Sunday, September 28, 2008
One of the adventures I had on Smith island is kind of Indiana Jones-eske... I anchored and paddled up to the cliff edge, and walked over to where the house in the picture is closest to the edge, and there is an old foundation that was another house, that fell off the cliff a long time ago, as the cliff has been progressing backwards. I saw it and took a picture of the foundation a long time ago, maybe you will see it in an earlier post...
Anyways, that old place was a power station, I think, because I found some old rusted generator motors in the sand on the beach, and I walked up to the edge of the cliff and two old (OLD) and corroded blue copper wires hung down the cliff. Like vines in the jungle! I grasped my hands around the wires and it felt like home. Up, up, up the sand cliff, my feet kicking clods and castles down the face of the sheer drop, my camera on my back and my kukri in my pocket. Up I go! I made it to the top, and with a bit of scramble, I was there!
So now, I am getting my stuff together, moving out of my room in the house I'm renting, and packing for a road trip and travels. If you think of any good places to go, let me know.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
So we came out and blasted our way through our pool, and won all three games, putting us in the semi-finals. We won in the semis, putting us in the finals against Shazam, which was the national champs last year. We then played a very hard fought game and won on double game point, 16-15. So we won the section, and we're going to regionals in a couple weeks. This affects my plans, of course, I'll have to be there. I'm going to stay in Bellingham for a few days and then get down to Seattle on friday, and I think that will be the last of the big sailing trips for me for a while.
Hopefully I'll get my act together and make a couple projects in this week and some good repairs on the boat, so she's in pristine condition.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Kingcome was quite an experience, I think I'll try to go back if Abe is there again next year. I wrote some things about the feast and the return trip on the way back:
Abe helped host a feast for the harvesting of some roots which are a traditional food, and I came up with my dad to see the ceremony, and since it’s a thing that hasn’t been done in a long time, the whole village is turned by the importance of such a simple thing as food. Abe made a bunch of gifts, and since it is a potlatch, he gave them out to everyone. There were dancers with masks, and the drums ring through my bones, every beat a thump from the heart of the mountains, a pounding from the earth. Others beat sticks on a log, which sends shivers down my core, and I shiver. Grouse comes out and looks at me, shaking a rattle, dancing across the floor, around the fire in the center, sending sparks and smoke up through the hole in the roof. Then Stump, and the other masks come out on the floor to dance, and the story of the forest unfolds. Children, two of them, are climbing all over me, as if I were a tree in the forest outside, and whispering in my ears and trying to pull my hair and beard. They play and make me feel like a foundation for humanity while I am humbled by the meaning and the reality outside of the forest. The land is mountains and water, bones and flesh. I am water, flowing out through the land, I am the stone, beating with the drums of the potlatch.
After, and the return trip:
I’m writing on the evening of Wednesday, September 17, 2008, around 10:00, and under way, passing
We anchored right next to an old fish pen that night and got up the next morning (this morning) at 5:45 and took off through the narrows. No trouble there, but I was expecting a bit more of a boost going through, I figured we’d get there a bit before slack and go screaming through, but we didn’t have hardly any current at all, and then it turned a little bit against us. We made it to
Back in the
I feel like I made some new friends, mostly in Kingcome, and I had children crawling over me there, which makes me wonder if I could be a dad. My dad would have a kid picking at his beard, and then they would come over and pick at mine, trying to tear little fistfuls of hair out of my chin… But the kids bestow a sense of joy that I’ve never felt before. They trust me. I guess I don’t trust myself as much as they trust me. They throw themselves into the air and I will catch them. When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. These kids don’t worry about what they have, and then they are free. I guess I’ve been worrying a lot about the boat, and my things inside, and all sorts of things. Security, I guess. I am searching for it, instead of allowing it to be or not to be.
It feels good to be back, and to have a night of rest ahead, without worry, but I had a great time on the trip. I'm not exactly sure when I'll be back in Seattle, but probably soon.
Saturday, September 13, 2008
We left on a foggy morning, drifting against the still winds and unhelpful currents, in the grey pre-dawn light, for
This is where I’ve come to realize where I am. Civilization is a town. Altair is like camping, but after sailing into the far reaches of BC, and then leaving my precious boat behind, we got driven up a river for about 30 minutes on a dugout cedar canoe (with an outboard). It felt like going into the Amazon rainforest, except cold as hell and I wasn’t worried about the Crocodiles. The water is milky from the glacial runoff, and it’s glacial.
We got into town, and everyone knows Abe, so a lot of people we passed said hi and we stopped and got introduced and talked a while. We had to unload the huge pile of food we brought in my boat, so after that we went over to a neighbor’s house for dinner, and I had some of the best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. Now it is time to go to bed. It is so funny to have electricity and heat. When was the last time I slept on land?
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Today we get up and go down to the flats (near the mouth of the river) and we will go dig up the roots that Abe has been growing in the gardens down there. This is going to be the most important day, because harvesting the roots is the reason for the feast. But I will tell about that after it happens.
Yesterday was quite a day, we got up and tended to all the people arriving for the feast, Abe worrying about everything and rushing around to make sure things turned out all right. I went down the river again, to move my boat, and then came up in the dugout canoe again. It really stuns me how special this place is, that you have to take a boat or a plane, and then take another boat, in order to get here. After collecting everyone, we all got together for dinner. What an event. Adam spoke for grace, before eating, but in Kwa’kwalla, and then everyone lined up from the eldest to the youngest to get food.
