14-MAY-2017, Manson’s Landing, BC – Given that it is a weekend and Mother’s day at that, we expected that the dock here would be crowded with visitors. As we approached, we saw it was in fact full with some boats rafted. But there in the midst was a space about 35 feet long that Jennifer can dock in.
Jennifer enjoys these tight dockings now. She has the skill and rides the adrenalin rush that comes with single-shot dockings. Hit the space with enough forward motion for steerage, come in to the dock at close to a 90-degree angle, rotate around the keel pivot point while turning, easing the side of the boat close enough for me to step off, then power into reverse to stop Caro Babbo without me having to apply braking from the dock.
Jennifer steps out of the cockpit and ties the stern while I tie amid ship and bow.
But the dock here isn’t crowded. We are the only visitors. The other boats, for the most part, are near derelict.
There is only one space available for visiting vessels and we have it.
On the beach, as we motored in, we saw a catboat beached. It was careened, having its bottom painted.
Many of the boats on the dock we recognized from last September. We had hoped we might see Luke, who told Jennifer that she had a heavy wheelbarrow to carry and who gave Hilary a moon snail shell that we have with us on board.
We thought we spotted the now derelict houseboat of a woman we enjoyed meeting. But found that houseboat was initially hidden as we sailed by. It is as well cared for as ever, but where the woman is, we don’t know.
There are people around. This is part of a park. We found a man living in a hovel along the edge of the woods and the beach. We waved at the man careening the catboat, and Jennifer spoke to two kayakers.
But the dock is empty of people. It some ways it has a post apocalyptic feel to it, or perhaps just desolation and poverty.
But it is empty. More than anything, I find much of the push to cruise (for me) is to be away from people. To not feel the social pressures, to escape the social media, to escape the politics and attendant death of our times.
We have an Internet connection, still. We’re in Canada, which does a marvelous job of coverage and not far from Campbell River. We get 4G coverage and sometime LTE – which is the best we know of in 2017 in North America.
With it comes communication and NPR, which we listened to this morning while I made breakfast.
Jennifer finds the derelict boats and lack of people depressing. She felt more alone in Mystery Bay across from Port Townsend.
Perhaps because it was the first night out, or because we were seeing Dennis and Lisa the next day, or perhaps because one side of the bay is lined with houses appreciating more than my net worth, or because the other side is posted with US Navy no trespassing signs, I did not feel alone or away.
What is the search the cruising satisfies?
We both enjoy places we’ve never been, and actively seek those out. We each point out, as a high point, the number of times we anchor alone.
For me, perhaps it is the relief from needing to conform that being alone with Jennifer ( and Hilary) grants. Do I/we act any differently when alone?
No, we don’t. But there is a silence and a freedom that cruising alone bestows.
Meeting people becomes a gift and a highlight. I do set the tone, generally. I play host and the world I create when people visit is the one I want to live in.
So, is it being alone or being a monarch?
When I was younger, I found making the transition, from spending days alone to being among people, difficult, almost a physical pain like a loud noise against skin.
In a few minutes, we’ll motor 3 hours to Campbell River to arrive at slack so we can enter the marina there.
We’ll see our friend Joe Myers, and perhaps Jennifer will see Katherine, the curator at the Roderick Haig-Brown House, and maybe we’ll meet the bounty hunter we enjoyed so much last year. (Apparently in Canada one can hold someone else’s property hostage, without due process to extract payment for a debt or anything else. I personally am skeptical, but Rod Haig-Brown, who was the magistrate here, is not around for me to confer with.)
We usually motor to rapids and other places so we can hit them exactly.
Being late can be dangerous. There is, coincidentally, only calm today.