Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Banff Park Gate - 51° 08' 05" N 115° 24' 23" W

The longer I live in my newly adopted mountain village, the more interesting bits of its history I learn.

Yesterday I did a mountain bike cruise along the Powerline Trail and travelled through the unfinished Three Sisters Golf Course.  It is a project that started in the 1980's and has been owned by several companies - many of whom have gone bankrupt.  As I rode through the wide open spaces that had been cleared of trees, I passed stands of deer and elk grazing on the exposed grassland.  A stream wound its way down the hillside and into a beautiful manmade reservoir before continuing down to the Bow River.

It prompted me to do some research when I returned home.  I found a video about the area that was curated by Jerry Stephenson, a long-time local that was the chief engineer at the Canmore Mines until their permanent closing in 1979.

YouTube video - Learning from Experience
Click here to watch the Video!

It warns of the danger of developing the land there any further than light recreational (i.e. golf course, hiking trail or wildlife corridor) use.  Kate and I had the pleasure of meeting Jerry on one of his museum tours and could have spent ANY amount of time listening to his stories and pontifications about Canmore and his life.  He passed away just this year, after living a full and fascinating life.


Later that evening, someone else had posted a great article about Annie Staple, a woman who was the first gate keeper at the east Rocky Mountain (now the Banff National) Park, starting in 1916 and continuing until she retired at age 65.

The Original Park gate, near Exshaw
Article from the Brantford Examiner about Annie Staples

I've found that the archives of Whyte Museum in Banff has some of her log books, letters and working records available for perusal.  Once the COVID-19 virus is no longer a reason for concern, I hope to spend more time learning about the interesting characters and events that shaped this place.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

COVID-19 - 51° 04' 59" N 115° 22' 07" E

How COVID-19 entered our world and broke our hearts

I come from a very close family, scattered around Australia and Canada but close nonetheless. We are an active family, into skiing, sailing, riding horses and other such pursuits.  And we are travellers.  In part because we live scattered across two countries but also due to all the many great adventures to be had and our very strong sense of FOMO (fear of missing out).

Much of this stems from our father.  Dad didn’t think twice about lifting his tiny girls atop towering horses with a ‘hold on, she’ll stop at the fence’ or of piling us onto his sailing boat and heading across the open waters of Bass Strait to Deal Island.  We went on Bunyip hunts at night, searching for that elusive, mythical creature and he both thrilled and terrified us with tales of man-eating tigers as bedtime stories.

It was Dad leading the charge on grand adventures, hosting epic parties and living life to the full.  When he turned 80 last year, we all gathered on Hamilton Island for a five-day party.  The days were magical – filled with fun activities … sailing, snorkeling, lazing by the pool … and each evening, we had a feast cooked up by Graeme.  It was a most fitting 80th birthday celebration. 

Then Dad, Sean and I sailed Popeye down the coast to Brisbane.  We sailed the 600 nautical miles straight through taking 70 hours with Dad at the helm, wind in his face, grinning the whole way.  He’d always wanted to ski in Aspen, Colorado.  So in February, he and Gabby winged off to the US for a three-week ski trip.  COVID-19 was just a murmur out of China.  Planes were still flying, travel warnings had not been issued and the terms ‘self-isolation’ and 'social distancing' were yet to enter our vernacular.

I receive a call from Dad and Gabby saying they are cutting their trip short.  COVID-19 had started to spread its ugly tentacles across the globe and they want to be home.  They purchase new flights due to an uncooperative airline and arrive home to a voluntary 14-day self-isolation period.  Dad develops a cold.  Two days later, he is rushed to hospital by ambulance and his test for COVID-19 comes back as positive.

He is in isolation, no visitors allowed, not even Gabby.  I chat with him on the phone.  He is in good spirits although feeling quite ill, but looking forward to getting out of hospital and going home. Things take a turn for the worse.  He is transferred to intensive care, sedated into a coma and placed on a ventilator - absolutely no visitors allowed.  By now travel bans are in place.  I am in Canada, Wendy is in Queensland, Susan, a five-hour drive away in rural Victoria, Gabby self-isolating alone in Flinders and Dad in intensive care in Frankston.  The chest-tightening worry, the feeling of complete helplessness, the endless ‘what-ifs’.  And none of us can be there, not even to hold his hand and tell him we love him.  With an update on his condition only once every 24 hours, these are very long days.

