coastal british columbia  

Sailing & the Bed Spring Serenade  

and the
Bed Spring Serenade

I awoke to the racket of noisy bedsprings ...... no, its the rigging above deck. I am in Bedwell Harbour, between North and South Pender in the Gulf Islands. We are within easy view of American territory, Stewart Island and the mist shrouded highlands of the San Juans beyond. I am in a Yamaha 30' sailboat owned by a childhood friend, Bruce. With us are his sons, five year old Rory, Duncan and his friend Alex, both ten. We left Sidney, yesterday afternoon for the short 20 km sail. It is mid October and although the sun is in full control of the sky, there is a definite chill in the wind. Windproof pants would have been far superior to my levis, but the day was too nice to hide below deck.

sailing photos and stories from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Dinner was dressed up beans and fresh bread. The kind of simple meal that you might not chose at home, but was immensely satisfying and tasty after much fresh air and activity. The meal and outing shut the kids down early, and Bruce and I drifted into easy conversation.

Visits come so few and far between. As old close friends are bound to do we skiped over the day to day trivia and gossip. We talked about fundamentals of our lives. The decisions that we have made, the paths we have followed. We listened to the older boys in the forward cabin rambling on endlessly, the filters between their brains and their mouths not being fully developed yet. They explored new subjects and old, tested the parameters of polite conversation and finally their voices gave way to the soft sounds of slumber and the lapping of water on the hull. I asked Bruce "was that the meat of our conversations when we were ten year olds?" The answer was laugher that came from deep within each of us and met in the bright moonlight of that October night.

I watch the nearly full moon traverse the length of the cabin windows, and return as the boat swings softly at anchor. The quiet lapping of water against the glass hull lulls me back to my sleep.

sailing photos and stories from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Morning now and Duncan and Alex's quiet whispers turn to mayhem above deck as they take turns in the bosons chair. They scamper along the sides of the boat a foot off the water, and bounce across the decks, like an awkward Peter Pan, playing the guys and railings like a giant, out of tune banjo. The game is a carry over from last night, and I realise that the percussion in last nights "Bed Spring Serenade" was the abandoned bosons chair, left swinging in the wind. The deck goes quiet and the boys appear in the main cabin demanding "What's for breakfast?"

sailing photos and stories from Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada Great oceans were not crossed, storms did not ravish us. The outing was neither epic nor dramatic, but most of lives' fond memories come out of pleasant, comfortable moments, shared with kindred souls. This was a pleasant time on the ocean that I will remember fondly, at least until my mind fails me.

It amazes and delights me that familiarity and friendship can survive the untended expanses of time and neglect that we subject them to. In retirement Bruce will sail and I will surf. This friendship that started in the middle of the continent, some thirty five years ago, has found it's way to the Pacific shores of Vancouver Island, and continues on.










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