Over The Horizon

One Last Look Back Lewis Channel at dawn, the magic light of the coast
One Last Look Back
Lewis Channel at dawn, the magic light of the coast

I’m settling into my new life in Shearwater. There are some enigmas to sort through. It’s interesting how wilfully coming to a semi-remote location magnifies our dependence on modern technology. A marginal, overloaded internet system leaves me in absolute frustration trying to communicate with the outside world and while posting my blogs. The computer is determined to crash and burn and none of my red-neck vocabulary helps at all. My mobile phone works marginally and at the moment I have also been blessed with some many-tentacled virus which is insidious. It snot funny but it will pass. I may have brought it up from the south with me. I hope I don’t start an epidemic. One of the few pleasures of getting older is knowing that nothing is forever. Yet there is also value in tenacity. While I recently heard hope described as the ultimate human torture, it prolongs suffering; I have also been inspired by the ship’s spider.

Town center, a thing of wonderful beauty
Town center, a thing of wonderful beauty

While travelling up Fitz Hugh Sound, I polished the metal work on the boat and discovered a spider sitting in the middle of its web beneath the bowsprit. Despite all the plunging and dunkings it endured in Queen Charlotte Strait the wee beast has endured. I’ve named him the Baptist. This superstitious sailor believes a ship’s spider is a good omen and so I wish him well.

The Raven and the Eagle, Bella Bella totem
The Raven and the Eagle,
Bella Bella totem

The area is pristine, immense, wild and free. So are many of the people drawn here. Some are aberrant personalities and where I fit into the complex culture here is yet a bit dubious.

The Raven and The Eagle, Waglisla
The Raven and The Eagle, Waglisla

Those dark waters seem to swirl and back-eddy daily. For the time being I remain the new hermit cautiously settling in to life on a rickety dock nestling at the edge of a small industrial slash in the mid-coast jungle. My welcome in the engine shop was a large jar of Vasoline set on top of my tool box. Redneck scatological humour, I can relate to that easily enoughand iff you don’t get it, there’s no point in me trying to explain. The available internet here is, to say the least, terrible. There are some cockamamie excuses about life in a remote location. But by my experience, this place is neither remote nor off the grid. It is 2015 and I know what is available in truly remote locations. Nevertheless there is a good solution soon available, and one of the joys of living on a boat is being able to untie and bugger off. That option sustains me.

A Guardian. One of many.
A Guardian.
One of many.
See! Here are ten.
See!
Here are ten.
The 'Chilcotin Princess' a droemer coastal trader in these waters. Fortunately I grabbed this photos only a few days before she was towed off to the breaker's yard in Prince Rupert
The ‘Chilcotin Princess’
a former coastal trader in these waters. Fortunately I grabbed this photo only a few days before she was towed off to the breaker’s yard in Prince Rupert

After two weeks I already have plenty of anecdotes and observations about the area and its characters, its history, its culture. For this blog however, I am simply posting photographs with captions. Hopefully I can convey my sense of wonder for this place and how this adventure becomes part of my journey to a life in Mexico or points south. I realized recently that the legend on the boat’s dipstick is in Spanish.

Yep! It's a panga! Built in Florida, registered in Montana, fishing in Shearwater.
Yep! It’s a panga! Built in Florida, registered in Montana, fishing in Shearwater.

To my great wonder one of the first boats I saw as I entered Kliktsoatli Harbour, where Shearwater is located, was a beautiful Panga. Some local folks have sailed their boat from here to Ensenada, Baha in seventeen days. So, I can lay out a rhum line southward and then turn left when the butter goes soft. Meanwhile I’m a bilge ape again for the time being, like it or not. Hi ho, hi ho, it’s down into the bilge I go.

Edgar the Eagle, mascot of Shearwater
Edgar the Eagle,
mascot of Shearwater

 

The dreaded wheel barnacle
The dreaded wheel barnacle
In many backwaters here, there are abandoned boats in various states of natural recycling. If only they could talk!
In many backwaters here, there are abandoned boats in various states of natural recycling. If only they could talk!
Donkey cove
Donkey Cove
Dryad Point Light Station, a mid-coast landmark
Dryad Point Light Station, a mid-coast landmark
Kakushdish Harbour sunset
Kakushdish Harbour sunset
Into the jungle from the beach
Into the jungle from the beach
The cannery, old Bella Bella
The cannery, old Bella Bella
Seafire at the Shearwater "Hobo" dock
Seafire at the Shearwater “Hobo” dock
A very high tide a day's end
A very high tide a day’s end
Snoop, a passing mariner
Snoop, a passing mariner
The Bosun's mate, snoop's fellow deckhand
The Bosun’s mate, Snoop’s fellow deckhand
Shearwater sunset, Edgar's perch.
Shearwater sunset, Edgar’s perch.

Each day as I trudge to work I look ruefully toward the mountains in all directions. I ache to explore the inlets winding among them. On calm mornings, I swear that, faintly, I can hear the boom of surf on the outer islands only a few miles away. My fate lies out there. I am impatient. And nearly always, from somewhere, there is the call of eagles.

The way of water is special. That which changes cannot be lost. That which yields cannot Be broken. That which breaks cannot be destroyed.

How easy, then, to be unmastered.”

….Ray Grigg ‘The Tao Of Sailing’

Author: Fred Bailey

Fred is a slightly-past middle age sailor /, writer / photographer with plenty of eclectic hands-on skills and experiences. Some would describe him as the old hippy who doesn't know the war is over. He is certainly reluctant to grow up and readily admits to being the eternal dreamer. He has written several books including two novels, 'The Keeper' and 'Storm Ecstasy,' as well as 'The Water Rushing By', 'Sins Of The Fathers', 'The Magic Stick', as well as an extensive inventory of poetry, essays, short stories, anecdotes and photographs. His first passion is the ocean, sailboats, voyaging and all those people who are similarly drawn to the sea. He lived aboard and extensively cruised the BC Coast on 'Seafire' the boat he refitted to go voyaging, to explore new horizons both inner and outer. This blog was about that journey and the preparations for it. Circumstances prevailed which forced the sale of his beloved vessel. Now on a different tack, the voyage continues. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey. Namaste Contact me at svpaxboat@gmail.com

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