Monthly Archives: September 2015

Passing Cloud, Food Poisoning and Heavy Rain

Soggy Rock yet another rainy day on the midcoast

Soggy Rock
Yet another rainy day on the midcoast

Well yeah, I knew what I was getting into. During the summer I had every anchorage to myself. Now the whole coast is mine for the taking. It has everything to do with the weather.

The first day of autumn has already passed. It feels to me that it has been winter for weeks already and impossible to understand that a short while ago this coast was enduring a drought. Now the rain is incessant. This is normal local weather. I knew that. Vertical rain, horizontal rain, drizzling water, mist and fog, it is bloody wet, wet, wet and it keeps coming. The daylight is a little less each day and those long summer evenings, when there was still light in the sky near midnight, are long past. Today the rain was cold and there was that wintery smell in the air. Snow? Even when the skies brighten, with patches of blue, there are sudden bursts of rain. Locals tell me that October can often be a month of lovely weather. We’ll see. I regularly passed through this area on tugboats for years and only ever saw Shearwater as a glow in the fog and rain. Yes, I knew!

Behind the chains. September sunrise at low tide.

Behind the chains. September sunrise at low tide.

The mystique and spirit of this coast take on a new dimension now. This is its normal state, its true self, the raincoast. The infinite miles of grey-green dripping jungle offer a fog-bound respite from the hurtling culture in which most people are swept along on the south coast. The individuals who make their homes in these backwaters often recoil at the idea of even visiting the civilization down there. The notion of living in that chaos on a daily basis is beyond their comprehension or ability. I suppose we live up here within their urbane notion of wilderness. Perhaps it is the solace of that notion which in part sustains their tense urban sanity.

Being alone in this boat every night for the months ahead, through the long dark hours, often storm-buffeted while trying to write positively and creatively after grinding days of work, all the while enduring the pain of arthritis and old injuries…I could stay here in dank, dripping-slime solitude. Nope! Can’t do it! My finances demand that I stay and work but I’ll soon have to head south. I know that finding a job down there for a guy my age is damned hard but if I hang up my dream, I’m done. With my physical impediments, the short days and persistent rain, getting outdoors for some good extra curricular exercise is challenging. Sitting in the boat and eating compulsively is an easy pattern to fall into. That, in every sense, is a dead end.

Mexico seems so very far away at the moment. Will I ever see palm-fringed anchorages through the windows of this boat? Ordeal or adventure, the choice is mine. There has to be a way. As I sit at this computer I look up and all I see is my reflection in the dark window and a right goofy-looking old bugger at that. Haar! I was reminded recently that some folks choose to sail to polar regions and deliberately let their boats become frozen-in for nearly the entire next year. Who am I to ridicule another man’s dream? There is a fellow from Slovenia who calls himself Big River Man. He has swam down the lengths of four of the world’s major rivers including the Amazon. He’s now planning on swimming around the world. “The dream never dies, just the dreamer.”

Limber Up! A mutant branch in the rain forest/

Limber Up!
A mutant branch in the rain forest.

Green. I believe this is called Lungwort

Green. I believe this is called Lungwort

It has recently occurred to me that all substances are poison if consumed in excess. Even nasty stuff like cyanide and arsenic are deadly because their wicked potency is taken in too large a portion, no matter how miniscule that may be. There was a man in France, Michel Lotito, who bizarrely ate things like bicycles and even an airplane after they had been ground up and imbibed in portions small enough to be non-lethal; apparently a kilogram each day. How do you eat an airplane? He consumed nine tons of machinery in his lifetime. I don’t know, but there may have been a lot of wine involved. Too much air, too much water, too much exercise, too much inactivity, anything in excess is poison. I’ve decided that I’m suffering from food-poisoning. It makes me swell up. Especially around my middle. I’m eating too much. But, I promise, I won’t start eating anyone’s boat; certainly not this old prune barge.

This little light of mine. A customer's bright idea.

This little light of mine.
A customer’s bright idea.

The Tipping Point. A beer keg can be a slippery thing.

The Tipping Point.
A beer keg can be a slippery thing.

