Friday, 27 October 2006

Slow progress.

Tonight we are back at Farncombe boathouse awaiting the remaining electrical equipment. Today we received our new inverter and alternator to battery charging system but we are still short of an alternator and various cables and connectors. The cables from the batteries to the invertor are huge multi strand cables, 13mm thick and capable of carrying 600v, a bit of over kill here I think. The engineer hopefully will buy the bits and pieces tomorrow and we can start on fitting it all together.

We had lunch today with Tony and Barbara Jarvis who live not too far from where we are moored. For those in the know back in New Zealand, Barbara is the daughter of Keith and Margaret Harman, old friends of ours from the Heretaunga Caravan Club. We had long discussions about all sorts of things one of which was the internet and mobile phones. As Tony is in the computer business he has kindly offered to help Dot set up Skype so we will have phone and internet on the boat. This will be better than using the library internet service.
The weather has improved over the past 24 hours and
we had sunshine, a blue sky and 19 degree temperatures this afternoon. The river has re-opened to navigation but we both feel that it could be Tuesday of next week before we get away. Another piece of good news is that the Basingstoke canal has re-opened to navigation. The Basingstoke runs off the river Wey before you enter the river Thames and hopefully we will be able to traverse the Basingstoke before we leave the Wey on our way to the Grand Union Canal.

The 1st picture shows Gypsy Rover at Godalming and the 2nd picture shows the southern most point of the Wey navigation at Godalming where we were moored overnight.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Retail Therapy….

In the last week we have been conducting some very serious retail therapy buying things required to make the boat a live aboard. The only problem being that a lot of the retailers only carry display stock and have to order the stock in for you, which might take up to a week, which of course is no good to us because we are hoping to be on the move by the end of the week. Some things will have to wait until we find a mooring for winter and then it won’t matter about delivery time.
Today we are still waiting at Farncombe boats waiting for some electrical gear to be delivered. Our new batteries (840 amp/hr) are now sitting on the stern deck awaiting installation but we cannot install them until we get a new alternator from Isuzu and the battery management system from
Sterling Electrical. All ordered last week.
The river Wey has been closed to navigation for the last 24 hours due to flooding. It’s apparently flowing in excess of 15 knots making things a little tricky. We came through Guildford a few hours before they closed the river and due to a clogged air filter reducing the engine power and the flow of the river it took us 20 minutes to travel about 300 yards. However we survived and live to tell the tale.
This afternoon the rain stopped and the sun re-appeared so we went for a walk to a motor home dealer we had seen on the main road on our drive in from Heathrow last week. We were hoping that he might have some parts that we could use on the boat but no , the old story, they had to be ordered in and would take a week for delivery. While we were there we did browse around the motor homes on display and did find one that could be a replacement for Gypsy Rover in 3 or 4 years time.
On our way back to the boat we walked around a large lake where there were numerous fisherman trying their luck. At the top end of the lake we found 2 signs stating “Please don’t feed the birds or fish with bread”. Now I ask you, you take kids to a pond or waterway and the first thing they want to do is feed the ducks, it’s only natural. Anyway, there were some mum’s and a grandad with kids trying to feed the ducks but the ducks were being hassled from below. Huge carp were taking the bread before the ducks even got a look in. After this we walked on a bit further and found a fisherman who had hooked a fish and was in the process of trying to land it. We stood and watched the battle unfold to see who was going to win, the man or the fish. The man eventually won to land a 15lb 8oz common carp. He told us that he had caught 8 fish during the day, the biggest being 22lb so he was going home a happy chappie.

Hope our spare parts arrive tomorrow but I won’t hold my breath waiting.

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Now on board

Just a quick update to let everyone know we are now on board Gypsy Rover, moored at Godalming and getting everthing organised. We are using the internet at the Public Library as we have not sorted the internet on the boat yet.
Our belongings arrived safely from New Zealand , although the boxes looked worse for wear there was no damage to our belongings and they were all there and no duty payable.
We have made a decision not to fly Air Canada again due to a combination of errors on all of our flights. Only good point was that there was plenty of leg room.
We are in the process of stocking the boat and acquiring all the necessary essentials for household living.

