Friday, 28 June 2013

Silva Bay

This is a late blog, very late. It is 6:00 PM and I am on the afterdeck of my sailboat in Silva Bay. With the change in my life pattern, the change from land to sea, the change from Alberta to the coast, my posting patterns will change too. Blog posts will come later with the pressure of mornings on the dock. It is even possible that the tone and tenor of these posts will change as the calm of the water infiltrates my spirit.

Today was a typical water day. We spent last night up too late playing the part of the salty sailor, drinking rum and telling tales with neighbours on other boats. The morning poked its light into the cabin of our small boat, challenging us to get up and get going. Eventually we did, shevelling our dishevellment and tidying the mess on board in preparation for departure.

Then we went to start the motor. It wouldn't. Try as we might, it simply turned over and over and over, refusing to fire up and go as it is supposed to go. I was inboard, offering instructions to Ricky on the positions of switches and the quality of fuel and the amount of choke. He was in the cockpit demonstrating all the miniscule patience of which he is capable. Finally after about a half an hour of frustration, I struggled into cockpit, hauling myself out of the cabin and pushing myself on my butt across the cockpit sole.

Then I looked at the starting key and realized I had given him reverse instructions for the positioning of the "kill" switch. This is a toggle switch designed to disable the engine in an emergency. You position the switch up with a clip-line on it, and attach the line to yourself. If you fall overboard the clip-line pulls the toggle and the engine stops. Instead of up, I told him down. Once the switch was set properly the engine started immediately.

With the engine started, we got fuel and headed out. The Strait of Georgia was flat and calm, an unusual state for this temperamental stretch of water. I've seen it raging in a full gale, seas smashing cabin height, throwing green water over the deck. I've seen it in a winter storm, and in a summer storm. And I've seen this water change its mind on a moments notice. Today, no change, just calm. As my Dad would have said, "flatter than piss on a plate."

The skies were clouded with low slung grey, drooping from hip to hip, horizon to horizon, threatening rain with no actual delivery. There was sun somewhere to the south and there were darker, nastier clouds to the north but our run was dull and dry. Maybe that's not a bad way to start an ocean holiday.

Silva Bay itself is a beautiful anchorage, or marina in my case, set in behind a series of small breakwater islands, just outside of Gabriola Passage. It has a fabulous restaurant and pub up high off the docks with an amazing view of the bay, filled with boats milling about, jockeying for anchorage or lining up for moorage. It is a constant show of come and go, entertainment for the simple. That would be me.

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