I’m still trying to do repairs and upgrades despite the weather. One of my davit bases failed recently due to a manufacturing flaw. The bow portion of my inflatable boat filled with a torrent of rain. That weight proved too much. It’s a big job and trying to do some fibreglass work between cloudbursts is quite a challenge. I’ve been meaning to upgrade the davits before heading to Mexico but after my immediate repairs the welding will have to wait until I’m back to where supplies are readily available. Everything up here has to be ordered in. Not only is that exorbitant, there is no guarantee that what one orders and prepays is what will arrive, if it ever does.

Aftermath, the confirmation of Newton's Law. At 3000rpm a piston came to a sudden stop. The rest of the engine kept on going... for a moment. In other words, pissed n' broke.

Aftermath, the confirmation of Newton’s Law. At 3000rpm a piston came to a sudden stop. The rest of the engine kept on going… for a moment.
In other words, pissed n’ broke.

Meanwhile at work there are exploded engines to deal with as well as endless computer glitches in the modern diesels in all our water taxis. I’m learning to employ a patience I didn’t know I possessed. That’s a good thing. Now that the Tupperware squadrons have all gone back south, and most of the fishing fleets are gone, the boats visiting now are serious cruising vessels, some still doing late-season charters who are hosting the last of the bear watchers.

Beyond words

Beyond words

One of these is a vessel which has long held a piece of my heart, ‘Passing Cloud’. This is beloved British Columbia-built boat and is a quintessential Westcoast icon. She is a seventy foot bald-headed wooden pilot-house schooner. For you land-bound folks this is a wooden sailboat which is seventy feet long on deck. A two-masted schooner has its main mast aft. Being bald-headed means she carries no bowsprit (That pointy spar which sticks out horizontally on most traditional boats) The pilot house is the cabin with big windows from which you can steer in any weather. That is almost essential for navigating these waters.

The Pilot House

The Pilot House

Beautiful From All Angles

Beautiful From All Angles

Two years ago I was blessed to tour the boat shed where ‘Passing Cloud’ was built. I was there to pick up a mizzen mast as the shed had been sold. It was being cleared out prior to demolition. What a tragedy! The place was a temple to me and many others I’m sure but times change. The location on Portage Inlet in Victoria had incredible value as waterfront property. New noise bylaws forbid any further industry, no matter who was there first. Some monstrosity yuppie box now occupies this hallowed ground. When I was there, a band saw still run by a Ford Model-T sat beside a large forge. The tools and artifacts were amazing. The place was a living museum. ‘Passing Cloud’ had been launched from this building in 1974. The boathouse is gone, right or wrong, but the boat, now over forty years old, sails on as a successful charter business and is maintained lovingly in as-new condition. Google up the schooner’s name and drool over the amazing photos of the vessel, inside and out, and of her voyages in these waters where she plies her trade.

A vision of glories past In the boat house where 'Passing Cloud' was born

A vision of glories past
In the boat house where ‘Passing Cloud’ was born. Note the nameboard stencil.

In The Temple. The old boathouse on Portage Inlet. It's gone now.

In The Temple.
The old boathouse on Portage Inlet. It’s gone now.

 

While I’m recommending online links, here’s one for those with social-political interests. www.friendsoftheconstitution.info. It is American but suitably appropriate for Canadian interests, especially in the middle of this damned dreary election campaign. I’ll take a big breath and quote two sentences from an editorial on this site.

There will not be a recognition of the extent of poverty in the United States and the dire need for government action; there will not be any effort to correct the stagnation of wages and this nation’s extreme income inequality; there will not be a successful effort to control the deliberate abuses of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution by a surveillance state; there will not be corrective actions to reverse the pervasive racism of this nation, there will be no corrective action on the proliferation of discriminatory voter identification laws, the endless and territorial limitless war on terror, including the violation of sovereignty by our illegal use of drones; there will not be any attempt to control a defence industry that markets 50 percent of the world’s arms and whose best interests are served by continued warfare. We accept that a habitual thought process is comfortable, but when it comes to our “democracy,” we cannot accept that it is productive, ethical, or anything but insane.”

Phew!

