04
Aug
16

Miss my cabin

We sailed for about 2 weeks, and hang out with our friends at Cortes Bay for a week… well, I miss my cozy little cabin and wonder how my garden is doing. Is my drip watering working? That, and I am expecting a visitor from the orient.

So I head back home, myself. But, I needed Doug bring me over to Campbell River on Calliste. There is no easy to get from Cortes Bay to Campbell River without a car, and I didn’t want to impose on our friends…. Especially when I am getting on that 7:30 Island Link bus.

We made it to Q-cove in 3 hours, at slack time. Doug anchored and I paddled to the marina and tied up, went to the TruValue store that’s just 5 mins walk up the hill and hurried back. I think it only took me 30 mins at most, including the launching and retrieval of the kayak. By the time with head out thru the North opening to Q-cove, we were fighting a current of 2 kns. Over the 3 miles of getting from Q-cove to April Point, our SOG drop with every min that goes by. At some point, our SOG was maybe just 1 kn, and I was beginning to worry that we have to head back downstream because we simply cant make any headway.

Guess we throttle up and eventually got pass the more difficult parts of the channel and did manage to get into April Point. Phew.

Next day, we had a little engine drama. So we left about 15 mins later than planned… Oh no…. I have plenty of time for the bus, but Doug will be battling the current all the way down to Cape Mudge. He has only 1.5 hrs to make it pass before the current becomes too strong that it is impossible… and now -15 mins.

We continue best we can. Doug drop me off at K dock of Discovery marina in our usual swing by walk off method. 0645hrs. I have plenty of time to walk to the bus pick up point at Java Shack. I watch Calliste’s slow progress as I walk. At 1st it was a tad faster than my walk, but in 30mins it slowed way down, but still he is closing in on Cape Mudge.

0745hrs, watching Calliste from the bus as it moves along the coast. Doug is just about to pass Cape Mudge. I guess he’ll make it afterall. Messing around these high current flow areas are kinda exciting eh? Like sometimes you just don’t make it… ?

1200hrs, arrived at Victoria. Short walk to Coho ferry line. Next ferry 1500hrs. Long wait.

1645hrs, walked out thru US customs at Port Angeles. Had to rely on Google Map to direct me to the bus depot for bus 30 to Sequim. What would I do without my iGadgets?

1840hrs, on the last bus from Sequim to Port Townsend. They only run this bus in summer, so I was fortunate that I had internet in Cortes Bay to plan this route from the 730am bus to the 1840hrs bus. Again, what would I do without my iGadgets and the internet?

1930hrs, retrieved Fordie from Port Townsend Haven marina. Too pooped to have dinner.

 

31
Jul
16

Stretching our sails

A hideaway nook that is not a secret.

A hideaway nook that is not a secret.

We don’t have a sail plan this season… we kinda think we would go the Vancouver route, up around the Redondas before heading into Cortes Bay. Bad weather system was in the area, and we kinda make a new plan as we go along. Its so easy to do that with modern day electronic charts on our chartplotter and Navionics charts on my iP4d that comes with a super good tide program that even shows current direction with little arrows and the intensity of that flow. So long as we can read, we could not go wrong, right? We shall see about that.

7 Jun 1200hrs, Just went to town and got our new depth sounder. Parked Fordie at Haven Marina, Doug pick me up from the fuel dock. Adventure begins…. despite the bad weather reports, we decided to head out and see how bad it is.

1500hrs, its not bad at all. So calm that we went right by the infamous Smith Islands. Doug notice that the whole island is covered by marine birds, a sign that somewhere there is a system going on and birds are seeking refuge.

Doug like this one....

Doug like this one….

1800hrs, anchored at Aleck Bay. There is no other boats here. A few mansions, some kayaks on the beach and lots of driftwood. Overnight we hear the winds howling through, and was a little rolly with waves coming in from the South, but no drag.

8 Jun 0500hrs, Doug decided that he doesn’t like it at Aleck Bay. Winds are not too bad right now, Doug decided to jump over to Mackeye Harbor that is only separated from Aleck Bay by a small sandy strip, but is 3 miles by navigable waters. … And its 3 miles of chopping waters, making only 2 to 3 knots…. it took more than an hour to “jump” over. But true, it was a little better, and we didn’t feel alone🙂 … there is a small private marina and few anchored boats. Winds were up and down throughout the day, just as forecasted.

