Friday 16 December 2016

Welcome to the Jungle


                       "Hey man, thanks!!!!!!"
                         -The Tragically Hip

           So, here it is, August 14th, and the weather is hot and sweaty.
           Just like yesterday.

           The forecast is hot and sweaty tomorrow.

           In fact, the forecast is hot and sweaty for at least the next week, with no relief in sight.
           No wind.  Might as well take a nap.





          Great googley-moogley!!!!!    How the HELL did it get to NOBLOODYVEMBER  DEDAMNCEMBER already?

          This has definitely moved me into the quarter-finals of the World Procrastination Championship  (Playoff schedule to be announced shortly, maybe.)


         Well, in the words of Inigo Montoya,

       "There is too much.  Let me sum up."

         It's been an interesting few months.

          Might as well begin at the beginning, way back in August:

          Completely off the Dock, but worth mentioning, because it was such a unique experience- SWMBO and I got to see The Tragically Hip play the Air Canada Centre on August 10.

          I have never felt so damn Canadian.

   See, here's the deal:  The Tragically Hip is like Canada's house band.  They aren't the soundtrack of our 20something to 40something lives, The Hip is more like the score:  always there, always in the background, sometimes swelling to take the spotlight, and, sometimes, taken for granted,
 because they were always THERE.

There was always another tour next year, another album, another chance...

.... until there wasn't.

  The band's quirky writer and frontman, Gord Downie, announced in June that, well...

... he was dying.

  He had a brain tumour, and while the prognosis was clear, that he was a dead man walking, there was some time.

  The band decided, as a band, (because make no mistake, even though Gord was the face and voice,   these five guys were a unit, playing together since high school,  nigh on 35 years,) to launch one last tour.

   What followed was a uniquely Canadian event- a concert tour that was equal parts concert, party, wake, and tribute to Gord.
(Yeah,  I think every Canadian calls him Gord- it's that kind of band, he's that kind of person, and we're that kind of people.)

Shows sold out across the country, and by the time the band rolled into Toronto, it was obvious this was no gentle victory lap of greatest hits.

   I am lucky enough to work in the radio industry,
   Further lucky enough to work for a small network run by a guy who loves what he does, and likes his crew-  he held a contest for employees, giving away a pair of tickets,
   and I was lucky enough to WIN!

  Thanks, Jon!


   From the opening chord of "Courage (for Hugh Mclennan)", that dead man walking worked that stage for almost three solid hours that night in Toronto.  Gord was occasionally teary eyed, and some say he looked frail,

   but he flat ran that room.

   And if you didn't tear up at least once, you weren't there.

   How big a deal was this concert tour by the best band you've never heard of?

This is where things really get Canadian.

   The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, often maligned, often unappreciated, often viewed as an anachronistic irrelevancy in the 21st century, lived up to it's name, reclaimed it's role as CANADA'S media, dropped the bomb, and then dropped the mic:

   The CBC stepped up and  decided to bring the party to the people, by broadcasting the final show live, on all of it's platforms. Television, radio, online, on demand....

.... for free.

   So, we saw The Hip again, on August 20th, at the Marina, broadcast on a sheet hung in one of the pavilions at the foot of  Dock One, along with a hundred or so others...

 ...and over 11 million other Canadians .

   And if you didn't tear up at least once, you weren't there.

     Paul, Johnny, Gord, Rob and Gord:  Thanks for everything.

                                                        -video courtesy of VEVO and YouTube

     As noted earlier, the summer of 2016 was hot.

     The winter of 2015/16 was not cold, nor long.

     That made conditions perfect for a bumper crop of Dockgrass, aka Eurasian Water-Milfoil.

      This shit is evil.  It grows rapidly, it grows long, and it grows tenacious.  During the month of August it quite literally clogged the fairways of the marina. It wraps props, snags centerboards and generally acts as a hazard to navigation.

Typically, after backing out of our slip and leaving the marina 2 knots slower than usual,  a quick blast of reverse would clear a ball of weeds from the prop that looks like this:

    We are responsible for keeping our slips clear of weeds, so every couple of days, our Dock looked like this:

   That's two days worth of growth, in two slips.

