Friday, May 01, 2009

It's been asked, "Just what language does Good Life and Oystercatcher use the same letters?"

In case you didn't guess, the answer is:

Upper Glix'wqni. It's a native dialect from coastal BC. After the very hard winters they faced and the supplies of dried dogfish and catfish became dangerously low, the annual black oystercatcher migration would pass through their area. Often, entire villages were faced with starvation but the almost miraculous timing of this migration brought food o'plenty to their tables.

The villagers would lure the oystercatchers into their kitchens by pulling on a string attached to a large oyster shell. Being predatory, the birds would attack these giant shells, thinking they were their preferred food, Crassostrea marioandretiicus and hang on like Croatian pitbulls, thus allowing the Glix'wqni to reel them in like a large walleye.

So thankful for this heaven-sent abundance, the Glix'wqni term for these birds and living the "good life" is "qktnig'kxka".

Sadly, there are no living speakers of the language, so verification can't be done.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sold the house, and a special guest

Sold one money trap, and bought a new one. Just kidding Laura!!!
Our good friend Peter, who in fact is a Landscape Architect, sure signs a mean contract. He forged our signatures on all the house sale documents, but even his sloppy cursive is better than Blain's best writing. It just has to fool Laura. That's all. Don't tell her.

Yes! We sold the house. And our friend Laura got a great little place. We were certainly happy there for almost ten years. A lot of love still left though. Have a great house-warming party Laura, and all our best wishes. She's yours to love.

Speaking of Landscape Architects, Mo's former boss Jeff Dillon was our first official guest aboard. We got to pull out the fine plastic and did a right lovely little tea party. A walk to the nearby Golden Gardens beach park , because that's what Landscape Architects like to do, and then dinner at Ray's famous restaurant. We all got a kick out of the trashcan soccer goals, and the creativity on this otherwise very negative sign. The trees that grow in sand are also something of an enigma. Folks have asked what we do all day. Besides running to various marine stores, and the grocery run, Home Depot, the bank for more money, etc... we prepare the boat for a long cruise in some very wet country. 'Oystercatcher' is a fine a solid 1982 fiberglass pilothouse, and though the former owners did a great job of maintenance, there are still a few things to do. One of the front windows had a crack in it, so Blain called a guy that does these things, and screwed up the courage to pull the glass himself. Luckily, it went smoothly and the new glass should be ready tomorrow.

While Blain was prepping the window frame and helping a guy hoist another guy up his mast, Monique was removing that old name. We know, we know, it's supposed to be bad luck to rename a boat. So we're not. We're re-lettering. It just so happens that the new letters spell 'Oystercatcher'.A heat gun and a scraper - in this case a credit card- and it's good bye to the good life...

Tomorrow, we think we'll re-letter.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Olympia Critter Parade & WE SAIL

It is hot. We Alaskans are still getting used to 70°.
Boy did our Alaskan huskypup need a brushing! This pile of hair weighed in at a pound or two and got quite a few comments from passers-by. No takers for a pillow project, though.

We drove down to Olympia to buy a bike from Blain's friend Jason (from his U. of Puget Sound days) at his bike shop - Old Town Bicycles, and happened upon a festival. Olympia is beautiful. The capital grounds are gorgeous and the town center eclectic and enjoyable. Some very fun welded art in the main park. It turned out that the 15th Annual Procession of the Species parade was that day. The crowd was growing as they blocked off the streets and started handing out chalk to the thousands of kids and grownup kids to attack the asphalt.
A few of the participants got into the artwork a little more entusiastically than others. The culmination was a huge parade of costumed "animals" from all over the world. This guy got the loudest cheer from the crowd with his wheelchair sea turtle.
and of course, what parade is complete without a dung beetle?

These little pandas were secretly breaking their eucalyptus-only diet at a local ice cream shop.
So after attaching Mo's shiny new bike to the rack and dinner at Jana and Jason's place in Tacoma, it was back to Seattle and the boat.
We finally screwed up our courage and decided to head out with Oystercatcher. Packed away all the loot into various cubbies and did a 'preflight' check of all the systems. Oil good, transmission fluid some, GPS working, sail cover stowed, radio check, etc... It was a sunny and gorgeous day with a little breeze. Engine started perfectly, once we figured out which handle was the throttle, and, oops "we have a problem Houston". The throttle handle wasn't actually increasing the throttle. So we opened the engine hatch again and poked around. The throttle lever arm was missing a bolt and was rotating instead of holding fast. Changed the bolt to another hole and we were in business. Blian was very proud of his first engine acomplishment.

We threw off the lines and backed up. But the boat REALLY wanted to go to port due to something called "prop-walk", so we backed out of the harbor - literally reversing all the way up and out to the entrance. Several catcalls and a couple of comments emerged from the peanut galleries on other boats. So what? So we backed out. What's the big deal? Gonna go deflate some dingies when it's dark tonight...
...and then we were into the main channel in grand style.
Must figure out how to work with this prop-walk thingy. Once out of the harbor, and going forward now this time, we motored around and did 'man overboard' drills, avoiding the few other sailboats in the area. We threw out our ring bouy, trying not to run it over, but getting close enough to grab it with a boat hook. We'd get close then lose sight of the bouy and have to back off to try again. After several attempts and getting close several times, we felt better and decided to pull the ring out of the water. A nearby sailboat that had evidently been watching our progress, and with obviously nothing else to do, let out a hearty cheer.

Add another dingy to hunt down tonight...

Since there was very little wind, we figured we'd try sailing, too. Once we figured out what all the lines were for it was up with the main sail.
...and we were off! Cutting the engine was symbolic, and a bit scary, truth be told. Mo said she'd rehearsed in her head how to call for a tow back in if we needed. Out with the headsail and we actually got Oystercatcher running with the wind! 2.2 knots. Awesome! At this rate, we'll be in Haines in 4363 days. Perfect.

So we sailed a bit until all the other sailboats pulled down their sheets, and we did some more manuvering practice until we felt confident we wouldn't hit other boats in the harbor too hard. Hey, it's only fiberglass, right?
Blain, if he must say himself, made a perfect entrance back into the slip. Of course there were no witnesses - there never are when you do something right - and Mo gracefully stepped off to the dock and slipped the lines back on.
Whew! "Where's that beer?"