Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bulwarks and Barnacles

How much has changed since we first happened on Channel Marine on Swinomish Slough? The end of an era when boats were built of wood by skilled craftsmen, and wild salmon harvested as highly-prized protein by Indian, Norwegian and Croatian fishermen, whose ancestors had sewn nets and pulled oars for millennia.

An age when storytelling around café tables was the pinnacle of social life, and a walk two blocks through town took half a day.

Old skippers and mates and hands who’d sailed the inside passage to Ketchikan, Cordova, Kodiak and Kuskokwim. Swaggered the docks and boardwalks, stepped masts, scaled rigging, but never learned to swim.

Howkan, Bering, Luxor, Glovina—vessels of stature with familiar crews—pushed glowing bow wakes red-green out of darkness, singing chanteys to the stars.


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