   Down the Dock it's even thicker, as wind and wave action tends to push the floating mass into the corner, where the Dock meets shore.

   The marina has a dedicated harvester, but it's one machine fighting a losing battle- it's payload is relatively light, so the bulk of running time is spent transiting to shore to offload into a 40 foot bin, then transiting back to the fairway in play, and then back to unload...

   There's no easy solution, so we bear it and keep sailing.

   I have a suspicion that Dockweed hastened a soon-to-be discovered problem aboard Karma.

   SWMBO and I took an extended Labour Day weekend  and on Friday decided to make an afternoon run to Pottahawk and back.  We motorsailed out, making good time, clicking along at a happy 5-6 knots in 8-10 knots of wind.  Motorsailing, because I'd been having some concerns about our engine-  Karma had felt down on power in recent days, so I thought a good 2-3 hour  run wouldn't hurt.

    We scooted past Port Ryerse, then past the site of Bushstock, a new 2 day music event in the 'folk....

Then sailed past Fisher's Glen...

...making good time, we continued past Normandale....

 ...two hours out, we spy Turkey Point to starboard...

... as the beach trailed behind our transom we turned to port to cross the gut that separates outer Long Point Bay from the Inner Bay, and headed to Pottahawk...

  It was a damn near enough perfect day for sailing- decent wind,  and fairly typical bay chop, but we had the Bay pretty much to ourselves- in 20 miles-ish of travel, we saw just a handful of other boats.

We reached Pottahawk, turned to port again to head for home, and with the wind on our nose, it was all engine now, so we furled sails and throttled up to 2/3 throttle, call it 2200 rpm, which gave us...

... a blistering 3 knots.

Huh- maybe the headwind is stronger than it feels.

So nudging the throttle to 3/4, about 2700 rpm, we found ourselves pounding along at
.... a blistering 3 knots.

Which shortly decreased to 2.8, then 2.7, then 2.5 knots

"That's not right," methinks.

Throttling back, SWMBO and I chugged along at a now steady 2.5 knots, and troubleshot:

 Maybe a ball of weeds around the prop?

SWMBO throttled down, shifted into reverse, boat speed jumped to 4.5 knots,  no telltale mulched weeds arose from under the boat.

Back into forward, back to 2.5 knots.


I go below, retrieve the service manual for our mighty Yanmar YSM-8 powerplant and start reading.


The transmission on our iron genny has two "friction discs", essentially clutch discs  that do the job of taking the 8 hp created by the engine and transferring it to the prop shaft to drive the boat.  One clutch disc handles forward go, one clutch disc is tasked to handle reverse.

Guess which one is used more?

Guess which one signals it's decided to retire by no longer transferring all of the engine's mighty 8 hp into usable propulsion?

Yeah- obviously the reverse disc was still good to go, but the forward disc would go no mo'.

Yay, problem diagnosed!  But, there wasn't a damn thing we could do, except motor along at 2.5...


...2.3 knots.
...and dropping.

Oh well, lots of time to surf for replacement parts on my phone, which led me to discover that, like many parts for boats built when John Lennon was still alive, the friction discs in question were rumoured to be No Longer Available.


Five and a half hours of feathering and nursing the throttle after making the port turn at Pottahawk for home, we limped into the marina, in the dark, inching into our slip at 1.5 knots.

I stopped into  Bridge Yachts on the Tuesday after Labour Day, and requested they find the part, if possible.  Three days later I got a call- they found two discs.

The last two YSM-8 friction discs on the planet allegedly.
In Japan.
They would be here in three weeks.
I ordered them both.

Meanwhile Karma lay forlorn in her slip.

Where Karma largely remained, until Phil and Corinne and Compass Rose towed our burdened beast up the river to the Bridge Yachts yard  at the end of October.

The last two Yanmar YSM-8 friction discs on the planet finally arrived....  in the third week of November.

I'll deal with it in the spring.

The great thing about owning a fleet is that, while the big boat may be down and out, SWMBO's ride, Ereni, was more than happy to stretch her legs.