Once everyone had eaten we people started standing up to make speeches about Abe, Adam, the feast, Lucy (who was having a birthday party that night), and all the other people in the room. I even got named, being thanked for being there, which was quite special. The speeches went on for about an hour and a half and the kids began to get restless, so I went outside to play with them, and jumped on the trampoline for a little while with them before going inside.
Floyd was inside watching TV, and we started talking, and he told me the story of the Squamish creation story. I’ll try to relate it.
In the earliest day, Man was immortal, created by the Thunderbird out of the Universe and he lived on a mountain top, surrounded by water. Man didn’t know anything about the world, but he learned everything from the animals. He watched the animals finding mates and raising young and taking care of each other, and he wanted to have the same, but could not. Then he tried to kill himself, because it overwhelmed him to understand the love and caring the animals had, but could not share it. But he was immortal, so he could not die when he threw himself from the mountain into the water.
In the depths of the sea, he realized that he wanted Woman to share the world with, so he asked the Thunderbird, and the Thunderbird told Man that he could have Woman, but he could not be immortal anymore. So Man took a rib from his body and put it in the earth, and made Woman. Woman is of the earth, Man is of the Universe.
Saturday proper: We got up decently early and went down to the flats, which is the area right at the mouth of the river, to dig up some roots that Abe’s been cultivating for this feast all summer. We dug them up, and spent some time filming the traditional things about the digging, and had a good time with all that, then went back to the town, and we got invited to a naming ceremony feast, where we all had a great dinner in the Big House, which is like a long house. I spent a lot of time with William, a young boy who is learning a lot about the culture and always wants to play on the trampoline with me. I got a few pictures of him. There are also some little girls that had a great time on the trampoline, they all wanted me to hold them while bouncing as high as I could, and then they would squeal as loud as they could in my ear. Ahh, children…
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
But lets go back a few days... I dropped off Ric and picked up my Dad on Saturday, the 7th, and then Dad and I went out across the Queen Charlotte Straight and into Broughton Island, into Booker Lagoon, where my brother told me I should go, and we had a jolly good time of catching gigantic fish one after another. The weather turned into foggy rain, but we ate very well, having these rockfish and greenling (types of cod) for supper, breakfast and snacks. We stayed there for a day and then came back the next, leaving on the 9th to get back to Port McNeill to pick up Abe. Which is where I am now.
And the future holds great promise. We're going to Kingcome Inlet, then on to the town or village of Kingcome, and we'll have a feast while there. I'm taking Abe, my Dad, and about 500 lbs of food, and tomorrow we'll pick up some tremendously valuable native masks for the feast, and fit them in somewhere. We'll arrive in Kingcome on the 11th, and proceed to work our hands to the bones helping dearest Abe with his prep work and then have the feast and then make all possible haste to the great southland where the sun might shine, so I can play in a tournament in Burlington. Ultimate frisbee, you know, it's the kind of thing you just can't live without.
And just like that, there goes September.
I'll probably write more after the tourney, on the 21st or so.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saturday, September 6, 2008
I just did a week long passage with Ric, a friend from
I wrote some things on the way, I guess some of it starts before picking up Ric.
I took two days to get back to
I cooked on the beach that night, and it was a pleasant evening without worrying about the boat drifting around. The next morning I got up early and took off around the island to have a look around. I got around to the leeward side and then dropped an anchor and went for a little walk. The sky was amazingly clear, it had cleared up over the night, and the sun hadn’t started pulling water into the sky and making clouds or fog or anything, so it was like a cold winter day looking north from Sehome hill.
So I finally got under way at around 10, and rolled out the jib (did I talk about the roller jib that I made for the boat? I am very proud of myself for making it, just 2 weeks ago, for about 50 bucks. Now is the trial period for it, but its working out well) and headed out to
The wind was at my back going north to Qualicum Beach, then it switched while I was there, and was at my back (Northwest winds) pushing me to Vancouver, and then after picking up Ric, we headed out Monday morning with a snappy Southeast wind filling the spinnaker and tugging us along at about an average of 6 knots all day long. We made 60 miles in one day, which is really quite a long shot I think. We anchored and tied up to shore in two places at this little tiny island near
Tuesday we took off from Texada and made it most of the way across the Strait of Georgia, headed for
Ric made a speargun for me, so I have to go diving sometime soon and try to spear some fish with it. Most likely I’ll use it for poking things, and look for fish and then come back later with the rod and reel to get them, but if I can get a fish on the spear that would be neat.
The next morning we passed through
We were there alone in the evening, so I’ll talk about that. The anchorage is a nice little cove, nearly round it seems when you’re in it, and you drop a hook in the middle and have a nice little swing around. We paddled ashore and I got on my dive gear and went for a swim, in probably the clearest water I’ve been in yet, but cold, like little arctic mosquitoes driving their ice into your head. I brought the speargun that Ric made for me, and took some video with the video camera mounted on the speargun; the “GunCam,” as Ric called it. I didn’t see any fish, sadly, though I saw a lot of other things, like sea urchins. I like the guncam, but I think I need to take longer time looking at things with it, because my video skills are still too jerky.
We then made a big fire and I got warm and we cooked dinner and went to bed. Ric said he saw two other boats in the night, but in the morning there was only one, and they left when we did. We sailed a bit today, tacking back and forth in the current, and we made about 10 miles by sail, but then the winds died and we motored the rest of the way. We’re in
We did see the whales, and I got a few pictures...