Friday, September 18, 2009 TD

I’ve been asking my old skydiving buddy TD when he was going to come out for a sail. Life kept interfering until this week and he gave me a call and asked if I could get away on Friday. “Blow off work on a beautiful sunny day? Let me think.Yes!”

We got on the road about 11:30 and after giving him a quick tour of the cabin we hooked onto the boat and headed for the boat launch. It’s always easy getting the boat in…not so easy getting the vehicles out. We had ridden out in TD’s 2 wheel drive Ford Ranger. I was curious to see if it would be better than our front wheel drive vans. It wasn’t…the problem being that the drive wheels are in the water where it is softer and he quickly dug a couple of holes. Eventually we got the trailer back out but he didn’t think that we’d get it out with the trailer on so I decided to leave the boat tied up at the cabin as I was planning on coming back out on Saturday anyway. With that out of the way we hopped in and pushed off.

It took a while to get any breeze at all but we eventually got going slowly. We headed back to the cabin so I could get the key to unlock the rear compartment and get the pfds out. After that was done we set off ….light winds but such an incredibly warm September day it really didn’t matter. We tacked back and forth, when the wind died we opened up the cooler and chowed down on hard boiled eggs, oka cheese, bagels, bananas and other goodies. Snow geese were flying far overhead at one point in a large flock. Lots of birds heading south.

TD had been the helmsman for a while and we did enjoy several nice runs when the wind picked up. We headed for the far side of the lake. I had told him about the cabin in the woods that I know nothing about…it’s not in the park or on the private development at that end of the lake. It took a while to get there and find it as you can hardly see it from the water. We landed and went in and had a look around. It sure is a cabin in the woods and a real refuge. I thought it was pretty neat. Big treehouse built behind it and an outhouse which is painted white and called “The White House”.

After that we sailed on a bit further and got out to have a look at Little Emerald. Then we started back and the winds had piped up nicely and we had some good runs.

It was a great day with an old friend.

What do you think they're doing at work TD?

What do you think they're doing at work TD?


Mur - Don't we need wind to sail?

Mur - Don't we need wind to sail?


The White House

The White House


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Leaving Little Emerald

Leaving Little Emerald


I AM The Man!

I AM The Man!

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September 13, 2009 – Great sail, kayaking, Brad & Kim

In the morning Patty and I got the boys up and told them to get their PFDs as we were going kayaking and going to eat breakfast on the water. They took the kayaks and I followed along in the boat. The winds were great and I was having a terrific time as they paddled through the reeds and went ashore on the “point.”

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After a while Cameron decided he’d rather ride with me so he climbed in the boat and we towed his kayak behind. He picked up the camera and took some pictures. I really like this one of the main beach as it captures what a “sparkly” day we were enjoying.

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Later that day I paddled along the shore looking at various dock installations and boat lifts. I decided to head down to my old friend Brad’s dock at the far end of the park beach. Brad has a great system of building a dock that I think I will copy. He also has an aluminum boat lift sized for a Seadoo. We started talking about using it for my boat and before long I was headed back to our cabin to get my boat and try out Brad’s lift. When I got back an old friend of Brad’s, Kim, was there. I remember Kim from back at the lake but knew her older brothers better. Brad told her about how I had made this boat and I think it brought back some memories for her as she related to me that the boat that her family used had been built by her Dad. She said that she loved sailing and had sailed quite a bit as a kid at various camps that she went to. So, after we tried out the boat lift which worked great and is now on my shopping list, we all hopped into the boat and went for a sail.

It was great fun to have them in the boat and we enjoyed some terrific breezes on a short cruise.

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September 12, 2009 – Sailing and fishing at night

Patty, Cameron and I had a nice little sail in the afternoon after we arrived. Cam had a brand new copy of “Guinness Book of World Records” that he read aloud to us as we cruised along in pleasant winds on a beautiful warm fall day.

Did you know that the record for....

Did you know that the record for....

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Later that evening we put the outboard on and headed over to the far side to do some fishing. Well, Hunter and Patty did some fishing and Cameron and I watched. They both caught a jackfish within minutes of each other. This was Patty’s first fish ever and unfortunately I hadn’t brought the camera along. At one point Hunter was lecturing Cameron about how he should try fishing because fishing was all about patience which caused Patty and I to try and stifle laughter as Hunter is very impatient but finally we couldn’t hold it and burst out laughing.

We stayed out there as the night crept up. A beaver was working close to shore and a couple of times made some loud slaps as he dove under water. An owl hooted in the woods. I turned on the navigation lights and we slowly putted across the lake enjoying the stars and planets on a warm evening.

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Sept 7 – Labour Day

Labour day was marked by an early morning sail in light but steady winds and a great sail or two in the afternoon in higher winds. The winds were nearly as high as the day before so I had an excellent time on a beautiful sunny day.

At one point I was sailing west near the point and a power boat pulled up beside me. One of the passengers looked familiar and when he called my name it registered who it was…a neighbour of mine whose son played baseball with Hunter in 2008 while I was building the boat. It was quite a surprise to see him out on the lake but I later remembered his wife had mentioned them coming up to Emerald to visit in-laws with a cabin. He said something about the boat and I said that I guessed it looked a little different than the last time he had seen it while I was building it in my garage. He said it looked AWESOME. Coming from a finish carpenter like him, I took that as a high compliment.

We later met up at the boat launch as we were both taking out our boats. Mike gave the boat a close going over. He said to his friend that the last time he saw it, “it was pure plywood ugliness. I thought that if Murray thought that thing would float he was dreaming.” haha! Made my day!

