Friday, 25 April 2008

Workin' on the dock

This week has been 'get the dock ready for the boat' week. Water levels can vary by 3 feet throughout the season, so we needed some more length on our dock to ensure that we have enough water. This floating dock, bobbing on 6 nice sturdy, clean plastic barrels gives us 8 feet of water even when the mighty St. Lawrence is at its lowest. I checked out the hinges at Home Depot and then visited a local welder who made terrific hinges and pins for the ramp. He recommended a triple/double tongue rather than the double/single type that you can buy. The tongues are actually welded to 3" flat bar which goes across the whole width of the dock and down the side about 18". When we get a 60 km wind blowing down from Howe Island I'm glad I took his advice. We had a little lifting from the ice this winter, but nothing a crowbar and a 2 x 4 can't fix in a hurry. I guess we're ready now to call the marina and get that new Carver back in the water so we can figure her out. A local boater told me that it's a three-year process to get to know a new boat - I certainly believe that. I did take one year off that process, though, last fall when a friend helped me winterize her for the first time. I certainly got to know what every pipe and pump was for!

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Daydream Believer

For those of you who are interested in seeing our new boat, Daydream Believer, here are a couple of pictures. This is a 1985 Carver 3207 aft-cabin cruiser, with a hard top. She has a V-berth cabin forward, galley with full-size fridge, range and oven, microwave. There is a forward head with a shower stall. The salon is amidships and the aft-cabin has a double bed and a twin along with an ensuite head (a luxury we don't have at home). The helm is on the flybridge and the aft-deck has a hard top, affording a large, comfortable living space. On-board is a 6500 watt generator - lots of power to run all the bells and whistles (including an air-conditioner!!). This is the vessel we've been looking for - large enough to live aboard for extended periods, yet small enough to be practical on the St. Lawrence Park Islands where we do most of our boating. We've only spent a few hours onboard since we bought her and we're looking forward to this summer's boating and a chance to really check her out. We've got a bit of work to do on our dock to prepare for launching, but work on that front is progressing well.


Gananoque - April 16, 2008

Our beloved boat, ALMOST THERE, is sold! Last September we bought a 1985 Carver 3207 aft cabin cruiser and placed our Fairbanks (shown) for sale. A buyer in British Columbia made an offer to purchase, placed a deposit, and made plans to drive here, buy a trailer, and carry her home - appropriate, since the Fairbanks yachts were made in Vancouver.

It's remarkable that someone thousands of miles away would place such trust in our transaction, not having met us or seen the boat. Our communication was almost entirely by email and something just 'felt right' about the deal.

Last night he arrived in Gananoque and this morning we loaded the Fairbanks on to his new trailer and he headed off back to British Columbia.

We hope he and his family get as much enjoyment from this vessel as we have had. She's a good boat and will serve them well. We'll miss Almost There, but we're looking forward to our first season on the Carver (yet to be named).

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Sweden - Day 13

March 23, 2008 - EASTER SUNDAY - Goteborg, Frankfurt, Chicago, Syracuse, Gananoque!!!

This is the first Easter Sunday in 57 years that I have not been in Grace Church, Gananoque.

We got a cab to Landvetter Airport this morning after our last breakfast at Hotel Lorensburg and appeared to be the only people at the airport. We checked in our luggage and got our boarding passes for the Goteborg-Frankfurt leg of our trip. The Scandinavian agent couldn't give us boarding passes right through to Syracuse because the other two flights (Frankfurt-Chicago and Chicago-Syracuse) were with American Airlines, so we were instructed to check in at the American counter in Frankfurt. We seemed to be the only travellers on that flight that had to do so, but we dutifully went to the counter. We're all for anything that ensures that the people on our plane (including us!) are legitimately there.

Now - I realize that everybody has a 'first day on the job' at some point in their life; but the girl at the American counter in Frankfurt was decidedly incompetent. We had to present receipts for our hotel in Goteborg, answer endless questions about our whereabouts and activities for the past two weeks, recite our in-laws' shoe size, etc. etc. etc. and she still couldn't really comprehend our travel plan - to fly to Chicago, then to Syracuse and get in our car and drive home to Canada (1 1/2 hours from Syracuse). When she asked for the receipt for parking in Syracuse (don't you leave that on the dash like EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD?) we'd had about enough. It was especially stressful because they had been calling our Frankfurt-Chicago flight for quite some time. Meanwhile, to go to the American counter we had to go out of the secure area so we had to go through security again before we could go to the gate. We did make the flight, but barely and it was not without a lot of unnecessary stress and frustration.

