September 30, 2005

Back to Sidney and Water Heater Woes

Hi Everyone,

Since our last note we've made a few stops and had a
variety of weather. Also, the numbers of boats out
and about have decreased significantly since the labor
day weekend.

We only stayed one night at Telegraph Harbor, Thetis
Island before continuing on to Chemainus, Vancouver
Island. The marina is small but Harmen, the
wharfinger (harbor master), is great, very friendly
and helpful. We could walk through the entire town
right from the dock. In fact, we did a lot of walking,
finding many interesting places. We followed the
footprints on the roads past the many many murals on
the town buildings. We also found a tiny but excellent
Chinese Restaurant, Ding Ho, right up from the marina,
and a good Japanese place too.

We had to stop in the Grapefully Yours store to see
what is was. We recognized the familiar aroma as soon
as we entered. It turned out to be a gift shop plus a
U-brew place. After a bit of tasting of Raspberry
Port, we decided to have a batch of Old Vine Zinfandel
prepared for next April. We'll let you know how this
turns it was a weak moment or a good

A few days later we moved on to Maple Bay. This is a
good marina for locals but not so good if you don't
have a car because it's too far from town. The reason
we went there was to hook up with friends we made in
Mexico, Roger (Mona had just gone back to the states)
of Cherokee Eagle and Rob and Shannon, of Sea Bull,
who live nearby in Crofton. We all enjoyed an
excellent meal at the Grapevine which is near the
municipal pier.

We were on a roll. After two nights we moved to
Ganges, Salt Spring Island, with Roger to hook up with
Craig and Barbara of Capella fame.

We enjoyed our time here in June and were glad to
return for the Saturday Market, good restaurants and
friends. Barbara and Craig were happy on arriving here
to just put the anchor down for a long term stay.

Needless to say, there was more good food involved.
House Picollo was our favorite restaurant. Another
evening we all had steaks and all the trimmings on
Capella, Pork Marsala on Raptor Dance and Bill's
excellent (weather inspired) onion soup. See below for
the recipe.

Rob and Shannon came by ferry and gave us all a tour
of Salt Spring Island...and a home grown frozen
chicken (would you believe?).

Our timing was good, so we were able to visit with Ken
and Wendy on Poppy II too. They had just returned from

We also met briefly with Marilyn Ming who, with her
husband Jim, own the Valiant 40, Coyote Moon. She's
head librarian at the Salt Springs Library in Ganges
and commutes over from Sidney. We missed them on our
earlier pass through the area as they were doing a
circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.

We did manage to see some sun during this time but
it's getting pretty cold now. We've been regularly
using our heater. The dominoes came out for Mexican
Train and we learned how to play team Skip Bow (also
known as Spite and Malice).

We had already made plans to return to Canoe Cove to
have our water heater checked. Bill determined that
the tiny leak, which we've had since we were in the
Sea of Cortez, was coming from a corner of the water
heater. We thought it was better to do the work there,
where a replacement was available if needed. Funny
thing, all doubt was lifted when suddenly water was
pouring out of the water heater. Yep, a new one was in
our immediate future. But it was Friday and we were
not due at Canoe Cove until Monday. Now I know many
boaters routinely use the marina showers but we never
had. We missed being able to use our on board shower
but it was actually not too inconvenient using the
marina's. So for one Looney (a $1 CAN coin with a Loon
on the back - approximately $0.83) we got four minutes
of hot water.

Monday we arrived in Canoe Cove and got settled in at
the service dock. Monday night we had dinner with Jim
and Marilyn and had a lovely dinner at the house that
they're building a short distance away from the
marina. We also did the usual tour of each others
boats. Coyote Moon is back in their slip, also at
Canoe Cove. Interestingly while they were off on the
circumnavigation, the marina put us in their slip for
a few days when we were here before.

Stan from Canoe Cove worked with us on the water
heater problem. He's the fellow who did our new
through hull and raw water manifolds back in June - so
we know he does good work.

First we had to get out the old heater, A Seaward 11
Gal. model. This is quite a bit more complex than in
a home as the unit is in a tight corner under the rear
state room bed. We had to drain the unit, detach the
115V electricity, fresh water hoses and the hoses
going to the engine (we can heat water either by using
115V power or by an engine coolant heat exchanger in
the water heater). Stan's nimble plugging of the
engine coolant circuit prevented us from losing very
much liquid. Then we removed the mounting brackets
for the heater and tried to lift it out. Oops! One
of our Group 31 house batteries is in the way - so we
disconnected and removed it and then lifted out the
water heater.

