No Rehearsal

The wonder of buoyancy floats a small boat or large in a fathom of water or a thousand
The same wonder of buoyancy floats a boat, small or large, in a fathom of water or in a thousand

I am a fan of Ted Talks and if you don’t know what they are, do a web search. You’ll be hooked. Thanks to my old friend Jimmy I’ve just reviewed a Ted Talk presentation by an incredible guitarist named Tommy Emmanuel. His guitar skills are fabulous and at the end of his gig he says to the audience “Folks, life is not a rehearsal. Now get on with it!” That kicked me where the sun doesn’t shine! I’ve just read my first blog, now a two year old commitment to myself and the world. Shocked, sickened, I wonder what the hell I’ve been doing.

Suddenly On Day! After years of walking by this Arbutus tree, I notice the face cleverly carved around a knot
Suddenly One Day!
After years of walking by this Arbutus tree, I notice the face cleverly carved around a knot

In that time I’ve tacked, gybed, reefed, hove-to and back-tracked ostensibly in hot pursuit of my goal of sailing away. I know where I want to go and why, have the talent to do it, yet I’ve made little progress. I’ve had health issues, have been severely screwed over by unscrupulous people but there is nobody to blame but myself. I am not trying to solicit sympathy or empathy (although cash would be fine says this old pirate). I am trying to affirm the emotional plagues of winter which I know afflicts so many other folks. Depression, for me, is a tangible hereditary disorder I’ve wrestled with all my life and the dark days of winter bring out the worst of this curse. I’ve written my share about the problem and I’m not about to dissect it here other than to offer support and affirmation for those with enough courage to admit they too suffer from this very tangible problem. It is not simply an issue of bad attitude or self-pity but you can soon become your own black hole if you don’t force yourself to do whatever is necessary to rise above the darkness. In one Ted Talk, depression is described not as the opposite of happiness but rather the lack of vitality. I do affirm that.

Boat House Row A dreary morning in Ladysmith, but... if you don't like it, try missing a few!
Boat House Row
A dreary morning in Ladysmith, but… if you don’t like it, try missing a few!

I’ve been back home in lower latitudes for nearly three weeks. The arthritic pain of the North Coast’s extreme dampness has eased but old injuries still suck at my essence. That is being dealt with at the stately pace of our medical system. Broke, with few prospects for the moment, I’ve soon found myself imploding with only enough energy to make more excuses for my downward spiral. Fortunately, every year I find wonderful rapport and affirmation by attending the Fisher Poets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon. Today was the final day to commit to perform this year. I have some good excuses for not going and almost said no. I don’t have the funds for any of it but I’ll find a way and will come home uplifted immensely, knowing I have helped do the same for my peers and my audience. There is a direct link to the Fisher Poets Website in the right hand side bar of this blog. With a little poking about you can find my name under the list of performers found “In The Tote” and hear me reading of some of my work as well as several other writers and musicians. If you’d like a break from winter, have a sniff of spring and a great time in an incredible town which has arisen from its own ashes, I’d love to see you there.

The Party Moon Jelly Fish. What do they talk about?
The Party
Moon Jelly Fish.
What do they talk about?

Meanwhile old ‘Seafire’ languishes at the dock. Despite my daily visits, she sleeps quietly, waiting for some attention as soon as the weather warms and improves enough for me to tackle my list of chores, big and little. There’s a story or two in that I promise. I also have a stack of writing, including several books, needing a final edit and posting on Amazon. You can’t catch fish if you don’t go fishing and books that are not published aren’t going to sell. There’s a story about a boy who is accidentally locked in a barn. Days later, he is found. All the manure has been shovelled up and piled neatly in one end of the building. When queried about this he replied wearily, “With all this shit I knew there had to be a pony in here somewhere.” It’s all about attitude. Dig on.

