tall ships entering the harbour. although it was rather cool and drizzly i decided to hop in the dinghy and meet them as they came in.
the nina above is my favourite. incredible to think that people crossed the atlantic in a little tub like this in the 15th century.
the fellow in the red canoe earned a bellow from a cop boat for getting distracted by a camera and accidentally blocking traffic. there were as many cops out there as tall ships.
when i saw this i had an eerie vision of what it must have looked like a hundred and fifty years ago when these kinds of ships first showed up in the harbour.
i’ll admit it: i have a passion for these old ships (at least the designs are old, most are modern replicas). i think they are graceful and beautiful. but i think it also best to approach them with the same critical eye as you would an old cathedral – gorgeous, humbling, and yet monuments to tyranny. while wind has carried world trade for thousands of years, more recently, ships like these transported 18 million african slaves to america. much closer to home, the hiada were reduced to a tenth of their population by the smallpox these ships carried. and of course there is the over-all genocide of indigenous peoples throughout africa, australia, north america and many other parts of the world due to colonisation made possible by the world’s navies. i wonder if the local first nations cheer so lustily at the sight of one.
even aboard the vessels themselves, the seamen who worked them lived lives like chattel, especially the pressed legions aboard british navy ships. floggings, hangings, the press – and yet the hms bounty is notorious because of a mutiny, not the brutal treatment of her enslaved men. this is part of the truth that is masked by the beauty of these ships.
for my part i am very glad that these ships are now reduced to simple forms of grace and seamanship, divorced from their often barbaric history.
i have been having computer problems yet again. that’s what you get when you adopt new technology. the good news is that it looks like apple will be sending me a new replacement – not bad after two years worth of use of my current machine.
the weather here in victoria has been absolutely superb. fantastic local beer, warm winds, fresh barbeque’d salmon right here off the dock, we’re going sailing tomorrow – sometimes life really is like a beer commercial and it absolutely doesn’t get any better than this. there are days like today when i can’t believe how privileged we are and i wonder how can anyone deserve such abundance and beauty.
i’m trying to figger out some hard numbers on our energy footprint, and it’s a real bear. even finding some average household numbers for this part of the world is difficult. best i could find is an average in alberta of 600,000 watt-hrs per month. that’s averaging all months and all housing types. a very good number for a small apartment would be around 100,000 watt-hrs/month. that’s with the best appliances, programmed thermostat, unplugging electronics etc.
aboard fainleog we have little of that stuff – no dishwasher (except me) only a computer and car stereo that runs in the background, a fridge that draws about 60 watts when it’s running, 10 and 20 watts 12 volt halogen lights, and a 5 gal hot water heater (1500 watts). heating water and living space uses up about 99% of our energy needs. even our stove is gas which is very efficient and a 20 lb bottle last for months when we don’t use it for space heating. when we have been on the hook, we draw about 70 watts when the fridge is cycled on. imagine your entire home running on the power of a single light bulb.
of course in the winter we run 2250 watts for space heating and i have no idea how much energy goes into that small hot water tank (far more would be lost through convection and radiation than comes out our taps). i don’t know how many watt-hrs the average bc home uses for residential heating. i do not that my utility bills for our last home were almost 300.00 month for hydro and gas combined.
if nothing else we know that we have a great lifestyle and yet a low impact one as well.
i’ve also gotten into the cycling bug and living so close to everything i haven’t used the truck all week. so damn the expensive gas. it’s a great life.