This blog comes in on confused little chickens feet

I.e., I write today confused with fear and trepidation.

First I am fearful because of the fall-out from the last blog. Two great guys get off on a misstep and all hell breaks loose. Normally, that is kinda fun but only if the two, like Sandburg’s fog, make up and move along. And that means ‘we move along together’. And this time that is not it. One has temporarily taken his leave. Ticked. We are moving on separated and divided.

Oh, well. Old guys get grumpy. Sometimes they ‘get over it’ and other times it is heavily invested in and they are stuck there. Such is life. Such are old guys. I get it. I am one. Sometimes I am mature. Sometimes I am not.

So, let us (the collective we) move on. By the way, the door is always open especially to those who sign in with ‘anonymous’ because, well, no one knows who you are anyway!

But, moving on…..

As my few remaining readers know, I am a pinko, lefty, Greenie, liberal, bleeding heart by self-description and a conservative-minded fellow who believes in fiscal responsibility and our general right to be here on the planet. Despite my small ‘L’ liberalism, I am not an ardent apologist for much. Bad things happen. When we learn of it, we should just fix it and move on. Life.

But yesterday, listening to the God-awful CBC, I heard a woman-of-colour being interviewed and it ‘put me off’. In the interview, I was told of systemic racism, discrimination and the scourge of prejudice in Canada. And I get that. Not good. Very bad. But that kind of inhumanity is clearly improving and, when it comes right down to it, what else can one do except behave better? You cannot re-write history and especially since the attempts at re-writing make no accommodation for the perspectives of the times.

Anyway, it seems she was saying Canadians have had their hand in slavery, too. BIG TIME!! I was shocked at that and suspended my being ‘off-put’ and listened. It seems that some Americans, French and English living in ‘Canada’ either had actual slaves in their employ or else they treated their ‘people-of-colour’ so badly that they were the equivalent status of slaves. Bad, bad, very bad.

And then she added: “This was all before Canada was created by Confederation!”

So, here I am being asked NOW to be responsible for the acts of long-dead foreign people (none of who are related to me) for actions taken BEFORE the country was even a country and to NOW make it up to current poor souls by what….? Paying gobs of money to other people-of-colour (also not related) to make amends?

Well, halfway through the interview, I was disinclined to listen much further. It was sounding like apologia gone too far. Of course I acknowledge that the sins of the great, great, great grandfathers are visited on their future progeny but other than today’s people striving to ‘do better’, there is little that can be done about what was done two hundred plus years ago.

And she went on……..and I listened. And, by the time she was through, I was less off-put and more sympathetic. Not completely, though. She had definitely shifted me off my position. But I did not shift as far as she was. I was now wondering ‘how we could all do better quicker and more effectively’. I had been moved.

And that is the point of this chicken-blog: so many things are changing. So many things are not true. So much is confusing and so much obviously still needs a lot of work. And now there is no faith in the system by which we are informed. So much is now fake news!

Yeah….I know who that sounds like.

Also yesterday some woman described as a Gold Star mother was being interviewed about Trump’s position on the alleged Russian bounties placed on American soldiers in Afghanistan. If you did not listen carefully, you would be outraged at Trump, admire the woman and wonder what the hell is wrong with that man (I still wonder) but the facts were this: Her son was killed in Afghanistan in 2011 by FRIENDLY fire! He was shot by his own guys! Doesn’t matter how you cut it, her story is irrelevant to the current allegation against Trump. It was fake news!

I guess what I am saying is this: we cannot right past wrongs. But we can do better. We will likely do MORE new wrongs but that will only be evident in retrospect and so we may NOT be better right away. Furthermore, the information we are given is so often wrong and misleading, self-serving and delivered with an agenda that the sins of today’s fathers will inevitably be visited on their sons, too.

It seems that being righteous is getting even more elusive but outrageous righteousness is an epidemic. No wonder I am sometimes confused.

Ghost Busters!