Ereni is no faster than Karma-  in fact, if you belief PHRF, that sleek little race-pedigreed one design daysailer is owed a little time by Karma-

but she FEELS faster.

It's like stepping out of a cabover Kenworth truck and stepping into an E-type:  The same speed feels entirely different.

Sailing Karma  is fun.

Sailing Ereni is FUN.

  Brutal honesty time- too often, sailing Ereni  is a bit of a shitshow.   The mainsail reefing line too tight, or too loose...

....the topping lift hung up on the backstay....

  Her sails are blown out, her bottom is fuzzy, she needs new standing rigging, new running rigging, new mainsail tackle, her fuel tank relocated, her brightwork brightened, the list of what she needs goes on and on...

  .....but when we get it right, it is pure magic:

    So, that brings us (mostly) up to current- the boats are on the hard, largely put to bed, all gear is now occupying our dining room and den, waiting to be stowed away, and the winter punchlist has begun. Hopefully, I can bring you up to speed on that little ball of mission-creep before the boats splash for the 2017 season.

In the meantime, if I don't talk at you in the meantime...

   Merry, Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year, to all y'all.

    Thanks for checkingin, and as always, please, "Talk the Dock!"

Sunday 31 July 2016

Spring has Sprung... Right Into Summer pt. 2

      "But where we are going, Oh it hasn't fully, fully been told..."
                                               -Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics

       So, where were we?
Right:  Boat is launched, boat is sinking, boat stops sinking, yadda yadda, Karma glides into her slip with no further drama.  

  With one boat launched successfully, it was on to the rest of the fleet.   With a little help from the crew of  Boats....

...we got our commuter dinghy, Chameleon, to the marina and into the water.

Then, we tackled Ereni, giving SWMBO's Bluenose  a quick and dirty makeover... and a black nose in the process, to cover some of that quick and dirty.  

  Ereni  is due for some serious  hull refitting this winter-  the brightwork needs to be brightened, the hull needs to have some blisters ground/filled/faired, and then we'll refinish the deck and topsides.  But, we think we'll keep the nose treatment, and add some nose art- SWMBO and I agree we both kinda dig the vintage "rat rod' vibe.

Over the two full years we've lived with, and aboard, Karma, we've developed a pretty good idea of our wants and needs, and have fulfilled many of them along the way...

... and created new ones.

  Our reefer install has been a well-received luxury, with an unintended consequence- power insecurity.

   We have 3 40w solar panels that live on top of our bimini, feeding a single Group 24 house battery and a Group 24 starting battery, also charged by the 35 amp alternator on the inboard diesel. Last season, this system proved sufficient....

... barely. 
     If the solar panels underperformed for more than a day, some motorsailing was required to top up the batteries.  We were careful about energy usage, charging electronics only during the middle of the day, being judicious about illumination, vhf and instrument use, etc. and never really had a power crisis...

    But still....

    This season, I made the decision to add more power and more power storage. Here's the plan:  add another 100w of solar power, in the form of a semi-flexible 100 w panel installed on the dodger, then combine the 2 Group 24 batteries already onboard into a two battery house bank, and add a third Group 24 battery for starting, locating it just aft of the transmission in the engine bay. Next year, we will replace the group 24 house bank with a pair of 230 amp hour 6 volt GC-1 golf cart batteries, if we find that the 160 amp hour capacity of the house bank is not enough We decided to isolate the starting battery from the charging circuit- we opted to install a Xantrex Digital Echo Charge. 

 To quote the manual:
 "The Digital echo-charge automatically switches ON and OFF, charging a starter or auxiliary battery without affecting the main house battery bank. The maximum charge current is 15 amps when the starting battery is 1/2 volt to 1 volt DC less than the house battery...  When the input voltage is 13.0/25.5 volts DC or higher, echo-charge automatically switches ON. The LED glows a steady green. When the input voltage is lower than 13.0/25.5 volts, the echo-charge automatically switches OFF, and the LED blinks green. The output voltage of echocharge is limited to 14.4/28.8 volts. When it reaches 14.4/28.8 volts, the charge current will decrease, maintaining a float condition. "

  So, I bought a bunch of obscenely priced cable, less obscenely priced wire, a battery and assorted electrical parts and pieces and tools and stuff and dug in, on the hottest day of the year....

