Here we are, just three days before we fly back to the Caribbean, and we have documented nothing of our summer away from Cat Tales. Gary, a friend of Dawn’s ran into her in town yesterday, said he had been checking on the weblog to see where we were, and was happy to see her and eliminate the mystery!
Returning to cool weather, hot showers, and rising lake levels in late April was just fine for us – feeding a wood stove fire and working out cottage chores was fun. We quickly got into our routine of visiting friends and relatives.
Something different for us was a 3-week trip to Europe in late June. We landed in Barcelona, and joined a G-Adventure tour of northern Spain with a guide and 13 like-minded and enjoyable people. We toured the fantastic architecture of Barcelona, hiked high in the Pyrenees along a branch of the Santiago Pilgrim Trail, walked to the Guggenheim in Bilbao, toured the battlements of San Sebastian, walked the walled old town of the City of Logrono, had a wine tasting in the grottos under the walled town of Laguardia, and walked through the history of Madrid; all the while investigating with great zeal the tapa and pinxto bars of all the locations.
|Fortified town of Ainsa, Pyrenees|
|On the Camino Trail, Pyrenees|
|Gaudi's church, la Sagrada Família|
|Wine tasting in a grotto, Laguarda|
|Pinxto Bar, in the Basque region of northern Spain|
A train trip to the famous walled fortress of Carcassonne, France, got us set up for a Le Boat canal trip on a 43’ “bumperboat” with Al and Michelle (s/v Tarantella) and Steve and Maria (s/v Aspen), down the Canal du Midi (and over 40 locks), and through little villages and vineyards to Narbonne. We finished off with two more days gallivanting around Barcelona – just the two of us – before boarding the flight back to Canada. We spent a great deal of time contemplating the lunacy of Gaudi’s church – the Sagrada Familia – and the outrageousness of the government and donors, in continuing to build it.
These were big things for us, as we had spent no significant time in Europe before. Finding traces of the Roman road Via Domitia, possibly the path of Hannibal’s elephants, the Black Prince, the Cathars, the Inquisition, the Moors, and Sir Arthur Wellesley chasing the French were reached goals – though we spent probably too much time in and around old, amazing, outrageously ornate and oversized, catholic churches. We have so many pictures of fantastic history, cuisine and culture, vistas, architecture, etc. But this is a sailing weblog, isn’t it? Let us know if you wish to see a bit of it.
|Michele steering LeBoat down the canal...what a hot day!!|
|Carcassonne, the famous fortress|
Other trips included a long weekend in Prince Edward Island and a biking weekend in Kouchibouguac Park; both with close friends and many bouts of hysteria. Of course, the Annual Pig Roast at Hugh and Liz’s was a cornerstone, fun event.
|Biking trip with Paula & Brian in Kouchebouquac|
|Our weekly Friday cove get-togethers with all 12 in attendance!|
|Hiking in PEI with Bill & Lynn Cabel, and Scott & Tina Kennah. Great weekend with old friends!|
|A beautiful 3 hour run down the river in rental kayaks. Good going there Tina!!|
|Annual Pig Roast hosted by Hugh and Liz. Here's Leo, one of the carvers!|
So, here we are, bags filling up on the spare bed, hot tub and Hobie away, wetland and potted plants cleaned into the compost bins, and the gutters cleaned.
A full list of repairs awaits us at the boat, and it will easily fill the week before splashing. We’ll put them in a hierarchy of need, and hopefully only miss those that can be done afloat. The normal, annual stuff includes untarping, dinghy and outboard assembly, reinstalling the Flex-O-Fold propellers, impellers, various filters, general re-commissioning, touching up bottom paint and hopefully, washing and waxing.
One special project is the replacement of the bearings for the main traveler. I worked hard last year to get the proper bolts to move to allow the removal of the traveler, but still, to get it off, the port push-pit must also come off. We’ll take it off along with the port toe-rail, and re-bed the whole assembly.
Another project is to repair the outer skin of the port stern step, where an aluminum dinghy broke through and allowed water to ingress. As this will be the final straw for the stairway non-skid pad, we intend to purchase Kiwi non-skid paint for the complete set of stairs on both hulls.
Sadly, I allowed a sparking of the port alternator while decommissioning, which may have damaged diodes; so that is ready to be shipped to an alternator specialist in Gouyave, northern Grenada as soon as we arrive. If it is late returning, I will bend on the spare.
The seawater pump for the refrigerator is giving up the ghost, so we have one waiting for us in Island Water World, hopefully.
Of course, water, propane, alcoholic fluids, and the basics for the ship’s stores must be acquired and moved aboard. Very busy times in the heat ahead!