J. Murray was a young bride in 1929.  She and her husband arrived on Read Island in the Discovery Group to homestead through the Depression.  They left in 1939 for the US.  Forty years later she wrote a book about it.  The Flip of a Coin.  It was published by a now-defunct American firm and not executed very well.  Poor editing.  Bad pictures.  Ugly cover.  Left unregistered.  The book itself is not particularly well-written either and the story is somewhat predictable (to Sally and me) in that a previously rich young woman from the city comes to love the great outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and living the simple life.  Sal said her story was very similar to our own and, though set almost a hundred years ago, reveals experiences and lessons like ours.

Bookclub found it to be a fascinating book.  “Why?”  Because the book reflects so much of what life is still like out here, because the author and the book club women have such similar stories, and because she wrote about THEIR actual neighbourhood, the same logging roads, the same beaches.  Even the old store and school.  They have all walked in each other’s shoes and on the same pathways.  And not a great deal has changed in 100 years.

Anyway, one of the book club women found a copy or two and shared the story around the club and all the members wanted to read it.  But the books themselves were in rough shape.  Pages missing.  Poor binding.  So another member volunteered to re-type it all and Sal volunteered to format it, edit it and get it ‘print ready’.  Digitally ready.

Of course, reprinting someone else’s book is NOT kosher.  Even tho it was an American publisher and the author was a Canadian, there is no trace of either and all the book club’s efforts in finding any living link to the book were to no avail.  So, then they checked with a copyright lawyer and that turned out to be inconclusive with vague assurances qualified by mild but ominous warnings.

‘What to do?’

They finished re-writing it but they will not publish it.  Of course, they will print a few copies for the book club members to read but there will be no money involved, no costs, no exploitation.  All credit still attributed to the author and the publisher.  Complete and full disclosure.  They should be OK.  In effect, the book club has done something for posterity with their intent only a noble and an unselfish one.

We’ll see.  But no good deed goes unpunished.

“Why tell us?” 

Well……if it is all deemed eventually safe legally speaking, we may ‘loan’ a copy or two to readers.  Maybe.  But mostly because it illustrates so well that all sorts of things get done out here on a not-for-profit or even non-monetary model by ‘volunteers’ .  That is an important part of the OTG story and it is well represented by their work on this little old book.  They also do Quilts.  Food.  Garden produce.  Fish.  Home care.  Books.  Garbage dumping.  Wood-getting.  Neighbours helping neighbours.  Construction.  Ride-sharing.  The community even raised enough money to buy a piece of land – for the good of the community in the future.  The list never ends, the work never ends, the contributions never dry up and the work all gets done.  Even an old book restoration!

Imagine all that same work needed doing in the city………who ya gonna call?

PS: a reader pointed out that the book is listed on Amazon but listed as out of print and with no price.  Odd. We all looked on Amazon more than a few times but it WAS there…kinda…up on the site but NOT available.  


Life in the time of change

My daughter, son-in-law and a few friends (including an infant) are coming to visit.  That’s nice.  They are coming from Alberta.  That’s nice, too.  It’s all very nice.

And they are good.  They are respectful.  They are being careful of C-19.  Masks, gloves, quasi-isolation (hard to isolate for two weeks if you only have one week).

‘Quasi’ also means they are traveling in a bubble (previously referred to as a car) and not getting out except to pump gas and buy fast food but following all the rules all the time.  They will stay in the car when on the ferry and basically make a beeline for our pick-up point and thus should have minimal contact with the great unwashed.

But the locals do not like foreign license plates.  They lean a bit towards shunning and harassment of strangers.  That’s not good.  It’s natural, I guess, but some poor sap who is a local resident most of the time drove a vehicle with Alberta plates and it was keyed by vandals for being from out of province.  ‘Mericans who employ the ‘get around’ rule by crossing the border and telling the agents they are going to Alaska (apparently ‘Mericans can cross closed borders if they are en route to Alaska) when, in fact, they really have a cabin on the gulf islands and are going there are also reviled.  BC’ers are quite capable of being less-than-pleasant it seems, especially to strangers during a pandemic.

