Monday, March 20, 2023

Condé-sur-Noireau, France - 48° 51' 7" N 0° 34' 20" E

 While we are reducing and lightening our Canmore footprint, the fabrication team at the Garcia shipyard has been working on the hull.  Here are more pictures.

Firstly, the hull now has plates and the seams are welded shut.  It also has a towing point at the stem.  


Next, it also has portholes.  This is how they start ... just tack welded in.

And this is how they are finished.
Mmmm, brushed aluminium.
This is how we expect the topsides (hull above the waterline) to be finished.

The boat also has a centreboard.  This is all 130 kgs of it, being lowered into place.  With the centreboard down, the boat needs nine and half feet (2.9 metres) of water not to touch bottom.  With the centreboard up, she needs only three and three quarter feet of water to float.

Here, the worker is positioning the pivot into its cradle. 

The very beefy pivot pin secured in place.

The interior of the hull, showing the solid welds to the ribs and stringers.

The portholes from the inside. The flange around the porthole is meant to receive the seven centimetres of insulating foam that the whole hull (above the waterline) gets.

Check out the thickness of the aluminum, too!

The hull is upside-down right now, so these standpipes come up (down?) through the bottom of the hull and go above the waterline.  They draw water from outside the hull for use in cooling the diesel engine or for filtering into drinking water.

The aft (rear) skeg that protects the propeller shaft where it emerges from inside the hull.  Worker standing next to the skeg (for scale). 


We have been told the welding of the hull will be done by the time we arrive in France in mid-May.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Canmore ... still - 51° 05' 03" N 115° 22' 07" W

 The call to action has been sounded.  We are busy with things like:

  • disposing of most of our worldly possessions
  • selling whatever can be sold
  • discovering things that we thought were terribly valuable are actually not, and we almost have to pay people to take them
  • planning to rent our home ... for the next TEN YEARS
  • deciding what gets rented with the house and what has ... to ... GO.
  • shutting down Geek and Company
  • squeezing in a last few visitors while we still have a place in Canmore
  • planning for a road trip we have always wanted to do (drive to Haida Gwaii and Granisle, BC)
  • planning another road trip from Whitehorse to Tuktoyuktuk this autumn
  • Kate getting invited to race in a world-class yacht race from England to France
  • planning to do a sailing delivery of Popeye in Australia in late autumn

The Haida Gwaii road trip this summer

Then, an e-mail comes that has turned both Kate and Sean on our heads.  Pictures of the frame of our boat.

Our boat.

Our ... B. O. A. T.

Although the boatyard sent an e-mail that they had started work on it, seeing pictures of an actual, three-dimensional object, that has identifiable parts ... a bow; a transom; bulkheads; a foredeck! ... is very sobering.  We are both reeling at the undeniability of this object they are sending pictures of. 

This is really happening.

The upside-down deck of the boat ...
the workers on the left give an idea of how big this bloody thing is

... and then, the ribs of the frame ...

... to some stringers between the ribs (with the aft bulkhead in the distance) ...

... to a very recognizable shape of an overturned boat hull.
Note the sister hull in the background - they make two hulls at a time.

Chinook exists!
Some work needs to be done before it floats, though.

You cannot imagine how excited we will be to see this, in person, in April.

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Canmore ... for now - 51° 05' 03" N 115° 22' 07" W

Detach yourself from reading this blog for a moment and look around you.

You're likely at home, surrounded by things that you've spent the last twenty-plus years gathering.  A comfortable living room setup; perhaps a TV that you (at one time) were particularly pleased to have.  A bookshelf (or two) full of books you have read.  A kitchen with a coffeemaker that produces your morning nectar; a few small appliances that you use on occasion and a toaster you are happy with; mixing bowls, cookie trays, roasting pans, and a whole drawer full of mashers, peelers, salad tongs and specialized utensils.  There's your bed; that whole closet and chest of drawers full of clothing. You have winter jackets, summer jackets, sports equipment.  How about shoes all the shoes you have?  Whew, quite a few when you stop to consider them, hey?  Now, how about tools?  How about sports equipment? How about table cloths, place mats, tea towels, sheets, bath and hand towels, ...

Now, imagine that you have to get rid of all this stuff in the next two months.

Tax records and other important documents are ending up here!

Piles are being created for friends (who have let us know they love a particular piece of artwork that we have).  Piles are being created for relatives who have kindly offered to store that box with hiking/climbing/cycling/ski gear that we know we might need on future visits.  Piles are being created for the thrift shop.  Piles are being created for the trash bin.

Vases.  How did we end up with so many?  Where are they going to go?

All these beautiful, marvellous things that we aquired when we handed over hard-earned money, then gleefully carried home and placed next to all the OTHER THINGS we bought and brought home ... we now have to deal with them all.  Whether we used it once, use it every day or had it gifted to us - it now cannot stay.  The plan is to select a very small subset of clothing (think: maybe two dufflebags full), kitchen goods and tools; then carry it - 23 kilograms at a time (as per airplane luggage allowance) - to France.  Most of our 2,800 square feet of stuff will not be getting on the plane with us.

Kijiji (the local online buy-and-sell) and Facebook Marketplace have seen some furious activity-level increases from the Collins household.  We are also discovering that things we thought were very valuable are nowhere near as liquid as we thought.  Furniture, tools, sports equipment, fully-functional computer bits ... all not attracting the attention that we thought they might.  Much of what we own will be headed for a thrift store.

