Another Granny Travels


This is Nereida on the left, looking tiny in front of the grand Empress Hotel in Victoria. Granny Susu has been having senior moments and hasn't posted for a while!

That doesn't mean I haven't been busy! In fact, I met with a granny who is more adventurous than me, by far. Jeanne Socrates is a 70-year old granny from England, who just finished her third - yes, her third - single handed, around the world non-stop, unassisted sailboat voyage! It took 259 days to go from Victoria all the way south and wind back at the starting point on July 8.

Jeanne is an amazing lady - she is fit, very positive and down to earth about the whole thing. She said, when I asked her about fixing things that go wrong or break on the boat, "It helps to be logical." She endured knock downs, storms, broken computers, wind vanes and a multitude of other breakages, being becalmed and the frustration of drifting off the coast of Vancouver Island, within spitting distance of the finish as the wind died. She hails from England, but her boat is her home. When I got there, she had been in port for several days but the boat was chaotic! A huge box with her new radar array was taking up most of the main salon, there was stuff everywhere and I thought she would be anxious to get on land for a while - but she wasn't! She has one picture taped up on the bulkhead - her three grandchildren who will have great stories to tell about their grandma!

jeanne-at-wheelBut she was short on hugs, which don't translate well over the radio! She got a lot on her arrival and as people kept showing up on the dock to congratulate her. She kept a blog going, which you can read here.

Jeanne only started sailing in her late 40s when she and her now-passed-on husband took early retirement to go cruising, something she recommends everyone should do.

"Life is precious," she said. "Make the most of it."

They had several years of sailing together before cancer took him and now part of her mission is to raise money for the Marie Curie Cancer Care, which according to their description, "provides high quality nursing, totally free, to give people with terminal cancer and other illnesses the choice of dying at home, supported by their families. It runs nine Marie Curie Hospices across the UK offering free specialist care for patients and support for families. The charity conducts palliative care research to find better ways of caring for terminally ill people and also funds scientists who investigate the causes and treatments of cancer."

Jeanne appreciates any support you can give.

The article I am writing will be in a future issue of Sailing Magazine - not sure which, but I will post it here when it is published.

Victoria the Garden City

Shopping Downtown Victoria P1050117-001

Victoria, British Columbia is a delightful city to visit and probably to live in too!

My friend and colleague Betsy Crowfoot was up visiting from Southern California and as I have a story to do for HARBORS magazine about shopping in Victoria, it was a great chance to have company on my trip. Although we didn't fly there on Kenmore Air (we would have had to drive to Seattle to get the flight) we had a good ride over on the Black Ball ferry M/V Coho. 

Our overnight was hosted by The Magnolia Hotel & Spa, a boutique hotel in the heart of old Victoria, making it the ideal place for visitors to stay. It is within easy walking distance of the ferry dock and the Air Harbor, where all the seaplanes have bases. We were treated like royalty with a lovely, newly decorated room, a bottle of excellent wine and chocolates on arrival! We had a view of the Parliament Buildings which are beautiful during the day but spectacular at night, when they are all lit up! P1050113

Victoria is a walking city. Numerous crosswalks and cars actually obey the rules and stop for pedestrians. The downtown area has shops of every imaginable kind. From Cuban cigars to Irish linen; from tourist t-shirts to exquisite artisan-crafted jewelry. I can happily skip the tourist stuff, the cutesy stuffed animals, the silly t-shirts etc., all made in China. But once you get past the front row, the stores are wonderful and I could easily have spent a fortune - if I had one!

We saw dainty Irish linen hankies like I used to have as a child; etched crystal glasses with First Nation art beautifully done; clothing stores proudly displaying "Hand Crafted in Canada" signs. And cooking stores galore! To go along with the foodie nature of the city! Victoria ranks 2nd in number of restaurants per capita in North America; San Francisco is number 1! What a pleasure! From the traditional "Tea at the Empress" to hole-in-the-wall places selling ethnic foods to The London Chef, whose establishment doubles as a cooking school and cafe, your taste buds are covered.

And there's Chinatown, the 2nd largest in North America apparently. Here old world meets new and unfortunately, in some cases new is winning. But the old stores are wonderful; colorful and unpretentious! We went into the local grocery store and were the only white faces there - but the food! Wow - what a wonderful assortment of weird and wonderful stuff!

All this, all within walking distance of the hotel. We barely scratched the surface of what's available and the City of Victoria definitely warrants several more trips from Granny Susu.

Tourism Victoria