wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Swamped

Our friends stayed the planned one night, but the Captain and I stayed an extra night. (I’ve blurred their faces for anonymity.)

We moved to a more sheltered bay not far to the south. Several sailboats were anchored there. We chose an empty space and put out the anchor with lots of line in case the wind came up as the forecast said it would.

Within minutes a sailboat came into the bay and anchored so close to us that if a wind came up, they would surely be blown right on top of us. We decided to move farther away to the other side of the bay.

The skiff with the outboard motor on it was tied alongside the troller. For a short trip like this – a few hundred meters – it was okay to travel this way, rather than to tow it behind the boat.

I went up to the bow to kick out the anchor,  while the Captain ran the boat in reverse, paying out the anchor line, and giving it a good tug at the end of the pay-out.

As I came back to the main deck area, I yelled, “The skiff! The line broke!”

The back of the skiff was close to the fish boat, but the front of the skiff had swung out and away from the boat.

Worst of all, the skiff was full of water to within an inch or two of the top.

The oars were floating loose, and the gas caddy was floating but tethered to the motor by the fuel line.

While the Captain quickly secured the anchor winch so no more anchor line would go out, I grabbed the pike pole and snagged one of the oars. The other oar was already out of reach, drifting away with the tide.

The Captain took the pike pole and brought in the fuel caddy. Fortunately it had not leaked. Then it was my turn with the pole again, to pull in the skiff while the Captain reached for a rope to re-tie it onto the fish boat. It was no easy feat to pull a skiff full of water.

Then the bailing began. The Captain used the deck bucket with a rope on it to bail until the bench seats of the skiff were above the water level in the skiff. At that point I volunteered to get in the skiff to continue bailing as it could be done faster from there.

I hoped that my weight wouldn’t be more than that of the water we had just removed. A slight tremor of fear went through me as I prepared to step into the skiff. Just then, the Captain said, “Put on your life jacket,” and the tremor became a quake.

Have you ever had a sinking feeling? Well, I did at the moment I put a foot into the skiff. Everything sank a little bit but not enough to let more water in. I bailed furiously and soon had the water down to a less worrisome level. In the photo, I’m growling at the Captain not to take my picture.

When I had removed enough water so the skiff would hold the Captain’s weight, we traded places. He reattached the gas caddy and prayed that the motor would start. He kept bailing as he motored away in pursuit and search of the second oar.

Luckily he came across it, but it had travelled quite a distance in that time.

At last, things returned to normal and we could take the dogs to the beach to explore the new area. It would be good to walk on solid ground and let the adrenaline calm down.


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Bounty on the Beach

At first glance the beach looks somewhat empty of life, but if you take the time to look closer, you can see that it is like a giant grocery store filled with millions of small morsels of seafood.

If you’re not hungry, just go for a walk.

Tiny butter clams make a good snack later on. Be sure you have your saltwater licence though.

Here is one of the millions of clams that make such a delicious appetizer.

Steamed in a pot, the clamshells open and the little clams inside are ready to eat. Melted butter and lime juice adds a wonderful flavour, or if you prefer, you can eat them with garlic butter.

Oysters are also there for the picking, but be sure to shuck them on the spot so the shells with the bits of oyster are left behind to ensure their reproduction. And before you ask, NO, I don’t know how oysters make love. They seem to have “clammed up” and won’t talk about it.


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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.

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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


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Tide Out, Fish In

At first glance you might think it’s a sandy beach, but your nostrils will tell you that iodine  breeze holds the smell of low tide.  That sand would be very soft to walk on and I wouldn’t advise it. When the tide comes in, all that “sand” will be under water. Meanwhile, there’s no telling how far you would sink into that sea bottom.

This is the east side of the causeway that divides the wharves where fish boats can tie up. It is what they call the new side, more recently dredged to provide more moorage and shelter for local boats.

The older side is more crowded because “the old salts” tie up there. It is busy with fishermen getting their boats ready for a summer of salmon and halibut fishing, often far enough from home that the men and their boats may be gone for many weeks.

You can see the roof and the rigging of the Captain’s boat on the bottom right-hand side of the photo below.

