Eagles and Bagpipes

I can’t help myself.  It’s 0600 and “GiderdunII” is loaded up and leaving the harbor and  the kingfisher is busy diving off the spreader. Sideways Sally is sipping coffee in the cockpit with a wee bit of internet and a wee bit of delightful sun peeking over her shoulder.

DSCN3988

Last night was a spectacular mix of visual and audio!!  The bagpiper of Lund graced us for an evening concert from the shore.  Draped in her long kilt with the setting sun reflecting off the greenery she was simply splendid.

DSCN3964

Then the eagles started fishing off the dock next to us, all with the evening sun changing the light every single second.  Sideways Sally had to pinch herself.

DSCN3979 (2)

Look at those tallons!!  SS wished the evening could last forever.  She never wants to leave Lund!!

The shimmering silver diamonds reaching across the water are mesmerizing.

DSCN3984

For those who have never been, it’s a must on the Sunshine Coast.  It is a destination we can’t wait to get to every time we head north.  There’s Nancy’s bakery, Historic Lund Hotel, and a brand new store fully stocked with Native art and clothing and the largest wine selection since Nanaimo.

SS is feeling so grateful and so lucky to be in this place.  There is a calm sense of normalcy about being somewhere so familiar.  There are more than a few characters that hang out here and we’ve gotten to know them.  There’s Charlie, whose long white beard and smiling eyes are welcoming.  Everyone knows him and greets him when he arrives in his skiff from across the water.

There’s an “Ode to Joe” on the bulletin board.  It says “A sailor cannot learn to sail on calm water.”  When OMOO first arrived to Lund almost 10 years ago, Joe caught our lines and said “OMOO, I have that book.”  The Skipper was astonished, no one he’d ever met had heard of OMOO.  Joe told us all about Herman Melville’s second book called OMOO, about a wandering whale.  The first book is “Moby Dick” whom most are familiar with.  “I think I still have the book at home, I’ll look for it for you.”  He also mentioned how much he liked our heavy dock lines, “not like the dental floss some boaters use.”  We got to know Joe that stop over, he spoke 6 or 7 languages and was a jack of all trades.  On subsequent visits he was not around, but the locals told us he’d gone fishing, or was driving the water taxi.

SS soon learned from the current wharfinger that Joe passed away last year from cancer.  It brought tears to her eyes and a lump in her throat.  Joe was as large as life, friendly as the day is long, and full of energy.  SS remarked to the Skipper, “why does cancer get the good guys?”

The truly beautiful life we lead is precious, and tender.  While we have this day, we may not have tomorrow and that is the message from Lund on this stunning morning.

DSCN3986 (2)

The Smaller the Marina the Bigger the Personality

Vananda and no virus!!

Vananda and Texada Boat Club are in the shelter of Stuart Bay on the Northeast end of Texada Island. There are floats secured by anchor out into the small bay for local boaters and visitors. After having a look at the head of the bay for possible anchorage we decided the SE gusts blowing in would not make for a very restful night. We hailed Bob the wharfinger on 66A as we approached the docks and he directed us to help ourselves to the last space at the end of B dock. The visitor dock was already full.

DSCN3860

In the times we’ve spent on the dock in years gone by there was always a lively gathering at the picnic tables under the canopy, flower boxes lining the dock, and a book trading box. This time there was no gathering of the sailors that sought shelter from the snotty weather in Malaspina Strait, social distancing was recommended, and Bob, the harbor master came to the dock wearing a mask. We were impressed since we’ve been running from the virus since March.  The canopy did provide shelter during a downpour, and a lovely view of the rainbow over the marina.

DSCN3858 (2)

The large limestone breakwater looms into the bay, a tidal grid on the low low tide was utilized by our friendly neighbor Darren whom we heard leaving the dock at 5:30 am. He had her half painted by the time I was up and on the dock at 10 am. The little harbor is busier than most at this hour, a trailer pulled by a John Deere tractor put two boats from the hard in the water, three sailboats have left the dock and locals are up and down the ramp with supplies for the weekend, their dogs in tow.