  ... and everything largely went together better than I expected....

.... once I pretty much gave up on the original plan.

I cut and stripped and crimped new cable to wire the existing batteries in parallel...

 ...and that is pretty much where the original plan ended.

A "a semi-flexible 100w panel installed on the dodger" became a semi-flexible 100w panel mounted on the foredeck. temporarily laying the panel on top of the dodger and measuring output demonstrated that there was just too much shading for the panel to generate anywhere near it's potential output. Because of our boat's design, and our usage, the foredeck gets little traffic, so I decided to see if the "you can even walk on it' claims about semi-flexible panels were true. 
   The install was pretty straightforward, once I wrapped my head around drilling 3/4" holes in the deck.  An hours worth of work saw two of the aforementioned holes drilled, some wires run, and the panel fastened to the deck with, and all fittings sealed with, 3M 4200.  

The new panel got a new charge controller, to complement the existing bimini bank charge controllers, then the controller output for both the bimini solar bank and the foredeck solar bank were driven to a distribution block and thence to batteries... 
   ...Which were not happy at all.
    Note to self:  always check polarity before connecting 100 w panel to new charge controller.
    Then check it again.
    Then check it again.

    I didn't, and wired the panel to the charge controller backward, and didn't realize my error for 48 hours.    
   I bought a new charge controller, and now the batteries happily charged away...  but wouldn't hold a charge.  Well, 5 year old lead acid batteries are due for replacement anyway, so "Next year, we will replace the group 24 house bank with a pair of 230 amp hour 6 volt GC-1 golf cart batteries" became "TODAY we will replace the group 24 house bank with a pair of 230 amp hour 6 volt GC-1 golf cart batteries."

   (Note to those of you playing along at home:  Golf cart batteries are about the same width and length as Group 24 batteries...but about twice the weight.  Getting them up onto the boat, then down into the boat, then down further into the battery bay, was an exercise that, in retrospect, would be less danger-filled if one is wearing steel-toed boots, not flip-flops.)

So, new batteries go in, cabling is connected,  and power flows!  Meanwhile, it becomes apparent that "add a third Group 24 battery for starting, locating it just aft of the transmission in the engine bay." is a non-starter.  So, the new batery gets located slightly farther aft, under the aft cabin berth.  The Xantrex Echo Charge install was a breeze- the instructions were clear, the manual was well-written, and all of the supplied bits and bobs were of good quality. 

  Was it worth it?

   We now generate more power than we can use  and store most days, and have had no problem keeping ahead of our loads even during our very hot July, when our refrigerator was running much more often than it's typical 30% duty cycle.

    As we have realized the need for more power, we also have been grappling with our need for more space. the S2 8.0C is a cleverly designed boat, pulling 26 feet of accomodations out of a 26 foot LOA hull...  but that means that on-deck and cockpit storage is  non-existent. Coaming pockets would be a big help for line management- sheets would no longer be all over the cockpit benches and underass, an uncomfortable proposition during a crash tack.  I did some measuring, found a pair of fire extinguisher pockets in the clearance rack at a local chandlery, and a little mahogany and varnish and cutting larger holes in our boat and screws later...

Our cockpit is slightly more organized.

Also seen in the above picture, behind the compact sportsdawg, you can kinda spy that scrap mahogany was also used to craft risers, to raise the height of the bimini slightly.

Below, little has changed, other than a new trawler lamp,  cushions that are 1" thicker and comfier, and new Low-Buck back cushions and throw pillows have been added:

   We lucked out at our local grocery store (I shit you not- the grocery store)  and found outdoor furniture cushions and pillows in the right colours,  and amazingly, the right size, for half price.

    Life is good, and more comfortable than ever...and the sailing's not too bad either.

Thanks for having a read.  Pass the word-  Please "Talk the Dock!"


Thursday 30 June 2016

Spring has Sprung... Right Into Summer Pt. 1

        "This heat has got right out of hand..."

