Friday, July 26, 2013

NAVIGATION-Inside Passage part 7

When Captain George Vancouver and his two ships, the Discovery and the Chatham set out to map the coast of British Columbia in 1793, his method of exploration was very simple though backbreaking.

The big ships anchored in strategic places and smaller boats were sent to search the bays and channels.

Several times the big ships ended up in the rocks and frequently the boat trips were of many days duration in very bad weather. Occasionally the crews rowed day and night and on more than one occasion, after a brush with the Indians, rowed for their lives.

Their methods of navigation included a compass and a marine chronometer: a clock accurate enough to be used to determine longitude by the position of stars and the sun.  The maps they produced were valuable references for those who followed.

During our little excursion up into Desolation Sound, Captain Jeffrey had many navigation tools available.

He used a library of maps he kept where they could be referenced… an overhead display in the pilot house.  He was also in constant radio contact with water craft around him and the marine officials on the shore.

 He used electronic aids such as the global navigation satellite systems to find his way around shallow water, hidden rocks and narrow channels.

Captain Jeffrey explained the knowledge of the tides is especially important when navigating between Vancouver Island and mainland British Columbia.

 Big tides from the Pacific Ocean ebb and flow around both sides of the huge land mass causing dramatic turbulence, also know as tidal rapids, as the water forces its way through the narrow passages.  To pass safely, a boater needs to know when slack tide happens.  This is a pause between flood and ebb tide---sort of like the moment between breathing in and breathing out. This break only lasts a few minutes so timing is essential.

Jeffrey was so good at arriving at slack tide that we seldom witnessed the turbulence and strong whirlpools which can swamp a small boat.

 When we arrived at a place such as Dodd Narrows, often there were boats lined up waiting for the moment of quiet between the ebb and flow.

A tangled anchor chain put us a little late at Surge Narrows.  Before we were out into open water we could see huge swirls and whirlpools forming as the water began to churn.

Even though we could see the disturbances caused by the surge of water, our captain skillfully guided our craft around the hazards.  I was almost disappointed we missed out on any kind of adventure.

My video of Captain Jeffrey at the wheel in the pilot house of the David B.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Several years ago Ingrid Bergman came to live in my hybrid tea rose garden.  Last winter’s two weeks of below zero weather was too much for her and she passed away silently in her sleep.

Yesterday I dug up her lifeless stick body and kept her dog tag.  In her prime she was a dark red velvet beauty, but the harsh weather was just too much for her.

 As is often the case, this set in motion a domino effect in my garden.  I decided to replace her with another hybrid tea rose.  But I couldn’t just buy one rose---oh no.  I bought two.  Now I had to find a home for the second plant too. 

Well!  Now was a great time to get rid of a rose bush I really, really didn’t like.

This bush rose is all pink and pretty when she blooms.  She’s also very hardy and can take about anything.  But she sends out extra roots which invade the personal space of everything around her.  Her bunches of blooms are worthless for bouquets because they last only a day and then fall apart and shrivel into brown ugly wads.

 I decided to dig her up.  This little project became a monumental task.  The more I dug, the more roots I found. Plus I was trying not to mangle too many surrounding plants all the while getting stabbed by thorns and working up a sweat that would do a horse proud.

 When I finally got down to the main root system I felt like I’d made my way through nine levels of a video game and finally killed the giant, evil, red-eyed slobbering monster who guarded the treasure.  (I’ve never done this but I’ve seen it happen—I have three sons.)

 What was left of that undertaking went to the compost pile.  No regrets.

Now I had to carefully dig up another hybrid tea rose that had survived the winter but had gone a little wild from the experience.  This left a hole so big it looked like a meteor had crash-landed in our yard.

Next was moving this rose to the other hole. That baby was HEAVY!  By the time I’d reached this part of the process it was so dark I was working by street light. I considered asking hubby for help but that would have required going inside, removing shoes, explaining the mud and sweat----nevermind.

 Anyway, I got that rose moved to its new home before I gave up for the night.

This morning I planted a new red rose called “Oklahoma” in the crater.

 Then I planted a very lovely white rose with pink tips on the petals called, “Moonstone” in the empty place where Ingrid had been. 

Somehow I manage to make so much work for myself when I get all excited about playing in the dirt.  (I’m now vowing to be much more diligent in the autumn winterizing of my roses.)  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

BABY JAY and MISS SQUIRREL--an adventure in foraging

A short story in two chapters about some of Linda Sue's friends. I put together this little video back in 2010 but it still makes me smile.