This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Where are we?

Back Home on Lake Erie, Leamington, Ontario

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Coast Guard Vessel Rollover Test

Only minutes from our house is the Wheatley Fishing Harbor. Adjacent where the fishing vessels are tied up at the basin is the company “Hike Metal” who has a contract to build 6 of the new design Coast Guard rescue vessels for the Canadian Government. Sometimes we walk our two dachshunds along the shore and end up at the launching ramp where we usually turn around on our walk to go back home. There are always interesting boats and ships to look at that location. Just a few days ago Benno took a few pictures of the second of their almost finished Coast Guard boats they built here and this will end up when delivered with the Coast Guard in Vancouver. An interesting article I found in today’s “Southpoint  Sun Journal” caught my eye; you may want to read this.  

Number 2 built vessel being prepared for rollover test
notice the mast is not mounted

Next Wednesday, June 20th, at approximately 1 p.m., there will be a test conducted in town at the Leamington Marina where one of those Coast Guard vessels will be intentionally rolled over to test its ability to self right it. This might be a unique opportunity to witness such an event. (God forbid should you ever experience such an incident in one of those vessels yourself)  I have included the link to the newspaper article "here"  for you to read it in its entirety. So if interested, come on out to view the spectacle.

Number 1 built vessel has already being put into service
in Halifax since Fall 2017

I’ve not mentioned this before in this blog, but back in September of 1983, we received the assistance from an English Life Boat, the equivalent to the Coast Guard Boat on our approach to the coast.  It was after our crossing of the Atlantic from Florida in our 37foot sailboat. As we were approaching England, we got caught in a storm. It was a pretty bad storm and the waves reached such heights so close to the mainland that steering had become difficult. To put it in perspective, the storm was registered as a force 10, gusting 11. (A hurricane is a force 12.) Our landfall was supposed to be the harbor of Plymouth and as we neared it we heard on the VHF Radio that the harbor was closed to all ship’s traffic because the breakwater was under water. We were on a direct course and had already passed the harbor of Falmouth. That meant that we were now in a predicament because we could not turn the sailboat around and power our sailboat into the waves to go back in that kind of weather. The small 3-cylinder diesel was no match for these kind of waves. Our call to the Coast Guard what our options were was answered that we could keep going on sailing to Poole Harbor (in that kind of stormy weather not something we really wanted to do) or, the Life Boat could come out and tow us back into the waves toward Falmouth harbor, which we gladly accepted. Later in the week we toured that Life Boat that towed us in (which is alike to the by Hike Metal build Rescue boats) and were told that it could turtle without any problem but I would NOT want to be in it when or if it did!

The Elizabeth Ann that came out to tow us in

By the way, while eating a take-out dinner of delicious English Fish and Chips that were wrapped typically in newspaper we noticed a write up of our tow and it was reported in every newspaper in the Falmouth area, but there were also some articles of other vessels that were caught in the storm and they and their crew did not make out that well with tragic outcomes.  So we have a great respect and appreciation for the Coast Guard crews operating these vessels in severe weather everywhere.

Thanks for dropping in again. I'm making progress with my eyes but not quite there yet. Stay tuned...

Friday, 1 June 2018

The dilemma when you can’t see properly

My absence from the blog postings must have been noticed by now. It is not that I didn’t want to write a post or to comment on some of the blogs we follow. The reason is simply that I had been handicapped of sorts. For quite some time my eyes have been troubling me and my eyesight had become worse to the point that the cataract in my eyes had become so advanced that even with glasses I had trouble reading and couldn’t for any lengths of time and had given up reading books altogether. I should have had the surgery to correct this problem last winter, but my trip to Europe in November and then later on down to Alabama put a hold on that. This spring I had made another appointment with my optometrist in Leamington and I was put on a waiting list to see the ophthalmic physician who would do the surgery in Windsor. Dr. Emara, the surgeon, has a good reputation and seems to be very busy. When I finally got to see him he said to me that I won the “price” that day as my eyes were the worst he’d seen and I was put on a cancelation list to have the cataract surgery done as soon as possible.  That day arrived on May 22ndand my right eye had the cataract removed and a clear lens inserted. My reaction afterwards was that Dr. Emara had switched on the lights for me. Wow! I cannot believe the difference in contrast, bright light and vibrant colors I now see.  However, only my right eye is that clear as my left eye is still blurry and will receive the same treatment this coming Tuesday in Windsor.

So since the surgery none of my previous eyeglasses will do me any good. My right eye is trying to adjust the blurry vision of my left eye and reading is still a problem at the moment. Thank goodness I can type blindfolded for the most part and don’t have to look for the letters on the keypad. Next week I will catch up on all the postings of our favorite bloggers to see what I have been missing.