I like this one.

I like this one.

9 Jun 0430hrs, Winds settled down overnight, now is our chance to make a run to Oak Bay Customs dock.

0830hrs, Checked into Canada! So simple. I went on a walk to town, mission is to get groceries. We bring no vegs into Canada, so all boaters who check into Canada will be looking for fresh vegs, fruits and meats! 1100hrs, made it back to the customs dock with 2 heavy bags. Was a 30 minutes walk!

1200hrs, Anchored at Cadboro Bay. Very sleepy, both of us. Happy for the calm weather for a change.

10 Jun 0500hrs, Heading out. Calm weather for the next few days. We time our leaving to get the maximum current boost… so we made it to Cowichan by 1030hrs. In time to enjoy the free tie up till 2pm at the Fisherman Association pontoon. This is a surprising little harbor, houseboat community and touristy waterfront, but not much possibility for anchoring. We had lunch (it was so-so).

Usual sight cruising in BC. Log tugs.

Usual sight cruising in BC. Log tugs.

1500hrs, Anchored in Genoa Bay. This is really calm and nice. Almost like Annette inlet. We decided to stay 2 nights… partly because wind is up again, and surely we both will enjoy more rest🙂

12 Jun 0630hrs, Anchor was stuck drama. Luckily we were able to dislodge it by motoring to the other quadrant, and lift. Phew, no diving.

1030hrs, Brief stop at Thetis Island Marina, since we are too early for Dodd narrows. Got 3 internet vouchers for 3 devices. Its free, just have to ask. Was pretty good internet too. Decided to have lunch, it was so-so…. but C$50… big ouch for Doug…

1400hrs, We have a system of getting on and off fuel pontoons now. Doug will pull in slowly and I walk off, while he go anchor the boat. He may row in with the kayak, or not. Then he’ll drive by slowly and I walk back onboard. This gives me extra internet time🙂 and maybe shopping time🙂 . So anyway, we are off and headed to Dodd narrows. Made it in perfect time.

Campbell River, as seen from April Point.

Campbell River, as seen from April Point.

1830hrs, Anchored at Mark Bay Nanaimo. Usual spot. Lots of space, maybe its still early this season.

13 Jun, Finally a day to launch the dinghy, so that we can both go into town. We have only 1 kayak this time, sigh…. I need good internet for banking and Doug needs lots of nuts to last him the whole summer. Paid C$5.50 to Nanaimo port authority for parking our 7ft dinghy at half day rate. Good for 9hrs they say. Horrible internet at the marina. Found the bus to Woodgrove Save on foods. C$2.50 each, one way. So it cost us total C$10 for the day on bus, but it was well worth it. I got lots of productive things done on the free Save-on wifi and Doug got more nuts that he can eat🙂

Anchoring hole in Blind channel. This is my next favorite spot after Annette inlet.

Anchoring hole in Blind channel. This is my next favorite spot after Annette inlet.

14 Jun 0800hrs, Started late this morning in consideration of the currents. A full 40 mile day to Deep Bay… Yes, we lazy people consider 30 miles as a full day. It usually only takes us 6hrs to do 30 miles, since we normally time the currents so well, but not today… Arrive Deep Bay 1700hrs. That’s 9hrs! Its overtime!

15 Jun 0900hrs, Lang went ashore with trash. No charge for dumping at Deep Bay marina. No free wifi here… 1100hrs, Doug cant wait to leave this horrible anchorage. Some crazy guy is just zooming around the bay with his 200HP skiff.

1800hrs, Speeding into Campbell River at 9kns. Current around here is usually not slack, highly possibly strong, so there is no way to anchor out in the open roadstead. Upon seeing the whirlpools at both entrance at Q-cove, Doug refuses to go in there for the night. Went further north to April Point. Surprisingly it had no whirling waters and was easy to follow the red buoy. Anchor down at 9pm. That’s another day that’s too long for us.

I find it so peaceful to be tree gawking.

I find it so peaceful to be tree gawking.

2200hrs, Even till today, we were still changing our route plans. 1st we were going to circumnavigate Quadra Island…. Then we couldn’t resist not going further north and see even a little part of Johnstone strait…. but what do we do with the infamous Dent and Yaculta rapids? Could we time it to perfection? Our gadgets and my smarts has worked very well so far…

16 Jun, Motor over to Q-cove at morning slack. Was hard to find a good place to anchor, but we did anchor just 500ft north of the public dock. No we didn’t want to tie up even tho 2 hrs is free. So Doug is on anchor watch while I take the ferry over to Campbell River for groceries and internet. I managed to get back in time for the next slack tide to North flowing ebb current.

