Monthly Archives: August 2017

The Wharfinger’s Zuchinni

“Just walk on by and take that floppy-eared, skinny-flippered creature with you. Jack is fascinated with the temerity of these seals.

Suddenly the evenings are noticeably shorter; and cooler. The morning light comes a little later each day. A few days ago we had a lovely warm rain. After our dry smokey weather it felt grand. That is despite all the wetness of Shearwater which I’ve sworn I was so fed up with. The crickets chirped on through the downpour just as they do now that it has dried again. Suddenly we’re in mid-summer. There is a mild sense of the distant yet approaching winter. We savour the beauty of each day, and it’s fading flowers, knowing nothing is forever. Part of the fascination is knowing how fleeting the moment is.

On the morning tide. This derelict, capsized sloop was towed in to the boat ramp during the night. It was later dragged ashore and put on a trailer. Hopefully it will sail again some day.

Drifting and dreaming. a long passage northward with smoke obscuring the horizon.I passed this beautiful boat while delivering another vessel to a shipyard in Campbell River.

The Dream. A soft focus image to portray the sense of glassy water and low visibility.

Crossing The Bar. Northbound from Comox requires a circuitous route across a shallow bar and around Cape Lazo. There’s a sailboat ahead on the starboard bow.

Fishing for pinks. It is a time of harvest and bounty. Coho salmon are spawning and provide feisty sport for fly fishermen. They’re out there in their chest waders from first light to last.

Crows in a weeping willow. Their dry rasping calls are an anthem of midsummer.

Look up. A view from my table in the pub.

Ah summer! The Blackfin Pub in Comox has an amazing panoramic view.

There is an abundance of fresh produce. Even the wharfinger’s flower box has a tumbling wealth of vegetables. The tomatoes are ripening and the zuchinni is ready. Happily adopting the lazy spirit of the season I’m posting this blog as a photo essay. See you at the beach. I’ll be under the Corona umbrella.

The Wharfinger’s Zuchinni

Coming down. What better way to chill out in the evening than a flight in a home-built Sopwith Camel replica?

Jack and Fred row back from the beach. Jill took this shot of us returning from our dawn patrol.

Jack and Jill on the beach at low tide.

Jack’s Bliss. A tidal pool is all he needs for day-long self amusement.

I can’t get enough. the views on the sandy northern tip of Denman Island amaze me.

Beach Apples
This old apple tree, rooted in sand, manages to still bear fruit!

 “A little bit of summer is what the whole year is all about.”
John Mayer

Smokin’ Hot

Summer of the red sun

At first light the air was cool, pure and sweet. There was a brown pall over Vancouver. I assumed it was smog. By mid-morning a high, thick overcast covered the sky. One could smell smoke. The gloom was cast out from the forest fires burning in the interior of the province. Late afternoon was airless, the sun’s heat was fantastic and oppressive. I recalled cruel children cremating live insects under a magnifying glass. For a moment I felt a sense of smallness. I recalled when, as a young man working in the woods, I would be summoned to fight forest fires. The incredible heat, the smoke, the ash, the spark-laden dust, the long days, the weariness and thirst, the harsh din of machinery I drove, snatched moments of dreamless sleep during the dark hours and the fatigue in rising at first light to do it all over again. I feel that fatigue now but it is because I’m older and perhaps because I worked too hard when I was younger.

Night after night, the same smokey red sunsets.

Comox Glacier.
Before the smoke. Somehow the sight of all that snow and ice has a cooling effect.

The same view with smoke. The bird is a purple martin.

I’m on my first time-off from my new job. I’ve commuted home for two days from Comox and don’t feel at all like going back to work. I’ll return in a few hours so I’ll be there in the morning. In my younger years I’d just get up earlier and put in a full day once I arrived. My doctor shakes his head at my determination to keep on chasing an income despite his advise otherwise. Poverty is a hard master. You don’t hang up your debts, or dreams, just because you’ve reached a certain age. I drive north squinting into a copper sun. A fire has broken out up-island near Nimpkish Lake and the smoke mixes with the general funk already filling the sky. I can smell and taste it. It is only the first of August and we could have three months of volatile fire season ahead. We were all dismayed at the long wet winter and spring, it seemed that it had been wet and miserable forever. That seems a distant memory now.

The summer wears on. At 0:600 this the morning the thermometer reads 17 degrees. It feels chilly! The forecast temperature will double later today. In Mexico this weather is what a person goes to enjoy. Working in it at home is an entirely different situation. In the afternoon the sound of singing and chanting carried in from the bay. Eventually over two dozen native canoes passed up into the mouth of the Courtenay River. It was part of an annual event called ‘Tribal Journeys’. Canoes from Puget Sound and southern regions are making their way north in an armada that may have up to 2500 participants. It looked like thirsty work, all that paddling and chanting and drumming. I found the sight and sound of it all quite uplifting. I hope the builders and paddlers of the canoes find empowerment and pride in their grand adventure.

A haunting sight and sound of a native canoe filled with chanting paddlers.

Coastal cruising the old way

Honest Joe’s Used Canoes
Part of the armada lines the shoreline, in the background there was drumming and singing..

Team work.
Finding the log, building the canoe, paddling it… no place for personal ego.

Old Copper Eye
Nobody’s average garden gnome

Two days later, before the sun had risen, in the smokey first light, songs and chants carried across the water. Silhouettes of the canoe flotilla appeared and then faded into the blur of dawn as their journey northward continued.

How’d he get that boat up there? An iconic Comox waterfront novelty for decades, the owner, builder, designer and resident of this boat lives a simple lifestyle in the face of modern sensibilities.

The Fugitive. Note the name of the boat beneath the questing contrails overhead.

Edgar?
For a moment it seemed that perhaps the totem eagle from Shearwater had found me.

Dog patch dawn. Ladysmith.
Smokey sunrises are part of life on the island…for the moment.

A dog day dawn. Another hot day ahead on the docks in Comox.

The Race. Sailing school on a perfect afternoon before the smoke came.

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

John Lubbock, The Use Of Life