It’s been a couple of weeks since my previous post. The good news is that The White Limousine is with my editor, and it doesn’t look like there will be too many changes to make. There are still a few more steps to go before publication, but the big day is only weeks away.
Meanwhile, I’ve been busy preparing short stories for the Victoria Writer’s Society annual writing contest. Last year I won second prize for a short story titled Christmas Morning. This year, I’ve entered two short stories in the Creative Non-Fiction and Fiction categories. The winners will be notified by August 22, 2014, and will read their works at the September 3, 2014 meeting of the Victoria Writer’s Society, and they will be published in the December edition of Island Writer magazine.
Christmas Morning is a bit on the dark side – it’s about a young girl living in poverty who makes a horrible discovery on Christmas morning. My stories this year, are very much on the lighter side; in fact they’re supposed to be funny – I hope that the judges have a good senses of humour.
During the past couple of days, the weather has been so nice that I haven’t done much writing. My neighbor, Brian, took me out fishing two days ago, and it was a perfect day – a clear sky, no wind and the temperature around 20 degrees Celsius. We launched the boat at Cattle Point, and then checked and re-baited the cab traps just off Willows Beach. We caught lots of crabs, but only a couple of ‘keepers’ – male crabs that meet the size criterion. The females get a free lunch, and then get thrown back; where they probably move on to the next trap for another free meal. Yes, I am talking about crabs, not the Senate. Hopefully, the males have done whatever it is that male crabs need to do to propagate the species before their last supper.
We cruised out in to Haro Strait and set up shop a kilometer or so off shore. Mount Douglas was to the west with San Juan Island due east. No gun ships appeared, so we must have stayed clear of American territory. Sitting out there on this beautiful, warm, calm day, Brian set about instructing me in the secrets of halibut fishing, which I have promised not to divulge. I’ll only say that halibut live in very deep water, and that reeling in three hundred feet of line with a heavy weight on it is a good arm and shoulder workout. Forty pounders are not uncommon, and they can get much bigger. Scroll down to see a picture of the largest one caught, just to give you an idea. No, that isn’t us in the picture. I spent considerable time untangling line. I now know how to let line out properly.
As we “bounced the bottom” (secret technique for annoying halibut) Brian said, “Do you hear something breathing?” The water was like a sheet of gently rolling glass, the only sounds were occasional cries of gulls. A seal watched us from twenty-five meters away, hoping we’d catch something, waiting to rob our hooks. We heard the sound again – and then saw a black back and a fin arching out of the water, and then another and another. Within seconds, there were a dozen or more all around us, speeding through the water like black and white torpedoes. One of them breached just meters from our boat, turned slightly and a curious eye assessed us. They weren’t playing. The pod was on the hunt, systematically herding a large school of small fish into a tighter and tighter group – and then taking turns feeding. They were soon passed us, but they stayed in the area and we watched them breaching. A couple of them came back around and had another look at us. I wished I’d had a camera, but I’m not much of a photographer. Here’s a stock photo of pacific white sided dolphins.
So, I didn’t have the experience of reeling in a giant fish that doesn’t want to come up, but it was a great day!