Ground Hog Day!

Originally posted February 3, 2017

Wow, I can’t believe that it’s February already!  Five down and four to go – Months, that is!

Lily Beneath the Ice

There hadn’t been too much to write about since the holidays so I’ve taken a break from posting for the past month.  I have kept some notes of some things that have happened, though, so here they are.

One afternoon, just a few days into the new year, we looked out the window to see a man in a rowboat approaching the docks!  We both hurried down to meet him at the dock and as I stepped onto the gangway and as he was stepping out of his boat, I shouted to him, “Where the hell did you come from?”.  We laughed and he told us he and his Father were aboard a fishing vessel called “Ocean Aggressor” and were anchored just over in Kiokathli Inlet.  They thought we might like to come over for dinner, so he rowed over to invite us.  Unfortunately, due to not having our own boat, we didn’t feel we could take them up on the offer, so we graciously declined.

We had an extended chat with him and it was definitely nice to see a friendly face.  It had been ninety-seven days since the barge crew left and that was the last time we had seen a human face, other than each other’s, until that day.

Coincidentally, it was not long after we had posted on Facebook, a picture of a bag of household garbage that had washed ashore.  I had speculated that it had possibly come from a fishing boat.  Well, we did not discuss that with him but he did volunteer that when anchored, he often goes ashore to collect garbage from the Japanese tsunami, so it is highly unlikely that it came from their boat.

I’ve been pretty lazy lately, but my mind has been working overtime.  So much so that I’ve started a new round of projects on Cosmic Debris — at least in my head anyway.  Our friend Pat (Patmandu) has been on the scene, taking care of some loose ends for us – things that we had to abandon when came here.  Now with his help, we’ll be getting those things done and moving on to some new projects before we even get back — that will be very helpful.  Now that the plans are all planned and the drawings all drawn, I’m just waiting for the waiting to be over with.  Pat is just finishing up some personal matters and soon after, the spending will be spent — or we will be!

In the meantime, my mind wanders…

I think I had mentioned before that I had finally had enough of the old camera and decided to buy a new one.  I ordered it online and had it delivered to the company office in Richmond, to be forwarded to the hangar in Masset and eventually brought into The Outpost to me, whenever that may be.  Well, it ain’t be yet!


January 23 – Last week I decided I better get serious (again) about losing some of the extra baggage I’ve somehow collected – suddenly I’m knocking on 220’s door again.  So I started back on the diet of nothing but veggie smoothies.  Then Wendi found a case of Rack of Lamb in one of the freezers.  I love lamb!  So after one day, the diet was – not out the window – but “supplemented”.  It didn’t actually get tossed out the window until the next day when we had another feast of lamb.  So I found that one day of diet equals three pounds lost and 2 days of eating equals 2 pounds gained.  Not horrible – not horrible, but also not really good.  So today we drug an old exercise bike out from underneath a tree — they store things in the strangest places around here — and I set it up in front of the big picture window of the lounge.  I’ma lose some weight now!

How much time do I have on my hands?  A few years back I started a Twitter account.  I looked at it the other day for the first time since, pretty much, then.  I had made about 100 tweets and had 15 followers.  I decided to revive it and try to use it to promote this blog.  That was a couple of weeks ago, now I have 190 followers and have tweeted over 1550 times.  The weather outside hasn’t been too conducive to outdoor activity and Facebook was getting pretty boring, so it was a good distraction for a while.  Now I sit here and flip back and forth between Facebook and Twitter and both are boring.

On the 27th of January, I posted the following story on Facebook.

“Sad story today at The Outpost. Last night we got hit with a Sou’Easter packing 50 to 60 knot winds. We are fairly well protected from that but we have some visitors today that may not have been so lucky.
Earlier this morning, we noticed what appeared to be a piece of flotsam coming in toward the helipad. Once it got closer and after examination through the binoculars, we determined that it was a Sea Lion and it appeared to be near drowning.
We tried to get close enough to it to see if we could determine if there was a problem that we could fix but were unable to. After a while we notice two, or possibly three, that appeared to be washed partly up on to the rocks on one of the islets a little further out. Then three more, obviously healthy, showed up and seemed to be distressed calling for their friends.
We have not seen or heard from any of them for the last hour now, except for the first one. He seems to be slowly fading. That is, he is just drifting around and not lifting his nose out of the water as often.

