Flashbacks

[Fairly self-indulgent post ahead in which I reminisce about a country of volcanoes, warm water, sandy beaches, and palm trees while conveniently forgetting the extreme heat and sudden and crazy rain squalls.]

My internet homepage has a collection of headlines from a variety of different news sources. Sometimes I click on a headline, other times I just scan them and go on to whatever I was doing. Today, one headline caught my eye: Ferry carrying more than 300 people sinks off Papua New Guinea. I had to click on it because of all the memories I have of time spent in PNG.

It turns out it was a ferry much like this one, that I saw in Madang, PNG. When this boat pulled out I remember us all watching it list heavily and worrying about its ability to stay afloat in the shape it was in with all of the people that were aboard.

Leaving from this port, Rabaul, PNG (there are all sorts of Japanese tunnels through those hills! From WWII. I know, crazy!).

Rabaul was also the place of the volcano.

That I climbed.

The end.

[That is as far as that random chain of thought takes me. Goodnight.]

Friday Photo

Oh hey! It is Friday!

Who has time to take photos when you work all night and sleep all day? I’ve worked one evening (shelter), one day (optometry), and two overnights (shelter) so far this week… and am about to head off to overnight number three (though at a different shelter than the other shifts this week). This hasn’t left me much time for wandering around town or for taking pictures this week. Instead, today we’re flashing back to 2007 because of the opera that I went to last night before work: The Flying Dutchman. While I’m sure that the tropical seas of the Pacific near Hawaii are a slightly different hue than the North Atlantic of Wagner’s opera, this production opened with some footage of rolling swells and breaking seas that brought me right back to many times on Offshore.

Friday Photo

This has been a photo-less week. I’m not sure what I have been up to.

Instead, I have gone back in history: July 29, 2007, four days after crossing the equator, land was sighted for the first time since leaving Honolulu about two weeks earlier. We made landfall, anchoring at Hiva Oa in the Marquesas Islands of French Polynesia. These Islands renewed my love of the colour green. This is Tahuata, Hiva Oa’s little sister, where we went ashore to the village of Hapatoni and got invited to a wedding.

Good Friday Recollections and Reflections

Good Friday 2008 I found myself walking in the way of the geishas, Buddhist priests and ascetics rather than the Way of the Cross.

Good Friday 2008 was my day off between legs 5 and 6 of the Pacific Odyssey Offshore: three months remained until I laid eyes on home for the first time in over a year. It had been a long and trying, yet rewarding and fulfilling voyage to date and, unbeknownst to me, the most trying was yet to come.

Good Friday 2008 also fell on the first day of spring. Everyone, it seemed, in Kyoto was out and enjoying the sunshine and cherry blossoms. Many people were wearing their kimonos to visit temples, as tradition dictates. I decided to join them.

Down the street and up a few flights of stairs from my hostel in Higashiyama was Kiyomizu Temple. Perched high in the hills for which the area is named, there is a stunning view of the city from its balconies. More importantly are the areas of the shrine where devotees have the opportunity to have wishes for health, wealth, and long life fulfilled or where the promise of finding true love is revealed.

What a contrast with walking in the Way of the Cross. No promises for health, wealth, and long life are given… instead, we are told to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ. Follow Christ? On comfortable Vancouver Island, perhaps not to the point of being killed, but we can still follow the way…

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends…

Friday Photo


I haven’t taken too many photos this week, aside from ones with the phone. I did, however, download a new app for my phone that changes existing photos. Called “Tinyplanet” it takes a photo and wraps it around in a circle to make a, you guessed it, planet. I took a photo of the Pacific Grace that I took at sunset on Moorea, French Polynesia, and tinyplanet-ized it. The result is kind of fun!

This week on Offshore

I haven’t done one of these posts in awhile. It was prompted by a sudden recollection of running into a Japanese pop duo performing whilst a friend and I were wandering a mall during our weeks of being stranded in Okinawa – 3 years ago this week (I remember because it was around Valentine’s Day when we were in the mall… they were into Valentine’s Day in a big way in Japan). Then I wondered, what else happened this week on Offshore?

We finally left the Island of Okinawa and the wonders of its shopping streets. Crossing the South China Sea and experiencing a series of mishaps: snapping a fore stay, breaking the stove, and exploding anchor winch hydraulic lines, we finally ran up Chinese colours and entered the Yangtze River. There were possibly more boats than we’d seen all at once in months (or ever) and the banks of the Yangtze and Huangpo rivers were overloaded with boats and buildings, garbage and miscellaneous detritus. Finally, we were able to dock in Shanghai with a stunning view of Pudong.

SALTS

I have been associated with SALTS, the Sail and Life Training Society, for over ten years now. My first trip was a three-day coastal voyage in high school. I’ve been on board nearly every year since then. For two years, I worked for SALTS in the position of cook. Coastally, I’ve sailed all around the Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast/Desolation Sound as well as circumnavigating Vancouver Island at least once. Offshore, we circumnavigated the Pacific Ocean: Hawaii, French Polynesia, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia, China, Japan… I lived and breathed SALTS for those two years – at times literally never leaving the boat for weeks on end (the longest passage we had was 30+ days without sighting land). I had to miss sailing with them this summer because of school, but I am looking forward to getting back on the water next season. It is hard work, but it is some of the most rewarding work one can ever do. Enjoy the short video. If you watch closely, you might pick me out once or twice in the offshore footage at the end.