British naval officer Captain George Vancouver spent three summers (1791-1795) mapping the jagged coastline of what is now the province of British Columbia, and the states of Alaska, Washington, and Oregon. He is famous for naming one section Desolation Sound, because of the unending forests and seemingly uninhabitable land.
When the expedition first entered the Strait of Juan de Fuca, "very thick rainy weather" met the crew and dampened their spirits. However, the very next day, Thomas Manby, master's mate on the ship Discovery, wrote "It had more the aspect of enchantment than reality, with silent admiration each discerned the beauties of nature, and nought was heard on board but expressions of delight murmured from every tongue. Imperceptibly our Bark skimmed over the glassy surface of thedeep, about three miles an hour, a gentle breeze swelled the lofty canvass whilst all was calm below."
When we travel the same waters of the Salish Sea, I often think of those European explorers. What would they think of the enormous bulk carriers such as the ones above? When we pass by them on our little boat, I am staggered by their size. I looked up the size of one when we arrived home - 229 metres long and 32 metres wide. A soccer field (football pitch) is 90-120 metres by 64-75 metres.
These ships are bound for the port facility near Vancouver, on the mainland. Because rail transport has been disturbed due to the wildfire that destroyed the town of Lytton and the railway bridge near it, ships cannot dock and unload in a timely manner. Everything is backed up. I counted 8 of these bulk carriers at anchor during our 4 hour trip to Ladysmith.
We usually drop anchor in a quiet bay, but for this trip we were meeting up with a group of friends who have the same kind of boat. We pulled up to the dock at Ladysmith and enjoyed visiting and seeing the sights on shore. There is a float house beside the marina and the owner has colourful pots of flowers decorating the outside of his/her home.
In the evening light, tall masts look even taller when reflected in the smooth as silk water.
Queen Anne's Lace is in bloom, dancing along the edges of roads, rail lines, and shorelines.
I'm sure Captain Vancouver and his crew would be astounded by the current population of this island that bears his name. They spent the summers here, but returned to Hawaii to pass the winter (the first snowbirds?). All kinds of houses dot the coastline, ranging from ramshackle dwellings to magnificent mansions. I like the cottage above, tucked away into the woods with a small protected harbour for the boat essential for access to the home. This house seems to fit the landscape well.
Near home again and majestic Mount Baker floats on the clouds while sailboats tack back and forth, taking advantage of the wind. In spite of the terrible wildfires not very far away, our skies continue to remain clear. Currently the smoke is drifting east across the Rocky Mountains into Alberta and creating dreadful air quality.
Dry conditions prevail and we have not had any rain for over a month. Our lawn is dry and crispy and fire danger is extreme. We are all being very careful. The garden is surviving with regular watering and I've been harvesting a few more vegetables. Lots of zucchini!