I (Kim) awoke to the sound of Scott chatting boats with what sounded like a jolly Scottish sailor. “We have a guest for coffee,” he warned as I rolled out of bed. Got dressed and was introduced to John, a proper Hermit – born in Egypt, raised in Kenya, studied engineering in London and then retreated to the magic of the North Coast where he found a bit of sheltered land with fresh water and made it his home. An amazing spritely character with fascinating stories and the most stellar beard as long as his hair. At 77 he’s just sailed back from Haida Gwaii on his 26 foot twin keel. We listened to his colourful chatter until we realised it was time to join the community for their 10am coffee. Walked up the wharf to find Lutz pulling up in his pick-up to find us. Hopped in for a tour of the town; house cabin hybrids, rainbow stained house, boat building sheds turned cedar shingle production, post office, old school, community centre and the house on the hill where we joined at least a dozen community members sitting around a kitchen table curious to meet us. I’m sure we provided them with a bit more fuel for the coffee conversations in the coming weeks. It was one of those situations where you’re not really quite sure how much to reveal about yourself and where you sit on the political spectrum. It’s easy when you’re an engineer/naval architect, a bit more challenging when you work for an organization that the federal government has referred to as ‘radicals’ but the table seemed to be looking for an excuse to liven up the conversation by diving into the political variety of Oona River.
After coffee we walked around the Oona River loop – passed houses built on barges, more abandoned boat building sheds, mossy vehicles, stopped in at the old school to find John at the computer. Spent a bit of time looking over the old photos, paintings, brick n brack, Oona River Yacht Club flag and then invited John over for halibut lunch. Do you remember last year, a few Haida Gwaii guys lost their boat and got stranded on an island for 10 days? John was the one that found them. Had some more good conversation about best spots and the magic of plants and then we all caught the tide out around 3pm.