False Creek Ferry routes to Granville Island. All the amenities of gracious urban living can be found nearby, from the gourmet markets, yoga establishments and public transit, to the busy nightlife and boutiques. Our members have a lot of fun there and I really look forward to going, and you can look forward to my report on anything to do with boats and furiends.

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All Is Naut Lost – Part III

Writing 101, Day 16 On day four, you wrote about losing something. On day thirteen, you then wrote about finding something. So, today’s twist: If you’d like to continue our serial challenge, also reflect on the theme of “lost and found” more generally in this post. (Part I, Part II)


It had been less than 24 hours after mom lost her wallet and she had it back in her hands, intact. Standing out in front of the Superstore in Campbell River, John started telling the humans how he made the connections that led to him to finding her. John was the volunteer Nautical Days Food Booth Coordinator, and had returned to the park that morning. The locals were there too with their metal detectors…the finders of metal stuff…and it was they who turned over the wallet to John. First off he checked the wallet for any identification cards. A driver’s license revealed who she was and that she lived on the mainland. Instantly he knew it was going to be next to impossible contacting her over here. Scanning through the rest of the cards he came across her Canadian Power & Sail Squadron membership card. On second thought, as he looked up and surveyed the marina directly in front of him, maybe it wouldn’t be that difficult . “Of course”, he said to himself and headed towards the crisscross maze of docks.

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