There are signs everywhere that this has been a well utilized harbor for many decades. The cement pilings emerge along the rock wall behind the docks, my favorite part of this quaint bay. Across the water the lime kiln stands against the backdrop of trees, it’s weathered bricks tell a story of industries including mining of iron ore, copper and for the last century, limestone. A floating hospital was moored in Vananda, and the harbor was also the shipping point for illegal alcohol to the United States during prohibition. The remains of a “hooch boiler” can be seen on the beach.

If you talk to the locals, which we do, you find hardworking folks who have made Texada home. A walk up to the village shows the care given to their homes and gardens. Everywhere are blooming rhododendrons, alongside palm trees and roses.

A lady I met on my walk was on two cellphones at the corner and was still there on my return half an hour later. “So this is where you have cell phone service?” I asked. She replied, “No, I’m playing pokemon.” She then invited me to stop off at her pottery shop!?

People who work here get off the rock on their fishing boats, and others come here by sailboats as they pass up and down to and from Desolation Sound and beyond. In the two nights we were on the dock we met an immigrant from Holland, a Doctor from South Africa who worked at the Cancer Clinic in Vancouver, a Coast Guard staff from Victoria who was British, travelling with her companion who was in the navy, and a good ol’ guy from New Brunswick. The Skipper tracked down the connections to this man’s brother-in-law, whom Hershey worked with in the window business in New Brunswick in the 80’s.

DSCN3915 (2)
Mr. Green from New Brunswick

The evening ended with the softest light on the boats and the rock wall.

 

Before we left I took one more walk up the ramp to admire the harbor, the large tide and the limestone breakwater.

We’ll be back Vananda!!

COVID-19 and Summer Sailing 2020

Outrunning the virus…  From the East Coast to the West Coast this Skipper is experienced in dealing with many medical issues.  This summer we’re isolating on OMOO, which is an idyllic way to deal with the pandemic.  It is also not all that different than what we normally love to do.

For all of you that are new to our blog, (which by the way made 437 views in 10 countries last week so THANK YOU!!) the Skipper had spent most of last summer in the hospital with a hole in his upper intestine. It took 6 weeks to find it, repair it, and stabilize him.  Due to having Marfans he  lives with significant medical issues and he’s like a cat with 9 lives,  he’s using his 5th life now.  See post “The Day That Changed my Life.”

Therefore, with COVID-19 we’re super cautious.  His immune system is wrecked, and Sideways Sally is a Psych Nurse who works in Vancouver.  She took 6 months off work to run away from the virus.  This spring he had pneumonia which was not Covid related, and recovered after two rounds of antibiotics.   This explains why we are beyond ecstatic to be back out summer sailing 2020!!

IMG_7699
Long and lanky, great for cleaning the mast!

 

We’re anchored in Garden Bay today which is in Pender Harbor on the Sunshine Coast.

DSCN3831 (2)

 

For those of you reading this from far away lands, it is the West Coast of Canada.  We are on our way to some of the most beautiful cruising sites in the world.  With deep fiords between majestic mountains, plentiful sea life, whales and dolphins, it is paradise.

For this prairie girl, the gardens of Garden Bay and Pender Harbor are exquisite.  I pinch myself every time I’m near a palm tree!!

 

It looks like we’re in for a treat with boat gawking today, which is an amazing activity with front row seats, and we’re almost on the stage!!  The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club outstation is getting ready for Canada Day Shenanigans.  So here’s a toast to the most amazing boat that’s pulled in yet, Lazee Gal.

DSCN3841 (2)
Lazee Gal is a custom 63′ Grenfell motor yacht. Commissioned by a Vancouver businessman in the early 1950’s, Lazee Gal was designed and built by legendary builder Thornton Grenfell.

The working boats of Pender Harbor are intriguing with their fishing, crabbing and prawning gear.  The hard working men and women on these boats come up the ramp, soiled clothes with sweat and saltwater. leaving their vessels for the ravens to invade.

Stay tuned for the CANADA DAY CELEBRATIONS.  We feel honored to sail under this great flag.

DSCN2059
Good friend and crew Barb Christie (2019)

 

 

 

Rescued

 

Leaving Nanaimo via Departure Bay we pulled out the main before heading out between Snake Island and Five Finger Islets.   Winds were forecast at 20 Knots NW so we unfurled the main half way.  On a beam reach, heeling over to starboard we pulled out the jib, also reefed  half way.  OMOO flew across the Salish Sea at 6 – 7 knots.  We learned a long time ago that this Jeanneau 43 sails faster upright, so we tend to set the sails conservatively in strong wind, besides nothing goes flying below decks either!!  Well, only one thing went flying… a hand held vacuum that needs to find a home. (thanks Vic, it works great!)