Update: The first sea lion (the one we thought was injured) never did wash ashore, so we don’t know whatever became of her.  However, what we learned in the following days didn’t make us very optimistic.

Saturday, January 28 @ about 10:00 AM we heard a plane fly by the lodge.  We were up like a shot shouting “De plane boss, de plane!”  We jumped into our clothes and rushed down the stairs, donned our coats and boots and raced down to the docks to watch them land.  We do that every time and I don’t know why.  We just end up milling around on the dock – in the cold this time – as the plane slowly taxies across the bay.

It was our divers – Yay!  The stars had finally aligned to where the divers were available and the weather was acceptable – fifty-six days after the docks were broken in the storm.

We had received advance warning, the day before, that they would be in as soon as weather permitted.  It was blowing thirty to thirty-five knots outside our inlet that morning and we had just decided that there was no way they’d be coming today, then we heard the plane.  They buzzed the lodge, to get our attention, from the southeast and flew out past Ogilvie Island and came back around to land in a southeasterly direction.

They said it was a pretty smooth flight from Masset, until they got out past Ogilvie to sweep around – that’s when they got hit by the wind.  Apparently, they were hit with a particularly gusty tail wind while landing and the pilot somehow stalled the engine.  When he restarted it, it started in reverse, so he had to shut it down and restart again.  He got it all sorted out okay and landed without any more drama but seemed a little shaken.

Once they were docked and de-planing, the divers were extending hands and introducing themselves, but all I was interested in was my camera.  They did not have it;  I was not impressed.  The saving grace was that the plane would obviously have to come back for them in a few days so I made sure the pilot made a note to find it and bring it in on the next flight.  I also emailed Jordan to let him know that it didn’t make it in and he assured me that he would make sure I got it on the next flight.

We helped them with their gear and personal belongings and then had lunch.  During lunch, we told them of the sea lions the day before and they both agreed that it could have been that the animals were washed off the rocks in the storm but that they were more than likely shot by fishermen – apparently many fishermen still kill them, rationalizing the killings – which are obviously illegal – by blaming the sea lions for declining fish stocks.  Like I always say, wildlife does not need to be managed, only humans do.

I guess we’ll never know for sure what became of that sea lion unless we find a carcass with a bullet wound in it. We’ve been watching the skies for scavengers though and there have been none, so either she found the strength to survive or she sank.

After lunch, the divers didn’t waste any time, they got right to work running lines for the dock and I served as their top side hand.  Mostly I did the running around and the finding this and searching for that kind of stuff.  We worked through some pretty nasty weather and in three days time got the dock and the helipad secured a little better so that it’ll hold together until spring. Then they can come back to do a more permanent fix.

For one last bit of insurance that I would get my camera, on the morning of their departure, “Diver Mike” called a friend in Masset and asked him to pick it up from the hangar and take it to the terminal.  Happily, I have my new camera and I love it!

I must say, so far, everyone that we’ve met since we came to Haida Gwaii and The West Coast Fishing Club, have been really super people.

They’ve been gone a few days now so, armed with a brand new camera, we’ve been out and about taking pictures and learning all about this new toy.  We’ll leave you with some pictures from the past few days.

We started by celebrating being alone again with a night of shooting pool and swillin’ grog.

Then we hiked up to the bog up on top of the hill to soak up a little sunshine.  Being in a north facing inlet, we haven’t had any direct sunlight since the end of September.

The next day, we took a hike over to Port Louis to see what was shaking over there.  Everything was shaking, including us.  It was cold and windy.

Thanks for taking the time to check us out,


© Ron Morrison 2016

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