Back in the Atlantic

On day 50, the top two boats in the Vendée Globe Race have rounded Cape Horn and are making 16 knots past the Falkland Islands.  Armel LE CLÉAC’H, the leader, has 6200 nautical miles to the finish. Alex Thompson is just 379 miles behind and has a very good chance of catching LeCleach now they are in the Atlantic. Jeremie Beyou, in third spot rounded Cape Horn today.

19 boats are still racing but 10 skippers have dropped out for a variety of damage. Two were dismasted,  one smashed the hull open after hitting a container, another lost a rudder.  In 19th place is Frenchman, Sebastian Destremau, but he is 7600 miles behind the leader. The leader is shown below.


Cowichan Valley Wine Tour


Forget the Okanogan. forget Napa. We have our very own wine valley right here on the island. The Cowichan Valley. We have made a tour of many of the wineries 4 times in the past couple of years and enjoyed it every time. You can easily do it in a day and include a winery lunch too.

We start at AVERILL CREEK Vineyard on the north side of Duncan. Take a right off of #1 at Somenos Road and follow it for 2 or 3 kilometres until you see the Averill Creek sign. Our first visit was quite a surprise. We were not expecting such a large facility. A modern building with a spacious tasting room and a delightful picnic area outside. A bonus is the spectacular view of Cowichan Bay. If you wish, you can purchase cheese and crackers, a cold white wine and relax on the patio.


The wines here are really very good.Try the Pinot Gris or the sparkling Charme De L’ile. Friends from Ontario had a case  of Averill Creek wine shipped home they enjoyed it so much. Their wine is available at SaveOn in Parksville.

Nearby is The Deol Estate Winery, a small funky joint. We have had a great tasting here offered by a very enthusiatic lady. Worth a stop if you have time.
There are a couple of lunch options. One is Vinoteca Zanatta, the oldest winery in the area. The food here is excellent and weather permitting is served outside on a big wrap around porch of the 1903 Zanatta Farmhouse. The chef is a gal from Mozambique, Fatima DaSilva. Go figure! I guarantee you will enjoy the food here. One of the anomalies here is that while noshing in a vineyard, you may see loaded logging trucks going by.

We Have not done a tasting here as the tasting room is very small and often crowded. Reservations for lunch are recommended. Zanatta is just south of Duncan on Marshall Road.

Another worthwhile stop is Blue Grouse Winery on Lakeside Road not far from Zanatta. A really impressive building that reportedly cost a couple of million dollars contains a very spacious tasting room. No restaurant here but a generous tasting experience of some very drinkable wines. I like the ORTEGA and the PINOT GRIS. You will want to take a bottle home from here.

In Cobble Hill, between Mill Bay and Shawnigan Lake are two must visits. The MERRIVALE CIDERY is an impressive facility with a tasting room, gift shop, and a very large restaurant. We have not yet eaten here but the menu looks inviting. There is also a Bakery and Deli.

In addition to a range of Ciders, Cowichan Gin and Cowichan Voka are produced here. I bought a bottle of the Gin on our last visit. Is it good? Don’t know. I’m waiting for our friend Joan to try it. She likes gin.

Merrivale’s grounds are impressive and special events like weddings are popular here.

Just a skip down the road is UNSWORTH Vineyards. Another must stop. Although quite new, Unsworth is already producing some nice wines. We have slurped their Pinot Gris, Rose, and Pinot Noir. Spend some time in the tasting room, a separate building beside a pond, waterfall and patio. Since they are into marketing there is an assortment of stuff to buy.

Across the parking lot a restored vintage home contains the restaurant. Great food. The Burger is outstanding and the Moules Frittes looks fabulous. Great service inside or on the patio. You don’t want to miss this winery. Reservations for sure.
Just one more. Rocky Creek Winery is a small place with a tasting room in the basement of a home. Excellent tastings every time we visited. We first visited because we had tried their Pinot Gris at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Victoria. The Pinot Gris is good and the Robin’s Rose is perfect on a summer afternoon on the patio. We always take some home from here.

There are several other wineries one can visit, but in one day that’s enough. Most of them are not open in the winter so it’s a summer / early fall event if you want to partake. Weekdays are less busy and most are open Wednesday to Sunday.

Google maps has all the wineries in the area marked.

