Captain Jack Sparrow?

On January 07, 2013 In Boat, Captains Log, Weird People

In my desperate struggle to attempt to catch up with my blog posts for the last few months I bring to you the story of the Canadian Captain Jack Sparrow. Please note that I put the date of this post to coincide as close as possible with the actual event. So hence why this looks like new content from the past. Cuz… Well… it is. Sorta.

Anyways on to the story:

After all the fun J and I had with Pathfinder’s hole in the hull, insurance fun as a result of said hole, and extreme fears that we may need to sell Pathfinder if the water levels in Lake Ontario don’t recover from their extremely low levels are nerves were rather raw. So after a nice long Christmas Holiday up at my parents we weren’t really expecting any surprises aside from a slightly cold boat to go home to and perhaps some rough weather ahead of us making the marina a bit more choppy than we like (some waves are fine… a marina that could double as a dishwasher is not). On our way back though we had some… issues. A severe storm had rolled on in from the north and was turning the entire highway 400 southbound into a skating rink making driving really dangerous for a lot of the way until we reached a traffic jam. The traffic jam wasn’t caused by car accidents (amazingly) but from the police setting up a road block to stop people from driving on an even WORSE part of the highway.

Immediately when we realized that this was the case to our left an car took out another car by rear ending it!

A split second later an SUV decided to take on the guard rail to our right. The guard rail however said “COME AT ME BRO!” and won in the struggle that ensued.

All drivers involved were fine and police were there immediately so we continued on our icy trek back to Toronto.

After getting thoroughly lost thanks to their weird detour signs we got a phone call from the Marine Police Unit in Toronto and the exchange went something like this:

“Hello is this the owner of Pathfinder?”
“Y-yes? Is it ok? DID IT SINK!?”
“… No it’s fine. There was a bit of an incident though involving your boat though so could you meet with us so we can tell you what happened?”
“Ok. Sure. WHEW. Is everything ok there though? It didn’t sink did it?”
“No no no… Everything is fine. Just show up when you can.”

We were pulled over then (as ALL people with cellphones should do… Honestly people if someone is calling you we can all hear your car noises. It’s not easy to understand anyone while they’re driving… Sheesh. Take 5 minutes and pull over onto the shoulder) and you can imagine the sort of head rush I had with a call from the police about our poor Pathfinder at this point. The roads were still a bit icy but once we got to the inner city roads we made our way down as fast as possible.

Sadly I don’t have any photo’s to share of what we saw when we got there but I’ll describe as best I can.

I got out of the car right beside the boat (it’s easier to unpack when the car is that close) and noticed that something didn’t look quite right at all. The boat was at least a yard and a bit away from the wall we tie up to during winter. I realized then that with this strong wind from the east we the ship was being blown away from the wall rather strongly (Yes I said from the north before but in Toronto the wind gets twisted around quite a bit with the buildings). Worse yet our usual collection of up to 6 lines we have (including to lines that are over 1 1/2″ thick) that we use to tie ourselves up only 2 were still tied there. If the lines snapped we’d cruise merrily sideways through the marina and crush the other boats potentially! Given how late it was at that time there was a good chance that no one would notice the large steel vessel sneaking up on them in the howling wind either.

So I made the leap over and had to find what happened to our lines. They were all over the ship it weird piles so I grabbed a few of them and toss the ends to J so she could throw them over the bollards on the wall and I could slowly cinch the ship closer to shore. Once that was done we got to unloading the car but we also noticed that our Christmas Wreath had been thrown over the little crane at the bow of the boat. Our summer stairs were positioned beside the hatch on the starboard side of the pilot house whereas a barrel we had on board was maneuvered beside the port side pilot house hatch. Also… our dingy for some weird reason was on the docks across the marina from us.

On top of all this mystery when we were about to go out and take the car back to it’s permanent parking a security guard from the Harbour Front Center asked us if we saw who it was that had done all this and if the person had green hair.

