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Wanna buy a van?

8 Jun

We are loving our electric Nissan Leaf, and have decided to sell our gas guzzling Dodge van that we bought in Florida.

The van served us admirably, and transported us safely across country. Thank you, adventure bus!

If anyone in the PDX area wants wheels for cheap, let us know.

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No place like home -or- Tango floats again

11 Jun

We discovered from the customs house that we could go aboard the AAL Dalian and prepare Tango, no rules on what chores we could do or limits time. Getting a gleam in our eyes, we thought of four or five boat chores (like changing sail drive oil, replacing failing transducer, etc.) that we’ve been saving up for a haul-out. Scheduled to be in the water at 3:30 pm, we figured we have plenty of morning for chores. We threw on chore clothes around 9:30 am and headed down to Ogden Point.

Arriving at the security gate, we realized that either Tango had been moved, was missing, or had magically become invisible. Turns out that the crane was right there, so the crew decided to put her in early (either that or they wanted to hide the horrid hull damage under water…we hope that’s joking). Chore gleam quickly died, but oh, well. Tango is FLOATING again!

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Where’s Tango?

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Peering down from the AAL Dalian’s deck – all appears to be well on the mast

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A few of Tango’s travel buddies

After we met the crew (those poor folks…guess this was the worst voyage ever between storm weather and main engine issues), checked out the deck, and inspected the mast we had to walk two miles back into town to catch the pre-arranged water shuttle to turn around and drop us off at Tango (alongside the Dalian but 20 feet down). Almost felt like swimming the 30 or so feet rather than walk to the shuttle. Anyway, sorry to digress.We finally made it aboard! Let me say that one again…we finally got aboard! Looking around, everything appeared perfect (not clean, but exactly as we had left it). Not a book or trinket out of place (with little girls afloat we have lots of crafts and trinkets).

Feeling buoyed by this first examination, a deeper look revealed no apparent structural issues. No scratches, leaks, bows in the fiberglass, and not even as much dirt as we expected. Nice crew, they gave all the boats a good fresh water rinse before discharging. Not even a scratch or ding on the solar panels (we’d debated taking them down but decided to leave them).

The final question (at least for today)…would the engines start? Port engine started and primed itself right away…sweet. Starboard sounded like it had a rundown battery (kind of odd that the battery discharged since it’s dedicated to that engine only), but after a ten minutes or so the port engine charged it up enough and it roared to life. It magically primed itself too! Starboard engine can be the fussy one and has needed to be manually primed after being out of the water. Robin even cleared a path through all the stashed debris to get down to it and manually prime. Probably why there was no need…but hey, we’re not going to complain!

We motored our maiden Pacific voyage a whole mile to dock, where we’ve spent the rest of the day refitting Tango for sailing life once again. More days of that still…but we are done for today.

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Tango made it! Not sail worthy yet (you need sails up for that), but we are making progress.

Oh, and for a cool girl share…they saw their first seal last night. Pure joy. 🙂

The Dalian arrives

10 Jun

Happening in real time here, folks! We pick up Tango tomorrow afternoon.

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Not borrowing from tomorrow

8 Jun

While Andy and Robin quietly worry about the gale force winds and rough seas plaguing the AAL Dalian delaying arrival until Monday or Tuesday, we continue to hope the crew lashed Tango down well, and that we removed enough and stowed everything tightly. Tough to see the AAL Dalian traveling less than one knot and sometimes turning in circles, knowing they were in 40-50 knot gale force winds and accompanying high and rough seas, but there isn’t much we can do at this point.

Although as of tonight it appears they are pulling free and increasing speed to about eight knots. We even got a tentative discharge schedule for Tuesday. We also secured the loft apartment until the 12th, one less detail! Nice to know where we will sleep tomorrow night.

Sticking to our decision to enjoy the weekend (something along the lines of not borrowing from tomorrow’s trouble), we explored downtown and even got in some shopping at Value Village (warm clothes for cold people who didn’t pack well or who grew many inches after we left Maryland) and Capital Iron (a very cool everything in the world store).

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Friday night dinner with fellow cruisers, Phil and Deb, at Lido. This very nice couple have offered lots of help and advice…including the admonition to visit Capital Iron. 🙂

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Madi the leftenant at BC’s gorgeous Parliament buildings

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Petting the goats at Beacon Hill’s Childrens Farm

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Pondering pigs at Beacon Hill’s Childrens Farm

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Beautiful totem near the BC Museum

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We splurged for tea at the Empress (okay so this was really on Thursday, but it didn’t make an earlier post)

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The girls are in tiny dessert heaven

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Panorama sitting on the steps at the Legislative Assembly Parliamentary buildings

 

Latest on the AAL Dalian

7 Jun

For those who are interested, here is the latest as we know it. We shall just enjoy a weekend of tourist activities like Beacon Hill Park, the Viking museum exhibit, and a perhaps a tour of the  Parliment building.

Morning email update:
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Poor Weather conditions continue to delay the arrival of the AAL Dalian to the Port of Victoria.

Latest we have received from the vessel indicates an ETA Vic Plt Stn of 1600 hrs Monday 06/09. Due to ILWU Union Meeting Night on 06/09, earliest labour will be available to commence discharge is 0800 hrs 06/10.

