Books, Gulf Islands, Velkommen

Desolation Sound – A History

No Comments 27 July 2012

Heather Harbord has turned out a seriously fine book for Desolation Sound fans.  Desolation Sound – A History is a history book that doesn’t read like a history book.  There’s a succinct endorsement.  Rugged places attract hearty people and eccentric people, and various combinations. That’s the human side of Desolation Sound and it may be an understatement.

Exhaustive research and excellent organization are the key elements that make this book so readable.  It begins with a couple of maps, an area map and a settlement map. The local geography constrains the settlements with mountains and saltwater.  Next is a short section on the early inhabitants and early explorers.  The meat of the book is found in part 2:  European Settlers.  The sundry areas that comprise Desolation Sound are seen through the stories and interviews of the rugged and unique folks that settled each area.  As the events of their lives unfold the book becomes warm and personal rather than a cold compilation of historical facts.  The stories of the early pioneers are priceless; their hardscrabble lives a constant adventure.  Definitely rugged, but as dramatic as the surroundings.  Some of them…..well, you just couldn’t make them up.

Eulogizing about the Coastal Indian tribes is kelp to a minimum.  And that is really delightful.  Too many books drool with fantasies of the “Noble Savage”  living in harmony with nature and one another.  Total Bravo Sierra.

There is an extensive bibliography and timeline, but most appreciated is the pronunciation guide.  Many of the place names are not pronounced at all like they are spelled.  Read it……you’ll see what I mean.


B Dock, Books, Gulf Islands

26 Feet to the Charlottes

No Comments 18 July 2012

There are several sites that provide a short synopsis of 26 Feet to the Charlottes.  Sophomoric book reports, so what?  Why should you read it? What are its strengths and weaknesses? What currents run beneath the surface of the pages?

June Cameron’s memoir, 1979 to 1983, built around a  relationship with Paul, aboard, or exploring from, his 26 foot wooden sloop, Wood Duck.  The time frame is 1979 to 1983; a good story, predominantly a summer ’83 chronicle of their  journey to the Queen Charlottes.  The descriptions of people, places and events provide good mental imagery and establish a nice flow, but the dynamic between June and Paul is missing.  It is the glue that holds the pages together and June has mysteriously hidden it away.  Obviously, they are quite close; extended periods aboard a small boat, of course.  Perhaps she is more smitten than he is.  There is some glitter to the tone of the early years, but the tone is surprisingly flat throughout the Queen Charlotte section, which is most of the book, as though the relationship is nearing exaustion.  “They both knew it was over”,  only mentioned once during the trip back from the Charlottes. Then there is the curious beachcombing note:  June spots all the little treasures that Paul manages to pass by, as though his mind is somewhere else.  The tone becomes more formal and stiff in the last few pages.  Goodbyes can be so difficult; June took it pretty hard.  June is the better sailor; Paul is the quintessential sailor.  So the book provides a small glimpse into June Cameron’s psyche.  She conceals herself well.  Why has she stonewalled her feelings?  Big hurt, maybe?  Has it taken 26 years (1983 to 2009) for her to begin to touch them with this book?  Interesting.  That’s the current beneath the pages.

Descriptions of unnamed sheltered anchorages, little coves shared by two lovers aboard a little wooden sailboat.  Who wouldn’t build mental castles?  And if you have a charting program on your computer you can follow along with June and Paul, marking the various nooks amoung the islands for future visits.

Extended periods aboard a 26 foot sloop………Is planet Earth a 26 foot sloop?  Then, how sure is the Captain; how steadfast the crew?  Read it.  See the Charlottes.

B Dock, San Juan Islands, Velkommen

A Million $$ View

No Comments 11 July 2012

Friday, July 6 was the first day of summer at Anacortes Marina. I did a double take as I looked toward “A” dock. Was Wee Lodge II adding a crow’s nest?  It looked precarious.  Acrophobiacs need not apply.   Marine Servicecenter sent Quinn Olson to the top of the mast. He made his job look easy, but I think it’s just one more reason to own a powerboat.

Cap Sante and Guemes Island are in the background of pic #1.  Mount Baker rises above Hat Island in pic #2.

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B Dock, Velkommen

Water Tank Project – Phase 6……progress report

No Comments 08 July 2012

Enlarge the pic with a click.

It’s time for an update on Velkommen’s water tank project. Mid August of last year was ‘Phase 5′ and then there was the little exhaust elbow repair in January.The last couple of months have been dedicated to the Hurricane heater. It was upgraded to 2012 standards by Gordon Jensen of Latitude Maritime.  The heat sheild exhaust blanket was done by National Marine Exhaust.  The installation positions the heater partially under the port exhaust elbow (the former problem child) with just enough room for the hydronic lines and the Hurricane exhaust to pass beside the  engine exhaust.  Both the inboard and aft panels of the heater are removable for service, so the current placement gives as much access as possible within the challenging confines of a lazarette.  Everything is mounted on rubber pads to isolate vibration and minimize chafing.  I puzzled a while on the placement and containment of the start batteries.  I think I came up with a creative solution.  It is simple and effective and I’ve never seen another like it.

I even got Ray Robinson’s “seal of approval”, and that’s really tough to get.  He slid through the hatch, inspected everything thoroughly, frowned and said, “Damn thing’s overbuilt”.  SWEET!  That is just the way I want it.

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