Dry Beam

Today was a good day.   A real good day.   First thing this morning, all by accident, I met up with the boys over at Ogden Point.   I didn’t know they were going to be  over there.    I went over to sketch the Dry Beam, a  Singapore cargo ship that  has been tied for the last few days.   She is all crippled up from a rogue wave that smacked her hard up the coast last week.  The rushing wave hit with such a force that the logs shifted and toppled some of the load into the sea.   The long line of steel poles containing the load of logs bent like melted candles on a birthday cake.  Under the weight of all those American logs that  poor freighter must have been tipping and rolling.  My lord! if  I was on board  that ship I would have you-know- what in my pants.   Now looking at those twisted poles I can well imagine the Filipino crew scrambling for their lives, jumping about,  cayay-ing away in high Filipino tones.

“Gee Ceilidh I wonder what’s going on!” I tell my dog who is bouncing around in the back of the car.  Poor girl  thinks she is going for her morning walk along Dallas Road.   All I can see as I swing my little VW into the  parking lot is cars, people, camera’s, tripods,  even a TV crew all lined up at the end of the cement pier.    The Dry Beam is tied up along side the  pier but then I quickly notice off to the side is  an empty barge.  The “Seaspan Phoenix” is its name which has two mighty gigantic Seaspan cranes sitting on top of it.  The cranes are already at work lifting the logs from the freighter unto the waiting deck of the Seaspan barge.    At the bow of the barge, beaming in the morning light, is one mighty red and white Seaspan tug.  “Oh Dear! Here we go again Ceilidh girl!” I tell her as my veins begin to pulse.

My knees would buckle too if I got smacked out of  nowhere by a gigantic wave.   Thank goodness it didn’t happen to me last winter when I went to Newfoundland.   It was bad enough being on the  “Smallwood” with 140 km winds in the Alantic Ocean  and being tossed about like a matchstick in a bathtub with a two year old. 

My foot hit the gas and next thing I know I am sliding into the only parking space left open along the pier.   The very minute I turned off the ignition and looked up I saw right in front of me the dark stacks of my favorite little tug “Cates 4”.  The 4 was  pushed up against the concrete barrier, bow thrust forward, resting in place.   My pulse was thumping as  I reached for  my camera,  I leaped out of the car,  I heaved myself up onto the cement barrier and when I looked up, there, right there, ya, ya,  right there…  in front of me was  my most favorite tug boat captain and crew in the whole world!!  In the next fleeting of moments, as I lifted my head to have a better look around me  I saw a figure in orange coveralls slipping around the side of the  cabin.  It’s one of my boys!  He’s clamoring  up over the bow of the tug  coming to meet me.

My heart hits my throat as I reach up and give  him a great big hug.   As we chat  I feel oblivious to what’s going on around me.   I am so thankful to be here.   To be standing here with clear sky’s and tugboat’s surrounding me.   All my winter doldrums slink away.   We talk about the Dry Beams harrowing story, how long the Phoenix might be in port and what jobs they are up to next.  He says to me “have you been OK we haven’t seen you out taking pictures for a while, the boys been wondering how you doing?”  Those are words that can make a tugboat girl cry on the spot.   I suck it up and tell him honestly ” I’ve been under the weather the past few months”.  It’s too bad that right now I can’t remember the juicy details of our conversation.  I’d love to be able to pass the harbour gossip along to you.  But I am afraid nothing stays in my brain when I am around the boys and the tugs.  My mind is all a twrill.

Like life all pleasant things come to an end and the boys had to get back to work.  So with my jiggly hand I do a quick 5 min sketch.    From now on I’ve decided take less photograph’s and do more drawing’s.     I’ve decided that even a not so good sketch is much more personal than a photograph.

Later on at supper time I drove over to the old tank farm.  Cars were lined up with people staring into binoculars who were all gawking at the transferring of logs.

Victoria doesn’t generally get this kind of action.   Maybe in the old days we would get log barges coming in here but not no more.  Probably have to go North, Port Alberni, Campbell River or further north Prince Rupurt or something like that to find working log dumping barges.

The sun was going down.   This one was sketched with gloves on.   Quick, simple to give me the feel of the moment.

Meeting up with the boys today has got me  feeling frisky like the birds out my  morning window.  I am taking that as a good sign.  Spring is here and I am roaring to go.   Happy sketching painting and of course tugboating everyone.


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