Category Archives: B.C. coast

More “Whatever-they-are”s

A few years ago, I saw only brown llamas or alpacas in our neighbourhood. The other day as I drove down to the spit to take pictures of the seiners at the wharf, I passed the “llama place” and was surprised to see only one brown one.
I think this black one is new – at least “new” to me. Its buddies were of assorted colours.

I had to wonder though, if this brown one is one of the originals. They didn’t have name tags, and they wouldn’t answer when I asked. I guess it’s because they were busy eating.

This is their view. Pretty nice place to have lunch, on a little hillside by the sea. Life could be worse.

Alpaca or llama

Oh what a dilemma,

I wish I could tell,

But then, “Oh what the …heck.”

Herring Time 2019

Two years ago to the day I did a post about the herring fishery. If you are interested you can find it here. https://wordsfromanneli.com/2017/03/08/herring-time/

At that time a fisherman lost his life working in this dangerous job.

However, the fishery goes on. The pressure is on the fishermen to set their nets and catch what they can in the short time allowed.

As seiners from all along the coast of BC gather to await the herring opening, the wharf at Comox, on Vancouver Island, is congested at this time of year. You can see the seiners in the center of the photo above in the government fish wharf, and the toothpick-like masts of the sailboats on the far right, tucked away in their private marina.

How do these boats not get tangled!?

At one time the herring fishery was lucrative, but see, below, the problem facing the herring fishermen now.

These are a few of the sea lions left after a herring season three years ago. Since then the number of sea lions has exploded to the point where the fishermen lose nets repeatedly from dozens of these giants tearing through them to get at the herring in the seine nets.

Every animal needs to eat, but the fishermen are now finding it difficult to make a living when all they seem to do is feed sea lions and pay for very expensive nets. The staggering number of sea lions that have moved in to take up permanent residence on the coast of Vancouver Island has become an overwhelming problem for the fishermen.

Solutions are hard find, as the remedies are all controversial.

Reckoning Tide

If you’ve read The Wind Weeps, you’ll remember that I left you hanging at the end of that story. Now you can find out what happens to our pretty, but naive Andrea.

The tide will turn in the sequel of this coastal drama, and there will be a reckoning.

Pure natural beauty, but it was Andrea’s prison.

Robert is becoming more dangerous by every turn of the page. He is desperate to win back his wife, whom he considers his chattel. How dare she run away? Didn’t she know how much he loved her? He would never share her.

When he kept her in his cabin on the coast, he took great care to maintain isolation. No phone, no radio, no human contact. She was his beautiful prize and no one could take her away.

Yes, Andrea was a lovely girl, and now she was malleable too. She would bend to his every wish. She knew what would happen if she didn’t.

But the human spirit can find surprising reserves of inner strength. Desperation and despair drove Andrea nearly to the point of giving up. From somewhere deep inside, a surge of survival instinct welled up in her.

Robert hadn’t counted on her being so gutsy as to try a daring escape. He would do anything to get her back. Anything!

The Wind Weeps is free on amazon (and on smashwords.com for those with e-readers other than Kindle). Be sure to follow up with the sequel, Reckoning Tide, for the exciting conclusion to this coastal drama.

eBOOK_RECKONING_TIDE

Reckoning Tide is available at amazon.comamazon.ca, amazon.deamazon.co.uk in paperback and Kindle,  and at smashwords.com in all formats.

For more info, visit my website at http://www.anneli-purchase.com

Bird’s Eye View

I looked out at the sunny (cold) day this morning. Someone else was also looking. Do you see him at the top of the fir tree? It’s a good place to spot potential targets for food — maybe a crippled duck, or some small creature in a field, or even a  victim of overnight road kill.

I stepped out onto the deck and took about 30 wiggly photos. I leaned against a deck post and tried 20 more. Finally I managed to get a photo that was recognizable, if not sharp. The camera has a 43X zoom so this is the best it can do without a tri-pod. I often wish for a BIG telescopic lens but then there is the weight to consider. Also, these subjects don’t often hang around long enough for me to get set up.

But we can see his “eagle eye” and the sharp tearing beak. It must be breezy up there, judging by his feathers being ruffled on the windward side.

It is a lean time of year for the eagles. They work hard to find some unsuspecting, usually sick or starving, bird to feed on. But soon, the herring will be coming close to the beach to spawn, and then the eagles will be “living off the fat of the land” (and sea).

West Coast Travels

At the end of the fishing season this past summer, the Captain was ready to head home.  A new phase of the adventure begins with the rising sun.

Along the way home, he stops to check out this little building. You would never guess that inside this shack is a pleasant surprise.  A cemented enclosure fills with warm water through a  pipe from hotsprings behind the cabin. Step inside and have a soak to take the ache out of your bones.

The falls at the head of Lowe Inlet splash relentlessly. Except for the odd raven chuckling in the treetops, the rush and gurgle of the water are the only sounds. If you think you might want to try casting a dry fly towards a coho, be sure to take your bear spray with you – just in case.

 Need a warm cabin for drying out those wet clothes? This Fisheries cabin at Lowe Inlet, aptly named the Lowe Budget Hotel,  is very cozy after the Captain has spent some time trying his luck fishing in the cold mist of the falls. 

He remembers to follow the rules about the woodstove, posted on the wall. Don’t want to risk burning the cabin down.

Almost there. Running the boat down Grenville Channel.  Beautiful trip but there’s no place like home.

Meanwhile at home, I’ve been writing, and thinking about my fictitious character, Andrea, who has had an experience that seems bizarre at first. But in truth, this has happened to other women who have ventured out to the coast.