Just saying…

Blackfin Pub

If you are visiting Comox, maybe on a Costco Run, may we suggest stopping for lunch at The BLACKFIN PUB. We have lunched here several times and have always been really pleased. Although it’s a Pub, it really has more of a restaurant atmosphere. The Blackfin is very well appointed with upholstered furniture, a cozy bar and a view from most tables. It’s about a nine iron shot above the government dock. In the summer there is also outdoor seating.

We have found the food to be excellent. Halibut and chips, seafood chowder, fish tacos are a few of their great selections. Check out the full menu here:
The service has always been excellent too!


If you are in the area it’s a must. Or, if you are going for a drive, take 19A up the coast and make The Blackfin a destination. It’s just a block off the main drag in Comox.

Just saying…

Cape Horn Coming Up

Day 44 in the amazing Vendée Globe round the world sailing race has Armel LE CLÉAC’H on BANQUE POPULAIRE III still in the lead and expected to round Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America on Friday, December 23.  He has sailed over 16,000 nautical miles with about 7300 to go.

Cape Horn.



Some 600 miles astern is Alex Thompson on HUGO BOSS.  Then there is a bunch clustered 1200 or more miles behind. In third place is French  skipper Jeremie Beyou, but he is 1200 miles behind the leader. Thomas Ruyant, whose boat hit an unidentified object and seriously compromised the hull, has successfully sailed to safety in New Zealand.

The last boat is 7500 miles behind the leader.   Sébastien DESTREMAU
On TechnoFirst was 4 days late staring the race but has now caught up to the back markers.  He is 21st and last.

The waters around Cape Horn are known to be particularly dangerous so we will watch as the leaders approach.

Just saying…




Overdose Epidemic

135 people died from illegal drug overdoses in November in BC. That’s more than 4 per day. The crisis is overloading the system. In one day 9 deaths occurred in Metro Vancouver. Paramedics, Police, Firefighters,  are all responding to such an extent that other non drug using citizen’s needs are being compromised.

The cause, they say is that already debilitating drugs like Heroin and Cocaine are being laced with Fentanyl, a deadly opioid.  And it’s not only the addicts that are dying but also so called recreational users. A couple in West Vancouver, recreational users,  died from an overdose and left a young child behind.  Why would a recreational user take such a risk.

I like beer and wine, but would I buy either in a brown paper  bag from some dirt bag on the street.  Not a chance.

The news media, talk shows, police and politicians are addressing the epidemic with suggestions that more safe injection sites are needed. More people should be carrying the antidote to help save lives.

Not once in the past week have I heard anyone address the purveyors of this crisis, the Drug Traffickers. There was a time when the Drug Squad would swoop down and make multiple arrests, sometimes involving dozens of street level dealers. Apparently, that is not done anymore because as fast as the police arrest them, the court system lets them go. It doesn’t make any sense to me but it is what it is.

In any event, if the druggies keep dying at this rate ( about 700+ this year so far) the traffickers are going to run out of customers. That must be a Business School example of a bad marketing plan.  Kill your customers.

As I often say, Singapore does not have this problem. Trafficking or possession of illegal drugs is subject to the Death Penalty. I like that.

Supposedly solving this problem are the same do-gooders who reported already spend    a million dollars a day solving the problems of the downtown East Side in Vancouver.   They haven’t solved a darn thing. They have just created an industry and jobs for themselves.

Just saying…

Breaking Race News

i had just finished the race update when I saw this news.

“At 1742 UTC on Saturday 17th December, Stéphane Le Diraison informed the Vendée Globe Race Directors that his Imoca Compagnie du Lit / Ville de Boulogne-Billancourt had dismasted. The skipper was not injured and sounded in good health on the phone, when he called. He is currently in the process of sorting out the rig and will then carry out a complete check-up on his boat.

He was sailing in a 30-35 knot NW’ly wind, when the incident happened and is currently located 770 miles from the coast of Australia.
All of the project’s sponsors are relieved that Stéphane is fine and remain in awe of his performance during the race, during which he showed rigour and determination”.

So goes the Vendée Globe. A true test of Man and equipment.


just saying…

Day 42 in the Vendée Globe

Day 42 and still sailing, the Vendée Globe fleet are now stretched out in the Southern Ocean between a The Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn. 6600 nautical miles separate the lead boat and the 22nd placed and last boat. 7 skippers have retired from the race due to damage.