Our life is changing ... and with it, what we deem essential for our needs and wants.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Intrepid Mother - Canmore - 51° 05' 03" N 115° 22' 07" W

It is a rare privilege to spend four-and-a-half months with your octogenarian Mum.  I am sure it is the longest time we have spend together since I started university. It is also a blessing that Mum is so fit and healthy - and oh so intrepid! We do believe that some of this is driven by the chronic FOMO (fear of missing out) from which, we as a family, greatly suffer. 

After equipping her with solid walking shoes and hiking poles, Mum was completely unstoppable and came along for every adventure from hiking on glaciers and through Algonquin Park to boating on Lake Minnewanka, and Chesapeake Bay to snow shoeing and making snow angels.  She certainly earned her handle - The Intrepid Mother!

The Intrepid Mother balancing on a beaver dam when canoeing down
 Twelve Mile Creek from Vermillion Lakes near Banff

Riding The Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff - on the tandem!

Hiking on Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park

Climbing up The Dorset Fire Tower, Ontario

Helming the good ship Bigwin on the Lake of Bays, Ontario

Canoeing on Kawagama Lake, Ontario

Hiking in Algonquin Park, Muskoka, Ontario

Hiking a section of The Appalachian Trail at Harpers Ferry, Pennsylvania

Dinghying out to Scylla for a morning sail, Annapolis, Maryland

Exploring the exhibits at The Smithsonian in Washington DC

Hamming it up on Dewey Beach in Delaware

Feeling peckish in Obernai, France

Enjoying the sunrise at -32c in Alberta

Hiking the Bow River trails in Canmore

Riding the Angel Chairlift up Lookout Mountain at Sunshine Village

Standing on the Continental Divide and the border of BC and Alberta

Hiking on Vermillion Lakes, Banff

Making a snow angel in Fernie, BC

Earning her keep by clearing the driveway, Canmore

Hiking through the snow to harvest a Christmas Tree

Catching dinner at Bass Pro!

Snowshoeing at Lake Louise

Mum, you are a legend! Thanks for coming to stay and joining in all our crazy adventures.  We are truly blessed to have you as our Mum.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Sulphur Mountain Cosmic Ray Station - 51° 08' 49" N 115° 34' 44" W

 With the Australian rellies visiting for the holiday season, we dropped into Tour Guide mode.


Visiting the Banff Instagram mecca

Walking on a frozen Lake Minnewanka

Out for a snowy stroll around Canmore, with Mt. Rundle in the background

Jack and Emily at Sunshine Village

The oldies show off their snowshoeing prowess

Jack and Emily will be snuggled in here for the ride 

Sled dogs getting ready for a workout

Our soon-to-be Nephew.  Can you guess what his name is?

There was snow shoeing, dog sledding, downhill skiing ...  but we also allowed ourselves a unique adventure.  We decided to see the first sunrise of 2023 from the top of Sulphur Mountain.

Doing a sunrise hike means you are leaving the house at the coldest part of the day.  January is the coldest month of the year, too.  Pleasantly, sunrise doesn't happen that early on January 1st.

Kate, Wendy and I were at the trailhead at the Sulphur Mountain gondola station at 6:15 am.  With an 8:39 am forecast sunrise, we needed to get a move on.  The hike up Sulphur Mountain is a steady but noticeable climb.  It was still dark, so headlamps were a must, as was hiking poles and bear spray.  After all, who knows what might be roaming, pre-dawn, when all the other tasty tourists were still tucked into their beds?

We trudged up the switchbacks, through the dark, headlamps cutting a path, ... when we heard voices ahead.

"Who could be up here ahead of us?"  A group of friends had driven out from Calgary (at 4 am!) with the same goal.  They weren't as experienced hikers as we  were, but they had youth on their side.  We made our way past them and continued on for the two hours more of climbing.

We carefully monitored our progress and noted when we passed the 4 kilometre and 800 metre vertical mark.  What was more subtle was the onset of dawn.  Our headlamps became less and less necessary for footing on the trail.  The forested hillside became less like a wall of spruce as more details emerged from the trees.  The whir of the gondola cables as they started moving signalled the arrival of staff at the base and heightened our hopes of a warm drink at the top.  Up we continued.

When we reached the top gondola station, we found that the trees had been doing a superb job of protecting us from the wind.  The peak of Sulphur Mountain was devoid of this protection and the fact that we were no longer climbing and generating huge amounts heat was becoming obvious.  We started to get cold.  Wisely, we had packed extra clothing, including windbreakers, for just this circumstance.

Wendy congratulated herself at making it all the way up, in spite of the cold ... the snowy, slippery, unfamiliar footing ... the extra 1,500 metres of altitude.  She was a bit crestfallen when we rounded the upper gondola station and saw that we still had 600 metres to go to the weather station.  Kate and I were able to convince her that the almost-unencumbered view we would be treated to up there would be worth it.

And it was.

Cold but happy

First rays of the year on Cascade Mountain!

A crisp, clear day was about to break and we watched with awe as the first rays struck Cascade Mountain across the valley, as well as all the other peaks that surrounded us.  Hooray!

Hot chocolate awaited us at the upper gondola terminal, as well as a free ride down for locals ... and those pretending to be locals.  It was a glorious way to start our new year.