I can understand the reaction.  I understand the fear.  More than most, I think, I feel somewhat protective of my own mini-neighbourhood (at least this one).  I get it.  But the problem is NOT with the individual.  Someone from a ‘hot spot’ in Florida can be clean and safe to be with while a local who isn’t symptomatic can be a ‘spreader’.  You can’t really go by the license plate to determine a person’s contagious-ness.

I am a smidge more sensitive to this, I guess.  Two days ago I went to the mid-island hospital for a laser ‘treatment’.  That heightened my awareness.  My cataract surgery from two years ago was a major success but, it seems, some people grow a bit of cataract tissue back after awhile and I was one.  Three minutes with a laser and I am back to seeing well.  But that required going into the doctor’s office and then driving over to the hospital.   That was weird.  The hospital was virtually empty.  The doctor’s office was too.  There was one patient leaving when I showed up and that was it.  I suspect that the minute I left, another patient showed up but the crowded waiting room policy (to keep the numbers up) was not in practice.  So far, the C-19 protocols are making things run smoother.

When returning home, we stopped at the local gas station.  Pay-in-advance was no longer in effect.  “Pump and then pay.  In that way, we only come in contact once!” 

Sal looked at the line-up at the next stop – the grocery store.  “Geez, there are six or so people ahead of me.  Shall we go home or should I stay?”  She decided to line up and, within a couple of minutes, she was in and two minutes later, she was out.  Added all up, the amount of time in the line-up and time in the store was virtually the same overall as it was before.  Only difference – she went through the store and the cashier more quickly but had to wait to get in.

The line-up, by the way, was a cartoon of characters from old, bent over, smoking and spitting old guys to cute gals in shorts and carrying babies.  I was people watching through a windshield.  And all of them were six feet apart.

I mention all this to paint a day-in-the-life but, by focusing on C-19, one can forget that a Humpback went by yesterday.  Feet from shore.  Very close.  Very impressive.  Probably the same Humpy just went by going the other way about an hour ago.  Opposite shore.  Smart Humpy.  And still impressive.  But we have no whale watchers!

And the garden is an exploding cornucopia of delights!

Sal is picking up the doctor for the routine visit and then she is off to yoga and then food distribution.   Aaannnd likely no masks for that almost all-day interaction – seems we are all careful to stay 6 feet apart but not so careful as to wear masks.  Go figure.

And wildlife seem a bit more relaxed, too.  Seeing deer everywhere.  Mink.  Fish jumping.  Eagles.  Ravens.  Seals.  Somehow the disease has changed the overall ‘mood’ or tempo of life out here.  Seriously, the pace is slower.  Mind you, June was also unusually wet and cold.

The commercial prawn fishery is also different.  Usually we would have three commercial boats in our area at this time.  This year, we have one.  More than a few summer-only residents have not arrived.  Many won’t.  And, as mentioned before, recreational boating is down 80%.  Tourists-by-air are absent.  Few, if any, kayakers.  This is a different year, to be sure.   This a quieter year.

This is a year to remember.



Cats, eh?

“The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches and then moves on.”

Those are the well-known, first lines of Carl Sandburg’s poem, ‘FOG’. It is a somewhat shallow poem in that there is only the intended comparison drawn between a cat’s quiet approach and the even quieter approach of fog. Left at that, it is simply a six line poem that states the obvious. Fog is quiet. Duh.

But, in Covid Days, the poem takes a bit of a shift in meaning. Like the virus, the fog and the cat are alive, they hunt and they kill, they stalk their prey on the edges and they come and go without hiding and yet do so almost sight unseen. Like a virus, they may seem to go away only to return a bit later.

And that is what C-19 has become. It is like a hunter. It quietly takes it’s prey. It comes and goes as it pleases and the hunted never seem to ‘get it’.