Yaculta Rapids... we have seen worse.

Yaculta Rapids… we have seen worse.

1545hrs, Depart Q-cove, bound Blind channel anchoring hole via Seymour narrows and Johnstone strait🙂 . Made it to anchor at 9pm. Still plenty of daylight to enjoy the views. Love the long days.

17 Jun 0710hrs, Up anchor 1 hour before current change to flood. Flood current is the one that we want a ride on today, but before that we want to be at Dent rapids at slack and hopefully 1 hour later at Yaculta. Just as we planned, the infamous Dent was quiet and despite having 3.5 kns going with us at Yaculta, the whirlpools are not even comparable to Kanmon Pass in Japan’s inland sea… That was the most scary ride ever.

Well… we were prepared to stop at those little pocket coves before these rapids if the situation feels too dangerous..

1200hrs, Made it thru the east opening of Hole in the Wall. 1300hrs, Too early to try exiting the treacherous west opening, so we anchored at Florence Cove and snoozed.

1545hrs, Going thru the west opening of Hole in the Wall was another anti-climatic experience. … After reading so much about how dangerous the rapids and whirlpools are, we sort of were looking for a little glimpse, but nothing! Perhaps this is proof that I timed our cruising day to perfection? Well, not so at Surge narrows. By this time we are 1 hour late and fighting the ebb flow. It took us a long while to pick our way thru a winding passage of rock islets till Whiterock passage.

1700hrs, Made it thru the Whiterock passage. Other that the very narrow and shallow dredged waterway, it was not difficult to go thru this pass as there were no significant currents here.

2000hrs, Anchored at Coulter bay on Cortes Island. … and fouled the anchor trip line on the prop. Drats! … Doug had to dive, otherwise we couldn’t trust the anchor to set. 2200hrs, re anchored. Terribly late for us, but we were feeling pretty good about hitting all the highlights in that route that we picked, all in 1 day🙂 What would we do without the electronics!

18 Jun, When we look out over the stern this morning, it was low tide and gulped! Calliste stern was 30ft from a rock! Doug had wanted to anchor further in and I said no to it. Lucky me, and good thing Doug listened to me this time. Got the anchor up and left.

1300hrs, Arrived D&M’s dock in Cortes Bay. Phew! That was some journey🙂

 

 

 

 

29
Jun
16

Getting power and water on my lot.

Right across my south prop line is the transformer

Right across my south prop line is the transformer

Now that the power situation in my SG flat is taken care of, I am back to work on my US prop. Time for the crew to come in for power and water installation.

View of the conduits going in at my South prop line.

View of the conduits going in at my South prop line.

There is a sequence here that we must follow. 1st, I pay the water connection fee $1755 to the city water department and the power connection fee $520 to the power utility department. Then I had to dispute where they had wanted to install the water meters (I paid for a dual tap) and which box they were going to tap power from. If I left it to them, I would have to pay a lot more $$$ for trenching these onto my south property line. So I learn to be very careful when dealing with them.

My favorite little tool... only if I can afford one myself.

My favorite little tool… only if I can afford one myself.

It was a few weeks before the water department came out to install the 2 water meters on my south property line, as I dictated it.

My work wagon with little spare conduits

My work wagon with little spare conduits

Then my contractors come in to install the power conduit to the transformer box and hook up from the water outlet to my pedestal. Of course they had to dig up the driveway to do that, so it was no driving out for a day.

Setting up the base, soon to pour concrete.

Setting up the base, soon to pour concrete.

The guys with that little excavator are back. With their help, Doug set the power pedestal upright. By the time they were done, we have water at the pedestal. Hurray!

This was such a simple job, they were done in 6 hours, but still it cost me $2100…

Me churning the concrete with a rake.

Me churning the concrete with a rake.

Then its our turn to complete the electrical work. Well, most people would have hired a electrician, I suppose. But hey, I was an engineer, I suppose I could do this as a property owner and save me some $$$. Plus Doug is there to assist🙂 …. in theory only, as he broke his back on the day we were going to pour concrete.

