Yep. It’s that time of year again. Suddenly we have our winter weather back, it’s still warm but then we have lots of warm wet days all winter long. There may be snow, but not every winter. The gulls have a ritual each autumn of pecking the mussels off the dock floats then depositing them up and over the tops of the docks. They break them open to eat. The crows join them and soon you find yourself crunching and slithering along in copious puddles of guano and razor-sharp shells.
Of course each boat is covered in the same slimey debris and my little marina world is a disgusting mess. This too shall pass, I just wish it didn’t have to go through the birds first! Suddenly the feeding frenzy will end and winter will be imminent. Jack loves chasing dock birds, in fact he’s out on patrol as I write. Otters and herons are also part of his mandate. I rest assured that despite his vigorous efforts he’ll never catch one. Wow! There’s a metaphor….chasing birds that will never be caught.
It’s too wet to complete various small pre-winter boat jobs and so I busy myself renovating a friend’s bathroom. It’s not an illustrious endeavour but it’ll improve their lives and give me the rewards of having helped someone as well as a few more days sustenance. There’s certainly nought romantic about gypsum dust and broken tiles bu I remind myself that lots of folks do this all day, everyday, for their whole working life. Think of all the jobs that somebody has to do, things like caring for Ebola patients. There are many different kinds of courage which each of us do or do not possess! Meanwhile, a certain soggy doggy has returned from his dawn patrol and lept back into my bunk. Well, nobody else has ever kissed me awake in the morning! I know, yeech! But then what’s real love without a few sloppy kisses now and then? An elderly English lady recently referred to him as “a stalwart chap” which I thought was charming and accurate.
Yesterday Jack broke into some groceries in my vehicle while I worked at the bathroom job.
He had never done that before and so as usual I left them easily available. I’d bought a package of soup bones intending to give him one each day. I hoped this would keep him from from wandering and it worked! I emerged outside later in the day to discover all six soup bones neatly cleaned and arranged on the lawn. Checking the bags I found the chicken had been merely inspected but the sausages were gone. All of them. It’s hard to get angry at a dog for being a dog especially when they look so smug with their executive decision. There have been no nasty after-effects. So far.
A red boat has appeared in the marina. She is clearly a home-built steel boat and is not especially glossy and slick. Yet she is registered to Brussels and has reportedly just completely a Northwest Passage east-about. This, despite several reports of ice conditions which made transits impossible for many. She’s clearly battered from her ordeal and is in for some overhauling. There are skull’s of a caribou and a muskox tied to the pulpit and fuel cans lashed all over the decks. Her named is ‘Perd pas le Nord’ which is a twist on a French colloquialism. “Ne perd pas le nord” can translate literally as “no fear of the north” but it generally means “Someone who has their head screwed on right” either way this is a wonderful name for a boat which has clearly been out there doing it. She bears honourable scars. That is always a mark of beauty to me.
On the subject of red boats there has been a story running on the news for the past few days about a Russian freighter broken down off the Haida Gwaii islands. There was much dark speculation of her running aground and the inevitable environmental disaster as her fuel and cargo contaminated that pristine shoreline. Native voices were added that linked the unfolding event to the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. There were even speculative comparisons to the Exxon Valdez disaster! I understand the passion which is using every possible means to oppose the bitumen pipe to Kitimat but discrediting the integrity of an argument is not beneficial to the cause.
The rest of the story is that the storm winds were blowing Sou’east and the ‘Shimushir’, out of Kholmsk, was being blown away from land as confirmed by the Canadian Coast Guard. She has since been safely towed to Prince Rupert for repairs. The reporting continues to be grossly irresponsible and speculative. Allegations by environment groups claim Canada is clearly unable to rescue ships in peril (Ever hear of the ‘Sudbury’?) and that it was a “Fluke” that an American tug completed the rescue. There is no mention of the standard Lloyds Open Form Salvage agreement and the profits involved, nor why one of the many Alaskan-trade US tugs might transiting the area. There has apparently been no research into standard maritime protocol. Instead there is verbose rhetoric about the proposed pipeline which most of us already strongly oppose.
I for one, am weary of the media avoiding the standard who, why, what, where, and when of basic journalism and turning instead to creative narrative that distorts facts. If a local story can be so badly skewed then what of the information provided about all the rest of the planet’s events? In an age of instant information I am stunned at how masses cling to tabloid-style uninformed opinion and may even base the course of their lives on someone else’s lies.
Do you remember Y2K? It was a scam that extracted billions from the masses. I call it the profit of paranoia. Thankfully, information is there for everyone and an enquiring mind can ferret out the true story and then form an informed opinion. Speculation and distortion has no place in objective journalism. If you say that you “Like little boys who are kind to animals” and I quote you as having said that you “Like little boys”, have I represented the truth? End rant.
For Canadians, Thanksgiving has passed and the next event in the turning of the seasons is Halloween and the turning back of the clocks. The dream of sailing ‘Seafire’ south has been delayed yet another year. The dream, as ever, is very much alive. Hopefully it will all make sense in the end, but I confess that I write this blog as much to convince myself as anyone else. I occasionally offer, and remind myself of, an anecdote about climbing mountains. Finally at the summit, one sees more peaks to climb. Usually however the climb up the next shining mountain requires descending into a valley before beginning to climb again. When up to your arse in a snake-filled swamp in a shadowed valley it is difficult to maintain awareness and belief that you are actually in the process of mountain climbing. Is success about the height of the mountain or the depth of the valley?
“Noli illegitimi carborundum” Don’t let the bastards grind you down!