Some good news: Gabby tests negative.  But still she cannot visit. They cannot risk her bringing anything into the hospital or intensive care or waste precious gowns and masks on visitors.  We hold out each day for the daily update - about 1:00 am here in Canmore.  It’s bad news, they’ve had to crank up the ventilator; it’s good news, his oxygen levels have improved.  It’s a roller coaster of emotion.  I start to dread the phone ringing but desperate for the call that brings a glimmer of hope.  I lie in bed at night, sleepless and anxious.  I wake unrested in the morning and watch the clock – 4:00 am in Melbourne … don’t people often die in the hours just before dawn? 

It’s 5:30 am in Queensland.  Wendy rings.  I stop breathing.  He’s stable, but no improvement.  Stable is good, isn’t it?  Every morning for four days, the call is the same.  No better, but most importantly, no worse.  Day 8 on the ventilator.  Is this good or bad?  What is the normal pattern for COVID-19?  Do they even know?

And so we wait.  With our stomachs clenched and the tears constantly welling in our eyes.  Desperate for the phone to ring, dreading it when it does.  We are exhausted. And we are unable to be together.  Borders have closed, travel is restricted and ‘stay at home’ regulations are in force.  We ring each other, we tell funny stories about Dad, we cry and we shake our heads in disbelief.  Dad, of all people.  He is so fit and healthy, he may be 80 but he’s not a normal 80 year old.  He still skis and sails and rides bikes and hikes up mountains.  And just look at the statistics, most people don’t die from this and those that do, have underlying health issues.  Dad doesn’t – he is as healthy as an ox.

The medical staff are superb.  Despite Dad’s age, he is getting the very finest care that a first-world medical system can provide.  Unfortunately, for COVID-19 patients, the available arsenal is limited.  There is no treatment.  There is no miracle drug.  They roll him.  They try everything but in the end all they can do is provide him with support with a ventilator helping him breathe, and hope his body can combat the virus.  And all we can do is hope.  And wait.

It is nearly midnight in Canmore when the phone rings.  It’s Gabby - and what she tells me breaks my heart.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Elizabeth Parker Alpine Hut - 51°21'26" N 116°20'21" W

There are many beautiful places in the world.  This is one of them.

As part of our year of staying (sort of) in Canada, we are venturing into a few of the places close-by that we have been meaning to get to for forever.  Many, many times we have driven by the turnoff on Highway 1 that leads to Lake O'Hara.  The parking lot twelve kilometres past Lake Louise is as far as anyone can get in a private vehicle.  This being winter, we donned cross-country skis as well as backpacks for the eleven kilometre trek into the lake.

The out-and-back route - click for a bigger view.

Starting with some uphill ...

... and more ...

We only decided to make the trip in a month prior.  Some friends from the running group (Pamela, Grace and Jim), joined us on a Tuesday morning at the trailhead at 11 am.  The fire road is undulating uphill with a solitary picnic bench just past the 5 km marker.  The trail twists and turns through the valley south of Mount Victoria (the one you see at the end of Lake Louise, looking from the Chateau), giving us some awesome views despite the high clouds.  We puffed our way up with Jim and Grace (who had elected to ski in for the day, have a snack, then turn around and ski out before dark) in the lead most of the way.  Upon reaching the lake, there was a ranger's cabin and a day lodge that mercifully had a fire in the stove inside and gave us a spot to warm up and dry out our sweaty mid-layers.  After we rested a bit and had our lunches, we walked the 100 metres to the lake and decided the 3 kilometre loop would have to wait for another day, as Jim and Grace needed to get back to their vehicle before dark.

Pamela, Kate, Jim, Grace and Sean.  Lunch stop and turn-around for Jim and Grace.

Lake O'Hara offers a few levels of accommodation, from tent sites to a dorm-style alpine hut to a $1,000-or-more fully catered lodge (in the summer only).  We chose the hut.

Cheap, but not-so-shabby accommodation

The Elizabeth Parker Hut is run by the Alpine Club of Canada, which operates over 100 affordable hostel-like places to stay for people who like to explore the backcountry.  It has a communal kitchen and dining/gathering area.  The hut has propane lights in the common areas, a wood-burning stove for heating and more alpine character than you know what to do with.  It was built in an alpine meadow half a kilometre back from the lake, nestled at the moment in a snowy dale.  The hut is very popular and securing a spot for a few nights was a coup.

