Every day of my recent stay in Ucluelet I went for a wander, rain or shine (mostly rain), and the wandering almost always included one or more of the docks dotted along the water.
I’ve written before about my complete lack of nautical skills, yet I’m drawn to the boats – I can’t help it. Is it in my genes? My Dad, or Old OldPlaidCamper, as he’s never called, did run away to sea when he was a boy. Imagine, a teenager in the merchant navy and seeing the world. He traveled to many parts of the globe before he met my Mum and settled down. He has told a story or two about that time, but I suspect there are many tales as yet untold.
Yes, that must be it – I’ve inherited the genetic possibility (huh?) of a life on the ocean waves. This makes sense – after all, I have almost completed Patrick O’Brian’s wonderful cycle of Aubrey-Maturin novels set in the British Navy of the early nineteenth century. Is that nautical preparation? I think so! Although, all those beautifully detailed and descriptive stories, and I still can’t tell a topsail from a topgallant, and I’m not too sure about a futtock shroud…(but I love that there are futtock shrouds – thank you, Patrick O’Brian!)
Back to the docks! Rain or shine! Port and starboard! Futtock shrouds to the rain, I say! The photographs this week are from a greyer day or two, when it was about to rain or had just stopped. As you can see, as well as the boats, I like the paraphernalia dotted about the vessels and docks, some of it appearing cast down at random, but it likely all has a purpose that my landlubberly eyes can’t figure.
I strode up and down every walkway, eager to see it all, slowing to take in each boat, stepping over a coil of rope, or the cables plugged into the big fishing boats. Every now and then an explosive splashing and flurry of wings would startle me from my daydreams, and I’d stop to admire the low flight of a duck I’d unwittingly disturbed, watching it scoot away across the water.
One morning, a Blue Heron was perched atop a piling, and remained unbothered by my presence on the dock. It looked very dignified up there, magisterial and generous enough to share the space. Herons, kingfishers, mergansers, bald eagles, gulls, and other birds I can’t name, were often present – it gets busy all about the water.
Big boats, little boats, new boats, old boats, grey boats, white boats, tidy boats, messy boats, boats for work, and boats for play – they all looked rather wonderful, moored up in the rain. Am I day-dreaming escapist notions from the global news storms that seem to sweep in every day? Perhaps, but being on the coast is retreat enough, and I wouldn’t want to disengage completely (even allowing for how our present day swirling and choppy political currents make becoming entirely unmoored a rather tempting prospect…)
Let’s be honest here – I’m happy enough to paddle a kayak or splash about in a canoe, but it is highly unlikely I’ll ever learn to sail and head out into bigger waters. I’d need a promise of endless calm water, and I think sailing doesn’t work too well on flat seas. Oh, futtock shrouds! No, this is absolutely fine, and I’ll stick to the fun that is the dreamy wondering and wandering around the harbour in these dock days of winter.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!
13 thoughts on “The dock days of winter”
I loved this adventure down to the docks, PC. I like hanging out at docks too, they’re steadier than boats and I never get sick. lol. Yesterday I went to my favorite used book store in SF and bought a book that I had on my kindle but longed to have in my book case for frequent referral. I hope you have read it, but if not, you will love it. “Two Years Before the Mast” by Richard Henry Dana Jr, published in 1840. A well-written seafaring journey. Great photos here today, especially liked the great rope, fun title too. Wonderful to see you having fun.
Thank you, Jet! It’s getting to the point where if I hang around the docks too much more, I’ll get press ganged – and after a day or two at sea, they’ll realize they press ganged a dreadful landlubber and I’ll be walking the plank…
I am off to try and track down a hard copy of your book recommendation, if at all possible. Failing that, it’ll be digital. Either way, I really appreciate the recommendation and can’t wait to read it, so thank you for that!
I do hope you are finding time to work on your next novel in between putting all the pieces back together, post wildfire. So much to juggle, I hope it is going well enough.
Have a great weekend!
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In concept, living on a boat seemed like such a grand idea to us but in reality we had a few problems. Joe gets (dreadfully) seasick and neither of us has a clue how to sail a boat, let alone maintain one. We agree with Jet Eliot. Hanging out on a dock is the place to be. Close enough to look at all the fancy hardware but not so close Joe will get sick. Have a grand time out there, OPC, but dry land with a water view is the best place to be.
I think living on a boat is likely to remain at the conceptual stage for us! A lack of skills and finances, and the understanding it is probably quite hard to share really small quarters will keep us on dry land. And you’re right – you can get a great water view from there, on steady legs!
Thanks, and have a wonderful weekend!
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Futtock shrouds and seaborne clouds, PC; ye birds and boats shall fly and sail thee from the dock daze of the hoary wintertime! I always enjoy your nautical musings and reflections.
Thanks, Walt, this really made me smile! What a poetic way to approach those futtock shrouds, and I wish I had thought of dock daze.
It might be hoary midwinter, but I hope you get out and have a wonderful weekend!
I still would love a floathouse personally!…..with a good boat of course! I’d have you both over for Thanksgiving too!
Wouldn’t a float house be great?! Gotta find a decent mooring, unknown and undisturbed. You probably know a few spots? Let us know when you’re ready, Wayne! If it’s calm enough, we’ll paddle out to where you’ll be anchored (and bring a dessert!)
Hope your day is going well – minus 15 or so here today, but overcast. Should be brighter tomorrow, so planning to snowshoe in Kananaskis.
oh I’d love to snowshoe again! I miss the snow!
We’ll have to get up to Mt. Washington/Strathcona one day – they’ve got all the snow we’d need to snowshoe, and some!
too far,we could go to the summit & snowshoe down the road.The only problem there is whether there is a spot to park the vehicle?
It was wonderful to read about your love of boats and wandering the docks. I always enjoy a visit to the docks and knowing people who own boats, but I love the easy maintenance and simple pleasures of kayaking. Thanks for allowing me to escape the “global news storms” for a moment here with your humor and fantastic photos. Enjoy your weekend!
You’ve hit the nail on the head – easy maintenance and simple pleasures of paddling. Now there’s just the wait for warmer weather and accessible water…
I hope your weekend is going well (your latest photographs suggest a thaw? Minus 15C here and the snow is falling right now. Paddling seems a long way off!)
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