03 July 2017

Haida Gwaii

     I learned a few hours ago (from television) that the Queen Charlotte Islands, off the north coast of British Columbia, are now called Haida Gwaii, 'Islands of the People'. In 1974, my father's ashes were scattered at sea off the islands. He had been a sailor on Canadian Pacific ships when he was young, and had said that the currents would carry his ashes around the Pacific and beyond.
     When I was a teenager, I went with my father to the Maritime Museum in Vancouver, to look at a large model of the ship he had sailed on, either the Empress of India or the Empress of China --- I don't remember which. He showed me the porthole on a (very) lower deck, where his berth was. He always regretted that the Great Depression permanently interrupted his training to be an officer in the Merchant Marine. But I have often thought that had he become an officer, he would have been sailing on troop ships and the like during the World War, and might have gone down on one of the many ships that were sunk. (2.II.17)

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