Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Our island home--

Winding up

I had always intended finishing this diatribe when we arrived back on Saltspring Island in the Gulf Islands on the West Coast of Canada where 7 years previously we had moved full time onto Cop Out to see where the winds would take us.
We had thought it would be 3-4 years but even 7 years later the incredible lifestyle and places we have visited made it hard to stop.
Wonderful memories will remain with us forever and the amazing people we met and became friends with. Special friendships were made within the sailing community as we are all “adrift”together and become a close knit interdependent group.
There is always someone willing to lend a hand or a spare part when you really need one and many “happy hours” are spent in some of the most idyllic places in the world.
We are sure that we will keep in touch with many of them and do hope that we are able to visit them or have them visit us in the future.
There were so many special places we visited and I will be forever grateful to Kristen who suggested to me, a neophyte computer user, 7 years ago that I should keep a blog—it has become a treasured diary of  an amazing  voyage.
One of the biggest fears most of us sailing full time is what life will bring after we get home.
For us so far it has been full and happy and although there are moments of nostalgia I think the time was right.
We have had a busy year setting up our new lifestyle.
We decided to expand our small cottage adding a bedroom and a pottery studio for me.
Ken has been busy clearing trees from our 5 acres of wooded land expanding our ocean view and cutting copious amounts of firewood—anyone visiting us may find themselves on the other end of an axe!!
I started doing pottery and selling at the Saturday market which I have enjoyed. Kristen has been working with me to bring me into the 21st century with my work to appeal to a younger generation which seems to be working.
We had family visits from Amy, Rob and Isaac and Mike and Angela. Barry, Ken’s brother has been a frequent visitor as he lives on his boat in Ladysmith not far away. He has also provided fishing trips for our guests.
Sailing friends Brunny and Michael from Brunei visited and Barry and Anne from Cats Paw1V came just in time to help spread gravel on our new driveway—they were lucky enough to enjoy the new hot tub to compensate.  Richard and Betsy from Qayaq who are now back in Seattle and Phil and Julie Ann with their families from Wellington also visited during the summer.
We visited and were visited by Diana and Brian, Carol-Ann and Ken all Calgary friends who have places nearby.
Ken spent 6 weeks in Calgary in the fall enjoying the long awaited hunting trip and I am writing this from Hong Kong where I am visiting Dave and family after a month in New Zealand so life continues to be interesting.
If anyone is still reading this by now—I have often wondered if anyone was still reading it and have been amazed at those who have lasted the distance—we have room for any or all to visit and would love to see you and share our new life on a different island!!!!!

Our Saltspring cottage


Finally back in Canada

We finally arrived back in Calgary to find that spring had not sprung and after 7 years in the tropics we did not appreciate the snow!!!!
It was lovely to see our Canadian family after so long---I had not met Grace, Ashley and Aaron’s 3 year old daughter and neither Ken nor I had met Gabe the newest addition to our expanding family.
Isaac at 14 is almost 6 feet tall and Papa is becoming the smallest member of his family. Amy is about to graduate from 4 years of sacrificing to do her nursing degree—Congratulations Amy we are so proud of you!!!
Mike is living with his new partner Angela and they seem to be enjoying life.
I took a trip to Vegreville to spend time with Debra and Dennis for inspiration for my next pottery ventures. Dennis as usual surpassed all expectations and we dined like royalty!! I mixed and tested various glazes and will test more once we arrive in Saltspring Island—our new home.
Next was Gabe’s 2nd birthday, once again it was nice to share another family milestone.
We “shopped till we dropped” taking advantage of the time and no sales tax in Alberta as we needed new appliances for our Saltspring home which has been rented out for the last 8 years and will be ready for a facelift. Ken bought a 4 wheel drive pick up to work on our 5 acres to help clear logs—I suspect mostly for hunting in September which he and Aaron have been planning for ever since we sold Cop Out.
We will be flying back for Amy’s graduation in a month so will pick it up and drive it back then.
We were driving a U Haul truck from Calgary and were going to pick up our shipment of the 36 boxes shipped from Malaysia from Cop Out.
The drive was uneventful and despite our concerns about clearing our goods it was seamless---we had been unnecessarily worried about the foodstuffs and the furniture we had bought in Borneo but our paperwork was quickly stamped and we were on our way.
We finally arrived at our cottage on Saltspring Island which brings our wonderful 7 year world journey to a close.

Grandkids, wine and planes--what more could you want?

Wellington yet one more time

We returned to Wellington in time for Grayson’s graduation from Kindergarten—I am still astonished how many milestones are celebrated in today’s world!! It was nice to be part of it anyway and children always love the attention which goes with having extra family members attending.
We had previously planned a weekend reunion with Mike and Devala who were land traveling and had booked a cottage “in the vines” in Martinborough an hour’s drive from Wellington. The cottage turned out to be idyllic nestled in the vineyards surrounded by fruit trees. We had bought food to barbecue and of course would purchase wine locally to go with it.
We arranged bicycle rentals and spent the day biking, tasting and eating—wonderful!!!! At the end of the day we realized that the distance we had covered could have easily been walked but it was pleasant to bike. Our lunch stop was at Poppies where we had an amazing platter to share and the desert was to die for—it was chocolate chili pie which they generously emailed us the recipe and it has become our “party piece”.
We drove back to Wellington again for more family time. We had seen that the Blenheim airshow advertised and for the first time we would be able to go to it. Ken had lusted after it previously but the timing would never work.
Once again we caught the ferry and drove to Blenheim. This airshow’s theme was the First World War and they have many vintage aircraft which have been lovingly restored. They put on great flying displays and mock battles. On the ground displays of tanks and trucks are set up and everyone is dressed in theme. They have great land battles with guns firing and explosives and it is enjoyed by all.
Our last few days were spent in Wellington where Alora—Amy’s daughter had arrived to help Kristen with before and after school day care as Kristen has now got a full time job. Alora has just finished high school and will take a year off before furthering her studies.
Sadly it was time to leave for Canada where we hope spring is on its way so we reluctantly said goodbye to family and friends and caught flights to Calgary to connect with family there.

Beautiful South Island