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Sept 6, 2009 – Great Sail

Sunday was a rainy day in the morning but a bit later on the wind piped up under overcast skies and everybody headed to the water. I was definitely out there in the strongest winds I’d experienced to date. It was a blast! The boys were with one of Cameron’s schoolmates’ family in their ski/wakeboard boat. Hunter got up on the wakeboard for the first time and was having a great time while I was having a great sail, going fast and rolling over all the large boat wakes. The picture below, taken by Patty from the power boat captures the moment.

Under the overcast sky the water looked greasy, like the ocean off the BC Coast. It was a lot of fun. But the photo also captures something that kind of saddens me … the boys, especially Hunter who likes thrills, enjoyed being with their friends tubing, kneeboarding and wakeboarding far more than being with me sailing. But, there is no doubt we have all had some great times in Ugo Igo Too and I think as they get a bit older they may use the boat more.

I had the boat going as fast as I think it will go. With just me in the boat I had a hard time beating into the wind as when I sheeted in to point higher I would get overpowered and have to ease up on the main sheet and turn away from the wind. It took me a long time to get back to the cabin as a result…but it was great fun!

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Iroquois Lake, Spider Island, Skipper Island and Leech Beach

We have been wanting to go to Iroquois Lake and explore the two large islands in it for quite some time. Saturday morning, September the fifth, 2009, it was finally the day. As we were expecting some friends to arrive in the early afternoon we decided to use the outboard rather than sail to be able to be back in time. We hooked the trailer up to the van and drove over to Pelican Cove on the south end of Iroquois and launched the boat there.

We motored over to the first island and followed along the shore looking for someplace interesting to land. It reminded me a lot of sea kayaking in BC and following along the shore looking for a place to eat lunch or camp for the night. The fact that it was a cloudy overcast day with a few spits or rain now and then only strengthened that perception.

We spotted a good place with a sandy shore and ran up to the beach. It wasn’t as sandy as it looked and was quite muddy and soft but not a problem. We all got out and started looking around. The beach was lined with large piles of reeds that had washed ashore. Hunter, the naturalist, immediately started poking around in them and immediately exclaimed, “Are there ever a lot of spiders in here!” So, we called the island Spider Island. I walked around in the bush taking pictures and looking around. This place really had a wild feel about it which was very neat.

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We left and headed over to the next island. We followed the shore to the northernmost point and as we turned the corner were confronted with a lovely sand beach that stretched for quite a distance. We pulled up and hopped out. This lead to one of my favourite Hunter quotes…as soon as the boat touched shore, he hopped out and took off down the beach while I was having a bit of difficulty doing something to get us squared away. I asked him what is the first thing he should do when we arrive at the shore (hoping he would say..Help Dad with the boat or something similar) and he replied, “EXPLORE!” He’s just so eager to check things out that holding the boat for others or keeping it from drifting away is the furthest thing from his mind. I hope he never loses that curiousity but do hope he starts to remember to help a bit before taking off. What a kid!!

Hunter found some good rocks for skipping and after throwing one that gave him a huge number of skips the island was named Skipper Island.

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Cameron found a rock with a shell fossil in it. Hunter spied something wriggling in the water and waded in to see what it was. He pulled out a large dragonfly and carried it on his hand for the rest of our time on the beach. (It later flew away as we were cruising back to Pelican Cove in the boat) There was a large fire ring with some log benches set up on the shore and I found another spot in the bush that had been used for a fire and perhaps some camping. Lovely forest.

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Not so lovely were the leeches that attached themselves to Patty, Hunter and Cameron. Small..about an inch or a bit more…but having four get on us in 20-30 minutes was pretty gross.

After the dragonfly flew away as we headed back to Pelican Cove Cameron asked Hunter, “What’s that on your ankle?” It was a little leech all pink and full of blood. Hunter knocked it off and stomped it on the floor of the boat.

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We then christened the beach…Leech Beach.

Aside from the leeches it was a great little exploration. Someday I’d like to go back and camp for a night on one of the islands but I’ll bring some rubber boots if I want to do any wading.

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Hunter’s Birthday Weekend

Hunter asked if he could have some friends up to the cabin for his birthday. We loaded his three friends and us into the van and headed up last Thursday, August 27th. The first day the boys all got into the kayaks. One had never been in a kayak before. I launched the boat and was paddling around with them in the calm air enjoying a very quiet afternoon at the lake which was pretty much deserted. We had some water fights, I towed one back to the cabin, they got in and out and we had a lot of fun doing nothing.

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That evening we had cake, ice cream, a campfire with glowsticks and marshmallows of course. The next day the boys wanted to paddle across the lake. Having 5 boys and 4 kayaks meant Cameron rode with me in the boat as we tacked back and forth shadowing the progress of the boys. They paddled about a quarter of a mile to what I know as “the point” and made their way through the tall reeds up onto shore. After looking around for a bit they continued on the remaining 3/4 of a mile to the far side of the lake. One young guy decided he wanted to ride in the boat so I helped him in and towed the kayak behind us. About this time we had to head back as one boy had to leave. Rather than leave them behind now that I had a downwind run back to the cabin I got them all to climb into the boat and we tied all four kayaks to one another and towed them all home.

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Later that night Hunter and his two remaining friends and I waited until dark, lit up the navigation lights and headed over to the far side of the lake using the outboard, the mighty two horse, to see if we could see some straggler meteors from the Perseids shower. On the way over one of the boys asked me what kind of birds were in a tree along shore. They were cormorants, something I’ve never seen at the lake before. We dropped anchor at the far side and waited for night to fully settle. We didn’t see any shooting stars but we had a great view of the night sky on a calm and windless night.

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The next couple of days they spent their time swimming, catching frogs and snakes, playing kick the can with the four boys in the cabin next door and hanging out at the playgrounds. I got the boat out for a couple of nice sails before having to load it up again on Sunday and head back to the city. We had great weather all four days. Hunter thought it was his best birthday ever.

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