On the other end of the phone I hear a cheery “This is your morning wake up call”. The phone is lodged between my ear and my shoulder while my right hand is flipping a pancake and my left is holding the cast-iron flying pan. “You’re too late Galen; I’ve been awake for hours!” Before I can utter more, he quickly jumps in, “thought you might like to get yourself over to Ogden Point right away. There’s an interesting barge being hauled in by a large tug. It’s mighty colourful and it’s nosing up to the Dry Beam. Looks like a fuel barge of some sort. Bright Blue and Yellow, you better get over there,” he repeats. Boy! Now what I am I suppose to do? The house smells like fresh-baked goods and the steaming pancakes are a perfect golden brown.
Harbour tips that come out of the blue always put me in a bit of a tizzy. First off, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate getting a head’s up but it does cause me some fuss. For example if I am in the middle of something then it can cause me more than a little anxiety. Maybe when the phone rings I might be cosy in my morning chair by the window staring at the birds. Or I am in the middle of poking sticks into the fire of my outdoor patio fireplace watching the smoke curl up over my deck. So today do I really want to leave my plate of pancakes behind? But just thinking about missing out any action gets my nerves in a pickle.
If on the other hand Ceilidh and I are just out on our daily walk and we chance by the boys working in the harbour, my God, then all goodness breaks lose. My blood pressure rises like a Chinook day in Calgary I am so thrilled. My only twinge of anxiety is when I am trying to figure out which way to run, where’s the sun, which camera to use, and all the other subtleties of tug boat chasing. Oh course my stomach always does some hicupping but that’s only pure happiness bubbling up inside. Like yesterday all by chance I caught the boys doing sea trials (above pic), which I think should be renamed “spinning donuts around the harbour”, with the newly conditioned Smit Pride.
But this morning’s call from Galen has let loose images of tugs and fuel barges that are bouncing around my mind. I know I won’t have any peace until I go see what’s going on. Breakfast will have to wait as I load a barking tail-wagging dog into the car. On the way across the blue bridge I noticed the Seaspan boys are not home at their dock. I think to myself I’ll probably will see them over assisting with the fuel barge.
So here I am sitting in the car trying to pump out a sketch. In front of me is the fuel barge “Petrobulker” from Vancouver and tied up to the right is a mighty Seaspan tug “Corsair”. Over to the left is the crippled Dry Beam sucking up some fuel so it can motor over to the States for repairs.
First thing I noticed as I drove up to the Petrobulker is that the boys aren’t here. “Must be over in Esquimalt” I tell a bouncing Ceilidh in the back seat. The Corsair looks impressive! I don’t think I’ve seen this tug before.
My sketch was done but I still felt a bit glum. What’s missing? Then I sense movement and I lift my chin up! Low and behold the Cates 4 is slipping by the backside of the Corsair heading straight for home. I snap a quick pic before she runs out of sight.
I drop my head down and when I again sense movement up I look and see the Cates Twenty scooting by. Moving so fast I didn’t even have time to grab a photo. “Not our day” I mutter to the dog My head drops harder and then I feel a flicker of movement and I see the mighty Foam skirting by the stern of the Corsair.
Down goes the sketchbook and up comes the camera. Before I know it I am outside scrambling over soggy grass, slippery logs, and sharp rocks getting myself in position for whatever comes next.
Which seems to be coffee and a break for the boys. Oh well! I plunk my butt down on the least moist rock and take a moment to breathe the salty air. Next thing, before I can even shake a stick I hear the grinding and see the billowing of powerful engines. Oh Jimmy crickets! this looks promising!
Time to unleash and movin’ out! You ready?
Look at that – colour, tugs, and men. Gee, wasn’t that the name of my last art show.
Deep radio voices, bounce over the water to all us looky-lou’s. Steel against steel grind and rub together. Smells of fermenting seaweed and crying of swooping seagulls add to the moment.
Whenever my grandson visits he loves to play with sticks and poles on the beach. Looks like he’s got this in common with the deck hands gappling lines off the barge.
Thank you Galen, if you hadn’t called I’d still be home digesting my pancakes in my rocking chair. Yes, the Buddhist in me prefers to live in the moment. Like being caught off guard when Ceilidh and I are out for our harbour strolls. Just taking life as it comes. But today proved to me there is no one way of tug boat chasing better than the other. Both are good. Following through on Galen’s tip was the right thing to do at that moment. Now my camera is full and my spirit is light. Yes, in life there is many paths to fulfillment. We can each choose our own path that suits us best. My own path seems to be wandering around sketching, painting and blogging about Victoria’s working harbour.
Ceilidh is giving me the hang dog look. Time for our walk. “I wonder what’s up at the shipyard, Ceilidh girl?”…….