Sideways Sally was in her happy place, propped up with feet on the center cockpit table, watching for logs and chatting with the skipper.

One tack took us right to Merry Island under sunshine and spray over the bow in just under 4 1/2 hours.  What a great ride for our first long sail of the summer.  Another hour to motor through Welcome Passage and round Grant Island, past Smuggler Cove and into Secret Cove.

 

Tide was low low low as we crept through the entrance and took a right into the south arm of the Cove lined with boat houses and steep stairways to opulent homes on the cliffs overlooking the water.

DSCN3722 (3)
Entrance to Secret Cove

Sideways Sally was sure there was at least three inches to spare under the keel and along the hull.  Careful maneuvering by the Skipper got us through and into the sheltered, shallow bay we now call our 4th home, after Maple Bay, Clam Bay, and Nanaimo Harbor.

Living aboard a boat means we never actually leave home, we take it with us, and these are becoming out most favorite spots to drop the hook.  That is a feeling that is comforting, cozy and exhilarating all at the same time.

The Skipper was very excited to get settled in.  He was orienting himself to the best spot to drop the anchor while SS was on the bow opening the anchor locker and getting the gear ready.  We had 13 feet of water below so only needed to drop 45 feet of chain.  The anchor set as we back up and SS put out our spring line which consists of a hook on a climbing rope.  This was an idea that has worked very well over the years, as the rope can stretch, taking the load off the anchor winch.   The boat started to turn with the current taking us further into the south end of the bay.

It all looked good until SS went back to the cockpit.  Looking over the gunnel there were really pretty shells visible in the mud beside the boat.  Then the boat stopped moving.  “Come out here and have a look.” called SS to the Skipper.  As he crawled out of the cockpit he brought the boat hook out, extended it and SS put it in the water to measure the depth.  Bringing it back up she measured the wet boat hook against herself.  SS is 5’4″, the boat hook was wet up to 4’5″.  OMOO draws 6’5″.

SS has had a re-occuring nightmare ever since she started sailing that she wakes up in an anchorage that has completely drained of water, with the boat lying on it’s side.  This nightmare was about to come true!!

“How about when the tide comes we pull the anchor up and move deeper?”

Before we got completely settled into the mud the Skipper says, “Let’s move NOW!!” The keel and rudder are both sitting on the mud but we hadn’t sunk in yet.  Up came the chain, pulling us out to deeper water where we dropped anchor. Off to deeper water we went.  OMOO was much happier swinging in 13 feet of water.

Now the story gets really interesting.  After a silent, blissful night’s sleep we woke to rain with forecast NW winds, kinda yucky weather for a sail.  “We’re staying put.” decides SS.  Following breaky and more coffee we hear the sound of big engines coming into the bay.

We look out towards the RVYC docks, it’s full of big power yachts, with more arriving.  PARTY TIME!! It’s low low low tide again.  There’s a converted fishing trawler anchored ahead of us, one boat has run aground ahead of her.   It revs and revs it’s engines, not moving.  Finally it’s twisted it’s way off the mud and comes back toward us.  It’s holding it’s place in the water beside us and calls over, “We’re just waiting for the boat at the end of the dock to leave, then we’re heading over there.”  SS calls back, “We’re not worried, just entertained, besides, we did the same thing yesterday!”

DSCN3750
Hanging out in 13′ of water with OMOO

No sooner than SS could get settled back into the cabin, more big engines were revving up.  A huge yacht had left the dock and ran aground in the same spot as we did and the second guy did.  What’s going on??  The Captain of the trawler jumped in his dingy and went over to offer to pull them off.

 

“How’s that gonna work?” SS remarked.  Obviously there was a change of plans.  The yacht twisted it way around, revving the powerful engines until it shot off the mud, straight toward the trawler.  “Watch out for my boat.” yelled the Captain, drowned out by the sound of the motor as the yacht straightened out and crept past our anchored boats.

Down below the Skipper states, “Now this is boating!”

