In Summary: The weather is relentless, Trump is in, Cohen is dead, the tug is still on the bottom out in Seaforth Channel. Remembrance Day has passed and I want to forget it all. It has been almost a month since Thursday, October 13th when the ‘Nathan E. Stewart’ rammed itself and an oil barge onto Gale Reef. It has been a long month.
Last Monday morning was one sleep before the US election. It was the first work day after the time was turned back from daylight savings. At 07:30 there was only a grudging yielding of darkness. I could faintly see the silhouette of treetops against the sky. The clouds were dribbling spastically between full deluges and there was a high wind warning up again. Bursts of that coming storm tested again for weak spots where the main force could rip and pry and tear a little more. The weather is expected to ease sometime in March.
Sunday, the day before was clear, calm and warm, a wonderful respite to punctuate all the heavy weather. Perhaps it was arranged by the federal government. Our transport minister Marc Garneau, was here to look at our infamous diesel spill now three weeks old. There has been some indignation that Prime Minister Trudeau himself has not appeared. That night a gravel barge north of Klemtu flipped over and sank. There is little environmental impact, but the potential danger of marine traffic in the inside passage is underscored. Interestingly, a story comes on the radio as I wrote this, that the volume of of the spill is 110,000 litres, not the 200,000 plus litres as previously reported. There is no explanation, no apology. In the week before the media announced the discovery of a “Nuclear Bomb” in the waters near Haida Gwaii. Despite soon conceding that “Bomb” was a dummy weapon used on a training mission, headliners as far away as the BBC insist on referring to this story as one about a “Nuclear Bomb.”
I understand US politics even less than those Canadian. Both candidates provided clown acts with no parallel and I, for one, am happy that circus is finally over. A new one begins.
I wonder darkly about millions of people who wilfully elected an arrogant hateful clown who is a self-avowed maniac. It’s not the man so much as the country which elected him. Trump is merely a symptom of a woefully sick culture. Sadly, the 18,000,000 eligible voters who did not vote deserve what they get. They are clearly comfortable with things as they are but then, the defeated candidate, Ms Clinton, offered no more promise than the blather-mouth now swinging into the saddle.
As I write this morning, the weather is still unsettled. It is winter here. There will be a few hours of calm. Hopefully the sunken tug is finally being hoisted today and another wearisome dark drama will begin to wind down.
A week later, not a lot has changed. The weather is the same, the tug is still on the bottom, the world is trying to reassure itself that Donald Trump is the best choice and will be the saviour of the American world. Now the post mortem of the US election is revealing what a pathetic person Hilary Clinton is. Of course she is; she’s a politician. Damned media! A week ago it was bleating how she was the only logical choice. I’m actually finding a little comfort in being hidden away in this dark, dripping, wind-blasted jungle.
One raging night this past week one man’s floathouse was torn from it’s moorings and flung up on a beach a couple of miles away. The bobbing abode is back in it’s place and all’s well that ends.
Violent winds continue and two storms were notable because of their violent gusts. A brief lull would be followed by a vicious slam much like being hit by a truck. Sleep aboard becomes impossible. Several times, these cannon blasts had me certain the boat and the dock had exploded. Weary after several nights of slam-dancing I plod through the puddles and mud to another long day at work. There are water spouts racing the length of the bay and the docks are beginning to tear apart.
At the head of my dock is a huge work area, used for storage and various industries. In the frantic efforts to attend the needs of the sunken tug, our freight barge off-loaded a cargo of morts. These are dead fish from local salmon farms being shipped south for processing into something useful. They are stored in large plastic boxes known as “Totes.”
The totes have now sat with their fermenting contents for a few weeks. The swirling wind brings some very unsavoury aromas, an oily sewerific tang filters through the thrashing tree tops. Some folks don’t want any more fuel barges; maybe we could start burning fish oil.
Friends from Victoria are heading up into the South Atlantic on their sailboat. (See my link to Sage On Sail in the side bar) They turned back to Simons Town In South Africa with engine problems and I’ve been trying to help with suggestions by e-mail from half a planet away. That in itself seems strange to me. I’ve had no news from them recently and am assuming that is good news. I hope they’ve grabbed a weather window and are on their way to Saint Helena. Wherever they may be, my heart is with them.
Lenard Cohen died on November 10th and I suddenly realised how I love so much of his work. Oddly, he released his last album only a month ago. A line from one of those songs where he says, “Lord I’m ready.” That was shivery stuff. Then I heard a recording of him reading “In Flander’s Fields.” Wow! Suddenly it was again the poignant work it should be. Chastised for not attending the local remembrance day ceremony, I was inspired to write a new poem. It says that while we remember our war dead we forget that there are also fates far worse than death. There are thousands of veterans, both military and civilian, who endure a horrific daily nightmare in the aftermath of their war experience. We choose to ignore them.
Back on the subject of funky environments and the arts of forgetting, here is a local anecdote. I was doing some engine work on a fishboat. The deckhand has been living aboard. I finally told him that I could no longer endure the stench of dope smoke in the boat. He replied: “Man I’m not smoking pot. I can’t. My pipe’s plugged solid!”
Tonight as I write, it is November 14th. Finally! The sunken tug was raised this afternoon, 32 days after it sank. I know nothing about recovering sunken vessels, but considering our ongoing weather it is a job well done. At present, our November full moon is being called a “Super Moon.” The last time the moon orbited this close to earth was in 1948, the next time will be in 2034. With that lunar event came extremely high and low tides. Combining those extreme tides and currents with violent winds has made the salvage operation extremely challenging.
Certainly there are no closed books. There will be months of clean-up and biological evaluation. Then years of litigation will begin which will involve the local first nations, various government departments, environmentalists and a few others we don’t know about yet. A lot of people have made a lot of money from this misadventure. Some have even earned it. Soon the mass of these characters will go away and leave this dark, dripping web-toed world to a well-deserved long winter sleep.
“The point is that you can’t be too greedy.” Donald Trump