Back home at dinner after the surgery

If you are wondering what we have been up to since my last blog post, Benno and I had been busy working in the garden. We wanted to create a pad next to the shed for our utility trailer or create another seating area, put a gravel walkway behind the shed and make a flowerbed next to the pad so the trailer or a get-together happy hour function will be a little bit concealed from view.

I knew I wasn’t supposed to lift heavy objects or bend down from the waist after surgery so we tried to finish up our little project beforehand. However, because the weather interfered again with some rain, the shoveling of the 5000 pounds of ¾ clear stone white from the trailer to the wheelbarrow and then onto the pad fell on Benno’s shoulders. Our lawn was still too soft to drive the heavy utility trailer with the topsoil, sand and stone mix, and then the clear stone white onto it without causing deep ruts in the grass. Most of the heavy loads were done by wheelbarrow from the driveway to the shed. It all looks so easy when done, but believe me, there was some heavy work involved and a lot of trips to get all the materials needed.

We are positioning the shrubs

Digging out the grass

Two loads of topsoil to be added

We planted the shrubs and put a border around

Flower bed is complete

Those shrubs and grasses will fill out over time

The utility trailer is not so obvious now

After applying a garden mat and a full load of sand and gravel
now comes the clear stone white

It is heavy work to shovel two trailer loads and even more heavier to carry it over to the pad

Voila! All done, nice trailer or barbecue pad.

On the subject of the mysterious disappearance of the syrup from the hummingbird feeder several nights in a row, our neighbors’ from two houses down the street found a family of raccoons living in their attic when they returned from their trip to Vancouver. Once $350 were spent to the Pest Control Company by the neighbour, those rascals were being relocated and our feeder has been intact since. I think the mystery has been solved. 

And just for fun, this little garden snake startled me when I was just about to put my ungloved hand into the shrubs.  He was probably as surprised as I was and tried to hide, but he had to peek through the leaves just in case.

Oops, I was just about to put my hand into the shrub

It's longer and bigger than I first thought


Thanks for dropping by everyone. Hope you are all having a great time now that we are entering into summer time. See you again shortly...

Monday, 14 May 2018

That’s a lot of ink

So while the rest of Ontario is seemingly enjoying sunny and dry weather, we here in the southern part are experiencing a lot of the liquid variety. So before I get into much of ho-hum because there is nothing we can do about the weather, we did something we wanted to do for a long time. We printed out our “Diesel Duck” website on our Epson inkjet printer by using tons of ink, purchased discounted at Amazon, shipped in by UPS. Yep, we printed all of it, combined in two 2” binders reflecting 532 pages of memories stuffed into Avery sheet protectors (clear pouches), per two pages each. If you want you can read the stories by clicking the picture of the “Diesel Duck” on the right side bar.

You see before we started cruising with "Diesel Duck" and the now printed out cruising blog, we had an actual website documenting our building of the "Diesel Duck" boat. This webpage had evaporated into thin air over the years. Just recently Benno found an archived link to our (then paid for and maintained website) that we had while building our trawler “Diesel Duck” and we thought we had lost this webpage forever in internet heaven (or hell), when we had stopped posting close to the building finish in 2004. (You can click the link on the right menu bar “Internet Archive Wayback Machine”), but to our dismay many pictures do not come up anymore of this webpage! It is not certain that all our blog posts are around forever and perhaps there is some info you’d like to keep. This is why we had the urge to print our "Diesel Duck" travel blog out before it gets also lost with all the ongoing internet troubles these days. Of course you could put the contents of it on a memory stick, but if you have a printed version like a book to flip through, it is a lot more fun.

Diesel Duck under anchor at Isla Los Roques, Venezuela

Reading through some of our adventures and looking at places we visited brings back so many memories. Here are a few pics from that time.

After hours of snorkelling

Under anchor off Martinique

In the jungle of the Rio Orinoco, South America

San Blas Islands, Panama

Tranquility in the San Blas Islands, Panama

Local Internet cafe at the Kuna Indians, Panama

Trading with the Kuna Indians

Sweet Embera Indian girl trading at the Colombia border, Pacific

Somewhere in Patagonia, Chile

Rowing a mooring line to shore in Patagonia
cannot use the outboard motor because of kelp in the water

tied up with lines to shore at the Glaciers, Patagonia
no villages for thousands of miles around

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Exploring in Uruguay

Meanwhile our hummingbird feeder out next to our deck has been getting a lot of visitors. Rain or not, the little fellas are hungry. There is a male (I think) of the read throated Hummingbirds hanging out on a Rose of Sharon branch above four red Gerbera flowers for days now. He is hunkered there through the pouring rain flying back and forth to the feeder and back to his branch. Not even the dogs, when out on the deck, will discourage him from feeding. We don’t mind him being there and quite enjoy his presence. Occasionally we even see a pair of Hummingbirds flirting around the feeder and I wonder if I am going to see a nest of theirs somewhere in the area, but considering that it would be hard to spot, I’d be very lucky to find it.