I can go a bit further with the comparison: the prey (us) is remarkably unmoved, unafraid, unaware and constantly in denial as to the threat around us. That, too, seems to be the attitude of the almost 8 billion victims-in-waiting regarding the virus. Despite more public service propaganda than almost any other public health threat I can remember, no one seems to be taking the right precautions or even taking the virus all that seriously. Certainly NOT the Bubbas. People want to go back to hugging and kissing and sharing germs over a beer at football games. The virus may or may not be a cat or a fog but humans are definitely dumber than rocks.

I write this not to overly state the obvious myself but because the obvious is NOT really being stated. This virus is not over. It is not even waning. In fact, it is still growing and destroying at will. Yes, we in BC have fared better than the rest of Canada and Canada has fared a bit better than the Stupid States but we still have a deluge of cases in the two main provinces and surges here and there all the damn time.

This virus seems to act like an STD and it virtually blossoms after close gatherings and contacts. And yet, all the talk, all the action, all the news is about re-opening the economy. That’s like spiking the punch bowl at a VD clinic party!

I suppose it will all work out in the end. Humans will likely continue. This – as bad as it is – does not feel like the END OF DAYS or TEOTWAWKI. We will likely endure. Especially locally. But another undeniable observation is that nothing will be the same again. The Global economy is taking a huge hit. All the ‘public’, National and Global industries are doing even worse than regional and local businesses but they are likely to eventually be rescued by government so they have a future.

So does the taxpayer – they are the ‘host’ for those parasites.

The little guys will have to close their doors. BIG Corp will survive on the public teat and, like the natural opportunists they are, they will seize the chance to eat up and swallow the smaller competition. Big Corp will struggle but they will emerge back into the marketplace without the competition. They will thrive.

Institutions will have a harder time. Institutions are largely less-profit, non-profit and semi-profit (schools, libraries, blood banks, non-USA hospitals, office complexes). That even includes the marginally profitable like ma-and-pop businesses. They do not have the depths-of-pocket. They will depreciate even more. Many will disappear.

Absolutely gob-smacking to me is the very possible, very likely outcome that, in ten years time, the world will have experienced a major makeover unimaginable even with today’s perspective. This might be the much-anticipated revolution of sorts we felt would happen someday but did not see how it ever could. This virus may just be the game changer, the global disruption, the quiet destruction of the status quo that the world actually needs. Covid is a cat, cat, catalyst.

It may come quietly. It may grow bigger. But it will NOT be cute.

To be expected, I suppose…..

A bunch of mostly teen-aged trolls screwed the Donald over in Tulsa – all by way of a social media platform. They tRik-toked the guy. Trump and his team thought they’d have 100’s of thousands of people attend his political rally and, in the end, only 6200 showed up. That seems kinda fair to me. I mean, Trump trolls got him elected and Trump trolls are still grinding the BS out on just about every political forum. They cheat and lie all day, every day. It seems just that some of that ‘lying’ and ‘fake news’ got turned back on Trump. It was good to see.

But… also showed up Democracy for what it really is: A pretty simple con-game in which to the early participants go the spoils. Almost like a pyramid scheme. If you do not get involved at the very early stages, you are simply grist for the mill, cannon fodder, one of the sheople. You will be taken to the cleaners.

Democracy is NOT the voice of the people – especially if the people remain mute, disengaged and apathetic. Democracy is for sale. Democracy goes to the best ‘marketer’. Democracy favours advertising. Democracy favours the BIG spenders. Democracy is anything BUT the voice of the people. Democracy, it seems, is a prostitute.  Capitalism and democracy go hand in hand.

It is interesting to take note of the real practitioners of the Democracy game-as-we-know-it. They are the inner-sanctum movers and shakers in the parties. Party pimps. The parties’ back rooms have the electorate 90% sewn up long before the election writ is even dropped.