The new side is also busy, but is more convenient for boats that come and go more frequently.

Those who have fish for sale will want to moor on the new side. It is handier for the public to visit for dockside sales of whatever is in season. It might be prawns, shrimp, salmon, halibut  or other. Today it is halibut. The customers lined up on the dock know that they have to buy the whole fish. The price is high, but they gladly part with well over $100 for a small halibut. These flat fish have a delicate white meat which, though highly priced, is also highly prized. If you could see what the fishermen have to risk and endure to catch and bring these fish to harbour, you would say the price is a bargain for the customer.

As you can see, there is no shortage of people wanting fish for their supper.

I have removed the name and number of the boat to allow some anonymity for the boat owner.


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Marking Trolling Wire

Always ready to help, Ruby sits nearby and supervises while the Captain marks trolling wire. He buys the stainless steel wire in a huge 1200-foot roll and then sets it up to mark it as he rewinds it onto another roll. Here is the newly bought, unmarked wire.

After it is marked, it is wound onto another roll.

Here is the setup, from the new roll to the finished roll, and the work area in the middle.

The stainless steel cable (5/64″) is made up of seven strands, so these are split into four and three, and kept apart by the nail in this little block of wood. Then a short piece of “marking wire,” also stainless steel, is inserted in the space.

This short piece of marking wire is then twisted around the trolling wire, going one way on one side  …

until it is all neatly wrapped around the trolling wire.

Then the other end of the marking wire is twisted in the opposite direction until it is all tidily wrapped around the trolling wire.

About six inches farther along, another mark is put into the wire, so you now have two sets of wrappings, six inches apart. Why do we do this?

It is where the line snap is hooked on. The two marks on the wire keep the snap from sliding up or down the cable. Tied to the line snap are the perlon fishing line and any flashers or lures that the Captain feels like using. The lure in this photo is just an old beat up coho spoon that has seen better days.

Two fathoms (a fathom is about six feet) farther along, the Captain will put another set of marks on the wire to stop the next piece of gear from sliding up or down when he sets the gear in the water.

The trolling wire is spooled onto the gurdies that you see in the photo below, about 300 feet on each spool. There are two sets of three gurdies, one on each side of the boat. From the gurdies, the wire goes up through pulleys and is attached to the trolling poles  which are lowered partway down while fishing, to keep the lines away from the boat.

Lead balls of about 55 lbs are fastened to the end of the trolling cable before it is lowered into the water by the gurdies (with hydraulic controls), and the line snaps with the trolling gear are fastened on between the markers (sometimes every two fathoms) as the line sinks into the water.

The boats below are at anchor but their trolling poles are down and you can see their position during fishing time. When they come in to a wharf, of course they raise the poles straight up so they don’t smash into other boats.

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Now you hope that the lines don’t tangle in bad weather and the fish will bite before that orca gets them.


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Fire in the Hole (or is that Hold?)

Fire in the hole is a warning that was called out to miners when explosives stashed in a hole in the wall of a mine were about to be detonated. It may also have referred to the lighting of the little hole in a cannon where gunpowder was packed and burned until it reached the main charge that fired the cannon.

But in this case, it was not “fire in the hole,” but rather “fire in the hold” of this boat. Around the end of May this year, fire broke out on this boat. The cause is thought to be a bad combination of gasoline fumes and electric sparks, but I’m not sure of that, since I wasn’t on the boat to know. The owner, who lived aboard had only one option and that was to jump into the water. Even so he got some burns, but he’ll be okay.

You may recognize the Royston Wrecks on the opposite shore. I posted photos of them in this post: https://wordsfromanneli.com/2016/04/06/royston-wrecks/025

We were a good couple of miles away as the crow flies, maybe more, so the pictures are not very clear, but the smoke leaves no doubt about what was happening.

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I’m not sure if this is the Comox fireboat (whose five-minute drive took an incredibly long time – not their finest hour, nor their usual response time) or the one from Powell River (which arrived  amazingly quickly from the mainland, across the Strait of Georgia).Both arrived on the scene about the same time, but too late to save the boat.037

The fleet anchored in the bay could only stand and stare, and feel very sorry for the boat’s owner.