Monday, April 7, 2003

Chip barges passing under the Lion's Gate Bridge

Feels like winter again. For the last 24 hours we've been living in the teeth of a stubborn Pineapple Express, hurling 70 km/h wind gusts and probably 40mm of rain at us.

I hopped the ferry into town this morning and it was pretty rocking out in the channel.

But weather aside, on the journey home this afternoon I noticed something really interesting. As we pulled out of Horseshoe Bay and turned into the Queen Charlotte Channel, off of our starboard bows I saw a tug boat carrying three empty woodchip barges, motoring out of Howe Sound. The rules of the road applied and so we had to take a course that took us around the back end of the assembly. To do so we chugged north towards Eaglecliff and then went around the back end of the three barges, before drawing our arc closed with a bearing on Snug Point.

As we went around the barges, we came quite close to them, and they are an impressive sight. Things that work on the sea are always much bigger closer up, and these big red barges with "SEASPAN" emblazoned on them are the epitome of the working coast. But as impressive as these vessels are, they weren't the interesting thing.

The interesting thing was that as we passed them, the conversations in the lounge sort of died away and everyone turned and looked at them as we passed, in a kind of silent awe. Someone whispered "look at that. Isn't that something?" Even the most jaded veterans of this place still get a little thrill from coming face to face with the big boats of Howe Sound.

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