My pal Jimmy's Corbin 39 back in a Pacific northwest winter after a marathon voyage around the Pacific Ocean
My pal Jimmy’s Corbin 39 back for a Pacific Northwest winter after a marathon voyage around the Pacific Ocean

I receive frequent enquiries about what sort of camera equipment I use. The type of equipment you have has little to do with the photos you take. Most of my camera gear is old and beat-up. It is not what I would choose if permitted a shopping spree in a camera store but it is what I can afford. I don’t begin to use the potential magic in even these humble machines. Exotic camera equipment will not produce better photographs if the nut holding it does not have a good understanding of the art. To illustrate my point, the photos in this blog were all taken with my lowly cell phone around Ladysmith in the last few days . The concept has been around for quite a while now but taking photographs with a telephone still seems incongruous to me. Mind you, one of my cameras has a GPS and altimeter built into it. You wouldn’t believe what I can do with my new toothbrush!

Rock Steady Surviving the winter wobble test when the winds blows you off your jackstands
Rock Steady
Surviving the winter wobble test when the wind blows you off your jackstands

If you find the accelerating technology around you alarming, and like me, long for an older, more steadfast era, then the closing photos in this blog might soothe the savage beating in your breast. There is an old design mantra which says that if it looks good, it works good.

The boat is the “Curve Of Time”, a name taken from the title from the famous book by Wylie Blanchet. If you’re not familiar with the work and you’re learning about it in this blog you’re probably the sort of person who would enjoy it very much. The venerable tome is still available. The venerable vessel is a North Sea side-trawler, Dutch-built in 1959. her original fishing registration and home port can still been seen on her bows under the paint. After that career she was a Greenpeace vessel, the proverbial sword turned ploughshare. She has since enjoyed a third calling as a charter boat and research vessel which has introduced many people to the wonders of the West Coast. To my eye, she is a pleasing sight from all angles and… she’s for sale! Long may the sight of her quicken the hearts of romantics and dreamers wherever she may voyage.

Late Bloomer Beauty even on a gray day
Late Bloomer
Beauty even on a grey day
A Little run-down The sorry state of Vancouver Island's E&N Railway "feelin' nearly faded as my jeans."
A Little run-down
The sorry state of Vancouver Island’s E&N Railway
“feelin’ nearly faded as my jeans.”
The Real Thing 'The Curve Of Time' proudly displaying her battle scars. Imagine all that has been seen through those wheelhouse portlights.
The Real Thing
‘The Curve Of Time’
proudly displaying her battle scars. Imagine all that has been seen through those wheelhouse portlights.
Pretty From All Angles
Pretty From All Angles
The Crow's Nest set on a jaunty rake
The Crow’s Nest
set on a jaunty rake


The lecture ends, ‘Slow down. You’re not as young as you once were.’ and I have seen so many begin to pack their lives in cotton wool, smother their impulses, hood their passions, and gradually retire from their manhood into a kind of spiritual and physical semi-invalidism. In this way they are encouraged by wives and relatives, and it’s such a sweet trap.

Who doesn’t like to be a center for concern? A kind of second childhood falls on so many men. They trade their violence for the promise of a small increase of life span. In effect, the head of the household becomes the youngest child. And I have searched myself for this possibility with a kind of horror. For I have always lived violently, drunk hugely, eaten too much or not at all, slept around the clock or missed two nights of sleeping, worked too hard and too long in glory, or slobbed for a time in utter laziness. I’ve lifted, pulled, chopped, climbed, made love with joy and taken my hangovers as a consequence, not as a punishment. I did not want to surrender fierceness for a small gain in yardage. My wife married a man; I saw no reason she should inherit a baby.”….

…….John Steinbeck, from ‘Travels with Charley ‘

Reluctant Dawn Ladysmith Harbour in January
Reluctant Dawn
Ladysmith Harbour in January

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 lives aboard 'Seafire' the boat he is refitting to go voyaging, exploring new horizons both inner and outer. This blog is about that voyage and the preparations for it. In spite of the odds against it, the plan is to sail away this fall and lay a course southward. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey. Namaste Contact him at

2 thoughts on “No Rehearsal”

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  2. This shot of the blue row boat is like a painting. Wonderful. I’ve enjoyed reading a number of your blogs. Thanks for making contact. See you in L Manz!!!

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