Common kitchen in the main hut

Dining/Gathering area, with dorm sleeping bunks to the right.  Holds eighteen.

Wiwaxy cabin, our much-cosier place.  Maximum of eight visitors.

Sole source of heat.  A good incentive to have enough firewood chopped to last all night.

The first night we shared with a very rowdy group, but found ourselves deserted the next morning as the group left en masse.  Suddenly, it was quiet.  By chance, we had managed to be the only three (Kate, Sean and Pamela) that stayed through to the next night.  Although many trails beckoned us to explore, we were awfully toasty and warm inside the cabin.  As we watched big, fluffy flakes floating down through the panelled glass, we decided to stay put and enjoy the solitude.  Logs were thrown into the pot belly stove and books were pulled from shelves.  The lodge had not one, but two resident guitars, which were put to work by both Sean and Pamela.  Tea was produced and hut slippers were donned.  Who needs to be a millionaire to have your own private backcountry log cabin?

Looking very pleased with herself, isn't she?
Pamela working on a song

Much later that day, other groups began to show up and were appreciative as we had been for the fire that had already warmed the cabin.  Most were from Alberta and BC and had tales to share over the dinner table of other wilderness huts visited and trails travelled.  As the meals finished up and some brought out plastic bladders of red wine, the stories became more boisterous.  When it was discovered that one of the others in the group liked to play bluegrass on the guitar, the cabin's trusty instrument was brought down off its hook and a sing-a-long ensued.  However, good and respectful hut dwellers that we are, the party shut down at 10 pm, in order to let those who were rising early to get some peace and quiet.

The next day, we did some exploring of the area ourselves.  We got to the loop of Lake O'Hara and tromped around the closed-up deluxe cabins.  We were all happily surprised by how quickly we whooshed down the fire road back to the parking lot.  900 metres of climbing on the way up meant for a glorious return, one third faster!

Breaking tracks across the lake itself.

Loop of the lake completed.  What scenery!

By the Ranger's cabin

Time to go.  Goodbye, little log cabin!

Following Pamela out to the trail head
Click on this photo for a panoramic view of Lake O'Hara

Hooray!  The Parking Lot!

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Learning Nakoda - 51° 04' 59" N 115° 22' 07" E

The move to Canmore means that some of our closest neighbours live on the Morley Reserve and are members of the Stoney Nakoda First Nations.  Taking advantage of the wonderful resource that it ArtsPlace, we enrolled in a 10 week Stoney Nakoda Language and Culture course.

The course is run by Buddy Wesley who is one of the knowledge keepers of the Wesley Band from Morley.  Stoney Nakoda is an oral language spoken by around 3000 people in Alberta.  In recent years, a writing system has been developed with an alphabet and a series of rhyming syllables.  Unlike English, these are always pronounced the same way.

Vowels are pronounced:

a as in father
e as in cafe
i as in ski
o as in go
u as in blue

â, î, û - nasalized

But the huge challenge is that no structure for learning the language has been developed.  There are no verb conjunctions, dictionaries or spelling protocols. 

It is rather fun to start to recognise words that we are familiar with as Nakoda.  There is a lake outside Banff called Minnewanka.  We now know that mînî means water and wanka means spirit.  So Minnewanka translates as spirit water.  Banff is mînî hrpa which translates as 'dropping of the water' - a nod to the waterfalls around Cascade Mountain.

And of course, language is strongly connected to culture.  Numbers in Nakoda are interesting.  because it is not a culture of commerce, they didn't really need big numbers.  Up to about 20, numbers are quite sensible but then things get a bit out of control.  One million is yawabi tâga which means big count.  152 is obûre wazi tathâm wikchemnâ thaptâ age nûm!

Time is a nebulous concept - things happen when it is time.  This does frustrate the Western psyche and is known derogatorily as 'Indian Time'.  But think about the concept - when is a baby coming? We cannot say a precise time but we can say early May and it will come when it is time.  And when will the leaves open or the river break-up?  Culturally, there has not been the need for 1pm Tuesday 10 May so the language reflects this.