NEVER MIND BEING RESCUED IN BIG SEAS, WE LIKE BEING RESCUED FROM FOUR FEET OF WATER OFF THE MUD!!

(Click on images for headings)

 

 

Sleeping in the rain.

Remember the sound of sleeping in a tent in the rain?  Ahhhh, the fresh smell, the drops come slowly at first, then faster with little rivers  running down the side of the tent.  Then waking up to birds chirping and stepping out into the morning sun.  If you were lucky you had a good tent with a fly, pitched on a small hill, if you weren’t it was a dreadful night in a soggy sleeping bag.

Sideways Sally and the Skipper luv lounging in the cockpit and listening to the sound of the rain on the bimini, especially in an anchorage.  Then falling asleep with the rain hitting the cabin while we’re warm and cozy in our berths.  It puts us right to sleep.

OMOO traveled north to Nanaimo on a rainy day last week, anchored in the harbor close to Mark Bay.  We tucked in beside the marine park, south of the reef adjacent to Newcastle Island and just east of a couple of little sailing dingys on moorings.  No other boats could drop anchor close to us, it was perfect.  We had back row seats to the whole harbor and entertaining it was.

DSCN3655 (2)

Boats came and went to Newcastle, busy busy!!

Just as SS remarked to the Skipper,  nothing can come behind us, we’re too close to the rocks, when SMACK, a Beneteau 50, so big and beautiful ran aground.  I heard it before I saw it, looked up and saw the crew at the bow pointing to the rocks they could see just below the water.  The helmsman must have panicked, he turned the wheel, revved it, and hit again.  Someone came over in a dingy and encouraged them to just sit and wait for the tide to lift the boat.  Very shortly the wind turned the boat around enough that they were able to back off the rock and wind their way backwards through the boats on moorings in the marine park.

SS felt so bad for the Skipper and crew, and even worse for the boat.  What a way to ruin your day, and with the whole bay watching.  UGGG.  She only hopes they did not suffer extensive damage to the keel and hull.

So OMOO is off to Desolation and beyond.  We’re very excited.  If you haven’t bought the June issue of Pacific Yachting yet, borrow one or pick it up to see a bunch of G-Dockers at one of our pot-lucks back in the day when we had no social distancing to worry about.

Luv you all and miss those days.  Stay safe and well.  See you on the flipside!!

 

Weird Wednesday

I’m writing this in advance since Sideways Sally plans to be “gone with the wind and wifi” by Wednesday.   OMOO has been back on G-Dock for a few nights and a few errands.  YEAH for a couple of small G-dock happy hours.  It’s starting to feel a teeny tiny bit normal.  The Skipper has been happily dragged around to visit friends and make a trip or two to town.

The weird part came to mind as Sideways Sally packed in some provisions, and thought about being back on the dock.  Everywhere we went there are three main topics of discussion: the pandemic, the presidency, and the economy.

Being Canadian, Sideways Sally is politically polite when participating in these conversations.  Inside she’s puzzling over the lack of investment she’s willing to put into contributing to the discussions, either online or verbally on the dock.   Now, come to some crazy jokes, and she’s all in.

Our Dutch neighbors were telling us about  “a saying” which does not translate all that well into English, and it started out with comments about when SS would be able to travel by air again to see her much missed kids and grans.  Our other sweet, sweet neighbor chimed in, “Sure hope they aren’t gonna check your temperature while you’re having a hotflash.”  (Meaning the airport screening process)   So  “the box and the envelope” were mentioned, the “loose” translation of the Dutch description of the lady parts.  Sideways Sally didn’t think before speaking, “Just lick it, oh no, wait, we’re not allowed to lick it anymore,”  Covid restrictions!!   Nothing like a good belly laugh!!

SS listens, she really listens to people.  There’s so much anxiety out there, about what’s gonna happen next, how much will our taxes rise to pay for government’s pandemic response?  How many neighbors to the south will sneak across the border, possibly neglecting the quarantine rules?  How long will it take to find a vaccine?  How much will we be set back if there’s another spike and we have to self isolate this winter?

We all wake up to these questions everyday, bombarded by the news and social media with unpleasant images of the protests and violence to the south.  It’s too much, too overwhelming.  It’s taking a huge toll on our mental health, thinking about all these things, talking about big problems, now that we are allowed to get together.