    * I started writing this post on May the HELL did it become the end of June????

      Spring has sprung...

      ...  and then  more Summer came along and kicked it's ass.

    Check this- May 13th, we had sun, rain and temps around 15 degrees on the c scale.
                        May 14th, we had 30 knot winds and 6 degree temps.
                        May 15th, we had snow on the Dock.


                       Note that I did not opt to do any boatwork on those days.  Nope, not me.  I had a list of things to do but...

                       I opted out.  I called it on account of weather.

       SWMBO and I got a lot done in the weeks prior to splash, including, new carpet, new foam for the cabin cushions, and a new Low-Buck swim platform...

Karma hit the water on the first Friday of May, one of our earliest launches ever....

...and  she promptly decided to start to sink.

I was toiling away at my day job, making local businesses locally famous, so SWMBO was supervising the launch solo.  As I was on my way to the boatyard, toiling completed, I received a cryptic text message:


Is SWMBO thirsty?
Is  she telling me that the boat is now in the water? she telling me that the water is now in the boat?

Then, I received another cryptic text message:


So, I hurried.

I got to the yard, and spied SWMBO in Karma's cockpit, pumping away.  Turns out, "water" was , in deed, coming into the boat.... at a worrisome rate. "Hurry" was appropriate, as the sole was awash, and SWMBO was usunre where the water was coming from.  I hurried down the companionway ladder, tore open access panels,  checked the stuffing box (fine) and then the raw water strainer (decidedly unfine, water streaming from the top of the reservoir).

     I closed the seacock so the water stopped hurrying into the boat and  removed the strainer and found that the o-ring seal was no longer sealing.

    It's Friday, it's after 5, nothing is open that is going to have the part that will solve this problem.  As I was pondering the paucity of options, Skipper Andy wanders past, headed to Cyclone, docked at the Bridge yachts yard this season.  I yell, enquiring rather loudly whether he may have any sealant materials aboard.

   Turns out he does-  and it is appropriately named:

  a strip of caulk later, and we're back in business, leak free.

  Thanks, Skipper!!

   It turns out that the water strainer seal has likely been quietly leaking, unseen, for several years-   the strainer is located in a corner of the engine bay and the leak was  not visible.  But, that unseen unknown leak meant that we had to be vigilant to pump our smallish bilge ever 3-4 days.   Since  resealing, we now pump our bilge every 7- 10 days, with little to show for the effort.

  So, boat no longer sinking,  we fire up the trusty Yanmar YSM-8 and set off downriver and around the corner to the marina, and we survey what's new on the Dock.

   Turns out, quite a bit.

    More to come  in Pt. 2.

Thanks for stopping by.  Please "Talk the Dock!" and pass the word.

Saturday 30 April 2016


     "The plan was set, the plan was done..."
                                                 -Steely Dan

   Every year, the boats come out of the water aroundabout Halloween-ish.  Every fall, I think to myself,

    "This winter, it's going to be different.  this winter, I am going to make a list of all the boatprojects that we want to complete, and I will schedule them over the next six months, so that we're not busting ass at the last minute, racing a ticking clock, as we run up against the immovable barrier of our splash date."

   Yeah, I think that.

  The reality is always entirely, frantically, different...

  Five and a half months go by and suddenly the world looks like this:

and I look like this:
                                                                                                                        - image courtesy of reddit

      With a big ol' procrastination -driven project backlog monkey on my back.

   Inevitably. our spring splash punchlist gets prioritized, with projects falling into three categories:

  1. Shit that absolutely has to get done before the boats get dropped in the water,  or they don't happen.  Or the boat sinks.

  2.  Shit that was scheduled to get done before we splashed, but who the hell am I kidding?

  3. Shit that gone done on, or ahead of, schedule, purely by accident, or because, rarely, it is easier and simpler than we thought it was going to be.

   Well, all the 3. stuff has been done, now it's just 1. and 2. fighting to finish.

    We splash Karma May 6.  Ereni will splash at a later date, which buys us some time.
But, the next few nights after work are going to be jam-packed with fun stuff like (in no particular order):

   1. Installing a new/used swim platform (including modifying mounting brackets, reshaping platform, finishing trim to finish platform, cutting backing plates, and actual installation.)