The months relate to the cycle of the moon.  January is wîchorâdu wahîyâba or the Midnight Moon.  May is woya wahîyâba or Vegetation Moon, when things start to grow. It is also the new year due to the new growth.  August is wasasa wahîyâba or Fireweed Moon.  And when the leaves of the fireweed turn red, it's prime time for meat so it is when meat is hunted for the winter.

In Nakoda, you point with your lips and your fingers are used to point at people.  And looking someone in the eye is rude and considered intimidating.  If an older woman screeches Eeeeeh! and points at you without looking you in the eye, we think something is terrible wrong.  But no, she is merely saying hello!  And if you are a man, you are not allowed to speak directly to your mother-in-law instead, you must speak through an inanimate object.  The same holds for a woman and her father-in-law.

And Mum will love this one - she who always watches the new moon to see whether it will be a wet month....  How the new moon sits in the sky is an indication of what the weather is going to be like for the next month.  If the moon is on end, it will be a cold month.  If it is horizontal, it will be a warm month and if halfway, a fair month.

And snow!  Yes, lots of different descriptions for snow:

wapa  - snow
wapach - snowing
wasmâ - deep snow
wasmohâ - into the deep snow
washâgejagen - skiff of snow
îhrpe yach - fallen snow
wapaïja stastach - hard snow that hurts the face
wapâtâtâ gach - big, fluffy snow
wapa ogahnorach - wet snow
wa oyumotatach - blowing snow

And some wonderful pronunciations - tababan is ball and to me sounds like a ball bouncing.  Crow is a an, raven is kari and robin is siksosoga - just like the sounds they make.

And in the Stoney Nakoda culture, there is no need to say good-bye.  You simply leave...

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

artsPlace - 51° 05' 23" N 115° 21' 46"

When you live in Canmore, it is easy to focus on physical activity.  Cycling, downhill and cross-country skiing, climbing, hiking, running, canoeing ... the daylight seems to vanish from underneath us.  Winter brings colder temperatures and shorter bouts of sunshine, so we do find ourselves indoors and looking to fend off cabin fever.

As well as being a town full of active people, love of (and occupancy in) the mountains also inspires artistic endeavours.  There are many artists in our little berg and therefore the arts community is unusually strong.  We have no less than three theatre companies; there are more public and private galleries than you can shake a hiking pole at; the Bow Valley hosts the Banff Centre for Arts; there are world-class festivals for music, spoken word, painting, sculpture and written word.  Heck, we even have a former potter as a mayor.  One of the outcomes of this is we have a fabulous community gathering centre called artsPlace.

Artspace hosts a pottery studio (of course), gallery space, several classrooms and a large performance space that seats roughly 200 people.  We were attracted to an event there last year and have been going back almost weekly to different events.  Things we have seen there and things we are looking forward to include:

  • After the Fire - a live-actor play about the survivor guilt and aftermath of the fires in Fort McMurray in 2017
  • Pecha Kucha - a theme-based, storytelling night that shows 20 slides for 20 seconds per slide.
  • several movie nights of arthouse films, including Blinded By The Light and Where Did You Go, Bernadette?
  • screening and Q and A session of the documentary, We Will Stand Up.  We had elders from the Stoney band attend and give their (very interesting) opinions on the film afterwards.
  • Nakoda Language and Culture course, given over 10 evenings, where we will learn language (and therefore a bit about their perspective on the world) from a Nakoda elder.
We are very lucky to have such a great resource within walking distance of our home.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Pecha Kucha Night - 51° 05' 23" N 115° 21' 46"

Storytelling is an artform I've always wished I was better at. 

We have just returned from Pecha Kucha Night at Artspace and I have been dazzled by the stories I've just heard.  Pecha Kucha is a form of storytelling where you have twenty photos (or slides) that you use as visual aids.  Each slide is presented for twenty seconds, one after the other, and you have to speak to the group as they appear.  You can't pause the forward march of the pictures, nor can you jump ahead to the next one if you can't speak to one for the full twenty seconds.  At a Pecha Kucha event, there are usually six to eight presenters and they have all been given a theme to present on.