What the hell happened while we were gone?

When we got to the police station they filled us in on what had happened in total and over the course of a few days a few more details were filled in from various people that had helped out at the marina while we were gone. I’ll present this in chronological order as far as we know instead of how we had it which was in small snippets from people.

2 Days Prior:

The culprit (a rather scary lady with green hair) had been seen lurking around the Harbour Front Center a few days prior. She’s homeless and slightly mentally unstable from all accounts.

1 Day Prior:

The day before the incident involving Pathfinder she had attempted to set fire to the ice of an ice rink nearby our boat. The security guards chased her off but later on that night she came back, found the road salt and poured it in a huge X across the rink melting it right down to the concrete.

Day of the incident:

The day of the incident she was climbing all over our boat throwing stuff all over the place. Our neighbors couldn’t quite make out who the person was but assumed it must be me from distance… Just with green hair… and acting weird… Ok. That part isn’t unusual for me but there ya go.

They saw her banging on the pilot house hatches and shouted out ”Josh? Is that you?”

In a high pitched voice she replied “Nope! I’m ok!”

They then asked (thinking I was VERY strange at this point) “Do you need a hand?”

Her awesome reply was “No thanks! I have 2!” and continued to attempt to open the hatches.

Apparently after not getting in (Thank goodness she didn’t just try to smash some of the windows) she decided it would be a good time to try to untie the boat from the wall entirely. Fortunately 1 of our cables was thoroughly frozen solid by this point so the boat wasn’t going to go anywhere too far unless it simply snapped. Getting frustrated at this point she decided to try to steal the little inflatable boat we have (It was still in the water at this point since we had yet to have any ice in the marina at this point). She got in and broke both of the oar locks (1 only a bit. The other needs to be completely replaced), lost an oar, and started to paddle out of the marina.

Fortunately she didn’t get far before someone in the marina stopped her. She had no life jacket on and the weather was getting very bad very quickly so she would most likely be flipped into the lake and freeze to death if they hadn’t stopped her. The way they did that was by convincing her to come over to the dock for a moment and just continuously talk to her. It was there that they asked what she was doing with the dingy. Her albeit honest/creative reply was that she was stealing it so she could get to her other ship The Empire Sandy (a large 3 masted sailing vessel at Toronto most notably not owned by a homeless lady with green hair). They managed to keep her on the dock by making up the story that the gate to the dock they were on was broken and someone was off getting a lock smith to fix it. In reality they were running off to the police to get them to take care of her.

She was then arrested under the mental health act and taken to a hospital where they could treat her.

At this point people would think that this is the end of the story. But it isn’t. In Ontario you can only apparently be held for 2 to 3 days under the Mental Health Act before being released. So…

2 Days After The Incident:

One of the marina guys noticed that someone with green hair had stolen a ladder and was trying to use it to climb over the gate to the dock to where my dingy was still floating (I figured I’d leave it there for now to dissuade anyone else from trying to go on a Shackleton-esque voyage). The guy threatened to call the police (again) and she ran off.

Epilogue:

When all things were said and done we were out 1 paddle, and had a bit of damage to the dingy. We asked the police if there was anything we could do on that front to get some compensation. I didn’t figure there was anyway to get some but hey, might as well ask. They informed me that given that she was well known by the police for having mental issues and being permanently homeless in the area that literally there was nothing to do.

Now… As to why I called this post “Captain Jack Sparrow?”… Well when we pieced together the entire story it reminded me of an article from The Sun I had read about a drunk lady that tried to steal a ferry in Britain. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4548061/Woman-stole-passenger-ferry-after-drug-and-drinks-bender.html Short version she was on drugs and booze and decided she was the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow destined for adventure on the high seas! I figure that our green haired Captain was planning a similar voyage. Where would she have gone? Who knows! But it could’ve been interesting if she had succeeded.