   2. Installing a topping lift.

   3. Installing a 100 w semi-flexible solar panel.
   4. Installing a new charge controller, and a new starting battery, wiring both existing batteries into a house bank, and installing a new Xantrex Echo Charger to simplify our charging system.


     5.  Raising and stiffening bimini, installing longer frame stringers on rigid solar panel frame to solve top sag problem, install a couple of additional struts to stiffen the frame.

     6.  Cleaning and rebuilding the cabin cushions.
     7.  Finishing the construction of the first SUMO dinghy.


     8.  And, of course, sanding and painting the bottom, and finishing washing and waxing the topsides.

     And, dammit, I love every minute of it.  The next best thing to being on the water is getting the boats ready for the water, stress and all.  The best part of the next best thing is that SWMBO is right alongside, busting hump with me.

     It beats the hell out of winter.

     Six days left.

     We'll be (mostly) ready.

     I think.

     Thanks for stopping by!  Please take the time to "Talk the Dock," and pass the word.


Thursday 31 March 2016

Small Boat Rules, Vol. 1

"told his wife, 'you can tell all your friends, it's been real but it ain't been fun, gonna get us one of them
                                                                                                  -Kenny Chesney


     While Karma is a bigger than Whiskeyjack, and while she is a bigger "big small boat", at just shy of 26 feet LOA, she is still a small boat.

    We are perfectly fine with that.

    Someone once said, "Buy as little boat as you can stand, not as much boat as you can find, for what you can afford."

    Like all good advice, that one stuck with me.  It's a great life- have we thought about getting a bigger boat?


    But going bigger would mean  leaving the Dock, and giving up the best sunsets in the marina:

       So, we make it work.

…. As seasonal small-boat liveaboards who still have full-time dirt jobs, here is a dozen things we have learned.

1. You wake up earlier. When the shower is a dinghy ride away, rather than just off the bedroom, you're not slapping the snoozebar as often.

2. The order of the morning ritual changes. Instead of stumbling out of the shower and surveying the closet, you have to figure out what you are going to wear, take it with you into the shower and hang it off the back of the door to steam out the inevitable wrinkles.

3. You don't need 8 pairs of shoes.

4. No one notices that you only have two sport coats.

5. If your clothes are black, khaki and beige, you don't need to have as many clothes because everything goes together.

6. As a salesperson, I find you can get away with guayaberas and flowered shirts when you tell people you live on your boat. It's also a great warm-up. In fact, if you don't wear flowered shirts and guayaberas, prospects look at you suspiciously. Dress too well and they think you are living on a 60 ft motoryacht, which means you are making waaaayyy too much.

7. Tight on storage? Underwear,socks, t-shirts and shorts go in pillow cases, your good clothes go in the drawers/bins. Voila- extra pillows, and less-wrinkled workwear.
edit-  CLEAN underwear and socks!

8. When doing laundry, let everything spend extra time in the dryer. You want your clothes DRY. Mildew is not your friend.

9. Keep a package or two of silica gel and a sachet of pot pourri, or at least a dryer sheet, in your clothes storage bins, and/or drawers, and/or lockers. Your clothes will stay mildew free and smell good.

10. Keep your bilge and engine bay/ room CLEAN. I like the nautical funk of diesel, icebox runoff and stuffing box drippings as much as the next sailor, but your clothes will pick up the smell, and it ain't as provocative in a client's office.

11.  There's no place for packaging aboard.  Unbox it, unwrap it, unpack it, recycle the box, wrapping and packaging before you hit the dock or the dinghy, label what's left and stow it.

12.  If something new comes aboard, something old has to leave- don't become an accidental hoarder. It takes a hell of a lot less time, and stuff, to fill up 200 sq ft. of space on the water than it does 2500 sq ft on the dirt.

and a bonus:

13.  if you take it out, move it, or use it, put it back.

Fellow liveaboards and cruisers, I'd love to add to this list, so feel free to sing out and comment with what works for you.