That was from an editorial written by Roger deRoos, recently deceased. It was only two sentences, believe it or not, but there’s a headful of thinking there; if you’re so inclined. However, one of the nice things about getting out and about on a boat is that you can easily immerse yourself in the moment and leave all the shore shit and heavy thinking behind. We’re here because we’re not all there! And that’s the whole point.

On the Trans-Atlantic Single-handed race Mr Owen Smithers has been disqualified for using both hands.”……Heiki Luoma

Keep On Slugging, the steady slime will get you there.

Keep On Slugging, the steady slime will get you there.

SOUTH

Off to Mexico! Sandhill Cranes are migrating southwards by the hundreds

Off to Mexico!
Sandhill Cranes are migrating southward by the hundreds.

September 13th ; already! It has already been fourteen years since we were staggering in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. Time flies, whether you’re having fun or not. There are teenagers starting high school this month who were then yet to be born and are now thinking about what sort of first car they might have. (Well, George Bush said to go shopping!) It seems we’ve learned nothing from those dark days except to be permanently afraid. The news has not really changed much. So seize the moment, it’s all we have.

Here in the remote archipelago where I live, the only radio available is good old CBC. They are the masters of tedium and nonsensical mindless interviews. While they do manage to produce the odd nugget from within their manure pile of rhetoric, one is soon wearied of incessant coverage of the same subject. Having already gone on for too many months, the primary babble is about the upcoming federal election, yet another damned month away. It has been dissected every possible way. That topic has now been dread-locked in with the Syrian refugee crisis. CBC’s undying, numbing perspectives are guaranteed to eventually harden even the softest heart.

All of the above has been interspersed this past week with a sudden zeal of reporting about sex education within the public school system. CBC has managed to turn even that subject into something as arousing as calculus. Their reports, interviews and forums are endless. It used to be such a tender subject. Openness is one thing. Desensitizing folks to their children’s interest in their own human biology is yet another. Allegedly some of those unborn of 9/11 are now already hardened porn viewers before they’ve left grade school. It is certainly a long way since I reviewed the woman’s underwear section in the Sears catalogue under the covers with a flashlight. Ah c’mon. Admit it! Yes, some of you did it too. That aside, CBC often manages to neither inform nor entertain although the occasional report of a beaver flooding a road is rather uplifting and, at least, real news.

An old buddy drops in. Rick drops in as the pilot of this Kamov 32. Russian-built, it is an incredible heavy-lift helicopter.

An old buddy drops in.
Rick drops in as the pilot of this Kamov 32. Russian-built, it is an incredible heavy-lift helicopter.

We’re still a week away from the calendar end of summer but clearly winter is approaching with a vengeance. The signs are clear. In a region that often only knows two seasons, we’ve already had two winter-class storms. The numbers of gringo boats are dwindling at the docks. The ones here now are southbound from a whole summer somewhere north. Many of those are lovely seaworthy boats skippered by people who are serious mariners instead of the white-knuckled weekend warriors in their Tupperware look-at-me bobbers.

Good enough! Definitely not Tupperware. A home-made console and who the hell needs two axles on a boat trailer? We're not going far anyway.

Good enough! Definitely not Tupperware. A home-made helm. And who the hell needs two axles on a boat trailer? We’re not going far anyway.

Now a motley gaggle of gill-netters clings to the dock , rafted six abreast at times, in hope of another fishing opening or two. Locals call this the “Stamp” fishery. If these fishermen can put in enough weeks trying to catch some fish, which involves endless waiting for another DFO opening of a few hours, then they qualify for employment insurance benefits to carry them through to next year. Judging by the obvious lack of maintenance on many of their boats, (Not all) these fellows are desperately impoverished. They are certainly not short of time to work on their boats although even scrubbing the decks seems too much for them. Yet they always have beer and cigarettes and often party into the wee hours of the night, waking up those of us who go to work in the morning. They don’t pay moorage, but do certainly contribute to the local economy in the pub and the liquor store which is why they’re tolerated but they’ll soon move on. Now the seine boats are showing up, to clean up the fish the gillnetters miss.

Waiting...and waiting. This photo was taken in July, some of these boats are stiil here.

Waiting…and waiting.
This photo was taken in July, some of these gillnetters are stiil here.

