Sunday, February 6, 2011

The recession is alive and well

Two winters ago when we were in Florida it wasn’t hard to see the symptoms of the recession in boarded up gas stations, vacant housing developments and empty strip malls.  You can still see it in the US without looking very hard.


Scenes like the one above aren’t hard to find now in the rural west of the US.  This was probably a pretty decent hotel in Mountain Home not all that long ago.  Now it’s a cleanup problem for whoever happens to own it.

Despite our claims to have largely escaped the effects of the recession in western Canada I think it’s alive here as well.  Yesterday the Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club accepted our membership application.  They still have to post it on the bulletin board for a week to see if anybody actually knows us (and therefore wants to blackball us) but it sounds like that is largely a formality.  Yacht clubs soliciting members are common advertisers in the boating magazines now.  If a yacht club is willing to take us then the recession must still be going strong.

I left Idaho Friday morning, the stars aligned and I actually made it home in the middle of the night sometime around when Friday turned into Saturday.  Along the way I checked to see how the bulls were doing on my new system and stopped in Seattle to pick up the davit system that I bought and had shipped to Elliott Bay.  Then I breezed through Customs and pretty well drove straight onto the last ferry to Sidney. 

Yesterday I was overtired and more than a little grumpy but I still managed to get the davits installed, albeit with a little loss of stainless steel and plastic.  I thought I was doing so good.  I tied off all the big pieces, Marilyn helped me, we got everything that had to be bolted to the boat bolted on and all I had left was a little assembly of the braces.  I got the first side assembled, tied off the second arm and started assembling the brace.  Then disaster struck with first the nylon bushing floating gently to the bottom of the marina followed by the stainless steel “clamshell” cover, which descended much more rapidly but every bit as finally.

Fortunately I was able to jury-rig a bracket so the system is usable if we should happen to buy a dinghy at the Vancouver Boat Show.  That’s the next item on the agenda.  Al & Camiel are flying out and we are going to meet them on Granville Island and go to the boat show.  After that we have a major adventure planned.

I get a lot of my information and ideas from internet forums.  That community has driven many of our bus adventures and I believe it will spawn trawler adventures as well.  About a month ago there was a “favorite anchorage” thread running on Trawler Forum and somebody cited Princess Louisa Inlet as their favorite spot.  The picture they posted was enough to convince us but the story of the inlet and how it came to be public property is equally compelling.  I’ll tell the story in more detail during and after our adventure but for now it’s enough to say that we will go to Vancouver late this coming week and when the boat show is over we will head north up the coast.

While I was in Seattle I bounced our travel plans off Van Draper, George’s selling broker.  Van and his wife have voyaged extensively worldwide during their lives but lately have confined themselves to the PNW.  He heartily endorsed Princess Louisa as a destination.  Then I banged on the door of Maximo to say “Hi” to Steve and Kim.  It turns out that Princess Louisa was their destination after we parted at Prevost Harbor.  As far as they are concerned this is the best time of the year to make the trip because there won’t be hordes of other boats doing the same thing.

Today I met the woman from the boat whose ass end faces us across the fairway.  She was commenting on how nice my davit installation looked – clearly she hadn’t noticed the parts I was littering the marina with and I didn’t enlighten her.  Evidently she and Marilyn had already met because she knew about our plans to go to Princess Louisa.  She said “My husband and I have been living on our boat for 11 years now and we have never gone that far.”  It’s not that bloody far – we could do it in one day out of Vancouver but we’ll likely split it into two days because there are some currents that we have to time.  I think her point was that we were going a long way but what I heard was somebody who needs to get out more.

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