Thursday, June 18, 2009

s/v Inuksuk

I have never seen the Inuksuk, yet I feel that I know her. She is a 44 foot ferrocement ketch, moored in Cowichan Bay on the Southeast corner of Vancouver Island.

I feel I know her thanks to Catherine Dook. Catherine (a substitute teacher) and John Dook live aboard Inuksuk, and Catherine writes about the experience... If you ever wanted to really know what it is like living aboard - Catherine will tell you, and have you rolling on the floor and hooting with laughter in the process. She has written for some of our Northwest magazines (Nor'westing, 48 Degrees North), and has published several books, two of which I have read: Darling, Call the Coast Guard, We're on Fire Again! (ISBN 978-0920663813) and Damn the Torpedoes! (ISBN 1-894898-06-0).

Her stories of the doings at the Cowichan Bay marina are salted with characters: John Darling (her husband), Kiwi John (a New Zealander, also named John), Other John (yet another John), Screaming Liver, Stafford the Respectable (he has a job), Older-than-Dirt Don, Ed the Bald.

Inuksuk does make it out of the marina, and that's where the real fun starts. But I won't give it away - read the books.

Here's a sample of the liveaboard lifestyle, and Catherine's writing style:

(Setting the scene: After having a shaft coupling replaced on their trip across the Strait of Georgia used up their spare cash, Catherine cuts John Darling's hair as a necessary cost savings. We enter the story with her talking, in response to John's desire to wear a hat for the next month...)

"It's hard to explain, darling, but it's kind of a mark of ownership - like a hand knit sweater, or that we have matching raincoats when we go out together."

"I'm flattered."

"Besides, this is a haircut that makes you look like a resident of Cowichan Bay. A tourist would recognize you as a local immediately. We are home, darling, where this brand of creativity is greeted with the same sort of kindly laughter that greeted us when we clipped Fred's boat, when we painted our deck diaper brown, and when we melted our engine and had to be towed home. Darling, this is where we live, and this is the haircut that gives you that unmistakable Cowichan Bay stamp. A man of the sea - a man who laughs at convention - a man brave enough and defiant enough to let his wife cut his hair."

"Can I cut your hair, then?"

"Don't be silly, darling."

Ed the Bald poked his head down our companionway. "A haircut!" he exclaimed. "John's got a haircut! Hey Fred, Mike - come look at this!"

"We're home, my love."

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