Mother’s Day In Weirdwater

This is a first for this blog; a birthday wish. A co-worker has long advised me of his mom’s loyal following of my postings. She is close to the celebration of her 96th birthday and I have every reason to believe that this lady is a sparkling character. So, Evelyn, I hope that you have many happy, successful years ahead. Best wishes from the Weirdwater Blogger.

Mother Rock

It is Mother’s Day weekend. I am starting to write Saturday morning anchored in a beautiful place only a couple of miles from Shearwater. A good anchorage needs a few things. First good holding ground, which means a bottom into which your anchor will sink, holding firmly as a rising wind pushes on your boat. So, a safe shelter with a grand view and somewhere ashore to go for a walk are the components of a great place to drop an anchor for a night or few. Those places are rare here in the Great Bear Rainforest. Many sheltered places are claustrophobic with steep, rocky shores and deep rocky bottoms. You can put almost all your anchor chain out to hook the bottom. Yet you may still be very close to the trees which often lean out over the water. Even at low tide there is often no place to stretch your legs ashore. A delight in this area is solitude. Most anchorages here are bypassed by other boats if someone is there first. In Southern waters, folks love to crowd in to the same place to the point that the first boat in ends up leaving if being alone was their ambition. It is one of the reason i carry lots of anchor chain so that I can anchor in deep water outside the heard. .Here, that’s not an issue!

Looking East from what I call Rainbow Bay.
Same view over the tombolo spit near high tide

The weather this morning is grey and blustery with pelting rain. Inside, the boat is cold and damp, despite the wonderful little furnace, which I ration the use of to save the vessel’s batteries. To hell with it! I turn up thermostat. The anchorage is protected on the east by a tumbolo spit which joins two islands while affording a wide view of the coastal mountain to the east. The view to the west is wide open for miles but the bay is partially protected by islets and reefs. The Dryad Light Station at the top of Lama Pass can be seen where it sits about five miles away, Beyond that, Seaforth Channel stretches toward the open waters of Milbanke Sound. The muted light somehow enhances certain tones of green in the surrounding forest and beaches. The calls of birds ashore, including cranes, geese and herons echo around the bay. Should the wind change I can readily move into tighter nooks nearby, but for the moment, despite gloomy weather, the view here is spectacular and I’ll linger.

Looking West from the same spot. Dryad Point Light marks the north end of Lama
Pass, Seaforth channel extends and broadens to the West.
The ubiquitous reef emerging at low tide. Nearly every anchorage has one.

As I write my wife is packing for a sad trip to her homeland of Scotland. Her mom has passed away and Jill must endure a long lonely journey with the dark heavy obligations of this inevitable event. Her mom did not much like the cut of my jib and referred to me as “The bloody bog Canadian.” Nevertheless I admired her feisty character and outspoken Scottishness. I am despondent that I am not able to do more than write a few lines and that I cannot go with Jill to provide some support. An aspect of family hope is gone forever. I’ve buried both of my parents and know the ordeal she has ahead. How I wish that I could help her. We all have to deal with it at some time. This too shall pass but for now, the day wears on. So much for Mother’s Day.

Later, I drop the anchor in Beales Bay, only three and a half miles to the east. There is a lovely reversing tidal rapids here and an extensive lagoon beyond to explore. The weather is bleak and wet as ever. It is not really a place to safely go alone but after staying aboard all day I’m anxious to see what’s around the corner. I have not yet unlashed my kayak from the boat’s cabin-top this year. For that matter, neither have the sails been unfurled. The last three seasons have blurred into an ongoing grey murk of wet wintery weather. The woodwork on the exterior of the boat is blistered and peeled away. I’ve never had this happen before. The persistent rain and frost have taken a heavy toll. It has been an unusual winter which does not seem to have quite released it’s grip yet.

Around the corner. Looking into the lagoon entrance from Beales Bay
Swamp foam. Organic earth substances agitated in the rapids emerge from the narrows.
Lower yet. Nearing low slack the tidal narrows can be seen within the entrance to the network of lagoons upstream.
On the fold…the range of my weekend, about three and a half nautical miles in local waters. A fantasy is to have a boat with a wheelhouse big enough to accommodate a full size chart table. Folding charts is a practice coming from my flying days and travelling in small boats. Many folks ply these waters with only their GPS, a dangerous practice in my view.

Sunday morning is a repeat with incessant rain and low cloud. The narrows from the lagoon are discharging prolific foam and I can hear the grumble of the rapids around the corner. I ‘ll have some breakfast and see how the world looks then. Now approaching noon, I’ve napped and read and cleaned and tinkered all I can stand. The rain still patters down. Randomly, the sky begins to brighten and then comes yet another deluge. The tide is near low slack and i’ll have to wait hours for it to rise enough for me to kayak through the narrows. I am not so much concerned about being wet as I am about having enough time and light to explore and photograph whatever I might find back in there. Clearly, I’m not going to see the lagoon today. It is Victoria Day weekend next and maybe I’ll come back. It cannot rain forever. Can it? As I weigh anchor a pair of eagles and a scraggly old deer emerge as if to say good bye. Later dudes!

Dead Sexy
Arriving back in Shearwater I find this beauty at the fuel dock.
It is the time of year when transient boats are beginning to arrive. I find their grand gleaming phallic palatial presence off-putting to say the least. This boat shows a pratical design which allows for work and play all at once, and damn what other people think.
 Don't laugh, it's almost paid-off.
The organic approach. A goold old truck complete with empty beer cans, a full ash tray and a healthy moss grow-op inside and out. Don’t laugh, it’s almost paid for.
The stinky crane. I jury rigged an exhaust system on a crane so we could reinstall some boat motors without fumigating the old hangar. The huge doors in the background have opened and closed by hand since they were installed about 75 years ago.
Tidy as you go! Another organic aspect of life in Shearwater. Cleaning up after yourself is never taken personally. That’s my exhaust pipe poking through the wall. Yes, that is really an original cast iron drain pipe.

Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” …Will Rogers.