Who's Laughing Now Ray?
After building fibreglass seine boats for about five years, in 1975 I switched to marine mechanics in order to get away from the fumes and toxic materials.
I found work at a small boatyard in Sidney, BC. Blue Heron Boatworks and on my first day, the boss gathered everyone up and we all went outside to step a mast.
With a modicum of planning, we were paired off and took hold of ropes at four sides of a large sailboat standing in the yard. This went on for a while, and while and while waiting, I began to learn about Ray, the fellow holding the rope with me.
Ray was a pirate! Ray lived with his wife aboard a small schooner and occasionally took out small groups on charter. An Englishman; He had an infectious grin and was shaped like a beachball, had wild flowing yellow hair, a gold front tooth, and a large earring in one ear.
Meanwhile, the stepping of the mast was not going well. The tide was out, so I turned to Ray and asked why we (the 10 of us) were attempting to step the mast on dry land when two of us could put the vessel in the water in 10 minutes and then just lower it onto the desk.
I can still see Ray’s gold tooth, long hair and tremendous grin as he replied in pure Cockney:
"Because that’s the way we’ve always bloody well done it, mate!"
Late in December 2011, 1/2 kilometer from my house, a 30-foot fish boat washed ashore. The boat had come loose while under tow in a storm and suddenly there it was beside the Ken Ford boat ramp at the mouth of the Willow Creek.
Every year hundreds of tons of gravel and debris fill up the Ken Ford Boat Ramp, and every year the city digs it out again.
The owner didn’t want it, the tow company said act of god. The coast guard said not a threat to navigation.
The department of fisheries did not care. It was not the cities problem.
It fell upon volunteers from the Campbell River Salmon Foundation to remove the wreck from the mouth of the fish-bearing creek.
These were the people who had volunteered their time to rehabilitate the creek; when DOF would not. These people found the money required and had the wreck removed from the mouth of the fish-bearing creek, but only after first getting permission from the department of fisheries.
Campbell River, at one time called itself the Salmon Capital of the World.