As always, thanks for stopping by.  Please, "Talk the Dock!"- spread the word.

Monday 22 February 2016

A Half Decade Later... And A Love Letter

    "...It's been five long years and I love you just the same..."
                                                             -Colin James

    Five years.

    318 posts.

    250 000 reads... and growing.

    Thank you.

    When I started scribbling the Dock Six Chronicles back in  '11,  I didn't expect the D6C to find a worldwide audience.

    But, we did.

    A big part of the "why?" is our location, and my affection for it.

    I love this place, this sprawling county, this shore, this coast, this garden that is Norfolk County.

   I am also, occasionally, one of it’s harshest critics.

   For 5 years, I have been quietly blogging about my little part of this little place.

   The ‘folk has been going through a rough patch of late. Unemployment is up and opportunity is down. The number of vacant core storefronts in our towns and villages is growing, while our outskirts big box stores don’t have vacant parking spaces.

     We seem to have lost our self-confidence, seeking affirmation from beyond our borders.  (Seriously, the County Economic Development Department hands out an award for the best blogger from OUTSIDE Norfolk.  There is no award recognizing homegrown bloggers.  *Ahem*)

Maybe it’s time we start thinking about what makes us great and start patting ourselves on the back.

Today is the last birthday I will ever celebrate.

(Oh, ferpetesake, NO, this is not a suicide note- this is my 49th birthday, and I am NOT going to celebrate my 50th- that’s too much like growing up.)

With that in mind, here’s a list of 49 things I LOVE about this place.  Feel free to add your own.

1.        No 400 series highways.

2.       No traffic jams.

3.       Guacamole at Amiga's.

4.       Club sandwiches at Kaley's.

5.       A nice home is yours for the down payment on a house in the 416.

6.       The beaches.
                                          -image courtesy of

7.       The Port Dover Harbour Marina.

8.       The sunsets at aforementioned marina.

9.       Our museums, big and small.

10.   Our strawberries.

11.   Our entrepreneurs .

12.   Our Home Hardware stores.

13.   Our wineries .

14.   Our microbreweries .

15.   Our apple cider donuts.
                                                       -image courtesy of

17.   Our  trail system .

18.   Long Point.

19.   Our history- rum runners, wreckers, tobacco growers, transplanted Arkansas guitar pickers, wars and wastrels.

20.   Annaliese Carr .

21.   The Lighthouse Festival Theatre .

22.   Norfolk Has Talent.  This should be a mandatory attendance event for everyone in the county.

23.   Perch at Knechtel's .

24.   Golden Glow at the Arbor

25.   Pottahawk .

26.   Friday the 13th .

27.   Port Rowan

28.   Gyros at The Bunkhouse in Delhi.

29.   Chipnuts, er, Crispy Potato Chip Covered Peanuts, from Picards .

30.   Our sweet corn.

31.   Our generations of Stanley Cup winning hockey players, especially Red Kelly- he won 8 Stanley cups, playing for 2 different teams, including winning one Cup in 1964, while serving as a Member of Parliament.

                                      -image courtesy of  Dirty Dangle Hockey

32.   The New Year’s Day Polar Bear Dip .

33.   Summerfest in Turkey Point.

34.   Pumpkinfest in Waterford.

35.   The Waterford ponds.

36.   Backus Mill

37.   The patio (and the tagline) at 211 Main.
                                                       -image courtesy of

38.   Sailboat races on Monday and Wednesday nights.

39.   Ross Bateman.

40.   Normandale and Fisher’s Glen.

41.   Spooky Hollow Road.

42.   Port Ryerse.

43.   The Sand Hills.
                                                    - image courtesy of

44.   Damn near every road is paved.

45.   Sangria and churros at The Combine

46.   Gamble’s Shipyard.

47.   The lift bridge in Port Dover.

48.   Waterford Old Town Hall.

49.  Panorama, in all of it’s anachronistic glory.

Okay, locals, it's your turn:  Why do YOU love Norfolk County?

    To all of you faithful readers over the past 5 years, thanks for sticking around, and passing the word. Please, continue to "Talk the dock!"