Anne and I fell in love…or at least what I thought love was at 21 years old. She was beautiful and talented and I was afraid that she would leave me so I proposed to her and gave her a cool pair of shoes as an engagement ring substitute…I do many things very well…but I have always struggled with Romance. :0)
She was dancing and performing with the cheer squad of the Tigers and I was jealous and wasn’t supportive….It has taken me some time to come to a place of forgiveness for myself. Looking back on that time…I did the best with what I had.
I overstayed my 1 year work visa and was nervous about being an illegal alien so we decided to come to Canada and I would apply to return. We flew from a Melbourne summer to a Port Hardy winter. If you have never lived on the North West Coast of Canada you have yet to experience wetness. It gets really really wet. The gray sky filled with golf ball sized rain drops for months at a time. My friend Harry and I would go for long walks in the rain when we were growing up and I don’t mind it. In fact I find the low cloud gives me a sense of coziness…It is an acquired taste. ;0)
Anne got to experience snow for the first time and meet my highschool friends. After a few weeks she went home and I had a feeling that it was over. My step mother suggested that we date other people. I was too insecure or young to accept that as a possibility.
As I was a “professional” dancer I started teaching some classes at the local dance studio for Mrs. Cleric. I would teach what I knew and had an affinity for the young students. I enjoyed being playful with them and they responded to the respect I gave them.
At that time my friend, Terry Crawford, was making big money as commercial fisherman. He had a relaxed schedule (or at least that is what it seemed) and would have tons of money. I idolised Terry and the money so I decided that the money was the way to go. There wasn’t any work on Terry’s boat, The Merry C Two, which would have been ideal, so I put the combed the docks and got a job as a tender on a dive boat.
The boat was the Rave On and we would harvest Red Sea Urchins. I remember leaving Hardy Bay the first time to cross the Queen Charlotte Strait. I was nervous. My first time out on the water. I had the physical capacity for the work but not the emotional. My fiance was a million miles away and I would call her from the boat…This was a really expensive thing to do but I was driven by fear.
The divers would see this fear and pick at me. This was my experience with all resource extraction industries. When a group of men that feel they have no other options are doing something they don’t want to do (ie. fishing, logging, oil) they create a pecking order reinforced by the threat of violence.
I didn’t know what to do. I felt trapped on the boat. I liked seeing remote parts of Canada like Namu , a really isolated ghost town that was once a hub of activity in the 70s. I didn’t mind the work as it was physical which is what I enjoyed. Most importantly, I hated the working environment. Always having to be in guard was tiresome and frustrating. I worked for several openings and eventually jumped ship onto a packer (a large boat that is used to “pack” fish or product to packing plants for processing) up north and came home.
I just realised that I mutineed… Which is my recommendation for anyone that is working in a job that they don’t like….Mutiny and find a nicer crew. Life is too short to be around people that aren’t supporting you.