It’s the unknown that is the most stressful for people.  We are planners, we get to “figure it out” most of the time.  Not now though, it’s all a big “WAIT AND SEE.”   SS sees you and hears you, she knows it’s impossible, cause it is.    So here’s a little secret that works.  It’s called “CHUNK IT DOWN.”

It’s too big to think of all these things going on around us.   A friend we visited who overcame life threatening cancer this last year, is putting his heart and soul into creating a garden.  A year ago he never would have thought he’d be doing what he’s doing today.  Not something he’s ever done before, he proudly showed off his raised boxes of lettuce, impossible for the rabbits to get at, and his bucket of worms buried in the ground with holes in it for the worms to crawl through his garden to increase the amount of air and water that gets into the soil, breaking down organic matter, like leaves and grass into things that plants can use.

It’s amazing, and admirable, and awesome.  Life became more precious, more real and more peaceful, all due to a major health crisis.  I’ve watched the Skipper live like this and it’s pure pleasure to be in his company.   There’s not much to get upset about if you may not be alive for long…

This is what we have to look forward to.  This is our job now, to get through this weird, weird time.  We get to do this, we get to learn, we get to love our lives, we get to sort out our priorities.  This is chunking it down.  Before you let yourself get bombarded with the impossible, be gentle on your soul, be gentle to each other, be gracious and grateful.  This weird weird Wednesday, choose one thing to do for someone you love,  and do it well.

Grab a cuppa (as they say in Oz) or a drink of something yummy and come along for a sail AND  a G-Dock Happy Hour!!

 

If I ever get to Heaven…

DSCN3096 (2)

There is a place we call home, and it’s not a fixed latitude or longitude.  OMOO floats with the wind and currents in this unsettled time.  She’s safe and warm, where ever we drop the hook.  We are waiting and watching, what will the world look like in a month, and year, a decade.

Trouble is brewing all around.  The pandemic, civil unrest, crashing markets.  The news is ever changing, and we are a small speck in the big picture.

The focus is on the “Black Lives Matter” movement in the States, brewing over the recent murder of a black man on the street, his life snuffed out in minutes by a Police Officer kneeling on his neck.  We have all seen the video.   One of the many  lives lost in a moment of violence over the last years.  Breonna Taylor, recently shot in her bed,  due to a mistaken address for someone possessing drugs.  A loyal EMT who served her community.  I would never stop seeking justice for her if I lived in that community, that country.  But we are here, in Canada, watching the demise of the greatest democracy in the world.

Numbers of Covid -19, climbing, now compounded by the protests of this tragedy.   Over 2 million today in the USA with over 114 thousand deaths.

OMOO, the Skipper and Sideways Sally are lingering near the border, Boundary Pass is withing reach and we watch and feel the waves from the tankers cruising by, as we seek shelter on this stormy day in Poet’s Cove on South Pender Island.

We came over after 3 nights at anchor to recharge our batteries and wait out a storm that was brewing.  Warm and cozy, we are hooked up to power with our heaters blasting and the electric blanket warming our bed.

We treat ourselves to a meal on land, we are one of six boats on the docks, who would normally be over run with mega yachts from the USA.  On the patio overlooking the pleasant bay we are two of eight people, including the waiters.

How long will it take till people  give up?  How long can people hold on in an economy that thrives on spending spending spending?   Is there a correction happening in the markets?  Is there a revolution happening in the streets?  Is there a force working that is more than what we can see with our naked eye?

We wait, we watch, we shelter in our bubble, from the world, from the virus, from the unrest to the south, so close but so far away.   So many questions, everyone has so much to say, but what what does it all mean, and I hate how it sounds.

We all have questions, no one seems to have the answers, but if I get to heaven, I’ll have a lot of questions.

 

DSCN3434

Mayday Mayday Mayday

We left Maple Bay 10 days ago heading south into Samsun Narrows when the radio alarm went off.

MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY.  Listening to the details we learned the call was from a boat who had just hit a rock in Samsun Narrows.  Another power boat was near by and able to respond to the distress call.  They were standing by and reporting back to the coast guard on the status of the boat’s occupants.   As we approached a working boat, meaning a fast trawler came whizzing past us, backed up to the boat on the rock and attempted to pull them off the rock.  It appeared the occupants were not hurt, thankfully, and damage to the boat is to be determined.  It was still floating!!

