We got out on our first little sail of the summer the other day, the winds were light but steady and the sun had finally burned away most of the clouds. We didn’t venture far, just around Snake Island four miles out due to the light air. We were kept company by a couple of these big fellas waiting at anchor to get into Vancouver’s port across the Strait.
They are a bane to some of the residents here, hearing the rumbling as they let out their chain rode to drop heavy anchors, complaining of their noisy generators running during the night, and their sometimes bright lights, especially if they anchor particularly close to our island, but I’m fascinated by their scale, the engineering of their structure, and the historical connection they carry.
Moving cargo by sea is ancient, the world’s economy has hinged on floating vessels up and down great river and ocean systems for millennia. I don’t want to comment necessarily on the cargo they now transport other than to say besides the many loads of sneakers, import cars, stuff for the Wal-Mart’s, or raw log exports – lets face it we buy all this stuff, no right to judge what is necessary goods; there is perhaps much more that is down right dangerous like the diluted toxic Bitumen that will be coming through the pipeline from the Alberta tar sand’s channeled through B.C.’s mountain range and pristine wilderness for freighter export out of Vancouver’s busy harbour. Odds are certain this big red ship from Majuro will have such cargo.
It’s the paradox of human ingenuity, we can create incredible feats of engineering that by the same token can harm or destroy. The double edge sword that’s hidden in our many revered works. The Pyramids or the great wall of China can inspire and we marvel and congratulate our innovations, but the lives of thousands of slaves that severely toiled and perished seem to escape us.
And while these ships are striking to see up close, their tenuous journey out to the open pacific before first threading through our narrow passages and skirting our active gulf islands causes some amount of disdain. But what can we do? We are hypocrites all.