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Mandarin Greetings; Kayaking; Hard Aground; A Master Boatbuilder; A Message of Love

I am in trouble. It’s a long story. My Lovely Bride decided we should go kayaking at Vancouver’s Deep Cove, a lovely, very popular kayaking spot only 30 mins from downtown, but in a secluded, wooded cove. There were lots of kayaks preparing to launch as we pulled up, but many were heading out into the nearby islands and coves for overnight trips…

I dropped Suzanne off with the kayaks at the launch point and walked for about ten minutes back from a parking area. On the way back, a new Mercedes with a foxy looking Chinese woman pulled up alongside me. She rolled down the window, and in Mandarin, said, “Hey, Baby, you’re pretty hot. What are you doing later?” Being a perfect gentleman, I knew that I shouldn’t either encourage or insult her, so I pretended that I didn’t understand Mandarin, and replied in English, “Yes, there’s more parking just down the road.” I related this interaction to Suzanne, who hadn’t realized I spoke fluent Mandarin. She wasn’t amused. Smack! (Sometimes you just can’t win…) It’s not the first time someone thought I was of Oriental ancestry… but no, a typical American mixture of French, German, Irish and Italian by way of Joplin, Missouri and New Orleans.

The kayaking went much smoother than my parking experience. For those not familiar with these tippy Eskimo-style boats, getting in and out can be either (a) graceful, (b) graceless, or (c) a combination of the above. This entry by Your Faithful Correspondent was  in Category (c). I’ve done better, and worse, but I got aboard without capsizing, soaking my butt, or embarrassing myself. It was a beautiful, sunny morning, and off we paddled…. 

We crossed the shipping channel in a light chop and 12-15 kt winds, and passed this Canadian sailboat that had drastically misjudged his anchorage position. When the tide went out, he was hard aground. Next to sinking, this is the most embarrassing moment for a boater. The skipper had either gone below to keep out of sight until the tide came in or gone out for a beer. Or five. 

There are many expensive houses along the shore in Vancouver’s extensive waterfront suburbs. These were far down a steep hillside, and actually had elevators on 45 degree rails running up to the road for moving people, food and supplies back and forth. They are great in the summer, but we’re not sure what February would be like here with almost daily cold rain showers… 

We paddled, and paddled, and paddled some more, leaving the houses and roads in our wake. Wonder Woman was doing very well keeping up a fast pace. I guess she really enjoyed the scenery, which was spectacular, considering we weren’t that far from civilization. There wasn’t a Starbucks or Tim Horton’s in sight! (For the uninitiated in Canadian cafe cuisine, Tim Horton’s is their equivalent of Starbucks and Duncan Donuts. Tim was a very successful professional hockey player. That’s a game they play on skates, I think…)  Note from Suzanne:  Ty rarely allows me to comment when I check for typos, stating, “It’s MY blog.”  Today he has acquiesced to share that at the point this photo was taken, Mr. Macho said, “Now let’s go around that little island down there.”  He was talking about the dark green blob you see in the distance.  He is right that there was no Tim Horton’s in sight, and we had had no lunch.  With my blood sugar plummeting, I tried to be polite as I declined to accept this challenge, and we headed back.  My point is:  Do not believe everything this man writes about me being the one to instigate these physical feats!  I just try to keep up with him …
Back to you, Ty …

We rounded a point and saw this lovely, hand-built wooden boat at anchor. Rod, her builder/owner, was aboard enjoying the day, and graciously told us the boat’s story. He built her over a two year period, taking about 2,000 man hours of labor. He admitted that much of it was thinking time, but he obviously thought and built very carefully and professionally, although he insisted he was “only an amateur”. (In my humble opinion, he qualifies as a Master Boatbuilder!)

Today Suzanne gave the message at Unity of Vancouver’s Sunday Services, followed by her Making the Connection talk to about 135  enthusiastic and very friendly attendees. We have received such a warm welcome here in British Columbia, both in Vancouver and Nanaimo, that we have decided to repeat this trip next year and stay even longer, probably spending 5 weeks in this lovely part of Canada. If you haven’t visited here, please book a flight soon and enjoy July and August here. The weather, scenery and people are fabulous! (If you’re thinking of a winter visit, don’t forget that nearby Whistler was the site of the Winter Olympics a few years ago, so get your skis ready… I’m much better on skis than skates!)

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