I'm not sure how or when it all began but the ocean seemed to have called me.
I had this need to go to it.
Be near it.
when I look as far back as I can through the digital archives
I think it started as a healing call for me.
I remember those dark days I needed to be in the surf.
Allowing the ocean to wash over me
but mainly needing her to wash through me
September tends to be the time with the most calls from the ocean.
Begging to be sat with after everyone's left.
Almost like she waits for me to visit.
Sometimes, I ride, or rather attempt to ride.
my last surf at Kwisitis
I was out there all alone
(well Evan and Max were body surfing on the shore)
There I sat on my board.
Feeling all proud of myself for not being scared.
Inhaling my big girl moment.
when this eyeball covered in barnacles slowly & silently appeared a few feet from my left side.
It was so surreal.
I had just released my deep breathe and was having a moment of gratitude
Thinking & thanking the creator for this amazing life I have.
Then that 👁
Ok of course my heart started racing in that moment because
did you ever watch Jaws as a child
Black Fish (documentary)
as an adult?!!
so my second thought was,
at least it' a grey and not a killer whale!
It felt like a few magical minutes of staring into one another's souls.
Then it left just as it had arrived, slowly & silently it sank back into the depths.
I think it was after that I decided that I'm quite content with just waiting for my surfers on the shore.
Or standing in the harbours where
seemed more me.
For years long before surf boards and sup's
I would go and sit down the dock
with my camera and my diary.
It was always some much needed time of solitude in a world which felt far too noisy and busy for me.
I remember when I first moved here to Yuuthluithaht
I swear I was homesick for years
but being down the dock somehow made me feel closer to home.
This journey with the ocean seemed to call me in more ways than one.
Not only did it call me spiritually.
but it also called me to work.
I remember I moved to Campbell River to be closer to my sister some years ago.
It was such a culture shock,
I was so used to saying hello to everyone and knowing everyone & everyone knowing me.
Every damn day I went out to look for work there with zero luck.
Talk about humbling. I'd never ever been that broke in my life ever.
After months of unsuccessful job searching.
I decided to apply for this research job though UVIC that was offered closer to my home, Ahousat.
I remember I got the job and wasn't sure how I felt about it. After all I had just moved my son and I across island.
So I talk it over with my uncle and he said, "Well what the hell you doing applying for a job you don't want?"
SHEEEESH So I took it!
It was a research job where we had to be out on the water from dusk to dawn.
AND I had to drive the boat!
Being on the water, floating so freely under the moon light with
Whales exhaling so close to you that their breathe misted your face.
Watching night turn to day as the rest of the world slept.
Quickly became my fav time to be awake.
It ended up being one of the best jobs I've ever had!
so this ocean call.
maybe started out as a call home.
because I missed my home so much.
I was raised in my community where
people naturally gave, shared and helped.
I was so used of my food coming straight from the ocean to our table.
After spending more than half my life here in Yuuthluithaht
I still miss home and community so I thought
I'm just gonna go find my own fish & find a way to get my own food.
Thankfully I made a couple of friends, who the poor things
have had their share of putting up with me and my never ending harvest requests over the years.
I remember my very first time some years ago
going to find fresh fish here in Yuuthluithaht
Feeling all vulnerable & insecure but on a fresh fish mission,
I drag my cousin down the dock with me cause I didn't want to look poor or needy
(Giggles, so having her with me made me look rich and independent.)
That first fish find lead to years of friendship with West Coast Fish.
Matty has thankfully supplied our home with the freshest of fishes the last 11 + years
& has always been there and available when I've had such rad opportunities that included taking elders & youth out fishing!
Along with this guy who finally has recently started his own adventures with Uukwiis
Probably the only guy who thinks he can boss me around.
Always calls last minute, inviting me out for harvests
telling me I have 10 minutes to
grab my gear
food & bevies
meet him somewhere that usually takes half hour to get to!
But I'm always game & grateful!
He's taken Evan & I out many times for
That last herring spawn I couldn't find anyone to take me out
& man was I ever PO"d!
So I did what I had to do.
Got the kid
The stand up paddle board
and headed out.
I was so mad paddling out thinking
I don't ever want to need or have to beg anyone to take me out ever again!
Might sound strange and random but I had thought about my late father's during that temper tantrum.
I thought about my father in law who for years lived on the ocean as a guardian.
I'd spend more time with him more than both my father's combined.
IF he were here, he'd have taken me out.
He'd have mumbled and grumbled about it
but he'd have taken me.
But I mostly thought about my father.
He was never there for me growing up.
He broke every single promise he ever made to me as a child.
he was far from perfect and most definitely left some pain and trauma in his trail.
but he was still my dad
Though he wasn't capable of being there for me.
as an adult I choose to be there for the child in him.
He'd call me everyday and talk about his old fishing days or tell me stories of my late mother.
I'd listen. I'd really listen.
Because I knew he wasn't well.
I knew he didn't look after himself.
I knew one day I'd miss those calls and those special conversations.
& nothing like anniversaries to remind you of your father's.
September 12th was the day my dad was born.
September 12th was the day my father in law journeyed home.
So those thoughts of my fathers during those winter blues (herring spawns)
where I was throwing temper tantrums
over feeling stranded ashore
while wanting to answer the calls to the ocean.
particularly had me thinking of a promise I made to both those father's.
I'm going to have my own boat I told them for years.
they would chuckle at me.
So I'm sure they're flying over me
shaking their heads
Because I finally bought my own damn boat!
Because I'm a mother raising son's.
and or Maybe because my father only had daughters?
or maybe because I'm a mother whose father's & grandfather's were & are fishermen.
No wait, that's a whole other blog about roles and discussions I've had with elders on women harvesting.
But boat mostly because I'd like my son to be
to know how to fish
to not only know his traditional territories
but to know their traditional names & histories too.
So thank you to my father
who somehow managed to keep his last promise to me.
which was to help me get a boat.
So it's a few years late but it's here now dad.
It's still nameless but I'm definitely drawn to
Kelsmsit 'something' because
Well maybe I"m still trying to bring
Ahousat to Yuuthluithaht. ;)
I"m be all all over the VHF
in my strongest Mexican accent
Freeeeeeeesh fiiiiiiish down the dock,
come get it.
Just like home.
The ocean called and I finally answered.
Scared AF but still answered.
because to me, if I'm not scared
then I'm too comfortable
& if I'm comfortable too long
I know it's time to go and grow.
ʔušy̓aksiiƛeic nuw̓i & nani
for watching me grow.
for watching me want to be parts of you.