One more Jack Sparrow link for everyone: http://youtu.be/GI6CfKcMhjY

Hurricane Sandy 2012 part 3

On November 25, 2012 In Boat, Captains Log, News

Here’s the final installment of Hurricane Sandy… And in true Josh style it’s several months late.

First a quick confession. I had debated about not posting this as we were very close to possibly giving up and selling the boat out right after all the issues we had over winter which is why this blog hasn’t been updated recently. Part of it was to hide what damage had been found in case this would dissuade potential buyers. But after all the repairs were done and some other stuff that had gone on we decided to keep Pathfinder and continue our life on the moderately high seas.

Ok. Enough soul baring onto the Dry Dock.

When we finally were able to get going to the dry dock my Dad took the helm and I was on bilge watch duty (this is primarily because my arms are skinnier and I’m a bit more flexible than my Dad so if something happened to the plug when we were pulling out I could fix it a bit quicker in an emergency). Getting out proved to be more tricky than initially anticipated as we were extremely hard aground and backing up required several minutes over going at 1/4 power in reverse to blow out ground below us. Eventually though we managed to slowly pull backwards and into deeper water. The cruise over to the dry dock was uneventful if a bit stressful as I was running around checking for leaks etc.

Once we got to the dry dock area they weren’t quite ready for us so Dad docked us in a single smooth move into the wall just in front of dry dock ship. Honestly his docking skills are seriously mad at times. An hour or so later we met with the dry dock workers and they started to flood the old ship that they use as their floating dry dock and shortly after we were hauled into place and the dry dock started to pump itself… well… dry.

The dry dock takes about an hour or so to fully pump out but afterwards we (naturally) took a variety of photos… And ya. Pathfinder is a LOT bigger once she’s out of the water.

Quick update in between posts

On November 24, 2012 In Boat

Hey all. Sorry for the delay in the final installation of the Hurricane Sandy Saga but I’ve already got the next post after that being worked on as well. What I mean by that rambling sentence is that before I could even FINISH writing the 3rd post something else happened to Pathfinder that is blog worthy. Plus Christmas shopping, work etc. eats up time as well.

Hurricane Sandy 2012 part 2

On November 23, 2012 In Boat

And now we continue with the second instalment of “Holes in Boats and the people who live on them” in 3D.

The next few days kinda passed in a weird blur for me as J and myself were kinda sleep deprived and I was knocked out of commission for a day due to migraines (probably brought on by the stress of the hole and lack of sleep).  Ideally I’d have been on the boat to help my Dad when he got down there with the tools needed to cut through our floor along with everything else but I had to get to work (I had taken 2 days off by then right off the cuff and work was piling up). So the next part of the fix is what I had relayed to me after the work was done along with some photos I have of the work.

So the previous night J and I figured out where the hole was below the concrete using measuring tape, painters tape, and some staffs to attempt to triangulate where the hole was in relation to the floor. The hole, as we had discovered, was no where near one of the hatches through the concrete. This photo I took by shoving my hand as far under the concrete as possible helped locate where it was approximately and from that we were able to mark the floor with the tape.

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We used the staffs to triangulate where the hole was approximately from the hatch in front of the engine room and the hatch under the stairs. We found that the hole was located roughly here:

PA290509.JPG

(Actually after we measured a few dozen other times we moved our mark to the left. This photo was taken and edited hastily earlier when my Dad wanted to know where we thought the hole was)

So while I was at work my Dad and Mom came down to patch it temporarily until we could get some sort of permanent fix in place. They brought down a seriously huge hammer drill with extremely strong drill bits along with a cutting torch for the steel below and proceeded to cut through the flooring.

PB010517.JPG

There they were able to see that the hole was apparently about the size of a quarter and started to figure out what needed doing. First though they noticed that something was restricting the flow of water a little bit. What turned out to be restricting the flow was possibly the unluckiest crayfish to ever live. Apparently the poor bugger had swam underneath my boat and got sucked against the hole. He was still alive too! The thing eventually got away after my Dad accidentally ripped it’s arm off (He was trying to pull whatever it was that was jammed there free when the arm came off and that’s when they discovered it was what it was).

