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Arrival in Europe

The worst jetlag that I have ever experienced. I thought I was immune and could sail past jetlag with the arrogance of youth and two beers. I guess pushing 70 takes care of the first and two beers only increases my desire to sleep. I finally went out and bought some melatonin which has definitely (after 3 days) improved matters. This the first day I have not taken an afternoon nap and last night the first I have slept through. We stayed the first three days with our friends in Dordrecht Erwin and Heather and their kids, Kyle and Keri. A great place to land and get our bearings and get used to the rain. We call Victoria part of the wet coast but it has nothing on Holland. We bought a small car from them as they are divesting in anticipation of moving to Canada in the next year. Barbara left for Yorkshire to be with her mum for a couple of weeks as she recovers from a broken shoulder. Leaving Kerry and I to drive up to Sneek in Friesland to get Skookum in the water ready for our first visitors, Caspar and Loreena arriving on the 26th.

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Skookum looks fine after her winter on the hard but the bottom is showing some rust which needs work. The yard offered to do it for €4200 but I think I need to do it myself. I may have to track down another yard that permits blasting to clean the bottom. Then there is a repair to the exhaust system that also needs a few days to replace.

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As I write I sit in the restaurant of my small hotel built in the sixteen hundreds and very picturesque as is all of Friesland. This whole area was Hanseatic League. Kerry is asleep on the floor under the table. Who knew that Friesland has its own language and culture quite different from Holland. Holland in fact is only the two provinces around Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The others are the Netherlands.

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Tearing ourselves away from Victoria, family and friends was if anything harder this time than last even though last time the unknown was bigger. There were moments over the last few days that I really wanted to just go home to familiarity and comfort. The Velvet Rut as Victoria is known. So comfortable that it is hard to break out of. But then again that was part of the whole endeavour: to cut loose from the habits of the past and become more agile to prepare for a changing future.

 

Talking of the future this must be one of Tesla’s biggest markets. The Netherlands has generous tax write offs on company electric vehicles which would put a Tesla S at about half of what it would cost in Canada. Certainly electric vehicles of all makes are common now on the streets. I remember now one of the things that I like about the Netherlands is the pragmatism. If it works let’s do it; if it doesn’t, forget it. Since Canada got its petro-state government it has been behaving more and more like the completely idiotic tea party republicans of the US. Not only mean but also stupid. I guess since Harper is anti science and knowledge he can ignore the realities that are so clear to most of the world and feel supported by the Koch funded lunacy to the south. OK rant over.

 

Since I arrived I have felt pretty dislocated (by definition) and a bit overwhelmed by the tasks ahead. I have painted the bottom of my boat before but this one is big and steel and a bit rusty. The best and proper way it seems is to sandblast it clean and then apply three coats of epoxy. This then just needs anti fouling each year for about ten years. Estimates for the blasting are about €3000 and with the five coats of paint included over €4000. This is too rich for us so we are back to the poor man’s solution which is grind it clean and then use epoxy undercoat and antifouling. And only good for a year or two. This I am now set to do myself. It turns out that you cannot paint outdoors in Holland you must be in a shed that filters the fumes. I have rented a shed for a few days and will start tomorrow. I am now sleeping on the boat but after painting I may have to return to the hotel if the shed gets too fumey.

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In the shed ready to scrape 

 

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   Before

 

OK Next night the boat has been scraped, epoxied and antifouled all today. I hired a young student naval architect to help me and we did it in one day. I am absolutely ecstatic. I am amazed as I was showing way too much angst about the whole job. I am sleeping on the boat but I have left the shed door open (6m wide and about the same high).

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Scraped  

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After

Today I walked Kerry along the canal outside the boatyard. Such Beauty.

I was struck by how this beauty was created from reeds, water, short and long views with the towers of Sneek in the distance. (we are talking 17th century towers). Sneek is a very beautiful city loaded with history and charm and delightful to be in and walk around. When recently walking Dallas Road in Victoria with the Olympic mountains across the Juan de Fuca strait I was thinking ‘why was I leaving such incomparable beauty?’ And now here I am in super FLAT Friesland with no prospect of a mountain or even a hill and yet the beauty is equivalent.

 

So this is my first missive from ‘nobody told me there would be days like these’.

 

First day on the job to replace the exhaust system. Now relaxing in the evening on Skookum with the Save Dafur Concert tapes manifesting St John of Liverpool. One wire plugged into the Ipad and good sound.

Feels like home.

 

Martin

19th May 2014

Skookum

Sneek

 

 

 

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