Unfinished Business

A November view toward Canada over the dock in Bella Bella. Note that there are no kids swimming nw!
A November view toward Canada over the dock in Bella Bella. Note that there are no kids swimming now!

My time in Shearwater is coming to an end. This may be the last blog I post from here. By mid-December old ‘Seafire’ and I will be making our way south to whatever lays ahead. Of course I’m waiting for some really heavy weather to make the trip. There’s little drama with fair weather. I may still not be home to Ladysmith for Christmas if I flounder into a typical winter weather system. In my tugboat days, I’ve waited in one spot for up to two weeks. I’m sure the trip southward will provide some interesting material for a future blog, one way or the other.

"Heckle? No, I'm Jeckle! These Bella Bella crows will raid your grocery bags on the water taxi dock...right under your feet!
“Heckle? No, I’m Jeckle!
These Bella Bella crows will raid your grocery bags on the water taxi dock…right under your feet!

Things just haven’t worked out for me here. I didn’t amass the funds I had hoped to; in fact I’m further behind financially than when I arrived. I can’t say that I’ve discovered any other good reason for having come here, perhaps that will be revealed in the future. Life is like that. A rear view is often very clear but for the moment I have a sense of unfinished business. I don’t know what it is. That aside, recently the weather has turned cold, clear, and calm. There’s been no rain for a week! If a stormy winter night is an adventure, a dead-calm darkness of nearly fifteen hours is an ordeal. Staying warm is a challenge and condensation inside the boat is an eternal battle.

Where have all the gringos gone? The Shearwater transient dock requires no reservations these days.
Where have all the gringos gone?
The Shearwater transient dock requires no reservations these days.

Certainly, the notion of leaving a job to go into a situation with no money and no prospects seems suicidal and it will be a challenging time. I’m not expecting any warmth or fuzziness for a while. These thoughts are punctuated by photos emailed by friends in Mexico.

The Frosty Dock. when the sun is out, it's always in your eyes and it is no warmer.
The Frosty Dock.
When the sun is out, it’s always in your eyes and it is no warmer. ‘Seafire’ whispers “South, let’s go south.”

 

. I recently read that the pursuit of happiness should be secondary to the happiness of pursuit. We’ll see. Certainly it is up to me whether my life is an ordeal or an adventure. There is not much to write about when life is a daily grind of dreary work and long, lonely evenings. The boat is ready to go, I just need a couple more pay cheques before I can untie and sail away. This is the same country which had me spellbound during the summer months but there is something about winter which brings on a profound loneliness and depression. Certainly there are some folks left here who have not already gone south. They live their lives one way or the other. I am not prepared to socialize in the local pub and so here I sit poking away at my laptop alone in the night. Stay tuned, more to come.

Heiltsuk Dawn. Wet with melted frost this totem pole commands the Shearwater foreshore
Heiltsuk Dawn.
Wet with melted frost this totem pole commands the Shearwater foreshore.
The Barnacle Express. Is it a bridge? A cattle trailer? A what? A boat trailer! This innovative locally-built trailer was salvaged fro the ocean floor where it has sat for the past year.
The Barnacle Express.
Is it a bridge? A cattle wagon? A what? A boat trailer! This innovative locally-built trailer was salvaged from the ocean floor where it has sat for the past year.
A chance to go back in time when I was a tugboater. On the way to drag up the trailer. Bella Bella in the background.
A chance to go back in time to when I was a tugboater. We’re on the way to drag up the trailer. Bella Bella in the background. Note the natural open bog in  the distance on Campbell island.

 

He said, " I'd love to swim in your ocean." She said, "You'll have to settle for Pool 13." A mysterious Department of Fisheries decal, circa 1998.
He said, ” I’d love to swim in your ocean.”
She said, “You’ll have to settle for Pool 13.”
A mysterious Department of Fisheries decal, circa 1998.
Bogtrotter's Lane This corduroy road was built across this Denny Island swamp during WWII. It is a testament to the durability of Yellow Cedar, also known as Cypress.
Bogtrotter’s Lane
A corduroy road was built as a jeep trail across this Denny Island swamp during WWII. It is a testament to the durability of Yellow Cedar, also known as Cypress.
WWII happened here! A 70 year old roll of concertina wire in the bog marks the former camp perimeter. would it have delayed a horde of Japanese infantry attacking the air base?
WWII happened here! A 70 year old roll of concertina wire in the bog marks the former camp perimeter. Would it have delayed a horde of Japanese infantry attacking the air base?
Welcome To De Swamp! Hundreds of hectares of the Great Bear Rainforest are open swamp and bog, even on steep slopes. With solid granite beneath, there is inadequate drainage or topsoil for the rainforest to grow. These open, wet areas are important ecosystems and wildlife habitat. Here there were calls of ravens all around but none to be seen.
Welcome To De Swamp!
Hundreds of hectares of the Great Bear Rainforest are open swamp and bog, even on steep slopes. With solid granite beneath, there is inadequate drainage or topsoil for the rainforest to grow. These open, wet areas are important ecosystems and wildlife habitat. Here there were calls of ravens all around but not a one to be seen.
All is calm, all is bright. Whiskey Cove on a rare clear November afternoon. The gorgeous and famous old tug, 'Charles Cates' is careened high and dry at the head of thee jetty.
All is calm, all is bright.
Whiskey Cove on a rare clear November afternoon. The gorgeous and famous old tug, ‘Charles Cates’ is careened high and dry at the head of thee jetty.
Murphy knows! The mascot of the Hodge Podge store in Shearwater seems to know I'm leaving. I'll miss him.
Murphy knows!
The mascot of the Hodge Podge store in Shearwater seems to know I’m leaving. I’ll miss him.

I won’t belong to any organization that would have me as a member.”

…..Groucho Marx

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

7 thoughts on “Unfinished Business”

  1. Good luck on the voyage south! I’m going to miss all the great photos from the area – brings back great memories.
    Let me know when you get back home. I’m itching to get over to the Island for a visit if I get a long enough layover in YVR.
    Fair winds!

    1. Chuck;
      Nope, that’s it. How she ended up here and who owns her now is a mystery to me.
      Seems odd, doesn’t it? If I find anything out, I’ll put it up in a blog.
      Best, Fred

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.