So the way they built the patch was first the hammered into place a wood plug into the hole as best they could. Water was still coming in so they took a piece of 2×4 with some marine epoxy on the underside of it which they put in over top of the plug and with some large clamps I had on board force the 2×4 down into position. This worked very well and the leak was stopped permanently at this point.

Originally we had planned that shortly after this we’d head on over city side and wait there to go into the Toronto Drydock when it was our time. But we all agreed that although leaving later would increase the risk of us getting stuck due to low water levels it was better that than risking finding out that there was another hole somewhere else that’d sink us in deeper water.

At this point J and I were some of the last people on the island and it was getting more and more difficult to get back and forth from city side to our home. Even more after J left and the tender schedule to the island was shortened down to running only until 2pm. I had to take a water taxi back every night and even once I had to take the ferry at the opposite end of the islands and make the hike back across to the boat. A rather long walk to do when it’s pitch black out.

Regardless though I was able to sort out the boat and get it ready for our move over to the Drydocks to see what damage had happened to Pathfinder when she was finally hauled out of the water.

To be continued…

Quick Miscellaneous Link

On November 02, 2012 In Boat

My Dad just found this link on a survivalist forum.

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showpost.php?s=ca5f2a24023bea400e2cc8217b1b46f6&p=1595695&postcount=19

Good to know I’m ready for the Zombie apocalypse. :P

Hurricane Sandy 2012 part 1

On October 30, 2012 In Boat, Captains Log

So as Sandy has finally passed us and we’ve managed to weather it relatively fine in comparison to other locations I finally have a few minutes to write an update as to what happened to us during the storm.

First I’ll tell you what our plan basically was for the storm.

  1. Batten down the hatches
  2. Weather the worst of it
  3. Go for a stroll once it passes and check out what happened to the rest of the Toronto Islands

Hurricane Sandy however had other plans.

We have been very hard aground for quite a while at the marina. Lake levels have been incredibly low this year. Not so shallow that we can’t get ourselves out but it is at a concerning level (Side note: We’re right now at the low point of the lake cycle so with any luck next year will be more regular). This is nothing to totally worry about on a normal year with normal weather.

The Hurricane brought with it extreme pressure changes and waves even in our protected marina (the waves had white caps in some of the basins because of the wind for instance). The Lakes aren’t affected by tides but what we do get is that big storms push large amounts of water around the lakes giving us something similar. Typically this is a gentle process but not under these circumstances. As a result we went from hard aground to floating (something we hadn’t been doing for near a month at this point) in very short time spans. Combine that with the waves and we started pounding on the bottom.

The Toronto Islands are mostly made up of landfill and sand. So buried below the soft sandy soil could be anything including concrete, steel, heck anything that is hard and ungiving basically. The pounding on the bottom essentially punched a hole in the bottom and a leak formed.

J and I were mostly in the galley keeping an eye on how things progressed outside and trying to keep our cats calm. Cosmo (our black cat) frankly didn’t give a crap what was going on and was lounging upstairs with us. Martini (our tabby cat) started acting odd. Normally he’s a rather skittish cat that doesn’t particularly like being held too closely. But he was running up to us and jumping in our laps. Stay for a bit. Jump off. Then run to the stairs. He did this over and over until J decided to follow him to the top of the stairs in the cargo hold. I was on the phone with my parents when she suddenly yelled for me to come on downstairs and that there was a problem.

What we found was that there was nearly a foot of water above the tile flooring in the cargo hold and rising. We do have bilge pumps available but they are 110volt pumps and we don’t have them plugged in, we also didn’t have any high water alarms installed either. This I know is a grievous error and not a good idea in any boat and I can only blame myself for not having such systems in place earlier (the 12volt pumps that were already in there from before have never worked).

