Messing About In A Boat

There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

— Kenneth Grahame, Writer – The Wind In The Willows

IMG_2438And that’s exactly what I do. I mess about in a boat along with my humans and their boat friends. We call our group gatherings a “raftup” but another term “messabout” was used for an event in 1990 for the beginning of the Southern California Small Boat Messabout Society, SCSBMS. In the UK, “banter” is used especially in the canals. It doesn’t really matter what it’s called, it’s all the same… the emphasis will be more on talk and camaraderie than actually doing anything constructive.

These are a couple of photos from our Memorial Day long weekend cruise back in May of this year. Seventeen boats rafted together. We called it the Backyard Bash Cruise because this time the location was not far from our marina in local waters. Normally the group cruises across the Georgia Strait to Gabriola Island in the Gulf Islands but human dad felt that was too far to go for just a weekend, even if it was a long one. So we never went.

IMG_2430Our cruise master organized a pirate dinghy poker run and the silly humans frivolously dressed themselves and their dinghies in pirate fashion.  Not me though. Human mom forgot to bring my pirate hats. She had bought 2 of them last year from a Halloween clearance bin because she couldn’t decide which one she liked better. Guess what I’ll be this Halloween. To play, the humans were given some clues to find the location of 5 “stations” on the water where they would get a random playing card to create a poker hand. The winners won a share of the booty (ante). My humans didn’t win, but seemed to have a lot of fun in the process.

Our official cruise schedule for the year is over now. Minstrel is still waiting for one of her sick cats (engines) to recover before we can go boating again anyways. In a couple of weeks we will be taking the students from the boating course out on a day cruise. The students get to put theory into practice and actually plot the course, with paper and pen using paper charts, and take us from the marina to a nearby bay. If all goes well we will arrive in time for lunch and an afternoon to just mess about nothing.

=^,,^=


Writing 101 Day 7: Today, use a quote or passage from something you’ve read to introduce your post. You’ll see a similar technique at the beginning of a book or chapter in the form of an epigraph.

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A Tweet For Volunteers

I was having a such a peaceful little cat nap when I was rudely woken by a little birdie tweeting loudly in my ear. Seems my human left the laptop open and I fell asleep on the keyboard after a little internet surfing that ended on Twitter. Glancing sideways at the screen unamused, my ears perked to attention when I recognized the above quote was tweeted by the Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons (CPS).

My humans are members of CPS; volunteers themselves for the past eight years now. They know full well the countless unpaid hours that they and the other dedicated volunteers have put into increasing awareness and knowledge of safe boating. Untold time and energy is invested into educating and training members and the general public, fostering fellowship among members, and establishing partnerships and alliances with organizations and agencies harbouring boating interests.

I rarely volunteer any of my tricks without receiving some kind of treat for doing them, but for humans, if not for the money, why do they do it? Apparently humans have deeper needs so they volunteer for an endless variety of reasons such as to:

  • gain experience,
  • acquire new skills,
  • meet new humans,
  • expand their network of contacts as a way to get a new job or start a career,
  • give back to their community,
  • help a friend,
  • promote a worthwhile activity,
  • feel good.

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Last week our squadron hosted a local shoreline cleanup event registered with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup which is one of the largest environmental activities in Canada, and third largest in the world. Leading by example, my humans along with many other CPS members making up the over 50,000 Canadian volunteers, removed in a combined effort approximately 140,000 kgs of shoreline litter before it could get into the water. Meowee, aquatic life everywhere thanks you!

Whether discarded accidentally or deliberately, all shoreline litter is the result of human activities. Have you ever visited a beach the day after a public event such as a fireworks show? It’s disgusting! The amount of garbage left behind is staggering, and some of it ends up in the water by wind or wave before any cleanup efforts can get underway. Shoreline litter can significantly alter the sensitive balance of ecosystems and is particularly dangerous for marine life by way of entanglement and ingestion, which can lead to restricted movement, injuries, and even death by drowning, suffocation or starvation. Marine debris is a problem for all of us. It affects everything from the environment to the economy; from fishing and navigation to human health and safety; from microscopic plankton to giant blue whales.

It’s seems quite strange to me that garbage is made up of items humans consider worthless. However, according to a survey from a litter study in 2009, it costs over 11 billion dollars in cleanup and abatements…every year! That’s just in the United States of America alone, and Canada can’t really be all that different, never mind all the other countries in the world wherever humans live. I’ve also learned that the oceans have toilet bowls the size of Texas containing confetti size plastic bits and other debris that just won’t flush. Yes plural because there are apparently about five or six of them around the globe. I really don’t think there’s enough money in the world to pay for it’s clean up let alone the cost of repairs the damage it’s presence is causing. Now more than ever, all humans need to voluntarily clean up their act, and that my furiends would truly be priceless.

