Prawns, Music and Dinghies, Oh My

Good day furiends. My humans finally caught me some prawns. Meowee, they are just delish when they are so fresh and raw. Cooked ones are purrty good too. That’s how the humans eat them. I’m starting to learn that I can purrform my tricks without being asked and it’s working well to get treats.

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Here in BC we have prawns called Spot Prawns because they have white spots on their shell. They are the largest of 7 commercial species of shrimp found in Canada’s west coast waters. According to SeaChoice (a watch dog organization concerned with the health of our fisheries and oceans), wild, trap-caught, B.C. spot prawns are a “Best Choice” option based on four sustainability criteria used for assessment:

1. Impacts on the species under assessment
2. Impacts on other species
3. Effectiveness of management
4. Habitat and ecosystem impacts

My humans use 4 baited  traps on long lines attached to buoys that are lowered about 400 feet into the water. Meowee, that’s a long ways down. Thank goodness they have an electric puller to bring them back up to the surface otherwise it would be really hard on their arms and they might not want to try prawn catching as often. That would be bad.

IMG_9819[1]This evening was the dinghy concert. An American country singer named Robin Landry, and her band the Chicksie Dixs, flew into Prideaux Haven and purrformed for a couple hours on the swim deck at the stern of a huge 80 foot boat called Pres du Soleil. A sea of dinghies all raft together behind the boat with all the humans eating, drinking and generally being silly. It’s getting bigger every year. Again I stayed behind and boat sat while all the humans left to go to it. It was the 5th annual concert, and my humans have attended 3 of them now. Two years ago it was the rain concert, last year the sun concert, and this year the smoke concert. What will next year’s be weather-wise I wonder.

If you like seafood and music, what kind do you like? Paw paw for now.

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Motion Monday: Moving to Melanie Cove

Day 7 of our cruise was a travel day to one of our favourite anchorages in Desolation Sound: Melanie Cove. The two hour trip was about as smooth as my fur, and as the video shows, I spent a few moments on deck enjoying it before I headed inside for a quick and comfortable cat nap.

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Meowee, the forest fires here in BC are very serious and as we got closer to our destination the sky was full of smoke, almost hiding the majestic mountains that surround us. It wasn’t affecting our breathing but it wasn’t quite as bright as it was.  I heard the humans mention that in some parts of the coast, visibility on the water was less than a mile, and back at home it’s even worse.

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The humans have been talking a lot about a dinghy concert that’s happening tomorrow and many boats have  filled the anchorage which now resembles a parking lot. Luckily our favourite spot was empty and we easily rafted our 5 vessels there. Once again, out came the inflatable air bags and once again the humans took to the water for fun, and to keep cool. I really don’t understand it.

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I have to go. I see a few dragonflies buzzing around and they are terribly distracting. Paw paw for now.

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Motion Monday: Not Your Average Rescue Kitty

Meowee furiends, it’s been a few months since my last post. I had my 3rd birthday a couple of months ago in February and my humans forgot. To those who left a few good suggestions on my Facebook page about what I should do (to my humans) about that, I thank you, they helped me feel better.

Just before I show you a video of my new furiend Nacho, let me first say that he is one lucky little kitty. Not only was he rescued from under a truck in Mexico half dead, but his humans, who happen to be friends with my humans, will be bringing him back to their home here on the BC west coast where he will become a boat cat like me. And I just found out he’ll be flying in next week! I can hardly wait to show him the ropes…wait, I mean lines.

It’s not easy for street cats to survive, anywhere, even harder for kittens, and by the sounds of it, Nacho probably wouldn’t have survived if not for the quick action and kind heart of a compassionate human who made the effort to prevent that from happening. Apparently it was touch and go. But as you will see, look just how well Nacho recovered. He’s a fighter.

Bringing pets from one country to another is not simple either. Once I find out the story of Nacho’s journey from Mexico to Canada, including vet certificates, airline requirements and other paperwork, I will report back.