J and I quickly jumped into action and threw in all out pumps that we had into the bilge of the cargo hold to try to make headway on the water before we try to totally identify where the leak was coming from. 1 pump was starting to slowly make headway but I threw in a second anyways just to make it go down faster. Once we started making headway I was able to take some photos.

Updates forth coming

On October 16, 2012 In Boat

So normally I’d have done at least 1 if not 2 or 3 more posts with everything that has gone on lately. As such I’ve been so crazy busy that I have no real time to post… Plus the fact that at the moment the wifi at the marina is dead so what little surfing I can do through my phone has been devoted to immigration stuff for J and not updating my blog. So a quick run over what I have done and what is going on right now:

  • More wood work on the utility room and the cargohold!
  • Fun with West System Epoxy
  • The rudder indicator
  • Webcam and security system fun
  • The cats are on board!
  • Welding work on the boat
  • Clean up all the things

So ya. Lots going on. Lots to write about. Lots of pictures. Just no time. ARGH!

 

This weekends work (1 step closer to actual walls!)

On August 08, 2012 In Boat, News

I guess I could call this “What did YOU do on your weekend Part 2″ but it was a few weekends apart and I don’t feel like changing the title of this post now… So ya…

This weekend we (or rather I) decided that it was time to get back into the swing of things with reno’s on the boat in a big way. As a result we made a HUGE mess since the first step was to remove everything from below the deck of the pilot house (our utility room) and either throw out what we don’t need/want, store what we need for later but not now, or repack what we need soon. It resulted in us getting a LOT of space back overall which was fortunate since I was stuck in that area most of the weekend framing up where some walls would be going to finally seal off the utility room from the rest of the boat.

Gala 2012

On August 04, 2012 In News

So although this is the 3rd year I’ve been at the Toronto Island’s Jeannie and I have very rarely (if ever) participated with the events that go on on the islands themselves. It’s usually because we’re busy or our schedule for not being on the island doesn’t line up with theirs (either we’re up north at my parents, or out with friends, or just… out…). So this year we had a bit of luck and earlier we participated (sorta) in the Toronto Island Marina’s “Christmas in July” celebration (we literally got back to the Island’s the day of the celebration so we just had enough time to plug in our wreath from normal Christmas for the judging… Good thing I hadn’t taken the wreath down from Christmas eh?). We got an honourable mention!

Any ways this past long weekend I had a whack of stuff I wanted to get done on the boat (My next post will be about that) since we were going to be hiding out on the island away from Caribana going on at Toronto city side (turned out to not be as apocalyptic as we had initially anticipated traffic and wave of humanity wise). When one of our friends on the island mentioned to Jeannie (and someone else mentioned to me earlier in the week) if we were going to participate in the Gala. We decided to go to the first night at least and check out the other nights if we weren’t too tired from all the work we were going to do on the boat. Turns out that the first night is a play done to music (provided by a local Dixie band) followed up with everyone that went there participating in a “lantern parade” through Wards Island and ending with a bonfire at one of the beaches with fire dancing along the way… Ya. There was a lot going on.

SO like I was saying the party started off with a Dixie band playing and started shortly afterwards:

Hey! I’m supposed to be the one with the really weird boat!

On July 12, 2012 In Boat

Honestly who do these people think they are bringing other cool boats into the harbour? Geez.

First we had this guy pull up beside us at TIM.

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And then around the corner at the dock near Hanlans point there was this guy

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The first one was an old wooden vessel that had loads of little details on it carved into the wood. A guy seems to live on it and just cruise around. I don’t know if he’s a full timer like some of us but the boat was in amazing condition YET still showed signs of being well used and not just “kept behind glass” so to speak. She is called the Caledonia.

The second is a training vessel from Ottawa called the Fair Jeanne. It had a bunch of trainees on the back taking a class while I was there. Rather interesting looking ship.

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