In the small lagoon where I am moored a school of Coho have circled relentlessly for the past week, apparently intent on somehow spawning in a culvert discharging fresh water several feet above the sea. Their condition is deteriorating visibly as nature takes its inevitable course. This is not where their life cycle began, their presence is a mystery to me.

The sky is now regularly dotted with flocks of cranes flying southward. Their wonderful resonant rattling calls are a haunting sound. These birds can stand four feet tall and have wingspans over six feet. They migrate from as far as Eastern Siberia to the American Southwest and Northern Mexico. Damn their beaks!

Spread your wings. we'll see you down south dude!

Spread your wings.
We’ll see you down south dude!

I’ve spotted several pair here during the summer. They’re furtive and damned hard to photograph. They circle and whoop to others resting in the local bogs but always they wing on out of sight as if following invisible lanes in the sky. Interestingly, they fly the same headings as the jets passing far above them. Some fly so high they are barely visible, others pass low enough so that you can clearly see them. Yesterday, several dozen circled and called while the sun glinted on their massive, powerful wings. They stir urges in me which can be simply expressed. South!

The cabin from whence my Seafire blogs flow.

The cabin from whence my Seafire blogs flow.

The cabin of a small yacht is truly a wonderful thing; not only will it shelter you from a tempest, but from the other troubles in life, it is a safe retreat.”

– L. Francis Herroshoff

Here are the photos I promised in my last blog.

Fungi Gigantis. This old fungus growths are huge.

Fungi Gigantis.
These old fungus growths are huge.

Don't stand still... something g will start growing on you!

Don’t stand still… something will start growing on you!

Seafire in heaven. Cultus Sound anchorage

Seafire in heaven.
Cultus Sound anchorage

This gang of ravens followed me everywhere I hiked. Their aerobatic skills and amazing vocabulary kept me spellbound

This gang of ravens followed me everywhere I hiked. Their aerobatic skills and amazing vocabulary kept me spellbound

A Stellar encounter. This Stellar Jay harrassed me until I pointed my camera and took this one shot

A Stellar encounter. This Stellar Jay harrassed me this closely until I pointed my camera and grabbed this one shot

There's no shell like an old shell

There’s no shell like an old shell

Out of the jungle and down to the sea. A secret bay with a hidden entrance

Out of the jungle and down to the sea. A secret bay with a hidden entrance

A jewel in the sand. Worn abalone shell

A jewel in the sand.
Worn abalone shell

Hanging in there. Bull Kelp and cedar snag

Hanging in there.
Bull Kelp and cedar snag

Think green. Moss and witches hair on a Spruce limb

Think green. Moss and witches hair on a Spruce limb

Lush Life. Wandering out of the forest on Gosling Island

Lush Life.
Wandering out of the forest on Gosling Island

Lion's Mane jelly fish. It's sting is vicious

Lion’s Mane jelly fish.
It’s sting is vicious

Colour on a grey day. Wild peas growing in the beach sand in the Goose Group

Colour on a grey day.
Wild peas growing in the beach sand in the Goose Group

Out of the rock grows a forest. A fresh perspective on the meaning of life.

Out of the rock grows a forest. A fresh perspective on the meaning of life.

I'd see a doctor about that! The old tree is about three feet in diameter. Grow baby, grow!

I’d see a doctor about that! The old tree is about three feet in diameter. Grow baby, grow!

There's always another corner to explore. What a place to visit. I'll be back to the Goose Group.

There’s always another corner to explore. What a place to visit. I’ll be back to the Goose Group.

Wolf tracks for company. What a wonderful thing to see these fresh paw prints.

Wolf tracks for company.
What a wonderful thing to see these fresh paw prints.

Bubbles in the sand. sung to the tune of "Strangers in the night".

Bubbles in the sand. Sung to the tune of “Strangers in the night”.

Happy feet. Gull tracks in the sand

Happy feet.
Gull tracks in the sand

A gentle dawn. Labour Day sunrise, Gosling Island

A gentle dawn. Labour Day sunrise, Gosling Island

A perfect arrangement. The beauty everywhere is amazing

A perfect arrangement.
The beauty everywhere is amazing

And so I moved on, my tracks being erased behind me.

And so I moved on, my tracks soon erased behind me.

