an early morning start to rendezvous with the captain at horseshoe bay. after paying $16 to get on board and wondering why i was paying more than i was for a much longer trip home from saltspring island ($9), i learned that it’s a roundtrip fare and includes a second ferry if you’re heading further north to powell river or lund.
five guys can be pretty chatty, so giving those around you a heads up softens the alarm when we all get going. off we go on a morning cruise and soon arrive at langdale where we head for gibsons and some stocking up on food stuff. off again, only to spot a pickup full of fresh corn which couldn’t be ignored (it made a great addition to a supper). the captain’s a good navigator but had us wondering when finding the road to the boat posed a small challenge, however, we made it to rvyc moorage in garden bay. before heading out, we wandered up for some of the best fish and chips at lavernes-grill which set us into the right mood, as we prepared to load up the boat and get underway.
first day, find our nights anchorage as we got a late start in the day. heading west and past the southern tip of texada island we sighted the first island for our an overnight stay. we threaded our way past jedediah and jervis islands before arriving at a small bay on the northern end of lasqueti island, alas, it didn’t feel very welcoming and was a bit crowded with derelict boats and a rusted sailing boat seeking a new owner. so, off we went, rounding the northern tip of the island where we soon discovered our spot, (the oddly named) false bay where we dropped anchor for the night. crystal skies and water, smooth as glass, made for an enjoyable night.
up bright and early to see an awesome sunrise and a hearty breakfast (cooked by moi). then underway for a crossing of the salish sea to the southern gulf islands. it’s been a longtime since i’ve been seasick (1971 to be exact when i worked on a tramp freighter out of gibralter) but sure enough the heaving waves, one to two metres high, soon had me heaving too 😦 but not for too long as the crossing took only 3 hours or so. our destination was another bay between thetis and penelakut (formerly kuper) islands. cruising amongs the rocky islets and sheer sided gulf islands must rank as one of the most rewarding pastimes i know of. sunny skies, light breezes and fantastic scenery, including a lone killer whale that swam by and several seals. we dropped anchor in the late afternoon in clam bay and then set off in the to explore a canal between the islands in the pontoon dinghy and a telegraph bay at the other end where we picked up some ice and a home made blackberry pie and some jam at a local outdoor market on pilkey point road (pay on the honour system). back to the boat
the beginning of fall and the last of the tomatoes (about 10 kg) from my garden are ready for sauce. this is the second batch we’ve processed in the last couple of weeks, much to my surprise as i only grew 10 plants this year (we bought another 24 kg for canning).
my friend sheila, another avid gardener on vancouver island, shared her sauce recipe with me 2 years back and it’s definitely a keeper in our house!
with small embellishments here is sheila’s recipe for perfect tomato sauce.
« I have used this recipe for years and it never fails. I usually make it in the
summer as we have a vegetable garden and always end up with too many
tomatoes, I then make in batches, for the freezer. I use a lot of garlic in this
recipe but that’s because we love it and the garlic sweetens in the roasting
process. I have strained the sauce at times to remove the seeds. Though most
people don’t mind tomato seeds.«
2 lbs large tomatoes (i do a large tray on the bbq, about 4 lbs or 2 kg*)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning (i use a tablespoon full*)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (1 for the tray and one to drizzle over the tomatoes*)
putting it together:
Preheat the oven/grill to 400°f. 205°c.
Slice tomatoes in half, set aside. (i give them a squeeze to get out some seeds and juice*)
Pour the olive oil onto a large baking sheet and spread it around the sheet.
Sprinkle evenly the garlic, herbs, sugar, salt and pepper over the oil.
Place the tomatoes cut side down onto the baking sheet (optional: add sliced peppers on top and drizzle with olive oil) shake the italian herb mixture over the lot*)
Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until the skins start to lift from the tomatoes. (i roast mine for about an hour until they are just getting dark caramelising on top*)
Allow to cool.
Remove the skins and put the sauce into a large bowl and break up the flesh with a fork. (…we invested in an italian tomato mill to process the mixture, it removes the skin and seeds quickly*)
Reheat sauce if using immediately.
« I’ve been making this sauce and freezing it sucessfully for several years. (we bag ours in ziploc bags for freezing*) I press it in a mill to remove the seeds and skins once it has cooled. I have discovered that salt takes away the bitterness. I know some suggest sugar but salt works too.«
« It’s good if you roast a tray of sweet peppers with a tray of tomatoes and combine them. Roasting reduces the water content so you get a more intense tomato taste.
No stirring. I use parchment paper on the baking sheets. »
a couple of days doing nothing…perfect! my old school friend, ron, joined me for a few days of campfire smoke, free range cooking and marshmallows. we had intended to camp in manning park but a fire ban for the region came into effect one day before departure, so with a little research i found that the kamloop’s fire district was still allowing campfires (it’s not camping without a campfire).
over the years i had noticed the kentucky-alleyne park but had never ventured in, which was too bad as it turned out to be a beautiful spot. located on high semi-arid hills about 40 kilometres east from merritt and 60 kilometres north of princeton, it is situated amongst 3 smallish lakes, with old pine forest and prairie grasses. the lakes are known for excellent fishing, however our neighbour and his small daughter had no luck while we were there.
we did a bit of exploring down the kettle valley to princeton and back via the old coalmont kettle valley route through coalmont, tulameen and otter lake. on the way we spotted a road? pointing towards brookmere, a small village 10 km off the coquihalla highway at the coldstream exit and only 30 kilometres to the coalmont road, 20 of which are rough gravel (must have a 4 wheel drive vehicle) which connects to aspen grove and another 20 km to kentucky-alleyne park. we took this on the way home and though much shorter, it is a slow drive! the road should only be used if you have a a 4×4 and nerves of steel as the single track has some severe switchbacks, deep potholes and drops off into a deep canyon at many points. meeting another vehicle can mean backing up until you find a wide spot. once on the paved section you are in the small village with quaint houses, relics of the old kettle valley railway and majestic scenery.
one of my friends has a large grand banks motor boat and asks us to join him from time to time. we spent three days cruising among the gulf islands after sailing across the straight from coal harbour in downtown vancouver.
here are a few shots of our days on the sea from the hundred and thirty that i took.
…what an odd word that is. it feels strange to say it and even stranger to understand all the implications associated with it. going to work this morning was a bit surreal and bitter-sweet. i took my dog max along and am happy i did. he was a great distraction for me and the folks in the office – he could not have been any better behaved or cuter!
transferred my work possession to sweet, sweet daphne, so emotionally attached to all of us and has enough tears for everyone. xxoo
i wanted the goodbye to be quick and was out of there by 10. thanks for the hugs, best wishes and smiles. i’ll miss work and the people for a while. good luck to all and thanks. cheers. s
today there was a celebration for my pending retirement, it was fabulous! the commentary was fun, we had a potluck that would have fed another 100 or so and the most eclectic mix of food…delicious. i was touched by the folks there and words spoken, it was far more enjoyable that i could have anticipated.
i’m waiting for the cure to happen. two days of homemade chicken soup, french bread and peanut butter cookies have not put a dent in my cold…damn if it’s not worse. now resorting to vick’s vapo rub, lots of fluids and good old aspirin….and hours of bed time. god i’m old today!