Aboard the Aurora – Day Five

 

 

In terms of trying to share the scale of ancient growth trees, Mark’s video follows a tree from trunk to top, and his video works better than my words.

As I close out my blogs written aboard the Aurora Explorer, I feel guilty having experienced so much and shared so little. My days were spent on the deck – watching the water, watching the shore, watching for wildlife, and drinking coffee. Happy Hour began at 4:30. With no Internet connectivity, I was out of touch in every sense of the word. I took a few notes but noted nothing in detail. Maybe it was the fog or the mist sinking in through my skin.  Without looking at a map, I cannot tell you what day we boarded or where we went. I turned my life over to the very able crew and vegetated.

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(The word ‘vegetated’ reminds me of my very best Halloween costume. I was seven months pregnant, and I went to a party dressed in a long-sleeved, purple tee-shirt and tights. Green felt leaves atop my head completed my resemblance of an eggplant. At the time, long before flaunting your ‘bump’ was fashionable, my costume was (much to my delight) shocking. Obviously years and years before the Annie Leibovitz photo of Serena Williams – seriously pregnant and nude on the August cover of Vanity Fair.)

Our visit to tiny Yorke Island was an interesting slice of history. Watching war clouds gather over Europe in 1937, the Canadian government decided to build a fort on Yorke Island to defend the west coast. The purpose was to protect the cities of Vancouver and Victoria. In 1942 the original 4.7-inch guns, which would have been ineffective against a hostile submarine, were replaced with more modern 6-inch guns.

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Remains of the Day

Being posted on a small, 136-acre island which had no fresh water, no flush toilets, no buildings, no willing women or pubs was indeed hardship duty. Instead of ‘build it and they will come,’ the posting was more like ‘come and build it.’ Once in place, the soldiers were were isolated – a penal colony of sorts. It was only after one conscript committed suicide that the government thought that occasional shore leave might be beneficial to the soldiers’ mental health.

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Windswept and cold

The second stanza of John Mansfield’s poem “Sea Fever” seems to catch the tone of life on the water: I must go down to the sea again, for the call of the running tide / Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied:/ And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying , / And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea gulls crying.

 

 

 

About timeout2

I have lived 100 lives. I write essays, short stories, poetry, grocery lists and notes to myself. If I am ever lost, look for a paper trail, but be careful not to trip over any books that lie scattered here and there. I am a reader. I am a reader in awe of writers. When I don't live in Westcliffe, Colorado, I live in London where I am a long-time member of Word-for-Word - Crouch End.
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6 Responses to Aboard the Aurora – Day Five

  1. marilynjh says:

    Your words picturesdelight me. Eggplant, indeed!

  2. timeout2 says:

    In the context of time times… 1980 – very risque!

  3. Eric Stach says:

    Doris: Just read through the 5 articles. Awesome experience (Gus wishes he was there, I’m sure). It was great to hear your voice (written) and Mark’s with the video. Hope to see you soon!

    • timeout2 says:

      Thanks for reading, Eric. I cannot do the trip justice. As for seeing you soon, I think we’ll let you get settled before we stop by. I so enjoyed spending time with you last summer. It has been too long. xo

  4. Ross Keller says:

    Guns were for examination purposes. 4.7″ guns would have had no problems damaging a submarine. There were indeed flush toilets, using salt water up at the fort for example. There were six buildings on the Fort when the 15th arrived in 1939. The brick building at the beach where the Aurora lands was one.

    • timeout2 says:

      Thank you for responding to my post, Ross. I welcome your additional information. If you blog yourself, you know that blogging on-the-road is catch-as-catch-can. I often write on the road and find that time constraints leave me feeling like I’ve left too much out.

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