=^,,^=


Writing 101 Day 5: One of the goals of Writing 101 is to tap into new and unexpected places for post ideas. Today, let’s look to Twitter for inspiration. Today, write a response to a tweet. Shape your post in any way you choose — agree or disagree with the tweet, or use it as a starting point for a story, personal essay, poem, or something else. Visit Twitter.com and enter #quotes in the search field, which will display tweets with this hashtag. Find a tweet that intrigues you.

Kayaking Kitty, Almost

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Helping with the prawns

Today was a good day. First, human dad took Jester our dinghy to pull up his prawn traps he had set out yesterday and we had success. Around 100 was the count, meowee! I helped as much as I could by sorting out the ones the humans would find too small for them…yum.

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Islet with hidden geocache in Laura Cove, Prideaux Haven Marine Park, BC

Then human mom went off kayaking to find a geocache in the next cove over called Laura Cove. The geocache was called “Tarzan Loves Peanut Butter” probably because it was a peanut butter container and you could get a good view of the rope swing from the little islet it was located on.

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Contents of Tarzen Loves Peanut Butter geocache

This one actually had a trackable travel bug in it, with a travel goal which was to get to the Oregon coast in the USA. That’s about a couple of weeks or more of travel days from here for us and since there are so many Americans visiting up here, mom thought if any of them found this cache, they would be better suited to move it on it’s journey. Mom didn’t find anything she thought I would like, but being a good Port Moody Power & Sail Squadron member, contributed one of her pinback buttons with the squadron logo and web site address on it.

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Peaches

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Ben

On her paddles, mom also met some of my boating furiends. Ben the black lab cross, and Peaches. Peaches was a rescue dog and has worked very hard over the past couple of years to improve her behaviour when she’s around other humans and furiends. When I found out they were here, I wanted to go visit them too so I jumped into the nearest kayak. To my disappointment, mom couldn’t find my lifejacket and it was getting too late in the day to go out again.

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Can someone please pass meow the paddle!

Tomorrow we are leaving the raft-up to head over to Squirrel Cove for a couple of days. Dad hasn’t had much luck fishing here yet so we will try over there. It’s about a 2 hour cruise with a stop at Refuge Cove to get a few supplies and fresh water, and fuel for Minstrel and Jester. =^,,^=

A Swarm of Swimmers

Photography 101 Day 14, It’s a swarm! Show us something that overruns your scene, but observe and compose carefully before you click the shutter. Don’t just point and shoot. Observe your scene closely before pressing the shutter. Spend time watching and planning your frame, so that you can take a photo that captures a unique moment in the larger scene.


More than 400 participants of all ages (many of them sporting crazy costumes and some wearing almost nothing at all) signed up for the annual New Year’s Day Penguin Plunge in Burrard Inlet under dry skies and a balmy 8ºC temperature.

“It was a great day,” said event organizer Nicki Forster. Forster believes the plunge has become a huge event in the community.

“It’s the community getting together to celebrate the start of the new year,” she said, noting it wouldn’t be possible without help from the City of Port Moody.

Nancy Scott of the Pleasantside Community Association, which hosts the annual tradition off the Rocky Point Park pier, said about $1,000 was raised for the organization through registrations and refreshment sales. Pleasantside Community Association is a fundraiser for the Old Orchard Hall.

2 of our PMPSS members also took the plunge this year and jumped into the frigid waters from the 5 vessel raftup halfway down the pier. If you missed your chance to get wet, the association intends to hold another Penguin Plunge to start 2015.

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PMPSS Penguin Plunge Raft-Up

 

 =^,,^=

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.

=^,,^=

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.

Continue reading

All Is Naut Lost – Part I

Writing 101, Day 4 – Today, write about a loss. The twist: make this the first post in a three-post series. (Part II, Part III)


Meow my furiends. The topic of this assignment couldn’t be more purrfect. It’s so amazing how the catzmos works at times.  I was trying to figure out how to start telling this true story about something remarkable that happened to my mom but it’s a bit long so  breaking it up into parts solves that problem. Continue reading

Sea of Blue

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On the way home I was feeling a little blue that our sea-cruise was over. I loved the extra attention bestowed upon me by the humans, not to mention all the treats I received. I will miss my new furiends Tank, Skipper and Cloe, and my humans when at their jobs away from home and me, who were once just a tail-swish away.  The freedom of boating has allowed me to become a lot more accustomed to being outdoors, and it’ll be a pain to go back to window sitting….(MOL, silly cat humour!)  Continue reading

Treated in Tenedo’s Bay

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Meow my furiends. It’s been hot hot hot. We spent the last 3 days rafted up in beautiful Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park with it’s more than 60 km of shoreline, several islands, numerous small bays and snug coves. The warm waters of the park are ideal for swimming and scuba diving and the forested upland offers a shady refuge of trails, small lakes, and designated campsites. This park can be split up into three major destination anchorages: Prideaux Haven, Tenedo’s Bay and Grace Harbour. Continue reading