Above ETA is subject to weather improving as per current forecast. (Robin editorial comment: no kidding!!)

Living in a soap opera?

5 Jun

Here is the latest email we just received about Tango from the port agents for the AAL Dalian.

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We have just received instructions from Sevenstar, due to poor weather that has delayed the vessels arrival, the AAL Dalian will now be discharging at Victoria BC.

Current ETA Victoria is 0200 hrs 06/08, subject to weather conditions.

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Hahahaha! I have no other words for this…good thing this condo is free through the weekend AND that our slip at the Wharf Street Marina was still free. Should have just stayed in Portland!

Monkey wrench in our cargo works

4 Jun

Robin had no sooner helped her mom get settled at the launch for the ferry back to Port Angeles and ran a lovely run through downtown Victoria, past the Empress Hotel and back to the apartment than we got some exciting news. The AAL Dalian changed the final unloading port in Canada. Wait, what? CHANGED PORT? Yes indeedy…our arrival port has really been changed. Something about cruise ships delayed into Victoria due to weather, and an impending tug boat strike. Guess if they stayed on course for Victoria Harbour, it would be mid-week next week before we could start unloading.

As you can imagine, this news really changed the flavor of our day. Remember that comment in my last post about adventure and attitude? Well, that concept got put into action with this latest experience!

Our new port is a small town called Chemainus, with only two marinas. Everyone I talked to in town had heard from a few boat owners before me, and were instantly sympathetic to my last minute pleas. We successfully found a spot in the local municipal marina where we can limp in to reassemble Tango. Then, instead of staying in Victoria for a few weeks to enjoy the sights, we’ll head south a bit to Sidney, which is a much bigger town and has quite a few marinas and where everyone goes around here to get marine work done. We’ll stay there for a bit and fix a few (hopefully ONLY a few) things before we continue on into the San Juan Islands.

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We ended the day with a lovely walk around downtown

The last piece that we haven’t quite figured out is how to get all our stuff and dogs up to Chemainus. Robin’s mom very kindly offered to turn around on the ferry and come back up here, but we know how much of a work sacrifice she already made (thank you again, mom!), and don’t want to pile more days and hundreds of miles on her. Robin has a backup limo service that can take us, but we are still looking for a cheaper option, or other boat owners who want to split the cost. We also might be able to finagle a rental thingie…so stay tuned!

Quest for the key

3 Jun

Today is ferry day, since Victoria (where the AAL Dalian is headed) is on Vancouver Island. The nearest and quickest ferry for us was out of Port Angeles. Robin’s mom very sweetly offered to go up with us, and drive the adventure van back on Wednesday. We love you mom!

A beautiful journey day, we made great time and got to the ferry before the 5:30pm loading. About an hour later we landed in beautiful Victoria, last road leg, whoohoo! Robin had rented a modern downtown loft apartment above Victoria’s public market with lots of cool features like heated bathroom floor and deep soaking tub (oooooh). Only problem was the owner had to go to the airport before we landed and left the keys in another part of town. The text communications got a bit garbled, and we ended up walking around for a few miles until 8pm just to get the keys. The building we’re in closes many sections (like the underground public parking where we left the van) after 8pm, so when we got back we were locked out of our van and had a heck of a time getting back in. Almost felt like a really unfunny Laurel and Hardy episode running up and down parking garage stairways looking for an unlocked door. Meanwhile, poor Banyan was in the van howling – he was D O N E.

Not quite how we’d planned to spend our only night in Victoria with Robin’s mom! After we got ourselves settled, refueled on Vietnamese food, and took a deep breath it was all funny. The difference between an ordeal and an adventure? Attitude. Cold (54 degrees…brrr!), tired (Robin is still working east coast-ish hours), hungry (lunch really was a long way back), and locked out it was hard to find the good attitude.

Now that we are back on track, this building is a really cool refit of an old retail store from the 1920s. Our floor used to sell toys, housewares, and draperies. We look forward to the next few days and more Victoria exploring!

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Leaving Port Angeles

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Peyton getting in her last Grandma snuggles for a few months

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Weekend with family

2 Jun

Ahhh…no hotels…no long driving days! A much needed break, we have reveled in a weekend full of family reunions and catching up. The weather has been gorgeous, giving us the best of late spring in the Northwest. All around a nice taste of life to come. We may have given up warm, clear water…but we gain so much in face time with loved ones. We also checked out our new marina home and neighborhood. Odd to visualize Tango on the river where we cut our sailing teeth so many years ago.

The AAL Dalian left Ensenada late last night, chugging along to Victoria. Very early on June 6th is Tango’s current ETA. Robin’s mom lovingly offered to drive the six-hours with us (four and change to Port Angeles and an hour ferry ride up to Victoria), and then bring our adventure van back down. Thank you in advance, mom!

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Morning staff battle practice

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Splashing in the river…watching feet turn blue with the snow runoff

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Catching crawdads

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Making “tea”

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Goofing off in Portland

Tango lives!

31 May

Check out this shot of Tango in Ensenada! At least we know she made it on board in West Palm.

Picture courtesy Marine Traffic

Picture courtesy Marine Traffic