First, you get a few backroom boys appointing a good-lookin’, toothy, puppet-cum-spokesmodel to the local party’s nomination (think: Justin). That alone narrows choice to near zero. The local party reps CHOSE the candidate – NOT the voting public. And, of course, the other BIG or BIG TWO parties do the same. We now have 3, maybe 4 ‘candidates’ vying for their place at the publicly funded trough we refer to as parliament or the legislature. The candidates ‘owe’ the party for getting that far.

We the people did not choose them. The candidates owe the people nothing at that stage and their party reminds them of that all the time. That means that we did NOT have a choice for MLA/MP from the thousands of people in the constituency. We only had a choice of a select few chosen for us by various small committees when we were not looking. That is not the democracy most people think is at play. Because, by that stage in the process, when everyone is aware there will be an election, all REAL choice is gone.

But you know all that. And you chose to accept it. We all chose to accept it and we do so without much protest. We are complicit in our own dysfunction. We are enabling a corrupt, unrepresentative con to perpetuate a false democracy and there appears little will in the electorate or the existing system to fix it.

This fiasco-of-politics comes up for me now and then. OK, a lot of the time…..and it was prompted again by a recent call from our local Green party back-room-woman. The Fed-Greens, this time. They asked that I participate in a ZOOM meeting. I demurred. She persisted. I said, “Well, I cannot see myself voting for anyone else but Green and only because they are telling truth to power in the political sense by pushing the GREEN agenda. But I sure as hell don’t vote GREEN because you guys are any good at it!”

“You do not think we are doing good”?

“No! I do not. Not in the least. Do you?”

“Well, No. I do not. What are we doing wrong?”

“Well the thing that bugs me first and the most is that you do not listen.  And yet, you are always asking for money. Basically, you are saying to me, ‘We are just another party doing what the other parties do. So, give us money. We’re gonna act and do like the other parties. We do not have an original thought in our heads’. That is what I hear and that is so incredibly disappointing”.

“I agree. And many in the party are saying the same thing. You should attend the Zoom meeting and say that stuff!”

“I have been saying that stuff. I have been saying that stuff for more than 20 years…from Adrian Carr to Andrew Weaver. You guys just do not listen. I am no longer going to yell into the ether even if it is green. Furthermore, 20 years ago I had the juice to help out and I offered to do so. Today, I am an old guy. Even if I said the words that moved the Green party in-crowd, I no longer have the long-term juice to back it up. I am a limp Bernie Sanders without the energy.”

“Oh, God! I feel the same way. I no longer have the energy.”

“Well, nice of you to call. See ya.”

I’m changing, it seems

I never used to talk about the weather or even acknowledge it.  It simply WAS and I was unavoidably and deeply immersed in it so there was no need to chat about what was so far beyond my control.  Hey!  Do fish talk about the ocean?  I used to snort at people who talked about the weather.  “Wet enough for you?”

I never used to even think about gardening, either.  OMG, what a colossal bore gardening was!  People talked about Zucchinis and tomatoes and ‘Oh how their garden grows!’  It was sad.  It seemed to me that they were simply saying, “I have no friends!”. 

And cooking was also very NOT on my hit parade of interests.  My previous approach: eat when you are hungry.  Who cares what it is so long as it can be eaten ‘on the go’ and men-in-aprons were just plain silly EVEN if dressed so only at the BBQ (I also used to propose the theory that a woman invented the BBQ to make her husband cook.  I claimed it was Gloria Steinhem – and she made a fortune selling BBQs!).  I had all sorts of ‘obvious’ positions on many, many mundane topics but those listed above were the most enduring.  Those were NOT gonna change.  I would not be talking about that crap.

Well, that was then.  This is now.  I now cook.  I now garden.  And, worse, I sometimes BBQ!  I do the dishes, too.  And I have been literally fascinated by the weather out here for years….fer Gawd’s sake!

