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Button Blankets and Boats and Freddie’s

Under the stairwell

Under the stairwell


We awoke to the sound of rain but were pleasantly surprised that while we were eating breakfast the sun appeared. The walk along the sea beckoned and we wandered along the carvings, a contest started in the mid 90’s after an unsightly piece of driftwood was carved into an Octopus. Contestants are sponsored by various businesses and are given 5 days to produce a carving. Some of them are humorous, others more serious but all of them fun to see and arranged throughout the city and along the walkway. Although it was sunny, the wind was bitter cold and we hurried along up the hill to the downtown area.


The visitor center was open offering respite from the wind and I was delighted to see a lovely display of local quilters including several pieces by Carol Seeley. Perhaps I will meet her on Monday when we return.


The Indian Heritage Museum was packed full of interesting things ranging from logging to fishing to hotels to First Nation. We were allowed to ring the train bell just once; the triangle once—and the docent told us she would be watching to be sure we didn’t overstep. A group of children were there trying on traditional aprons and button blankets. We watched a movie featuring Ripple Rock destruction to clear Seymour Narrows; both of us feeling rather sleepy after all the exercise.


A late lunch at Freddie’s Pub of breaded local oysters and listening to the locals discuss boats and bears and workers compensation and we were ready for the next part of our trip.


Marine Links terminal is about 20 kilometers north of Campbell River. The driver pointed out various points of interest; logging here has taken a downturn just as it has in our part of Texas. The terminal itself is snug and filled with articles about the Aurora Explorer and slowly our fellow passengers arrived.


Freighter business has been slow but suddenly picked up this week. Heavy wind and nasty weather was predicted for the first few hours of the evening and so our plan was to move across the bay to a logjam and anchor there for the night, leaving sometime in the wee hours of the morning in order to meet the schedule.


We walked on board past piles of freight all neatly labeled for its destination. The cook met us at the door and showed us to our room. Our stateroom is quite small but nicely arranged with hooks and shelves along the walls. There is a pair of binoculars on one shelf, ear plugs for the diesel, bottles of water—and a ladder to hop up into the top bunk.


A life jacket drill is held; we all scramble to get into our lovely orange jackets and assemble outside near the life raft. The first mate explains that the raft is a canister one and dumped over board; automatically inflating and equipped with beacons and rations and designed for open oceans. He assures us that we would be rescued quite quickly but more likely we would just run the boat into shore and just walk off. We are all shivering and are quite pleased to return to the warm galley.


We are the only Americans aboard and there is much laughter and discussion of local politics while we drink several bottles of wine and munch on cheese and crackers. The cookie jar is full as are two small refrigerators and it promises to be an interesting trip.

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