Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sailing in Jervis Inlet by Isaac

It was a sunny day at the end of May when we left Princess Louisa Inlet. There should have been rain and clouds and thunder for such a sad occasion but alas, life is not a movie. Malibu Rapids was going pretty strong when we arrived, so we pulled into Malibu Lodge to look around and eat. As we were prepping to tie on, we notice that most of the Malibu staff were engaged in the activity of rolling around on a very large deflated balloon right next to the water. Fortunately, some of them saw fit to get up and act semi-normally so we threw lines at them, which they liked. After we were tied on, one of the staff began to show us around while the rest finished rolling around and filed off the dock. She talked about the history of the place and what it was now, but I missed a lot of it because I had found a totem pole. When I looked away from my camera, everyone had disappeared, so I figured I had gotten quite enough photos and hurried on. Apparently, everyone was really fast or I take slow pictures because I later found out I only got two photos of that totem pole.

The story, near as I can remember, is that the place was built by some rich guy and other rich guys like Bing Crosby would come to the place and admire the inlet. One day they were all sitting around doing rich guy stuff when word came of a polio outbreak. Immediately everyone up and left, leaving everything as it was. Later, a seaplane carrying the head of Young Life flew through the inlet and the head decided he wanted to buy Malibu Lodge and start a new Young Life camp there. It's been a Young Life camp ever since.

We all clustered around the railing that separated the lodge from the Rapids and watched a sailboat careen through, deciding to wait just a little bit longer before we did the same given the speed he went. So we lingered a little, and we may have eaten lunch, and then we got back on the boat and pulled away from the dock. I took bow watch to look for rocks and was once again disappointed when the charts successfully predicted where the rocks wouldn't be. Mom came up and recruited Emma as a cooking partner; together, the two of them disappeared below decks to bake cookies. Some people just won't stop cooking.

Dad suggested we start sailing, though I was a little worried about the cookies. Mightn't they get all diagonal if we sailed? Who had ever heard of a diagonal cookie? I was quite sure this would not be a good thing. Nevertheless, we raised sail, and all heck broke loose below deck. Dad and I turned to each other with bewildered expressions as giggling and screams erupted from below the cabin top, and I was forced to go down and take a photo of the two cooks holding knives and other scary cooking things at a 37 degree angle. I reemerged and there was much manly chortling about the state of affairs down below, probably because we were secretly wishing we were down there too.

Emma took up position at helm after she finished baking cookies, and suddenly the boat was in our hands. Dad coached her through her first tack as I ran the sheets; if memory serves, it went quite smoothly for a first tack. I had a bit to learn myself; I had never really learned how to read a sail's trim, so I picked that up as we worked our way down the inlet.

At some point we decided that we needed good sailing nicknames. I had been reading the Destroyermen series and, likening myself to one of the crew that ran around the deck of the destroyer and did manual labor, I said, "Ooh, you could call me Deck-Ape!"

"Deck-Ape?" came the incredulous reply.

"Yeah," I said, beginning to doubt myself. "Deck-Ape."

Emma thought for a moment, then announced, "I'll call you Chimpy. It's easier."

"Ok," I said, really starting to wish I hadn't said anything. "What should I call you?"

"Capi!" she announced happily.

If you don't frequent the British Columbia coast, then I don't blame you for not knowing who Capi is. But if you do frequent that amazing coast, I have only one question for you:


Seriously. Capi is legendary. Even if you haven't read the classic The Curve of Time, surely you must of heard of Capi, or maybe even M. Wylie Blanchet!?

If I really must explain...

Capi is this amazing woman who, in the early twentieth century, moved to Victoria with her husband and acquired a small 24 foot motor boat. On their first summer, her husband went out on the boat alone. They found the boat. He was never seen again. Most people would have sold the boat. Instead, Capi started a yearly tradition of stuffing all five of her children on the boat every summer and taking off to explore the unexplored BC coast. In the book is told the stories of Henry the Whale, how John Broke His Collarbone and Accidentally Healed It Again, the Man from California, and much more. Read it.

Emma and I pulled off tack after tack, each one smoother than the last. The only exception was the tack where my ankle got caught in one of the jib sheets, causing the jib to slam across to the other side and flog wildly as I got things sorted out with the lines. Then the time came to lower sail and we motored into Egmont, tired but triumphant. There we encountered our friend Kismet. We had met the older couple on the boat in Princess Louisa, so it was pleasant seeing them again in Egmont.

We ate dinner that night at the pub, where we learned appearances can be deceiving. The pub looked bad, but the food was quite good. I think I got a pulled pork sandwich which was overflowing with sauce, but I don't remember much else. Satisfied, we all tucked into our respective beds and fell asleep.

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