 

Götterdämmerung

It means twilight. The title that is. A new word for me, found in the English dictionary while looking up another definition, it describes the situation I find myself in here. Daylight is shortening dramatically, autumn rains have set in with a vengeance. Summer and my aching old bones are both in twilight. An e-mail from a cousin in England described someone as being a “two-faced wazzack” my grasp of British slang is increased. It’s another word for idiot and can go on the shelf beside pillock and git. I wonder if the term doesn’t describe me, loving the territory here and aching for the embrace of southern climates.

Looking back from Goose Island Anchorage to a bleak sunrise over mainland Canada and the islands that line its foreshore.

Looking back from Goose Island Anchorage to a bleak sunrise over mainland Canada and the islands that line its foreshore.

The seasons have turned. Now the rain comes incessantly, sometimes horizontally. A horrific weather system passed through recently with walls of blasting rain and waterspouts that flipped over dinghies and created general havoc. Even when the sun appears, there can be penetrating rain showers every few minutes. The streams roar constantly and it is part of the cycle which allows salmon access to their home waters where they will spawn and die. Bears and wolves will gorge on the fish in preparation for the long, long winter ahead. This morning a dank fog holds the world in it’s penetrating grip. Summer is over here, winter is coming.

Things that go bump in the night. From a distance it first appeared to be a shipwreck. The blue barrels are part of the massive amount of plastic flotsam found everywhere along the open coast.

Things that go bump in the night. From a distance it first appeared to be a shipwreck. The blue barrels are part of the massive amount of plastic flotsam found everywhere along the open coast.

Rosie the dog disappeared two days ago. Her owner had taken his small tug north to a job in a place called Butedale. He’s been gone for about a week. The general assumption was that Rosie had wandered off looking for him. As it turns out, perhaps she had. Rosie had got herself aboard a local water taxi southbound for Rivers Inlet. There was a load of school children going south and Rosie joined their company and that of another dog. A telephone conversation with the skipper finally revealed, casually, what had happened to her but not until the whole community began a quest. Posters appeared all over and folks took time out to literally go and beat the bushes. It is uplifting to see an entire population actively concerned about one dog.

Rosie’s master, unwilling to leave her in the company of anyone so unconscionable, made the long trip south to retrieve her. When that water taxi returns home, there may be some interesting confrontations about the abduction of Rosie.

Skoiern, a gorgeous wooden Bermuda-rigged ketch appeared in Shearwater. What a boat! Registered to Marseilles France, she was built in Norway and launched in 1918. She is over 54 feet in length overall, draws almost 9 feet, displaces 24 tons.

The real thing!

The real thing!

and romps all over the world with good old-fashioned tiller steering. She’s not glitzy, just all business. She’s very, very salty. The man and wife crew are charming people, speak several languages and are now bound for the vessel’s 100th birthday in Norway; via Chile! Typing in the vessel’s name will produce several sites on the internet. Their personal website is simply Skoiern.com. What a treat to see the real thing and to have an affirmation that dreams can be realized. Imagine this, she’s had the same owner for 35 years. Wow!

All that boat, with tiller steering! A vessel for real sailors!

All that boat, with tiller steering! A vessel for real sailors!

What a gorgeous bow! Like any good boat, Skoiern is pretty from all angles.

What a gorgeous bow!
Like any good boat, Skoiern is pretty from all angles.

Now I’m writing from a place I’ve dreamed of visiting for a very long time. It is Saturday morning at 11 am on September 5th. The anchor has just been set in twenty-five feet of water in Goose Island Anchorage. I spent last night anchored in a lovely tidal pass by Latta Island. (It seems that every nook, rock, bump and passage has been named, there’s even a Seafire Island nearby at the mouth of Kildidt Lagoon) Up at first light, I photographed a brassy sunrise which followed a brilliant sun dog in last evening’s sunset. The forecast and barometer confirmed deteriorating weather with winds to 30 knots on their way today.

Gosling Island, Goose Group. Empty white sand beaches in all directions.

Gosling Island, Goose Group. Empty white sand beaches in all directions.

I'm watching you! A comic-looking driftwood log.

I’m watching you! A comic-looking driftwood log.

