Of Bear & Sleeping Rough

Prince Rupert:

I could spend only two days in Prince Rupert because my journey south required taking the BC Ferry to Port Hardy. It, alas, sails only weekly.  With but one free day, I elected to take the Adventure Tour to grizzly country on Thursday. Along the way, we saw dolphins, Humpback Whales, and Bald Eagles.  

My companions on this boat excursion included several American photographers with multiple cameras hanging about their necks. At one point one of them, a particularly large and vocal woman, shouted ‘I’VE GOT TAIL!’ loudly enough to jar me from my reverie.  Momentarily, I thought ‘well yes, madam, but a good deal more than strictly necessary,’ but then I realized she was trumpeting her photographic capture of a Humback sounding.  Other photographers huddled next to her camera oohing and aahing about her tail.  

However, the stars of the show were Yogi and Goldie, a courting, not yet mating, pair of Grizzlies. (Who knew?) They grazed together shoulder to shoulder while we watched from as close as 30 meters, safely separated by water.  When Goldie wanted to move along, she made little barking yips and Yogi just trotted behind her.  After grazing for about an hour, they both climbed on a log, reclining prone almost nuzzle to nuzzle.  There they remained until Brutus, a rival bear, entered the meadow about 300 meters away.  Sensing him, they quickly skedaddled.  Later, we saw an immature male, Bugs, who had very large and prominent ears, giving him a comic aspect. 

I apologize to my readers for the paucity of my photographic skills.  I had only my iPhone and, alas, I didn’t get tail.

On The Ferry – Killing Me Softly:

In the cafeteria, I looked up from my late lunch and found myself making eye contact with a lover I hadn’t seen in 35 years.  I saw a click of recognition, then anxiety cross her familiar face.  She was wearing a wedding band and sitting with an older man, obviously her husband.  It’s remarkable how little she’d changed, even the way she held her head and leaned in just slightly to eat a morsel of food.  She looked at me with the same pale blue eyes behind the same band of freckles across her nose. I smiled and looked back down to my book.  (Here I wish I were technically savvy enough to embed a soundtrack, probably a piano rendition of ‘Killing Me Softly.’)  Anyhow, it’s a small world, but I didn’t ripple hers.

*  *  *

At seven o’clock, I awoke from a night on the carpeted floor in front of my seat, thanking God for the invention of the battery powered CPAP.  I used my Crocs for a pillow and think I should endorse them as best all-around footwear for globe trotting. The older Englishman behind me was watching laugh-track American sitcoms on his tablet.  The volume suggested he’s a little deaf.  It was morning in British Columbia, our ferry motoring slowly through some of the world’s most spectacular seascape as he watched reruns of Malcolm in the Middle.  Welcome to the new tourist.   The busload of seniors who soaked up all the available cabins then descended, all shouting at one another in the cafeteria – hale and hardy. Or, Laurel & Hardy?  Until I got my coffee, I hated them all with a gem-like passion.  Time for a loving-kindness meditation, eh?

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Copyright Jack Kelleher © 2014.