Me working on those stiff 10 AWG wires!

Me working on those stiff 10 AWG wires!

Ok, so I learned how to glue those conduits together, set them up before pouring the concrete in. Lucky me, hole for the concrete base was already dug before his back went out…. 1 less thing to do for me.

PUD at work. Cool little wire spool trailer.

PUD at work. Cool little wire spool trailer.

But its up to me to lift those 60lbs bags into the wheel barrow, and mixing it up with water to the right consistancy. Then shoveling it into the form that he built on the day before. 1 bag at a time, 4 bags of 60lbs premix was what it took. Now to wait for it to set… I am pooped. My turn for a bad back…
Next day… look! its me working on the circuit breaker connections. Think I got it all right? Even Doug is impressed that I did the wiring so nicely.

Thats it, meter is in!

Thats it, meter is in!

When thats done, went online to apply for an L&I inspection for a new service, $97. PUD would not come until inspection is done. We were pleasantly surprised that the inspector came within 12 hours of the application. Well, he must be happy with what I have done, cos I got the yellow passed sticker🙂

Back of the pedestal, 3 30 Amps and 1 50 Amp.

Back of the pedestal, 3 30 Amps and 1 50 Amp.

Was surprise that the PUD guys showed up next day to tie us in. In just 2 hours, they installed the underground wire thru the conduit and to the meter. We are powered up!

Thats it folks. Was it that difficult after all?

24
Jun
16

SG power drama…

As soon as I seeded the grass in the 2 drain fields, I had to fly back to SG to take care of my flat. Had a major electrical breakdown, half the house had no power. With only a few circuit breakers working in the very old sub panel, it was not comfortable to the tenants.

Pre dusk selfie :) like all tourist do these days.

Pre dusk selfie🙂 like all tourist do these days.

Changing the original HDB sub panel had been on my to do list from day 1, but I just never got around to doing it. During the reno works, I added 5 12V LED supply around the house. That draws nothing in relativity to real home appliances, especially since I removed all the original lighting and overhead fans…. but then I added induction cooker and microwave in the kitchen and pantry… I knew it was iffy… sigh…

The gardens and the city in the back. Fake tree park.

The gardens and the city in the back. Fake tree park.

Finally it was time to do it right, and that I did. A whole new sub panel with 50% more breakers and currently capable of up to 100Amp, with room to expand if I need to in future. The old panel was a 60Amp, and HDB used to supply only 60Amp. It was recently upgraded, was it 100Amp or 120Amp? Not sure…

In addition to the new sub panel, I bought a 100M spool of 3 core 2.5mm wire. Top of the line for residential uses. Replace some of that 1.5mm wires that was recommended to me by the electrical shop when I said I wanted the 2.5mm wire. This is just some of the things I would rather overkill than re work when it becomes a problem.

Dusk at last. Lights and music show.

Dusk at last. Lights and music show.

Having done that, my mind is at ease… and now to enjoy the rest of my stay in SG. How about visiting the new botanical gardens at dusk? I am there just for the lights… but my little point and shoot camera let me down… Too old and lazy to lug the DSLR around these days. So thats what I get.

So what do I think about the fake tree park? Well, I like it that it is free entrance (domes are chargeable, grounds are free) and well landscaped. Its touristy for sure, but hey, we all need something to do right.

25
Apr
16

4 guys, 3 days

Stump gobbling machine!

Stump gobbling machine!

That was what it took to istall 2 septic systems on my property. Impressive huh. Well, I was billed $15,800 in total for that work. Ouch! But it seems really reasonable too, just that paying out money always hurts… and it has only begun.

Paid $1750 for the water connection fee and $520 for the electrical connection fee, and next to pay for the installation of these services… estimates are $2100 + $900 for the panels and plugs.

The chain gang

The chain gang

I gotta know by now that every step of the way from now till a house is built, will cost money. I gotta save up for the next big expenditure…. the permit process.

Septic installation.

Septic installation.

It was interesting to watch them work those 2 machines. The stump gobbling machine was like watching pac-man gobble the cookie. 10 stumps are pulled every hour! The little machine was for digging the trenches. Its so cute, maybe I could operate 1 too…

Thats a big cement tank!

Thats a big cement tank!

Then in goes the gravel, then the pipes, then backfill, then the tank.

2 weeks after sowing the seeds...

