wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Foolish Fish

Parked in a campground with hardly a soul around, I quickly scan for cougars and bears. I shake my head as I realize I’m too paranoid.

Our trailer sits looking at the lightly wooded view on the one side,

and the lake with our skiff on the beach on the other side. This pic is taken through the trailer window after the trip over dusty gravel road.

We can hardly wait to try fishing on the lake, and Emma is ready to go. She perches as lookout near the bow while Ruby settles into the space between the seats behind me.

When the Captain catches a trout, Emma checks it out,

and then Ruby has to give her approval as well.

The word is out beneath the waves

Swim for your lives and hope that saves

You from the Captain and his wife,

Their fishing rods may take your life.

 

Beware the tiny lures like flies

The Captain dangles them and tries

To fool us, thinking we’re just fish,

How tasty we’d be on a dish.

 

He’s brought his wife and both the dogs

Which makes it hard to watch for logs

His boat may hit one and they’ll flip

And we won’t get hooked on the lip.

 

Alas, young Cutty took the bait

I told him not to bite, just wait,

But no, he had to have it now,

I heard him screaming, “Ow, ow, ow!”

 

The Captain reeled him to the boat,

When Cutty was too tired to float,

They netted him and held him up

With comments about how they’d sup.

 

When Emma saw poor Cutty there

She tasted him and sniffed the air.

Then Ruby had to have her turn,

Making little Cutty squirm.

 

Beware you fishy children all

And listen when you hear me call

Do not be fooled by man-made flies

A better fate in wisdom lies.


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First the Work and Then the Play

It’s that time of year again when the troller needs to be given a facelift and the whole nine yards of a spa treatment. The “spa” is a marine ways near Campbell River. After you make the nail-biting trip up the river a little way, you steer into a  passageway that has most likely been dredged out just to make sure you don’t hit bottom.

On either side of this passageway, are walkways heavily reinforced to hold the weight of a travel lift carrying a boat weighing many tons.

The Work:

Here is the travel lift that lifted the troller Eden Lake out of the water about ten days ago. While the boat sat on the parking lot, propped up on either side with braces, the Captain slaved to power wash the boat’s hull, and cooling pipes. He replaced the bars of zinc as they have been “eaten” by electrolysis. Fresh bars are put on each year to divert the electrolysis from destroying the metal cooling pipes and the propeller.

The top of the hull is sanded and repainted. The gum wood (trim and railings, etc.) is coated with Cetol. The bottom of the hull is painted with anti-fouling paint to make the wood unpalatable to any marine life that wants to make its home there.

When the boat is all clean and shiny, it’s ready to be put back in the water. The travel lift puts the belts under the boat and carries it back to the water. It drives along the two walkways until the boat is suspended over the water and then it is gradually lowered back down where it belongs.

And off it goes, all tiddled up.

The Play:

Sometimes the boat skippers hire help for this grueling work. Even women can do this job (rather well, I might add). If you want to read about a good-looking woman who found romance after working on a troller  — and no, I’m not talking about Yours Truly — why not download the free novel “The Wind Weeps”? If you enjoy it and would like to read the sequel, it would cost you a big $2.99 to buy Reckoning Tide.  The books are available on all amazon sites, as well as on smashwords.com (for those who have e-readers other than Kindle).  Why not give these books a try? You might like them a lot.

You can just click on the book covers at the side of this blog post to find out more about them.

Or go to my website: www.anneli-purchase.com


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Not so rough, “roughing it”

If you like being out in the quiet of nature and don’t mind having very few people around, a fishing and camping trip on northern Vancouver Island might be just the thing for you.

Bringing along a trailer or a camper is not exactly roughing it, but who says you have to suffer to enjoy the outdoors. The Captain and a couple of friends are exploring new territory.

After a long drive on paved roads, get ready for a fairly long drive on dusty gravel roads. Everything in and on your vehicle will be covered in a fine layer of flour-like dust. But what’s a little dust when you end up on a serene lake like this one?

In the morning, you set out early before the sun burns off the fog over the lake and the wind blows away the last wisps of mist. Maybe it’s easier to sneak up on the trout if they can’t see you coming through the cloud.

Time for a nap after all that fresh air. It’s good to be refreshed in time for an early evening bite, when the trout are looking for their supper.

Next morning the lake is a mirror of beauty.

It’s mostly catch and release, but on the last day it’s nice to bring home a meal in time for a Mother’s Day dinner.

The trout were delicious.


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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.


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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


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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.

 

 

 


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Fishing is Hard Work

If only fishing were as easy as lying on your back in the grass beside a creek, waiting for the trout to bite. Commercial fishing, catching fish for people to eat, is much harder work than that.

To survive in heavy weather and rough seas, the fish boat must be in good shape structurally and mechanically. If it is a wood boat, it needs extra care in the form of dollars and sweat.

Once a year, before leaving for the north coast of British Columbia, the fish boat gets a facelift. Actually she gets a total body lift by a Travel Lift that puts straps under her hull and lifts her right out of the water and deposits her on the dry parking lot.

 

She is set down on wooden blocks. Jacks prop up  each side to prevent her from tipping over.

The hull is power washed to get rid of any sealife that may have attached itself to the wood. Once the hull is clean  and has  dried off, the upper parts are sanded and scraped to prepare them for a coat of paint.

Bars of zinc are  attached to the rudder and the iron shoe of the boat. Molten zinc is poured into a tin can mold attached to the wheel nut of the propeller, and more bars are attached to the cooling pipes not shown in this picture. All the zincs are meant to be sacrificed in lieu of the other metal parts of the boat (like the rudder, propeller, and cooling pipes). It is better that the zinc, rather than the propeller, be “eaten” by electrolysis.

The last job is to paint the bottom of the hull with anti-fouling paint. When that is done, the Travel Lift picks up the boat, carries it over to the water, and lowers it in.

In the photo below you can see that the boat has been carried away from its blocks on its way to the water again.

Feeling more comfortable now in its usual surroundings, the boat rests calmly, waiting to make the trip back home.

Passing  a sailboat  that is leisurely making its way out to sea, the fish boat hurries home.

For photos of the boat being lifted out of the water, click the link below.

https://wordsfromanneli.com/2016/03/11/uplifting/