Saturday, 20 September 2008

On Bonne Bay, Sailing

The day after the beach party,

...Jason and...
and I went sailing on the Eastern Arm of Bonne Bay. The boat we did it in was the Moonshadow, a 17 foot "micro-cruiser" known as a Siren 17. In case you are wondering, that was the name of the boat when Alice and Mark bought it, so they can't be accused of ripping off Cat Stevens.

Unusually for the "tropical" island of Newfoundland, the weather was very nice with lots of sun and a very suitable amount of wind for the day.
Having biking two thousand odd kilometers to get there, I was relatively loath to do much work, especially as I suspect that my rating in the Royal Navy of Nelson's day would be at best be "common seaman". Also, four adults is almost too much for a siren 17. Consequently, I tried to keep my role to (semi)-mobile ballast and "protect" the fiberglass from the ultra-violet light (i.e. catch some rays).As you can see from this picture, I did need some UV in certain parts such as my upper thighs that were hidden by my bike shorts. I had (and still have) quite the cyclist's tan.

Getting back to naval ratings, we had a discussion about who would qualify as what rating. "Obviously" Alice was a Captain, and Mark the mate. I initially put Jason in the "Landsman" rating given his accounts of being a duffer in boats, until I heard he taught sailing at the school he worked at. I think we ended up referring to him as an "able seaman".

We sailed to some beach whose name I've forgotten but I doubt is truly important. Some of us (including me) went swimming.
The water temperature was actually quite nice. In some respects, this was rather surprising as the Eastern Arm of Bonne Bay has some surprising features to it. Apparently, the lower depths of it feature permanently cold water of an Arctic character. As in, they support marine fauna and flora usually found in Arctic waters. There is some rather interesting physics and chemistry that explains why the deep water of the Eastern Arm hasn't warmed up since the last ice age, but I am unable to repeat it as it is more complicated than I can easily explain. Also, while it made sense to me when I read it, I don't know enough about the subject to say that I truly understood it. The short version is warmish water on top, very cold water beneath.

The bottom of the Moonshadow was relatively foul with marine growth, so Mark decided to careen her. Lacking a proper tool, he used one of his Newfoundland wool socks to do the job. There are a number of disturbing things about this. First of all, I doubt he is the first person to use Newfy socks for more or less this purpose. Secondly, I suspect that the socks were none the worse for wear. Thirdly, it shows a rather odd feature of Mark's personality. If he had been born in this country, it would be very easy to describe him as something of a hoser, given his use of socks for cleaning boats and a tendency to wear boots all the time and drink beer. However, he's vegatarian doctor from the Island of Jersey, for Christ's sake. Something don't add up. (And I say this with all due affection.) ;-)

Anyway, we sailed back and went for supper at Java Jack's.

My take on Java Jack's is that it takes reasonably available ingredients (remember this is Newfoundland after all, you aren't going find a lot of exotic food) and does very interesting things with them. For instance, the menu features yin yang pizza. This is a pizza that is half pesto and half a more conventional tomato. Obviously, the ingredients of pizza dough are something of a given. Garlic, cheese and tomatoes are also fairly obvious. (The basil comes from their own herb garden.) Hence, most of the ingredients are "common". In another restaurant, they might be put together in a very conventional, if not bland manner. However, at Java Jack's, the execution of the dish is very recherché.

I had been tempted to have a Newfoundland Vesper with my meal, after Jason ordered Oyster Bay white wine from New Zealand, I decided to err on the side of sobriety. I still had to pack Leonardo that night. As it was, I think I drank most of a bottle of wine that night, so I was a very good thing that my sister had acquired a bike box that opened from the side rather than the top. It was much easier to fit my bike into that box than it would have been with a more conventional box.

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