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Thread: Last Day in Grenville Channel

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
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    Default Last Day in Grenville Channel

    With apologies to Robert Service (if he had been a sailor).
    Merry Christmas everyone!


    Last Day in Grenville Channel

    The morning sun at the head of the inlet shines down on the waterfall’s roar,
    As another day dawns in a whispering breeze on the trail of sail and oar.
    With this wind there might be no need to stretch and pull and curl,
    I might have a chance to raise those sails, too long so tightly furled.
    So hurry the breakfast, pack up the tent and stow the rest of the gear,
    Lower the board, step both the masts, drop the mizzen and cleat it in.
    Hoist up the foresail, then from the bottom, break the anchor clear.
    Take the tiller in hand, harden in the sheet, and settle back with a grin,
    I wish you were here to see me, boys, finally - a sailing day!
    But hope is dashed as I round the corner, for out in the main channel there,
    The zephyr grows more ever more fitful, then it completely dies away,
    ‘Twas naught but a vagrant sea breeze, a delusion and a snare.

    I lower the rig, fit the oars in the locks and bend my back once more,
    And what’s worse luck, I have the tide to buck, all morning along the shore.
    As hours tick slowly by, only the odd break can I find, and for them I am more than ready,
    In the weakened current behind a point, sometimes there’s even a back-eddy.
    Then just when I need it, along about noon, I pull into a small creek mouth,
    A place to rest, drop the hook and eat, watch the boats, then once more head south.
    The tide’s turned, the sun’s out, the wind’s up, perhaps this time to stay,
    I wanted good wind for sailing, now I’ve got it, it’s time to be on my way.
    The tide’s in my favour the whole afternoon, though I’m headed twelve mile dead to windward,
    So I won’t reach that spot any time soon, ‘cause I’ll be tack upon tack, shore to shore, sailing hard.

    Ah, what a glorious sail that day, perhaps the best that ever I’ll see!
    Set up the GPS; keep one eye on the telltales, and one eye on the VMG.
    The least little lapse in attention, and the speed it drops by a knot,
    Concentrate, lad, stay focused! Don’t deflect your helming by a jot,
    And maybe, just possibly, maybe, in this narrow and desolate channel, so very far from home,
    If you sail the reach of it, to the best of your skill, though there’s no one to witness your deed,
    You’ll win through to a quiet safe harbour, far from the tumult and foam,
    Before the tide turns against you and bright day to dark night finally cedes.

    A mere mile and a half to the Point now, a couple more tacks and I’m round,
    But the afternoon’s gone and so is my tide and with it my sailing wind,
    I’m back on the oars, and fighting a slop, left over from out in the Sound,
    Now bury the loom of the oar, now slice off the top of a wave, I wish the sea would make up its mind.
    I’d hoped to be out of it well before now, near the end of this long, long day,
    But there is nowhere to run and nothing to be done, except heave and sweat and curse,
    At long last the Point’s gained, and slowly round it I creep, to the shelter of the deep wide bay,
    Where the sea is dead still, and the leaden oars, quietly I dip and lift, while aching muscles I nurse.
    The waxing moon tracks close behind the orange setting sun, in the cornflower blue sky of the west,
    As I anchor my boat a cable from shore, I feel I’ve earned an outsized beer, then a tranquil night of rest.
    Alex

    "“He was unfamiliar with the sea and did not like it much: it was a place that made you cold and wet and sick” " Nevil Shute, Trustee From the Toolroom

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Hyannis, MA, USA
    Posts
    46,154

    Default Re: Last Day in Grenville Channel

    Well said. Well done.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
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    Default Re: Last Day in Grenville Channel

    Thanks Ian!
    Alex

    "“He was unfamiliar with the sea and did not like it much: it was a place that made you cold and wet and sick” " Nevil Shute, Trustee From the Toolroom

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Sound Beach, NY
    Posts
    3,658

    Default Re: Last Day in Grenville Channel

    That gave me a smile, I could feel the trip and remember some of my own.
    Merry Christmas!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Shoreline, Washington
    Posts
    2,317

    Default Re: Last Day in Grenville Channel

    I enjoyed that a great deal.
    Thank you Alex,
    Let's all hope for the best this coming year.

    Eric

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Deer Isle, Maine
    Posts
    1,549

    Default Re: Last Day in Grenville Channel

    BRAVO, Alex! Bravo!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,196

    Default Re: Last Day in Grenville Channel

    Thanks guys.
    Here where we don't get a lot of sun on this side of the continent in the depths of a northern hemisphere winter, and, for some us, where winter storms knock out power and we huddle in the dark in front of our fireplaces, sitting and versifying the experience of past expeditions in is a good way to while away the time.
    Cheers!
    Alex

    "“He was unfamiliar with the sea and did not like it much: it was a place that made you cold and wet and sick” " Nevil Shute, Trustee From the Toolroom

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Deer Isle, Maine
    Posts
    1,549

    Default Re: Last Day in Grenville Channel

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    Thanks guys.
    Here where we don't get a lot of sun on this side of the continent in the depths of a northern hemisphere winter, and, for some us, where winter storms knock out power and we huddle in the dark in front of our fireplaces, sitting and versifying the experience of past expeditions in is a good way to while away the time.
    Cheers!
    And a read of your account(s)(HINT!) is an added enjoyment!
    Happy Holidays

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