How did a city girl like her became trapped in an isolated cabin on this remote coast? Will she ever escape this lonely place where she must live with a man who is mentally deranged?

You can download The Wind Weeps (FREE), and then you can find out the conclusion in a sequel, Reckoning Tide, that is only $2.99. When did you last get so much enjoyment and entertainment for such a small price?

Why not get them both today at amazon.com or amazon.ca and smashwords.com?

You can find them all with supporting reviews at my website www.anneli-purchase.com

A Great Review for Marlie

Many years ago, the Captain and I lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands. The name of the islands has since been changed to Haida Gwaii, but it’s still the same remote, wild place. It was a magnet for adventurous nature-loving people back then, and even now it attracts a certain type. Among those who want to live the non-urban lifestyle, you’ll find:

fishermen who feel a burning need to risk their lives in horrendous weather,

adventurers who love the amazing scenery,

people who love nature and animals,

people who love the solitude of lonely beaches, and beachcombing.

My novels about the Charlottes and the West Coast are mainly about women living in  “a man’s world.” It is rough and tough for them, but somehow, they grow stronger as they face the challenges of island life. Of course, love is always in the wings. It is with these elements in mind that I wrote three of my five novels: The Wind Weeps (free download on Amazon and Smashwords), its sequel Reckoning Tide, and now my latest novel, Marlie.

Below the book cover image, I have copied the latest review of Marlie, in the hope of interesting you in reading this book that is dear to my heart.

I love Anneli Purchase’s work. It is straightforward in the way that Nature is straightforwardly pragmatic and indifferent to suffering, ego or justice. This we know, but the shock never diminishes.

This story is set against the scenery of the wild where you hunt to eat and bad men get what a bad man can take. Strong men and women suck it up and the only snowflakes are under the wheels of your truck or blizzarding in on the pitiless wind.

Marlie is a woman from the city starting over maybe in the liberal belief that you ever can. There is no fake sentimentality here. She finds happiness but only via conflict and brutality. Nature respects no weakness but only men are truly cruel for pleasure. Survival and the perception of beauty allow a space for romantic love in this atmospheric and beautifully written story. If you love the mechanics of writing look out for the poetry of vocabulary from the stern roller through to humpies in the scuppers.

You will need to shower off the sea salt when you put this book down. I read this story in the heat of an Italian summer but I was there in the Charlottes looking north to Alaska. Now that is writing talent.

*****

You can find Marlie on all the Amazon sites. Just go to amazon.com or amazon.ca, or amazon.co.uk and type in Marlie. If you have an e-reader other than Kindle, you can find Marlie on Smashwords.com. It is affordably priced so as not to break the bank.

 

 

Ripple Rock

Every year when the captain (my captain, that is) takes his commercial troller from Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands on the northern coast of British Columbia (and back again), he has to go through a tight passage called Seymour Narrows.

Located just north of the town of Campbell River, this stretch of water was described by Captain George Vancouver as “one of the vilest stretches of water in the world.”

Whenever I have accompanied “my” captain through the narrows, I’ve nearly given myself an ulcer beforehand, as Seymour Narrows has such a terrible reputation. Yet each time, going through the passage has been a piece of cake, with calm waters. That’s how it should be, if you wait for slack water, between tides.

The passage through Seymour Narrows is now much safer thanks to the removal of the tops of Ripple Rock,  a submerged twin-peak mountain that lay just nine feet beneath the surface of Seymour Narrows. According to Wikipedia, it was a serious hazard to shipping, sinking 119 vessels and taking 114 lives.

In the case of the William J. Stewart, when it struck Ripple Rock  in 1944, I’m not aware of any loss of life, and the ship was beached and later restored. It was due to be scrapped in 2017.

On April 5, 1958, after twenty-seven months of tunnelling and engineering work, Ripple Rock was blown up with 1,375 tons of Nitramex 2H explosive. It was quite the project.  A 500-foot vertical shaft was built on Maud Island, and then a horizontal shaft of 2,370 feet  was drilled out to Ripple Rock. From that point, two vertical shafts were drilled up into the  peaks, with shafts for the placement of the explosives. Very advanced technology for 1958.

I think those columns of smoke are blowback  from the explosion, coming out through the drilled shafts.

The explosion spewed debris almost 1000 feet into the air falling on land on either side of the narrows.  After the blast, the two peaks were 13.7 m (45 ft) and 15.2 m (50 ft) underwater.

Some very smart engineers had the foresight to detonate the charge at a time when the tide was running its fastest, so the rocks  blown off the tops would not fall straight back down onto the peaks, but rather, be swished along beyond them.

Even after the top of Ripple Rock was removed, it remains a challenging route. In March 1981, the Star Philippine, a freighter, ran aground in the narrows.

When the captain was coming home from a summer of trolling, he took pictures of his navigation instruments as he went through Seymour Narrows quite close by Ripple Rock. The red triangular icon represents his boat as he is heading south, just past Ripple Rock. Arrows show the direction of the tidal flow at that time. You can see the depths of the peaks as 15.2 m, and 13.7 m.

In the monitor of the depth sounder below, you can see the twin peaks of the rock. The reading is taken on the far right where the scale is marked. This tells me that the boat has just passed the second of the peaks of what is left of Ripple Rock.

Even knowing that the rock has been topped, I still have a healthy respect for this stretch of water. The colour photos (near the beginning of this post) of the swirling eddies are recent, well after the explosion of Ripple Rock, so you can see that going through Seymour Narrows when the tide is running full is still not a good idea.

My preference is to stay on land whenever possible.