Where Was I


My old home was a logging camp on Read Island, in the Discovery Group in British Columbia. We moved there from Courtenay, B.C., in 1957 when I was 5 years old, and left when I was 12.

We lived two bays north of White Rock Pass. I am not sure if the bay had a name then or now. We called it Elliott Bay. "It is not on any map, real places never are."

The closest town was Campbell River, on Vancouver Island. To get there, we took a boat down Hoskyn Channel to Heriot Bay, drove across Quadra to Quathiaski Cove, and took a ferry to Campbell River. On a few ocassions, we took the boat around Cape Mudge, at the end of Quadra, right into CR.

mom and dad Brian, Gary, Graeme (l to r)

I lived there with my father and mother, Alder and Patricia, and two older brothers, Brian and Gary. My father eked out a living logging, and supplemented our diets with hunting and fishing. My mother kept house and cooked, both for the family and the crew. Brian and Gary both worked for my father. Brian is on the left of the picture below. Gary is behind me.

At various times, we shared the camp with one or more of my father's employees, men by the names of Joe Bassett, Harvey Woods, Bob Grey and Red and Jim Kretz. Visitors included my cousins Kenny and Ross Corbett from Courtenay, and Terry Mitchison from Vancouver.

The crew came and went; a dog name Butch was a constant. This dog, a good-tempered black and white mutt, just arrived one day, shortly after we moved to the island, and if he belonged to anyone, Gary was his master.

He used to chase ducks in the bay, jumping in the water, and swimming furiously, tail wagging, and barking all the while. The ducks would take flight immediately when he first started doing this, but after awhile, they learned. They would paddle leisurely along, a few feet in front of him, and then dive. He would swim in circles, waiting for them to come up, and when they surfaced, dog paddle madly in their direction. They would paddle leisurely along, a few feet in front of him.... This repeated until the poor dog was too tired for the game, and he would retire to a fireside, to dream duck-catching dreams.

He also chased mink, and raccoon. I worried about him chasing raccoons, as they are said to be able to drown dogs by climbing on their heads in the water. My fears were groundless; the raccoons took a page from the ducks "Manual of Dog Torment", and led him on long chases across the bay.

He was also extremely fastidious in his toilet. When the tide was in, he would walk out to the end of the boat mooring, a string of logs out into the bay, and do his business. None of us trained him to do this, but, as I enjoyed going barefoot, I was glad he did.

For a while, we had a cat called Puff, but she took to the wild, unlike her "Dick and Jane" reader namesake.

Gary found a deserted seal pup on the beach one night. We tried to save its life, but we could not feed it, so we returned it to the saltchuck to face its fate. It would have made a nice pet. It enjoyed its night in our bathtub. Butch was mystified.

Our closest neighbours were the Lamberts, who lived across the channel on Maurelle Island. Forrest Lambert was a logger. He also played the fiddle at community get-togethers at the Legion Hall. His Japanese wife was named Reiko. They had five kids, introduced in school days. Their cat's name was Inquisitive. I guess they had different readers.

One of my early recollections of the place was going out one night in October of 1957 to watch a tiny speck of light called Sputnik move across the sky. This was the start of a life-long interest in astronomy That link will give you access to all of Astronomy. Come back....

I also recall watching a mass of water and rock exploding one morning, as Ripple Rock was blasted to smithereens. We were at a far greater distance than the photo at the museum website.

We always needed to know what the currents and tides were going to do. But we didn't have the Web and links to tide tables, so we used the Point Atkinson Tide Tables book put out by the Canadian Hydrographic Service.

Now, you can see the tides for Surge right here

Thanks to Ryan Turnbull at Tideschart for pointing out that my previous tide table link was broken.


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