I really hope we’ll get along when we finally get to meet. He’s already good buds with his furiend Toby the Chihuahua as you will see in this video. I’m sure they will miss each other but don’t be sad because Nacho will be going back to Mexico for the winter and they will be together again. So without further ado, I present Nacho…

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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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Looking for Sunshine in Squirrel Cove

IMG_2965This morning we woke up to gray skies and pouring rain. What a contrast from the sun baked days we’ve had for the past couple of months. Some rain is welcome but not when you’re on a boating holiday and your boat has a lot of outdoor deck space. I don’t normally go out much when I’m at the house so I don’t quite understand that rain is wet and something I’m not supposed to like. It doesn’t stop me from going out, but my fur shore gets frizzy and is much more maintenance than usual.

Human dad prepared the boat for departure and then went for a nap to wait for the rain to subside, and it did, but only until we started untying and bringing up the anchor of course, and then the flood gates let loose. Everyone got soaked in a matter of minutes. Soon though we were underway and heading out of the cove towards brighter and drier skies ahead.

IMG_2969IMG_2971We stopped in at Refuge Cove to get a few supplies and fuel. The sun was starting to peak through and the fuel dock looked like a great place to stretch my legs. A couple of time I jumped off board without too much fear when I thought they weren’t looking, but that only got me closed up in the cabin, especially when they went to the store. We weren’t here long and soon headed off to Squirrel Cove. By now the skies had cleared and it was a beautiful evening.

Tomorrow I get to go on a dinghy ride to the little islet we anchored near. I was on it 2 years ago as a kitten but we didn’t get to spend much time on it so human mom was hoping to bring me back one day, and here we are!

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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. =^,,^=

 

Bumpy Ride to Garden Bay

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Comfortable in my carrier on a bumpy Salish Sea.

July 31st we left on our 2 week “Northern Sea Cruise” with the Port Moody Power & Sail Squadron. Our first stop over was in Pender Harbour on the Sunshine Coast, one of our traditional stops on the way out, and back again on the way home.

It was a beautiful day but the Salish Sea was bumpy and the ride was rough. I don`t fare so well in those conditions and I tend to drool  and have other bodily reactions that are not befitting to mention of a cool seafaring cat such as myself….and it`s a 6 hour cruise. My human mom scooped me up in a blanket and took me outside to the upper helm deck. Even though the motion is more noticeable there, at least there is fresh air. I sat quietly with her for a couple of hours and then they brought up my carrier for me to lie in. Once we passed through Welcome Pass, the waves had started to subside which helped immensely. I was slowly feeling better and getting my sea legs back.

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Entering Pender Harbour, BC

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Waiting for the rest of the fleet to arrive at Garden Bay Marina in Pender Harbour, BC

To state the obvious, I was quite relieved once we were tied up to the dock at Garden Bay Marina. A few chews on my oat grass and I was feeling back to normal. We are here for a couple of days before heading out to our next stop. If you`d like to see where we are or have been, check out My Geocat Map. Mom will also be looking for any nearby geocaches and taking my trackable travel fish tag along to visit them. =^,,^=

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Out on a Ledge

Photography 101 Day 18 Today is all about straight edges, and tweaking your image to ensure your lines are perfectly positioned. Today, show us an edge — a straight line, a narrow ridge, a precipice.


Minstrel has many ledges and edges that I love to explore. My territory is contained within them. From the bow to the stern, the brow to the dash, I find where the best advantage points are to survey my surroundings, or to take a nap.  I love looking down the sides of Minstrel. The lines of her narrow side walkways reach back and forth to the edges of the world, and beyond.

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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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The Nature of Leading Lines

Photography 101, Day 8 Capture a moment, big or small, and pay attention to the lines and curves produced by nature. Envision the bend of a stream, or the curve of a petal: how can you use these lines in your composition? If you see strong vertical, horizontal, or diagonal lines, can you play with the orientation to create a more dynamic composition? Can you apply — or break — the Rule of Thirds?


If I was a tabby,  a bengal, or a tiger, I would have a lot of lines and curvy patterns on me for mom to photograph. But I’m not. Instead, she went through her photos  from all the pawsome places we went our cruises this summer to find examples of leading lines in nature and these were some of the obvious ones, but you could say they were unintentional. Going forward she will try to look for and use them more. One interesting tip she learned from this exercise was that there are leading lines and paths. The difference between a leading line and a path is that a leading line takes you to a point of interest in the frame, and a path tends to lead you to a vanishing point.

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