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Monday, August 22, 2011

Farewell to Jack

After bucking the current through the “Blowhole” –a narrow pass at the west end of Hanson Island that leads to Blackfish Sound - and rounding Spout Islet last weekend my wife and I dropped anchor in a little nameless nook that overlooks Queen Charlotte Strait. Little fish dappled the water all around our boat, jumping high for some reason unknown to me. The sea was calm, the sky was almost clear.

After I shut off our engine and radios I could still hear the drone of a float plane overhead, the distant whines of sport fishing boats and the low rumbling of a passing cruise ship. Soon, all that white noise faded as the sun began to set and the sporties headed in to count their catches and tell stories about the ones that got away. Still, there wasn’t silence. The plops from the little fish and the faint calls of diving ducks was all that remained until the peace was punctured by a whale taking a breath. First just one whale, then more whales breathing together. It was definitely a pod nearby, maybe just around the point over by Dong Chong Bay where Springer reunited with her pod in 2002. We never did see them.

Listening to those natural noises became a meditation on the sounds of the ocean for me. The peaceful plops, the whales breathing in and out together carried my thought processes into imagining the thundering roar and hiss of angry surf being flung against a beach. Cyclical, perpetual, timeless.

It’s my turn to host Waterblogged this week so I must decide how to fill the space - how to inform and entertain in order to hold our place and cut through the noise of the blogosphere.

When I woke up this morning and learned about Jack Layton passing away I began thinking about how best to blog about this sad event. How to pay tribute to this great man and write about his struggles and victories, about his deep love of Canada and all Canadians, about his respect for the environment and about his strong conviction that, by working together, we can all achieve those values we hold most dear.

I can’t help but think that the best approach is silence. RIP, Jack.

Will Soltau is the Local research Coordinator for Living Oceans Society's Salmon Farming Initiative

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