When we got the old heater up to the shop we removed
the cover and found the hole in the tank. It had
corroded through! Wait a minute, this tank is
Aluminum! We thought we had a stainless steel tank!
A quick check of the manual shows we misread the
specifications... This water heater only has a
stainless steel outer case, Duh!

Also, the only water heater we could get in a
reasonable time period is also aluminum, oh well.
It's a Force 10, 11 Gal. When this goes, we'll
replace it with a true Stainless Steel unit (It turns
out that there are very few on the market).

We are also looking into putting on a magnesium anode
to cut down on the corrosion. While these are
standard on home units, very few marine units come
with them.

The Force 10 is the same size as the Seaward, but the
attachments are in slightly different places. Also
the mounting brackets are on the sides instead of the
ends. So we had to work with Stan to make everything

At 1:00 Tuesday afternoon we were all done, so we
fired everything up... Works like a champ - Hooray!

We did have a slight drip that we discovered later.
So Stan came back over Wednesday morning to find it
and tighten one joint. The leak was about 6 feet from
where the water was pooling and it was, very slow...
So it took some detective work to find.

So at 11:00 Wednesday we left Canoe Cove for Port
Sidney Marina with the threat of a "Significant" Storm
for later in the day.

Port Sidney is only about 3 miles from Canoe Cove, so
we got there in no time at all - in spite of 25+ knot
head winds, fog with 3/4 mile visibility and 2 foot
choppy, sloppy seas.

We tied up and went to our favorite fish and chips
place in Canada: Fish on 5th. We like fish and
chips, we tried it lots of places up here. Haven't
found any nearly as good.

Later in the day, with the clouds gathering and the
wind gusting to 30+ we decided to stay on the boat and
cook one of Shannon's chickens... It was yummy.

Yesterday - Thursday - we spent a raining day onboard
doing boat chores. The video processor for out Runco
flat screen died, so Bill routed a S-Video cable from
the DVD player over to the screen. We had a jury rig
of two cables spliced together and duck taped overhead
in the cabin, but we wanted more shipshape
arrangement. So, we routed a cable of the proper
length alongside the wiring harness that traverses the
cabin up along the forward bulkhead and down the
starboard side. This required disassembling and
reassembling the Computer/AV equipment locker,
emptying lockers, taking the wine cabinet apart,
creative snaking under the cabin sole, replacing the
video processor with two books so the equipment still
stacked properly and a lot of head scratching. The job
took all afternoon.

This evening, with the rain pouring down, was a good
time to enjoy the last of the crab with a light sauce
(olive oil, sweet red pepper, sambal and garlic) over
pasta. We aren't starving, as you know, but our weight
is not increasing.

This morning, it's overcast, cold with showers
forecast for later today with another 1/4 of rain
likely. Today's chore is to replace the raw water
pump in the heat/air conditioner. It sounds like the
bearings are going out in the pump and we want to fix
it before it breaks! The thrum thrum thrum of the
pump also wakes us up sometimes when it runs at night.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we'll had back over to
Maple Bay for a Dinner party at Rob and Shannon's on
Sunday night.

That's the latest from Raptor Dance!

Warmest Regards,
Mary and Bill (we both wrote major sections of this


Bill's Onion Soup (Best made in a pressure cooker -
ours is a 6 Quart)

3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 Pounds Onions, Sliced (more is OK - you want to
basically fill your pressure cooker pot with raw
sliced onions)
1 Tbsp Flour
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tsp Brown Sugar
1 Cup Beer, suggest a nice flavorful ALE, such as a
Pale Ale (more is OK, I've often used the whole
6 Cups Beef Stock (or water + lower salt, beef bullion
or use more beer!)

For serving:
1 slice of toast per person
shredded Gruyere cheese

Heat the oil in your pressure cooker and add the
sliced onions. Cook on high, stirring occasionally.
You want the onions to sweat out their moisture and
cook down. You want them to slowly turn light brown
as the liquid cooks out and their sugars caramelize.
You want to stir frequently enough so the color is
even, you don't want any medium or dark brown color.
This should take around 30-40 minutes (depending on
how many onions you're cooking).