Friday, 13 October 2006

Rocky Mountaineer

Vancouver to Calgary via Kamloops in Canada.
With a 5.30am start, the first day of the train trip on the Rockie Mountaineer train through the Rockies finished up 4 hours longer than scheduled. Unbeknown to us the train had been travelling at a greatly reduced speed for some time due to a fault on one of the Gold Leaf carriages. Eventually the train stopped where the faulty carriage could be removed from the train. This created a logistical nightmare for the crew as they had to move 70 passengers into the remaining 3 Gold Leaf carriages. Luckily the train was not full so they were able to relocate everybody. After an hour or so we were under way again at normal speed. As it was another beautiful day nobody was complaining as the scenery was spectacular as can be seen in the bottom photo where the view is reflected in the calm surface of one of the lakes west of Banff. With the train being so late the chefs aboard the Gold Leaf kitchen were given the additional task of supplying an extra meal for all the passengers both Gold & Red leaf. Normally Red Leaf meals are airline style meals pre-prepared and loaded aboard for breakfast and lunch only, with snacks for in between.
Another downside to all of this meant we were going to be late arriving in Kamloops and would miss out on the dinner and live show. However all was not lost as the Rockie Mountaineer tour company offered everybody who was affected a refund and when we arrived at our overnight accomodation we received a written apology from the company and a copy of a book about the Rockies and the train.

Day 2
Another 5.30am start because the train departed at 7am with breakfast being served onboard. Today was the day everybody was on the lookout for wild animals as we were travelling through the Rockie Mountains national park. During the course of the day we spotted a lone coyote hunting in a hay field, hundreds of red salmon in the crystal clear rivers, several elk and a couple of white tailed deer. Also seen were two mountain goats AND one solitary black bear which was no more than ten feet from the train track. We thought that we might miss out on seeing a bear due to them hibernating during winter but we struck lucky (unfortunately we came across it too quickly to take a photo).
The remainder of the trip was even more spectacular scenery.

Anyone thinking of doing this trip on the Rocky Mountaineer we highly recommend it as one of the worlds greatest train trips. A special thanks to Doug our tour steward in carriage CB04 for making it such a special event.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Vancouver tour

We took a guided tour today on a trolley pictured left. It's modelled from a San Francisco tram but on a bus chassis.
Our tour driver, Larry, was a real character who had a wicked sense of humour. He gave Derek the ignition keys to look after the trolley while he went to Starbucks for a coffee.
After doing the complete tour circuit we hopped off at the Aquarium for an hour or so before catching the trolley back to town. What we had not realised was that this
week-end was Thanks giving so the city was crowded but it was a beautiful sunny day and everybody was out and about making the most of the lovely weather. As the temperature was starting to cool down we headed back to the hotel to get some warmer clothing before we heading back into the city to find somewhere for dinner. The choices of eating establishments are endless. We eventually found a place called Red Robin which is a bar / eating house. Dot ordered a chicken caesar salad which turned out to be just cheese and lettuce. When we were presented with the bill she complained about it and the cost of the salad was duly removed from the account, no if's, but's or maybe's. Now that's good customer PR.
During the course of the tour we were shown the 6 o' clock cannon which was used by early mariners to gauge tide movements. In more recent times it has been highjacked by varsity students as a fund raiser and on 1 occasion it was loaded with rocks so when it went off the rocks damaged a petroleum installation out in the harbour. Needless to say the cannon has now been moved and caged so no further repetitions can occur. It has also had it's time slot changed to 9 o'clock and we have just heard it go BOOM.
Tomorrow morning we leave early on the Rocky Mountaineer train through the Rockies to Calgary. May not have the opportunity to update before arriving in the UK. Will update as soon as we have internet access again.................

Monday, 9 October 2006

Exciting times ahead............

We have just spent two lovely days in Honolulu after flying out of New Zealand on Friday. Beautiful sunny weather at around 30 degrees. We have never been to Honolulu before but wished we had. It is beautiful.
We took 'The Bus' to Pearl harbour and spent the day reviewing the memories of the 7th day in December 1941, (my birthday but not the year). I grew up knowing that I was born on Pearl Harbour day. After a filmscreening we were taken out to the Arizona Memorial to the watery grave of so many of the crew. Nearly 900 personnel died that day including many civilians, men, women and children. The United States Navy provide the men and women to show the world what can happen in War. There is no admission charge just donations towards a larger museum if desired. We were there nearly 4 hours before returning to the hotel with another New Zealander from Christchurch who was returning home that evening for the children to get back to school after the holidays.
We are now in Vancouver after arriving at 5.30am this morning. Only 11 degrees, a bit of a shock and raining. We checked into this lovely hotel before having a sleep until lunchtime. The view from our 15th storey hotel room when we awoke was warm and sunny, the rain had gone and showed what a lovely city this is. More to follow tomorrow after we take a tour of the city .

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

What no cars................

For the first time in our adult lives we now have no vehicles. Strange feeling that, well we own a that a vehicle? Both cars and caravan have gone and we are relying on my son's borrowed Toyota MR2.
The last couple of days have been sorting out possessions that will be stored whilst in the UK. No mean task this, years of accumulations to be sorted between keep or throw. Derek has built a lockable storage in our double garage enabling us to store things securily on our own property. My son Richard will be living in the home and looking after things for us while we are away.