This incident is reminding me when I did the very same thing in Canoe Cove years ago on my 27′ sailboat called Nomad.  I was headed in for a haul out when my engine died.  There are heavy currents and numerous rocks in the area.  I could see them next to my hull but the keel had not touched bottom yet.  I panicked and called MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY.   This also brought a working boat to the rescue.  He quickly tied me onto his boat with bumpers and lines forward and aft and towed me away with his powerful engines.

Recently we had a near miss with OMOO.  Our route from Gabriola Pass to Princess Cove took us near Secretary Islands and the Skipper took a little turn to pass Jackscrew Island when his temperature alarm went off for the engine.  This is nothing new, especially when pushing the boat up to 3000 RPM.  He backed off on the throttle and the alarm stopped, but he was leaning over and checking his RPMs and when he looked up the chart plotter was showing rocks below us at 5.9 feet.  Our keel draws 6.5 feet.  The only thing that saved us was high tide.

101836414_10158121383510552_3300823229018406912_o

These experiences happen to all of us at one time or another.  It’s a constant source of worry when navigating among the Southern Gulf  islands and anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.  If it’s not rocks, it’s logs.  Extreme vigilance and luck are key elements to avoiding catastrophe.   We’ve had many friends whose summer is ruined by some rock sneaking up on them.  The saying among boaters is “there’s those that have hit rocks, and those that are going to.”

The captain on the working boat that came to my rescue was very kind.  When he had me safely tied to the dock he quietly told me, “Mam, when you called Mayday Mayday Mayday, it was really a Pan Pan Pan.”  This means that I was in urgent need of assistance, but not in danger for my life.  I think I panicked and it was the first thing that came to mind.

I’m glad the power boat in Samsun Narrows was rescued quickly and that the occupants were safe.  This also makes me very grateful for the boating community on the water and how we all help each other.   So whoever you are, thanks for the reminder.

The Skipper on OMOO states regularly, “BOATING KEEPS US HUMBLE.”

Canadians are weeping, I am weeping.

DSC_9208

I’m standing on the bow of my floating home, a 43-foot sailboat, ready to haul anchor in the peaceful bay of Port Browning on Pender Island. It’s one week after George Floyd was murdered. I kneel to my task on the bow and lift my head to look beyond the bay to the horizon facing south. The San Juan Islands of Washington State are visible across Boundary Pass. Waldron Island appears out of the mist. Beyond that the islands stretch into Puget Sound and attach themselves to the shores of Snohomish and King Counties and the cities of Tacoma and Seattle.

The country to the south of the Canadian Border stretches to the east, thousands of miles further than the curve of expansive southeast horizon. I have lived within kilometers of this border my whole life. Like my southern neighbors, we are a melting pot of Indigenous generations and descendants of immigrants who came willingly, or unwillingly to a new land and a new life. Simmering beneath the gray sky, the nation to the south has boiled over after decades of trauma, it’s flash point took 8 minutes and 46 seconds.

I crouch on the deck, looking over the anchor roller, watching in the depths of the bay, waiting for the anchor to free itself from the muddy ocean floor as the chain is hauled back over the bow into it’s locker. Kneeling, I’m reminded of the images from the days before, images of the officer kneeling on another man’s neck, stealing his breath away, of images of crowds kneeling in humble protest, waiting for something, anything, to lessen the pain, for something hopeful to tell the children. The thought comes to me, what can we say? What can we do? To say or do nothing seems unthinkable, to post slogans or black out my social media sites soothes the little voice in my conscience momentarily, but accomplishes what?

After the anchor is up, we get underway. I’m sitting at the wheel, motoring around the southern tip of Saturna Island, the closest point in these waters to the Canada-US border. My thoughts continuously drift south, like the current beneath the boat, my mind is pulling and tugging, bigger and stronger than my will to look away, to not think, to not watch. I can’t even try to imagine the level of angst, confusion, and despair my neighbors are living through. Like a pot of simmering ingredients, bubbling, being stirred, swirling, heating up and melting together, there was something meant to be good, something palatable. A calm hand, practiced and attentive, would have reached out and turned down the temperature under this simmering pot, would have prevented the flash point with taking necessary action, would have added necessary ingredients, tested the mixture. But it’s too late. It’s boiled over, it’s messy, it stinks, it putrid, it’s fills the room with its stench, it’s failure, it’s ruin. It has to be removed.