Then reduce the heat to low, add the flour,
Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar - stir frequently
for 5 minutes.

Then add the beer and beef stock and turn up the heat
to high and close the pressure cooker. Cook under
high pressure for 20 minutes. If you don't have a
pressure cooker, you can simmer the soup in a regular
pot or dutch oven for 2 hours, but you may need more

Turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release
naturally as the pressure cooker cools.

Spoon the soup into bowls, float the toast on top of
the soup and sprinkle shredded Gruyere cheese on top
to cover. You can then pop under the broiler to get
the cheese bubbly and brown. Then serve.

We don't have a broiler on the boat, so we use our
electric heat gun (hair dryer on steroids - normally
used to shrink, heat shrink tubing and remove paint)
to get the same effect.


September 14, 2005

On to Nanaimo and Telegraph Cove

Hi Everyone,

After heading south to reach the sunshine, we finally found it in least part of the time. We had been moving every few days so it felt good to settle in for a bit.

We stayed at False Creek Yacht Club in Vancouver for a week and would have stayed longer if it was possible. All their slips are occupied by yacht club members. So it is only when someone is traveling that there are slips open for visitors. This is located in False Creek on the city side, at the second bridge. It is directly across from Granville Island, so we just had a short dingy ride to the shops and restaurants, (and West Marine) on Granville Island. Oh yes, we had to check out the tour and tasting at the Granville Brewery.

While we were there the Fringe Fair started. This fair's purpose was "to ward off mediocrity". Those wishing to be part of this entered their names in the lottery. Once picked, they could perform any sort of entertainment, without censure for an hour and a half. It was good to see reviews of the presentations. There was quite a range of style and quality, with a few listed as recommended.

We enjoyed the Yacht Club and their quite reasonable dinner selections. Rack of lamb...that works for us! Unlike the YC's that we are used to, which are busiest during the weekend, False Creek Yacht Club is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday and are closed over the weekend. There are many places close by to cruise to, so members leave on the weekends.

The cruising season is pretty well over now. The members are all back in their slips so we had to leave or stay in the one remaining spot under the Granville Island Bridge.... and get bombed by the perching sea gulls...

We did have a great time during the week in Vancouver, taking lots of long walks, going to the Maritime Museum, exploring different parts of the city and enjoying new restaurants. But of course we had to return to Chinatown for some yummy Dim Sum. The city is actually small enough that we could walk to most places we wished to go.

During this week we did have one night of over 35 knot winds. The most exciting part of that was the Coast Guard boat going full throttle past the marina on the way to a boat fire. We definitely rocked on that wake. At least one 30 foot powerboat bounced onto the dock and back into the water, suffering some damage. We were fine, nothing more than a bit of rocking.

Our next stop was Nanaimo. I'm not sure if the folks who recommended this town did so because they have a sweet tooth. One of Nanaimo's claim to fame is a sweet convection named after the town, the Nanaimo Bar. I suppose that we must at least try one (we did, see below).

Again, we are getting lots of exercise walking. It's a good thing. On Monday, Sept 12th, we stopped at Armani's Restaurant and ordered his mushroom burger. It was very tasty but huge. We had to take at least a pound of the mushrooms in a doggy bag. They'll be great on our
mushroom pizza later. Since we had it for a late lunch, we didn't need dinner that night - in spite of a 5+ mile walk on Monday.

We also really liked Acme Restaurant (no relation to where Wily Coyote buys his stuff). Sort of a West coast eclectic fusion cuisine, but not at all pricey. They have a selection of dishes from
creative soups and salads to sushi. Quite good. We went there twice - once dinner on Sunday and once for lunch on Tuesday.

One thing that is noticeable is the greater number of sail boats in Nanaimo compared to elsewhere in the North West. Open water and wind is more accessible. The Straights of Georgia are just a mile or two away.

Right now, Wednesday, Sept 14th, we've stopped in Telegraph Cove for One Night. Tomorrow, we're off to Chemainus for two nights, followed by Maple Bay on Saturday.