In the lead is Frenchman,  Armel LE CLÉAC’H, on BANQUE POPULAIRE III and he expects to reach Cape Horn by Christmas Day. 400 miles astern of him is Englishman Alex Thomson on HUGO BOSS. These two have experienced a few days of light winds in the Pacific. Holding on to third is Jeremie Beyou but he is some 1200 miles behind the leader. Armel LE CLÉAC’H has 9100 nautical miles to go. He has sailed almost 15,000 nm in 42 days.

The rest of the fleet, most of whom are still in the Indian Ocean have endured some wild weather. 4th place skipper Paul Meilhat radioed in after sailing in high winds saying “We can’t get around the low, which is moving along with us. Gybing in 50 knots is not something we want to do”.


Irishman Enda O’Coineen toughing it out and said,
“My most crucial issue right now is the computers and my navigation. I am back using paper charts and I have a GPS. I am trying to get my back up system working. I had a crash gybe and went on my side and did a lot of damage, nothing I can’t handle. It has been very, very cold and very, very wet. I have a confession to make. I have raided the Christmas chocolates. But this is insanity. A man on his own 500 miles south of Australia, battering 50kt winds. I’d rather be home getting the turkey ready. I feel a bit like a turkey voting for Christmas at the moment.”


Usually, by this stage of the race, half the boats have retired. Only 7 so far this year. It’s quite an adventure but sailing a 60 foot boat, all alone, in 50 knot winds, hundreds of miles from shore is not my idea of fun! But it is fun to watch from shore.

Just saying…

Overdose Epidemic

Vancouver and many other communities are experiencing an epidemic of drug overdoses involving FENTANOL. Nine drug users died just last night in Vancouver and something like 200 have died in the past three months. It’s quite shocking.

I watched a press conference with the Vancouver Police and the Mayor today. They all talked about what they could do to prevent this problem and how they could save  these unfortunate druggies from themselves. More safe injection sites they say.  I call that enabling.

Life is about choices.  If one chooses to use street level drugs purchased from the most unscrupulous criminals, then one takes the chance of dying from an overdose.  Bad choice.

The Paramedics are now so busy dealing with the overdose problem, service to the rest of us who may need an ambulance is compromised.

Maybe I missed it, but at the press conference they did not say anything about rounding up the bad actors that sell this stuff.  I’m pretty sure the Drug Squads knew who most of the pushers are.  Round them up I say!  Charge them with murder or manslaughter and put them away. But no mention of that!

Singapore does not have a street drug problem because the penalty for possession or trafficking is the death penalty.  Seems to work quite effectively.

The do-gooders have not come close to solving the drug problem.  They have just allowed it to flourish.


Just saying…





The Science is Settled

The Science is settled.  Really?

One of the frequent remarks we hear when the experts talk about Global Warming, sorry, it’s Climate Change now, is that the Science is Settled. Amazing.

Here are a few examples of how often the scientists and ‘experts’ have been completely wrong in the Past. Very often.

In 1943, Thomas Watson, head of IBM, said the total market for computers was 5.

In the late 1950’s Automotive engineers stated that the top quarter mile speed possible for a drag racing vehicle was 150 miles per hour. Then some clever chap invented soft rubber slick tires and it all changed. Record top speed now is 336 mph.

In 1964, famous Hollywood Mogul Daryl Zanuck stated “television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
The experts commenting on the availability of oil have been wrong over and over. North Anerica was to be out of oil by 1970. They were wrong. Then oil would be depleted by 2000. Still wrong.

Famine predictors have been wrong too. India was supposed to have a famine by 1970. What happened? India is now the 7th largest EXPORTER of agricultural products.

Former US Senator and one time Presidential candidate Al Gore told us in 2007 that”unless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return.” As 2017 approaches it it clear that Gore was wrong.

Many predictions came out of the First ‘EARTH DAY’ in 1970 including:

Harvard biologist George Wald estimated that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make,” Paul Ehrlich declared in the April 1970. “The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.”

Ehrlich went on to say in 1970  that between  1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans will die from famine.

Peter Gunter, a North Texas State University professor, wrote in 1970, “Demographers agree almost unanimously that by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. and Central America the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the experts told us that Climate change was going to cause frequent hurricanes. The opposite has happened!

And one more. Hillary Clinton is going to win the election.  So said the pundits, most of the media amd a majority of the pollsters.

There are countless other examples of doom and gloom predictions.

My only reason for posting this information to to show that the so called EXPERTS and SCIENTISTS have often been wrong and frequently continue to be wrong. Hence I take their forecasts and predictions with suspicion and scepticism.

Just saying…