The fine mixture of ingredients: freedom, acceptance, understanding, hope, forgiveness, faith, love, intelligence, the willingness to learn and grow together is what the recipe called for. It’s been tried and tested and retried, always adding something new, something that looked and felt better, but never succeeded. Now something different was tried, something that promised a better outcome with new ingredients. Some ingredients that could not turn out good. Greed, selfishness, hate, condemnation, heartlessness, corruption, abuse, a will to harm, betrayal.

Canada is weeping, your trauma shines its spotlight on our own faults, our own failures, our own need to do more, be better. We are watching the USA’s reaction to compounded trauma, the flash point was a needless, pointless, brutal tragedy. People react in unpredictable ways to senseless trauma. The harm creates scars that last forever.

The healing is a long, slow process. We are good people, good friends, watching and weeping. You are good people, good friends going through a horrible time.

We are not far away. Good will happen again. Better times will shine on a brighter day. We bond with you, like our border, we’re not going away. We will always be here. We will always love and care for our southern friends and neighbors. We will stay calm, and stand beside you. From today on, and everyday we will weep, and bend our knees with you. You are our closest friend. We will not look away.

Kaliedoscope of Colors

Woken by the gentle lapping of waves on the hull, I feel the boat turning, dancing at anchor. When I open my eyes the soft glow of sunrise on the water is caught in the hatches, shimmering reflections land on the cabin ceiling. The smell of fresh coffee wafts from the galley. The Skipper is up, but it’s pure luxury to stay nestled in my bunk while my mind returns from a deep slumber. We left our home port of Maple Bay the day before and drifted under sail on a steady 10 knot breeze, tacking our way north on Stuart Channel between Vancouver Island and Saltspring Island. We dropped anchor in Clam Bay for the night, a spacious and protected anchorage between Thetis and Kuiper Island.

It takes a few moments to remember the late night visitor we had on the stern. I had startled to the sound of bubbles hitting the hull beneath me, then the Skipper yelling out. After inspecting the cockpit and surroundings the only sign of any intruder was saltwater on the stern. Whatever had been using our swim grid for an safe landing had been frightened back into the ocean, and we returned to our berths. I imagined the predator at night waiting for it’s prey, unable to escape in the murky darkness below the surface of the ocean. It could have been an otter or a seal, hunted by a sea lion or a whale, swimming for it’s life.

Forcing myself out of my cozy nest, I pour my coffee and climbed into the cockpit, the day greets me with a kaleidoscope of colors. There’s a pair of young eagles feasting on the shore at low tide. Their darkening brown and downy white feathers ruffling in the wind. Beneath them the seaweed is a bright yellow and green contrast to the blue water, sparkling with sunlit diamonds shimmering off the ripples. Their parents perch at a distance, keeping watch and chirping attentively. The bright white of the bald eagles’ heads on the majestic bodies of dark brown with yellow talons and matching beaks stand out from the various shades of green trees surrounding the bay.

On the opposite shore, a group of First Nations people from the local community on Penelakut (Kuper) are collecting clams, filling their red nets and stacking them in neat piles, ready to load onto their skiffs when the tide rises. Lawn chairs are spread out on the muddy beach, and colorful jackets are strewn about as the sun warms them while they toil, bending to their task. A small child in a pink shirt with her bright red bucket sits in the mud, digging for clams alongside her mother. As the tide rises, they load the clams into their skiffs along with all the jackets and chairs, and make their way through the cut between the islands, disappearing from view as they are swallowed up in the curve of the channel.

 

In the background, low cotton clouds kiss the mountains, caressing the peaks covered in lush green forests with white splashes of winter snow lingering in shadows. In the opposite direction a sailboat comes drifting into sight from behind the point, it’s sails bright against the half blue, half green canvas, as if it were a painting hanging perfectly in nature’s galley. It floats past a sandy beach stretching lazily into the water, then disappears behind the next island, heading to a destination in the hundreds of welcoming bays in the Southern Gulf Islands.