2 weeks after sowing the seeds…

For now, let me rejoice that the drainfields are in and the little cabin will soon be officially plumbed. Did I mention that the weather was just perfect for the installation? It was raining everyday for weeks before the installation, but it cleared up for a whole week during the installation. I think that helped keep the cost down. And soon after, it started raining again! Yay for the grass seeds that I sowed on the new drainfields.

Its growing well in some areas....

Its growing well in some areas….

This is how it looked 2 weeks later… patchy… Patiently waiting for it to spread out and then we can have a lawn party!

The exciting evacuation.

The exciting evacuation.

In the meantime, I am selling tickets to the ring side seats for watching evacuating ants, spiders and critters from the burning pit of rotten brush🙂 … we gathered lots junky rotting wood from so many places on the property and needed to get rid of them… could send them to yard waste, but why spend that money and exert that energy to haul it away when it could be some entertainment and marshmallow toasting time, with beer to go along with that!

20
Apr
16

Is it time for my favorite food yet?

The cruising life takes me far away from home and my favorite foods. Surely I can find Chinese take outs, Japanese foods and Asian stores for ingredients in US and Canada. Right, but they dont taste the same and dont carry a large selection of condiments or instant noodles like they do in NTUC back home.

Nasi Lemak that I cook.

Nasi Lemak that I cook.

With my regular once 1 year trip back home, stocking my travel bags full of my special foods and condiments is the most important on my shopping list. Of course I am limited to what the customs would allow, but 40kg worth of luggage space filled with groceries goes a long way🙂 … yep, I dont transfer clothing between my 2 home base, just food.

Ayam brand Chili and Curry tuna

Ayam brand Chili and Curry tuna

One of my favorite breakfast is Nasi Lemak. The traditional ones are anchovies, chili paste and rice wrapped in banana leaves. Well, banana leaves are difficult to bring and keep fresh, but the fried anchovies and chili paste are packaged for international travel. Canned coconut milk are easily available at all grocery stores, so is jasmine rice… I personally prefer Walmart for Asian foods than Safeway, but for all fresh ingredients, Safeway is much better.

Another of my favorite is the canned Ayam Chili and Doug likes the Curry Tuna. Nothing like these over here… the Thai brands dont come close. These goes well with soupy rice and a stir fry veggie for a easy prep healthy meal.

And not to forget the Myojo Tom Yam noodles! Mee hoon Soto! Char Mee! …. So looking forward to getting the real thing in my tummy. … and I fly in 12hrs from now🙂

12
Mar
16

The long year

The convenient way to building... clear everything 1st.

The convenient way to building… clear everything 1st.

This year is really 1 day longer than usual🙂 … and I could use that additional day. I been busy at work at Safeway gas station in PT over the winter, am happy to have that income, medical insurance and discounts on groceries. Plus I learn all the ins and outs of earning points, getting fuel discounts, as well as meeting the locals and them meeting me. Its a cultural exchange something that a new person in town ought to do to integrate into the new society.

Then I took 4 weeks off, and spent 3 days travelling to/fro Singapore and 3 weeks at home taking care of my rentals… Spent the 1st night in SG at my sister’s place in Punggol. My view out of the window the next morning is lots of orange dirt… New construction… sigh… soon too, I will be wishing I have all that equipment on my property in the US. But clearing everything aint right in my books.

My new bunk...

My old couch…. my new bunk

3 weeks went by quickly, as I have lots of people to catch up with and lots of work to do moving myself out of the potentially lucrative room that I occupy for 2 months in a year, into a lesser room that would still be comfy for those short durations. Got myself a new tenant, I am all set to enjoy the little bit more pocket money.

Proudly posing with my biggest tree section.

Proudly posing with my biggest tree section.

Back to the US, back to the laborous chores… look at the big chunk that Doug just saw up. Thats the base of the biggest tree he cut down. We are preparing for the drainfields to be installed, hence more trees are downed and more logs are stacked up … higher.

This was also one of the rainiest winter in 2 decades in PT. My dirt driveway is all slickery…. I made Fordie go into ditches and spin mud trying to pull the trailer and logs … got her all mud up. .. sigh… where is the rain when your car is dirty?

Well, gotto rest and then back to the back breaking work at dawn.




Sailing 2015: Port Townsend(WA, US) -> Costes Island (BC, Canada)

Sailing 2013: Singapore -> Okinawa -> Kobe

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