Tonight's theme was "What If ...".  One of the tales was from a woman in her mid-twenties who had been abruptly dumped out of a relationship in which her partner had convinced her to move to Canmore with him, even though she knew no one in the town or what she was going to do for employment.  When the relationship ended, she decided that she was still going to move there.  What If she hadn't?  

Another presentation was entitled, "What If Olive Could Talk?" and was given by a burly, gruff-looking bearded man.  Olive was his dog, whom he credits with rescueing him from depression and the talk documents how Olive watched him struggle with mental illness and eventually helped him bring it under control ... to the point where the two of them are now happy members of the Canmore community.

Another tale was of a woman who lost a child to kidney disease and found she could help others (and herself) in the grieving process by using her skills as a photographer to document the time spent in pallative care by capturing images of the family while there.  These were all very personal stories and quite touching.

I hope someday to have the skills (and the courage) to present at one of these events myself. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Quarry Lake - 51° 04' 49" N 115° 22' 30" W

Well that was chilly!  What a great cure for jetlag - run 5km in -12°C!

Jumping straight back into it with a Monday night Run Club run.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Out West - Drought and blowies - 32° 24' 17"S 148° 25' 38" E

Winter in these parts is the season when the rain falls and the crops grow.  Spring is when the crops are harvested, hay is cut and the livestock is chubby.  Except when the region is in drought. And this is what drought looks like...
Topsoil blowing in the wind turning the clouds pink

This drought in NSW started in 2017. This year is the third growing season in drought conditions.  This does not just affect the farmers but also the business owners in the towns, the price of grains and meat in the supermarkets and even Australia's trade balance.

This crop should be long and green and almost ready to harvest

Australia is no stranger to drought, it is dealt with in our folklore and our most famous poem (My Country by Dorothea Mackellar - see bottom of post) but it is always devastating to witness.

Pasture?  How can a sheep get fat on that?

The other joy of being in the drought-affected West are the blowies.  Don't fall over in horror - the blowie in Australia is the blowfly.  Australia has over 10,000 species of flies and they just love to socialize with humans. A favourite gathering place is on your back but they also love those moist patches in the corner of your eyes, your nostrils, the side of you mouth... In short, they can drive you insane.

Dry and waterless


Enter one of CSIRO's greatest inventions - Aerogard. Aerogard was initially developed to prevent fly blow in sheep.  With the advent of WWII, it was used to protect allied troops from mosquitos.  When The Queen visited Australia in 1963 and we used it on her to allow a blowie-free round of golf.  Following this, it went into commercial production and Aussies continue to "avagoodweekend and don't forget the Aerogard"! We were both very grateful to the CSIRO for creating the potion and to Craig for having the wisdom to carry it in his car! 

My Country by Dorothea Mackellar 

The love of field and coppice
Of green and shaded lanes,
Of ordered woods and gardens
Is running in your veins.
Strong love of grey-blue distance,
Brown streams and soft, dim skies
I know, but cannot share it,
My love is otherwise.

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land for me!

The stark white ring-barked forests,
All tragic to the moon,
The sapphire-misted mountains,
The hot gold hush of noon,
Green tangle of the brushes
Where lithe lianas coil,
And orchids deck the tree-tops,
And ferns the warm dark soil.

Core of my heart, my country!
Her pitiless blue sky,
When, sick at heart, around us
We see the cattle die
But then the grey clouds gather,
And we can bless again
The drumming of an army,
The steady soaking rain.

Core of my heart, my country!
Land of the rainbow gold,
For flood and fire and famine
She pays us back threefold.
Over the thirsty paddocks,
Watch, after many days,
The filmy veil of greenness
That thickens as we gaze …

An opal-hearted country,
A wilful, lavish land
All you who have not loved her,
You will not understand
though Earth holds many splendours,
Wherever I may die,
I know to what brown country
My homing thoughts will fly.

How is that for some imagery?

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Parkes - 33° 08' 27" S 148° 10' 17" E

Since watching the movie 'The Dish", Sean has wanted to visit so with some time on our hands and the use of Craig's fully tricked-out Hilux, we headed west almost 400km to Parkes.

The Dish is more correctly known as CSIRO's (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) Parkes radio telescope. It is a 64m diameter parabolic dish used for radio astronomy. Basically it detects radio waves from objects in space and with some rather clever processing, turns these into images of the objects.