I am not proud of myself.  I have succumbed to the ordinary.  I am now a really boring man.  Almost English.  Hell, these past few years, I have even begun to talk about ailments!  And – this is what is prompting this confession – I have gone downhill, so to speak, even further.  I am interested and have been learning about growing mushrooms.  You may recall my previous attempt at growing ‘shrooms failed miserably.

But I am not easily deterred by failure.  How could I be, given my track record?

Back to the ‘shrooms.  I started initially by simply trying to determine what would kill me if I ate it.  Our property has a lot of fungi growing.  I was convinced they were all as deadly as cyanide.  So, I read up on it and only a small percentage of the wild mushrooms are really toxic.  And maybe another 20% are good-to-eat.  Or edible, anyway.  It is really quite interesting that all the mushroom books I have gone through (3) are noticeably vague on what is good, what is bad and what is great to eat.  They are pretty clear as to what is poisonous but, if it won’t kill ya, they just kinda leave it on the list whether it tastes good or not.  Bottom line: I am sticking with the basics.  I am going for Morels and maybe Chanterelles.

Sally, thank God, is the real gardener but, like cooking, she can only be counted on to do the majority of it and only relatively conventional dishes/plants.  She will grow the potatoes, for instance.  But she will NOT stretch to the unusual – like growing Morel mushrooms.  Or cooking squids.  Or maybe trying Sea Cucumbers.  If it is a bit ‘out there’, that seems to fall to me.  Cooking is very much the same.  Sal will cook meat and potatoes with cauliflower in white sauce.  Sushi is up to me.  Curry was up to me until she found a few bland curries to make and so a battle-of-the-curries is slowly shaping up.  A hot curry is still mine to make (or attempt).

And so it goes.

Here’s the one that surprises me the most.  I now want to grow flowers.  I never wanted to grow flowers.  ‘If you can’t eat ’em…..’  But, this year we have a large flower patch and the bees are literally ecstatic to be there and well, I quite like bees, so I am gonna garden ’em up a nice place to hang out.  Mind you, my natural instincts still tend to ‘eating’ and so I may also make a small bee-hive or apiary in order to get a little local honey.  The chore of collecting that honey will fall to Sal.

Up date

This Spring, we have been regularly visited by Jack2 and Liz2, our resident Ravens. They are distinctly different from the original Jack and Liz in size and behaviours but still black, beautiful and noisy. Quirky, too. And we are getting to know each other more and more as this year carries on.

Last week there were just the two of them, today there are five! Seems J2 & L2 have launched a new squadron! Flying circles of life? A fledged family? Three eggs hatched. We think this is the couple’s first family.

Nature. It’s always nice to see but the constant announcements throughout the next few weeks as family news broadcasts changes to lessons-learned-on-the-fly followed up in the end with loud goodbyes can get a bit screechy. Stll, all nice to see.

My friend (with the ship) had a good day yesterday. Got things sorted. Boats and gear, junk and debris, work and repairs all handled and, as a nice reward, the channel he was in was flooded by hundreds of Pacific White-sided Dolphins. That, too, is quite a nice sight. Lifts the spirits.

Typically, we would have seen hundreds of yachts going by by now as they head North for the wilder sections of the coast. Not so much this year. Very few. And all Canadian. The same is true for the whales. Usually we would have had a dozen sightings by now but so far we have seen just one ‘resident pod’ of Orcas and only two Humpies. Seems all the big guys are still hanging out down south.

Sal and I resumed getting in the winter firewood as soon as the big-toe excuse was considered lame (sorry, kinda pun-like?). And we have been gardening up a storm. So, today’s update will finish with a few pictures.

View from the Greenhouse

A real OTG adventure: part two

My friend and his ship remain at the secluded bay up the coast.  He’s not done there yet.  Murphy got involved.

Firstly, ‘friend’ has three boats.  There is the big Mama and then there is the little baby boat (LB).  In between is the mid-sized Big-Boy boat (BB).  The two smaller ones are ship’s tenders.  You need small boats with which to do things that are too difficult with huge, old tanker-ships.