Warmest Regards,
Mary and Bill

The Original Nanaimo Bar recipe:

The Nanaimo bar has a notable thermal significance. During Nanaimo's heyday as a major coal mining area, families of miners sent care packages which often included this sweet treat. Dubbed a "Nanaimo Bar" the cake travelled well on the journey from the miners' families homes in the UK and brightened the spirits of the workers underground.

The Nanaimo Bar consists of three layers and looks a bit like a brownie, except for the cream colored middle layer.

These guys are tasty, but very sweet, rich and calorie packed. We shared one between us (over 4 days!).

For 16 - 2x2 inch Nanaimo Bars:

Bottom Layer:

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (pref. Euro-Style cultured)
1/4 Cup Sugar
5 Tbsp Cocoa
1 Egg, Beaten
1 3/4 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Almonds
1 Cup Shredded Coconut

Melt the butter, sugar and cocoa in the top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken (don't stop whisking or you end up with lumps of scrambled egg!). Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut and almonds. Press firmly in an 8x8 inch baking pan.

Middle Layer:

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp + 2 Tsp Cream
2 Tbsp Vanilla Custard Powder
2 Cup Icing Sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Top Layer:

4 Oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler. Cool. When cool, but still liquid, pour over middle layer and chill the pan in the refrigerator until the bars set.

Cut into 2 inch squares and enjoy!

September 4, 2005

Back to Vancouver

Hi Everyone!

After we left Oleo's last Saturday Aug 27th, we headed back through the Dent and Yaculta rapids in a downpour. Yes, more rain.

The rapids themselves were totally uneventful. The trick is to go through around slack current according to the Canadian Tide and Current tables. There was a fair amount of other boat traffic, but everyone was well behaved.

We then anchored back in Squirrel Cove and had 1 day of good weather. On Monday, Travis and Barbara joined us on Bar-T-Na and we had a lovely evening playing Mexican Train dominoes.

Finally on Wednesday, the 31st, after daily rain - we both had enough. Time to head South. We were originally intending to visit a few more anchorages in the Desolation Sound region, but we were both going wonky from the all the crummy weather.

Out next stop on August 31st and Sept 1st was Garden Bay in Pender Harbour. Pender is an interesting place with at least half a dozen marinas with pubs, restaurants and small stores. There is even a small shopping center across the bay. We hiked up to a local lake and generally walked around a bit. The local mosquitos were active but they've changed their taste. For some reason Bill is the preferred taste treat instead of Mary.

On Friday Sept 2nd we continued on down the coast to Gibsons Landing in Howe Sound. How is just up the coast a little from Vancouver. Gibsons is at the far side of Howe Sound, so although it's on the mainland, there's no connection by road across the sound, only ferries. Still it's a fair sized community with lots of little shops and a small shopping center. The marina was full for the weekend with boaters on holiday from Vancouver. This is labor day (actually it's labour day) weekend up here in Canada too! The best things in Gibson's were Mike's place for great gelato and the latest DVDs (we rented two over the two days we were in town) and the Bayview Szechuan Chinese Restaurant.

This morning, Sunday the 4th, we headed down back to Vancouver and tied up at the False Creek Yacht Club across from Granville Island in Vancouver. We'll be here for about a week. Vancouver was one of our favorite places on our journey up and we're looking forward to spending more time in this lovely city.

It's also our 7th Anniversary! So we're looking forward to a nice dinner tonight to celebrate.

After we pulled in, Sam and Nadia Calmes from the Jeanneau 37 "Avanti" stopped by. They've been here in False Creek for about a week. They were with us on the Baja Haha and had been cruising in Mexico and Central America. They came up a few weeks ago on the same Dockwise Yacht Transport voyage as our friends on Barbara and Craig on Capella and Mona and Roger on Cherokee Eagle. Sam and Nadia will be heading up to Desolation Sound for a bit of a cruise before heading back to Seattle for the Winter and to sell the boat as Nadia is expecting twins ;-} We'll visit with them later today and share our favorite spots with them. We hope they have better weather than we did.

We're currently planning to be here in Vancouver for a week, then head over to the Gulf Islands for a few weeks. More later as our plans firm up.

We're going to cut our Canada trip a little shorter than we originally planned as we're tired of the lousy weather. More on our anticipated schedule as our plans firm up.

We're back in civilization, so our cell phones and regular email addresses work again!

Warmest Regards,
Bill and Mary