CSIRO"S Parkes radio telescope
At times, it is also contracted to NASA and ESA to receive signals from their space craft - Mariner II, IV, Apollo 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, Voyager II, Galileo, Giotto, Huygens...  It was the 1969 Apollo 11 mission with Parkes the prime receiving station, that is the subject of the movie. Although it did deviate from reality just a wee little bit.

It moved to its 'stowed' position when we were there as the winds
 were forecast to exceed its maximum operating winds speed
 of 35km/hr.  Watching it move was very cool!
Parkes is a working telescope, actually it is one of the world's leading radio telescopes, and tours started to interfere with the research.  Therefore tourists are no longer able to tour the actual dish but are compensated with an excellent visitors centre. This includes the sets from the movie which are deemed extraordinarily accurate.

The Dish has been significantly upgraded since it was built in 1961.  The basic structure had remained unchanged but it is now 10,000 times more sensitive than when it built.

Even the strongest signal from the cosmos can be very faint.
Mobile phones and even the microwave in the lunchroom can
cause nuisance when used during observations!

And a bit about the CSIRO - Australia's national science research agency.  Their website state we solve the greatest challenges using innovative science and technology. At the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), we shape the future.  We do this by using science to solve real issues to unlock a better future for our community, our economy, our planet. 

A few of the cool things the CSIRO have invented are:
  • WiFi
  • Plastic bank notes
  • Extended wear contact lenses
  • Aerogard

The gardens contain a variety of fabulous interpretive displays
and a direct descendant of Isaac Newton's famous apple tree!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Southport - 27° 58' 25" S 153° 25' 36" E

Eulogy to a Yellow Dinghy

After 10,000nm together and many grand adventures, we bid farewell to The Yellow Dinghy.  Her time had come.  Her slow leaks that required re-inflating each day had developed into terminal preforations, requiring a re-inflate every hour.  We took her to the dinghy repair place and the prognosis was not good.  Her glue is failing, her seams are no longer airtight; she is simply too unsafe.

Oh faithful yellow rubber run-about, you took us to the shore through calm and storm.  Onshore, left unattended, you entertained gaggles of squealing children of many nationalities ... some who had never seen a boat made of anything but wood.

Hours of fun for Indonesian Children!

You helped us cart hundreds litres of diesel and diesel-like fluid (measured in Indo-litres) back to Popeye to help us carry on through the tropics.  You bounced along happily behind Popeye across the tropics and the equator (!!!), waiting to serve.  You faithfully held OnePull, our beloved outboard, and allowed him to push you through the tropical brine (and occasionally rasp you over rock, sand and coral).  You far exceeded the duties you were designed for ... the whole time being super, super photogenic.  It was only near the end of your long life that your flaccidness failed to impress.  Still, you held a precious place in our hearts.

Farewell Yellow Dinghy, thanks for all the great service and fun times.

 Belitung - South Sumatra, Indonesia
Phang Nga Bay - Thailand
A grocery run - Ao Chalong - Phuket, Thailand
Her last trip - The dinghy dock, Southport, Australia

Ko Lanta - Thailand
Hole in The Wall - Langkawi, Malaysia
Ao Nang - Krabi, Thailand
Offloading cruising gear - Ao Kata -Phuket, Thailand
Ko Similan, Thailand
Hiding in the shadows in Bawean, Indonesia
Fuel run - Lewoleba, Lembata, Indonesia
Cid Harbour - The Whitsunday Islands, Australia
 Seagull perch - Stonehaven - The Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Tongue Bay – 20° 14’ 19” S 149° 00’ 55” E

This is not The Whitsundays at their sparkling best!  As predicted, the wind has swung around to the southeast and in true trade wind style, is blowing 20+ knots.  The wind has brought with it smoke from the bush fires further south and we are blanketed in a pinky-hued smog.

We are so pleased to be snug on a mooring and not bashing into it!  We are having a recovery day - stowing the race gear to turn Popeye back into a cruising boat, cleaning, cooking and reading while the wind whistles and the boat bounces on the mooring.  We are chasing down all the noises, squeaks and rattles that disturb the ambiance by tightening halyards, lashing lines and liberally spraying WD40.

And…  Sean has mastered the art of sourdough á la Popeye!