Sunday, February 3, 2008


Occasionally people have asked me, since I live on a boat, why I need to drive ‘down to the water’ so often.

Well, the answer is that even though our marina is located in the heart of downtown Victoria, and there’s often lots going on right here (and I love it!) – it’s not the same as looking out over the panorama of the Juan de Fuca Strait, which separates us from Washington State. It’s about 30 miles across to Port Angeles from here, and there’s always something going on – whether it’s great storm-watching, windsurfers, or this…

Sometimes several times a day freighters go by, en route to or from Asia (often China, Japan, the Phillipines...) and heading to or from the major port of Vancouver, BC. They all have to go right past the Victoria waterfront! Here’s a map of the shipping route from open Pacific to downtown Vancouver – the dotted line through the American San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf Islands is actually the US/Canada border, but the shipping lanes are pretty much right alongside that:

As you can see, it’s a busy area with lots of tight corners and lots of boat traffic. By international maritime law, a ‘pilot’ – an experienced local mariner who becomes an ‘advisor to the ship’s captain -- is put aboard inbound ships (and outbound pilots from Vancouver get taken off the ships) right here, at Clover Point. Pilot boats, built to withstand heavy seas, are usually painted a bright yellow, orange or red, and they are used to transport pilots between land and the ships they are piloting. These boats literally come alongside 100,000-ton freighters and maintain a speed of 7 or 8 knots while the pilot transfers. The pilot has to be agile, too – he or she sometimes has to climb a swinging ‘Jacob’s ladder’ 40 or 50 feet up to the ship’s deck, in all kinds of conditions.

So when I sit and knit at Clover Point, I sometimes witness this event two or three times in an evening.

Yesterday Michael came with me, and he sat and read the paper while I knitted -- I had to frog almost 30 ROWS of the 'Secret of the Stole' so I am slowly re-knitting it now. Good thing I love knitting!

Oh, I promised a pic of the 'Kiri' Shawl that Annie in Taiwan sent me..

It's beautiful, and she says it was her first lace project ... I wonder how much frogging *she* had to do. :-)

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