Friday The 13th


Saturday morning I awake in my bunk which I soon realize is dripping with condensation. It is winter time on the Northcoast and my boat was built for more southerly latitudes. There are puddles under the mattress and all the efforts I’ve made to insulate and keep a dry bed are in vain. I’ll rip the forepeak apart in the spring and rebuild it but I realize I must move the boat south even before I arise. Enough! Neither of us can endure this sort of winter climate my old bones scream in protest. I’ll sleep in the main cabin for the duration of my tenure here.

Snow below. Hunter Island, November 11th
Snow below. Hunter Island, November 11th

I get up, put the kettle on for coffee, wipe thick condensation from the windows and see soggy heaps of hail on the dock. There is snow low-down on the not-so-distant mountains. I can smell it in the air. There was a time when I would have revelled in this on-the-edge living but the romance went out of that a long time ago and I’ve decided being warm and dry has certain acceptable nuances as well.

Coffee made, I check my e-mail and open one from Twisted Sifter which has a video-clip of a pianist playing “Imagine” on the sidewalk in front of a concert hall in Paris, France. It is only then that I learn of the multiple horrific terrorist attacks the night before. At the hour those dark events were unfolding I sat in this boat watching a movie about a Buddhist monk and his novice who live on a floating temple in the middle of a lake. The ironic contrast of that overwhelms me. So I write this:

Flying Home
Flying Home

But There Must Be A Heaven

Ice on the dock,

Dripping, dead, bitter winter.

Now-cold bitter coffee in mug in hand

Hot bitter tears on my face.

I learn the latest news

And hear distant thunder of apocalyptic hooves.

Why do we tear out each other’s hearts

And crap in the wound?

What inspires such fear and self-loathing

to work so hard at destroying our planet,

All hope, all innocence? What rage?

Why are peace and tolerance so difficult?

But there must be a heaven

because surely there is a hell.

The politicos and generals

The god-botherers and holy-talkers

Raise a renewed paranoid clamour

Ever-grasping at the profits of fear

Stirring doubt about any loving god

Confirming the reign of evil.

But there must be a heaven

because surely there is a hell.

I retreat to the darkness of my bed

As yet another storm churns this bay.

Through the wind and rain and slap of waves

I can hear the blare and thump of

Grating desperate tunes from the gala in the pub

As people drink and cavort

And deaden the pain in their soul.

But there must be a heaven

because surely there is a hell.

Peace. Please.
Peace. Please.

Author: Fred Bailey

Fred is a slightly-past middle age sailor /, writer / photographer with plenty of eclectic hands-on skills and experiences. Some would describe him as the old hippy who doesn't know the war is over. He is certainly reluctant to grow up and readily admits to being the eternal dreamer. He has written several books including two novels, 'The Keeper' and 'Storm Ecstasy,' as well as 'The Water Rushing By', 'Sins Of The Fathers', 'The Magic Stick', as well as an extensive inventory of poetry, essays, short stories, anecdotes and photographs. His first passion is the ocean, sailboats, voyaging and all those people who are similarly drawn to the sea. He lived aboard and extensively cruised the BC Coast on 'Seafire' the boat he refitted to go voyaging, to explore new horizons both inner and outer. This blog was about that journey and the preparations for it. Circumstances prevailed which forced the sale of his beloved vessel. Now on a different tack, the voyage continues. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey. Namaste Contact me at

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