Mick Jaeger's false teeth.  A chiton's shell. A chiton is one of the planet's oldest animals, unchanged in millions of years.

Mick Jaeger’s false teeth.
A chiton’s shell. A chiton is one of the planet’s oldest animals, unchanged in millions of years.

I weighed anchor and heated a cup of coffee in the boat’s microwave. That in turn scrambled the brain of my onboard inverter. (I like to call it a perverter) It is a device which converts 12 volt DC power to 120 volt AC so I can run things like power tools and microwaves. My battery banks are old and tired and the inverter drained them almost instantly. Fortunately the engine was already running but it took some loud cursing and frantic switch-flipping to get all systems back on line and charging. All the while I was thinking that my long-planned weekend was finished almost before it had started. All’s well that ends and I have had fair warning that yet another major boat expense is imminent. (I’ll bet they don’t have this sort of crap installed aboard Skoiern)

Lowering sky, rising tide. The anchorage at Goose Island.

Lowering sky, rising tide.
The anchorage at Goose Island.

The crossing of Queens Sound (See! They were gay folks even back when they charted these waters….such respect!) took two hours to cross the thirteen and a half miles. Not bad! The weather went to hell. I let the anchor down just as a heavy horizontal rain began. I am now surrounded by broad white sand beaches which are punctuated with beautiful tree-studded islets. Hopefully the weather and the light will improve to allow some acceptable photos. Mainland Canada and its archipelago necklace have disappeared in the gloom to the east. I have this place all to myself. I’ll try to savour the solitude but damn! I am weary of discovering new wonders all on my own. Somewhere in the back of my head I can hear the twangy female voice of a country singer drawling out “Make the world go away.” Yassuh, I knows dat feelin’. Now I’ll go have a nap and then see what the Gods have in store.

Goose Island, wonderful sands, clear water, total solitude.

Goose Island, wonderful sands, clear water, total solitude.

Wolf tracks in the sand

Wolf tracks in the sand

If they were fresher, these tracks would still have the critters standing in them

If they were fresher, these tracks would still have the critters standing in them

Saturday evening, Goose Island Anchorage. This place is breath-taking, even on a gloomy day. Apart from the ubiquitous plastic flotsam dotting the beaches there is little sign of modern human presence. The forest here has clearly not known the demon scream of chainsaws and it is easy to imagine this group of islands as they have been for millenniums. All the summer nature lovers have gone back to their cities and will not know the timeless cold slanting rain and the howling wind which is singing in my rigging as I write. (The new wiring in the mast is not slapping about like the old stuff did. What peace!) The sky lowered as the seas rose and I had a difficult time taking photographs in the dull light but there will be enough to convey the feeling of this place.

A wolf's view of the beach

A wolf’s view of the beach

Coastal rainforest the way it always was

Coastal rainforest the way it always was

Flashes of white surf against a distant black reef were the only thing I saw as I looked for other boats throughout the day. At nine pm it is pitch dark and I am utterly alone but not lonely as I am in Shearwater surrounded by the truck and commerce of folks making money and spending it. Sunday morning was released by the night reluctantly and although the wind is calm the boat rolls anxiously in a swell. That is a harbinger of an approaching storm and I shall cross back to the mainland side of the sound so I can be sure to be back at work on Tuesday. Wazzack! Clumps of cloud cling to the peaks of the shore. The weather is not going to be pleasant. First I take a final trip ashore to wander the beach again as the tide falls. Perhaps there will be a few more photos in the dull light.

Seagull dance steps

Seagull dance steps

Wolf Tracks! Fresh ones, a pair have been here, minutes earlier. They criss-cross on top of the remains of my footprints from last evening and seem to follow the path I took, although now long erased by the tide. To actually glimpse a wolf is such a fleeting moment, always as if imaginary. These tracks are tangible, real evidence of these wonderful creatures and I thrill as I realize that they may well be watching me while I take photos of their spore. My day, yes, the whole weekend, has been blessed by this simple evidence.

Moon Jelly Fish, about 8" in diameter. Yes, they provide a very nasty sting.

Moon Jelly Fish, about 8″ in diameter. Yes, they provide a very nasty sting.

