Canada Day

IMG_7570_2We spent Canada Day in the Kitasoo Xaixais Nation, whose capital is Klemtu, population 400. We tied up at the dilapidated village dock just opposite the spectacular Big House.   Small family fishing boats are coming and going, bringing day off crab and salmon to village tables.  

Canada Day
We spend Canada Day in the Kitasoo Xalxais Nation, whose capital is Klemtu, population 400.  We tie up at the dilapidated village dock just opposite the spectacular Big House.   Small family fishing boats are coming and going, bringing day off crab and salmon to village tables.  
Out of one of the grey metal outboards hops a family, curiously blond.    “So you’re from Seattle?” they say.  Aurora is registered as from Seattle and that’s what’s written on her stern.  I correct them and find out they are Tom, Serena, Ian and Jenny from Hillsboro [in Greater Portland] on their way to Alaska.  Their boat is no bigger than a dinghy you might see being pulled behind one of those stupid mega yachts, what Nelson calls a “gin palace”, in the San Juans.  Just a grey metal cabin on a grey metal hull.  No galley, no berths, clothes and food crammed into the ice chests strapped in the stern.   
They’d trailered their no nome boat to Olympia and put in there.  Just that morning they’d rounded Cape Caution, sped up the coast, burning fuel like madmen, completely forgetting June 1st was Canada Day.  At Dawson’s Landing someone happened to working in the closed office, struggling with a computer. The resourceful Hillsboro geeks rolled up their sleeves, fixed the thing, got their gas and continued up the coast.  
Tom said that they were headed to the west coast of the Prince Edward Islands, where he’d grown up in a logging camp, living on a boat that size.    They did a load of laundry in the scrappy facility on shore, while their offspring played with the Native children on the dock.  Next time I looked, they were gone.
The only other cruising boat to pull up to the dock in Klemtu brought Peter and Jason from the Queen Charlottes, who were bound for Mexico. A father/sone crew, they’d be joined by wife/mother when the weather in Hada Gawaii got really rough. A well informed talker Peter  noticed the SSB radio antenna and offered to demonstrate its use to Jack – who’d been reading SSB for Idi-yachts.  Single Side Band is a retro technology from the era of the fax machine which can nevertheless slowly receive and transmit email when hooked up to a special modem. 
Jason was cooking a meal of venison.  “We can take 15 a season”, says Peter, “but they are small deer. Sitkas.”  Our dinner is “four can chili” (kidney, black and garbanzo beans and diced tomatoes plus an onion and tube of hamburger from our Portland freezer).   I throw it on the stove and go for a walk.
The Natives, understandably, don’t seem too excited about Canada Day.  Nary a flag or a firework and only one traditional barbecue fired up.  That’s at the fish station on a floating doc: they must be from someplace else. 
But people are out and about, kids riding their bikes, dads pushing baby carriages.  The ice factory is closed: out in front are parked tractorless trailers, waiting to move through this roadless wilderness on a barge.  A group of men lazily tend to repairing their nets, casting weak shadows in the weak sun. We spent Canada Day in the Kitasoo Xalxais Nation, whose capital is Klemtu, population 400.  We tie up at the dilapidated village dock just opposite the spectacular Big House.   Small family fishing boats are coming and going, bringing day off crab and salmon to village tables.  

Out of one of the grey metal outboards hops a family, curiously blond.    “So you’re from Seattle?” they say.  Aurora is registered as from Seattle and that’s what’s written on her stern.  I correct them and find out they are Tom, Serena, Ian and Jen from Hillsboro [in Greater Portland] on their way to Alaska!  Their boat is no bigger than a dinghy you might see being pulled behind one of those stupid mega yachts, what Nelson calls a “gin palace”, in the San Juans.  Just a grey metal cabin on a grey metal hull.  No galley, no berths, clothes and food crammed into the ice chests strapped in the stern.   

ravenThey’d trailered their  boat to Olympia and put in there.  Just that morning they’d rounded Cape Caution, sped up the coast, burning fuel like madmen, completely forgetting June 1st was Canada Day.  At Dawson’s Landing someone happened to working in the closed office, struggling with a computer. The resourceful Hillsboro geeks rolled up their sleeves, fixed the thing, got their gas and continued up the coast.  

Tom said that they were headed to the west coast of some Alaskan island where he’d grown up in a logging camp, living on a boat that size.    They did a load of laundry in the scrappy facility on shore, while their offspring played with the Native children on the dock.  Next time I looked, they were gone.

cat

The only other cruising boat to pull up to the dock in Klemtu brought Peter and Jason from the Queen Charlottes, who were bound for Mexico. A father/son crew, they’d be joined by wife/mother when the weather in Hada Gawaii got really rough. A well informed talker Peter  noticed the SSB radio antenna and offered to demonstrate its use to Jack – who’d been reading SSB for Idi-yachts.  Single Side Band is a retro technology from the era of the fax machine which can nevertheless slowly receive and transmit email when hooked up to a special modem. 

Jason was cooking a meal of venison.  “We can take 15 a season”, says Peter, “but they are small deer. Sitkas.”  Our dinner is “four can chili” (kidney, black and garbanzo beans and diced tomatoes plus an onion and tube of hamburger from our Portland freezer).   I throw it on the stove and go for a walk.

owlThe Natives, understandably, don’t seem too excited about Canada Day.  Nary a flag or a firework and only one traditional barbecue fired up.  That’s at the fish station on a floating doc: they must be from someplace else. 

But people are out and about, kids riding their bikes, dads pushing baby carriages.  The ice factory is closed: out in front are parked tractorless trailers, waiting to move through this roadless wilderness on a barge.  A group of men lazily tend to repairing their nets, casting weak shadows in the weak sun.

IMG_7584_2

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1 Response to “Canada Day”


  1. 1 paulrippey July 8, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Carol and Jack,

    That all sounds so wonderful. I can see it, smell it, and feel the boat rocking. Have a great time with Piers!

    Pure curiosity: There are horror stories of endless acres of trees being destroyed by bark beetles. Do you see any signs of that?? Hope not!

    Love from Bamako,
    Paul


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