As you have gleaned from the previous post, ‘friend’ works around the tides.  When the tide gets close to being low enough, friend goes to work on Big Mama and, naturally, his focus is on the work-at-hand and not on the two other boats.

Murphy, however, attended to them.

As the tide dropped BB got hung up on some rocks, tipped on it’s side and filled with water as it sank.  It did not go too deep.  The bottom is shallow, after all.  Still, it filled with water and sank in the deathly shallows.  While friend cleaned and scraped big Mama, BB sank deeper and disgorged the usual workboat flotsam and jetsam into the area.  NOT pollution per se (he is a Greenie) but definitely unsightly and messy.  Maybe a few wine bottles, ya know?

When he discovered his new gift from Murph, he waded over to the mess and started to ‘sort’ it all out beginning with the wooden pallets he had obtained earlier and stored inside BB.  He carried all of them through the water and stacked those pallets on Big Mama.  Of course, as he was dragging the last pallet onto Big Mama’s deck, the stack of pallets he had just put there, fell over and the free-falling pallets fell on his ankle and leg.  Nothing broke except the silence of the bay as friend bellowed out to Murph!

But my big toe feels his ankle pain.

The next day it poured and poured and his leg was kinda mushed so not a lot got done.  Still, he is not the type to just sit it out and so he went back to BB to try and right it.  In the process, the boat, half submerged, moved unexpectedly and pinned his arm and wrist between a rock and a boat-place.  The wing got squished.  Friend bellowed again.

He limped his sorry butt back to the Big Mama and poured wine with his remaining good arm.  He hurt from fingers to toes.  BB still lay on it’s side under water.  Friend’s mood was somewhat dampened by events and he couldn’t wait for Murphy to leave.

But, the next day is another day.  And it was not raining.  So, it was potentially a good day.  He limped through the remaining clean up and will eventually get to addressing how to ‘right’ BB.  That task wouldn’t be easy if he had a crew of three and everyone was a young buck.  Assisted only by the omnipresent-but-never-welcome Murphy, friend has his work cut out but, knowing him, he’ll succeed.

Or, he will hurt something else, drink more wine and keep doing it all over and over again until it is done.

I mentioned that he was a smidge obstinate, didn’t I?


A real OTG adventure

A friend of mine lives on a big ship.  The ‘J’ is over 100 feet long, pretty beamy and has a flat bottom.  It was a small tanker back in the day.  My friend handles it alone.  That, in itself, is not easy.  Hell, just getting the old engines started is NOT easy.  If this ship was more modern and had all the modern computer-controlled equipment, it would still employ a crew of three at a minimum.  Instead, ‘friend’ does the work of three people and, quite frankly, he is no spring chicken, either.  Not easy being Green (the colour of his vessel).

But that is NOT the adventure referred to in the blog title.  The real adventure is that ‘friend’ has to maintain the damn thing now and then.  Maintain includes all the things you would expect but it also includes cleaning the hull.  That’s right, over 2500 square feet of ship’s ‘bottom’ needs cleaning, checking and painting.

He does that alone, too.

He finds a shallow beach and calculates the tides so that he has an hour or two with the boat first resting on the bottom, high and dry, so that he can clean and paint the foot or so up to the waterline.  Then, as the boat rises with the tide, he bends down and starts to scrape off the barnacles and weeds by reaching under the boat.  That’s right – 2500 square feet of flat bottom ship is eventually just floating at over-his-head height as he walks under it along the bottom of the bay with a scraper and/or pressure washer.  Ship looms over his head.  Marine crap all falling down.  Dark.  Ominous.  Alone.

He can’t get it done all in one day (lazy butthead!) so he is anchored remote for the time it takes.  Typically 3 or four days.  Still the tides change by about 45 minutes every day and so his work schedule also shifts daily.  The only way he can keep track of it all is to set the alarm for 5:00 pm and he stops for wine and dinner then – no matter what.