Our assigned seats were not those we had chosen on-line long before we left Canada two weeks ago, but we didn't complain since they had seated the four of us in a block of six seats with an empty seat between each pair.

The Chicago-Syracuse flight was pretty routine - the plane seemed like a paper-towel tube after the 767 from Frankfurt. Our captain on this flight, according to the flight attendant, is one of only a few female captains.

Believe it or not, our luggage came down the chute in Syracuse just like it had in Goteborg and Chicago. I don't know whose luggage it is that they're constantly losing (oh yeah - Brent Bommentre's) but it wasn't ours this time around. The highway trip home was pretty snoozy - gas seemed quite a bargain in Watertown - and Canada Customs welcomed us back home.

Hard to believe, hitting the sack in Gananoque Sunday night, that we had breakfast in Goteborg, Sweden that same morning.

Suitcases are now unpacked but not put away. We're already looking forward to our next foray into the world of travel. Think, maybe, we'll fly out of Canada, though ....

Sweden - Day 12

March 22, 2008 - Goteborg, Sweden

This is probably our last message from Goteborg. It's about 10:15 Saturday night and we're in the process of packing. We have a cab booked to the airport tomorrow at 8 am - our flight is at 10:55. So it's a quick, early breakfast and we're off!!

Had a relaxing morning today - wandered up the shopping avenue and stopped into a grocery store to pick up some things to make a lunch. Then Colleen and Paul headed up to the Scandinavium to see the men's final. While we were there, Charles, Michele and Tanith visited our hotel so we were sorry to miss them. However - it was worth it to be there when Jeff Buttle won the gold medal for Canada in men's. They had a live choir (about 8) sing the national anthems at the victory celebrations (I guess they had to learn all of the contenders' anthems) and they did a real fine job on 'O Canada'.

When we got back to the hotel Charles was still here and he told us there'd be a brief opportunity to see Tanith one last time about 6:30. So we headed up to her hotel and had a nice long chat and said our goodbyes. For the first time we asked Tanith for an autograph when she signed Colleen's skating ticket as a souvenir for her Grade 3 Class in Lansdowne.

Then we went with Charles and Michele to a nice restaurant about half a block from our hotel and had a great supper. There must be 100 restaurants within 4 blocks of this hotel!!!

Anyway - it's our last night here. This time tomorrow (actually about plus 5 hours) we'll be in Syracuse, preparing to head home. Hope we don't have to shovel the car out.

Sweden - Day 10

March 21, 2008 - Goteborg, Sweden

This morning we went over for a Free Dance Practice and then relaxed a bit before taking in the later flights of the Men's Short Program. Had a very nice lunch at Evas Paley on The Avenue (pictured) and then back to the Scandinavium for the skating. We had dinner at La Terrazza, a very nice restaurant kitty-corner from the Scandinavium. It was interesting that the lamps were all made from real musical instruments, with wiring and bulbs installed.

Tonight was the Free Dance and I can't say we were pleased with the result. However, you take what you get and our skaters have taught us how to be gracious about the result.

Tomorrow, the men's final.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Sweden - Day 9

March 20, 2008 - Goteborg, Sweden

Thursday was Original Dance day. Our skaters performed well and moved up in the standings but it was becoming apparent that a podium placement was not to be. We ducked over to Jameson's Pub, which we had found on The Avenue on an earlier walk. I guess our mood was pretty transparent, for a gentleman named Olaf (I think it's safe to say he's a 'regular' at Jameson's) came over to us and commented on our glum disposition. We had a great chat with him - he's a high school teacher and was enjoying the first hours of his Easter break - and if he is ever sailing up the St. Lawrence River WE EXPECT TO HEAR FROM HIM!

Sweden - Day 8

March 19, 2008 - Goteborg, Sweden

Today we gave the early Ladies Short a miss and went for a long walk down to the canal. It was our hope to visit the Botanical Gardens but, even with our limited Swedish, we were able to tell that the signs said "Closed for Construction". The hard hats and bulldozers were our second hint, right after the locked gates. We did have a lovely walk through the park, though, and continued along the canal to the train station.

From there we walked through the Nordstan shopping centre, the largest in Goteborg. There we were fascinated by a fashion show in which the models, suspended by cables, were walking a vertical runway!

We then headed to the Scandinavium to see the later flights of Ladies and then, after supper, the Pairs Long. Very pleased to see Canadians Jessica and Bryce on the podium.

We connected with Gabe and Barb Dunlop, another Gananoque couple who had travelled to Goteburg, on a tour, to attend Worlds. We had heard before we left that they would be there and had a lovely visit at their house in Gananoque before we left.

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