Archive | September, 2013

The Other Side of Boating. What the Brochures Don’t Tell You

18 Sep

It’s that time of the year, boat winterizing. Not only does the house need winter preparations but so does the boat. Yes, we have a 30 foot sailboat, a Grampian 30. Today my friend, Mr. Bill, and I were fixing the tarp to cover the boat while it sits outside for the winter. Protecting it from rain and snow is not the ultimate purpose; rather, it’s protecting it from the freeze-thaw cycle of late winter and spring. Nonetheless, it’s an annual chore since I can’t afford a nice, warm, dry space inside the storage hangars.

Yours Truly Winterizing the Boat

Yours Truly Winterizing the Boat

Mr Bill and I seemed to have picked the windiest day of the year to handle the tarps. At times I thought Mr. Bill was going to go para-sailing to the other side of the lake as the tarp billowed like a parachute, trying to lift him off the ground. We thought we would be in the quiet lee of the storage hangars but nature had other plans: gusts right down between the hangars like a wind tunnel. Talk about an exercise in frustration! After watching Mr Bill levitate, he was not chanting mantras at the the time, and feeling myself get almost blown of the top of the boat after being wrapped and almost strangled by a flapping, twisting, beating tarp, we decided to call it a day. The picture of me taping the tarp shows me at my intellectual and physical peak of the day, safely at an almost ground level. My hair, what there is of it, is merely blowing in the gale even though it looks as  though I have just french-kissed an electrical outlet.  But this is a no-nonsense blog sight that does not hide from showing harsh reality, at least today.

What the boating brochures and ads show is the glamour and romance of life and play on the water, with  distant shores, palm trees, and laughing crew and guests. Hah! The reality is engines that conk out at inconvenient times (usually when you have a harbour full of an audience, witnesses, or whatever); heads (toilets for the uninitiated) that love to plug up and not flush without blanketing the harbour in a bouquet of methane; scatalogically-challenged seagulls and pelicans; and the joy of the annual launch and haul-out saga, relishing the sight of your mother-ship dangling twenty feet in the air on the end of a thin crane cable;  boats do not like to winter in almost two metres of ice for months on end. But here in Gimli the season is so short. Sometimes it feels like it’s as much as two weeks, although I am sure it is longer by a week or two. Even then the wind is a dead calm or a howling gale, invariably dead on the nose.

You might ask why do I do it? The  answer is because. Why do people race cars, skydive, golf? To me these are all illogical activities but I respect their foolish, nonsensical, pointless choices even if they are incapable of respecting mine.

When there is an eventual, windless day the rest of the tarping will be completed, hopefully before the first snow. Last year it happened on October 5th. Brrr!


It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

1 Sep

I t was quite the storm that blew through a couple of nights ago. The storm lasted over an hour!  What a light show! Fortunately no house or property damage. The frequency of the flashes was like a paparazzi convention at the red carpet on Oscar Night.  Check out the video I made looking east, out over the lake. It’s just over a minute long.

Lightning, quiet storm.

Wind-blown hail pounds maple trees.

Silent-thunder night.