For three nights in a row that feeder had been raided by something as I have found it totally empty in the morning and one of its yellow plastic bulbs lying on the ground. Yesterday night I took the feeder inside and this morning we woke up to a bang on the glass sliding door, probably from a bird. Was it telling us that it was time to hang out the feeder, I was wondering? Occasionally there are Orioles drinking from the Hummingbird feeder too, but they clamber around to get to the liquid and I doubt that they were so aggressive to remove the bulb.  Who knows, but I’ll keep an eye on it.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

I gave up

If you have a computer, most likely you too have experienced glitches with software, or had issues with the Internet or perhaps hardware problems on a laptop. We all do from time to time. Usually the issues get fixed in short order and I move on. This time, however, when “Outlook” on my iPad stopped working and I tried to resolve that with the so-called online help, I got the runaround. It seems Microsoft couldn’t care less. Their technical support had no clue to fix it either and after days of frustration I finally gave up. I then had to figure out how to get my email working, changing passwords and routing it to my other mailbox. As much as I like having “Outlook” I decided it was not worth my time to insist on something that no one had been able to fix.

Meanwhile our garden sprang to life and needed my attention pronto.  Every year after the winter the yard needs a cleanup and this year after the flood there was more stuff laying around that needed to go into the yard waste bins.  Our property looks good now but I discovered the frost damaged some of our shrubs that need replacing and because of the heavy snow piles we’ve had some of the tulips did not make it up. They were probably crushed. We bought some pressure treated logs, taking advantage of the special sales at “Lowes” for another project we are planning in the garden, but the ground is still too soggy to start that job, so I tell you about that later.

Benno had been busy with several projects and ran into snags of his own. While we were in the States we had purchased a set of new 13” wheels for our utility trailer to replace the 12” ones that came with it.  Benno thought 12” wheels looked flimsy and the larger ones would be more up to the task. Those he had mounted onto the trailer but the old fenders were now too small and would not fit the new wheels so we ordered a set of larger fenders. When the package finally got here, there was only one fender in the parcel and who knows where its companion ended up. So there was more waiting for the second shipment. 

And then there was the trouble with the voltmeter.  You see we had from “Camping World” this 120V digital voltmeter that plugs into any outlet and lets you see what the shore power is.  We had that thing in the camper and we liked it. The trouble was that all our outlets are so low that you have to bend down to see the display. Benno thought it would be nice to have a 120V voltmeter next to the 12V meter at the panel, so he ordered one from Amazon that had a good price.  There was some rerouting of wires involved and I am glad we were not living in the camper while this was going on.

When the meter arrived and Benno installed it, it didn’t show the voltage. A blue light was on and that was it. We shipped it back to Amazon and ordered another one of the same kind.  When that one arrived, it also didn’t work! What a frustration for Benno. He started to search the Internet and found several entries with dissatisfied customers complaining about the product.  Back it went to Amazon.  Thinking that the Voltmeter we had on hand was a good product but had the spades to be plugged into an outlet, that was not a problem for Benno. He opened up the meter, unsoldered the spades, added two wire leads and now the pictures show his handiwork.  It works fine and we should have done it right from the start.

A few other things we wanted to tackle on the camper. One was the wooden support under our queen mattress. It is a raw board and every time we lifted the bed to use the storage underneath we would get a splinter in our hands or my hair got caught on the rough surface. Benno took it all apart and I sanded it and put three coats of varnish on it before it got put back.

One other thing was that I wanted was to create some storage underneath our foldout sofa bed, which is right above the two trailer axles to hold heavy items like cans. The trailer came with several plastic rectangular trays that would fit there, but they needed wooden supports to hold them in place so they don’t slide around while we are on the road. That little job got tackled as well.

We also ran out of cupboard space in the washroom. The hanging mirror cabinet is much smaller than the ones in our previous campers and by adding two small shelves on the side; we have gained some room for larger and heavier items that can be used when we are stationery.  I think Benno did a good job with all those projects.

Aka Lake Erie flood two weeks ago; there are lots of construction machines in the area with various cleanup and improvement works going on. Many boulders have been brought in by tractor-trailers to help in the shoreline preservation by some homeowners. The public areas where the city is responsible however lacks its progress. We shall see what happens.

Thanks for being so patient waiting for my posting. By the way, we are out of power at the moment and I’m typing this on the laptop in the camper while the generator is humming along, because the computer needed charging.  As soon as the power comes back on and I have Internet I’ll post this.