MARCH , 2013

March 25, 2013

It has been a wonderful two months in North America.  In that time we spent two long weekends in New York with our daughter and son-in-law, Jenn and Jass, almost three weeks in Windsor, Ontario, with family and friends, a weekend in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, at a wedding, and three weeks out in Nelson, BC, with our son and daughter-in-law, Jeremy and Jenn, and our grandson Miles.  Unfortunately we also managed to come down with sinus colds almost immediately when we arrived and two months later we still have the occasional cough from postnasal drip.  Our nasal sinuses are not used to cold weather, since we have been living on the boat for the past eight years.

Two significant events stand out about this visit.  First of all, we held a very successful fundraiser for our friends on Lape Island in Tonga.  Over 130 people attended the pasta dinner, slide show, and silent auction on February 20.  We were overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends and family who attended and $2800.00 Canadian was raised to help install flush toilets in the households on Lape Island.  Thank you to all who attended and to those people who couldn’t make it and generously made a donation.  Our friends on Lape Island will be most grateful and we can’t wait to share this good news with them in June.

The K of C hall in Tecumseh was the perfect venue for our fundraiser.  The K of C staff did all of the work of setting up and serving the food.  We had friends help us by selling tickets ahead of time, selling 50/50 tickets throughout the evening, and greeting people at the door.
Here is Paul answering questions after the slide show which focused on introducing the villagers of Lape, in particular the women weavers who had fabricated the many items at the silent auction.  The audience was most interested in knowing how we met these people and also learning about their simple but happy lifestyle.

The second highlight of this year’s trip home was meeting our five month old grandson Miles Christopher Major.  We first met Miles when we flew to Ottawa and then drove to Mont Tremblant to attend the wedding of our daughter-in-law’s sister, Andrea.  We shared a suite with Jeremy and Jenn and Miles at the lodge and helped mind him during the wedding festivities.  It was love at first sight from our perspective as Grandma and Granddad.  Miles wasn’t quite sure who these new people were in his life but he slowly came around to giving us spontaneous smiles.

Here we are with Jeremy and Miles at our first meeting of this wonderful bundle of joy.

And now, we have just spent three weeks getting to know our grandson.  We have been sending Jeremy and Jenn out on their own as often as possible and minding Miles and taking him for lots of outings on our own.  As Jenn says, he knows us now and won’t forget us.  It is our hope that Jeremy, Jenn and Miles will be able to visit Bella Via when we are in Tonga in June or July.  Plans are underway.

We brought Miles his first life jacket from New Zealand in preparation for his first trip to Bella Via.  It will also be handy at home in Nelson as Jeremy and Jenn already own a sailboat and are looking forward to taking Miles out sailing.

Here are a few more pictures from our two months away from the boat:

Right after we arrived in Windsor we were treated to a snow storm.  Here is Paul shovelling his sister’s walkway.  It was the least we could do as she was treating us to a relaxing evening of dinner and good conversation.
Here is a typical northern Canadian picture – when we were in St. Jovite for the wedding, we came upon a group of children playing road hockey in the snow and Paul just couldn’t resist stopping and taking a picture.  Brrr – it was -25 Celsius in Quebec that weekend.
Paul and son, Jeremy are seen here working their way up the unplowed Kokanee Glacier Park road, on back country skis at an elevation of 4,600 feet where the air is cool, the snow is crisp and the view is stunning.  Paul was able to ski 6 days during our three week stay in Nelson, four days at the local downhill slope, White Water (WH2O), and two days back country skiing.

On March 26, we start heading back to New Zealand.  We arrive back at the boat on Thursday, March 28 in the afternoon.  We will have a very busy week upon arrival as we unpack, provision, and get the boat ready to go back in the water.  Our Kiwi friends, Dave and Margaret, have already contacted us by email and offered their car for as long as we need it while they continue cruising on their boat.  That will be a great help as Norsand’s Boatyard is quite a distance from the shopping at the Town Basin.  Thank you Dave and Margaret – we hope to see you out on the water soon!


    Journal 2012