He could use a little help.  “Hey!  Next time tell me a few months in advance and we’ll get in some W’fers.  They would love that adventure.  And I would love to boss them around.”

This is an OTG, west coast, liveaboard, somewhat common occurrence made special primarily because of the size of the boat.  Throw in a ‘senior’ doing it all alone and way up some lost channel somewhere and you have the makings for a real adventure.  But, but, but….he’ll share it with you.  I am taking names for the year after next.  If you are young, strong, willing to get wet and look good in wet t-shirts, you are eligible to apply.  If cleaning ship bottoms is appealing to you, you are on the short-list.  And, if you can cook and pour wine as well, you are in.


Update: June 9, 2020

It’s raining.  My big toe still hurts.  Today should be a perfect day for writing.  But, it is not.  To write, one really should have something to say.  And, of course, I do.  Oooohhhh, do not get me started. But I say that at the outset because all that I have to say, I have said already.  Maybe more than once.  Readers don’t like repetition.  I need NEW stuff.

I will point out that there have been a number of counter-protesters who expressed themselves by driving into crowds and shooting people.  A few of them have been associated with the Boogaloo Bois, a KKK-styled alt-right group.  So, the crazy conspiracy blog of a few days ago is a bit less ‘out there’ and it turns out to be a recognized phenomena.  See:  Jus’ sayin’…..

Another prophecy of sorts.  The US officially has 113,000 dead from the 2M Coronavirus victims.   I don’t believe it.  I think it is higher and the number is being suppressed.  I know, I know,  “Geez, Dave, conspiracy theories, Boogaloo Bois and now this!  Have you gone mad?”  Maybe.  But Dr Fauci has been removed from the NEWs and he was the only truth teller in the White House.  He hasn’t been seen since April 29 and hasn’t spoken with Trump in 3 weeks.  And the CDC has been muzzled.  And India and South America are peaking….I just think the US was headed for a higher figure and then………things seem to ‘all-of-a-sudden’ get better.  And I do not trust Trump.  Adds up to spin, lies and information suppression to me.  Jus’ sayin’…

The ‘Defund the Police’ movement has some momentum.  But it won’t happen.  Too many are too invested in having a police force.  Emphasis on FORCE.  Having said that, the now-retiring Toronto police chief had been working to ‘soften’ the ‘force’ side and emphasize the ‘service’ side and Cambden, New Jersey, went even further in that regard.  Now the Minneapolis City Council has gone the extra, extra step of actually ‘defunding’ the police.  I think all that will be a wake-up call to everyone in uniform and those attempting to manage them.  Most cities will give their cops the chance to change their macho, semi-militant, uber-belligerent cultures but I do not think we are going to see the end of the bully-boys quite yet.  Too bad.  It is inevitable.

On a different note, this summer is shaping up to be the quietest we’ve had in 15 years.  No one (‘cept daughter) is planning on coming.  A few are ‘considering’.  Sal said, “Holleee!  Without Wf’ers and guests our monthly budget is already much, much less than usual!  Who knew?”   We’d much prefer the guests and family, of course, but the ‘planned for’ budget saving was a small surprise.  It turns out that, with just Sal and me, with all our attendant ‘costs’ that go with living (food, fuel, cell phone and satellite services) our cost-to-live is pretty low right now.  Biggest single cost?  Wine!  Plus projects.  We’re living at less than $2,000 a month and that includes taxes!

Of course, of course, that does NOT translate into an annual projection.  Nor does it include such obscure costs as depreciation of equipment and surprises that are so common, they should be a line item.  But it is still interesting to see how isolation and being unvisited has so altered our cashflow.  I’m guessing a 33% deduction at the very least.  It really just reveals that we have less fixed costs and more variable and discretionary expenses that we have more control over.  That is an OTG thing.

So, we are gonna save up….and buy MORE wine!