The short return crossing of Queens Sound was across a rising beam swell but as usual, the call of the open sea had me wanting to turn southward and seek my fortune over the horizon. There was a spout and flash of a Humpback’s tail a half-mile away, that sight yet another fleeting gift to be savoured in days ahead. Its massive black back appeared once more as it sounded and then twenty minutes later a final spout of vapour now far away. The sight of these massive creatures, second largest on the planet, who appear and vanish so mysteriously, is always a wonderful gift. The coastline here is a labyrinth of bays, inlets and passages, rocks, reefs, a tree-studded mystery of pinnacles, mountains cloud and fog. Even when close to the entrance of a pass or sound, it may require an intense effort of pilotage to find a safe entry. There are few lights for reference and to make one’s way accurately is no casual endeavour. The very thought of approaching this deadly shoreline in the dark leaves me with a lump in my belly. Once again, my thoughts go to the early explorers in their ungainly vessels and how any of them survived the perils of this place. Then my thoughts stray to the natives who plied these waters in dugout canoes. I peruse my intricately marked chart and compare it to my GPS plotter and feel very humble indeed.

Find the entrance to the sound. A challenge even on a good day.

Find the entrance to the sound. A challenge even on a good day.

Once safely inside the entrance to Cultus Sound I find a beautiful un-named bay with a broad sandy beach. The lure of it is irresistible. I drop the anchor. A short hike on a very rugged trail through massive, untouched timber brings me to another beach on a hidden nameless bay. Stellar jays and ravens mark my progress with raucous calls. The trail, and some discreet campsites betray regular visits to this sacred place and I feel privileged to be here. I cannot, however, use the word pristine. Sadly, as ubiquitous as the driftwood which lines our shores, one cannot go anywhere without finding plastic flotsam. It is everywhere. Bags, shoes, fridges, pipes, floats, bottles, rope, nets, barrels; it is endless. Some day archeologists will refer to our time in history as the polyethylene age. What a sad legacy!

Plastic, bloody plastic everywhere. Somebody has tried to collect some of it here... a hopeless task.

Plastic, bloody plastic everywhere. Somebody has tried to collect some of it here… a hopeless task.

Now it is already Monday morning and a rich, cold drizzle is the measure of the day. It is time to return to the soulless drudgery at Shearwater where I will plot my next escape aboard

It's everywhere!

It’s inescapable!

Junk never-ending. There is no end to it.

Junk never-ending. There is so much you soon don’t see it. Sad huh?

Seafire. Last week the press turned its focus on the plight of the millions of Middle-eastern refugees inundating Europe as if it were something new. It has, in fact, been going on for a long while and how the media adjusts its focus is a mystery to me. One caller to a CBC open-forum pointed out that it was our military aircraft dropping bombs in places like Syria that was helping to drive these souls out of their homelands. And now we wring our hands in token sympathy. Meanwhile, similar massive holocausts are occurring elsewhere on the planet but they are not “trending.” Our problems are so trivial.

Beach, Fred's Bay. Well...there's no name on the chart!

Beach, Fred’s Bay. Well…there’s no name on the chart!

Monday evening sees me back in my berth at Shearwater.

Lamma Pass, the route home from the south was blocked by a large fleet of gill netters setting their nets at random for miles across the whole pass. Even the ferries were held back while the fishing chaos went on. I chose to slalom between back and forth between the long nets and finally broke free of the maze to the north, probably much to the consternation of the crews. All is well, another week of bilge bliss lays ahead.

BC Ferrie's 'northern Expedition' in her berth at the Bella Bella terminal. she was held there today while a fleet of fishing boats blocked the passage with their gill nets

BC Ferry’s ‘Northern Expedition’ in her berth at the Bella Bella terminal. She was held there today while a fleet of fishing boats blocked the passage with their gill nets.

My next blog will follow shortly and will once again be a simple photo essay of shots selected from all those taken this Labour Day Weekend.

South, think south.

South, think south.

Here are a few quotes from comedian Steve Wright:

-“I’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.”

– “A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.”

-” If you want a rainbow, you’ve got to put up with the rain.”

-”All those who believe in psycho kinesis, raise my hand.”

-”Experience is something you get just after you need it.”

-”A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.”