Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back in Malta - On the Hard

Sounds rude doesn’t it – well it is pretty rude, or maybe crude is a better word for this type of living. Having returned to Malta after living in our friends’ various beautiful homes this is definitely a rude awakening. Yes this is what its like to live on a boat some of the time. Time your toilet use because the walk to the toilet takes about 5 minutes over fairly rough terrain. Don’t wear any decent footwear that you don’t want to have destroyed by said rough terrain. There is garbage all around Moondancer chucked down on the ground by the last boat owners who occupied this space. That just about describes what its like on the hard in Manoel Island Yacht Yard. But its only 70 Euros per week and we really need to get a lot of work done to get Moondancer back to the lovely girl she was 13,000 miles ago.

What is interesting is that its not hot anymore. Within the space of 3 weeks which is how long we were away from here the temperature changed quite a bit. It seems so strange to me to be cold in Malta. Or even to be cold at all. We did experience being cold when back in Canada and England but that was the first time in a year of traveling in permanent Summer. But I have no past experience of Malta in any other season except blistering hot Summer. So this is quite interesting. And very welcome otherwise we would not be able to work on the boat.

So far we’ve pulled the propellor off, pulled the prop shaft out, having had to pull the coupling off the back of the reduction gear box, re-packed the stuffing box aka packing gland,(which we now have to re-do) fixed the bent port track which was pulled out of line while on the wall in Sliema. Today we scraped and sanded the trim on the starboard side and used linseed oil mixed with turps 50/50 as recommended by our New Zealand friend Kiwi, who we met in Pantelleria, as our new finish. Not shiny like Cetol or Varnish, but looks good and we hope will be easier to maintain as the last finish did only last one year. We also have the bottom paint to do and are debating whether to also paint the hull, which really hasn’t faired too well either.

It now looks likely that we will be getting a spot in Msida Marina which is what we had hoped for and then we can start looking for work. Not sure what that’s going to look like yet but we trust that something will come up.

Pics during visit with Ken and Chris

A few pictures here of Tony with narrow boat and Ken, Chris and I trying to decide what to order from an Indian restaurant menu. See web shots for more

6 days in Jolly Old - awesome place

After our 2 weeks flying visit to Canada, sleeping around and eating way too much, we flew to England, started out with my brothers in Dartford for a couple of days. Showed Tony the last home town I lived in before emigrating to Canada - where most of the rest of my family still live, went fishing with Michael and Anne, took loads of photos to post on this site, but promptly lost them all when transferring the entire My Pics file from C-drive to D-drive.

Fortunately however I did not lose the other photos which we took while visiting with Tony's relatives in Frimley and Portsmouth.

Tony's cousin Ken and his wife Chris very kindly took us in for a couple of days, picked us up in Dartford and not only showed us their own fabulous hospitality but also drove us around to do a bit of sight seeing and then drove us down to Portsmouth to meet with Tony's other cousin Jane and her brood - the Coppinis, who, wouldn't you know just happen to be Maltese derivatives. We found that out from Tony's parents the day before we left Canada.

Unfortunately for Chris her elderly mother passed away on the last day that we visiting, and we felt very sad for her. Its hard to lose our mothers, no matter how old they are.

We had a lovely day in Windsor, were totally blown away by the size of the castle,(the Queen was not in residence) - had a close up look at the narrow boats which are travelling around on the river systems in England at very reasonable moorage costs. 4 pounds per day to tie up in designated areas where water is available, or no charge at all if you just tie up to some trees.

We sat in a pub which dated back to the 1500's opposite the Castle entrance where we met a gentleman from Vancouver - actually he was originally from Nairobi but is now from Vancouver. Nice to meet our neighbours so far from home.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


We arrived in Vancouver on a bright sunshiney warm day and that's exactly how we left. We are very grateful to our good friends Lorne and Nadine who very kindly opened their home to us for our stay in the White Rock area. They hosted a gathering of our old friends which was loads of fun. Seeing friends who had been so much a part of our lives before moving to Vancouver Island 3 years ago was such a treat. Sometimes it seems to people who move away and then come back that things just don't change while they are away. That certainly has not been the case with our group of friends. Their lives have all moved along in such a positive manner, their relationships have blossomed, their homes are all lovely and their lives have grown so much over those few years. Unfortunately a couple of them have experienced ill health but have turned their experience into a positive thing. Any of you reading this know who you all are.

I'm not currently using our computer so I cannot download photographs but will do so later.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Winding up our visit home to Canada - October 6th 2009

My little alien friend Anne - looking lovely and getting better
Captain Pedro and Michel, wedding date - August 7th 2010

Tony, Tim and Ray on Lazy Bones

Peter and Wendy and Peter's Boat

Did all of those things really happen to us over the last 12 months. We've told and retold our stories so much in the past 10 days to our friends and families, and the more we were complemented on our bravery and adventurous spirit and all of the other complements it definitely seemed that we were talking about someone else's experience - to me. I think that's called something - 'the imposter syndrome'.

How could that have been me - its all gone by - water under the bridge and if it weren't for the thousand or so photographs we've taken and this interminable blog I keep writing I would probably have lost alot of those memories by now. Incredible how that happens.

But this entry is about being here and meeting up with our good friends and our children and more than once being taught about the kindness of people. And the indiosyncracies of people. That's what its all about isn't it - people.

While visiting Mary in Courtenay Johnny asked her if, now that she's settled in her new home, she would take Grey Cat, our family cat, now 18 years old. Grey Cat lived on Moondancer with us for 2 years, but we did not take him offshore with us and I am so grateful to my kids for seeing him in the same way that I did. Having looked lovingly and sometimes angrily at that furry little face for 18 years I have grown to respect his tenacity and wisdom, but mostly he is very much a part of our family. So the kids, Mary, Josie and Johnny have done their best to look after him, and he has travelled back and forth from Vancouver Island to Vancouver and now back again to the island where he will live with Mary and their new little kitten, Mole, until I return and can take him back again, or time will take him.

After Tony and I delivered Grey Cat we drove down to Victoria, where we stayed overnight with our friends Tim and Denise on their sailboat in Victoria Harbour. That's where we met them when we spent our first winter on Moondancer on the causeway in Victoria. We had a lovely dinner together on Lazy Bones, then our other neighbours Peter and Wendy and Ray came over. Peter is a gentleman in his late 70's who has almost completely rebuilt a 38' Union sloop right up to the teak decks. He is also a professional e-by buyer and finds things like $4000 water makers for $300. Of course we aren't envious at all. Peter and Wendy are planning to take their boat offshore. As will Ray, who is waiting for his wife to return after an extended trip to England where she is looking after a family member.

From there we moved along to Sidney where we met Captain Pedro and Michel at our yacht club, the Sidney, North Saanich Yacht Club. A few other friends who are also members joined us and we had a great impromptu dinner party.

Peter and Michel put us up for that night and sent us on our way after a very gourmet breakfast.
Got to go, just to reiterate 'ITS ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE'